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What is Lifestyle Entrepreneurship? How is it Different From the Usual Entrepreneurship?


Hi! In this episode we’ll be talking about what is lifestyle entrepreneurship and how is it different from the usual entrepreneurship. Lifestyle entrepreneurship is something that is relatively new especially in India. In the US, it is very popular nowadays. So I am going to be talking about what it is and what are the differences. I am going to be telling you about 10 to 11 differences between lifestyle entrepreneurship and the usual way that we know what entrepreneurship is.


The definition of lifestyle entrepreneurship is that a lifestyle entrepreneur starts a business not with the sole purpose of making a profit. A lifestyle entrepreneur, as the name suggests, does so because he or she wants to lead a particular type of lifestyle or a particular type of life. It is their hope that doing business will enable them to lead a certain type of lifestyle even if they are not making too much money doing it. We are going to be looking at a few differences.


One example which shows that it is relatively new and unheard in India is because I was at a networking event. I actually hate that word networking. I was just at an event where there are a lot of people and you just talk to them and exchange your ideas and views. I was at one of these events and I hardly go to these but I did once.


I was just talking to a guy and I just wanted to see what their reaction will be when they ask me what do you do and I say that I am a lifestyle entrepreneur. So I did that and the guy whom I was talking to, the first thing he asked me is, ‘Oh that’s great. So where is your store?’ What he thought was that lifestyle entrepreneur means that I have a business which is in the segment of lifestyle like clothing and all so he naturally asked me what kind of a store do you have and where is your store. I was like ‘Oh great. This is not very popular in India.’


I am going to be telling you about some differences. I have already told you what it kind of means generally but once you listen to these differences between lifestyle entrepreneurship and usual entrepreneurship it will start to become more clear to you. With the advent of Internet, especially social media, lifestyle entrepreneurship is becoming very popular. I see a lot of friends of mine take this approach. What are the differences?


The first difference is that when it comes to money versus freedom. The usual entrepreneur normally is very concerned about making a profit and they do most of the things with keeping the bottom line in mind. Bottom line is very important just like in any other business. But for a lifestyle entrepreneur, even though, of course they have to make a profit to sustain the business, it is not that important. What is more important is the value of freedom.


So a lifestyle entrepreneur does everything for the value of freedom. That is, they don’t want to be under someone. They don’t want to be under some kind of a boss or they don’t want to be following some kind of rules and they want a free lifestyle. They want to wake up at whatever time they want. They want to go to sleep at whatever time they want and stuff like that. They want to have their lifestyle exactly like they want to lead. So they develop a business which can facilitate that lifestyle.


The second difference is when it comes to setup. A normal entrepreneur usually will have a team around him and a lifestyle entrepreneur usually will go solo. A normal entrepreneur is very good at delegating stuff which they are not good at doing themselves. A lifestyle entrepreneur prefers to do everything on their own. So they just don’t trust people to do a job very well.


Secondly, they don’t want the headache of having employees or anyone on contract. So they can get a few odd jobs here and there on contract but normally they would like to keep doing things by themselves. In fact, there is a new word which is coming up which is very popular these days called as solopreneur. These are lifestyle entrepreneurs. Solopreneur basically means that you are just a solo entrepreneur; you are a one man army or one man show in the business.


We are going on to the third difference now. Because a lifestyle entrepreneur tries to do everything himself, the problem is that usually lifestyle entrepreneurs will start very small. They will start with whatever is working. They will just go on, it doesn’t matter how small it is. But a normal entrepreneur would probably be getting some kind of a funding before they start because their idea is really big. May be they are coming up with a product or service which requires lot of investment. Lifestyle entrepreneurs on the other hand prefer their businesses to be bootstrapped. That is, they just fund their own businesses and they are pretty happy with that. So they start small.


The next point is when it comes to planning. Usual entrepreneur will have everything planned to tee. Ok, I am not saying all of them. I am just talking here on averages. So, planning is very important because if you have a team, if you have a whole setup, if you are liable to the people who have funded you, of course you need to have a business plan. A lifestyle entrepreneur just acts out of whim. They do whatever the hell they want! And they are just hoping that it will work and so they are pretty spontaneous when it comes to running a business.


This actually leads to the next difference which is flexibility. When it comes to flexibility a usual entrepreneur is usually not very flexible. They cannot afford to because they have people whom they are responsible towards. So they cannot just divert their plans whenever they wish. They need to really stick to whatever they have decided. But a lifestyle entrepreneur, because they are doing their things themselves, they can keep changing their direction wherever they want. It happens a lot.


For example, in my case I am doing this podcast thing and I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. I am just doing it because I like it. I just like talking and I just like sharing my experiences. Soon I am going to be having interviews on this podcast. I am just doing this because I like it. Whether it will work, how I will make money from it, I have absolutely no clue! Though I am doing a little bit of a podcasting course and all but nothing is sure here. That’s how we work. You just take a decision, you try it. If it doesn’t work you throw it out and then you try something new. We can do that because we do not have too many responsibilities.


Another difference is that a usual entrepreneur will normally be working from an office. So they will have this whole startup scenario around them. You must have seen them in little offices where people are working. On the other hand, a lifestyle entrepreneur will just work from anywhere; a coffee shop, home or any kind of place which gives them the environment to work. For example, if they need Internet and laptop to work, a café with Wifi works just fine.


