How You Can Build A Lifestyle Business
Welcome to my guide to building your own profitable, internet-based, lifestyle business.
This page is a starting point to help you with three main objectives:
- Share with you the knowledge and resources that will help you choose which business model best fits your personality, skills, and interests.
- Guide you through all of the necessary aspects of building a business online, while also keeping it simple, so you’re focused on what matters, and not overwhelmed.
- Give you specific action steps to take that will get results that fastest.
If you just stumbled upon this guide, but don’t know much about me yet, please check out my About and Start Here pages to learn more of my personal story, as well as what this site is about, and what I do & believe in.
I also suggest you bookmark this page for future reference, as it’s very thorough and packed full of info you’ll want to come back to!
Okay, ready to get to work? Let’s dive in…
What We Will Cover:
- What is a lifestyle business?
- 3 key benefits of a lifestyle business
- Are you a lifestyle entrepreneur?
- Business models that fit the lifestyle business description
- The biggest misconceptions of lifestyle businesses
- Where do you start?
- Keeping it simple: the only things you need in the beginning
- My formula for a successful – and simple – lifestyle business
- Additional tips & thoughts for building a lifestyle business
First off, what do I mean by a “lifestyle business”?
In general, when starting a business, it’s the entrepreneur’s goal for their business to make as much revenue and earn as much profits as possible…often times taking priority #1 in their life, long arduous hours, and some serious hustle and going through the grind.
A lifestyle business, on the other hand, is one you build with a purpose of earning adequate cashflow to sustain and support the quality of life you personally desire. While a lifestyle business is still profit-driven, to some extent, revenue and business growth at all costs are not top priorities.
In short, it’s a business the exists to fund and support the lifestyle you desire.
Many people dream of doing what they love & enjoy every day, and making “good money” while doing it. But, sadly, only a tiny percentage of people believe it’s actually possible. They have the belief you can’t have fun and work or make money at the same time.
But the secret lies in the type of business one creates. Instead of building a startup, large corporation, or brick & mortar local business, creating a lifestyle business will provide you the ability to optimize your life for fulfillment, experiences, and happiness.
This can mean something totally different for every person. For some, it means living in a multi-million dollar mansion with cars, toys, and extravagant possessions. On the other end of the spectrum, for some it means needing only $2,000 per month to backpack and travel the world.
Either way, or anywhere in between, the choice is yours to build a lifestyle business that supports the lifestyle you want.
Above all else, I believe a lifestyle business gives you the opportunity
to have a life full of choices, where you are truly living life on your terms;
doing things because you want to do them.
Whether you want $50k per year, or $50k per month, it’s about taking your life back, doing the things you want to do, going where you want to go, and deciding what your days look like because you’re the one making the decisions.
Working hard and doing what you love don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
How Big or Small Is A Lifestyle Business?
While most people familiar with the term ‘lifestyle business’ usually think of them as being part-time endeavors, ‘mom and pop shops’, or a business run by a small team, some larger businesses fit the definition of the model, not going public or selling to investors, but providing a dependable income for the owners.
…But, in the context of what I’m talking about and teaching you how to do, I’m referring to an internet-based business you can build on your own in the beginning, eventually outsourcing tasks to individuals or building a small team.
A Lifestyle Business vs. Being Self-Employed
One could argue there is no difference between being self-employed and running a lifestyle business…especially since many lifestyle businesses have no employees, include working from home, and you having control of every aspect of the business
While there is a fine line between the two, I see them differently. Being self-employed is still a “job”, perhaps having set hours you’re open for business or working, or you’re just carrying the entire weight of earning money on your shoulders; if you work, you make money – if you don’t work, you don’t make money. Whereas, a lifestyle business doesn’t have designated hours to box you in, and hopefully has a team or tasks outsourced to free up your time.
A Lifestyle Business vs. Startups
Many young entrepreneurs are attracted to the idea of creating a startup, mainly because of the huge upside potential profit of having their company make it big or go public.
But, it’s the complete opposite of a lifestyle business. To achieve that tremendous popularity, growth, and revenue in a startup, you’ll have to work crazy long hours, devote yourself wholly to the business, continually seek financial backing to fund the growth (which is expensive and revenues are usually low in the beginning), and hustle and grind like no other.
Whereas, in a lifestyle business, you start lean, providing the funding yourself, but also getting into profit sooner. You’re also not beholden to please and line the pockets of any financial backers and investors…you have total control of your business, the direction you take it, and the time you put into it.
3 Key Benefits Of A Successful Lifestyle Business
A lifestyle business should be less expensive to start up than traditional businesses or “start ups”, netting a positive cash flow early on in the business. Ultimately, a well-structured, successful lifestyle business will give you the ability to earn the amount of money you want AND allow for the time to pursue your goals and dreams with those profits.
I think, generally, most of the advantages of this kind of business would fit into these three kinds of freedom:
- Time Freedom – when you structure the use of things like technology, leverage, outsourcing, and systems, you can build a business that runs mostly without you (can take time to get there), giving you the ability to choose when you want to work or when not to work, earning you money either way.
- Location Freedom – with the amazing capabilities we have to do just about everything online today, through websites, video, team communication, and various cloud-based services, you can choose where you want to work. Whether that means working from home, from the local coffee shop, or while you tour the globe, a lifestyle business gives you that freedom and flexibility.
- Financial Freedom – you can create an income from your business that is sufficient to support the level of lifestyle you desire, being able to pick up and go whenever you like, and having the money to do so without being beholden to anyone.
Are You A Lifestyle Entrepreneur?
If this all resonates with you so far, you may have what it takes!
The typical lifestyle entrepreneur is independent, self-motivated and self-driven, creative, values happiness, and often doesn’t view what he/she does as “work”.
If you would rather earn enough money to live life the way you want to live it, than to get rich and have all kinds of material possessions, you would likely be most satisfied with a business model that lets you be a lifestyle entrepreneur.
As a lifestyle entrepreneur, you can achieve your personal goals and indulge in your passions, through an income generating business.
What business models are suitable for building a lifestyle business?
Here are some examples of business models people are commonly using today to create successful lifestyle businesses:
- Blogging, Podcasting, or Video – These three lumped together are perhaps the most quintessential lifestyle business. Many professional bloggers, podcasters, and people with popular video/YouTube channels make a generous living through their efforts…and once the content they create is posted to the web, it continues earning them money long after the initial work was done.
- Niche websites & affiliate marketing – Simply by creating helpful content on the web that people are searching for, and then using affiliate programs from companies (like Amazon, among so many others) that pay you commissions for sales you refer to them, you can build a significant lifestyle business that rewards you handsomely. I know many in this business who earn multiple 5-figures per month residually from work they did and content they created months or years ago.
- ‘High Ticket’ affiliate sales – Much like traditional affiliate marketing just mentioned, except offering higher priced products that pay out substantially higher commissions (lower volume of sales, but much higher income per sale), such as a travel club lifetime membership that costs $5,000 and pays you a $3,000 commission each time. Leveraging technology, you can build systems that automate a good portion of the “selling process”, making it a great lifestyle business.
- Membership or Subscription Sites – There’s tremendous power in building a membership site pertaining to a topic or niche you’re knowledgeable and passionate about. Recurring, monthly revenue from a growing base of subscribers is a leveraged way to grow your income by providing the same content/training/knowledge to all of your subscribers at once, and can give you a lot of time freedom once it is set up and running. You can provide content to your members through a range of mediums; from something as simple as a private Facebook group, to as complicated as your own custom designed membership site hosted on your WordPress website.
- Consulting & advising – Services of consultants are in high demand in just about every industry and niche. Companies are willing to pay highly for the expertise of a consultant who specializes in a particular area, instead of having to hire one more full-time employee.
- Network marketing – While the industry has some negative connotations, building a team of distributors with a reputable network marketing that offers valuable products, can provide a fantastic leveraged income down the road a few years, after an initial few years of hard work, making for a great lifestyle business that can be worked anytime from anywhere.
- e-Commerce – With the advent of services on the Internet, like Shopify, that provide the technology and host an e-Commerce store for you, and you simply add the products to it that you sell, e-Commerce can be a lifestyle business you run any time and from anywhere in the world…especially if you buy the products already manufactured & packaged, and you hire individuals or fulfillment companies to take care of the shipping & delivery.
