If you’re looking for lifestyle business ideas you might consider pursuing in 2020, this is the post for you!
In fact, this blog is all about lifestyle business, what it is, and how you can build one.
(My wife and I built jasminealley.com, a lifestyle business that makes us a modest income.)
The following are some common lifestyle business examples.
- YouTube channel
- Online course
- E-commerce website
- Software As A Service (SAAS)
- Mobile App
I’ll discuss each of these examples in detail.
But before we dive into lifestyle business ideas, let’s talk a bit about what a lifestyle business is.
How to Think about Lifestyle Business
As I describe in the tagline of this blog, lifestyle businesses help you prioritize your ideal lifestyle first, profits second.
Of course, your ideal lifestyle could involve working a hundred hours a week to build the next big startup.
But usually, this isn’t what people think of when they think of a lifestyle business.
Instead, what most people want in a lifestyle business is to work:
- whenever they want,
- wherever they want,
- on whatever they want.
Certain business models accommodate these desires better than others.
Author and blogger, Pat Flynn, describes lifestyle businesses as those that:
take advantage of systems of automation to allow transactions, cash flow, and growth to happen without requiring a real-time presence.Pat Flynn
I love this description.
However, I would add that selling products better facilitates lifestyle business goals than selling services.
Finally, I’d also add that lifestyle businesses typically generate most of their income from either media or software.
Let’s look at some lifestyle business examples that generate most of their income from media.
Building a YouTube channel is a great example of a lifestyle business.
You can work on YouTube videos whenever you want.
Plus, YouTube videos can make you money forever.
Also, generating income from a YouTube video doesn’t require a real-time presence.
In short, a YouTube channel checks all the boxes for what most people are looking for in a lifestyle business.
In addition, the barriers to entry are higher for a YouTuber than a blogger and probably a podcaster too.
You can start a blog with literally no money.
You can also start a podcast very inexpensively.
And although you don’t necessarily need to break the bank to start a YouTube channel, most successful YouTubers invest in a quality camera setup.
So if you plan to start a YouTube channel, then you may have less competition than a blogger or podcaster.
Furthermore, most people are more comfortable publishing written or audio content than video content.
Perhaps this is why YouTube as a search engine seems less competitive than Google search.
Is a YouTube channel the lifestyle business for you?
I tried building a YouTube channel once by filming myself discussing lifestyle business concepts.
Even though I stuck with it for a while, it didn’t take off like I thought it would.
I think it’s because I wasn’t adding any particular video value to my content.
In other words, my content was better suited for a written medium (like this blog) than video.
Before starting a YouTube channel, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my brand particularly suited for video content (like a fitness, fashion, or food brand)?
- Am I particularly suited for video content (are you attractive, funny, or otherwise good in front of a camera)?
- Will I be able to produce high-quality content, consistently, for a long period of time on this platform?
If you answered no to some or all of these questions, you may want to rethink pursuing YouTube, at least at first.
Plenty of successful YouTubers start their brand elsewhere and then build a YouTube channel once they have already succeeded on another platform.
Monetary success on another platform should give you the money and the confidence to invest in high-quality video creation.
A podcast is a great lifestyle business example for all the same reasons that a YouTube channel is.
Podcast work scales such that you can put in a fixed amount of effort over a long period of time and watch your income continue to grow.
Also, because podcasts are a bit newer than YouTube channels, you may be able to experience some of the benefits available to earlier adopters.
That said I wouldn’t pursue a podcast exclusively because you think there may be some short-lived early adopter benefits.
Rather, I encourage you to think of this and all other opportunities on this list as something you could see yourself doing for the next decade or longer.
A podcast could be a great fit for you if you have:
- unique personal connections with people who would make interesting podcast guests,
- good conversation skills,
- interesting ideas or a unique perspective,
- or a nice-sounding voice.
Again, even if these qualities don’t describe you, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start a podcast.
It may simply mean that a podcast is something you pursue later after you’ve already experienced success on another platform.
Pat Flynn started out as a blogger.
Once he experienced success blogging, he could spend the time, money, and effort cultivating the skills needed for a podcast.
You could do the same.
My wife and I run her site, jasminealley.com.
I also run studentofguitar.com and of course, this blog too!
So in case you couldn’t tell, a blog is my absolute favorite lifestyle business idea!
Blogs are versatile.
They scale effectively.
They can provide recurring income.
And there are countless examples of successful bloggers as lifestyle business owners.
