It is just as important to know what you don’t want in a lifestyle business.
The goal of a lifestyle business
The primary goal of a lifestyle business is to grow to a size that supports the owner’s aspirations, with a bit of extra income to provide for the unexpected. It’s not about running a business as an alternative to having a job. A lifestyle business doesn’t have to be small, either in revenue or employees.
A lifestyle business is one that is geared toward the sort of work the owners like doing while supporting their income and personal requirements rather than maximising revenue and profits. The goal is to create a sustainable and desirable work/life balance.
The business should be lucrative enough to allow the owners the lifestyle they desire without having to sacrifice any personal life, in fact, it should enhance it. The type of business is also selected on the basis of personal interest; so the time spent working is really enjoyable.
Defining your lifestyle business
A lifestyle business is a business that is set up primarily with the aim of sustaining a particular level of income and no more, whilst providing a foundation to enjoy a particular lifestyle. Investors are rarely involved with lifestyle businesses.
Some types of businesses are more suitable than others to the would-be lifestyle business person. Those businesses requiring extensive capital and are difficult to launch and sustain on a lifestyle basis; others such as small creative businesses are more practical for sole practitioners or small groups such as husband-and-wife teams.
In conventional business terms, lifestyle businesses typically have limited scalability and potential for growth because such growth would destroy the lifestyle which their owner’s sort to achieve.
The lifestyle business concept is sometimes compared with that of the start-up, which is intended to grow rapidly and create significant profit. On that basis, a start-up may attract capital, whereas a lifestyle business may not.
Because it is not intended to generate significant growth or revenue, owners of lifestyle businesses usually have to provide all the funding themselves. This is usually quite within most people’s financial capacity.
Lifestyle businesses are often considered an alternative to retirement. A well-funded start-up, on the other hand, has the primary responsibility of becoming big at the expense of the lives of the owners and employees.
The impact of lifestyle businesses
If enough high-quality creative businesses naturally cluster together, the perception of a community can change radically. Lifestyle businesses can win awards and provide lots of satisfaction to their owners and customers along with the communities in which they are located.
A lifestyle business depends heavily on founder skills, personality, energy, and contacts. Often they are created by their founders to exercise personal talents or skills, achieve a flexible work schedule, work with family members, remain in a desired geographic area, or simply to express themselves.
However, without the owner’s deep personal involvement, lifestyle businesses are likely to flounder, particularly if there are droughts and flooding rains. You should not start out on a wing and a prayer. Wishing and hoping never does anyone any good.
“If you choose a lifestyle business that you really like, and you will never have to work another day in your life”. Peter Sergeant
By way of example of a lifestyle business, maybe you like growing vegetables. During the week you can tend the vegetable gardens, producing crops you can then cart to the local ‘Farmer’s Market’ on the weekend.
At a farmer’s market, you can meet and socialise with other lifestyle business owners and mingle with the customers to better understand their wants and needs. If you miss a farmer’s market it has little impact except on your income that month.
If you fail to do your homework and find you don’t really like the business you have chosen, it can be an expensive exercise, particularly if it has not been established well and allowed to run down.
In many cases there are no other shareholders outside the family, leaving the owners more control in the way they operate the business. It doesn’t really matter if it is not efficient as long as it meets the owner’s aspirations.
Above all, a lifestyle business offers you the opportunity to greatly improve you work/life balance. This will directly impact on both you, your family and your friends.
A lifestyle business is still a business, with all the attributes of any other business. That’s why your previous experience in other businesses is very useful. Rules are more or less the same in any form of business. Without experience, you should seek advice.
Advantages of a lifestyle business
Many people have been working all their working life for other people, but yearn to start their own business.
It starts with daydreams and then it’s time for action. Following is a summary of some of the advantages that come with a lifestyle business:
- Freedom at last. You feel trapped in an office. No more putting up with someone else’s rules and regulations, no more cranky bosses, no more commuting, no more office politics and no more 9 to 5; freedom at last.
- Fulfil your potential. Running your own business would let you aim as high as you want and be in charge of achieving it. You would start to see satisfying outcomes for your efforts.
- More family time. At last your, work/balance starts to make sense, you can achieve job satisfaction and still have plenty of time for family and friends. You can even take time off to attend family events, without a guilty conscience.
- Set your own hours. When you work for yourself, you decide when you come and go and how much time you will spend on various tasks.
- Make your own decisions. Freedom to succeed or fail on your own efforts without limitations on the way you like to operate. No more unnecessary rules and regulations, you don’t have to comply anymore.
- Choose the people you work with. Office politics and dealing with difficult and negative people becomes a thing of the past. You have a choice when you work for yourself, you choose customers, colleagues and suppliers you want to work with.
- Live where you want. Location freedom is having the ability to choose where to work. Mobile business is gaining momentum with internet technologies and global communication, so it’s no longer the problem it was.
- Put more fun into your life. If you want to put more fun into your life, start doing more of what you like doing. A lifestyle business simply gives you the scope to do more of what you like doing.
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When your lifestyle business idea is born, you can easily start postponing the starting point of its fulfilment for ‘better times’. You always have it in your mind but never take any action. It seems like you are waiting for some miracle, for some lightning bolt of inspiration to strike you and make you act.
Without a clear purpose, vision and objectives it will be very difficult to achieve your lifestyle business aspirations. A clear purpose and vision will drive your problem-solving and decision-making along with you strategies and actions.