Do You Live to Work or Work to Live?

UPDATED: May 11, 2016
PUBLISHED: May 9, 2016

Are you an entrepreneur, or maybe you want to be an entrepreneur? What drives you? Is it your passion, or is it profit?

What if you could have both?

The benefit of launching a lifestyle business is that you can. You can live out your dreams and make money. You can live it forward and earn it forward. Because a lifestyle entrepreneur is someone who creates a business around the lifestyle they want.

Related: How to Find Your ‘Why’ in Life

Take me, for example. I’m a professional speaker, which means I travel a lot. But I didn’t start my business because I wanted to see the world. I started it because I wanted to help others maximize their success and to invest in my family’s well-being. Starting a lifestyle business allowed me to do both.

It’s important to paint a picture that fits the lifestyle you feel called to live. First you must clearly define the life you want and then figure out how to fit your business into it. It’s about working to live, not living to work.

Here are seven steps that helped me and can help you, too:

1. Start with your life.

Lifestyle entrepreneurs talk a lot about the life they want to live. But when their to-do list gets longer and longer, they’re often tempted to focus exclusively on business—and they forget about life.

It’s called a lifestyle business for a reason. The first step to creating a lifestyle business is to become crystal clear about the life you feel called to live. Only after you determine this can you move onto figuring out how you can fit the work you love into your life. Keeping these priorities in the proper order is absolutely essential to being successful.

2. Show me the money.

Before developing products and services, look for a niche you are passionate about serving—but then make sure they are willing to pay for what you provide. This sounds elementary, doesn’t it? Yet the lifestyle business graveyard is filled with failed ideas developed for people who never intended to pay for their products and services.

I know this firsthand. Learn from my mistake. Don’t just pick a niche you’re passionate about. Pick a niche based on passion and profit.

3. Ask strategic questions.

This is the most fundamental (and overlooked) step for achieving success as a lifestyle entrepreneur. Before moving forward, ask yourself these essential questions:

  • Who buys in this niche?
  • What products or services do they buy?
  • How do they want you to communicate with them?

4. Set up your home base. 

You cannot promote your business or serve your clients without a home base, and in today’s world, your home base is your website. Many entrepreneurs get stuck here because they make this step too difficult.

A basic, five-page website is enough. You need a:

  • Homepage
  • About page
  • Resource page (like a blog or a podcast—some way to serve and add value for free)
  • Services and/or products page
  • Contact page

That’s it! Feel free to ramp up the design down the road, but start with simplicity.

5. Show up and shine.

Once your website is up and running, it’s time to show up and shine to gain exposure. There are two important things to remember when it comes to this step:

  • Continue to ask yourself the three questions from No. 3. If decision-makers in your niche don’t listen to podcasts, don’t start one. If they are on Facebook but not Twitter, get active on Facebook. Show up and shine where they are.
  • Consider partnering with others instead of doing everything yourself. Write guest posts on popular blogs that serve your niche or be a guest on relevant podcasts.

6. Serve first. Serve second. Serve third.

A fundamental mistake made by many lifestyle entrepreneurs is starting with “the ask.” They ask, ask, ask and ask some more. They only give when someone finally caves, yet they wonder why sales are so low.

What would happen if you flipped this equation on its head? What if you genuinely gave, gave, gave and then asked? Personally, I have found the more I give with no strings attached, the greater the customer experiences and the better the sales.

7. Don’t be fooled.

Starting and growing a lifestyle business requires a lot of sweat equity. For me, it took three years working a full-time job while bootstrapping my business on the side before I could launch my business full-time. Patience and hard work are key.

If working to live instead of living to work sounds like your kind of gig, there are business opportunities all around you! Follow the seven steps above, and you’ll be well on your way to living it forward and earning it forward.

Related: Do You Have What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur?

Kent Julian

Kent Julian was an at-risk kid with SAT scores so low he had to take Development Studies just to get into college—on probation. From those humble beginnings, he went on to lead a national youth organization that helped teenagers who were just like him. After 20 years in the nonprofit world, he did something crazy… He launched Live It Foward, which has become a successful lifestyle business. Now he speaks, writes and consults leaders all over the world. You can find his work cool places like, and more. His goal is to help you maximize success in your personal life, relationships and work so you can “live it forward” into your dream life and calling.