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What’s The Difference Between A Lifestyle Business And A Startup?

You’ve heard it before – behind every successful startup is a founder (or several) whose life is entirely devoted to the company. They work long hours, spending day after day marketing to potential customers, seeing to logistics, and romancing venture capitalists. In some cases, they become so devoted to their business that their personal relationships start to suffer.

Sometimes, their hard work pays off, and they start raking in cash hand over fist. People love the crazy idea on which they founded their business, and their startup becomes a full-fledged company. Occasionally, a startup becomes so successful that it gets snatched up by one of the greats – Google or Facebook or Microsoft or Apple.

More often, everything falls apart. The budding entrepreneur is left with naught but the ruins of a business they thought would work out; a pile of debt, an exhausted body and mind, and a gallery of fractured relationships. But that’s the risk you take when founding your own business, right?

That’s just part of being an entrepreneur, isn’t it?

Not exactly. For anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit, a traditional startup may not necessarily be the best choice. There’s another path you can take – it’s called a lifestyle business.

Freedom Vs. A Chance At Millions

I won’t lie – founding a successful startup is probably the most profitable thing you’ll ever do. It seems as though every other day, we’re hearing about some fresh-faced twenty-something who’s become an overnight billionaire. All we really see from the outside is the results of their success – the fame, the fortune, and the power.

We don’t see all the work it took for them to reach that point. And it does take work. Unless you’re some sort of prodigy, your startup is going to end up being your entire life – especially if you want it to succeed. Sure, you might become a superpowered CEO in a few years, but you’re going to have to fight tooth and nail to get there.

For some people, that’s exactly the sort of lifestyle they want. That element of risk, that shot at the big leagues; that’s their drug. For others, though?

A lifestyle business may well be the safer bet.

As for what it is, well…it’s probably easier to explain it in terms of what it’s not. A lifestyle business is not a startup – it isn’t meant to change the world. It isn’t meant to turn its founders into millionaires or grab the attention of a multi-million dollar corporation.

Instead, a lifestyle business is about comfort. It’s about maintaining a particular lifestyle, about sustaining a certain level of income.  It’s about giving yourself the freedom to live your life the way you want to live it.

Want to work from a beach in Hawaii? You can do that. Want to backpack across Europe without sacrificing any income? That’s doable. Want to simply work from home, and take time off for friends and family whenever the desire strikes?

Again, it’s entirely within your power.

With a Lifestyle business, you probably aren’t going to change the world. You probably won’t end up being the next Mark Zuckerberg or Kevin Systrom. But that’s okay – because you’ll be living life the way you want it.

Different Strokes For Different Folks

I’d like to make one thing clear before we wrap things up – I’m not trying to imply that lifestyle businesses are in some way superior to startups. They aren’t. Just like a startup isn’t the right choice for every entrepreneur, some people will find themselves bored with the comfort and security offered by a lifestyle business – they’ll long for excitement.

They’ll long for a startup.

I can’t tell you if you should found a lifestyle business or a startup. That isn’t a decision someone else can make for you – it’s a choice you have to make yourself. I can just offer one bit of wisdom to help you along in that:

What’s more important to you – freedom or a solid purpose?

Image credit: NathanReed

Kevin Blanchard

Kevin Blanchard

Kevin Blanchard is the CEO of ServerMania.