Passive Income as a Lifestyle Design Aid

The question that I’ve been pondering lately is this: what exactly is lifestyle design?

It was only a few weeks ago that I first heard the term lifestyle design. I had no idea what that meant exactly, but in very basic terms I knew that a lifestyle was how someone lives, and to design something is to create it. But, to create your own lifestyle? I had to do some more research…

Lifestyle design is such a new term that it’s not even on Wikipedia yet, but successful internet business gurus are using it like we use air to breathe. So, I decided to do some research, because I want to be an internet business guru someday too.

I learned that lifestyle design, actually creating your own lifestyle and living how you want to live, is something that is very real. People like Timothy Ferris, author of The 4-Hour work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, has done things in his life to live exactly how he wants to live. He’s a national Chinese Kickboxing Champion, a breakdancer in Taiwan, actor and a multi-millionaire. Oh, and of course, he works only 4 hours a week.

I’m not going to do a review on his book or talk much about him, but I will say that you probably think that his life is the way it is because of the decisions and actions he has made. Although that’s true, the way we describe him with respect to lifestyle design is the other way around:

“He took specific actions and made specific decisions based on the kind of life he wants to live.”

I think that most people, myself included, never really think about the exact lifestyle that we want to live. Yes, we do have goals and work really hard for them, and I have always seen the goals (retirement, millions of dollars, owning a company), but never really the lifestyle – or how my daily life would be.

We make decisions and work hard for our goals, but do we do the same for our ideal lifestyle?

If someone has earned $500,000 in a year, they may have reached or surpassed their goal. But if it took them 90 hours a week to get there, they may not be living their ideal lifestyle. See the difference?

Passive Income as a Lifestyle Design Aid

It’s a fact that everybody will have different ideas of what their ideal lifestyle should be. You have to really think about it, deep down inside about how exactly you want your life to be. That being said, if you earn a passive income, you have the ability to more easily design your own lifestyle. That extra paycheck in your bank account not only gives you more money, it can also give you more time and freedom to do whatever it is you want to do.

For example, I actually enjoy working in an office. At the same time, I don’t want to work 8 hours a day because I’d rather spend more time with my family. Earning a passive income would allow me to do this because I could just work part-time while earning the same amount of money (maybe even more) as if I was working 8 hours a day with earning no passive income.

Also, my fiancee and I love to travel. Say we want to take a one month vacation in an exotic place each year. Why do I have to use the money from the income I already make? I can just create a new passive income stream (a new product, website, what have you) and use that money for traveling. That way, I don’t risk an effect on the other parts of my life. I’m designing my own lifestyle.

Also, the realization is that while I’m on vacation,  I’m still making money. Would I have to work while on vacation? Absolutely not! Why? Because I designed my income streams to be automatic! See how that works?

It’s not about working X hours for X dollars. It’s about working hard now, so you can reap the benefits and live how you want later. A passive income creates freedom.

Yes, it’s definitely easier said than done, obviously – but with some hard work and determination, and hopefully through our experiences that I’ll talk about here, we’ll be able to design the lifestyle we want using the benefits of earning a passive income, which we are working for today.

  • Hunter Nuttall

    Pat, I think deliberately designing your life is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Everyone’s life is designed, but is it designed by them, or by someone else (like a boss)?

    I can see how making $500,000 in a year might not feel so great if it takes 90 hours a week to get there. On the other hand, you can do that for one year, take the money, and run. Then you can afford to do something that pays less but offers a much better lifestyle.

  • Pat

    Hunter, that’s a great point. He or she could very well be working 90 hours a week on purpose for a better lifestyle that is soon to come because of it. Thanks for sharing that angle!

  • Sarah H.

    Hi Pat,

    First of all, I really like your new site design. It’s quite visually pleasing and easy to find what you are looking for. The color scheme is effective and I love your new logo. Well done! I look forward to when I can host my own blog (soon hopefully!) and then I’ll have more control over my design elements.

    Great food for thought here. I love the idea of using passive income to support amenities like vacations. :) For example, right now I support my photography equipment expenses with a little passive income (like selling greeting cards and prints). However, as you pointed out, this is easier said than done! But I think lifestyle design could be a gold mine in terms of how to reach ideal goals. I look forward to tips you share about this in the future.

  • Debi

    Hi, Pat…
    Glad I found your site (via ‘Writing for Your Wealth’) and can now benefit from your perspective on internet businesses/passive income. I was most impressed with this post concerning Lifestyle Design because I believe a great many of us overlook its value. Yes, we want more money and to work less… but why? What exactly do we want to do THEN? It’s important to take the time to visualize the life we want instead of just letting life happen TO us. Thanks for that wonderful reminder!

