Last year, I got into a discussion at my Scale-Up Business Bootcamp about lifestyle businesses versus growth-focused businesses. Of course, there are some who set out specifically to have a lifestyle business. But in my experience, some entrepreneurs suddenly shift from “Let’s grow a company” to “I want a lifestyle business.” When this happens, they are simply making excuses for why they’re not more successful.
Everyone knows business is hard. There are times when it stalls completely or, even worse, when your revenue shrinks or you lose customers. That’s every entrepreneur’s dreaded nightmare.
When bad things happen in business, unfortunately, most people just make excuses or become complacent. They make excuses when they can’t figure out how to fix the problems, or they tolerate them because they don’t want to do the required work. They make excuses when they have a D+ business opportunity they can’t quit or sell.
What Exactly Is A Lifestyle Business?
Entrepreneurs starting with the assumption that businesses are built to grow may be wondering what a “lifestyle business” is. A lifestyle business aims to provide a quality of life to its owners that they simply maintain. The main requirement is that the business allows the entrepreneur to live how they want while running the company. Their aim isn’t to grow the company, increase revenue, or pay investors back (assuming they have any). They simply want to create a reliable income, work a finite amount, live comfortably, and maintain that lifestyle indefinitely. See where the name comes from?
For some, this is an admirable course of action. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to operate a lifestyle business if that’s truly your goal. But if that wasn’t your initial intention, then you shouldn’t “change your mind” because you run into roadblocks while scaling. I don’t care what you say publicly about your business. But I do care if you’re lying to yourself. Nothing good comes from deceiving yourself and believing a lie.
I once said I had a lifestyle business. I worked 10-20 hours a week and made a low 6-figure income. On the outside, my life looked amazing. On the inside, I was dying. I didn’t really want a lifestyle business unless the lifestyle was that of the rich and famous. I wanted to grow a company, to build it and see what my limits were. Unfortunately for me, the business vehicle I was using was D+ at best, so I made excuses. If this sounds familiar to you, then you really aren’t one for a lifestyle business either.
Don’t Take It Lying Down
Do you really want to have a lifestyle business? Or are you just tired of the struggle it takes to build a growth-focused business? Are you making the impact on your family, employees, customers, and charitable causes that you initially set out to make? What were your true dreams when you started this business? Why have you given up on them?
You’re an entrepreneur, a risk taker, a problem solver. You’re paid for the hard times, not the good times. And if you’re going through hard times right now, it’s time to step up your game and increase your paycheck.
Are you operating in an industry or with a product or service that just won’t produce meaningful revenue? Assuming you’re not, there’s always a way to break the lifestyle business mold. The trick is to identify what’s holding you back, then figuring out how to tackle it. The best place to start is by taking an in-depth look at the business itself. You have to start by knowing your numbers so you can see which areas are struggling the most. Then, you have to consider every aspect of your business and what you can improve. Have you rethought your advertising? Have you given everything you can to your customers, who are going to help you scale up the most? Approach things from every possible angle. Only then have you truly fought to create the business you’ve always wanted.
I assure you that there is an answer to your problem. You may have to dig a little to find it, but it is out there. So stop making excuses, and stop settling for a lifestyle business if that is not what you really want. That’s for everyone else, but not for you. Remember, you’re an entrepreneur. The rules are different for you because you’re willing to blaze your own trail. Don’t allow excuses to rob you of your dreams.