“I would never want my own business” he said, “it would take over my life.” I was in the middle of a conversation with a retired man who hadn’t particularly loved his job. Sadly he spent 40 years doing that same job assuming there was no better option.
The word ‘business’ clearly meant a traditional bricks and mortar business for him, which is not surprising given that for most of his lifetime, these were the businesses he encountered.
Today technology has opened up a parallel universe to the traditional business world we know giving many more people the opportunity to make a living doing what they love. There isn’t one common term that yet exists for the type of business I’m talking about, so I’m going to call it a Freedom Business.
A Freedom Business does what it says on the tin. It allows you to make a living without feeling like it’s taking over your life. It gives you both the freedom and the fulfilment that you crave.
So here are the qualities of a Freedom Business:
1. The business is aligned with your values and strengths
“Do work you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” quipped advised the sage Confucious. This lies at the heart of a freedom business. When your business honours your values and plays to your natural strengths it satisfies the very core of who you are. Work becomes fulfilling and fun. Suddenly your Mondays become a source of excitement. Read this post to start discovering your values and strengths.
2. Low startup costs
A freedom business does not require a huge investment to get started. No premises or large amounts of stock need to be bought. No expensive website needs to be designed. A self-hosted wordpress site, using a free or paid for template is all you need to get your ‘shop’ ready for the world. Chris Guillebeau’s ‘The $100 Startup’ is a great book on the subject.
3. Low fixed costs
Your business does not incur huge monthly expenses to run. Freelancers replace your full-time employees, your office space is the local cafe or co-working space and every $ you spend gets you a huge amount of value. You don’t start each month worrying if you’ll make enough to cover the costs. Most of the income of your sales is revenue.
4. You don’t only exchange time for money.
Avoid creating a business that solely depends on you exchanging your time for revenue. Besides limiting the growth of your business, as you get busier you may be tempted to work through holidays and weekends. That’s not why you started your Freedom Business.
Note the word ‘only’ in this sentence. As a coach and workshop facilitator I still exchange a lot of my time for money. I wouldn’t have it any other way – these are the elements of my work that being me huge satisfaction and it might be the same for you. Just make sure that part of your strategy involves revenue generating streams that don’t depend on your investment of time. Anything from online self-study courses, to books and affiliate products can help you grow your business without taking up more of your time.
5. You love the clients you work with
Seth Godin refers to this as your tribe. If you’ve ever felt like you’ve had to hide a part of yourself at work then a Freedom Business will feel very refreshing. In your business you get to choose your clients, and if you choose clients who share your values and your way of looking at the world, your business will allow you to be exactly who you are as you offer your services to the world.
What do you think? What would other qualities of a Freedom Business be?