By Rasmus Lindgren
Once you have kids everything changes, we can probably agree on this. However, there are two different kinds of people. The first group is those who will do pretty much anything in order to be able to spend the first couple of years with their newborn, and then there's the other group who can't wait to get back to work.
If you're in the second group, you probably won't gain much from this post so you can just stop reading now. However, if you're in the first group and you want more time and freedom so you can spend more time with your kids (and family as a whole) then you should continue reading as I will show you a way to do exactly that.
Does anyone have a time machine?
The main problem with wanting to stay home with your kid is that you have typically grown attached to the cash flow from two people working. Or if you're on your own, you need every dollar coming in order to pay your bills.
Let's face it; time has become the ultimate luxury here in life. If only we had time to spend and didn't need to work 40+ hours per week in order make enough to be able to sustain our lives.
Before we move on, I need to let you in on a little secret.
No one working a 9-5 ever became rich from it!
Sure you can win the lottery, but if you're working in your average 9-5 (or perhaps even 8-6) then you're effectively trading your time for money, and that doesn't scale.
This means that while your hourly rate can go up a bit, you won't ever get more time and there is always a cap on how much your hourly rate can be.
So trading your time for money is a really bad idea if you want to get more time to spend with your family.
Building a business.
So if trading time for money is a bad strategy, what would a better one be?
Before we dive into this, let me briefly run something by you.
Do you think a business making $100,000 per year compared to one that you plan on selling for $100,000,000 in 5-10 years time is:
- easier to build
- takes less time
- requires less financial investment, or
- all of the above
If you answer was 4, you're absolutely right.
Most entrepreneurs are looking to build the biggest and baddest business out there. But as someone whose goal is ultimately having more time for themselves and their family, you don't need to build the next Facebook, Walmart, or Amazon.
I call this a “Lifestyle Business.” My definition is that “A Lifestyle Business is a business that supports your desired lifestyle.”
And if you've read this far, a lifestyle business is what I want you to consider building this year.
The alternative to selling time.
So back on track – if we've agreed that selling your time for peanuts is a bad idea, then what's the alternative.
You pretty much got two options:
- Sell someone else's time, or
- Sell products
Selling other people's time is really about having employees. Now they can be hired as freelancers, but they are still employees.
In 2007 I started a small IT consultancy company, and we quickly got a few employees. Now we made money when we sold their time, however, it was also a lot of management. After a couple of years, I sold my shares in the company.
My advice would be to go the product route.
When I work with my coaching clients, we spend quite some time with finding the business model that is just right for them. In my book The Lifestyle Business Rockstar I also discuss more about different lifestyle business models.
In this post, we will just focus on one model in order keep it simple.
Selling products online without the risk.
I would recommend you build an e-commerce site that uses dropshipping. Now what is dropshipping, you might ask? It's a business model where you as the retailer do not keep your own stock but instead have the manufacturer or wholesaler ship the goods directly to your customers.
This means that you don't have to invest in (and take the risk of buying) your own stock. Now there are a few things to look for when getting a good product to dropship, we can't go through it all, but a few tips to look for is:
- Retails around $200
- A profit margin of at least 20-30%
- Existing market (competition is good, shows that there is a market)
- Low return rate
So where do you find products like this?
You could look to China. Alibaba is a sourcing site with thousands of suppliers, many of them willing to dropship to your customers. So to begin with you could set aside a few evenings to go through Alibaba and find a product you would like to sell. If you need further inspiration on products, I also recommend that you take a look at the Dropship Forum where you can find a lot of domestic dropshippers (in both the US and Europe). There are other sites like these, but it should be enough to get you started.
Building a business in 10 steps.
So what do you need to build a dropshipping e-commerce website? There are thousands of ways and hundreds of different e-commerce systems you could use, however, I want this to be easy, fast, and cheap to set up. So this is a formula that will work for as it has for thousands of others!
I've created a checklist for you below:
- Find the product you want to sell and negotiate an agreement.
- Buy hosting, to begin with, any inexpensive host will, like BlueHost.
- Select a .com domain name without any dashes or digits (hard to find good ones so you will probably have to spend some time finding one you're happy with). This is typically done in the hosting order process. For tips on choosing a domain name — check out this post.
- Log into your hosting control panel, look for an icon that says either “Fantastico” or “Softaculous” and click on it.
- Select to install WordPress (it should be a simple form that should be filled out). If you don't know WordPress just know that it's a “content management system” that allows you to easily create and edit the pages or your website.
- Log into your newly created WordPress installation, go to Plugins -> Install new and search for WooCommerce. Install this plugin, and now you have an e-commerce site.
- Buy a ready-made WordPress theme supporting WooCommerce (the design of the site) instead of getting one designed for you (and thereby saving thousands of dollars).
- Install the theme according to the instructions.
- If you don't have a PayPal account, sign up for one and enter the details under the WooCommerce settings.
- Create the products in the store.
You’re now ready to sell.
Now some of this might seem a bit daunting to do if you have absolutely no technical skills at all, however, it’s really much simpler than you might think. Setting up the technical aspect of this can probably be done in less than an hour if you've done it before.
If you have around $100 to spend and don't want to do all the work yourself, go onto Upwork and create a job for setting up WordPress and WooCommerce with the Theme you bought using PayPal as a payment provider. This way you don’t have to get your hands dirty with the site building. If you have all the texts and images for your products ready, you can probably also get all the products setup on the site included in this price.
Now you have to market your e-commerce site, but I will save this for another post :)
Reaching your dreams.
So while you might not run out and quit your job tomorrow, hopefully, I've shown you that there is an alternative and that it's easier than you might think.
So my wish for you is that you create a lifestyle business in 2014 and ultimately get the luxury of more time and freedom that you can spend with your family and loved ones.
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Rasmus Lindgren is the author of The Lifestyle Business Rockstar: Quit your 9-5, kick ass, work less, and live more! Which is a guide to prioritizing your life and achieving work-life balance by starting a lifestyle business. Last year he worked four months and traveled for months with his family, all while running a six-figure business. He believes that people are working way too much and focusing way too little on living passionate lives and blogs about this on http://RetireMyAss.com
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