When you imagine your life as a CEO, what do you envision?
When embarking down the long road of entrepreneurship, the one mistake most newbies make is trying to match their lifestyle to their business model. In actuality, what you should be doing is choosing a business model that matches your target lifestyle!
“But, I’m not sure what that looks like for me…”
There are 3 different lifestyle options you can choose from as an internet company CEO.
Ready to dive in?
The Lifestyle CEO
This CEO in particular annoys most of the Silicon Valley crowd. Why? Because the Lifestyle CEO moves to the beat of their own drum, and doesn’t follow the typical business model so respected and praised in Silicon Valley.
The Lifestyle CEO has set up a company to enable themselves to live the life they want. In the beginning, you work really, really hard; doing most of the work yourself, wearing several hats at the same time, and trying to structure your company in a way that will allow you to work when and how you want in the future.
Your team is usually small, with 30 people or less. You fund your company with revenue gained from customers, versus investors. In fact, most investors won’t be interested in your company because growing quickly is not a top priority.
Your customers like you because you represent their niche, and they feel seen. You are not Wal-Mart, you’re the cute, boutique up the street that greets every customer with a smile and by name. Your customers are loyal because they too believe in the brand.
What’s the trade-off of being a Lifestyle CEO?
The High-Growth CEO
This CEO lives a completely different life to that of the Lifestyle CEO. They have different priorities. The High-Growth CEO spends their days managing senior executives on their team, raising money for the company, and reporting directly to board members and investors.
As a High-Growth CEO you have one mission: grow big, and do it fast! You’ve dedicated so much energy raising money from investors to ensure the scalability of your company.
The agreement you’ve made with your investors is that you will either a) sell the company to another business for as much money as you can or b) take the company public on the stock exchange for as much money as you can. We’re not talking small potatoes here; you want to be a household name, make money and grace the cover of a few magazines.
You work hard, and you’re under a lot of pressure. No pain, no gain, right?
What’s the trade-off of being a High-Growth CEO?
The Sustainable Business CEO
As a Sustainable Business CEO, your goal is to build a business that is positioned for long or medium-term self-sufficiency. Self-sufficiency means that you are profitable, you don’t need investors, and the business does not need the CEO for the day-to-day functions of the company. As CEO, you may even plan to step down someday and hire someone else to take your place.
You spend the majority of your time managing your team, making sure your vision is clear, and carefully expanding your team, albeit at a much slower rate than the High-Growth CEO. Once you’ve got your team in tip-top shape, you focus on the tasks you enjoy doing. You’re in no rush to sell your company or pay investors back if you have any. If you did decide to take on investors, you made sure that your company was profitable first. You pace yourself.
What’s the difference between a Lifestyle CEO and the Sustainable Business CEO?
The Lifestyle CEO is seeking balance of both time & money freedom. Their business may or may not be positioned to be around in 5 years. They may take their profits, and invest them in other businesses and endeavors, then move on to the next project.
What’s the trade-off of being a Sustainable Business CEO?
Let’s talk next steps:
Step 1: Decide which CEO Lifestyle you want.
Step 2: See if the business model you’ve been thinking of fits in with that lifestyle.
Step 3: If you DO NOT have a match, consider adapting your plan so that you can meet the revenue goals necessary to give you the company culture, and lifestyle that you want!