While people generally think of a lifestyle business being strictly online, it doesn’t have to be. They can involve consulting with businesses and people, selling physical goods, and much more. BUT, within the scope of my expertise and what I’m going to share with you here, we are only focusing on the internet-based business models…mostly because of the leverage technology can provide, to help free up more of your time.
The Biggest Misconceptions…
Where do I even begin? There are a lot of misconceptions people have about what lifestyle businesses are and how they work. Many envision “working” on their laptop, while sipping on a piña colada under the shade of a palm tree at the beach, amid living an endless vacation.
As someone who runs my own business and knowing many others who have successful lifestyle businesses, I can assure you that’s not how it really is. After all wi-fi is hard to get out on the beach, and laptops & sand don’t get along!
Let me quickly clear up a few of the main misconceptions…
- It’s not guaranteed success – Pursuing building a business around something you’re passionate about helps to keep you motivated and push you forward through adversity. Going the route of a lifestyle business; starting lean, keeping costs low, running it on your own, all certainly increase your chance of success over a more expensive startup, but it’s still very likely the business fails…but hey, if it happens, get up, dust yourself off, and get back on the horse for another attempt!
- It will take hard work – Of course, a primary goal of a lifestyle business is to have time freedom to do what you want, to be able to work less, and live more. But, it does take a lot of work, and sometimes long hours, especially in the beginning, to build the foundation of what will become a highly-profitable lifestyle business.
- It’s not all profits & riches from the very beginning – I know many business owners who ramped up their business slowly over time, while holding down a typical 8-5 kind of job, and working on their business evenings, weekends, lunch breaks, or whenever they could find the time. If you have a job, don’t quit it to start your business…use the income from your job to pay the bills, and that will take a LOT of the stress off of you to grow the business as quickly as possible…because the reality is that it will usually taken months or years before you reach that goal of having a lifestyle business that consistently provides sufficient income to totally sustain your desired lifestyle.
So, Where Do We Start?
You know a lifestyle business is the way to go, but how do you go about starting one?
If you’re confused or overwhelmed, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I hear from readers quite often who want to start their own business online, but just don’t know where to begin.
I totally get it, though. I’ve been there too.
The good news for you is, it doesn’t take as much to get started as you may think. I’ve broken it down into the following basic steps:
Step 1: Know What You Want
Yeah, we know you want a business, you want to generate income from it, and ultimately have more freedom in life…but what specific things do you want your business to provide? What things do you want to accomplish in your business, or in your life that the business could make possible?
The more detailed you are in defining your goals, the more direction & purpose you will have, and the more determination & persistence you will have to drive you through times of adversity.
Also, knowing exactly what you want as a RESULT of a successful business, will help in determining the right business for you in the beginning and correctly setting the entire foundation for what will all lead to that desired result.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Which of the freedoms (financial, time, location) are most important to you? …to what extent of those that are your priority do you want them?
- Write out what your ideal life would look like – everything you would do in a day of your dream life – so detailed you could almost feel like you’re there now. Then determine what level of income you need to earn to support that lifestyle…it often wouldn’t take as much money as one thought.
Step 2: Identify Your Interests, Passions, Strengths, and Skills
Find out what you’re good at. Take the time to think about what makes you happy, what you enjoy most. Knowing this is very important, because you’ll be building your lifestyle business around them.
Now, this point of “pursuing your passions” or “profiting from your passions” is a controversial topic in the entrepreneurship world. Many will tell you to simply look to start a business where there is an opportunity to fill a void in the marketplace (where a much needed solution, service, or product is not currently being offered), and make money…not to worry about whether it’s something you’re interested in or passionate about.
And those same people with that viewpoint will add that just because you’re passionate about something, doesn’t mean there is any money to be made with it.
While I do understand these points, and I agree that simply because you follow your passion doesn’t mean the money will automatically follow, I still feel it’s crucial to pinpoint your passions & interests, because it’s much easier to build a successful lifestyle business around something you love and enjoy, than something you care nothing about.
