Guide: How to Start a Shopify Lifestyle Business in 9 Steps
Photo by Karolina Grabowska: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-using-macbook-5882683/
A lifestyle business is a small, low-risk, low-cost business that can provide a comfortable living for the owner and their family. It’s usually an online business but can also be offline. A lifestyle business is different from traditional startups in that you don't need to raise any money from investors, you won't have employees working under you and it isn't as risky or involved as other types of businesses.
Lifestyle businesses are great side hustles because they're flexible and easy to manage. They don't require much time or energy and can be started by anyone with basic computer skills like coding or web design knowledge.
If you’re tired of the 9 to 5 job, here is a quick guide to setting up you own lifestyle business.
Step 1: Figure Out Your Own Business and Life Goals
"The first step to achieving your goals is to clearly define them." --Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich.
This is the most important step in setting up a lifestyle business for yourself. When you're not clear about what you want, it's difficult to achieve it because your actions won't be focused on one goal or another. You'll find yourself jumping from one thing to another without any real sense of direction.
This can lead to burnout and other self-defeating behaviors that will keep you from making progress toward anything meaningful in your life or business. The best way for figuring out your goals is by doing an exercise called SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Actionable & Timely).
For example: “I will earn $1000 from my Shopify store by this time next year” is not a good goal because it doesn't give any indication of how much money that would be or when exactly you'd want to do this.
However "I will increase my monthly sales by 20% in the next 6 months" is because it's specific (how many dollars/percentage), measurable (how will you know if you've achieved it), achievable (it's realistic) and relevant (you need to know why you're doing this). Finally, there's also a bonus of making sure your goals are time-bound so that there's some urgency attached - otherwise they'll just stay on your wish list forever.
Step 2: Reflect on Your Skills, Interests, and Expertise
Now that you have an idea of what your business is going to be and who you are trying to reach, take a look at what skills, interests, and expertise you already have that can help support your goals.
Before you get started, it's important to reflect on your skills, interests, and expertise. It may seem obvious that you have some kind of passion or expertise in something—but are you sure? Maybe you love writing but don't know how to write well enough to make money from it yet. Or maybe coding is just something that makes you happy.
There are a lot of ways that people can make money online these days; a few of the most popular methods are blogging, copywriting, and social media management. If these aren’t for you but you still want to start a lifestyle business, consider what kinds of skills and interests you have that might lend themselves toward an easy-to-start business model.
Step 3: Determine Your Niche and USP
Now that you have chosen a niche, it's time to find your USP. You need to find out what makes your business different from other businesses in the same niche.
A USP is what makes your business unique and differentiates it from competitors. It can be anything from a specific product or service, branding, price point, customer service, and so on.
To find this niche it's important to know that there are two main types of niches: competitive and non-competitive. You want to find one that isn't too competitive (this will be easier than trying to compete in an already crowded field) but not too non-competitive either because then it won't make any money either!
Although it may seem counterintuitive, clients and customers typically want experts, not generalists. Specific business niches include:
SaaS copywriting, financial technology white papers, profile writing, executive ghostwriting, eCommerce content marketing
Short-form documentaries, influencer vlogs, corporate commercials, music videos, news segments
Social media marketing, email marketing, Facebook ad marketing, influencer marketing, account-based marketing
Wedding photography, food product photography, landscape photography, real estate photography, lifestyle photography
From these categories, you can further define your niche. Your niche is essentially what makes you different from everyone else who sells similar products. It's what separates you from the competition. So, for example, if your business offers copywriting and web design for women-owned businesses then your niche would be "women-owned".
Step 4: Set Up Your Lifestyle Business on Shopify
Shopify is an online platform for creating a lifestyle business. It provides powerful eCommerce tools, great themes, and a large selection of apps to help you get started. Shopify also has excellent customer support and resources that can help guide you through the setup process.
Here are a few other benefits to starting an online business on Shopify:
- Shopify provides a large selection of themes and apps. You can select from a variety of pre-made templates for your shop theme, or use one that feels like it fits your brand best. If you want more flexibility than the provided themes allow, you can choose from thousands of third-party app integrations from well-known companies such as MailChimp and BigCommerce (more on this below).
- Shopify offers great customer support. If you ever get stuck while setting up your store, they have 24/7 live chat support available which works very well!
To get started, just head over to the Shopify website, make an account, choose a plan, and it will guide you through the next steps.
Step 5: Make Sure To Validate Your Idea
Validation is the process of testing your business idea and finding out if it's worth pursuing. It's one thing to have an idea, but it's another to know whether or not people want what you're selling and how much they'll pay for it. If a product or service doesn't solve a problem or meet a need, then no one will buy it.
Let's say that you sell paintings on Shopify—either as prints or originals—and you've been selling them at art shows around town with moderate success. The validation step would be asking yourself: Do people actually want to buy my paintings?
If you ask ten friends and family members if they'd like to buy some of your paintings for their living room walls, chances are that most of them will say yes. But unless those same ten people are willing to pay $50 for a small print (or full-size original), then you have more work to do.
