Most of my Minions, Heathens and tribe follow for freelance stuff. I’m not sure how many people know that freelance is only a small part of my business. Freelancing isn’t the right business model for everyone, and it isn’t my “all-in” gameplan. So before you start freelancing, it’s worth it to ask yourself what business you should start in 2020? What makes sense for you?
To figure it out, it’s helpful to know what business options you have. It’s also useful to consider your own personality and to think about your long-term goals. Those are hefty topics, and are beyond the scope of this post. So although you should reflect on them, we won’t cover them here. Instead, let’s just look at three very different approaches to business.
A small business can be run online or offline and usually involves the owner (and maybe a small team) directly selling to or serving customers. Examples of small businesses might include freelancing, Etsy, plumbing, liquor store, renting an Air BnB home and meal delivery.
Each of these involves you or your team dealing with customers. In this model it is possible to grow the business into a multi-million dollar empire, but most people stay small and earn just enough to pay the bills and avoid going back to a 9-5 job.
The best part about small businesses is that you usually don’t need a lot of money to get started. Also, you can start and run a small business on your own without help. You can open an Etsy store or an ebay account tonight and begin selling. You can open an Upwork or PeoplePerHour account right now and start applying to freelance gigs.
One drawback is the amount of personal time small businesses consume. Even when you have a team, small business requires a lot of input, effort and direction from you personally. If your goal is to separate your time from your income, then this isn’t the long-term model for you. But if you just want to replace a full-time job with something you have more control over, then a small business is a good place to start.
An exit business is a business built for scale and designed to be sold at some later point in time. A typical example of this type of business is the Software as a System model (SAAS). Tech entrepreneurs learn to code and create software solutions for all kinds of problems. Once their solution gains traction, they can sell it to larger companies such as Amazon and make millions, if not billions of dollars.
Exit businesses don’t have to be technological. There are many models. Ecommerce, such as selling on Amazon, human resource models such as a multi-location pizza shop, and franchise models are just some ways to build a scalable exit business. The core idea is that the business must be able to grow very large and affect a lot of people.
This kind of business is intended to generate huge profit for an even bigger sell out. One of the biggest challenges is the time-investment. When you start the business you are alone, or maybe you have a partner. Either way, you have a tiny little nothing. Basically an idea. From there you have to put in a lot of sweat equity and time to build your company into a flourishing empire.
Once the business grows large enough it can make you very wealthy, and it is worth a lot of money. But reaching that point may take years or even decades, and you will likely work non-stop to reach your destination. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it though. It means you need to be the right kind of person for the job. If you don’t like or aren’t willing to commit your time, money, effort and energy into a business for as long as it takes, then keep reading because there’s another model for you.
The third business is the kind I’ve built. A lifestyle business. This model is designed for people who are willing to put in as much time and effort as it takes to get the business up and running, but only need the business to support your lifestyle without a huge time investment afterward.
Lifestyle businesses aren’t designed to grow huge and be sold (although it’s not impossible to happen). They’re designed to free your time from your income, keep you from working a 9-5 and give you the power to tell the world to go fuck itself when things don’t go your way.
Examples of a lifestyle business include semi-passive income systems such as YouTube Ad Revenue, Ebooks, Audiobooks, Courses, and any other kind of business where you create an end product that makes you money on autopilot for many years to come. This is exactly how my business is built.
A lifestyle business is best suited for people who want to do things your own way and don’t give a shit if the world doesn’t agree with your approach. You create multiple income systems and grow each one as big as you want so it supports you with semi-passive income. When you’re satisfied with a system, you build another one (or don’t, it’s completely up to you).
The end goal with this business model is to have several income streams fully supporting you at any given time so even if one stream fails you have two or ten or twenty more already working to create the freedom you need.
By the way, freelancing can fit into this business model if you want it to. Although freelancing usually isn’t very passive, it can fuel your business with money which is important in the transition period while you wait for other, more passive systems to grow. For those who value freedom above all, and want to know what business should you start in 2020…this is it.