I Built A Lifestyle Business So I Could Retire From Medicine At 37

– Here Are 3 Tips To Build Yours

Issue #101

Subscriber count: 11,027+

Today I had to pull in a good friend of mine, Ernesto Gutierrez, MD to write this week's article.

I love his story of retiring from clinical practice early in his career to build his own thriving digital business.

I know you'll find his story encouraging and applicable to you. You could retire from clinical practice like he and I both have to do your own thing online. 👇🏻

It took me 12 years to become a physician, and just 9 years later I retired from clinical practice.

Did I hate being a clinician?

Nope. Not even close. I really enjoyed working with patients and I like to think they liked working with me.

So why did I retire, then?

Location independence.

You see, for me, being able to live in different countries was very important. But as you know, medical licenses aren’t exactly portable. This brought about the first clash between my desired lifestyle and the life I had built so far.

Perhaps you don’t care about location independence but there’s something else about your career that’s made you feel this way before.

And if you have, don’t fear. I won’t ask you to retire from your chosen profession or give up your license… (Unless you want to.)

But what I do want you to learn about is the concept of lifestyle design and how building a lifestyle business lets you have your cake and eat it too. In more ways than one, I might add…

So in this post I want to share 3 big tips for building a lifestyle business:

  1. Define your ideal lifestyle

  2. Decide who you’ll be creating for

  3. Build it in public

If this sounds like something you’d like to learn more about, keep reading!

Lifestyle Design Is Not About Arbitrary Measures Of Success, It’s Simply About Building A Lifestyle By Your Design

Before we get to the tips, you should know there are 3 common mistakes to avoid when building a lifestyle business:

  • Mistake #1: Keeping it under wraps

  • Mistake #2: Treat it as a job and not as a business

  • Mistake #3: Think you just need to build it and they’ll come

The reason experts tend to make these mistakes is because we fear what others might think of us when we’re “deviating” from what’s socially acceptable given our field and training. As a result, we keep ourselves stuck, wanting our lives to go in a different direction but feeling guilty for not valuing what we do have…

If this feels at all familiar to you, here are 3 tips to start working towards your lifestyle business -sans the guilt and frustration:

Tip #1: Define Your Ideal Lifestyle

Obviously you can’t really build a lifestyle business if you’re not crystal clear on what your ideal lifestyle looks like.

Yet this is something I often encounter whenever I consult with new clients. The reason is we all think we know exactly what we want so we assume just by being in control of our income, we’ll be living this imaginary lifestyle. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

In fact, if you’re anything like the hundreds of experts I’ve helped in my programs, you know a few things you want, many things you don’t want, and that’s about it.

If that’s you, I invite you to take a couple of minutes (can be as few as 10) and just open up a notepad or journal and write down what your “masterpiece day” would look like. Describe everything from the moment you wake up in the morning to the moment you go to bed at night. Mention the people in your life, your work, your self-care. Everything.

If you’re having trouble going through this on your own, there are several YouTube videos and podcast episodes on Spotify that guide you through this exercise.

Only once you’ve gotten crystal clear on your “masterpiece day” can you begin building a business you know for certain will serve you and your desired lifestyle.

Tip #2: Decide Who You Are Creating For

The second most common mistake I see experts make when they begin creating a digital product or service is to fall in love with their product, and not with the person they’re serving.

If you’ve been working on a course, a podcast, a newsletter, or any other digital asset, you’re likely putting in a lot of love and effort into it. You’re distilling your years of experience into every piece of that content. As such, it is normal to get too attached to it in its current form.

Unfortunately, this is not always what your audience wants.

As someone who invested 200+ hours into his first digital course to only make 1 sale, I know first-hand how heartbreaking this is.

What was that product? A sales and marketing course for doctors showing them how we had scaled my own private practice from losing money to several million dollars per year.

And here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me back then: the problem is not in the content, it’s in your product.

I had spent so much time thinking about the product, I had completely forgotten to think about the audience. If I had, I would’ve figured out most private practice physicians who wanted to grow their practice to several million dollars per year, did not want to learn marketing. They much preferred to have someone do it for them. *Sidenote: this is how my marketing agency was born.

So, if you want to avoid my fate, make sure you fall in love with your clients, not with your products.

  • Fun fact: This is the reason why I sign most of my posts, emails and newsletters with 🤟🏻. It means “I love you” in American Sign Language and it reminds me every time I write something, that I’m writing it for my clients whom I love.

Tip #3: Build It In Public

And finally, the third big tip I have for you when building your lifestyle business, is to do it in public.

Remember when I told you about my failed course launch? Well, not only did it fail because I was too focused on building a product instead of focusing on serving a person, it also failed because I kept it under wraps for the entire time.

And I get it, it’s scary to put your ideas out in public.

You think someone else will steal them. Or they’ll make fun of you. Or both.

But here’s the dirty little secret: they won’t.

And you know why? They’re even more scared than you are!

In fact, seeing you put your ideas out there might even inspire them to take action. Like you and I getting inspired every Wednesday by Dr. Jamie Wilkey 🚀 and her newsletter, her community and everything else she builds in public.

Not only that, building in public is also better for you and whatever it is you’re building.

Because when you do build it in public, the clients you’re building it for get to weigh in on what you’re building. They give you feedback. They help you identify your blindspots. They even line up to buy it before you open the doors!

Talk about win-win here!

That’s it!

Thanks to Dr. Jamie Wilkey 🚀 for opening up this space for me to share my thoughts with more experts looking to build a lifestyle by their design.

If you’d like to learn more about lifestyle design and see first hand what I’m building, subscribe to my free newsletter ‘It’s Not Brain Surgery’ at drernestomd.com/newsletter

Feel free to reach out and let me know what you found most helpful—I’d love to hear from you!

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