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A minimalist lifestyle is characterized by the pursuit of simplicity and freedom from possessions and consumerism.
The minimalist lifestyle might seem like it doesn’t jive with business ownership. After all, doesn’t it take greed, ambition, and cutthroat ladder climbing to start a business?
Obviously, it doesn’t since so many successful business owners and entrepreneurs are devotees of this lifestyle.
How can you cultivate your inner minimalist, while building a successful business?
Understand what a minimalist lifestyle is. Hint: It’s a mindset.
There’s plenty of confusion over the meaning of minimalism.
In reality, a minimalist lifestyle is a mindset, not just the things you own, what you sleep on, or how you groom.
A better way to think of minimalism is to think of it as the pursuit of freedom. Freedom from financial worry; Freedom from tending to things instead of yourself; More Freedom from time-wasting activities; Freedom from fear of loss.
In a sense, building a business is one of the best paths to a minimalist lifestyle. When you build a business, you are creating freedom for yourself by creating a system that gives you finances, purpose, independence, and the ability to live free of the oppression of someone else’s bottom line.
If you work the remainder of your life in a 9-5 day job, doing your time, and taking your two-week vacation every year, that might be fine. For you, that might be free enough.
For others, however, freedom is the ability to grow their business how they want, to work when they want, to vacation however long they want, and to pursue the things that provide fulfillment.
No, a minimalist lifestyle isn’t about owning fewer things—though that’s certainly one of its benefits. Instead, minimalism is about creating freedom in more areas than just your closet, cabinets, or toiletries shelf.
Make it an online business.
The most viable business model for a minimalist is an online business. Truly, the most viable business model for the foreseeable future is an online business.
The power of online marketing and content marketing means that your business can grow and prosper through digital methods. This shift toward the digital comes with certain freedoms, although it also comes with certain sacrifices.
An online business gives you the following types of freedom:
- Freedom to live anywhere
- Freedom to not own a brick-and-mortar store
- Freedom to build and grow your business using content rather than physical assets
- Freedom from shipping and distribution
- Freedom from handling delays and mishaps
Remember, it’s all about freedom. To people with this mindset, freedom is a success.
Change your mind about the meaning of success.
Business owners aim toward a common goal: success.
But what is success?
- According to the popular mindset, success = money.
- According to a minimalist mindset, success = freedom.
At some point in their lives, the people who need to will realize that money and possessions do not truly satisfy. Even though we acknowledge this rationally, it is difficult to internalize this truth, in part because money affords us buying power and presumably a sense of comfort.
We continue to purchase piles of things, more clothes, nicer cars, and bigger homes, while constantly wondering why we don’t feel successful or complete.
Perhaps one of the reasons why divorcing our sense of success from our income is difficult is that we don’t know what to eliminate from our lives.
Here are some of the ways that I’ve been able to experience success as freedom:
- Traveling. Getting away from my things is a freeing experience.
- Meditating. How I think has a major impact on how I perceive success.
- Taking breaks. I recommend that founders and business owners take long breaks in order to reset their perspectives and improve their sense of freedom.
The more you realize that true success is found beyond money and possessions, the greater you will be able to grow your business with a minimalist approach.
Embrace a minimalist lifestyle approach to management.
Management seems like the enemy of minimalism. Schedules, calendars, and requirements are not the stuff of freedom.
Actually, there are plenty of ways to manage with a minimalist mindset. Here are a few suggestions:
- Streamline your services. The more streamlined your services, the less you’ll have to manage.
- Use systems. With a few systems and processes in place, you can dramatically reduce the mental workload involved in management. For every task or procedure, create a corresponding system, and watch your freedom increase.
- Allow employees to work remotely. Allow your employees to be remote as well. Remote working is an effective way of enhancing productivity while increasing freedom.
- Use powerful cloud-based tools. Apps like Evernote, Google Calendar, and Dropbox make your business omnipresent. Anywhere you have Internet, you have the ability to access business resources, information, and schedules. This is the kind of freedom that smart minimalists will harness.
- Lead with your mind, not with your time. Perhaps the greatest way to achieve minimalist success is to reduce your responsibilities by allocating them to skilled team members.
Fewer responsibilities [lead to] more meaning.
Figure out what things in your business you shouldn’t be doing, don’t want to do, can’t do effectively, or simply want to get rid of.
Grow this list as long as you can. It will teach you things about yourself and your business.
Here are some of the big things you can outsource:
- Social media management
- Content marketing
- Online payment
- Newsletter creation
- Website management
- Website design
- Employee management
Realistically, you could outsource every aspect of your business. Own it, yes, but free yourself from the day-to-day responsibilities and the need to be present.
Here’s how Mueller explains it:
Take the time to eliminate the pointless, the superfluous, the questionable. Then decide what you can hire out or delegate. Then focus on the work that only you can do, that you can do best, and that you can do for the most impact on your business.
Your mind is your greatest asset, not your time. By freeing yourself of the need to constantly expend your time and energy, you’re taking one of the most valuable steps toward a minimalist lifestyle.
Minimalism is a journey, not a destination.
As you deepen your understanding of minimalism you’ll discover profound truths that will revolutionize your life personally and grow your business strategically.
You can achieve success by more than just donating your possessions and selling your stuff. You can achieve success by growing your business in a way that gives you freedom.
What is your experience with minimalism?
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