It's the best option for those with an entrepreneurial flair and a desire to live life to the full, says Lauren Razavi.
When I graduated from university last year, the traditional job market had little to offer me. My ambition to both work in the media – a highly competitive industry – and travel as much as possible made getting my dream job unlikely. I realised that well-crafted covering letters and recruitment agency recommendations just weren't going to set me on the path to doing what I really wanted.
Friends and family suggested I should start my own business. But the idea of securing bank loans, taking on ridiculous hours initially, and being somebody's boss at the age of 22 didn't hold much appeal. What I wanted was the freedom to pursue interesting ventures, to manage my own trajectory, and to be able to travel and earn at the same time.
So, instead of pursuing the traditional graduate route of employment or start-up, I started what's known as a "lifestyle business". My business involves a combination of writing, teaching and managing a band, and allows me a flexible lifestyle and the ability to travel and work.
After a year of lifestyle entrepreneurship, I firmly believe it's the best option for those with an entrepreneurial flair and a desire to live life to the full.
So what exactly is a lifestyle business? The concept is simple: a lifestyle business is a business in which you are the sole employee, you make a reasonable living, and you have the freedom to do all the things you want, when you want. Rather than simply being self-employed, a lifestyle business is about working in a way that sustains the lifestyle you want – whether that's having more time to play with your children or being able to travel the world and sustain yourself.
And in terms of the work that you choose to do, it can be just about anything: from selling an eBook on bartending to teaching children to knit. Just about any skill, talent or interest can be turned into a money-maker with a bit of creative thinking.
Use all your talents and interests
A lifestyle business gives you the freedom to work on the projects you want to work on, even if they're extremely varied. All of your passions and interests can be utilised and monetised as part of a lifestyle business – a considerable difference from the focused affair of starting a traditional business.
Startups are risky business
For every startup that becomes Facebook, there are hundreds that fail completely or make just enough get by. The level of pressure and commitment involved with building a company from the ground up is intense, whereas lifestyle businesses focus on the individual and usually involve few overhead costs.
The 9-5 structure
The grind of working 9-5 has become a mainstay of modern British society. When starting a new business, you're usually working many more hours than that to end up in a position where you can work 9-5. But is that really what you want? In a lifestyle business, you have the freedom to choose your working hours, and do as little or as much work as you want day-to-day or week-to-week, right from the offset.
As well as a flexible schedule, there is also flexibility in terms of where you are based. Lifestyle entrepreneurs generally don't have offices, and can easily work from home or on the road while travelling. A Wi-Fi connection and a mobile phone is all you need to work remotely – that, and an app that keeps track of time zones.
Traditional business models generally require a lot of hard grafting before you ever turn a profit. In a lifestyle business, the aim is to be making a living for yourself, of the amount you choose, from the very beginning. There'll still be hard-grafting while you establish a client base and market your wares, but it's possible to start making money significantly quicker than in a start-up model.