One term that has been gaining in popularity in recent years is lifestyle business. Lifestyle business is a kind of business that aims to give you the freedom to live the lifestyle you want. The goal is not to make a lot of money, but to have freedom. The freedom will then give you space to live the lifestyle you want.
Three Criteria of a Lifestyle Business
Since the goal is freedom, a lifestyle business should meet three criteria:
- Location independence.
This means that you can work on your business wherever you want. You are not constrained to a certain place. If you want to work on a tropical island, then you can do that. If you want to work on a mountain, that’s also possible.
- Time independence.
This means that you can work on your business whenever you want. There are no office hours that you must abide to. Plus, in my case, I require that there is no deadline from an external party (for example, a client). Having such a deadline means that I don’t have complete control over my time.
- Passive income.
This means that you don’t have to keep working to earn money. If you want to stop working for, say, one month, you can do that and the money will still come.
Ideally, you should meet all three criteria, but it’s up to you. For example: if you value location independence but don’t mind having deadlines from your clients (as is the case with online freelancing), then that’s fine. Just choose the degree of freedom that works for you. Personally, I aim to meet all three criteria.
What businesses, then, meet those criteria? Here are some examples:
If you are a blogger:
- You can update your blog from anywhere in the world (location independence).
- You can write anytime you want with no deadline from others (time independence).
- The money will still come even if you choose not to update your blog for some time (passive income).
2. App development
You can publish apps on marketplaces like Apple App Store and Google Play. If you do that:
- You can develop your apps from anywhere in the world (location independence).
- You can work on your apps anytime you want (time independence).
- Once your apps are on the marketplace, they can keep selling (passive income).
3. Stock photography
You can sell stock photos on places like iStockPhoto and Fotolia. You will make money whenever someone downloads your work. In this business:
- You can upload your photos from anywhere you want (location independence).
- You can take and upload your photos anytime you want (time independence).
- Once your photos are online, they can keep selling (passive income).
Of course, there are other kinds of lifestyle businesses, but these three are good examples.
Let’s now look at how to build such a business.
Three Steps in Building a Lifestyle Business
Lifestyle business has many benefits, but it also has a drawback: it’s hard to build. It might take months or even years before you succeed. But the good news is that it’s doable.
If you want to start a lifestyle business, my advice is to start it as a side business. Don’t risk your livelihood by leaving your day job. Instead, build your business over time while still keeping your day job. Once it grows, you can leave your day job if you want to.
Here are the main steps to build a lifestyle business:
1. Identify your passion.
As I said above, building the business takes time. Therefore, you need something that can keep you motivated along the way, and that is your passion.
If you do the work just for money, you won’t be able to stay for long. Most likely you will give up in a few months. But if you do it because you love it, you will be able to go through the difficult times that may come.
Be careful though: don’t just choose any passion of yours. It must be something that people want. You must find the intersection between them.
In my case, the early months of this blog were hard. I barely had any visitors at all. But I love personal development and, therefore, I kept working on this blog until it eventually grew.
2. Start building your platform.
After identifying your passion, you must build a platform around it. The platform is the means by which you reach your target audience.
A common way to build a platform is to start a blog. Having a blog allows you to interact with an audience that shares your passion. You can also start a podcast, a YouTube channel, or a Twitter account. The choice is yours.
This step is the hardest in the process, so don’t expect instant success. You must have patience and persistence here.
3. Find ways to make money.
After you have a sizable platform, you can then think about how to monetize it. Most people start with placing advertisements on their blogs, but you can also sell your own products. The key here is to provide value and maintain trust with your audience.
I’ve been building my lifestyle business for years now. I still have a long way to go, but I’m happy to say that I’ve been enjoying relative freedom. For instance, I’ve no longer had a day job in the past four years. I can also work on any project I want, whenever I want it. I’m not a millionaire, but I’m enjoying my life.
Of course, building a lifestyle business is not for everyone, but it’s an option that you may want to consider.
Do you have any tips or thoughts on it? Please share them in the comments.
Photo by Bigstock
What’s exciting me is that even though I did not start my site as a business, the skills I’ve learned, the connections I’ve grown, and the brand I’ve built from it are making me realize that making it a lifestyle is very plausible. It’s exciting! I’m not making money from the site directly, but it’s definitely paid off both financially and personally.
Yes, it’s exciting 🙂 I personally grow a lot through the journey.
Yah, just keep at it and i am sure that the brand you have been able to build will pay off in the long run.
i am too working on a lifestyle platform as of course not influencing my engineering career, i am specializing in field of hydro power so most of my times is spent in valleys, mountains all so lovely ..i totally agree with your point of view..nice work there
Thanks, Rishabh. Good luck for your platform building!
You missed the one lifestyle business that has created the most successful entrepreneurs of all.
I don’t really understand network marketing so I didn’t include it. I included only three examples that I understand; I’m sure there are other businesses that I’m not aware of.
Really? I have to disagree. Somehow the idea that you can build a passive income to fund your jet setting lifestyle became a fact when I dare people to name anyone who lives well off from a passive income (besides retirees). Successful bloggers, marketers, etc work hard to build their businesses and continue to work hard to promote them. The fact that Google changes the playing field about every six months means you can’t put up a blog and expect to reap tons of money from it for years and years.
What the Internet brings us is the ability to do the work you love, anywhere you want. You are still going to have to work hard at it.
I agree that you need to work hard on it. What I mean with passive income here is that, once the business is mature enough, you don’t have to work on it continually to keep the money coming. You are free to choose to work on it or not. For instance, I once didn’t touch my apps on the App Store for months, but they still brought in stable revenue every month.
Hi Donald. I find your idea
How to Start Building a Lifestyle Business very interesting indeed. from the three examples you gave, I take you do all of them right??
Hi Adrian. No, I do only the first two of them, blogging and app development.
Thanks Donald. im kinda new to this though im in the information technology field (networking especially) and a little of software and hardware. I would like some pointers on how to start a blog, sorry to bother you. like on what web hosts i can use and what do i need to start app development?
This was a great article! I recently started a Life Coaching business and am loving every minute of it. But I think the most important decision I made was to not quit my day job at first. It gave me extra income that allowed me to relax, be secure and enjoy the process of building my business. Thanks for sharing this 🙂
Hi Donald. Love this article. I started my business last year. I’ve made very little money so far. I am working hard to build it everyday. I look forward to working part time on my day job, because I would have made enough income to do so.
The truth is that you still have to work hard and invest wisely. I like the fact that you are honest enough to tell us that it took you years and you are still working on it. Most of us want instant success.
I can learn to be patient from you.
“In my case, the early months of this blog were hard. I barely had any visitors at all.”
I think most people who start out trying to create a lifestyle business, or even just write their own blog without the intention of ever making money from it get disheartened in the early stages. But, as you say, things get better and your audience will grow… if you persist with it AND you provide great content.
I have not read your blog for a long time and I sure did miss a lot. I thought you were teaching at a university at some point. Anyway, keep it up!
I love your articles, especially the Christian messages- really inspirational and practical!
I would really love to pick your brain about starting my own business- I know what I need to do but I just can’t seem to take the leap of faith!
Thanks for the kind words!
You can start your business as a side business, so you don’t have to leave your day job. Then, after it grows, you can consider leaving your day job.
Right on. This is awesome. I love finding individuals whos minds meet with my own. In my experience, it seems that most business owners struggle with 4 things: Time, Team, Sales and Organizational Development. Does this seem like the case to you? Would love to connect-
I agree with you. Those four things seem to be common problems for business owners.
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