Are all these phrases interchangeable as I think?


  1. I make a living out of my small business.

  2. I make a living off of my small business.

    a. I make a living off my small business.

  3. I make a living from my small business.

  4. I make a living by my small business.

  5. I live off of my small business.

    a. I live off my small business.

  6. I live on my small business.

    or maybe,

    a. I live on my small business income.

1 Answer 1


There are minor differences and some of them do not sound as fluent as others. Here is my evaluation.

1 is alright

2 sounds less fluent but still works.

2a same as 2

3 is alright

4 does not sound right.

5 is alright

5a is alright (5 is better though)

6 is rather idiomatic but works.

6a should be "I live on my small business's income"

  • Thank you. Could you please tell me why we need to use the apostrophe in 6a.?
    – Luke
    Oct 1, 2015 at 23:02
  • @Luke as it is possessive. Oct 1, 2015 at 23:23
  • Another way to put it is 'the income of my small business' Oct 1, 2015 at 23:24
  • Yes, but "small business" is a thing. Could you please tell me the rule for using apostrophes with things? Is it also possible to write it as I did originally, as a compound noun ("small business income")? Thanks.
    – Luke
    Oct 1, 2015 at 23:50
  • Oh I didn't interpret it that way. In that case you're right Oct 1, 2015 at 23:51

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