A continuum approach to lifestyle entrepreneurship.
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Recent years have witnessed an increased interest in small independently operated businesses with researchers expressing an interest in the manner in which the independent owner-operator is motivated to enter the market and their subsequent approach to business. Research into these small firms has shown that the owner/operators may create their businesses for a variety of reasons. However an emerging perspective is that not all individuals will actively pursue traditional objectives such as growth and profit maximisation, rather they are increasingly choosing their occupation to suit their ‘style of life’. Lifestyle motivations have thus been recognised in the literature as important stimuli to small business formation. Various research has been undertaken into the lifestyle construct and the impact on the motivations and behaviours of the individual towards the creation and development of smallscale enterprises. This study aims to build on recent work in this area to provide an enhanced understanding of lifestyle theory. This study adopts an interpretivist approach to understand the fundamental meanings attached to lifestyle entrepreneurship in the context of the small business. Bed and Breakfast (B&B) accommodation operations are used as a frame through which to understand the motivations of the individual towards venture creation. This study develops the ideal typifications of Business Orientated Lifestylers, Lifestyle Focused Business Performers and Self Expressive Homemakers to help explain the complex and dynamic range of lifestyle motivations and objectives present, and proposes the model of a continuum to portray these lifestyle business owners as being between low intensity and high intensity lifestyle goals and objectives. It is suggested that the typologies and subsequent lifestyle continuum presented in this study can be used by researchers, policy makers and practitioners to better understand the lifestyle entrepreneur and the environment within which they operate, and further, to support these lifestyle entrepreneurs in the operation of their business.