One of the most inspiring things about working in a startup ecosystem is that you will constantly be surrounded by people who believe in an idea and want to bring it to life. When it comes to starting a new business, a number of words come to mind: hustle, innovation, technology, investors, fundraising, growth hacking, high-risk...the list goes on.
While we’re startup advocates (to put it mildly), it’s important to note that there’s another often overlooked business model in this startup-obsessed world of ours: the lifestyle company. A lifestyle business is less about becoming an industry leader through introducing a novel service or product than it is about building a sustainable revenue model based on “tried and true” ideas. There’s no external funding, and the business is typically not profitable during the early stages. At the heart of this concept, is the desire to fulfil one’s personal interests and the determination to build a business that complements each individual’s desired lifestyle. Getting ahead of competitors, hiring the best talent, rapid user acquisition, and having an exit strategy are all valid concerns for startups. Though different, there are actually many commonalities between lifestyle and startup businesses. Some lifestyle companies are innovative and bring in a significant amount of revenue. This fluidity means that ‘lifestyle business’ does not necessarily have to equate ‘small business’. So why do we even have to define what type of company you’re interested in starting? Having a very clear understanding of why you’re starting a business helps you to pinpoint what you want to achieve and how you’ll go about achieving it. Starting a business for the sake of being able to spend more time with your family or to have more time to travel, entails a completely different approach than if you were looking to solve a specific problem with your idea.
REGARDLESS OF CATEGORIZATION, STARTING A NEW VENTURE ULTIMATELY COMES DOWN TO ONE THING: PERSONAL FULFILLMENT.
Words like ‘success’ hold no meaning on their own. The context, or in this case personal aspirations, is the only proxy for whether or not a business is successful. So which one is right for you? The startup life is not for everyone, and neither is a lifestyle business. Entrepreneurs are the new demigods, but startups can learn a thing or two from lifestyle companies. These companies are usually born from a personal passion, which then echoes through the company’s milestones and morale. For these individuals, they know the kind of life they want to lead now, which is what we’re all after anyway.
Welcome back to Mandy's In-House Notes, a twice-monthly column touching on all things brand-building, entrepreneurship and female-empowerment related, from the mind of Mandy Pao.
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Cover image: Jezael Melgoza via Unsplash
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