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When we think about lifestyle design a key element is that of a “lifestyle business”. So let’s start off by defining a lifestyle business.

Quite simply a lifestyle business is one which will cover your monthly expenses whilst requiring as little of your time and energy as possible. By cutting out the 40-50 hours a week that most people spend at work just trying to make ends meet you create far more free time which you can spend on following your passions.

Whether that means you’ll be travelling the world, volunteering for a local charity or setting up a business that you hope will make you your first million, having that total freedom from financial worries is a key element to lifestyle design.

Now, it should be said that most lifestyle businesses are online businesses. And online businesses typically follow a standard routine or requiring a reasonable amount of time to set up and initially market, but once they are up and running they require minimal time.

Therefore one of the keys to a successful lifestyle business is having the time to do the initial work required to get things going. This can be done on your days off, in the evenings and so on and soon enough you should start to see your business growing and as you do so not only will you typically find it very motivating to see the cash starting to come in as a result of your efforts.

So now we understand what a lifestyle business is I’d like to tell you a short story before we move onto the real subject of this article: quite simply what types of online businesses seem to work best as lifestyle businesses and why? Which methods are worth investigating and putting some time into?

Here’s the short story… I am currently in a loving relationship with a wonderful girl. But some years ago I had a very nasty break-up with my ex. I was torn up. I couldn’t sleep properly, couldn’t think straight. Things were pretty depressing for some time.

Over a period of 3-4 months I didn’t even turn my computer on. I just didn’t care; I felt too sorry for myself to want to work on my websites. So I just left them to gather dust.

And here’s the funny thing. They *still* continued to make money. Infact, they kept pumping out well over $1,000 a month without me even turning on my computer for that time. The checks kept arriving.

Now, I appreciate that $1,000 isn’t a huge amount but I was just getting started out then. I fully expected my little “empire” to break down and to have to start again once I got over my relationship. But it kept on working.

And that’s when I realized the power of a residual income stream thanks to the internet. That’s when I started to get a glimpse of what a lifestyle business really could be; something that still generated profits on a regular, consistent basis with little or no daily input.

OK, so with that said let’s take a closer look at some potential online lifestyle business models and examine which are best suited to the budding lifestyl designer (i.e. you!)…

Ebook Sales

Some people love the idea of selling ebooks online. There are numerous courses around about how to earn thousands of dollars by writing and selling your own ebooks but in my experience there are a number of weaknesses to this business model.

Firstly it takes time to write an ebook. Many people take months to create their first piece of work. Secondly you need to write a hot ebook to really be successful. Many people *think* their ebook will sell but until you test the market there really is no way to be certain.

Selling ebooks also requires a considerable degree of technology and sales experience. You need to set up credit card processing, build a thank you page, a mailing list sign up page and so on. You need to write a sales letter that converts and then you need to figure out how to get traffic.

Whilst it is possible to make money by writing and selling ebooks – and many people do it – personally my own experience suggests that it’s not as easy or automatic as many people make out.

Lastly, when you’re selling an item like an ebook you have responsibilities towards your customers and your credit card processing company. You need to keep customers happy or you can be closed down so you need to be able and willing to respond to refund requests and questions on a regular basis and so you really need to be checking your emails every day or two to stay ontop of any potential problems.

So while selling ebooks certainly isn’t the worst business model for a lifestyle business I think it has enough limitations to be of less use than certain other techniques.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Affiliate Marketing

In PPC affiliate marketing you are essentially spending monoey on advertising, then sending those leads through to another company. If and when those people spend money you make a commission. The difference between what you spent and what you earned is your profit.

For those with lots of experience, PPC affiliate marketing can be tremendously profitable. Like, ridiculously so. I know of several people who make six figures profit per month. No that’s not a typo. PER MONTH.

This is a model that can and does create millionaires.

However there are a number of weaknesses here too. Firstly, you need a decent amount of capital to get started. A thousand dollars or so would be a good figure to be able to blow on a monthly basis.

The key secret really to PPC marketing is testing, so you need to throw a lot fo money at the wall before you start to figure out what works, before you refine your marketing and then scale it up for the big paydays.

This therefore probably requires more money than any other online lifestyle business. And because you’re spending that money on a daily basis, you really need to be keeping ontop of your campaigns on a daily basis. I have heard horror stories of people spending thousands of dollars on advertising and then sending these people to an offer that, unbeknownst to them, has ended. All those people that they had paid for just ended up on a blank page. Result: wasted money, and lots of it.

