Lifestyle design is a new catch-all term for building a life and business/career, free from traditional constraints, unless, of course, traditional is your lifestyle of choice. Tim Ferriss is probably best known for coining the term in The 4-Hour Work Week, but it has spread rapidly through cyberspace. Clearly, if you don’t know what life you want, you’ll never find yourself living it!

Much of what is driving even the discussion of lifestyle design is newer technologies. smart phones, cloud computing, lapbooks, iPads, and netbooks all enable the small business owner to work from virtually wherever he or she wants. And, also due to technology, much of the work that was done by in-house staff can now be outsourced to virtual professionals.

All of this begs you, the small business owner or entrepreneur to really dig deep to determine what you want out of life. The more specific you are, the more successfully you can design your life to fit your dreams. As a coach and mentor, this is almost always the first conversation I have with new clients. And when you say $500 million per year, ask yourself what do you want to DO with that money? What is it buying you? Time, stuff, business growth? And then dig a bit deeper, perhaps there is something more to it all?

Time to do what? Pursue mountain biking, volunteer work, or coach your son’s soccer team? How many more hours per week do you want for these things? What stuff (and why)? Is it higher education for your son, an addition on your home, that vacation you’ve been promising your family for years? Finally, perhaps you want to pour more money into your business so you can develop it further. Beginning your lifestyle design requires that you answer all of these questions in as much detail as possible.

I’ve been very deliberate in designing the life I want. Family, faith and hobbies are important to my happiness. Do you know what you want out of life? Your small business should support those dreams.

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by Steven Schlagel