33 Lessons Learned from 5 Years of Lifestyle Business

33 Lessons Learned from 5 Years of Lifestyle BusinessYou never know how life (or business) will unfold.

That’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since I began my journey just over five years ago.

Life is full of people wanting to wanting to predict the unpredictable, namely life.

I never thought I’d be where I am today.

I never thought I could make a living doing something I truly enjoyed.

But I’ve proved myself wrong, simply by taking one small step at a time, even when I doubted myself, and especially when fear came for a friendly visit.

In today’s post, I’ve written about some of the biggest lessons and insights during the last five years.

These include my failures, my successes, and my a-ha moments.

It all started in the beginning, like all stories do…

1. The Beginning

When you start building a lifestyle business, all your excuses and fears will suddenly pop up.

Most people surrender at this point and go back to a comfortable existence.

This is very normal, although unfortunate, because anyone can do this.

The secret is to keep going and know that you’ll come up against mind-ghosts.

2. Mind-Ghosts

Your mind will freak out, and you will want to quit at some point.

When you’re doing something new, like starting a lifestyle business, it’s not always going to be comfortable.

Expect your mind to come up with reasons why you should stop, and then keep going.

That’s what I did.

3. Passion

To get through all this, you need passion.

Passion is the fuel that gets you through the obstacles.

But as you and I both know, sometimes you don’t even know what your passion is, which is a huge problem, and it leads to analysis paralysis.

4. Analysis Paralysis

The problem is getting stuck in analysis paralysis.

And you’re not going to get out of it with more thinking.

The simple, yet scary solution is to take massive action, even if you don’t know what your passion is.

You have to do something, because when you do, you’ll make progress, and inch by inch, things get clearer.

5. Perfection

A big part of analysis paralysis is trying to get everything perfect before you start.

It’s not going to happen, so you might as well start now. You only need to know the next step.

Yes, you need a plan, but if you can’t get one, then do what you can. There are no rules to building a lifestyle business.

When I started, I knew I was going to get overwhelmed by too much stuff, so I joined a course, and followed the steps.

6. Stop the Research!

After a while, doing research is a form of procrastination.

You don’t have to know everything before you start. You only have to know enough to take the first step, and sometimes you won’t even know that.

Yes, you will make mistakes.

The only advice I’d give is to make more mistakes and fail more.

What are you afraid of?

7. Facing Fears

A big part of building a business is facing your fears.

Your fears about what others will think, of failing, and of breaking out from the status quo.

Doing what you love isn’t easy.

It’s new, scary, and uncertain, but it will ultimately lead to glory, if you keep moving forward, patiently.

8. Patience

Success doesn’t happen overnight. Not for most people.

It took me several years to learn the ropes, but you don’t have to go through that if you learn from someone who has already done what you want to do.

But it still takes time to build a business.

There are no quick fixes.

9. Quick-Fix Mentality

When I started, I had the get-rich quick disease.

It permeated every cell of my body. I wanted success and money easy and fast.

Then one day something clicked.

I realized I didn’t have to be a slave to that mindset, so I started following my heart, and the rest, as they say, is history.

But first I had to take full responsibility.

10. Responsibility

When you cure yourself of the get-rich quick disease, you realize that you have to take responsibility for your results.

It’s another scary step, but when you take it, you’ll feel a sense of excitement, because it means you are in control of your life.

If you want to build a lifestyle business, you can, but you have to make it happen.

No one else can do it for you.

11. Take Action

When you reach this stage, it’s time to take massive action.

Take whatever information you have, and take action.

Make as many mistakes as you can, and fail gloriously, because those failures are stepping stones to success.

When I stepped into action-mode, I started seeing massive results, and you will, too.

12. Information Overload

What you’ll quickly notice when you start taking action is all the advice out there.

It hits you like an avalanche and leaves you gasping for breath underneath all that information.

You need to build an email list, get traffic, and write great content. But it’s too much to take in all at once.

That’s why I like limiting my information diet. The best way to do this is to get a mentor, a coach, or join a course.

It guarantees great information and gives you the support you need.

13. Education

It’s funny how most people refuse to invest in any course or coaching, but then they expect to build a thriving business.

Sure, you can do it, but why re-invent the wheel?

Even when you aren’t spending money, you’re spending time. Time that you can never get back.

If you want great information, it’s going to cost some money, but it’ll save you plenty of time, and frustration.

14. Mistakes

But joining a course or program doesn’t make you exempt from making mistakes.

In fact, you don’t want that.

