Work the way you want – why is a lifestyle business right for you?

What’s the difference between a business lifestyle and a lifestyle business? Some would say it’s about the implied hierarchy in the word order of each.

Imagine yourself being part of the following conversation.

“Hey insert your name here, these paintings/photographs/crafts of yours are incredible. Have you ever thought about selling them?”

“Oh it’s really just something I love to do, it was never meant to be my job.”

“Well I’d buy one, and I know someone else who would too.”

“Well I could do with a little extra income.”

Whether it’s photographypainting, or even interior design, if you can imagine anything you’ve made appearing on Pinterest, it has the potential to earn you some income. And that means you have the potential to become a lifestyle entrepreneur.

Who starts a lifestyle business?

Lifestyle entrepreneurs are cut from various moulds, so the chances are you’ll find one that fits with where you’re at. Here are a few examples, which one sounds most like you?

  1. You don’t really need the money, you just have creativity to burn.
  2. You have a child’s education to pay for, a house extension to complete or a retirement nest egg to build, and you need an additional source of income.
  3. You and a friend have had an idea that won’t go away. You need help getting started or taking your project to the next level.
  4. You have enjoyed the same hobby for years, but someone recently suggested you could make some money from it.
  5. You’re a stay-at-home parent who needs work they can pick up and put down through a demanding season of life.

Whatever your situation, if you have a creative activity you’re passionate about, and you can find a suitable environment in which to cultivate it, you have the foundations for a lifestyle business. But you it’s important to understand the challenges you will face at the beginning of this journey.

Common challenges for lifestyle entrepreneurs

Every lifestyle business has a human story behind it. A bold individual with uncommon drive. Or a lifelong friendship that evolved into a business partnership. Whatever characters the story centres around, the plot invariably involves challenges to face or barriers to overcome.

Here’s a few common plot lines in the story of a lifestyle business.

  • You reach a plateau in your creative development and craved fresh inspiration or guidance

Even those of us with a clear vision and the energy to chase it will reach a point where we need an expert opinion. Asking friends and family who have a personal stake in our happiness and an inclination to go easy on us leaves us with nagging doubts about the quality of our work. That’s where someone like a mentor or personal tutor can be invaluable.

If you choose to take the route of building your lifestyle business through study, you want to know what kind of people will be guiding you.

  • You need a space where you can learn to overcome a fear of failure

Catherine Levey says she was plodding along with local art courses and needed something to lift her work to another level. “My weaknesses were tactfully challenged, and this allowed me to really push forward to new levels,” she says. “When I look at work I produce now, I am amazed at how I’ve developed a completely different way to approach it.”

  • You crave a community of people pursuing similar dreams

Catherine Banks chose to study photography through the Open College of the Arts. Aware of the potential for isolation that studying from home could bring with it, she says this wasn’t her experience.

“Distance learning might seem an isolating route to take but there is a lot of encouragement to attend organised study visits, meet other students and network through the student website and social media. I’m also a member of a regional group that has regular meetings,” says Catherine.

Could distance learning be the next chapter in your story?

Sometimes we just need to bring a fresh perspective to whatever creative projects we’re working on or invite others into our process. Either way, distance learning has become a popular path for those on the journey of turning their passion into a source of extra income.

To find out more about how distance learning could help you start a lifestyle business, please contact The Open College of The Arts.

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