If you’re currently working an unsatisfying 9-5 job, there’s a good chance you’ve at least thought of breaking out of the rat race by starting your own business. If you really want to achieve greater freedom in your life, though, some business ideas are better than others. Leaving an unfulfilling job that’s preventing you from enjoying life the way you want to won’t help if you transition to running a business that does exactly the same thing. This is where the concept of a lifestyle business comes into play.
Simply put, a lifestyle business is one that allows you the flexibility to live life on your terms while still producing the income you need to maintain the standard of living you prefer. The main elements that make a lifestyle business are the freedom to set your own schedule and the ability to work from any location you choose. The ability to produce income passively is also very helpful, but not necessarily required. Finally, a lifestyle business should be one that you enjoy and that aligns with your hobbies and interests. If you can make enough money to live the way you want, set your own hours and do something you genuinely enjoy, your business will barely feel like work at all. Here are some of the best lifestyle business ideas for those who are interested in ditching the rat race.
Affiliate marketing is a type of promotion in which companies pay third-party marketers commissions for generating sales of their products. Though affiliate marketing can be done on social media sites or video hosting platforms like YouTube, most entrepreneurs prefer to have their own affiliate websites that can get organic traffic from search engines.
Affiliate commissions vary widely depending on the program you are enrolled in and the products you are selling. The most popular affiliate program, Amazon Associates, offers commissions from about 4-10 percent. While some programs offer commissions of 25 or even 50 percent, these lower commission rates are more typical. For this reason, most affiliate marketers choose to sell products that are priced at $50 or more, since these products generate worthwhile commissions. Be aware, though, that the prices of the products you promote also shouldn’t be so high that practically no one will be able to afford them.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most appealing lifestyle business ideas because it is almost completely passive. Once you have set up your affiliate website, populated it with content and successfully attracted a regular stream of visitors to it, money from affiliate commissions will continue to come in whether you’re actively working on it or not. Of course, you can expand your income by creating more affiliate content and driving more sales, allowing you to scale the business easily.
Ecommerce and Amazon
If you don’t like the idea of promoting another person’s product through affiliate marketing, getting into Ecommerce may be one of the best business ideas for you. By buying products from a wholesaler and selling them at retail prices on your own website, you can build a profitable online business that will allow you to expand your income over the long term.
One of the best ways to ensure that Ecommerce fits the mold of a lifestyle business is to sell your products on Amazon and use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) to manage your logistics. FBA is a program that allows you to send your products to an Amazon fulfillment center, where they will be stored until they sell. At that point, Amazon employees will pick, package and ship the product to the buyer. While there is a charge for FBA, it allows you to run an Ecommerce business with effectively zero labor overhead and without devoting every moment of your life to the logistics of your business. With Amazon FBA, scaling your business up is as simple as buying more product to sell.
Freelancing or Consulting
For people who already have valuable professional skills that can help other businesses, freelancing or consulting is among the best business ideas to get started with. The beauty of freelancing is the fact that it requires almost no initial inputs. While affiliate marketing and Ecommerce will require building audiences, creating websites and sourcing products, freelance work is as simple as finding a business client who is willing to pay for your skills or knowledge.
Unlike the other business ideas listed here, freelancing and consulting are models that don’t offer much in the way of passive income. Since you are paid for your time and expertise, being a freelancer or independent consultant means that you will only get paid for the work you actually do. However, these can still be regarded as lifestyle businesses, as they will offer you much more flexibility than a standard 9-5 job. Many freelancers and consultants are paid very highly for the work they do, meaning that this business model can eventually develop into a much larger income stream than your current salary.
A final lifestyle business idea is fixing and flipping distressed properties. This one will take more startup capital and business savvy than some of the others, but it also has incredible potential for returns. Essentially, flipping properties involves buying homes that need some work, making repairs that will substantially increase the property values and then reselling them at a profit. Although the possible returns from real estate flipping are frequently exaggerated, it is perfectly realistic to expect gross returns of 30 percent or more on your money when a flip goes well.
Although most properties will make you more money as fix-and-flips, getting into real estate will also afford you an opportunity to build streams of passive income by keeping certain properties for yourself and turning them into rentals. By keeping a few select properties, you can gradually build a portfolio of rentals that will ensure steady cash flow. Combine this passive rental income with the ability to make large one-time returns on fix-and-flips, and this model emerges as one of the most potentially profitable lifestyle business ideas out there.