Lifestyle Businesses & Steps to Build One by Ramit Sethi

How to start a lifestyle business: expert tips + best ones to start

Fed up with the 9-5 grind? Dreaming of a business that fits your lifestyle goals? Welcome to lifestyle businesses, where chasing the American dream meets your passions and skills. These ventures aren’t just about profit; they’re about creating a sustainable income that supports your lifestyle choices.

As a New York Times best-selling author who built a business that supports my rich life, I’ve crafted a playbook to help you build your own lifestyle business. Ready to dive in and design a business that mirrors your aspirations? Let’s get started.

Lifestyle Businesses & Steps to Build One by Ramit Sethi
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Table of Contents

Startup Vs. Small Business Vs. Lifestyle Business

In the diverse world of entrepreneurship, understanding the differences between startups, small businesses, and lifestyle businesses is key to choosing the path that aligns with your goals.

Lifestyle Businesses: Here, the primary goal is personal. Founders of lifestyle businesses aim to generate enough revenue to support their desired way of life. It’s about creating a business that fits like a glove around your personal lifestyle needs, whether that’s having more time for family, travel, or other passions. These ventures are more about maintaining a certain level of income rather than scaling up massively.

Startups: These are the dynamos of innovation, built from the ground up, often starting as just a spark of an idea. Startups require significant time, effort, and investment, but the payoff can be substantial. They’re typically characterized by their potential for rapid growth and scalability, aiming not just to enter the market but to disrupt and transform it. The startup journey is often a rollercoaster of highs and lows, but for those who succeed, the upside can be enormous.

Small Businesses: Falling somewhere between lifestyle businesses and startups, small businesses are often defined by their size in terms of revenue and employee count. They might be local, family-owned businesses or niche companies that have been in the market for years. Unlike startups, small businesses don’t necessarily aim for rapid growth or market domination. Instead, they focus on sustaining a steady income and serving a loyal customer base.

Each of these business models offers different opportunities and challenges. While a lifestyle business prioritizes personal fulfillment and work-life balance, a startup is geared towards high growth and scalability. A small business, meanwhile, offers stability and a more predictable path. Understanding these differences is crucial in carving out a business journey that aligns with your personal and professional aspirations.

How to Start A Lifestyle Business

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and dive into creating a business that not only brings in the cash but also aligns perfectly with the lifestyle you dream about. Let’s get personal and practical about turning your vision into a thriving reality.

Identify Your Niche

Finding your niche is like choosing your battleground in the business world. It’s about zeroing in on a specific market segment where your expertise can shine. Take fashion design, for example. By focusing on wedding gowns, you’re not just a fashion designer; you’re the go-to person for a very special day in people’s lives. This specialization helps you deeply understand your buyer persona – their interests, demographics, and what makes them tick. A narrow focus doesn’t limit your business; it sharpens it, making your offerings more appealing to a specific group.

Carve Out A Business Plan

Your business plan is the backbone of your venture. It’s where your dreams meet strategy. Outline your business model, market analysis, and financial projections. This plan isn’t just a requirement for investors; it’s your roadmap. It should detail how you’ll turn your niche passion into a profitable business. Think about how you’ll source materials, your pricing strategy, and your sales channels. A solid plan provides clarity and direction, two things essential in a lifestyle business.

Sell Your First Product

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of making your first sale. It validates your idea and gives you that first taste of success. Focus on quality and customer experience. Your first product sets the tone for your brand, so make it count. Gather feedback and use it to refine your offerings. Remember, your first customers are more than just sales; they’re the foundation of your brand’s reputation.

Automate And Leverage Technology

In a lifestyle business, time is a precious commodity. Automation and technology are your allies in freeing up time and increasing efficiency. Use online tools for things like inventory management, accounting, and customer relationship management. The right tech stack can streamline your operations, allowing you to focus more on growth and less on day-to-day tasks.

