In a tribe, not everyone can be a chief. In a big corporation not everyone can be a manager. And in business it is not possible for every entrepreneur to become a millionaire. And not everyone with their own business wants to be the next Richard Branson or Anita Roddick. For many they just want to earn a decent income, on their own terms. However more and more I am seeing this ‘working to live’ philosophy referred to condescendingly as a ‘lifestyle’ business. And quite frankly it’s getting on my nerves.
It particularly riles me when this ‘lifestyle’ label is given to a mum, who is running a business selling a product or service. Just because she is happy at a modest level of income doesn’t mean she isn’t running a ‘proper’ business. Quite simply, no-one else has the right to judge. Not all self-employed men want to be the next Duncan Bannatyne either – there are millions of self-employed men who work to put food on the table and not to change the world. I don’t see people criticising them for their lack of ambition?
Mums may start a home business for all sorts of reasons – so they can spend more time with their children, to avoid paying expensive childcare, because they can’t drive, to make sure they are always around for the school run and important occasions at school, because they have elderly relatives or sick children to care for, or simply as a lifestyle choice. They are no less committed or driven than their more ambitious peers.
Businesses exist on so many levels and turnover is not the be all and end all. It is widely accepted that most businesses won’t see a profit in the first 1-2 years of trading, particularly when bringing a product to market. This is not to say though, that when they hit years 3, 4 or 5 that their income won’t soar! Which is why awards like the MumpreneurUK Awards and the mumandworking awards, which reward great ideas, personal achievement and growth, are so refreshing and provide such a boost to the confidence and commitment of businessmums at all levels.
What are your views on ‘lifestyle’ businesses? Do you work to live or live to work? Leave a comment and join the debate.