You’re reading this because you want financial freedom, without creating another “job” for yourself.
Am I right?
If not, then you might be a little lost and it was nice meeting you.
If I am right though…
Then you’re in the right place.
Let’s be honest, if you have a desire to build a lifestyle business, you’re looking for FU money.
You know what I’m talking about. The kind of income where you can tell your boss, FU, and walk away without feeling the least bit anxious.
Because you’ve built a lifestyle business giving you freedom. One with flexibility and zero stress (well, maybe just a little, but good stress!). One where you have full control, and you answer only to yourself. One where you can finally pursue a fulfilled and meaningful life.
That’s what I’m talking about. Freedom.
In this article, you’re going to receive the best information on everything lifestyle business. What it is, ideas and examples, and (most importantly) how to start one right now.
Warning: This isn’t going to be easy. In fact, building a business is downright hard. This article will teach you as much as possible to help get you there, but you will need to roll up your sleeves and do the work. There’s no getting around paying the tax of success.
Let’s get started.
What Is A Lifestyle Business?
A lifestyle business is a side hustle with systems (you do have a side hustle right??).
Officially the definition of a lifestyle business is: “A business 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.”
The point of a lifestyle business is to build a sustainable system generating cash flow to help fund your life.
It can be an ecommerce store, a blog, a podcast, or an Instagram page. There are hundreds of ideas you can implement right now to build a lifestyle business.
The key is that it provides you with the ability to enjoy your current lifestyle. You could have a full time career and have a lifestyle business.
Fun fact: that’s my situation right now. I’m currently building and scaling sales teams while letting my lifestyle business pay for my bills. I get to pocket the difference!
That’s also why I emphasized earlier the “systems” piece to this equation.
Enjoyment and ease of use is an important aspect of a lifestyle business. You don’t want to focus too much of your time and energy on it because then it would just become a start-up (more on this in a moment).
You’ll spend a bunch of energy in the beginning getting everything built, and once done you’ll spend maybe 10 hours a week on it maintaining the system.
That sounds like a good deal!
Here’s some typical features of a lifestyle business:
- There’s a sole owner with online virtual assistants as team members.
- Growth is NOT the number 1 objective.
- Usually no outside investors.
- There’s usually no exit plan to sell the company.
Not what they normally recommend when getting your MBA, right?
That’s the counter-intuitive aspect of a lifestyle business. Being comfortable with a set amount of revenue, and keeping it steady from there.
That leads to the next key question though…
Lifestyle Business vs. Start Up – What’s The Difference?
Technically, they’re the same thing. They’re both businesses generating revenue by providing products or services to the market.
They’re two completely different ideologies. Which makes them complete opposites.
I know I’m being vague(ish), so let me explain.
The difference between the two boils down to answering this one question: “What is the definition of success?”
With a start up, the primary objective is to build and scale a business as quickly as possible to provide an oversized return on investment for the initial investors.
That’s literally the definition of success for a start up. You will have shark-like investors holding your feet to the fire forcing you to grow, or you’re kicked out. Plain and simple.
A lifestyle business is different. You’re not taxed with needing to exit for millions. In fact, you’re not going to be required to answer to anyone considering the trajectory of your company. You could keep it making five figures without a care in the world.
At the end of the day, you would only be responsible for only yourself.
Here’s a quick snapshot of differences between the two:
- Growth Focused (to the moon or bust)
- Rapid Scale (you’ll be hiring large teams in every function)
- High Risk (you’re swinging for a home run exit payout)
- No Autonomy (you’ve created another 9-5 job with double the stress)
- Answer To Investors (you’ll constantly be answering to investors who will never stop hounding you about growth)
- Focused On Financial Freedom (you’re building a business to pay for your living expenses only)
- Usually A Solopreneur (who has a team of freelance virtual assistants to help with operations)
- Low Risk (usually able to start with a laptop and elbow grease)
- Full Control (you’re not required to answer to anyone but yourself)
Lifestyle Business Ideas & Examples
Any business model can become a lifestyle business. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s more about mindset than an actual “business model.”
Usually I find a lifestyle business is a side hustle with systems. I know I’ve said this earlier, but it often rings true with my experience so far.
Sure, you can create a software company, and it could still be considered a lifestyle business. In fact, it generally is one of the best ways to quickly monetize your time!
In this section I’m going to present the three most common lifestyle businesses you can start. I picked these because it’s what I’ve found most often when I spoke with my peers about their businesses.
“Blogging is dead.” – every affiliate marketer ever.
I can tell you with certainty. Blogging is not dead. It’s more alive and thriving than ever before. You just can’t do spammy blackhat SEO thinking you’ll rank your website in 30 days for ridiculously difficult keywords.
Want another reason why “gurus” will tell you it’s dead? They don’t want you stepping in their turf.
It’s an open secret that Google organic search traffic is the best traffic you can get. It beats Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all the other social networks combined.
The competition is getting fierce for every niche. You’re going to be building your website authority for a long time (think about 8 months plus) before you start getting any meaningful feedback.
There’s only 10 spots (really 3) on Google and everyone’s competing for a piece of that pie.
Does it mean you can’t do it, even as a new blogger?
Let me give you a quick look at what I see when it comes to blogging and the opportunity in front of you. We’re going to do a quick run through of an interesting niche: “Ping Pong.”
Take a look at this:
The keyword term: “best ping pong paddle” gets almost 3,000 searches every month, and nearly everyone clicks into the SERPs provided by Google. The keyword difficulty is easy, which means a young and immature site can quickly rank for this term and make a good deal of money!
