This list of lifestyle businesses will help give you some ideas if you're unsure of what type of business you'd like to start. You can also combine any number of these if you prefer. Just make sure that you're not spreading yourself too thin. Building a business requires focus, so if you combine several monetization methods then make sure there is a cohesive theme for your business that ties them all together.
Keep reading to learn more about these 14 lifestyle business possibilities:
Of course, there are probably other options not on this list of lifestyle businesses. But these are the most common categories that most lifestyle businesses fall into.
There are many types of small businesses that you could start. Hopefully the list of lifestyle businesses below will spark some ideas.
In fact, all small lifestyle businesses fall into one of four main categories:
1. Selling services online - this could include consulting, coaching or freelancing, for example.
2. Selling products online - you might open an ecommerce store and ship physical products, or a website for downloadable ebooks.
3. Delivering content online - you can build a business without selling any of your own products or services directly. This can include blogging, videos, podcasts or affiliate marketing.
4. Brick & mortar business - you might prefer a small in-person business, such as retail store, food stand, or having a booth at festivals or shows, for example.
Your business can also be a combination of some of these, tied together with a common thread.
Four Types of Lifestyle Businesses:
The complete list of lifestyle businesses below includes examples from all of these four categories.
Time to get your thinking hat on.
Below is a full list of lifestyle businesses that are good options for a solopreneur or small business owner.
Whatever business you decide to start may include various of these ideas, but make sure there's a common theme and not just a random patchwork of gigs.
Of course, sometimes you just have to start somewhere to get those bills paid. If that's the case, then ideas like consulting or freelance work will probably bring in funds faster than some of the other business models. But try to not get stuck in the dollars-per-hour work treadmill. Have a plan in place to grow your business by including some of the more scaleable ideas over time.
As a content producer you will spend your time creating and promoting content online, and you can either sell that content directly or have sponsored advertisers. Content could include written material (blog posts, web pages), images (infographics, photos), video or audio.
These are some examples of content producer lifestyle businesses:
Affiliate marketing means that you promote 3rd party products & services in return for a percentage commission. The exact details depend on the company that sells those products or services. Most affiliate commission is per sale, but sometimes it can be per click (eg, if a visitor to your blog clicks on a link that you added to that 3rd party product, even if they didn't purchase).
Because the percentage commissions are usually quite small, affiliate marketing is only a good business idea if you can bring in the visitor traffic (eyeballs). You would probably need to have your own website or blog that ranks well at the search engines, or are very active on social media, Youtube, etc with many followers. For that reason, this is usually combined with "content producer" above.
Being a one-person or small business consultant is also an excellent lifestyle business if you have skills to offer. Be wary of falling into the trap of just trading your time for money (ie, billing clients per hour that you personally work with them) because this doesn't always scale well to allow you to also enjoy the lifestyle that you want. Think about ways to charge per project (and see how you can streamline each one using your own templates, or outsourcing some of the time-consuming work), or productize your service offerings.
These are some possible small consulting business options:
Freelancing can be an excellent way to manage your own time and be your own boss. As with the consulting example, try to focus on ways to productize your services or scale by outsourcing some of the "grunt work" to truly make this a lifestyle business, rather than trading one 9-to-5 for another one.
There are many freelancing marketplaces where clients post projects they need help with: Upwork, Fiverr, Guru and Freelancer.com are just a few (or you can set up and promote your own freelancing website).
You can either ship products yourself, or participate in Amazon’s FBA program where you send your items to Amazon's warehouse and they will ship them for you (for a price).
You can resell 3rd party products (retail arbitrage), create your own products (handmade or have a production partner), or you can “private label” 3rd party products (adding your own branding to generic products that you purchase).
This category also includes dropshipping, although there’s a lot of risk in that particular business model, and I wouldn't recommend it unless you have a strong relationship with the fulfiller.
Print-on-demand is another option where a 3rd-party fulfills your items. You just design them, and then offer them for sale on the print-on-demand marketplace.
Finally, you can sell items via your own website (using a platform such as Shopify), or you can sell on popular ecommerce marketplaces like eBay, Etsy, Mercari or Facebook Marketplace.
This is similar to the business model above, but you only offer digital products so you don't have to ship anything to the buyer.
Digital products could include written material like ebooks, guides, templates and the like, or creative material such as photographs, printable art, or music, for example.
As a VAR, you resell someone else’s product or service, but add your own value-add service around it (eg, support, training, etc) so you can charge more.
Example brick and mortar lifestyle businesses might include a small retail store, a booth at a flea market or festival, a food stand or truck, etc.
You can purchase your own domain and build a niche website in an area that you enjoy, and make sure it is ranked well in Google. Then monetization can be through many of the above methods, or through direct advertisers who pay to place ads on your site
You can analyze all the pros and cons of each type of lifestyle business, but in the end it comes down to the option that is the best fit for your interests, expertise and needs.
Review the list of lifestyle businesses above, then consider these factors when making your decision: