How To Start A Lifestyle Business & Why It’ll Change Your Life

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Want to create a lifestyle business that balances the time you spend working with the time you spend living? Here, you’ll find out how to transform your life into the dream you’ve always wanted to live.

Love this? Check out these 15 Best Low-Cost Business Ideas With High Profit!

I know why you are here.

You either:

  • Want to build your own business to leave a soul-sucking job.


  • You already have a business, but it’s consuming your life.

A thriving lifestyle business is not about making an insane amount of money. It’s about creating a new way of living that lets you be who you are while making money doing what you love.

It’s about making time for work while you are busy enjoying life. Not making time for life while you are too busy working.

But why would you want to start a lifestyle business? How can you create one? And, most importantly, why should you even bother?

Because you deserve a better work-life balance, more time for yourself, and the financial freedom to live out your passion!

But let’s start from the beginning.

Who Am I?

My name is Sara, and I am the owner of Gathering Dreams. Before I started my lifestyle business, I used to work in the movie industry.

Yes, that’s right. It sounds cool, doesn’t it?

The problem is that I wasn’t on set with Leonardo Di Caprio. I worked in a dark office for 12-15 hours a day.

It had to be dark because we had to watch every movie scene repeatedly for hours to ensure everything was perfect.

My job was costing, planning, and scheduling how to create visual effects for movies like Avatar and The Martian, just to give you an idea.

After 15 years, I missed the light so much. I got in the office at 8 am, and by the time I left, it was dark outside… There were so many lunches at my desk, without even a small break.

I had enough.

I started to look for a way out. I wanted to give more meaning to my days. Have the freedom to go for a walk in the park when it was sunny outside, travel when I wanted to, and be in charge of my time.

I experimented with different things:

  • I flipped real estate for profit.
  • I sold tea on Etsy and in my online shop.

But I wasn’t really passionate about these ideas.

It was only when I started this blog that I understood what a lifestyle business is all about.

I now work only 2-4 hours a day and often take 4-6 weeks off to travel the world or simply relax with family and friends.

And I earn twice as much as I made with my six-figure, 80-hour-per-week job.

When I felt trapped in my old life, I wished someone had told me what was possible, which is why I decided to write this article for you.

Because you can change your life too.

Woman looking towards the horizon in Crete with a wonderful beach in the background
This is what I call a working day at the office!

Everything You Need To Know About A Lifestyle Business

What Is a Lifestyle Business?

A lifestyle business is a business that enables you to live the life you want.

  • Want to only work in the morning while the kids are at school?
  • Want a business that allows you to work from anywhere while you travel the world?
  • Or do you love the idea of only working a couple of hours a day while making enough money to support your dream lifestyle?

There are no strict guidelines or boundaries with this type of business – you get to call all the shots.

But before we dive deep into examples and how you can get started, I have to clarify a couple of things:

  • A lifestyle business takes grit and determination in the early stages. Although I now only work a few hours a day, I spent countless long hours in the evenings and weekends in the first year to set the foundations right. Make sure you’re ready to put the work in!
  • Always remember the goal. As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to lose sight of what you are trying to achieve. There will be failures, late nights, frustration, and not enough sleep. But always remember why you started. And when your business gives you enough money, stop worrying about constant growth. Take a step back and enjoy what you created!

This brings me to our next point.

Why a lifestyle business will change your life

I am not exaggerating when I say that a lifestyle business can change your life.

Why? Because, well, that’s the whole point.

The purpose of a lifestyle business is to change your life by setting up a business that fits and funds your dream lifestyle.

This is what makes it different. With other side hustles and small businesses, you set up the business and hope it grows, while with a lifestyle business, you set up your ideal lifestyle first, then build your business around that.

Simply, your lifestyle comes first, and a lifestyle business is all about you.

If you’re thinking about starting a lifestyle business, begin with a simple question – what is my dream lifestyle?

Ask yourself:

Where do I want to spend most of my time?

A lifestyle business means you can work from anywhere, untethered to a traditional location or schedule.

Do you have a love of travel or dream of living in an exotic location? Place this desire as a foundation of your lifestyle business.

Maybe you want to spend more time at home with your kids. Or leave a busy city center and live somewhere quieter in the country, far away from traditional job markets. No problem!

I even have a friend who travels around in a camper van, working from the road year-round.

How much money do I want and need?

Unlike most of our modern world, a lifestyle business is not about more, more, more, about always hunting that next promotion or status symbol. Rather, it’s about generating an income that gives you enough to live your ideal lifestyle.

