“Lifestyle entrepreneurship” or the triumph of hyper-individualism in the economy?

The news had gone almost unnoticed in 2014: the publication of a book with an attractive title, as there is so much in management: Entrepreneurial lifestyle. This information would have remained in the non-event phase if it had not caused for more than two years a series of advices on the subject (2), debates, often stormy, on the spread of the economy, auto distribution. -enter status; dissemination of evidence by entrepreneurs claiming to earn a (good) life by working (little) and in heavenly places (islands, mountains); or, in another register, the increase in movements like that of mompreneursthese women who claim to reconcile as much as possible an entrepreneurial life – often with a salary – and the upbringing of children.

what is it lifestyle ventures ? What should we think about this “new” type of venture? Can he keep his promises?

Work to live, not the other way around!

Jesse Krieger, the inventor of the concept of entrepreneurial lifestyledefines this way of entrepreneurship as the capacity of an individual to organize his work according to his way of life, thanks to the digital economy.

  • Take the case of Lesley. She runs a web design business for small clients and nonprofits in the United States. The activity is going quite well with about 10 employees and about 100 loyal customers. Originality? Lesley lives and works in France while traveling to the United States when needed. Thus she was able to pursue her husband in professional retraining by discovering Europe, the choice of family. She takes care, together with her husband, of their two daughters for a part of the day, while conducting her activity during the day and especially in the evening.

  • A second example is that of copy editors, those people who speak a perfect language – most often English – and take over the texts of scholars, journalists, etc. before publication. Mine was located in Greece. He organized his daily schedule according to the wishes of the day, while the work to be done was broadcast within the given deadlines.

  • The last case, the argument presented by Uber: the driver himself determines his work schedule on the platform and chooses his place of intervention.

This is, in my opinion, the best illustration of entrepreneurship lifestyle (I have not found a French equivalent without making a long paraphrase): the creator of the company adapts his professional activity to the life he wants to do (and not the other way around). This organization includes a choice of geographical location (often from home), but also working hours (away from 9 am to 6 pm, excluding weekends and public holidays).

of lifestyle ventures and changes in the employment relationship

As modern as the concept may seem, he lifestyle ventures it is not a new practice. What is innovative is that the practice, previously limited to certain professions (ski instructor, medical specialist), for some types of people (the consultant who loves freedom and escape, the couple who “leaves” everything and creates a bedtime activity with breakfast in a more or less heavenly place), he tends to spread and convey a new relationship with work, which, in my opinion, is based on three observations:

  • Paid work is not perceived as a constraint, but it makes sense for the entrepreneur. We are not in the “I do a minimum of work and my real life is somewhere else” approach. The entrepreneur realizes himself in this activity. It makes sense to him even if the nature of the meaning remains specific to each. It could be a job for which someone has experience and practice or a marketed product of which it arouses interest. It can also be a job that refers to the exercise of a passion that one wants to transmit or share – the case of skiing. In some cases she encounters, the profession practiced makes real sense: Lesley believes that her goal is to help society, ie the choice of its clients.

  • This rewarding work is combined and subjected to another work that, taken together, constitutes the identity of the individual. The work done is not the only means of self-realization, as was often caricatured in the 1980s: Today’s Golden Boy no longer lives for his work, but for the reconciliation between this paid work and another type of work (the practice of an art, a sport or household chores). The sign of the combination of work, the very place of their exercise is the house.

  • Pose e entrepreneurial lifestyle is very selfish. If Lesley’s case is not extraordinary, he is far from being the majority: entrepreneurial lifestyle creates few jobs. We are sometimes in an approach to antipodes of social entrepreneurship, the purpose of which is to contribute to the improvement of a part of society, or even an approach of the type “Entrepreneurs Network”, which is based on the balance between economic success and that economic and economic. sharing the value created by job creation.

We live above all for ourselves and our loved ones. It is all about ensuring the necessary income by removing the excess, ie restrictions on employment, management of concluded contracts. of entrepreneurial lifestyle favors short-term or medium-term partnerships with other freelancers instead of payroll contracts.

Among other things, this statement seems to me the most distinctive: it testifies to a distrust of the paid world, but also of society as a whole, which imposes temporal and spatial constraints, or the lack of self-realization and precarious work. contract. It testifies to a new way of living together in a hyperindividualistic approach, in which the individual-entrepreneur constantly reflects on his skills, on the work he can offer and progress, on the road, on his well-being and that of those surround. ai ..

Rejection of a stagnant and insecure capitalism

Presented as such, this practice is both idyllic (the individual does what he wants and “finally” frees himself from the restriction of work to live) and potentially punishable on a moral level for some (one is part of an individualistic approach ). The examples mentioned are the same success story can not hide my last observation.

In effect, of lifestyle ventures can turn out to be a real nightmare … If customers are not there, paid activity does not exist; if the income generated does not allow us to live and even less to afford a minimum social protection; if secondary activities do not exist because the individual is exhausted at work…

These cases represent more than 50% of the interviews I do with these entrepreneurs … In most cases, these situations are due to an unforeseen turn of the economic situation or a bad economic model, sometimes by an intelligent individual . but poorly equipped to operate alone, even on a network…

“Lifestyle entrepreneurship” is a symptom of a way of thinking where everything depends on the individual and his ability to achieve his own, perhaps with random help or the network. However, there is still venture, which is based on an activity building process adding two challenges: changes in time and place units. Therefore, its proper realization implies, like any entrepreneurial approach, a practice, ie an association.

However, it expresses the desire of those who commit to break away from a company that they perceive as too restrictive for the missions to be performed, but also for the working methods. If the whole brain of society decides to no longer adhere to the logic of what some scholars call “flexible constraint”, managers of companies with traditional structures will have to consider a renewal of their practices to maintain them.

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