Aside from family and friends, it’ll also be good to get validation from people you don’t know but are close to your target market. This way you’ll get real results once you launch. To validate your business idea, consider the following strategies:
- Pre-selling and pre-orders: Try to offer and market potential services and goods as pre-sales or pre-orders to see if there is a demand for them.
- Explore digital ads. We recommend creating a landing page for your services and products. Drive traffic to that landing page with Google Advertisements and Facebook ads. Make sure to include product details and images, information about you or your company, as well as a form for collecting emails from website visitors.
- Create an email mini-course. A full-scale course might take weeks or months to develop. Create an email mini-course that upsells the main course while also collecting email addresses for when it releases.
- Organize a webinar. Hosting a webinar, similar to an email mini-course, is a wonderful way to tease information for a larger course and upsell it at the end of the webinar.
- Launch a crowdsourcing campaign. Consider running a crowdfunding campaign on a platform like Indiegogo or Kickstarter if you have a prototype of a tangible product or a fully fleshed-out idea to determine whether there is enough desire to support the complete development of your project.
Validating a company concept takes time and money. These investments, however, are little in comparison to the hours and dollars you may lose if your company concept fails. Putting your idea to the test before launching your lifestyle company can help you succeed.
Step 6: Launch Your Online Store and Market The Hell Out of It
Once you are ready to launch your business, don't forget to announce it on your social media accounts. You can also advertise using Google AdWords or Facebook Ads and make sure that you have prepared for your first customers.
Shopify has a ton of marketing tools that will help you grow your business. You can use keyword research to find out what type of products people are searching for on Google, Facebook Pixel (to measure the effectiveness of ads), Google Analytics (to track website traffic), and more!
Step 7: Make sure to have additional income streams
Since you're starting a lifestyle business, you should also have other sources of income. This is because it's not always guaranteed that your Shopify store will be a success right away. There are a few things you can do to make sure that your backup plan is in place:
- Try collaborating with a brand or company that inspires you. Perhaps they'll send you free products to review and share on social media, which could help grow your brand!
- Get licensing deals on your writing, photos, or music so people will pay for the rights to use them in their own projects (this may help boost sales on your Shopify store).
- Make a Youtube account and add affiliate links to all of the products mentioned in each video (this sells even more items).
- Make an Instagram account with tons of followers (the more followers there are, the better chance there'll be someone who wants what they see).
Step 8: Automate and outsource work when you can
You are not an accountant, nor are you a graphic designer, or a customer service specialist. You’re an entrepreneur, and your time is much more important than doing the work of other people. As such, it is imperative that you automate and outsource work as much as possible so that you can focus on what matters most: growing your business.
In addition to outsourcing accounting responsibilities, numerous apps can automate marketing, including social media management and email marketing automation tools like Mailchimp. These tools allow businesses to create email newsletters at scale without writing each one manually.
Finally, consider using third-party customer support providers like Zendesk who specialize in helping online retailers deliver excellent customer service experiences with minimal effort required from internal resources.
Step 9: Get in touch with your community
Now that you’ve got your business set up, it’s time to build that community of people around you. The best way to do that is by connecting with other lifestyle business owners and freelancers in your area. You can also find a bunch of great resources online, including forums, Facebook groups, and blogs.
The more people who get involved in what you’re doing, the better off you will be as an entrepreneur. This is why it’s so important to surround yourself with others who have similar goals as yours—they can help make sure that when obstacles come up (and they will), there will always be someone there who understands where you are coming from and how hard the journey has been for everyone involved.
Starting a lifestyle business on Shopify is a great way to make money while following your passion
Starting a Shopify lifestyle business requires thorough research, planning, and execution, but it can be very rewarding in the end!
- Research: The first thing you need to do is research your audience. What are their pain points? What products would they be interested in buying? This will help you narrow down your niche so that you don't end up competing with other shops that are selling the same things as you.
- Planning: Once you've decided on what type of product(s) to sell and who your target audience is, it's time for planning! You’ll want to make sure that both the idea behind your store and its design is cohesive. Also take into account how much money it takes to start a shop before deciding whether or not this is something worth doing (i.e., if starting from scratch will require an investment of $20k+, maybe reconsider!).
- Execution: After all this preparation comes execution—and this is where most people give up because it takes hard work! Make sure that everything has been thought through before putting any effort into actually setting up shop; otherwise, there may be issues later down the line which could lead to failure (or worse yet... bankruptcy).
With Shopify, it's possible to make money without having to be in the same place as your customers, and it's easy to set up. You'll also benefit from low costs and high flexibility, meaning you can easily try new things (like a website redesign or product launch) without wasting time or money.
The best part? As long as you have an internet connection and computer, you can start earning income right away!
We'll help turn your dream store into a reality.
As a Shopify Expert agency, we work with a dedicated team of experts who will help you turn your dream store into a reality. Our track record of success is unmatched. We take the time to learn about each client's needs and goals before getting started so that we can create a custom solution that’s right for them.
We’re committed to helping every single one of our clients grow their business by providing expert advice, quality support, and professional services every step of the way—from setup to marketing & sales.
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