Mistakes are what will help you grow. As humans, we learn from mistakes, and we grow wiser through experimentation.

Throw your theories in the trash and take action.

15. Focus

And blind action isn’t much better.

You need to focus on one single thing if you want success.

Yes, you can blend your passions together, but that doesn’t mean you dilute your time between 17 different projects.

You can only do so much, and if you want speed, you’ll get it by focusing.

16. Excuses

You will ALWAYS have excuses, so expect them.

The good news is that you don’t have to listen to every single excuse you have.

This is something I discovered and it has helped me a lot. Excuses pop up all the time, but I keep going.

The excuses are mere alternatives. You say hi to them, and you keep going.

17. Comparing

The same holds for when you start comparing yourself to others; you just keep going.

I compared myself to big bloggers and online entrepreneurs before I started, and I still do.

It doesn’t work, because you’re comparing your inner world to someone’s outer world, and it’s distorted.

All you can do is look at the progress you’ve made, and then keep moving forward.

Always keep moving forward.

18. Spirituality

A certain amount of spirituality is necessary in our lives for us to be happy.

We are not just logical robots moving through life. There’s something more to us than just these bodies.

This doesn’t mean you have to believe in a god, just that you remember to nourish the inner part of you, and focus on what makes you happy.

19. Happiness

Building a lifestyle business comes down to happiness.

When you’re living the life you want, doing work you love, and you’re feeling good, you’re happy.

In the end, most people want be happy.

Everything else is a means to an end.

Remember that whatever you do, it has to take you closer to happiness, otherwise it’s useless.

20. Lifestyle Design

What kind of life do you want to live?

I mean really live. Not what others think you should live or what you think would be nice.

What do you REALLY want?

I love my freedom, and I get to spend my days doing what I want, which at the time means hanging out with my newborn son, Vincent, and learning a new language (Dutch).

21. Realistic

But you have to be realistic.

When you start your first lifestyle business, you have to do your research.

You can’t throw up a blog about fluffy cats and hope that it makes money.

You need a plan, a blueprint, and a strategy. Don’t fool yourself into anything else.

For a long time I did things “my way,” and it didn’t work.

22. Start NOW

But sometimes you have to be unrealistic, because your priority should be to take action, not getting things perfect.

Even if you don’t know what you want to do, or how you’re going to make it happen, there is ALWAYS something you can do.

There is always a step you can take, even if it means going in the wrong direction and making mistakes.

23. Consistency

It’s easy to be enthusiastic for the first three months.

Your determination will shine through when your enthusiasm starts waning, you start getting scared, and things don’t go your way.

This has happened countless times to me, and I’ve found that by just taking one step at a time, one day at a time, I get results.

And I get to do work I love.

Then people tell me that I’m lucky.

24. Relentlessness

It isn’t luck.

It’s relentlessness.

I refuse to give up and settle for mediocrity.

When I started, I had no clue about what I was doing, but I learned, and I kept learning until I got the results I wanted.

If an obstacle came up, I didn’t ask why things were hard, I asked how I can keep moving forward.

25. Feedback

When I asked how, the answer was often to get feedback; to get someone to help me along the path.

For me this means getting a coach or a mentor.

It’s invaluable to have someone looking over your shoulder and pointing out what you’re doing right, and what you’re doing wrong.

When you’re truly ready to move forward, interesting things happen.

26. Serendipity

When you take action, it’s almost as if the universe conspires to help you.

It doesn’t happen all at once, and it never seems to happen in the way you expect it to.

Sometimes it takes years to figure out what you want to do, and then something clicks and you wonder how you could’ve missed it.

But life is tricky that way.

27. The Game of Life

Life makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and everything in between.

It can fill you with bliss, and it can feel like someone just crushed your heart with a sledge hammer.

It’s a rollercoaster, and when you take it for what it is, it can be fun, but get too attached to the outcomes, and you suffer.

Because you simply can’t control what will happen, nor can you predict the future.

28. The Unknown

If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that I cannot know what will happen tomorrow.

I don’t have a crystal ball.

I could completely fail at what I’m doing and end up homeless, but so what?

All I can do is what I can do.

If I try to figure out how to stop “bad stuff” from happening in my lifestyle business, I’m going to end up in a padded room with a strait-jacket on.

29. Follow Your Heart

What can I do except follow my heart?

Not much.

Sometimes not even that is easy. It’s easy to get confused, scared, and not know what to do.

In those cases you do your best, and you follow what seems to be your heart.

30. Do Your Best

People worry about doing the right thing, but you can only do your best.

