- Studiopress – My site runs on Studiopress’ Genesis theme. This is a more technical platform than Themeforest, which I’ll talk about next, but it is the gold standard among top bloggers (hey, Matt Cutts, the guy at Google who is responsible for how sites rank on their search engine, uses it on his blog, so, hint hint). Genesis is just the framework, however, you then need to install what is known as a ‘child theme’ and you can play with the live demos at Studiopress to see which one you like best. (It will cost less than $100.) Then tweak it, brand it, get some content on it, and away you go!
- Themeforest – On most of my other blogs, I use Themeforest themes. This is a great option is you are just starting out, are on a budget, or simply looking for something that is fairly easy to setup. They come with support, in case you get stuck, and they have some incredible designs to choose from, which you can demo right on their site.
- Dragon Naturally Speaking – Imagine typing at the speed of speech…that’s what this bad boy does. It has served me well over the years, and makes writing tasks go much faster. Plus, not getting carpal tunnel syndrome is also pretty cool, so, there’s that. So if you’re a busy professional who is trying to launch a lifestyle business in your spare time, this will help you produce content for your site at about 2x the speed you’re used to. Worth every penny.
- Camtasia – If you’ve ever watched a video on YouTube where someone has recorded their computer screen, they were probably using Camtasia. This software is indispensable if your lifestyle business is based upon teaching/training. Here is a video I did with Camtasia where I show how to embed a clickable link to your lifestyle business website inside your Facebook business page.
- Spreeder – Totally free solution to helping you speed-read. No, it isn’t a gimmick and it has nothing to do with following your hand as it moves along the screen…this actually works. It takes a few minutes to figure it out, but you will get through all those blog articles you read in 1/2 the time…seriously cool.
- Lift – Like goals? Like to keep yourself accountable? Like cool apps that help you design your behavior so that you become even more awesome? Again, free.
STUFF TO READ
- The 4-Hour Workweek – I read this book back when it was on the ‘New Releases’ at my local Barnes and Noble; granted, you’ll probably end up working more than 4hrs/wk, but the principles Tim Ferriss teaches are timeless and well worth interacting with. There is a reason the book continues to be so popular after all these years. Also in audio, here. One little productivity tip I rely on is to listen to audio at 1.5x the speed.
- The Millionaire Next Door – Many popular ‘business’ books are nothing more than a string of self-serving ancedotes, trivial information, and motivational quotes. This book is different. Years of research went into producing one of the most practical, actionable, and surprising works on what it really takes to be a millionaire. Super stuff…you must read this book. Pick it up at your local library if you don’t have the money for the audiobook.
- The Minimalists – I stumbled upon this blog one day and it hit me like a ton of bricks…simple living is underrated. Not everybody wants to build a seaside mansion, drive exotic sports cars, shop for clothes in Paris and dine at Michelin-quality restaurants. So for those interested in boostrapping and building a lifestyle business, this site is a great way to remind yourself that contentment and simplicity are really, really cool. Even when you make your first million, you don’t have to buy more stuff.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie’s classic on people skills. Everyone should read this famous book, but I’d like to offer a caution: The book was written more for people whose jobs involve sales and a lot of interaction with others. Don’t use these techniques on friends or people who are close acquaintances, because it will seem artificial (using their name regularly when chatting, etc)–still, worth your time.
- The $100 Startup – I read this book in a few sittings when I was living in Singapore, during some rare moments of downtime. I was poolside, it was about 90 degrees with a pleasant breeze, the palm trees swaying in my peripheral vision. I’d already launched my venture by this time, but the book still broadened my thinking about what is possible. The reason I recommend this book by Chris Guillebeau–aside from having some great content–is because I realize some of you are younger or have a challenging financial situation, so dropping $2,000 for a course with a ‘how to’ guru isn’t an option. This book is also a good place to start if you’re new to the idea of entrepreneurship and will show you what is possible even if you don’t have a lot of money to start your lifestyle business.
- This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I think it represents a good place to start. If you have a favorite, please share in the comment section and tell us how the book has impacted you and your outlook on setting up a lifestyle business.
As I mentioned earlier, this is just a small list, and I have a much more comprehensive list that I’ve put together that includes some of my favorite productivity hacks, most of which are free, that help me run my business and save bags of time! It is a free download, which you can get instantly here: