Lifestyle Business: Liberate Yourself From the 9 to 5
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It sounds really exciting to escape the employer-work grind, right? Sadly, that’s a freedom most people consider too hard to accomplish—or impossible.
But these days the workforce is surrounded by outside-the-box thinkers. You’d be surprised at how many options there are to support your lifestyle without sacrificing your soul.
A lifestyle business is an entrepreneurial venture that doesn’t rely on public funding and has the primary purpose of providing an income that serves the lifestyle preferences and values of the owner. It’s frequently related to a person’s passions and talents.
For example, a painter might hire themselves out to create murals for homeowners or local companies. Or a graphic designer could center their business around logos and graphic design for websites.
People who are tax specialists and accountants could hire their services to the thousands of online business owners who need their expertise. The options are endless.
Lifestyle vs. Growth Business
You’re probably wondering what makes lifestyle businesses different from any other entrepreneurial venture. The terminology seems so specific. And it is, nowadays.
(Funny enough, I discovered that I’ve been a lifestyle business owner for a hot minute. Who knew there was an exact name for a business that earns just what you need.)
- Has a focus on providing enough income to maintain a desired way of living.
- Often a small business that’s not looking to become a huge money-earner.
- Prioritizes work-life balance over most other goals.
- This type of entrepreneur values time and quality of life over wealth.
- Many of these businesses are based upon hobbies, passions, or the talents of the owners.
- As the name implies, a major component is business growth and earning potential.
- These businesses are built to scale and that’s the main goal.
- Wealth-building is often a priority for these business owners; many want early retirement.
- The desired standard of living can be a bit more affluent, but not always.
- A growth business often requires long hours as well as managing a team of workers.
Lifestyle Business Ideas
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of ideas for a lifestyle business. There are honestly as many options as there are talents.
Take a peek at these in-person and online business choices to get those creative juices flowing.
Evaluate what you love, your talents, and things that wouldn’t bore you to tears for years to come—and I’m sure you’ll find some great ideas.
- Gourmet taco truck
- Traveling barista bar
- Surf instructor
- Local moving company
- Carpenter work
- Home staging
- Online entrepreneur
- Business coaching
- Accountant (in person or online)
- Dog grooming/walking
Though many lifestyle entrepreneurs prefer to be location independent, that’s not a requirement. Not everyone is cut out to be a nomad.
For some, the joy of more family time—or relocating closer to family—creates the passion for starting a lifestyle business which liberates your work life.
Lifestyle Business Advantages and Disadvantages
As a lifestyle entrepreneur myself (a writer and niche site owner), the last thing I’m going to do is paint a rosy picture that’s not authentic. Being self-employed is hard.
You’ll likely have to wait quite a while before your income is what you need it to be. Despite some drawbacks, being in business for yourself might be the best thing you ever do.
Advantages of Being a Lifestyle Entrepreneur
- There’s no boss to tell you what to do.
- Location independence is totally possible.
- You’re the one dictating the amount of time you dedicate to work.
- If you’ve chosen well, you love (or at least like) what you do.
- Your job matches your strengths.
- You control your paycheck.
- A simpler life may surprise and delight you.
Disadvantages of a Lifestyle Business
- There’s no accountability for what you accomplish each day.
- Taxes are not for the faint of heart when you work for yourself.
- Health insurance is strictly on your shoulders (unless your partner has a 9 to 5).
- If you’re not good at time management, it will bite you in the bum for sure.
- You could get sick of that thing you used to love.
- If you’re not careful, the lines between work and life can blur in a heartbeat.
- Making regular money can take a long time. For some, it doesn’t. But for most, a side job or some passive income is necessary until you’re established.
Choosing Your Lifestyle Business Niche
If you’re convinced that becoming a lifestyle entrepreneur is for you, the biggest challenge may be choosing what niche to specialize in.
It certainly wasn’t easy for me several years ago. There truly are thousands of things you “could” do. But finding the one you should do is the key.
Here are a few tips that might help you decide:
- Do a brain dump on a legal pad. Write down anything that comes to mind that you do well, you spend a lot of time doing (hello, hobbies), or many people use or need.
- Does anything stand out as something you could stick with for years?
- Are there people making money in this niche? If so, reach out to them and start a conversation. Ask questions, and ask for honest answers.
- A great niche can be born out of frustration. Is there a service or product that you haven’t been happy with? If it’s something you can do, fill that void.
- Excited about a niche, but the field seems competitive? Maybe you can narrow it down and specialize in a subtopic.
How to Start a Lifestyle Business
A startup company takes a lot of planning. Even if you’re keeping it simple, a successful lifestyle business definitely needs a strong foundation.
