How to design your business to be a utopia

Hiking near Kandersteg, Switzerland. Photo by Stefan Tschumi.

“When you make a company, you make a utopia. It’s where you design your perfect world.”

Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur by Derek Sivers

Your business, your utopia.

Business doesn’t need to be hard. Or sleazy. Or about fighting against who you are and your most honest values.

Rather, the way you run your business can (and should!) reflect the world you want to exist and the life you want to live.

For me, that’s about sustainability, generosity, creativity, and honesty. I look up to people who openly share who they are and what they’ve learned about the world in their work, and I aspire to be like that too.

My energy ebbs and flows a lot, and I also don’t want to be stuck with demanding projects, deadlines, and long meetings when I really need a break. So I’ve made that pretty much impossible in my business.

People can buy my book without me doing anything. I’ve spent ten years building a book blog that mostly makes money from posts I wrote years ago. I’m very fussy about any actual client work I take on, because I know what it’s like if I’m less picky.

On most days, I can take the day off to read a book or go for a hike if I want to. That’s the way I want my business to work.

When you create a business, you turn something that exists solely in your imagination into a real thing that can serve others and give you freedom and opportunities.

How cool is that?

You can choose whether it’s a cafe with super good coffee that you spend your day running, an online business that requires minimal upkeep, or anything in-between.

Despite all the coaches throwing marketing playbooks and ten-step checklists at you in their ads, there’s no roadmap you need to follow.

You can do things entirely, wholeheartedly your way.

All you really need to do is solve a problem. Maybe it’s a lack of good cinnamon buns or another person’s struggle with graphic design. But it’s something you can help with.

You share what you know, and tell people how to buy what you offer. That’s it.

As you build your business, you get to design it with your deepest values and principles at its foundation. These can include:

  • Sustainability
  • Slowness
  • Kindness
  • Quality
  • Accessability
  • Transparency
  • Flexibility
  • Generosity
  • Honesty

Or anything else that matters to you.

If you’ve ever sat in an office working for someone else and wondered, “Why don’t things happen this way?”, when you create your own business you get the power to try it out.

As the mastermind, architect, artist, and designer of your business, you also get to choose:

  • How many hours you want to work
  • Where and how you work
  • How many meetings you have
  • How much you charge
  • What products you offer
  • Your balance of revenue streams
  • The value you give your customers and fans
  • The marketing channels you do and don’t use
  • How your employees or contractors are treated
  • The causes you support
  • The boundaries you maintain

It’s all up to you.

What’s your dream-come-true way of doing business?

Imagine it. Visualise what it really looks and feels like.

Is it actually way more accessible than you might think?

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Lucy Fuggle
I'm Lucy – an adventurer, writer, author of Mountain Song: A Journey to Finding Quiet in the Swiss Alps, and creator of Live Wildly.