Here’s what I mean:
The number 1 spot search result only has a Domain Rating (DR) of 16. This is a very low domain rating to compete number 1, and it also means the blog is probably less then a year old.
This page alone is most likely making the owner of the blog anywhere from $500-$1,000 every month.
How do I know this?
Because I looked into the site and I found that this individual has affiliate links through Amazon Associates which means they get a commission everytime someone clicks on the link and makes a purchase.
The best part?
You don’t need to touch the page once it’s live and ranking. You basically need to spruce it up every quarter for 2 hours and you’re good to go.
That’s the power of blogging, even with a very specific hobby niche.
You can pick anything to start, but I highly recommend you choose a niche within the big 3 (health, wealth, relationships). Those are evergreen and it’s a great place for new bloggers.
This is how I got my start.
Back in 2015 I turned to a website called oDesk (now called Upwork) and started selling my services online.
In fact, I started out doing transcription services for business meetings, until I learned about the world of content marketing and blogging.
You most likely have a skill you can sell online. In fact, there are literally hundreds of consulting services you can offer on Upwork. Graphic design, video editing, copywriting, front end web development, financial modeling, and much more.
Whatever your skill is, start selling it online as a freelancer.
Ahh the holy grail of lifestyle businesses. Selling products online without handling fulfillment.
Sounds too good to be true?
Then you haven’t heard of FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon).
FBA allows you to leverage Amazon’s network for distribution to get your product into the hands of hungry customers. It’s one of the best ways to create a legit product company. Amazon will warehouse your products, fulfill the orders, and on occasion provide customer service.
This allows you to focus on finding products and sourcing them, while the logistics part is handled via Amazon.
Here’s a cool graphic to help explain:
Be warned: It does take a sizable chunk of cash to get started. You’re looking at often $20k-$50k to get your products built and advertised to the market.
How To Start A Lifestyle Business
I called and researched dozens of lifestyle entrepreneurs to get their take on how they started their businesses.
In this section I’ve boiled it down to five steps you can take right now to get started.
Step 1: Take An Assessment Of Your Current Situation
One of the most consistent responses I heard from when researching this post was: “Make sure you can afford to start the business.”
If you only have $5,000 in your bank account right now, you shouldn’t start a blog or ecommerce business. Freelance consulting would be your best path.
Because you need money, like right now. The last thing you’ll want is to spend a lot of time building something, only to make expensive mistakes that put you in a worse situation.
That’s why I only gave you 3 of the best lifestyle business examples above. Each has their individual pros and cons for you to get started with.
- What can I afford to do right now?
- What skills do I currently have that I can leverage?
- What business example offers the highest probability of success given my current situation?
Once done, move onto the second step.
Step 2: Find A Problem To Solve
There are two maxims I like to live by:
- There are endless problems
- All problems can be solved
Your job as an entrepreneur is to find problems and solve them. You don’t want to spend your time building a product you think people will like or need, without actually knowing if they have a problem you can solve.
Guru’s will often tell you to go after demand for your business. What they’re really trying to say is: “target the insecurities.”
Insecurity is the reason people buy. One of my favorites is FOMO (fear of missing out). That’s why I love selling information products, because in my opinion high quality information is valuable.
Think about it.
Why do women buy makeup? Because they’re insecure about their looks.
Why do men buy forex courses? Because they’re insecure about their finances.
Here’s a good personal example: I live in Austin, TX. We just had the worst snowstorm the entire state has ever experienced this year (2021). We lost power for about a week straight. All our food went bad and I was severely underprepared. I’ve never felt so frustrated with myself for not having a prep kit. I’m insecure about not being able to protect my family correctly. I’m now in the process of getting into the survival niche and building prep kits, shooting, etc.
Insecurity is everywhere, you just have to tap into it.
Step 3: Build A Lead Generation Channel
If you have a problem to solve, you’re already further than 99% of beginning entrepreneurs.
Now you need a way to bring traffic.
I’ve written a pretty comprehensive article on lead generation here which can provide clarity.
The quick and dirty to creating a lead generation channel is…
Outbound Lead Generation
This works really well for consulting services.
Outbound lead generation consists of activities like:
- Email outreach
- LinkedIn Prospecting
- Cold Calling
This is basically a way for you to stand from the rooftop shouting: “I’m here to help!”
It’s an incredibly effective channel and is much cheaper compared to inbound strategies.
You’re going to get rejected. A lot.
If you have thick skin (you should be learning sales anyways!) then you’ll be fine.
Inbound Lead Generation
I love this kind of lead generation.
The clients come to you! In fact, you’ve created a way to attract the highest quality people to your services in the first place.
Here are the main activities for inbound lead generation:
- Content Marketing
I’ve already provided a good idea about how blogging works with the example above.
That’s also SEO, or search engine optimization, which is where you build a website with the goal and intention of getting it to rank for you.
Basically when people search for a keyword you’re targeting, you appear in the organic search result.
Not to get meta, but that’s exactly how you got here.
If you need additional help, shoot me an email and I’ll give you extra tips!
Step 4: Build Systems & Scale
I heard a great quote: “If you can’t leave your business for a month and return to it working, you have an expensive job.”
That’s what I think of a lifestyle business. Being able to leave for a month, and have it still produce income for you while you sleep.
It all starts with systems.
Creating standard operating procedures, checklists, and other documentation so your virtual assistants can follow them.
Executive Summary: Lifestyle Business – The Holy Grail Of A Side Hustle
Hopefully this guide provided you with a great starting point for understanding a lifestyle business, and why it’s so important to create one.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or reach out!