There’s research to do, names to choose, state requirements and licenses, and a bunch of other fun things. You may also want to sit with a small business coach or consultant for extra guidance.
Try not to get overwhelmed. Setting everything up the right way prepares you for the adventure of a lifetime. Your own business!
Here are 13 basic steps to build on:
- Decide who you’re going to serve and what you’re offering.
- Do serious research into whether your niche will be profitable and sustainable.
- Talk to others in your field. Ask lots of questions, and seek advice where you can.
- If you need further expertise to feel truly comfortable with what you’re offering, now’s the time to invest in more training.
- Create a business plan that covers your goals and financial constraints.
- Check with your state for any self-employment requirements there might be.
- Register your business name and apply for any necessary licensing.
- For tax purposes, it may be advisable to register for an EIN as an alternative to using your social security number.
- Choose the legal structure of your business. Consult a specialist on choosing between a sole proprietorship, partnership, or LLC.
- Buy your business name as a domain name (be very thorough with checking trademarks so you don’t get into hot water down the road).
- Set up a website or hire someone to do that for you.
- If social media will play a role in finding your customers, choose handle names to match your business name as best you can.
- Choose tools that will make your business run smoothly and save you time. Business email, invoicing services, etc.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Here are the most frequently asked questions about starting a lifestyle business.
What Are the Key Features of a Lifestyle Business?
To differentiate a lifestyle business from another entrepreneurship, there are a few key components.
- The founder builds a business around their life, not the other way around.
- A lifestyle entrepreneur often wants to keep things simple and low maintenance.
- The goal isn’t to grow wealthy, it’s to cover the lifestyle that fulfills you.
- Lifestyle businesses provide flexibility and control over your time.
- The business model doesn’t include outside investors.
- Primary benefits are freedom from the 9 to 5 grind and being able to do something you’re passionate about.
What Is a Lifestyle Brand?
Contrary to the similar name, a lifestyle brand has nothing to do with a lifestyle business. A lifestyle brand is often a household name that promotes or inspires a certain quality of life.
Apple, for example, is one of the largest lifestyle brands on the planet. Very different from the companies we’ve been discussing which have no interest in becoming a global sensation.
Is Lifestyle Marketing Part of Lifestyle Business?
Lifestyle marketing often goes hand in hand with a lifestyle brand. The purpose is to attract multitudes of people to a brand’s products by connecting with their passions and values.
Lifestyle businesses can definitely use this type of marketing to find their customers, but the goal wouldn’t be to make piles of money and millions of followers.
What Niche Is the Most Profitable for a Lifestyle Business?
The business niche you decide on will need to be profitable enough to support your income requirements for maintaining the lifestyle you desire.
A true lifestyle business isn’t about the most profitable niche, but choosing something you know about, enjoy doing, and can find a solid customer base for. This will be totally different for everyone.
Which Lifestyle Business Niches Are Overrepresented?
A saturated lifestyle business niche isn’t very common, surprisingly. I’d venture to say it’s not even a real thing where this type of business is concerned.
No one knows the exact same things as you, and they don’t all live in your town. Plus, the online space has almost endless demands for services and niches of every kind.
Can you choose something that won’t work? Sure. But if you’re careful to examine the needs people have, and tie that into what you do well and can offer, it’s not likely you’ll have a problem with a saturated niche.
Can You Sell a Lifestyle Business?
Yes, absolutely. Some lifestyle entrepreneurs set up their business model to include passive income streams—especially in the online space.
A good example is niche websites which are set up to provide content for very specific topics (a baking website or small pets, for instance).
They utilize various income streams:
- Ad revenue earns money on the number of pages a reader visits on a site.
- Affiliate marketing income is earned by partnering with companies that sell the products you’re writing about (or related products).
- Sponsored content is when a company pays for a specific article promoting their product.
Now for the selling part. When the owner of a niche site grows it to the auto-earning phase with these income methods, they can be worth a good deal of money.
Building niche sites (or something similar that earns steady money and can be sold) can work as an actual lifestyle business. You build lifestyle businesses for others and sell them. Cool, huh?
The Bottom Line on a Lifestyle Business
There are as many businesses for lifestyle entrepreneurs as there are talents, goods, and services.
Tap into your own strengths and hobbies and start planning. Just be prepared with backup earnings, a good business foundation, and a whole lot of willingness to work hard for a while.
The hope is that eventually, you’ll be free to schedule your work around your life and not the other way around.
And if freedom interests you, consider checking out Financial Freedom in Uncertain Times.