I’ve stopped worrying about being perfect, because I can only do what I do.

I’m not perfect, and I’ll never be, so I write the best article I can, I help my coaching clients as best I can, and I create the best courses and products I can.

31. Relax

We take life and building a business way too seriously, and it sucks the fun out of it.

Relax a bit and have fun.

Don’t worry so much about building the perfect business or about making mistakes.

Or being on the wrong or right path.

Just do your best.

32. Attitude

For me, this all comes down to attitude.

Most people complain, whine, and make excuses, but not you.

If you want something, you go for it. When you face obstacles, you blast through them. Sometimes it takes time, and sometimes it doesn’t.

But you don’t stop.

You never stop.

Be relentless about building a lifestyle business so you can live the life you truly want.

33. Possibility

You can do this.

Your life is in your hands.

It doesn’t matter what anyone tells you, because if you truly want to build a lifestyle business and reclaim control over your life, you can.

But the decision has to be made by you.

There are no magic pills, quick fixes or step-by-step systems.

All that really matters is how determined you are.

What’s Your Lesson?

Those are my lessons.

What are some of yours?

I’m curious. Leave your answer below.

If you don’t have a business, then share a lesson from your life, because business and life blend together.

It’s all the same.

And if you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends!

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  1. Epic post, Henri. And, as I’m building my own lifestyle business, I’m noticing how I’m learning these same lessons.

    The strange thing is: Didn’t we know all that upfront? Or at least a big part of it?

    I believe that’s indeed the case. But, apparently, we still have to experience it ourselves. One by one, bit after bit. It’s probably during this time that we attain the relentlessness, the passion, the patience, the consistency, and so many other characteristics that you included!

    Still, for what it’s worth, if anybody could really grasp these lessons in the beginning (and skip some of the mistakes and roadblocks), his or her path would be quite a bit easier! 🙂

    • Thanks Fabian!

      That was definitely the case for me. I knew all of this, but I had to stumble my way through and internalize the lessons.

      Kind of like when you’re baking a cake. You know the recipe, but that doesn’t mean you can bake a mouth-watering cake. In fact, the first time around, it may end up in the trash.

  2. Excellent lessons here Henri – I am going to retweet it right now because I think everyone should think about this stuff.

    The biggest lesson for me was to stop thinking to be successful I would have to be “Mr Perfect”.

    You don’t have to be the lone ranger, self contained and doing everything on your own. It’s ok to have doubts and insecurities. It’s ok to make mistakes. But we think we have to be this unachievable robot, which just ramps up the stress and causes more people to give up just before they make progress.

    Embrace the imperfection and just try to serve people the best you can while improving every day 🙂

    • Hey Chris,

      Definitely! And another big obstacle is looking at other people and thinking they are perfect, when they’re totally imperfect 😉

  3. Excellent stuff, Henri,

    I know my biggest problems have been thinking that “this course,” or “that course,” were going to be the one and the ultimate end-all, be-all for me.

    I always knew I needed to focus but I didn’t realize I was letting myself go in too many directions at once.

    Something else I’ve learned is that we all have different learning styles. Some prefer text, while others want video, and even then, each of us have to put in the work required, make the mistakes (as you mentioned above, no course is perfect, for everyone, and you’ll still make mistakes, but make progress if you’re willing to learn from your mistakes), and keep on going.

    It’s not easy and some days you feel as though you’ll never get there.

    But, and I love this personally, when I take one step, and maybe push myself a bit more today, tomorrow, etc., I find it a rush to look back at what I’ve learned, how far I have some thus far, and know that I’ve gotten to where I am, and can still go farther, because I’m simply not done yet.

    Ultimately, here’s my favorite idea about success and building a lifestyle business…

    Where we all are right now is perfect. We are where we need to be, even if it doesn’t feel that way. Each day we learn something new, make a mistake and realize what we could have done better (we know, then), and look to see how far we’ve come while still making progress that day, is success.

    It’s not about money. It’s about successfully realizing where we are, where we’ve come from, where we’re going, and most importantly, what next step is do-able for us, realistically, without loosing that dream of “one day.”

    Keep ’em comin’, Henri! I’ve NEVER read a post on here I didn’t like and get something out of, and that speaks volumes, considering how many articles exist on “The Cloud,” as you call it.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more, Eric.

      We have to be willing to take one step at a time and accept where we are and not stressing about the fact that we aren’t there yet.

      Even if we get there, another there will come up. It’s a never-ending chase.

      So you might as well enjoy what’s here now and keep moving forward.

