I've got a confession to make... I'm not striving for world domination. That might sound strange, because so many people who embark on entrepreneurship do it because they've got really big ambitions. They want to travel the world, make millions of pounds, and live in massive houses. Don't get me wrong, I have ambitions as well. I want to travel, and I'd definitely like to live in a big house (by the sea - please!), however I've got a totally different goal for my life, long term.
I first discovered the term "lifestyle business" whilst reading Jen Carrington's blog a couple of weeks ago, and I immediately related to it in so many ways. Jen's description of a lifestyle business is the following:
"A lifestyle business is a business that is 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."
This definitely spoke to me. You see, I'm of the opinion that there is no point spending our entire lives working, to make money, but never to enjoy it. What's the point of working constantly, striving to make more and more and more money, only to spend it on stuff that doesn't really matter, instead of spending time with your family, or taking a Friday off when it's a sunny day?
There is nothing wrong with having big goals though. I see people making big things happen for them all the time; I am so happy for them, and will always cheer them on! My business' goal is to allow me to live the life I want to live, how I want to live it, plain and simple! That's hard to say out loud sometimes... quite often we feel that if we're entrepreneurial, we should have HUGE aspirations, but that just isn't me, or at least it isn't right now.
What does a lifestyle business really look like?
1. It's choosing to live more than you work, at least, to strive towards that. I'm in the very early stages of my business still, so that does mean that I'm working very hard, and yes, sometimes that means that on sunny days when I'd love to be outside, sitting on the beach, I need to be inside working. That's ok, because I'm slowly working towards being in a place where I can prioritise life over work. It's about striving reaching a beautiful balance.
2. Money is necessary for happiness, we can't deny that. You need enough money to feel stable, and afford the things which bring you joy. However, I'm beginning to realise more and more than an enormous income isn't necessarily what you need in order to feel content with your life. So often we read articles on "how to increase your salary by 50% every year" (or along those lines) but it's ok to choose to have a stable income.
3. Think about why you became, or are wanting to become a business owner? I bet it was to have more time for yourself, or to lead a creative life. So why do so many of us end up drowning in work? Periods of "hustle" are necessary on occasion; to pay for a new car, or save up for a bigger home, but there is no need to be in a constant state of "more, more, more."
4. Have you spent time thinking about what success really means to you? Have you ever sat down and written down what your ideal life looks like? The reason I ask is because it's different for everyone. What I think would be an incredible life, you might hate! Taking the time to figure out what you want, and then making your business work around that is key to creating a lifestyle business.
5. Don't be afraid to ignore other people's advice. Take what speaks to you from what they say, and leave the rest behind. This is something that Jen Carrington speaks about regularly, and I need her to remind me of it, because it's so easy to listen to what one person says and think that's the only way, but it isn't true. Do what works for you, what feels right, or you'll end up with a business which feels completely unlike you!
I'm going to link you to a blog post that Jen wrote a few months ago on this topic, and she even has an exercise you can do which helps you work out exactly what your business should look like. I've done it myself, and it totally shifted the way I looked at work and life balance!
I hope this post has helped you, and if nothing else, given you a bit of permission to strive for a lifestyle business, and not an entrepreneurial empire.