Think about it: what good is more money if you’re not happy?

As a lifestyle business owner, you shouldn’t ask

how much money could I make.”

But rather:

how much money do I need to be happy.”

For me, this is such an important distinction. Why? Because there is never an end to having “more.”

You will always feel unsatisfied if you are pursuing more money without a goal in sight. What you need to figure out is just how much is enough to live your desired lifestyle.

How much time do I want to spend with my passion?

Most people work, and in their spare time, pursue passions and hobbies. A lifestyle business is the opposite. A way to get paid doing something you love, monetize your hobbies, and turn your passion into profit.

In other words, you don’t have to work in the hope of earning spare time to indulge your particular lifestyle. Instead, your lifestyle is your work!

How will a lifestyle business change my life?

The answer is, however you want!

That is the foundational purpose of a lifestyle business. Not an endless pursuit of more, but an opportunity to build precisely the type of life you want – when, where, what, and how much.

It is this change in thinking which makes a lifestyle business different than other business ventures.

With that said, now might be a good time to discuss the other business ventures you might be thinking of pursuing.

Also check: 11 Best Financial Independence Books

Lifestyle business vs. small business vs. startup

People looking for money-making opportunities often confuse lifestyle businesses with other small businesses or startups. They are not the same, and it’s important to understand the differences.

A startup is an attempt to build a product or service which makes millions or even billions of dollars – think of creating an app or starting a media company.

Launching a startup involves raising venture capital from investors to fund the pursuit, growing a team of employees and collaborators, and, usually, working for multiple years until any profits start coming in.

Startup founders, if they’re lucky, will eventually grow big enough to be bought by another company – you invest your passion into building a project for someone else with the ultimate intent to cash out.

A small business focuses on providing goods or services – think of a restaurant, a landscaping company, or selling handmade products on Etsy.

Though small businesses can be operated online, they usually require some sort of in-person commitment, whether physically running the business, managing inventory, or other tasks. Often, they require a not-insubstantial upfront investment, with the end goal of growth, expansion, and profits.

A lifestyle business, as we’ve already discussed, is something different. It is usually operated exclusively as an online business, and can be done from anywhere in the world. Think selling digital products, providing a virtual service, or becoming an influencer or content creator.

Unlike startups and small businesses, it’s not about chasing millions or running headlong into unlimited growth, nor is it about building something for someone else. It’s all about you and your lifestyle.

Why choose a lifestyle business over other small businesses or a startup?

It’s more than merely a change of thinking. There are a few very clear tangible advantages to pursuing a lifestyle business over other small businesses or a startup.

Time and effort

Simply, startups and small businesses are full-time jobs. In fact, often much more than a 9-5 – you don’t run a restaurant a few times a week, and you don’t build a million-dollar app on evenings and weekends. Yes, being your own boss is nice. But the fact is, you’ll probably work much harder than at a regular day job.

This becomes doubly true if you begin to expand and start having to manage employees, suppliers, and a network of customers. Plus, if you have investors, their needs will be paramount, giving you limited flexibility.

A lifestyle business, on the other hand, gets you away from this never-ending hustle.

Once you get it off the ground, you’ll only need to work as much as you need to fund your lifestyle, giving you maximum flexibility and freedom.

Plus, as your lifestyle business grows, you can actually put less time in, instead of more, either by building sources of passive income or by outsourcing tasks (but more on that later).

Woman working on a laptop looking at an olive grove

Upfront investment

Startups and small businesses usually have high startup costs, even into the millions of dollars, and require investors. Start a restaurant, and you need to acquire space, purchase supplies, hire staff. To build an app, you need venture capital and a team of developers (gone are the days when you could build a multi-million app from your bedroom).

On the flip side, lifestyle businesses can usually be started with little to no upfront investment and often have very few expenses and overhead costs to maintain.


With startups, you have investors breathing down your neck, counting pennies, and demanding results. And the fact is, no matter how much effort you put in, most startups fail, meaning you may be fighting a losing battle.

At the same time, when you invest in a small business, you need to earn enough to pay it back. Especially if the investment has stretched your finances thin. For small business owners who start adding employees and managing payroll, things only get more complex.

With a lifestyle business, much of this stress is eliminated.

You only have yourself to answer to. There is less pressure to recoup a large initial investment. Not to mention less of an insatiable thirst for unlimited growth.