There are countless stories of businesses that failed as a result of the owner(s) losing interest in what they did. When you build a lifestyle business around something you’re passionate about, you’ll have a far greater chance of succeeding.
Even if the odds are stacked against you, having that interest in what you do will push you further, and enjoying what you do will keep you motivated through the challenging times.
Step 3: Find a Problem.
Now, research the topic you decided upon. First, identify problems others have who are also interested in that topic, and then establish the solutions you can provide with your knowledge & expertise that will solve those problems.
Obviously, it should be a big enough problem those people are willing to pay you money for your solution. Pay attention to what your competition is already offering, that people are paying for, and perhaps see what the competition hasn’t yet offered or capitalized on.
Diligently researching your passion’s niche, finding problems, learning what your competition offers, and spotting voids you can fill, is what combats that argument I mentioned previously, from those who will tell you not to even think about your passions.
Pro Tip: while researching their chosen passion/niche, many people who are new to business get scared by all of the competition they find. But a fair amount of competition is a healthy thing: it shows you people in that niche are willing to pay for solutions or information, or else all that competition wouldn’t be around.
In short, competition means there is demand for what you have to offer!
…If you find no competition, it’s possible you just stumbled onto an opportunity to profit from helping people where no other person or company has…but it’s far more likely there’s just not enough money to be made in that niche.
Step 4: Decide Which Business Model Fits Best
Once you’ve pinpointed a problem you can offer a solution to, that people will pay you for, in a niche you’re passionate about, you can then decide which business model is the best fit for you to provide your product or service that is that answer to your potential customers’ problems.
Think about which of the methods I mentioned earlier can allow you to provide your solution in the simplest way possible. Which method, along with the leverage of technology and automation, will give you the most time freedom in your life?
…There will be a lot of work getting the ball rolling in the beginning, but if you think about the direction you want to go before getting started, and set up the framework correctly now, it will make things a lot easier down the road!
Would you like some guidance on which business model may be best for you? Check out these popular blog posts that cover different online business models:
- How To Make Money Promoting Amazon Products
- Of All The Ways To Make Money Online, Why Do I Recommend Network Marketing?
- An Overview Of Drop Shipping
- 5 Quick Ways To Make Money Online
- How To Make Money Blogging
- How To Make Money With Video
- Membership Sites
- High Ticket Affiliate Sales
Step 5: Get It Started
This step is where the rubber meets the road, and where it really starts to get fun!
…But don’t rush ahead to this step; you definitely want to take your time in Steps 1 through 4, as all of that brainstorming, self-analysis, and research is what will properly set the foundation for everything that will follow.
However, with that said, don’t fall into the “analysis paralysis” trap, where your thinking and analysis prevents you from making the decision to get started.
All successful lifestyle entrepreneurs have one secret quality in common:
They DO things.
Ideas and planning are crucial…but they won’t make you money without taking action.
Also, don’t over-complicate getting your new lifestyle business started…you can be bombarded with ideas, tools, services, and marketing messages, all telling you that you must have them to succeed.
While some things are nice to have, anything more than necessary can complicate the process, pulling you away from your goal of having a business that provides you freedom to live life the way you want to.
Read on, into the next section, to learn exactly the tools & services I think you need to get your online lifestyle business started (and no more than you need).
Step 6: Just Keep Moving Forward!
Once you’ve got things set up initially, the work doesn’t stop there. In fact, you’ve only just begun. Whatever business model you’ve chosen to work with, the key activity in any of them is to constantly create new high-quality content that will engage your audience, provide some solutions to their problems, and pique their interest in what more you have to offer them to make their lives better, easier, or more convenient.
Additionally, making the effort to create high-quality content will easily set you apart from most of your competition, in almost any niche.
Lastly, you won’t always have the answers or know what you should do next. And that’s alright! Make the effort to listen to your intuition, trust it, and take action that feels right.
When sh*t hits the fan, or things don’t go as anticipated, just keep moving forward.
