Sean Ogle, the founder of Location Rebel, once faced the daunting challenge of whether to go the start-up route or begin a lifestyle business. He took the time to examine the two alternatives and feels that lifestyle businesses are a better option for many people. He offers 7 reasons why he thinks this way below:
1. You are not Instagram.
For every startup that sells and makes millions, there are hundreds — if not thousands — that fail or, even worse, continue to just barely make it, sucking the life out of you in the process.
2. Building a startup is building a 9-to-5.
While it’s fun to start up running on nothing but adrenaline and Red Bull, the excitement wanes and the monotony sets in after a few months. Many startup companies turn into really bad 9-to-5 jobs for the founders. For example, Jun Loayza who, after getting over a million in funding and successfully selling two companies, left his current startup to pursue a lifestyle business.
3. You won’t wait years to turn a profit.
When you work for yourself, your overhead is limited. Salaries, office space, benefits? That’s all on you. I started my most recent business with less than $500 and it took me three sales to become profitable. Most startups are lucky to be profitable after three years!
You know that dream everyone had after reading “The 4-Hour Workweek” where they’re chillin’ on a beach with a cocktail, working from a laptop? That really is possible. This year I’ve already worked from places like Vail, Playa del Carmen, Cuba, New York, China and Jordan among others — all without skipping a beat in my business.
5. You’ll have more flexibility than Gabby Douglas.
You wanted increased flexibility and control in your life? Fat chance in a startup, especially when you’re playing with someone else’s money. As a lifestyle entrepreneur, you truly have the flexibility to set your own schedule. For many, that’s more time with friends and family; for others, it’s travel and adventure. You get to decide.
6. Stress is minimized.
Thoughts like “How am I going to make payroll this month?” and “Revenues were 30 percent less than projections, what will the investors think?” or “My partners and I have drastically different opinions of where the business should go, what do I do?” are all common issues in a startup. A lifestyle entrepreneur has no one to answer to but themselves, thus reducing the stress that comes with common business problems.
7. You can become a modern-day Renaissance person.
I can’t focus on just one thing; I’m always all over the place. Being a solopreneur has forced me to learn how to handle all aspects of business — marketing, accounting, sales…you name it, I do it. In this position, you grow your expertise and become a more well-rounded business person, and that will undoubtedly help you in any future endeavors.
Much of what Ogle says has basis. Yet, when I think of a lifestyle business, the image that comes to mind is of a semi-retired person who has enough savings that income needs are very minimal. Solopreneur, a term used under the category of Renaissance leadership, seems more apt. The beauty of not being a sole proprietorship, however, is the opportunity to create jobs, build community, and share life with others. At EntreDot, we often refer to such an enterprise as a “Main Street business.” These types of businesses represent about 35% of start-ups, where fast growth (often venture or angel-backed) is about 5%, and sole proprietorships about 60%.
Let’s go create more Main Street businesses that have many of the benefits espoused above, but also help grow the economy for someone other than just ourselves!