Just remember …

Not only is a lifestyle business a different way of thinking, but it can have less of the stresses and financial pressures of other small businesses or startups.

Best lifestyle business examples

Any business that allows you the flexibility to work from anywhere, anytime, while optimizing your lifestyle fits the description of a lifestyle business.

Just a few of the best types of businesses right now:

Woman looking at the horizon in the middle of the road
Find your own way to build your dream lifestyle
Woman admiring the flat landscape of the death valley

How to choose your lifestyle business niche

Once you’ve decided on the direction you want your lifestyle business to go, the next step is deciding on your niche.

A niche is a unique segment of a larger market.

Look at it like this:

  • If you want to become a freelance writer, will you write articles, books, website copy, social media content?
  • Starting a blog? Will it be about fashion or fitness, technology or travel, personal finance or parenting, or something else?
  • If you’re looking at becoming a social media manager, what platform will you focus on, will you work with businesses or influencers? Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok?
  • Want to teach a course? On what, and to who?

As you’re narrowing down your lifestyle business niche, consider:

  • Your ideal customer. Think about the target audience you want to attract. What are their likes and dislikes, their goals and desires?
  • How you can best serve your potential market. What in the existing market could you do a better job of, what problems are you going to solve, how can your specific skills create something unique?
  • Your potential competition. Look at what your competition in the niche is doing that is popular and what their customers are saying they are missing.

More broadly, how many competitors are there?

Too many, and it will be hard for you to get seen; too few, and there may not be a market for your idea.

The key is to choose a niche that is not so broad that the market is already saturated but not so narrow that no one is interested.

Once you have narrowed down your niche, it is time for the next and most important step.

Validate your idea

Before investing a bunch of time and effort into building a new business that may or may not make money, you want to validate your business idea to get a sense of your potential market.

How do you validate your idea?

If you’re looking to provide a service (like writing), it is as simple as approaching potential clients to see if they’ll hire you. If they do, then great, there is a market for your idea.

If not, don’t panic. Rejection can be a good opportunity to acquire information on what people are looking for and how you could be better.

Remember the saying: you either succeed, or you learn.

If you’re looking to sell something like an online course or other digital products, you can validate the idea before going into the trouble of creating the product in two ways.

First, try pre-selling the product. If people are willing to purchase the product in advance, then there’s a market for it.

The other option is to create a smaller, less complex, free version of your idea and see if people are interested in it. That someone will want something for free doesn’t guarantee they’ll pay for it, but if they don’t want it for free, then they’re probably not going to pay for it either.

No matter what you are thinking of creating, it is a good idea when trying to validate it to leverage your network. This means asking for honest feedback from friends and colleagues on everything from what you’re selling to how much you’re selling it for.

If you already have an audience, like a blog or a social media following, even better! Ask this audience for feedback on business ideas and input on what they are looking for.

Again, validating your idea will ensure that you don’t put a bunch of time and effort into something destined to never get off the ground.

How you can start a lifestyle business

Once you have settled on an idea and validated it, follow these five steps to start your own lifestyle business successfully.

1. Set your personal goals

As mentioned above, the first step to starting a lifestyle business is determining the lifestyle you want. You’re not starting a business in the hope of making money endlessly and aimlessly, you’re determining your ideal lifestyle and building a business around that.

Start by asking yourself the following questions, and don’t be afraid to sit somewhere quiet and write your answers down:

  • Where do you want to live, work, and spend your time? Is it an exotic place, the countryside, from your current home, from the back of a van?
  • How much do you want to work – in a day, a week, a month, a year?
  • What passions do you want to spend time with every day, what hobbies do you wish you could get paid for?
  • What do you need in your life to be truly happy?

Taken together, this is your ideal lifestyle, the goal of your new lifestyle business.

It will keep you going as you work to get your business off the ground, keep you motivated when things go wrong, and give you purpose when it feels hard.

Best of all, understanding your goal, your ideal lifestyle, will remove you from an intangible pursuit of more, giving you a way to measure and fully enjoy your success.

2. Play to your strengths

When starting your lifestyle business, think about your existing skills and the expertise you possess. What are you good at already, what experience do you have, what do people always ask you to help them with?

Your existing skills and expertise can provide the foundation of a successful lifestyle business model and a great way to focus on and leverage elements within your chosen niche.

Note: if you are lacking skills and experience in the lifestyle business you want to pursue, don’t worry. Just think about what interests you and what you have a passion to learn everything about. It’s perfectly possible to decide to learn and improve your skills. Just make sure you have a passion for it.

