So it has been a few months of running my own business. I can honestly say it has been a long time since I have been this professionally happy. It is exciting, and busy and challenging. But most importantly it fits my lifestyle, and has actually increased my work life balance. This is an area that is very important to me. Which got me thinking about lifestyle businesses. It is a term you hear every so often, and most people have either never heard the term, or simply do not understand it. So what does the term “lifestyle business” mean? A definition taken from Wikipedia seems to nail it perfectly. It is as follows:
“A lifestyle business is a business set up and run by its founders primarily with the aim of sustaining a particular level of income and no more; or to provide a foundation from which to enjoy a particular lifestyle.”
Now, a lifestyle business does not need to be small, in either the amount of income you make, or the number of employees. It is simply the desire to create a business that allows you to live the life you want to lead. In my career I have seen the individuals that want to swing for the fences and achieve greatness. There is nothing wrong with this. These individuals dive head first into the startup pool and devote years of their lives, raising rounds of VC dollars, sacrificing it all for the great reward on the other side. This is good. This is needed. This is not me.
On the other hand, I have seen many people start businesses just to earn a living. I had a client once who was earning a nice living working for a company that he had been with for 18 years. He wanted to leave his job and open a small convenient store. “Why would you do that?” I asked. “You are going to make less money, and are taking a great risk”. He explained that he had a child with special needs and he wanted to spend more time with him, and just earn enough money to support his family. Good reason.
To me, the freedom to work when I want, to pick the projects I want to work on, and the ability to earn as much or as little as I want is something that is worth a great deal more to me than the stability of a 9 to 5. Don’t get me wrong, running your own thing has challenges, and there are days I wonder if I lost my mind. But those moments are fleeting. When these ideas start to float in my mind, I just get outside and enjoy the weather, or take my family to lunch; something that rarely happened when I was in corporate America.
So when starting your business, think about what type of business you are looking to start. Are you swinging for the fences and trying to hit that grand slam? Or are you satisfied hitting singles and doubles and creating a life on your terms? Both are completely acceptable.