Build Customer Relationships

Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Build strong relationships with them. Engage on social media, create a loyalty program, or simply offer exceptional customer service. Word of mouth is powerful, especially in niche markets. Happy customers become advocates for your brand, and there’s no marketing more effective than a satisfied customer singing your praises.

Market Your Business

Marketing is about telling your story in a way that resonates with your audience. It’s not just about selling a product; it’s about selling an experience, a lifestyle. Use your niche to your advantage in your marketing efforts. Be it through social media, content marketing, or collaborations, ensure your marketing efforts are authentic and speak directly to your target audience.

Test And Iterate

Finally, the mantra for any successful business: test, learn, and iterate. Use customer feedback and sales data to refine your products and business strategy. The market is constantly evolving, and so should your business. Testing and iterating allow you to stay ahead of trends and continuously meet your customers’ needs.

Lifestyle Business Examples

Lifestyle businesses come in various forms, each harnessing the power of personal skills and digital platforms to create sustainable income streams. Here are some examples:

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Selling Online Courses

If you’re a whiz in a particular area, why not share your expertise with the world? The beauty of online courses is that you create content once and sell it indefinitely. It’s an upfront investment of time and effort, but the potential returns are limitless. In today’s e-learning boom, packaging your knowledge into a course is a smart way to earn while helping others learn. Check out this article for a deeper dive into how to create and sell online courses.

SaaS Business

Software as a Service (SaaS) is an excellent model for tech-savvy entrepreneurs. Develop a software solution that solves a common problem, and offer it on a subscription basis. This model provides a steady income stream and the satisfaction of solving real-world problems with technology.

e-Commerce Store

Got a knack for retail? An e-commerce store lets you sell products online, be it handmade crafts, fashion items, or anything in between. The key is to find a niche market and cater specifically to their needs and preferences.

Selling Ebooks

If writing is your forte, penning ebooks can be both fulfilling and profitable. Whether it’s fiction, how-to guides, or personal development, ebooks offer a way to share your insights and stories with a global audience.

Membership Websites

Whether it’s crafting in-depth educational courses, fostering a specialized community forum, or providing a series of niche services, a membership site creates a recurring revenue model. It’s about creating an engaged community where members find continuous value, making it worth their while to stay subscribed.

Social Media

 If you have a substantial following, monetize it by partnering with brands for sponsored content, engaging in affiliate marketing, or even launching your own branded products. It’s not just about numbers; it’s about building a relationship with your audience and leveraging that trust to promote products or services authentically.


Turn your passion for photography into a lucrative business by selling your photos online, or offering your services for events, portraits, or commercial projects. With digital platforms, you can reach a global audience, selling prints, licensing your work, or creating photo books.


Blogging is far from being passé. It’s a platform for sharing your unique insights, stories, or expertise with the world. Monetize your blog through advertising, affiliate links, sponsored content, or by selling your own products and services. It’s a way to build a personal brand and establish yourself as an authority in your niche.


Offer your skills on a freelance basis – whether it’s writing, design, programming, or consulting. Freelancing allows you to work on diverse projects, honing your skills while maintaining flexibility. Platforms like Upwork or Fiverr can help you find clients, or you can build your own client base through networking and personal branding.

Online Coaching

Online coaching offers a platform to connect with clients globally, imparting your knowledge and skills through video calls, webinars, and personalized programs. It’s a fulfilling way to make an impact while shaping your career around your lifestyle. As you build your coaching brand, you can create tailored programs, host group sessions, and even offer one-on-one coaching, all from the comfort of your home or any corner of the world you choose. 

Start Your Lifestyle Business Today

Let’s cut to the chase – the right time to start your lifestyle business is now. Forget waiting for the stars to align. Whether it’s sharing your expertise through online courses, igniting your passion for photography, or diving into the world of blogging, your opportunity to build a business that fits your life is right in front of you.

This isn’t just about making money; it’s about crafting YOUR rich life. Take the leap, make that first bold move, and start shaping a business that aligns with your ambitions and passions. Go for it!

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