When you think of lifestyle entrepreneurship what comes to mind? Perhaps jet-setting to Bali, sipping Mai Tais from a secluded white sand beach, backpacking through New Zealand, or simply creating a life (and business) on your own terms?
When it comes to passion and profit, lifestyle business owners seem to have figured it out. But will they win the work-life balance race, as we all strive to lead more fulfilling lives and careers?
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The Lifestyle Business Archetype
Being called a lifestyle entrepreneur … applies to anyone who places passion before profit, and intends to combine personal interests and talent with the ability to earn a living.Research often places lifestyle entrepreneurs at the opposite end of the entrepreneurship spectrum, drawing stark comparisons between their “growth-oriented” counterparts. Studies suggest, “Lifestyle [businesses] are set up primarily either to undertake an activity the owner enjoys or to achieve a level of activity that provides adequate income. The opposite are growth firms that are set up by an entrepreneur in the traditional … sense to grow and to raise profit through sales or through selling the business on to someone else.”
But this archetype has shifted. Martin Zwilling, CEO and founder of Startup Professionals, Inc. notes, “Being called a lifestyle entrepreneur should be a point of pride …The term applies to anyone who places passion before profit, and intends to combine personal interests and talent with the ability to earn a living.”
Work-Life Balance: Can “Lifestyler’s” Have it All?
Can you place passion before profit and have it all?
“Finding a suitable balance between work and daily living is a challenge that [we] all face,” according to the Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) organization. In the U.S., we rank 28th among advanced nations in the category of “work-life balance,” ninth from the bottom, according to the OECD Better Life Index.
Couple these statistics with predictions on the future of work and you’ll find that new workplace realities and on-the-go lifestyle trends are pacing on a growth trajectory that no one can ignore. Yet, arguably, there is one particular breed of entrepreneur that is poised to win this race – the lifestyle entrepreneur.
The Balance of Lifestyle Entrepreneurship
British lifestyle entrepreneur, Chris Ducker admits, “For me it was about ‘being there’ more often for my family. I had been working 16-hour days building my business, and realized that although I was doing well, my family life was suffering. The moment I made the change in mindset, and focused on becoming what I like to call a ‘Virtual CEO’, it was really only a matter of time before I started to experience the balance that I needed.”
After trying both corporate life and ‘traditional’ venture-backed entrepreneurship, I fell into “lifestyle” entrepreneurship after taking a six month road-trip, sabbatical to Mexico. – Corbett BarLifestyle entrepreneur Sean Ogle, founder of Location 180 and Location Rebel, believes the decision was simple. “For me it came down to two things, having complete control over my life, and being able to do more of the things I like to do,” he explains.
Colin Wright echoes a similar notion: “I came to realize that there was nothing I would rather be doing with my time than writing, publishing, and branding…” His quest to achieve work-life balance led to the creation of Exile Lifestyle, an online platform that connects his passion (i.e. books, travel) and publishing company, Asymmetrical. “I decided it would be most ideal to have a lifestyle that supported my work, and work that increased the happiness gained from my lifestyle,” Wright explains.
Corbett Bar, the founder of Think Traffic, admits that lifestyle entrepreneurship found him. “It chose me in a way. After trying both corporate life and ‘traditional’ venture-backed entrepreneurship, I fell into “lifestyle” entrepreneurship after taking a six month road-trip, sabbatical to Mexico. Before that, I didn’t know it was possible to mold your career around your life, instead of the other-way-around.”