How do you run a lifestyle business when you’re an artist, photographer, designer or creative? 🧑‍🎨

But first, what even is a lifestyle business? Let’s define it.

📖 A lifestyle business is a business set up with the sole purpose to provide a foundation and income to enjoy a particular lifestyle.

🤷 I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t live to work. I’m not on this planet just so I can pay my bills or work.

I’m here to lead the best life I possibly can while using my creative talents, art, design, and aesthetic style. I want to use that to make money so that I can live the best life I possibly can.

With that said, I have a lifestyle business. Many business circles dismiss the idea of a lifestyle business

A lifestyle business is often seen as a bit of a hobby. Or it’s seen as a little lame,  like “How sweet you have a lifestyle business, it must pay for a few things”.

But in reality, unless you want to scale your business to extraordinary levels and you have this massive vision to leave a huge legacy or to change the world in some way, then a lifestyle business is what we have. We’re running our businesses to facilitate the life that we want to lead.

That’s not to say that you can’t run a lifestyle business while changing the world and leaving a legacy. But often, we’re made to feel that that’s what we should be doing in our lives. 

It’s not enough to just enjoy running a business and making enough money to live our lives. I’ve been running a lifestyle business for years, and I’ve honed it down to three things that we need to be able to run a lifestyle business.

3 lifestyle business must haves

🎨 first: Admit that you want a lifestyle business.

You need to set your intention of how you want your life to feel. Not how you want your life to look or be. Because once you start setting specific goals, you may reach those goals and still not feel the way you want to feel in your life.

So sit back and set intentions on how you want to feel in your life. Create tangible goals and take actions that will help you feel that way.

Thinking about what you want to be, do and have isn’t enough. What one person feels from reaching a specific goal might be very different from how another might feel. Same goal. Different experiences.

Your feeling goal…
Your action steps…
Your life experience…

If you can get partners involved, all the better! In my case, I have my husband and we’re fortunate that we have the same view in life. We have the same ambitions and goals. We want to live our lives the same way. We have the same feeling goals too.

It’s another conversation when partners are not on board with what we want. It can be hard. But it’s even more powerful if you can get your spouse, partner or your significant other to be part of the conversation of how you want your life to feel.

🎨 second: get your pricing right

There is absolutely no point in running around like a headless chicken, undercharging and having to work 24/7 to make enough money to pay for that ideal lifestyle that you have planned out. You won’t actually be living that ideal lifestyle!

Hence, you need to make sure your pricing is right; create packages or way to work with you that have a very clear pricing structure. This was you’ll know exactly:

  • how much do you need to sell
  • your fixed costs.
  • your tax responsibilities.
  • AND how much do you need to pay yourself.

If you’re not currently paying yourself a large % of each transaction or sale, you’ll never be able to pay for all those things that your lifestyle requires – and I’m not talking about luxuries; you need money to live whether simply or extravagantly – ensure you pay yourself to cover those needs.

🔑 Pricing is absolutely key!

 third: boundaries

I know that creatives like you and I can be over-givers. We find our creativity such a joy to do and maybe, easy. We can feel like we should be giving it away, doing extra, and often we don’t have boundaries around our business activities.

If you have boundaries, you can lead the life you want because people are not demanding your time 24×7. For example, I have a firm one boundary around timelines in my design business:

“You can expect to hear from me in the next ten to fourteen business days”.

This way, they’re not expecting anything the next day or two, and won’t be emailing me with question about the project or next steps. They know that they won’t hear from me and that everything is moving along nicely. 

Ten to fourteen business days gives me plenty of time to deliver the work that’s needed. It also gives me plenty of time to go out and do all the nice things that I love doing in my life.

It also bakes in a little bit of contingency if something doesn’t go according to plan in business. #becauselife #becausebusiness!  So if you’re very clear on your boundaries including timelines, then you can start baking in space to breathe in your business and people are not expecting you to be working 24 hours a day for them and delivering things the next day.

Wrapping up, these are the three foundational things you need to run a lifestyle business:

  • intention and the belief that you can run a lifestyle business
  • pricing in a way that pays you enough.
  • boundaries to prevent overwhelm and to allow space & time to actually enjoy your chosen lifestyle.

Need more useful advice on running your creative business? Grab a copy of my free PDF below. It’s a perfect companion to this blog and will help you run your lifestyle business even better.