The click-grabbing headlines about startup world next door heroes remind us each day of their motivation, sacrifice and devotion needed to achieve a higher goal. Even though this part is very praiseworthy, what often worries me is the sustainability of these stories.
Let’s compare it to the industrial revolution and the sustainability of the idea on the global level. The industrial revolution had a huge positive impact on the population growth, life standard increase and medical improvements, but on the other hand it also impacted the fossil fuels usage, waste increase and pollution. Unfortunately, it took more than 200 years for someone to speak publicly about the long term consequences of that kind of behavior on the environment, animals and people. Rachel Carson released the book ‘Silent Spring,’ launching a lot of questions about how our life is organized today.
Unlike startups, that have a goal of increasing company’s worth and return on investment to the owner or investor in the future on the expense of the lives of the owner and employees, the sustainable lifestyle business is based on enabling the quality of life to the owner in this moment.
There are many benefits of living in the moment as opposed to running for the future and this is in the core of of the lifestyle business. So let’s see what does this type of business really means. For starters, everyone is creating their own story, so for some it means the mobility and working from home, while for some it means being independent and making their own decisions in everyday work and life. This type of business is mostly a one-man-show that employs external contractors when needed, thus additionally keeping the independence. Of course there are bigger systems that have accepted this as their sustainable mission as well. In a way this type of business is pushing you to become a modern day renaissance man that will be able to control all the aspects of his own business, but at the same time strategically deciding when to use external contractors workforce.
All of this brings the owner much more responsibility, but the motivation for sustaining a lifestyle that someone is living at the moment is much greater than the motivation for potentially achieving a goal in the future, especially if the goal is solely financial.
If this way of thinking is planted in a startup and they are taking care of the humane values as well as the business ones, I am sure that they have a great deal of benefit from that – unfortunately the culture of the startup world is usually the total opposite of the sustainable lifestyle business culture.
This topic is very popular among the world renown entrepreneurs and authors such as Tim Ferris’es Four Hour Workweek and Pat Flynn’s The Smart Passive Income, I believe that we will be hearing more and more of these stories that have a goal of sustaining the lifestyle and balance with work that someone wants in the long run. At the same time I truly believe that we can expect a greater economic impact of these micro activities, in the same way that, not such a long time ago, we watched the growing influence of startups in comparison to the big corporate players.