Keeping It Simple: The ONLY Things You Need In The Beginning
1) A Website
The best way to build a platform that shares your content with your target audience is through a blog. While you can find free options to help you with this, like Blogger.com, WordPress.com, or TypePad.com, you will have the most control of everything by having a self-hosted WordPress powered website. This is what most professional bloggers use, and it is what I use on all of my sites.
I personally recommend Bluehost if you’re on a tighter budget, which is a good choice for 90% of people, or WPEngine if you want a higher quality service and have a bigger budget.
I won’t take up too much of your time here going into the details of setting up your own self-hosted WordPress website, but if you would like a step-by-step guide to walk you through everything you need to do to get your website up and running, click here to check out my WordPress Website Setup Guide.
2) A Way To Capture People’s Emails
Once you’ve got your website set up, a lot of work will follow in posting great content to the site, and performing various kinds of outreach, promotion, and advertising to get visitors to your site to see that quality content.
However, no matter how great the thing is that you have to offer, the vast majority of those visitors will not buy it upon one visit to your site.
And that’s why you want to do everything you can to build a list of leads who you can follow up with long after they’ve come and gone from your site.
The typical way to do this is to create a page on your site, called a lead capture page, that entices your website visitors to enter their name & email in return for some free offer. This could be a video series, exclusive content not available to the public, an ebook or PDF with valuable info, or simply access to your e-newsletter.
Now, you could spend the time to make your own lead capture page, which requires design skills and a fair amount of time, or you could use a tool like Instapage that makes it super fast & simple to set up a capture page that not only works, but looks professional and impressive!
3) A Way To Send Emails To Those People
The lead capture page does the collecting of leads, but you need a system to store those leads and give you the ability to follow up with them as often as you like through email.
With a service like GetResponse, you can do just that. It’s a fantastic service that I’ve had for years now, and I think it’s the best choice for the beginner, with low cost, and a great, user-friendly interface that makes it simple to just log in and create an email to send out to your list.
I remember in my early days of entrepreneurship, I learned from Jim Rohn that “the fortune is in the follow-up“.
Indeed, you can’t expect to get rich from people simply stumbling upon your website, YouTube videos, Amazon products, eCommerce store, or Facebook Page…If you want a successful lifestyle business, you MUST build a list, and relentlessly follow up with them.
I attempt to send an email every day to my list…just so they don’t forget who I am, and many are waiting each day for my email. Admittedly, I fall short, and don’t get it sent out every day, but that’s my goal.
Your goal could be an email per day or an email per week. Whatever it is, make sure to be consistent, so people begin to expect your email to them.
4) Something To Offer
It feels great to have a nice website, getting visitors, collecting a list of leads to email & follow up with, but you’ve gotta sell something to make money! Whether it’s your own product or service, or something else you’ll be earning a commission on for referring sales, it should be what offers a solution to your audience’s main problem(s).
Here are just a few ideas of products that can be your offer to your list of subscribers:
- a membership site you have created
- private coaching and mentorship
- a network marketing product/opportunity you represent
- an ebook or video course you made
- a live retreat or event you want to put on
- digital products or software that you’ll earn a commission on
- physical products on Amazon (either your own private labeled products or other companies’ products you’ll earn a commission for)
My Rock Solid Formula For A Successful – And Simple – Lifestyle Business
No matter which business model you choose to run with for your lifestyle business, following this simple formula as you build it, will help you tremendously.
For example, even if you’re going to build a niche website to review Amazon products, you still want to follow this formula to build a list, so you can make sales even after the people visited your site.
Everyone – including me – likes to complicate processes that should be kept super simple. It’s human nature.
But if you diligently and consistently make the effort to keep everything in your business as simple as possible, weeding out and ignoring what’s unnecessary, you’ll be able to scale the business up faster and more easily, and stay on course toward having a business that provides not only financial rewards but time freedom as well.
Keep these 3 steps as the core focus of your business:
1) Build Your List of Subscribers
Create high quality content to attract people who are potentially interested in what you have to offer (your target audience), to your website, to your videos, to your podcast, whatever platforms you’re publishing your content on.
