Growth Maven or Lifestyle Guru

I first heard the terms “growth mavens” and “lifestyle gurus” from the book “The Home Office From Hell Cure” by Jeffrey A. Landers. It’s a great book that covers a lot of the mistakes people make when working at home.

Basically there are two kinds of entrepreneurs: growth mavens and lifestyle gurus. The growth maven is the kind of entrepreneur who has the big dream. They have a vision they want to see happen. They’re ambitious and see themselves someday competing with the Fortune 500 companies out of a lush corporate office. They want to employ people from their community and motivate them to push forward with the vision.

Simply put, they wouldn’t be satisfied to “stay small” and stay in their home office. They may start today out of a home office to keep the expenses down, but they have the dream of moving into their office with multiple employees surrounding them and pushing the vision forward.

The lifestyle guru is of a completely different mindset. They have NO desire to have any direct employees (they use outsourced workers only). They also would be happy to never move out of their home office. In addition, they enjoy the work they’re personally doing and don’t ever want to “promote themselves” out of it into managing others.

Talk about a big corporate office and they’ll be sick to their stomachs. That is not a part of their vision or their plan for business. They might not make millions per year but they can earn a very respectable six figure income and possibly even push a little way into the seven figure level. And they’re totally fine with the Bill Gates and Steve Jobs of the world earning more who are willing to take on that corporate responsibility.

Personally, I’m 100% on the lifestyle guru side. I enjoy what I do. I love writing. I love producing videos. And I love coaching clients. Employees – yuck. Just the thought of having them around makes me upset. That’s why I’ve had to learn how to use virtual assistants and technology to grow the business even when I’m not working.

In fact, for a couple of years I felt there was something wrong with me. Everyone else had all these huge visions and these big growth plans. There have been years where my plans were how I was going to slow down the number of clients in one element of my business or sell that portion off to someone else.

By the way, one of the most exciting elements for a lifestyle guru personality is when you can generate royalties, long-term commissions, and passive income coming in from work you’ve done in the past. That’s their bread and butter.

Which Personality Are You?

If you don’t decide which type of entrepreneur you are and build your business accordingly, you can end up building someone else’s dream business. For example, since I’m fully on the lifestyle guru side, having a “growth maven” company would be insanity for me.

If I had to go into an office and be responsible for two dozen employees (even with a professional manager you are still “responsible” in the end) along with working long corporate hours, it would be a nightmare. Even if the company was bringing in $20 million a year, I’d still HATE my life because it’s not me…or what I want.

And along the same lines, what if I took someone who was a clear growth maven and tried to stick them into my home business where I don’t have a single official employee (outsourced workers many of them in foreign countries such as the Philippines)? They’d likely go stir crazy. They wouldn’t feel like they have enough control over the workers, and they wouldn’t feel the company’s vision is “big enough.”

Since I coach entrepreneurs of both types, this was confusing to me at first. I would encourage someone to hire an outsourced worker, but they weren’t happy. They wanted to hire an employee instead (even with all the hassles I see involved there). It surprised me that anyone would choose to have employees, because it’s a radically different personality from me.

Yet I’ve seen the results they get from having employees. With good training they can be MORE productive than the outsourced workers. And they fit the growth maven’s personality and vision. It’s an important lesson. Not everyone is like you…and everyone has their own vision for what they want out of their business.

Don’t let anyone else’s dream for your business cloud your senses…and cause you to build a monster you don’t want. Decide which lifestyle fits you best. Then build your business based on a life you’ll love. Because it’s not just about the money – it’s about the lifestyle you live. And your lifestyle may not be what I want for myself.

Let’s say we time travel 5 or 10 years into the future. Let your imagination run free.

How do you see your company?

Are you still working full-time at home or do you also have an office you possibly go into a couple times a week?

Do you have staff or is everything outsourced?

Are you a well known brand or do you have a smaller number of clients and a good reputation?

Have you built an enduring legacy out of your business or do you simply have consistent creative work with a collection of customers who enjoy what you do?

Most of the time, the growth maven would consider what the lifestyle guru wants as failure. It’s not big enough. It’s not their dream and it’s not affecting/helping enough people. On the other side, the lifestyle guru would give up in frustration or run for the hills if they had to have the corporate structure the growth maven wants to build.

Which one are you…and what type of business is right for you?

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