Next point is that a usual entrepreneur is normally not very selfish. By that I mean that they always don’t take decisions with themselves in mind. So they will be thinking about a lot of other things such as their customers, their team members and the people who funded them etc. But of course they have to. But a lifestyle entrepreneur takes every step very selfishly. So every step that a lifestyle entrepreneur takes is completely with a point of view that it should lead them towards what they desire, towards what they want their lifestyle to be.


The next point is that the usual entrepreneurs are creating a machine. So they are creating a whole system. They really want to own that system. They will not have any other way. But a lifestyle entrepreneur is very happy to be part of the machine. So let me give you an example. Let’s say that if you are a lifestyle entrepreneur and let’s say that you are into teaching yoga. You just run a small yoga class and you are teaching yoga. Now if you are a usual entrepreneur, you would want to build a yoga empire. But a lifestyle entrepreneur will be very happy to be a part of someone else’s empire as long as they are just doing whatever they are good at. They usually fit into other people’s system. They are not really attached to this whole idea of entrepreneurship. They are just doing it because they just want to do what they like to do. Whether they are a part of someone else’s system or not does not bother them and does not affect their ego. But usual entrepreneurs are very attached to entrepreneurship. So for them the thought of working for someone else is just completely not thinkable at all.


Another point which is actually in favor of usual entrepreneurs is that if you start everything in a nice way and if you have a team and setup, you are very professional in how you conduct things. You will have timings for your team members to work; just like a normal office. You are the boss now. But a lifestyle entrepreneur can be, at times, a bit lousy in their work. They can really slightly unprofessional.


That’s something I see in lifestyle entrepreneurs a lot and it is something I still struggle with. It is something that has to be rectified pretty soon if you want to be a lifestyle entrepreneur. Whatever you do, that’s fine that you want freedom, but it has to be really professional no matter how small it is.


Another point which is similar to this is because everything is professional and the usual entrepreneur has all the resources, their businesses are usually very scalable.


That means they can cater to a lot of customers. So if they witness a growth in demand they don’t necessarily have to see an increase in overheads. They can really handle a lot of customers together because they have the resources to do that. One of the biggest struggles of a lifestyle entrepreneur is how to make your business scalable. The problem is that if you as a lifestyle entrepreneur try to take more responsibility, you are actually sacrificing one of your main values which is freedom.


Because any time you go towards making your business scalable, that means you will have to share responsibility. You will have to delegate things to other people and that is where you start to lose your freedom. So this is always a forever battle or a dilemma that a lifestyle entrepreneur faces. Should I scale my business or should I just maintain my freedom? Because if you don’t scale, you don’t earn too much. Can I be happy with whatever I am earning and slowly take things forward?


The next difference is that a normal entrepreneur doesn’t only rely on online marketing. They can be using all sorts of marketing. They will be involved in B2B marketing also. A lifestyle entrepreneur on the other hand has so no other option but to use online marketing. Why? Because it is just cheap. It is cheaper than other means of advertising and marketing. Usually all the lifestyle entrepreneurs you see nowadays get the majority of their work done online.


These are some of the differences. As you can see if you go back to our original definition, a lifestyle entrepreneur takes into account himself first and it is all about them. And then they figure out a way to give value to the customer. Whereas a normal entrepreneur just functions like how normal business is supposed to work and they will have everything planned; even if it comes to the expense of their own freedom. They are ready to sacrifice that. They have a big profit in the future in mind. The lifestyle entrepreneur is not really thinking about the future too much.


I hope you got a fair idea of how it works. Now, which is better? The answer to that depends on you. What kind of a person are you? In my experience, what I have seen is that usually lifestyle entrepreneurship is taken upon by people who are slightly rebellious in nature. Now all entrepreneurs are rebels but lifestyle entrepreneurs are slightly bigger rebels.


They are artists, they are normally very creative people who just don’t get along too well with other people and they want complete autonomy over what they do. They just want complete control and because of that they just can sacrifice many other things that could make their business grow. So which is better completely depends on you.


Also, another thing that I would like to mention is that just because you choose one thing doesn’t mean that you have to stick by it.


For example, Pat Flynn who runs a website called as www.smartpassiveincome.com earns like a crazy amount of money even though he is a lifestyle entrepreneur. But of course he has a whole team working with him. So I am sure, though I don’t know him personally, that he is not completely free. He must be having a lot of responsibilities.


But the point is that if you are a lifestyle entrepreneur and when things are working for you, you can of course take that added responsibility and then jump into proper entrepreneurship. It is not like you just choose something and that’s it. You can always do that. In fact, I actually advice people to do that because when you start small you at least find something that is working.


A lot of times what I see with normal entrepreneurs is that they jump into something but it might not work out in the end. Because they are starting big so the risk is bigger. So with lifestyle entrepreneur, one advantage you can have is that you can start small so your risk is small. Once things start working, you kind of get motivated to take that additional responsibility and you might just feel happy doing it.


I hope you like this podcast. I will be doing other podcasts too and I will be having some interviews of lifestyle entrepreneurs that I know. We will also be going down in one of the podcasts which we will be covering very soon. We will be going into the deep and inner psychology of a lifestyle entrepreneur. What makes some people really go into this type of a business where they want to have this freedom? We will be looking deep into their minds and trying to figure this thing out. I hope you like this podcast, thanks for listening. I will see you in another episode. Bye for now.

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