8 Lifestyle Business Ideas to Start in 2024 – Shopify

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The promise of starting a lifestyle business includes trading a nine-to-five for a flexible schedule, creating a calendar under your control, and centering the personal over the professional. But behind the laid-back laptop setup on the beach, what does running a lifestyle business actually entail?

A lifestyle business allows the flexibility and profitability to live life on your own terms—whether that’s traversing the globe, spending time with loved ones, or both. Therefore, what a lifestyle business looks like can vary from person to person.

If you’re looking to add more balance to your life, starting a lifestyle business might be a good option. Here, you’ll find lifestyle business ideas and real life examples to inspire you.

What is a lifestyle business?

A lifestyle business allows you to earn money while living a life you love. The business side of things wraps around your lifestyle, whether that’s full-time travel, family life, or the ability to work the hours you want. 

Most lifestyle businesses are built on the founder’s passions, interests, or skills and have fairly low startup costs—for many, all you need is a laptop and internet. Some types of lifestyle businesses generate passive income, while others exchange services for money. 

8 best lifestyle business ideas

  1. Create digital products
  2. Work as a freelancer or consultant
  3. Become an influencer or creator
  4. Launch an ecommerce business
  5. Develop apps as an indie hacker
  6. Build a SaaS product
  7. Create a membership
  8. Start a blog 

1. Create digital products 

A digital product is a non-physical item that can be sold online in infinite quantities. This gives it an advantage over physical products, which can run out and require inventory to be replenished.

From online courses to ebooks, you can earn an income from digital products if you find the right niche and validate your idea. Digital products have a range of advantages, including low overhead costs, high-profit margins, and hands-off fulfillment through automation. 

Here are a few examples of digital products: 

  • Templates. Easlo, a digital creator, sells Notion templates, including an investment tracker, goal tracker, resolution boards, and bullet journal.
  • Instagram photo filters and presets. Jack Morris and Lauren Bullen, the lifestyle influencers and entrees behind DYT Presets, sell aesthetic Lightroom presets that customers can download and apply to their photos. 
  • Website and store themes. Archetype creates and sells stunning ecommerce themes for Shopify stores online.
  • Email or digital courses. XayLi Barclay runs Start Shoot Grow Video Academy and sells a five-day course on creating an online course. 
  • Ebooks and self-published books. Steph Smith created Doing Content Right, a digital resource and community about better content development. 
  • Photography. Christopher Michel, an accomplished photographer, uses his website to sell a selection of the photos he’s taken. 

For lifestyle businesses, digital products also offer the opportunity to create passive income—creating once and selling repeatedly.

2. Work as a freelancer or consultant 

Another lifestyle business idea is freelancing or consulting for clients. While freelancing and consulting both entail providing a service to a client, they differ slightly.

Freelancing

Clients pay freelancers on a contract basis for their skills and experience. For example, freelance product designers can create mock-ups for digital apps, and a freelance writer can write articles for a publication. Get started with freelancing by building a portfolio of work and advertising or pitching your work directly to potential clients.

If you’re building a portfolio for the first time, seek out work on freelancing marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork. These marketplaces generally don’t offer competitive pay and also take a cut of every transaction. But you can gradually increase your rates and eventually migrate off these platforms after you have work you can point to.

According to a 2023 report from Upwork, freelancing can help people find flexible and meaningful work: 

  • 60% of freelancers work remotely compared to just 32% of non-freelance professionals
  • 77% of freelancers work based on a schedule that best suits their lifestyle
Screenshot of freelance marketers on Upwork.
Set up your own website or advertise your services on sites like Upwork.

Consulting

Clients pay consultants on a contract basis for their expertise in a specific field or industry. This can be anything from insight into streamlining engineering workflows to expertise on increasing employee retention at a company. 

Clients hiring a consultant have a business or personal problem and want someone with expertise in this area to provide targeted advice to help them solve it. Consulting work is more challenging to find than freelance work but can be the foundation to becoming a lifestyle entrepreneur. 

However, if you have deep expertise in a particular area, you can build an online presence—a website, social media profiles, a podcast—that demonstrates your expertise and brings in clients. Many consultants work on building a network and find clients through referrals and word of mouth. 

