I want to share with you some research I've been doing and something that has intrigued me. I've named it a Lifestyle business because it takes into account your passion and lifestyle first and money second.
Everybody's has heard the advice "Do what you love and the money will follow". Well I'm not 100% sure that's the case. I've yet to find someone who will pay me to eat sushi and pizza and play video games. That wouldn't work because there is no value derived from watching me eat and play video games. Now with that said, you can do what you love AND provide value to others who love the same thing to profit from it. Otherwise there is no exchange of money.
Let me start with an example from one of my last vacations and then you'll get a better idea...
For two years now I've gone away to Turks & Caicos in the Caribbean to go play beach volleyball for an entire week. In fact, 50 other people from all over the world came to join me. Actually one of my highlights from my trip last year was to play doubles with an AVP Pro, Adam Jewel, against Olympic gold medal winner, Eric Fonoi. We won!
It's something called "Volleyball Vacations" (VolleyballVacations.com) put on by an AVP pro Albert Hannemann. AL-B's been doing this for the last 8 years. He gets a couple buddies to come down for the week, play volleyball and party (sometimes not necessarily in that order). While the rest of us pay for the privilege.
AL-B partnered up with a travel agency to handle all the nitty gritty details and he just gets paid a certain percentage on every package sold. I don't know the exact economics but I do know its some nice extra money for doing something you love and getting paid to vacation. A lifestyle business usually centers around something you love and would do regardless.
Here's another 'experience' one...
Have you heard of the Baja 1000?
It's an all-out endurance race of a thousand-mile (mostly) off-road race through Mexico, from one end of the Baja Peninsula to the other. A guy named Todd Clement started an adventure outfit called Wide Open Baja (wideopenbaja.com) after winning the grueling Baja 1000 in 1997. He recruited some other winners and seasoned guides to open a Baja racing adventure experience. Corey Rudl first told me about them and convinced me to go last July. I'm glad he did. It was pretty crazy. You get to drive these incredible Baja race cars on some of the same trails as the famous Baja 500 and Baja 1000 races.
This is trip is not for meek of heart or wallet. I believe it cost about $7000 (not including airfare) for 2 people for our 4-day trip. I've spoken to the guys at Wide Open because I'm always curious about business models and they run 2-3 trips a week from each location (they have 2 main ones of Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas for 4-day trips.) And each trip is usually sold-out months and months in advance. We had 10 cars in our group - sometimes there are more. But 10 cars x $7000 = $70,000/trip. Now of course, that's not all profit and the cars are very expensive, there's maintenance, food, employees, etc. But it can add up to some good money - once again for doing something you love.
Racing is good one because lots of guys (and some gals) are very passionate about the sport. Of course, there are tons of racing schools around the country that cater to this and once again it isn't cheap. There's even a racing school that lets you drive F-1 race cars (basically jets on wheels) in Europe.
If you notice there's something else that really drives these lifestyle businesses is passion. The more passionate the niche the great likelihood they'll spend money for an experience. Plus, there's also a social network around it. i.e. beach volleyball nuts get to hang out and party with other beach volleyball nuts.
Now that I've shown some "experience" lifestyle businesses let me give you another point of view and highlight some information product examples that I've discovered. Many of you should be familiar with information products ranging from ebooks to newslettes to DVDs, etc.
The first example is Robert Parker at www.eRobertParker.com
If you're familiar with wine you'd immediately know who Robert Parker is. His 100 point rating scale for wines can either make or break a wine. I'm going back a bit - but this example is powerful. According to his bio, Robert fell in love with wine during a trip to France in 1967. Then in 1975 he thought about creating an "independent consumers" guide to wine. And finally in 1978 he plan became his wine newsletter called "The Wine Advocate". He started off with 600 charter subscribers in August of that year. Now today - his subscription base has exploded to over 40,000 subscribers at $60/year. (hmmm...adds up to $2.4M to me.)
But that's not all - his wine empire has spawned some spin- offs. i.e. his membership website at $99 (renewing annually), "Parker in your Palm" which is a listing of certain wine ratings that can be downloaded into your Palm Pilot, books, back-issues, wine events, etc.
My bet is there are lots of little niches out there where people would pay you for experiences. Sometimes there are even combinations like a wine tour with a bicycle tour. Or for instance golf with travel www.adventures-in-golf.com, etc.
I've been tossing around the idea of doing something in the extreme adventure travel business and maybe combining it with my passion for Entrepreneurship and business. I'd love to hear from you if you decide to launch a "Lifestyle business". So keep me posted.
Just 33-years old, Yanik Silver leads the "Ultimate Internet Lifestyle" of fun, freedom and financial independence funded by the Internet. He has shown thousands of others how to do the same thing... even though he's a complete "computer dunce" and still doesn't know how to put up his own website. More information can be found at www.InternetLifestyle.com
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