So again, this method requires quite a bit of upkeep on a regular basis if you’re going to be successful. There is a lot fo competition because of the potential profits so it can also take months before you start to make any real money and that’s a lot of cash sunk into your experiments.

Adsense Sites

Incase you’ve never heard of Adsense it is Google’s contextual advertising program. Basically you build a website on a niche topic, add somke code to it and Google adverts start to appear on your website. Every time someone clicks one of those adverts you make a cut of whatever Google is charging the advertiser.

The price varies massively and can be from as little as a penny right up to several dollars per click, though the lower end is far more common than the higher end.

From the perspective of a lifestyle business Adsense has a number of factors really going for it. After the initial effort of building and marketing your website you typically find that visitors start arriving from the search engines on autopilot. A percentage of those will click an advert and you get paid as a result.

This is a nice, simple business that requires minimal time and effort to run. The traffic typically keeps coming, as do the clicks and as a result the checks. You have no real customer service to do; if an advertiser doesn’t want to feature on your site they can just change a few settings in their account and they won’t show up and Google deals with all of this.

Once your site is built and marketed you simply need to keep renewing your hosting and domain and checking in from time to time to ensure there are no emails from Google about account changes, concerns etc.

Adsense works well as a lifestyle business in my opinion but there is one downside worth mentioning. Quite simply the income can be pretty low in comparison to the effort you need to put in.

Making a few hundred dollars a month is entirely possible and realistic. I do it myself and have shown a number of people over the years how to do it. My girlfriend earns a reasonable sum from Adsense each month and she would be perfectly comfortable with me telling you she really is quite a beginner when it comes to online businesses.

But if you’re hoping to earn several thousand dollars each month to cover your living expenses you may find it challenging to do so with Adsense alone. It may form one element of how you make money but focusing solely on Adsense can be tough.

One final point to note is the number of people who have had their Adsense accounts closed down over the years for a variety of reasons. When you spend months building up an empire of sites focused purely around one company, if they ban your account you could be in for a nasty shock. A far safer, more secure lifestyle business would be based around making money in a number of ways so that if one income source dries up, others will still generate money for you.

Article Marketing

In article marketing you write articles which you then submit to a variety of websites across the net, hoping that they will get decent search engine rankings. Each of those articles can then have a link in them to either your website or an affiliate program that you are promoting.

The article marketing community, like the PPC community, seems pretty divided. People either clean up with this technique or they waste huge amounts of time and effort for little or no reward.

On the upside this method is possibly the cheapest and easiest method to get started with meaning anyone can have a go. On the other hand, the fact that there is really no barrier to entry means that competition is rife and you really either need to be lucky or very skilled to make decent money through article marketing.

On the other hand, assuming you manage to get some of your articles ranking highly, this can lead to residual traffic and as a result residual income for you. Typically article marketing involves submitting your articles to other websites, with the inherent risk that your articles could get deleted or your accounts closed down so you need to be aware of this risk factor.

Personally I think article marketing has potential for a lifestyle business and I am currently carrying out a few tests on a new article marketing system and I hope to be able to provide you with more details over the next few months as I implement things. I hope this will give a clearer idea of the potential results of this method.

Organic Affiliate Marketing

Rather like article marketing, organic affiliate marketing involves creating content which we hope will get decent search engine rankings leading to free traffic, some of whom will buy a product and earn us a commission. The primary difference is that rather than post our articles on other sites, here we actually create our own website and place the articles there.

The process can be rather slower because you will need to put some time into marketing your own website but on the flipside you have far more control and far less risk because if and when the site starts to perform strongly you will own it free and clear rather than hoping that the sites you have submitted your content to won’t lose down your account.

In my opinion, organic affiliate marketing really is the ideal lifestyle business. Once the site has been built and marketed, the traffic just keeps on coming. And when you have residual traffic like that, you can get residual income too.

You have no customer service issues or refund requests because you are simply sending people over to another website and if they have questions they can simply contact the site owner. You can spread your risk by dealing with a number of different affiliate programs, it requires only minimal investment to get started and you can earn a full time living from this method.

Indeed, in the short story I told you earlier, my sites earned an income by attracting visitors from the search engines and then making money by affiliate marketing and Adsense so I proven time and again, in numerous niches and over a long period of time that for me, building content sites and then making money from affiliate marketing and Adsense really is the ultimate hands-off, automatic lifestyle business.

As a result you can expect lots more information and guidance on the techniques I have developed over the next few months in the hope of enabling you to learn from my experiences and create your own profitable lifestyle business. If that sounds of interest then please ensure you subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss any new content published here.