      Awesome comment, Eric!

  4. Great blog. Thanks for this Henri. I’ve been going at it for 10 years now, and I have tried so many get rich ideas that don’t work. I have started over 5 companies in that time. It wasn’t until I stopped chasing the $ and focused on adding value to society that the money started rolling in. I’ve written a book called what the hell are you chasing?, and I talk about when you let go of how you think it should be and embrace how it is, your life will magically become the one you have strived so hard for all of these years. I have found that fining your true passion can take years, but just stick with it and it will come. As Warren Buffets quotes,creating wealth is nothing but a big redistribution network, moving money away from impatient people towards patient people.

    Thanks again for your blog.


    • Yup, life isn’t always what we plan it to be, sometimes it’s better.

      Although for some it has to get worse first to shake off all those useless ideas and beliefs 😉

  5. The Hungry Traveler says:

    I resonate with the “quick fix” lesson. When I first started 8 months ago, I had no idea what I wanted to do, how I was going to get there,but I knew I wanted something different. Over time, the questions answer themselves and the worry melts away. The trick is to stay focused, be on your toes because passion demands it. Don’t think overnight success is achievable and don’t even pursue it, because life is about slowly building the masterpiece that is you and showing it off to the world. Rome wasn’t built in a day…

    • Focus on the process, not the fruits of your labor, because you have no control over those.

      Do the best you can and let the rest take care of itself.

      It’s much less stressful!

  6. Henri:
    Massive list. And a good list too.

    I really like and identify with point #17 Comparing. You are so right, we can only see some else’s outside. That usually doesn’t reveal their doubts and uncertainties. But I certainly see my doubts and fears.

    Also, they are years ahead of me in the process.

    I also need to keep in mind that the niche for my blog is small. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t eventually have a core of enthusiastic followers.


    • You never know where your blog will lead. Opportunities and ideas come out of nowhere at the most surprising moments.

  7. It appears that you have had an incredible journey. There’s a lot here to choose from. The ones that are particularly important to me right now are: passion, comparing, and relentlessly protecting my focus.

  8. Henri,

    In all honesty, I can’t really contribute anything to this article, it is really beyond my words.

    Just wanted to thank you for writing this for us, going to re-read it a few more times today and maybe even a few more times tomorrow.

    It is THAT great, cheers mate!


  9. Lau'ren'tay Walker says:

    Henri thank you for writing this. This is very valuable to me ,since I started out not to long ago creating my website. I have a long road of a lot to learn on my journey before reaching my prize. Reading this strengthen my resolution for my dream. Taking it one step at time believing in what i’m doing because it resonates with me. If I wouldn’t have stumbled upon your website last year by accident…I would’ve never published my first posts haha.

  10. Peter Hamilton says:

    This is a really inspiring and powerful post. I have just realized that it just takes one small step, yes just one small step to get the ball rolling. A bit here and a bit there just to get yourself and your mindset use to the idea you are going to be heading off in a new direction.

    I thought you needed to take massive action (24/7) or you were not committed according to some of the big names in the internet marketing business. If you just followed this program you would makes lots of money. The simple truth you won’t if you don’t have the PASSION for what you do. And you just take one small step at a time then later a big one and so on.

    I also learned PASSION is what makes you put the time and effort into your business. People can see if you are not passionate about what you do. People are not silly and will not push the buy button if they think for any reason you just see them as a way of making a fast buck.

    I learned to see PASSION as fuel in your car for without it you go nowhere and you stay stuck. I realize now that one of the main reasons I have not succeeded in this business is I have not followed one of my passions and shared it with others.

    Passion is what keeps you going when the going gets tough and you want to give up. It keeps your dream alive and pulls you through some really tough times. Passion keeps your fires burning even if they are reduced to embers for one day the fire will start again and maybe be renewed in a better more focused business.

    Thanks Henri for your insightful posts I always learn something new.

  11. Wow .. such a great post wouldn’t come out of something other than a real life experience. It’s like someone reached inside me and started describing different aspects/periods of my business life but of course in a better way than I will be able to describe it. I know that all (or at least, most) of us went through some of these lessons but you sure do have a great writing talent.

  12. Great post. Infact, great website. I discovered it on my endless search for the perfect passion and how to find it and really, there is no such thing. But your words resonate. Someday, I hope to muster up enough courage and start a business but till then, I’ll settle for reading and learning from you and other great people.

    In short, thanks.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Dexter!

      Do what you feel compelled to do and you may just end up where you want to be 😉

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