A startup is a nightmare. There, I said it.
I’ve failed at seven startups and had one successful one. You know what startups did to me? They left me with a giant hole in my head called mental illness. Startup life is the worst life. Thankfully, you don’t need to be a startup founder wearing a t-shirt and buying ping pong tables to impress employees.
Startups are so 2010.
There is a new approach and every one of you reading this can do it. Enter: Andrea Bosoni. We’ve never met, but he broke Twitter with this idea:
I’d much rather have a lifestyle business that makes $10k/month and lets me live my life on my own terms vs a startup that makes $100k/month and requires all of my attention.
Normies like me with backpacks started worshiping Andrea’s advice, as if he’d been named the next holy Dalai Lama. Here’s why you want to start a lifestyle business rather than a startup.
Employees Are a Pain in the Buttocks
It’s like having an office inhabited by terrible two-year-olds. They cry. They want milk for their coffee. They need a bib when they eat their pizza and drink their beer. They want Netflix and chill.
They want napping pods so they can have their afternoon ‘sleepy.’ They have to have a stand-up desk crib. They’ve got to be motivated. You have to bring in experts and hold town halls to keep these children alive and breathing. Oh, and they’re freeloaders. They’ll take everything from you including the startup t-shirt off your back. The minute trouble comes to your startup playground, Whosshhhh. They’re nowhere to be seen.
“I heard they’re running out of capital.”
“Well, I heard the leaders are leaving to do their own startup.”
“I heard sales are dropping. Apparently, the latest product release was full of bugs and now heads are gonna roll, I tell ya!”
They even gossip behind Oprah’s back. Don’t forget the pain in the butt grandparents aka VCs. They want to micromanage you using strategies from decades ago, that come from a centralized way of doing business, not using the revolution of decentralization.
Then there are the accountants. These people in striped suits can make simple math, that you can do on a child’s abacus, look complex. They hold revenue meetings full of graphs that stop the children from watching Sesame Street in the afternoon and cause tears to be shed over “oh no, we’re not going to hit monthly recurring revenue targets this month.”
Whining babies. That’s what employees are. Don’t become a babysitter.
A Startup Daycare Needs All of Your Time
Your startup is a daycare center. You can’t just get up and leave the babies on the street with nowhere to go and expect them to eat, sleep, play, stay safe from creeps, and do stuff on their own. Why?
They’re not you. Nobody runs your startup better than you. You’ve got skin in the game. It’s your vision. It’s your debt. It’s you who loses everything if things go the way of the titanic. The challenge is, a startup is freaking hard.
Hard = A lot of time
To survive as a startup you’ve got to dedicate your life to it. Dedication translates to being away from your family, late nights, not much sleep, flights to see people who refuse to Zoom, daily headaches, customers who demand product enhancements but won’t pay for them, social media warfare against your startup — the list is huge.
You’re trading your time and all of your attention for a unicorn fantasy that has a high chance of never happening. You can’t get the time back that you spend on a startup. You can’t rewind your 20s or 30s that you gave away to a silly startup dream.
Youth is sacred. Don’t trade it for startup failure.
A Startup is the Lottery
Outside of glamorous startup movies like “The Social Network” and tv shows like “Silicon Valley,” what is kept secret is all the startups that failed.
In 2020, 90% of startups failed. 75% of venture-backed startups fail. Under 50% of businesses make it to their fifth year.
Read that again. Why the heck would you want to sign up for almost guaranteed failure? Unless you’ve got the courage of Elon Musk and a bank account to fund the building of rocket ships, it’s not worth it.
Building a startup with employees is the lottery. Building a startup with employees gets you a seat at a casino’s blackjack table.
The uncomfortable truth: You’ve got a statistically better chance of buying bitcoin, holding it for a few years, and making a tonne of money than you do with a startup that gives you an exit followed by a huge payday.
A Startup Is a Glorified Job
You get to be a founder. But it’s just a job title. You get a salary the same as everybody else, except you have perceived ownership.
On paper you own your startup. In reality, those who give you the debt for your startup are the true owners. The debt overlords are your masters. They decide when you eat, sleep, and pee. If you defy them, they overthrow you or pull their money out, leaving you with a bunch of babies who need nappies you can no longer afford to pay for.
Founders are glorified nine-to-fivers.
The Alternative to a Startup Is This (And It Kicks Ass)
Forget startups. They’re love affairs that will leave you heartbroken and get you pregnant with babies who’ll take all of your time and money. Think about business and work as a lifestyle. What lifestyle do you want for yourself?
Andrea says he’d rather make $10,000 a month from a lifestyle business than make $100,000 a month with a startup. I agree.
A lifestyle business has zero employees. It’s a business you build around your lifestyle — not around money, fame or babies. You don’t need to go big. I’ve learned that you can create a lifestyle business with a tiny email list anybody can build, and 40 customers (when you charge higher prices).
It comes down to one thing: how much money you need to get the lifestyle you want? If you want to reach your lifestyle faster, you can simply lower the amount of money you need to make to get there. There are many good lifestyle businesses you can build.
The best lifestyle business I know of is to become a content creator. Content creators learn a skill, create content around the skill, and then earn money from it. The money comes from the content itself and, to oversimplify, teaching. The process looks like this: Free content leads to paid content.
A lifestyle is better than money
Wake up when you want. Go to bed when you want. Report to nobody. Take a sixth-month sabbatical without asking anyone for permission.
The illusion is, you need to make a lot of money to have a good life. You don’t. You don’t crave the allure of $100 bills showering down from up above your bed. You don’t really want to touch the burning hot tires of a Lambo you bought that’s just done a burnout on Hollywood Boulevard.
What you want is a lifestyle. When you break a lifestyle down, it’s not about physical possessions. A lifestyle is a way of life. It’s how you live.
A lifestyle business focuses on how you live — the lifestyle dictates the business, not the other way around.
A lifestyle requires less attention
When the point of your business is to gain access to a lifestyle, you end up with a business that needs less attention. You can do work you actually enjoy based around your passion, rather than work you must do to pay business debt.
The money required to start is minimal
You only need debt to go big. A lifestyle business has no offices. Your home is fine. There’s no commute. There are no employees. Most of all, no enormous bank loans.
A lifestyle business is about going small so you can focus on your lifestyle.
A lifestyle makes you happy
When you focus on building a lifestyle, not a business, you’re happier. You get to spend more time with your family. You get to travel more. You get time to think. You get time away from work. These simple things make you happier.
You smile more when you have purchased a lifestyle.
Investing your money compounds the lifestyle
The money you make from your lifestyle business can then be invested into a diversified portfolio of assets — gold, bitcoin, real estate, stocks. This compounds your lifestyle further by allowing your money to grow so you don’t depend on always having to make more to keep your lifestyle going.
This Is What You’ve Been Searching for Your Entire Life
You really want time to do whatever the heck you want.
A startup or a regular job gives control of your time to someone else. That’s what is really missed. A business you create around a lifestyle that has zero employees allows you to buy your time back.
When you own your time, you are less stressed. With less stress, your quality of life increases. Time to spend how you choose is the purpose of life.
When you have time, you’re a true billionaire. Having time lets you goof off, or follow your curiosity, or experiment, or dedicate yourself to your family, or see parts of the world most people spend their entire lives locked away from in an open plan office with invisible prison bars across the window.
Time to do what you want is a sense of freedom that is better than a startup.