Business leaders, academics, and influencers to help you become a successful lifestyle entrepreneur
By Matt Andersen, CPA, Founder of MD Andersen CPA, PA
Every entrepreneur finds their own sources for inspiration. Personally, I love reading and still maintain an affinity for books on the topics of entrepreneurship and business (ok, maybe it’s a mild obsession, but whatever). I know if I am ever in need of good advice or just a general kick in the pants, I look to the stories of other successful entrepreneurs. These days, the entrepreneurs I relate to and learn the most from are writing about concepts related to Lifestyle Entrepreneurship, the idea of building a business around one’s preferred lifestyle, and not the sole purpose of earning profits.
My own journey to business ownership started with my fascination with our nation’s greatest business leaders: Warren Buffet, Ray Dallo, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates to name a few. I can always find a story about someone working their butt off, conquering devastating setbacks, and building a business that defied expectations.
I worked hard to apply the lessons of the “Greats”, particularly in the first few years of growing my business. Back then I put in as many hours as I could and then some, missed dinner(LINK TO LF2 – What is a Lifestyle Entrepreneur Blog Post)s with my family and ran cash as thin as possible in an effort to get ahead. This is what I thought it took to follow in the footsteps of my idols and, for the most part, it was working!
And I was miserable.
For all the riches and power these people achieved, I had to admit to myself I didn’t want to sacrifice my personal life and be a slave to my business to become a gazillionaire. Yes, I craved financial success, but I also became an entrepreneur to be independent, share my success with my family, and have control over my own destiny. Isn’t it possible, I wondered, to strike a more sane balance of growth and freedom? Aren’t there others out there who have executed this idea and made it work?
It turns out there are, but it took some time to put the pieces together.
The truth is, there are no classic, best-selling books on Lifestyle Entrepreneurship (Yet. Give me time.). It’s a concept that is new, evolving, and tends to vary from person to person. I developed my own thoughts on the topic What is a Lifestyle Entrepreneur by reading about innovative entrepreneurs who shared my values. Some are very well known, while others still fly under the radar.
There are four, in particular, I have really connected with, who all have their own unique platforms for sharing information.
- Tim Ferris, Podcaster and Author of The 4-Hour Work Week
- John Lee Dumas – Founder of Host of the Entrepreneurs On Fire Podcast
- Marie Forelo – Host of MarieTV
- Peter Adeney – Founder of the Money Mustache Blog
This is a notable difference between the traditional business mogul and those inclined to lifestyle entrepreneurship. Rather than wait to get famous and publish a best-selling book, these individuals built an audience and leveraged their businesses over time with thought leadership via social media, email marketing, podcasts, and traditional print. They not only made their ideas more accessible; they used technology to help scale their empires. You may not recognize many of the names on this list, but all four run multi-million-dollar companies that are lean, flexible, and generate massive profits.
There are other emerging leaders with similar business models to inspire a path toward Lifestyle Entrepreneurship, but I’m not quite ready to give up on the wisdom of successful executives and basic business principles. I may not aspire to be a gazillionaire, but there are plenty of business magnates who have evolved with the times and incorporated ideas about balancing growth, freedom and a higher quality of life. Sir Richard Branson and Sheryl Sandberg are two such examples. There are also valuable lessons from writers such as Michael Gerber (author of The E-Myth and related books) and Simon Sinek (author of The Power of Why) which can be applied to businesses of all shapes and sizes.
What I have discovered on my entrepreneurial journey is that while I still love a good business book, inspiration can come from a variety of places. We are all unique and so are our lifestyle goals. To be a Lifestyle Entrepreneur, you should never hesitate to open your mind to a mix of modern entrepreneurial influencers, traditional business leaders, and academics. As long as their lessons align with your goals and values, you will find an endless supply of guidance, and that kick in the pants you didn’t know you needed.
Matt Andersen, CPA loves analyzing data, people, and businesses. He is passionate about helping entrepreneurial-minded clients achieve their goals, keep more money in their pockets, and live a higher quality of life. In addition to tax and accounting services, Matt provides one-on-one coaching for various topics including lifestyle entrepreneurship, tax planning, financial management, and new business creation.