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By Christoph Ono, builder at GBKS, and tweetable at @GBKS.

A boutique lifestyle business



Defined as a small business, department, etc., specializing in one aspect of a larger industry or a small, exclusive business offering customized services.

Lifestyle business

A business that is set up and run by its founders primarily with the aim of sustaining a particular level of income and no more; or to provide a foundation from which to enjoy a particular lifestyle. In conventional business terms, lifestyle businesses typically have limited scalability and potential for growth because such growth would destroy the lifestyle for which their owner-managers set them up. However, lifestyle businessess can and do win awards and provide satisfaction to their owners and customers. These are firms that depend heavily on founder skills, personality, energy, and contacts. Often their founders create them to exercise personal talent or skills, achieve a flexible schedule, work with other family members, remain in a desired geographic area, or simply to express themselves.

This is what I am trying to achieve

I spent seven years in the world of interactive agencies, helping big companies like CNN, MTV, Nintendo, Porsche, EA, Ford and others. Before that, I spent the last 1.5 years of my time in college, building an online-mindmapping tool. I would have loved to continue that route, but my status as a foreigner did not allow me to start my own company. Now, with a greencard, I can get back to that. And now that I can choose my path, I am trying to create a boutique lifestyle business around online services. This path promises a balance of work and family life, as well as the satisfaction of creating something outstanding for me and a great service or product for users and customers.

Less, but better, as Dieter Rams famously stated.