An important thing to keep in mind: many have made the mistake of trying to jump on trends which have little to do with their skills or interests in pursuit of quick profits. Don’t be one of them. Trends are exactly that, trends; here today, gone tomorrow. By playing to your strengths, you will build something more long term on your own terms.

3. Make it location independent

As you already know, the beauty of a lifestyle business is that it can be done online from anywhere in the world at any time. But to truly obtain location independence for your lifestyle business, think of two additional things.

First, not only can you conduct business from anywhere in the world, but so can your customers and clients. Make sure that as you build your lifestyle business, you’re making it available to a global audience.

Second, think about networking. The great thing about the digital age is that it gives us the opportunity to connect with like-minded people all over the world. Take advantage of this and build a global network which you can ask for advice, share stories with, or even collaborate.

You’re no longer stuck with the office colleagues someone else hired, but rather, your network, like your lifestyle, becomes location independent.

Woman jumping in the desert (Death Valley)
Living the dream

4. Make it as big or as little as you want

As you start your lifestyle business, sit down and construct a budget on how much your ideal lifestyle would cost. Don’t be shy or modest; one that generates $50,000 per year is as successful as one which generates $500,000 if it fits your lifestyle.

Whereas others suggest that you create a monthly budget at this step, I much prefer constructing a budget for an entire year of your ideal lifestyle.


Because one of the great things about a lifestyle business is it doesn’t have to look the same every month, it can be scaled up and down through the course of a year, giving you time to travel, spend time with family, or just rest. There is no need to paint yourself into a corner by thinking about making a certain amount of money every month.

Once you’ve determined your yearly amount, you’ve got your number – the particular level of income you need to support the way you want to live!

But let’s go further with the idea that you can make your lifestyle business as big or as little as you want.

As your lifestyle business begins to grow, you may notice that you are starting to put in more and more hours, taking away from your desired lifestyle. Or, your desired lifestyle may change – you may want a new place to live, to take more vacations, or simply to work less.

In either case, the solution is the same…


Simply, outsourcing means that you pay others to do tasks for you.

Think about things you don’t like to do. Things you’re not good at, things that are taking up too much of your time. It has never been easier to find freelancers to do these things for you on online service marketplaces like Fiverr.

You could hire a writer to create content for you. Or a social media manager to handle your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok accounts. You could hire a bookkeeper to manage your books or a freelance marketer to handle digital marketing. Or even a virtual assistant to make day-to-day tasks easier.

Outsourcing is a way to take your lifestyle business to the next level, whether that means growing and making more money to fund an expanded lifestyle, or working less and having more time for yourself.

4. Diversify your income streams

Once you have begun to build your lifestyle business and are earning enough revenue, you can make things even easier by diversifying your income streams.

Actually, this is one of the best parts of a lifestyle business. You do not need to rely on only one source of income, and it is easy to make your business more resilient, not to mention more profitable.

How do you diversify your income streams?

It’s not about starting additional businesses and side hustles but rather exploring different angles within your niche and different ways to monetize your skills.

Some of the easiest ways:

  • You could create and sell a digital course teaching others your secrets and skills.
  • You could start a paid newsletter or monetize a blog talking about your niche.
  • You could partner with brands or start affiliate marketing, or start selling your own products within your niche.
  • You could even take the money you are earning and invest it.

As you diversify your income streams, money will begin coming in from different sources, many of them sources of passive income, which will not only make your lifestyle business more resilient but will make earning the money you need for your ideal lifestyle even easier.

Woman looking at the panorama in the snowy mountains in wintertime
A lifetime away from being stuck in an office for 12 hours a day!

Finally: build a lifestyle business you love

It’s true. Building a lifestyle business enables you to live the life you always wanted.

It all starts with asking, what is my ideal lifestyle?

The best part is that there are no strict guidelines or boundaries on your answer. And no limits on the business you create.

Everyone’s lifestyle business looks different because everyone has a different dream lifestyle.

And that’s precisely why everyone can build a lifestyle business they love, because not only do we all have skills and passions, but everyone has an ideal lifestyle.

Yes, it can be hard work at the beginning, and, like me, you will probably spend countless hours in the evenings and on weekends laying the foundation.

But I can tell you, there are few things better than getting paid for what you enjoy doing and living the life you want.

The only thing left to do is get started!

And if you have any questions, let me know in the comments!

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