Freelancing and consulting businesses generally allow you to work from anywhere, while working with multiple clients. This provides a level of flexibility that is valuable when building a lifestyle business. 

3. Become an influencer or creator

From posting videos on YouTube to writing for an audience on Substack, we’re in the era of the creator. A career as an online content creator is now highly desired—according to research, 57% of young Americans, given the opportunity, would become an influencer. 

The stereotypical image of an influencer includes young creatives doing dance moves on TikTok or pulling pranks on YouTube. But there are countless types of digital creators—from performers and on-camera personalities to virtuosos using their expertise. 

To start a lifestyle business as a creator, consider your passions and interests and the best medium for you to share them with the world. That could be hosting a podcast, starting a YouTube series, or writing a blog. 

Top creators make millions through platform payouts, brand deals, affiliate marketing, and sponsorships. This is often out of reach for the average creator, and there’s growing discussion about a creator middle class. However, small creators can still make an income through creator funds on platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Substack, and Snapchat. 

Additionally, as influencer marketing becomes more expensive, brands are looking to sponsor and build partnerships with micro-influencers rather than internet mega stars. As well as sponsorship, creators can earn income from affiliate marketing and brand partnerships.

Photographer, makeup artist, and micro-influencer Pastel Mints shares bold eye makeup designs and links to branded products in each caption.

By consistently creating content and growing your audience, you can increase your income over time as a content creator. Becoming an online creator or internet influencer can be accomplished on the go, providing the flexibility to build income that supports a flexible lifestyle. 

4. Launch an ecommerce business

An ecommerce business is a great lifestyle business idea where you create and sell something that makes life better for buyers. However, in between packing orders and shipping packages, a standard ecommerce business often doesn’t provide the level of freedom that enables a flexible life. That’s where ecommerce dropshipping businesses can be advantageous. 

Dropshipping is an order fulfillment method where an online shop doesn’t hold the inventory it sells. Instead, the ecommerce store places orders from a third-party supplier that subsequently ships them to customers. 

Here’s how dropshipping works, in practice:

  • A customer places an order on your online store.
  • Your store automatically sends the order to your dropshipping supplier.
  • Your dropshipping supplier fulfills your customer’s order.
  • Your dropshipping supplier ships the order to your customer’s address. 

If you look up dropshipping online, you’ll come across resources claiming that dropshipping is an overnight path to millions. This is not the case. Like any ecommerce business, dropshipping takes time, effort, and investment in finding a winning product, vetting the right suppliers, and advertising to prospective customers. 

However, many of the advantages touted about dropshipping are true. Dropshipping means your business doesn’t need a physical location to keep inventory, fulfill orders, and receive returns, freeing you up to travel or work remotely.

Dropshipping businesses also remove the upfront cost of acquiring inventory. Without these obstacles, you can focus on the non-physical aspects of running an ecommerce business—marketing, sales, customer support, and creative work. These benefits make dropshipping a viable option for a lifestyle business that lets you live and work from anywhere in the world. 

5. Develop apps as an indie hacker

When you think about technology apps your mind might conjure some of the favorites on your phone—Instagram, Strava, Headspace, and other apps with valuations in the billions and employees in the hundreds or thousands. 

Many of the companies behind those apps have scaled by raising venture capital funding that helped them find product-market fit and catapulted them to hockey-stick growth. 

But that’s not the story of every app. 

Across the internet, there are thousands of apps bootstrapped by solopreneurs or tiny teams with a modest but meaningful number of paying customers. Creators behind these apps are independent software developers known as “indie hackers.” For instance, 2022’s most beloved online game—Wordle—was created by a single person and subsequently acquired for seven figures by The New York Times.

While a venture-capital-backed app might need millions of users to be considered a success, an indie app might need just dozens of monthly paying customers to fund your lifestyle. If you’re a software developer or technically skilled, you can uncover a problem, validate your idea, and build an app for people to pay for.

Once you’ve built an app, you can continue refining it by fixing bugs and adding features, as well as working on marketing and storytelling to expand your audience. Often, a passion project like this can require less than 40 hours of work a week, making it the perfect lifestyle business.

