Do you want to build a lifestyle business?
Consulting businesses can be the BEST type of lifestyle business.
At Consulting Success®, we believe that your business should be in alignment with what success looks like to YOU.
The last thing you want is to wake up one day and realize your business is a monster: one that eats away at your time, your freedom, and your happiness.
In a recent Clarity Coaching group call, I discussed our Lifestyle & Business Triangle concept.
This concept was critical to how we started and built Consulting Success® in an intentional way.
And it’s a business we’ve been fortunate enough to grow to 7+ figures — all while traveling the world, enjoying our favorite hobbies, and spending time with our families.
By the end of this article, you’ll understand how to use the Lifestyle & Business Triangle to build a business that supports your lifestyle — and be inspired by how our clients have applied this concept to their consulting businesses.
Let’s dive in.
The Status Quo: Putting Business BEFORE Lifestyle
Many years ago I was in Japan, going for one of my daily walks next to a local stream. It was a beautiful day during sakura (cherry blossom season).
I was thinking about a good friend of mine. He was the CEO of a multi-million dollar business in Japan, and I looked up to him.
But I couldn’t get one thing off my mind.
Every time I spoke with him, he told me where he had been, and what he was working on.
He seldom spoke about spending time with his family and his young daughters.
And he was working so hard that he started to have health issues.
So, I asked him…
“Why do you have such a hectic work schedule?”
“I’m doing this for my kids,” he responded.
He was putting his business before his lifestyle. And he was even putting his business before his family.
In the early days of my consulting business, I lived just like my friend.
And many business owners are guilty of living this way.
We prioritize our business over everything else: our health, our social lives, and our families.
Think about how we spend our time as a triangle.
As entrepreneurs, many of us put our business at the top of the triangle. Our business is the apex of the triangle, so it’s our top priority.
The lower portion of the triangle is your lifestyle.
To support the business, you have to make a lot of sacrifices to your lifestyle:
- Less time with your family
- Less time exercising and taking care of your health
- Less time enjoying your hobbies
But you don’t have to sacrifice your lifestyle to build a successful consulting business.
Instead, you can design a business that supports your lifestyle (instead of the other way around).
Our Consulting Approach: Put Your Lifestyle Before Your Business
When Sam and I were starting Consulting Success, we asked ourselves…
“How can we build a business where we can bring our value to the world — and do it online?”
This was over a decade ago before internet businesses were popular.
We decided to build a business that flipped the typical entrepreneurial triangle.
Instead of putting our business at the apex of the triangle…
…we would put our lifestyle at the apex of the triangle.
The first step is to get clear about your desired lifestyle and what success looks like to you.
You also want to decide what matters most to you: whether that’s health, family, spirituality, etc.
What are the things you want to be able to do every day?
Maybe that’s simply eating breakfast with your kids and taking them to school.
Maybe that’s hitting the gym or going for a run in the middle of the day.
Maybe that’s working from 6am-12 pm — and then spending the rest of the day relaxing.
What are the things you want to be able to do?
Sam, for example, loves to travel. He’ll do 90-day sprints and then take 10 days off to go travel.
We’re not even talking about business right now. We’re talking about the life you want to live: what would make you happiest.
Only once you’ve gotten clear on that can you build a business that will support the lifestyle you want to have.
Once you’ve done that, ask yourself:
“How can I restructure my business and my offerings to support my lifestyle?”
- If you want to be able to take your kids to school every day, that could mean no client calls until after 10:00am.
- If you want to be able to hit the gym every day, that could mean blocking off that time in your schedule.
- If you want to work only from 6am-12 pm, that could mean setting boundaries with your clients.
- If you want to be able to travel while you work, that could mean selling a productized offer that you can deliver remotely.
Your business is yours. You determine the rules, not your clients.
Again, once you’ve gotten clear on what success means to you, you can design a business and offers that support your lifestyle. These are constraints you can use to build your ideal business and offers.
Remember: don’t wait until you reach a certain revenue level to live the life you want.
Chances are you can live that life now as long as you are intentional about what you want and what you are building supports that.
Practical Applications: 6 Steps To Turning Your Consulting Business Into The Ultimate Lifestyle Business
Here are 6 action steps you can take to prioritize your lifestyle and use your business to support that lifestyle.
1. Get clear on your “why “
Why are you an entrepreneur in the first place?
Is it so that you can be in charge of your schedule?
Is it so that you can provide a better life for your family?
Is it so that you can spend more time with your kids?
Is it so that you can reach your true potential?
When times are tough, circle back to the reasons you are in this business.
It’s your “why” that will keep you going during the tough times.
Write down your “why.” Come back to it often.
By simply writing it down and reminding yourself of it, you’ll open up all kinds of possibilities and opportunities.
