OPINION: Why you shouldn’t feel guilty about owning a lifestyle business no matter what anyone says.
Do you own what some might call a lifestyle business? How does the term ‘lifestyle business’ make you feel?
I hear the terms ‘lifestyle’ and ‘business’ bandied around a lot, and it seems to mean different things to different people. More often than not though, its used with unflattering undertones; as if a lifestyle business is somehow less worthy than a ‘Start-up’.
I’ve heard business ‘experts’ talk as if having a lifestyle business is something you should feel guilty about having/owning/running. As if they have some otherworldly insight that your business is unlikely to be anything more than a hobby. That it’s just an excuse for you to play at owning a business.
It’s a little bit simplistic to think that way about lifestyle businesses – it’s also a little obtuse, condescending – and, simply not true. So, maybe it’s time we realigned our views on what owning a lifestyle business really means.
What its not
Are lifestyle businesses really just hobby businesses that fit around our lives? No.
Does owning a lifestyle business suddenly make you less serious about owning a successful enterprise? No.
Are lifestyle businesses just micro/small with tiny revenues and no staff? Sometimes, but they don’t have to be.
What Lifestyle Businesses should actually be seen as, are the types of businesses we own that allow us to live the lives we want to live – that enrich our lives and make us happy about what we are doing for a living. Businesses that enrich the lives of others while allowing us to do something we are passionate about.
Isn’t that what for many of us, owning a business is all about? Why do something that makes you miserable only to compound that misery by working all the hours under the sun to never get to spend time with your friends and family. Yes, there is always pain and personal growth in owning any business – but when you reflect on why you’re doing it in the first place, those pains become much easier to bare and find solutions to.
It Takes All Types
Of course, there are those who would aspire to be the next Warren Buffet or Richard Branson. There are well known stories of Elon Musk sleeping on the factory floor working 20+ hour days to achieve what he has achieved. On the flipside there are some who were born into privilege, have no discernible skills or qualities who fill the media void with fake news and manage to become the President of the United States.
Then there are people who make a massive difference to the lives of millions with little or no fanfare at all – such as Wangari Maathai (below) who was a renowned Kenyan social, environmental and political activist and the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize. She sadly passed away 25 September 2011.
There are no right or wrong answers. ‘Lifestyle’; ‘Start-up’; ‘Challenger’; ‘National’; ‘Multi-national’ – there is only what is right for you.
Perhaps then, the real question should be: How much is enough to make you happy?
Time is our most precious commodity, because you can never get it back. And, in a year like we’ve had in 2020, when many of us have used our lockdown time to re-evaluate what is important to us, many might be thinking about about how to use their time to create life enriching experiences.
Maybe owning a lifestyle business is the guilty (sarcasm intended) pleasure that allows you to do what you love without compromising those you love.
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