    Keep writing!

  • Milana Leshinsky

    Pat, I too have given some thought and done some research on what lifestyle design, specifically “lifestyle entrepreneurship” means. What I found is that most people associate lifestyle business with a business that allows you to travel, live anywhere, be adventurous, etc.

    My ideal lifestyle, however, includes none of these things… I believe that lifestyle design is a very personal thing and it’s up to YOU what you call a lifestyle.


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  • Lazaro Scipioni

    First of all, great post! I’ve got a small question nagging me, I really love the design of your blog and tried to install the same layout on my Worpdress blog. Stil, there is some kind of weird php error in the footer. Do you have any hints, which settings are you using? Please PM me on Twitter @FitnessGuru or per e-mail.

  • Damion Laumann

    You know, I have to tell you, I really relish this site and the informative insight. I find it to be refreshful and very enlightening. I wish there were more blogs like it. Anyhow, I felt it was about time I posted a comment on Passive Income as a Lifestyle Design Aid | The Smart Passive Income Blog – I just wanted to say that you did a great job on this. Cheers mate!

  • Dorothy Cati

    Darn it
    I just typed a whole long message, but when I hit the submit button my Internet Explorer crashed.
    Did you get it or is it lost and I have to do it again?

  • Dustin Stevens-Baier

    Passive Income as a lifestyle design is a great concept. It awesome to hear about some one who is actually making it happen. It gives me hope.

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  • Steven Leconte

    I like the concept of lifestyle design. I had never heard about it before but it sounds cool and it is definitely important to keep it in mind as we strive to produce a better life for ourselves.

    What’s the point of getting a passive income if we’re working extra hard day and night and neglect other aspects of our lives like our family, friends, loved ones and health.

    I started working on improving my passive income but it takes a lot of time away from other things that are important in my life. I realize that I have to sacrifice to reach my goals but I know that I’ll have to give it my all now so I don’t have to keep on working so hard in the future.

    I read The 4-Hour work Week in the pasted. It almost seemed unreal that this was even possible but it proves that you can work hard and smart at the same time.

  • Tansey Louis

    My term for lifestyle design, is to “live by intention, not by default”. I find that when I do checks and adjustments along the way, it keeps me on course. It also helps to encourage me because then I see that I am accomplishing my lifestyle goals.

  • Alain

    Pat, I am using you as an mentor to start designing my own life… I have so much learning to do and one of tools that I am using is your blog. I am starting to read each one of your blogs in chronological order (thank you for making that easy). On June 1212, I am starting to read your blog from Oct 2008. Boy do I have a long way to go.

    Thanks a million.

  • Sibo

    I just finished listening to “4-hour work week” book by Tim. Great books and he described an exact life style I want to live in, so I am throwing in my hardwork now and hope to enjoy the benefit later.

  • Amir Rimer

    Hi Pat,

    I have never attached the term ‘Lifestyle Design’ to my thoughts regarding this, but I have always imagined the exact life I wanted to live.

    It all boils down to freedom. Freedom to do what you want.

    If you love your work, and you are truly happy to work at it 16 hours a day, then that’s freedom for me.

    Thanks for the great post!

  • Jason Love

    I am currently putting in a lot of hours in to get to the 4 hour work week. It has been a lot of time into creating an empire with little return. I did make $1 in adsense today, which gives me hope. I just need to start multiplying the content that made me that money and one day I might be making my living online.

    • GTO

      Progress report, Jason!

      • Jason Love

        Thanks for asking.
        Still working at it. I was let go of my job and now I am making a living with contracted work, some side hustles, and a digital product I am working on. Once my “Learn to Animate” Course is released (the digital product), I hope to focus on turning that into a passive income.

        • GTO

          Sorry to hear about the job situation, but glad you’re hustling. I really think patience (with ourselves, our loved ones, our businesses) is the key. Keep it up.

  • Dustin Hartzler

    I love having a flexible job (building websites) that I can travel with my wife on her business trips.

    While she’s at her conference, I can work and my clients don’t even have to know that I’m out of town.

    The next step for me is to create products so that I don’t have to work while on vacation and still make money. There’s no vacation pay when you’re an entrepreneur!

  • GTO

    It’s neat to read these old posts, Pat. I think we can now say – with UTMOST CONFIDENCE! – that smart passive income & lifestyle design DOES work! :)

  • elcodigodel tiempo

    I have just discover your website and it seems interesant and I am going to read all your post because I belive that I would learn a lot of things of you
    Thanks for your post and sorry for my english 😛

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