…Don’t just sit back and expect people to stumble upon your content, though. Creating content that will catch people’s attention is the first step, but you also need to work to get your message & content in front of people:
- Perform outreach to other influential people, websites/blogs, and companies in your niche, making connections, networking, and perhaps getting links back to your site & content
- Comment on relevant forums and videos on the web
- Write guest blog posts for other blogs in your niche
- Run YouTube video ads
- Run Facebook ads (super simple to set up and inexpensive to keep running)
Don’t feel like you have to do everything though. Pick one method that resonates with you, that sounds interesting, and run with that one…take the time to get good at it and build up results.
High Quality Content + Drive Traffic To It + Enticing Offer To Join Your List = Ever-Growing List of Subscribers!
2) Email Your Subscribers Regularly
As I mentioned previously, the fortune is in the follow up. You have that growing list of subscribers, but it does no good if you don’t follow up with them.
This part of the process, like everything else, doesn’t need to be complicated. You don’t have to be the best copywriter or sales person ever…in fact, that could work against you.
I’ve seen time and time again, the best approach is to be real & authentic with your list, sharing personal stories, and tying them in to what your business is about and what you have to offer. Be yourself and your list will grow to love and respect you, and look forward to hearing from you.
I like to share what I did the day before or over the weekend, or what I’m about to do that day, and find a way to make a lesson out of it or connect it to something in my business…while always being myself.
It’s a simple way to connect with your audience and build rapport so the know, like, and trust you.
3) “Soft Sell” Your Followers On What You Have To Offer
Unlike the hypey & pitchy marketers who are only trying to sell you on something in their emails, I prefer to make the meat of the email what I just talked about, simply sharing life events and lessons or information that is relevant to the niche.
And then, after I’ve done that, toward the end of the email or in the “P.S.” area, simply mention – without being “salesy” – what it is that I have to offer.
There you have it…follow that simple 3 step process, and you’ll be converting all those visitors & viewers into happy, buying, paying customers before you know it!
Additional Tips & Thoughts To Help You Build A Lifestyle Business
1. There is no failure; only feedback
A mantra from NLP that I learned early in my network marketing days, it teaches you that in every circumstance where things don’t go as planned or hoped for, to see it not as failure, but as an experience you’re receiving feedback on, so you can analyze and determine how to adjust to create better outcomes in the future.
You will experience obstacles, challenges, and road blocks in your business. There’s no way around it.
But, with this statement in your mind, you have the choice to feel defeated and quit, or you can learn from it, get up and try again, with a higher chance of succeeding this time, using what you learned before.
2. For your own sanity, connect with others
As a lifestyle entrepreneur, you’re probably also a solo entrepreneur. With the Internet and technology we have today, you can almost entirely run your business without ever personally interacting with another soul.
…If you don’t connect with other people, you will eventually go crazy! It’s a great idea to connect with other marketers, entrepreneurs, and like-minded people online, in Facebook groups and such…but that doesn’t cut it. You need to get out and hang out with real people.
Get involved in league sports or pick up games at the gym (I play racquetball each weekday at lunch with various guys in town), join civic organizations and networking groups, go to church, or just about anything else you can think of where you can build relationships with real, live people. Your sanity will thank you!
3. Find what you’re really good at, and focus on it
It’s all too common for business owners, especially internet-based business owners and internet marketers, to spread themselves too thin and, as a result, they don’t do any of those very well.
It’s understandable, as an entrepreneur, you’re wired to see opportunities just about everywhere you look, and you don’t want to miss out on any of them…so you try just about everything you can.
But the truly successful lifestyle entrepreneurs have focused on the thing they’re really good at, what makes them stand out above the competition and that nobody else is doing as well as them.
You don’t have to do everything, or be on every social media platform, for instance. In fact, doing so gets you further from the time freedom that can come from a lifestyle business.
Find the ONE thing you are the best at (or can be with time & development), and focus on it. Otherwise, you’ll be drowned out by the noise of the rest of the competition.
4. Above all else, have fun!
As I mentioned before, building your business will take a lot of hard work, and success will not happen overnight. So, if you don’t enjoy the process, you will likely burn out before reaching your goal of having a successful lifestyle business.
Certainly stay focused on big goals you want to reach in your business, and take all the necessary actions to get there….but above all else, remember to enjoy the journey as well.