One way to get started is through the Shopify Developer Platform. Become a Shopify expert and create public or custom private apps that solve complex merchant problems. You can launch your app to millions of merchants on the Shopify App Store.

List of trending Shopify apps in the Shopify apps store
Shopify apps that are trending in the app store this month.

Visit the Indie Hackers community for countless success stories of software developers who have used their technological prowess to create a lifestyle business.

6. Build a SaaS product 

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) products are a common way for lifestyle-focused founders to build a product that generates monthly recurring revenue (MRR). When someone signs up, they choose a subscription level that takes payment from them every month.

There’s a lot of upfront work involved in building a SaaS product. Once the foundations are built and you’ve got a handful of customers, you can work on adding and improving features around travel or family life.

Lots of SaaS founders “build in public,” which means they openly share their wins and losses as they create and market a product. Check out the #buildinpublic community on X (formerly Twitter) for inspiration and tips from people who have been there and got the t-shirt. 

You can browse existing SaaS products on Product Hunt and Tech Radar to get inspiration for your own. 

List of trending products from the Product Hunt homepage.
Browse Product Hunt for SaaS inspiration.

7. Create a membership 

Like SaaS products, running a membership program can also generate monthly recurring revenue for your online business. The best part is your membership can center around your interests, like yoga, business coaching, or writing. Once people join, they pay monthly or annually in exchange for regular resources, classes, workshops, or meetups. 

You can offer different tiers of membership too, where those who pay more get bigger and better incentives and rewards, like one-on-one time with you or in-depth training.

For example, Vicky Critoph, founder of Happy Freelancers, launched a membership with three tiers. Members get early access to work and play retreats and reduced rates on co-working days and mentoring sessions. 

8. Start a blog 

If you love writing, blogging can be a great way to start a lifestyle business. It takes time to grow a readership and work your way up the search results, but if you target a specific niche you can start generating a small income relatively quickly. 

Think about what you like to write about. Gluten-free recipes? Your travels around South East Asia? Psychology and the mind? Make sure it’s something you can come up with consistent content ideas about and think about ways you can monetize your efforts.

Here are the most common ways to monetize a blog: 

  • Include affiliate links. Mention and link out to products you love. Every time a reader buys something through your link, you’ll earn a commission.
  • Serve ads. Join an ad network and make money every time someone clicks on an ad on your blog. 
  • Partner with brands. Get relevant brands to pay you to mention them on your blog in a sponsored post. 
  • Leverage your readership. Once your blog starts to grow, you can use it as a platform to sell products and services. 
Screenshot of the “latest from the blog section” of Abby Lawson’s organizational website, Just a Girl and her Blog.
Abby Lawson of Just a Girl and Her Blog has used her blogging platform as a launchpad for selling products and guides.

Lifestyle business examples

Daniel Vassallo built a portfolio of small bets

In 2019, Daniel Vassallo quit his six-figure job at Amazon after working there for eight years. Despite great pay, repeated promotions, and high praise, his motivation declined over the years. Instead, he turned to what might spark self motivation: “Writing code, selling my creations, charting my own path.”

Since then, Daniel has gone all in on independence. Rather than earning income from just one job, he’s building a “portfolio of small bets,” generating income from a variety of sources.

The landing page for Daniel Vassallo’s book, The Good Parts of AWS.
Daniel Vassallo sells a book alongside many other ventures.

You won’t find Daniel jet-setting around the world with the freedom his lifestyle affords him. Instead, he’s rooted in one place—woodworking, building a cabin, and spending time with his family, while getting to explore his multiple passions through work. 

Marie Martens and Filip Minev grew Tally to $10K in MRR

At the end of 2019, Marie Martens and her partner, Filip Minev, decided to chase their dreams. 

After experimenting with a few ideas and gaining some interest in their travel startup idea, Marie quit her job in January 2020. Marie and Filip left their home in Belgium and hopped on a plane to Asia that same month to become digital nomads. On the horizon of a new opportunity, the global COVID-19 pandemic hit—their travel plans were derailed and their travel startup started losing traction and clients. 

