What sort of business is yours?
Today a business adviser described Ambrose Designs as a ‘lifestyle business’.
I am more likely to be found in Lea Valley Park, than a tropical island sipping Mojitas, so I did wonder what he’d been taking so early in the morning.
After a bit of Googling, I realised he meant I didn’t fit the traditional business model:
- Get funding
- Get an office
- Scale the business
- Deploy your exit strategy and sell it.
- Repeat ’til you die
This was never my dream. Without knowing what it was called, I’ve been creating a ‘lifestyle business’. Here’s Wikipedia’s definition:
“A business set up & run by its founders primarily to sustain a particular level of income and no more; or to provide a foundation from which to enjoy a particular lifestyle.”
I have no desire to Empire Build. My motivation is to:
- create websites that succeed solely due to effective design.
- generate a specific income to provide a debt-free lifestyle
Whilst I have a number of collaborators, I have no interest in employing others.
Empire Building vs. Lifestyle Business
- High costs.Most businesses don’t make millions. High turnover often means high overheads, making profit harder.
- ROI. In return for investment, you are expected to achieve rapid growth. Lifestyle businesses minimize expenditure, so during difficult times, you should always be able to cover your costs without needing major investment.
- Worst of both worlds. As an employer, you work harder than anyone else and still get dragged into the day-to-day details, with none of the entrepreneur benefits.
- 7:37am train to Euston. With a ‘lifestyle business’ you can work anywhere as long as you have an internet connection including that beach with a Mojita!
- Genuine flexibility. In a lifestyle business, if you want to make time for family, friends or sporting events you don’t need permission. A friend called me last Monday to watch the Tour de France. I was there in a couple of hours. Just make sure you make up the time you took off.
- Less stress. In a ‘lifestyle business, relying on yourself has it’s stress level. However, compare this to Empire Building. Worrying about: making payroll this month; what to tell investors when revenues are 30% less than projected or what to do if your partners have drastically different opinions of where the business should go.
- Genuine control. You develop an all-round knowledge and expertise on the business, because you have to. As sole trader, who else will do the marketing, accounting, sales…
Are all lifestyle businesses beaches and Mojitos? Hardly.
In fact, Empire Building may be your best option. However, if you’re looking to maximize your enjoyment, while having the freedom and security of knowing you have full control of your life, a lifestyle business may be exactly what you need.
You have permission to not feel like you have to rent out that big office space in the city!