It will also guide you to make better decisions and actions to move toward your goals.
2. Prioritizing what really matters
Are you focusing on the things that truly make a difference?
If there is a certain type of project that puts you in that flow state, why not only do that?
If there is a certain type of client that you love working with, why not do more work with them?
If there is a small group of people you enjoy being with the most, why not spend more time with them?
You always want to be thinking “80/20” in your life and business.
Prioritize the 20% that has the biggest impact.
Growth often comes not from addition, but from subtraction.
3. Use your calendar
If you don’t write tasks down, it’s difficult to get them done.
As an entrepreneur, your mind is always racing.
Perhaps you’re thinking of your kids, your family, your spouse…
…or you’re thinking about all the things you want to do in your business.
Get used to scheduling the things you want to do. Be intentional about it.
If you don’t schedule what you want to do, your calendar will fill up with other people’s tasks and priorities instead of your own.
This is how you start to lose control over your business and your life.
But using your calendar, writing things into it, and scheduling what you must do is how you regain control over your time.
4. Create a plan
Inside our Clarity Coaching program, we teach the “Quarterly Planning Session.”
This helps consultants set goals and make a plan to achieve those goals.
If you don’t have a clear plan, it’s hard to achieve your goals consistently.
But, using the quarterly planning session, it’s much easier to set your goals-— and then reverse engineer a plan to achieve those goals.
It’s deceptively simple, but it works.
Start with the end in mind. Think about the steps to how you’ll achieve it. Break it down into small, manageable chunks. Then, get to work!
5. Review your strategy
Your priorities, calendar, and plans might change.
You might be constantly adjusting these parts of your business.
So, it’s important to take a step back, look at the big picture, and review what you’re doing.
I’m constantly looking at my plan. I ask myself…
“Is this working?”
“What could I do to improve this part of the business?”
“Am I still in balance?”
Every few months, re-assess and review how you’re doing.
Doing a frequent review helps you stay on track to where you want to go.
Consistent reviews are a critical part of creating a successful lifestyle and business.
6. Stretch your thinking
As an entrepreneurial consultant, you get to create the world you want.
It’s your business. YOU are in the driver’s seat.
Many of us think too small.
I challenge you to stretch your thinking.
We built Consulting Success® to be an online business 13 years ago.
Our friends were envious.
“How can you travel so much?” they asked.
Sam and I knew what we wanted to do, and we had to stretch our thinking about what we could achieve.
Stretch your thinking FIRST. Be imaginative. Think big. Think about what you truly want.
- “What would I like to create?”
- “What would my dream schedule look like?
- “If I had all the resources in the world, how would I use them to achieve my goals?”
These are what the consultants in our program do.
- Consultants like Bobby G, who earned $100K more revenue in 7 months.
- Consultants like Nic Campbell, who doubled her clients within weeks.
- Consultants like Vince Rath, who increased his fees by 600%.
You can achieve much more than you think.
Clarity Coaching Students Discussion: Lifestyle Business Stories
Our Clarity Coaching Program clients have used what they learn in our program to create amazing lifestyle businesses.
A fundraising consultant is now living in Costa Rica, working 16 hours per week, and is earning a much higher revenue than before. As we spoke to her on the call, we could hear the chickens and roosters she is raising in the background. She’s even taking Mondays and Fridays off. She has so much free time to fill it with hobbies and activities — time she could never find before.
A branding consultant now values his time at $3000 per hour. He hired a contractor to do some work on his house, and the contractor said “You could do this work.” The consultant responded “Yeah, but I could pay you to do this and sit outside and drink a beer.” For anything valued at less than $3000 per hour, he delegates it to someone else so he can focus on what he loves to do.
You can implement this way of thinking in your team as well.
Sam does kickboxing every Tuesday and Thursday morning. By getting his exercise in early, he feels much better and prioritizes his health.
Tsavo either goes to the gym or does jiu-jitsu every day at noon. He prioritizes mental and physical health, and doing this is critical to his work performance.
But one consultant said that he felt an insatiable need to always do more. And this was preventing him from enjoying the present moment.
Naomi, our operations manager, asked him to reframe his thinking.
Instead of saying, “I’ll feel fulfilled when“, say”I feel fulfilled and “.
This simple change in mindset will shift your focus from the future to the present.
It’s good to think long-term. There will always be more for you to do.
But it’s just as important for you to take a deep breath, smell the roses, and appreciate how far you’ve come.
Make space for the things you love to do, and you’ll perform better in your work and business.
So there you have it: if you choose to start a consulting business, we believe it’s the BEST type of business for a lifestyle business.
As a consultant, instead of selling a product, you’re selling what’s in your head.
And you can sell your thinking in any way you please.
The cost is your time — which is the most valuable thing on this planet.
Charge wisely — and highly — for it.