Are you ready to run a flexible business that supports your lifestyle?
Our expert Danetha Doe explains what this can look like and asks entrepreneur Sylvia Esmundo about her business success as a blogger.
With the rise of the Millennial generation and its influence on work culture, a growing number of business owners want not only work-life balance, but work-life integration, too.
Looking for a life that offers more than daily routines or a rare overseas vacation, these business owners want to have more control over their lives, and their businesses. Rather than spend all their time trying to drive the business forward, they are content to run their businesses a certain way in order to generate enough income to live life the way they want to live it. Their goal, therefore, is for their business income to support their personal lifestyle goals. This type of business venture is increasingly being referred to as a lifestyle business.
Take Sylvia Esmundo. After a career in financial technology, she decided to follow her passion and turn her lifestyle blog into a full-time business. Sylvia shared her learnings from being a lifestyle entrepreneur.
1) What inspired you to launch your lifestyle site, Sylvie in the Sky?
A: I started blogging a long time ago, back in 2006, as a living journal of everything that inspired me — music, fashion, books, art, travel — and chronicles of my 20 something life. I paused for almost two years between getting married and having our son, Theo. And once I became a mother, I felt reinvigorated to start a new chapter of storytelling. There are a lot of mom bloggers and lifestyle bloggers out there, but not many that I truly related to, and very few Asian — let alone Filipino — ones. I wanted to be able to share my stories and hopefully be a source of inspiration and guidance for others like me.
2) How much time do you devote weekly to running your blog?
A: Not as much time as I'd like! I've been focusing on Instagram first, since it involves one photo and a small caption — my version of microblogging. I would say on average 5-10 hours a week. Daily posting takes no more than one hour to write, post, and to make sure I'm liking and commenting on other friends' content to show support. On weekends I'll plan my content for the next 1-2 weeks so my Instagram feed looks balanced from an aesthetic point of view, and I'm scheduling my brand campaigns according to their due date. The planning takes another hour. And finally, I'm always exploring the city and shooting new content, and I spend about 3-8 hours a week creating content.
I spend another 5-10 hours corresponding with brands for upcoming collaborations, attending events, etc.
3) For those that don't believe that blogging is a "real job", can you tell us about the skills it takes to be a successful digital influencer?
A: I view blogging as running my own digital publication, and I'm the editor-in-chief, head of marketing, head of sales, head of PR, financial analyst, and stylist/model/graphic designer/photographer, all in one. I need to understand who my audience is and what they're looking for every week/month/season. I write stories and create visual imagery that will inform, guide, and inspire. I need to create and consistently evolve my site experience to be easy to navigate on any digital platform, especially mobile. I analyze my site performance to understand what content is performing best and worst to refine and maximize these areas of interest and opportunity. And finally I'm pitching myself to brands and negotiating campaign deals and contracts, while tracking my incoming revenue and expenses to make sure those are in line come tax-filing time. Now with all that said, who's going to tell me that blogging isn't a real job?
4) Could you tell us a little bit about how it generates income for you?
A: The smartest bloggers will create multiple revenue streams because it's never wise to rely on one sole channel. For me, obtaining brand sponsorships from companies for native content campaigns on my blog and social channels are my biggest revenue channel. I also offer consulting services for content, digital marketing, and e-commerce strategy for influencers and brands of all sizes. Finally, affiliate marketing (marketing products from other affiliate businesses) is a growing area for me in which I recommend products that I love to my audience and they purchase them.
As you can see, it is possible to seamlessly integrate your business into your life. And by doing so, it allows you to enjoy more aspects of life while still earning an income. Before you embark on this journey, take some time to:
Determine the goal that will drive your business decisions: Get clear on your values and what’s really important to you. Start with your tangible goal and ask “why?” as a follow-up several times to peel back the layers and ensure your real goal will surface. You have to be intentional with your business decisions to ensure that you are creating a company that supports that goal.
Find the inspiration for your product or service: Are you inspired by other people's visions and goals for themselves? Perhaps your business can focus on consulting. Or are you more motivated by impacting your community? Maybe your business will focus on philanthropy. Use motivation as a guide for choosing what product or services you can provide and which clients you want to serve.
Stay grounded in reality: Every business is only as successful as its ability to solve a problem or address a yearning for its clients. Do your due diligence and talk to your potential customers. Ask them for feedback on your product and service, and be willing to adjust to meet their requests. Like any business, it takes time and effort to build a lifestyle-based company.
Danetha Doe is passionate about helping entrepreneurs increase their net-worth and self-worth, and was named a next-generation accountant by Quickbooks. To learn more about her, visit www.danethadoe.com and download her free e-book, "The Money Guide for Women Who Love Luxury: How to Add $10K to Your Savings in 90 Days Without Going on a Budget."