Despite the setback, they were determined to stay the course as entrepreneurs. In September 2020, they took the indie hacker route and launched Tally, an online platform for creating beautiful forms and surveys. By March 2021, through marketing their product and sharing their product progress in public, they were able to win customers and even attract investor attention. 

“I don’t feel like I have to ‘work’ anymore, because building our own business doesn’t feel like having a job. I cofounded Tally together with my partner, Filip, so it feels like we’re building our future instead of ‘going to work,’ says Marie. “The fulfillment of building a product that thousands of people use and building a sustainable business out of it is just magical.”

Since February 2020, Tally has taken on no outside investment and Marie and Filip have bootstrapped their company to $10,000 in monthly recurring revenue—or $120,000 in revenue per year. 

“Running our own company also means we have the flexibility to take care of our daughter the way we want to,” says Marie. “We can structure our days in the most efficient way that works for us as a family, and we’re in full control business-wise.”

How Easlo makes $600,000 a year selling Notion templates

Easlo is a young solopreneur from Singapore who turned his passion for productivity into a thriving empire by selling Notion templates. The idea is incredibly simple but effective. Easlo designs templates for a whole host of situations, including finance trackers, habit journals, meal planners, and travel diaries. 

“I began by engaging with a small audience on Twitter, where I shared valuable resources, tips, and insights on Notion and no-code tools. This approach helped me establish credibility and trust with my followers, who found value in the content I shared,” Easlo says in an interview

“One of my tweets, which showcased a free Notion template, was reshared by the Notion community, resulting in increased visibility and traction for my offerings. This exposure led to a surge in interest in my templates and helped me acquire my first customers.”

Image caption: Easlo has a range of templates for finances, habit tracking, and life skills. 

A screenshot of six Notion templates by Easlo.
Easlo has a range of templates for finances, habit tracking, and life skills.

In 2022, Easlo made $239,000 from template sales alone, showing just how lucrative this kind of lifestyle business can be. The key is diversification. Easlo caters to a broad audience with his selection of templates and has several affordable options (a $20 bullet journal, for example), as well as higher-ticket templates (like the $130 Second Brain template). 

“In 2022, the average monthly revenue was around $20K, and in 2023, it increased to approximately $50K per month,” says Easlo. 

Find your own lifestyle business idea

Choosing a profitable lifestyle business idea is a matter of digging into your expertise, passions, and experience and bundling them into a product or service you can sell to customers or clients. That could mean exploring your passion for music and building a niche playlist app or using your experience in human resources to consult on executive hiring at a tech company. 

But one of the benefits of starting a lifestyle business is you don’t have to choose just one thing. Instead, you can explore the full realm of your interests, consulting in one area and creating a digital product in another. While escaping the bounds of nine-to-five, you can also find the freedom to explore the full range of your interests, embracing the work you love, while living the life you want.

Lifestyle business ideas FAQ

What does lifestyle business mean?

A lifestyle business is an enterprise that is designed to generate enough income to support the lifestyle of its owner. These businesses are typically small, owner-operated businesses that are focused on providing a product or service that meets the needs of a specific market. The owner may choose to keep the business small and manageable so that it does not interfere with their lifestyle or other activities.

What are good lifestyle businesses?

  • Personal training
  • Online coaching
  • Blogging
  • Virtual assistant
  • Yoga instructor
  • Social media consultant
  • Personal chef
  • Home organizer
  • Gardening services
  • Pet sitting

What do lifestyle companies do?

Lifestyle companies are businesses that focus on creating products and services that enhance the way people live their lives. These companies typically focus on creating products and services that are designed to improve the quality of life of their customers. This might include goods and services related to wellness, health, travel, fashion, entertainment, and home goods, among many other categories. Many lifestyle companies have a strong focus on sustainability and ethical production methods.

What is a lifestyle entrepreneur?

A lifestyle entrepreneur is someone who works to create a business that allows them to pursue their desired lifestyle. They focus on building a business that works in harmony with their personal interests and goals, rather than simply to make money. Lifestyle entrepreneurs may create businesses that give them the freedom to travel, work remotely, or find a balance between their professional and personal lives.



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