Jul
23

Every Business is a Lifestyle Business

This post was written by Dr. Jeff Cornwall on July 7, 2008 and appeared on his blog called. The Entrepreneurial Mind.

Jeff is the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Belmont University. Belmont University was recognized by The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship as the school with the best undergraduate program in 2008.

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When people use the term lifestyle business they usually are referring to something small and even part-time. Academics and policy folks will often say the term lifestyle business with a hint of indifference, boredom, or even condescension. This is not a business that interests them very much if it is not designed to scale up and grow.

I would argue that every business is a lifestyle business.

Why? Because the business we create will dictate our lifestyle.

We can choose the lifestyle our business creates deliberately, basing it on our goals, aspirations and values.

Our lifestyle may be one of integrating our business with our passion to change the world. We call this a social venture. Our lifestyle in this venture would be one of sacrificing our own income and wealth potential in exchange for making the world a better place.

Our lifestyle may be one that has the flexibility to spend the time we want to with our family, our church, our community, our hobbies, travel, or what ever.

Our lifestyle may be one that keeps things simple. We are willing to trade off the growth potential in a venture for the peace of mind of having no employees to worry about or to provide for.

Our lifestyle may be one of fame and fortune — of work ahead of everything else. So we look for opportunities that provide wide open markets with significant growth potential.

Be deliberate in planning a business that reflects the lifestyle you want. And understand the trade-offs that come with the choices you make — there are always trade-offs.

High growth ventures offer high rewards of income and wealth. But, they also come with the risks associated by pursing such ventures. Your income is more at risk, certainly in the short-run. Your family will likely see you less. Your hobbies and interests will take a back seat.

The decision to keep your business small can offer the ability to control your time and make it more flexible for other parts of your life. But, your income potential will be more limited and you will have to be content with passing on opportunities to add on more products, move into other geographic locations, or maximize our share of the market.

The key thing is to recognize that every business has an affect on your lifestyle. Be honest with yourself. Know what lifestyle you truly want and then engineer that lifestyle into the business you build.

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