But, most importantly, blogs fit my specific skill set.
There are so many examples of successful blogs as lifestyle businesses that it’s hard to choose just one example.
However, you can check out Michelle’s blog here – one of the most successful blogs ever – and how she makes millions (literally) blogging.
Many bloggers launch online courses to their blog readers.
Brian Dean uses his blog to promote his course SEO That Works.
And Anastasia uses her blog to promote her Pinterest course.
Both of these course creators have experienced massive success with their courses.
But you don’t need a blog to succeed with an online course.
In fact, this could be a great lifestyle business model for those who don’t want to manage a blog.
Some of them make $441,000+ per year!
You might consider creating an online course for your lifestyle business if you have:
- Specialized knowledge particularly in a high-earning niche like coding,
- A desire to teach,
- And a willingness to create spectacular online content for your students.
An e-commerce website can definitely be an effective lifestyle business, particularly if you dropship, sell something on demand, or sell a digital product.
As I mentioned above, selling products works better as a lifestyle business than selling services mainly because of scale.
With products, you can sell the same amount of work over and over again.
However, selling services always requires some exchange of time for monetary.
And trading time for money just doesn’t work very well with most people’s idea of a lifestyle business.
So what sort of products can you sell on an e-commerce site?
My wife, Jasmine sells photo prints on her site.
Although we just recently launch this shop and have only made a handful of sales, we are excited about growing this part of the business.
Startup Drugz is another e-commerce brand that does well selling startup/hustle culture t-shirts.
In fact, they’ve written a detailed article explaining just how well they’ve done and how their business has grown.
Definitely check it out if you want to start an e-commerce lifestyle business.
Also, as an aside, there are plenty of e-commerce businesses for sale on Flippa.
So if you’d rather purchase an already profitable e-commerce business, check out this site.
Lifestyle businesses that generate most of their income from software.
Now, I’m going to discuss lifestyle business ideas that generate most of their income from software.
If you’re not a software developer, don’t feel intimidated by the following lifestyle business examples.
Thanks to the no-code revolution, you can build software today without needing to write a single line of code.
Check out my post to learn more about how if you’re interested in creating a software-driven lifestyle business.
Software As A Service
Software As A Service, or SAAS, is one of the best lifestyle business examples I know of.
For those unfamiliar, SAAS usually describes a desktop or web application whose users pay monthly or annually for continued access.
Adobe’s suite of programs like Photoshop are examples of SAAS products.
But there are also plenty of web-based SAAS products like DropBox.
Micro-SAAS creator, Tyler Tringas, calls SAAS the lifestyle business of the future because of they can be:
- high margin,
- and low-risk with predictable recurring revenue.
If you have the skills to build a SAAS business this could be the lifestyle business example you want to pursue.
However, you might consider building a blog first and then building a SAAS for the audience you have cultivated with your blog.
This guarantees a potential customer base for your SAAS, as opposed to making something you hope people will want and then find there’s no demand.
Jordan O’Connor, the creator of the SAAS product, Closet Tools, recommends a strategy along these lines.
you can learn more about Jordan’s app and how he makes $38,000+ per month here.
Few mobile apps become popular exclusively through app store marketing.
Instead, most mobile apps start as web apps, and if the demand supports it, their creators design a native mobile app version.
However, if you’re intent on building a mobile app, there are no-code tools to help you build it.
Mobile apps work particularly well as lifestyle businesses if they take advantage of subscription pricing.
For instance, one of my favorite mobile apps, a language learning app called, Fluent Forever, charges $10 per month.
I also love the origin story of Fluent Forever.
Fluent Forever was first a book published by the app’s creator, Gabriel Wyner.
The book became quite popular, giving Gabriel the confidence to launch a Kickstarter.
This Kickstarter raised over $1,700,932 to build an app that enables you to apply the learning language techniques promoted in the book.
Now, the app has an active community of passionate language learners supporting its development.
To me, this is (almost) the perfect way to build an app.
Instead of building something you hope will be popular, Gabriel built a community, validating his ideas every step of the way.
The only part of Gabriel’s journey I might not necessarily recommend is writing a book.
As you can probably guess, I’d recommend creating a blog instead!
I hope this post has given you some lifestyle business examples to consider pursuing today.
I truly believe there are abundant lifestyle business opportunities available for anyone willing to put in the work and create high-quality content consistently for a long period of time.
What’s keep you back from building a lifestyle business?
Let me know in the comments!