A great service business idea unlocks the door to unlimited earning potential.
This isn’t hyperbole. Here at the ‘Lab, we’ve helped thousands of students earn between five and seven figures more by finding good service business ideas using skills they already had, resulting in a perfect match for them. In this post, I’m going to walk you through what a service business is, and how to create a service business idea list to pick your best option from. First, let’s look at some real examples of people who’ve done just that:
- Chris Clark, who was able to earn $50,000 in consulting offers — with only 16 email subscribers.
- Sarah Jones, who netted $335,491 from August 2014 – September 2016 using our business growing system.
- Benji Hyam, who (along with his co-founder) was able to earn $34,000 / month with his content marketing business.
I get it though. That’s easier said than done. It’s not like a good service business idea is already sitting in your head waiting to be unearthed like a chest of gold coins in a long-forgotten treasure trove …
… but that’s exactly what I’m saying.
You probably already have dozens of profitable service business ideas in your head and I want to prove it to you.
First, we need to take a look at what exactly a service business is — and why that makes the process of finding a profitable idea much simpler.
Business 101: What is a service business?
All businesses can essentially be broken down into two types:
A goods-providing business will sell you physical (or digital) products or goods. Think a hardware store that sells tools, a men’s clothing store that sells suits, or a Spanish teacher selling an online course.
A service business is any business that provides an intangible product. Think a college tutor who teaches math to struggling students or a copywriter who creates email funnels.
Though many people have found success in both types of business, we’re big fans of service business ideas here at the ‘Lab.
The reasons are simple:
- Low overhead. Service businesses require very little money to start since you don’t have to worry about manufacturing products or even having a physical location. In fact, you can start an online service business for less than $100.
- Low barrier to entry. It doesn’t matter if you have a job, you’re a parent, or even if you’re a college student. Virtually anyone can start generating profits as long as they have the right service business idea — which we’ll get to soon.
- High profit. If you have a business idea, there’s a market out there for it. You’ll be able to charge premium prices for your products once you find a solid niche.
Unlike goods-providing businesses, you don’t have to put forth the effort of purchasing products or coming up with the next game-changing invention. Instead, you just need to draw upon the well of knowledge and experience you already have in order to find a good service business idea — which brings us to …
5 service business ideas that prove you can do it too
There’s one thing you need to remember when it comes to service business ideas: If you can think of an idea, there’s someone out there who’s willing to pay you money for it.
I can prove it to you.
Here are five real service business ideas that are excellent examples of this in action.
Go Diaper Free
Who: Parents frustrated that their baby isn’t using the toilet like a grown-ass adult.
What: Andrea Olson shows parents how to eliminate their child’s diaper usage through a proven system called “elimination communication.” Her methods have helped thousands of parents all over the world wean their children off diapers.
How: Olson coaches parents on how to help their kids get off diapers and onto toilets — as well as offers a coaching certification program for parents who want to teach other parents the magic of elimination communication too.
Who: Women who want to lose weight without sacrificing delicious food.
What: Nagina Abdullah shows women how to lose weight using the spices and recipes from her Indian childhood and background. She also shares scientific insights into how these spices actually help burn fat and reduce inflammation.
How: Abdullah coaches and consults women on how to lose weight through her unique dieting system. Along with her products, she’s netted more than $100,000 / year — while raising a family no less.
Starting Strength Online Coaching
Who: Fitness newbies who want to get strong — but don’t know how.
What: Starting Strength Online Coaching shows amateur weightlifters how to apply Mark Rippetoe’s famous strength building program to their workout routine.
How: Online coaching (duh).
Marketing for Hippies
Who: Green and “holistic” small business owners looking to up their marketing game.
What: Tad Hargrave shows holistic business owners (i.e., hippie business owners) how to market themselves and their services. This is especially helpful since the same business owners he markets to don’t typically view marketing as the most exciting thing in the world.
How: Hargrave offers coaching and consulting packages.
Love Your Journey
Who: Recently divorced or separated women who want to cope with their struggle.
What: Annie Huang helps divorced women learn to love who they are and find a new direction in their life after separation.
How: Huang offers 1:1 coaching as well as workshop sessions.
How to find a profitable service business idea — with the Demand Matrix
Finding a good service business idea can be simple … but it’s not going to be as simple as doing what other people are doing.
Too often, wannabe entrepreneurs get caught up in fads and think that’s where the money is.
- “A lot of people are becoming social media consultants, that means I should be one too!”
- “Whoa, all these people are starting successful drop-shipping businesses. I’m going to start one.”
- “My friend just talked to me about crypto in a single breathless hour-long rant … I guess that’s where the money is at?”
When in reality, a good business idea isn’t about what’s good for other people — it’s about what’s good for you.
That means finding the intersection of:
- Profit. You’re trying to make money after all.
- Passion. You’re going to love doing it.
That’s why I want to show you a system that’ll help you find service business ideas that intersect with both those frameworks. When we’re finished, I’ll give you access to our profitability checklist so you can be 100% sure your business will make money.
Step 1: Ask yourself the 3 big questions
Below are the three questions you should ask yourself if you’re looking for a profitable service business idea.
For each question, I want you to write down three to five business ideas. By the end, you’ll have a solid list of 9 – 15 service business ideas that you can run with. That might sound daunting at first but you’re going to quickly find how easy this process is.
The goal here is to tap into your current well of passions, knowledge, and expertise that’ll allow you to create a business idea.
Question #1: “What skills do I have?”
Like Liam Neeson intimidating his daughter’s kidnapper, you have a very particular set of skills that can be very profitable to you (and deadly depending on your expertise …).
Think about the knowledge you know and have already acquired. Some examples:
- College degrees
- Languages (e.g., Spanish, French, American Sign Language)
- Fitness (e.g., yoga, weightlifting, CrossFit)
- Instruments (e.g., guitar, piano, singing)
- Skills classes (e.g., improv, writing, dance)
- Mechanical / trade skills (e.g., plumbing, woodwork, car repair)
Any and all knowledge you’ve received is a potential business since there are people out there willing to pay you to teach it to them.
Of course, it’s easy to think that since you’re not the best at something, it means that you can’t teach it — but that’s not true.
Good example: Legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach.
Roach began his boxing career in the late ‘70s, and while he wasn’t a bad boxer, he certainly wasn’t the best. Physical deterioration forced him to retire at the age of 26.
After retiring, though, he began his career in training and teaching. He’s since gone on to train some of the greatest boxers who have ever lived, including Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya.
Oh, and he has a net worth of more than $20 million to show for it.
So here was a guy with deep knowledge in a specific skill. He could have just stopped boxing and found a job elsewhere, but instead he used his knowledge and built a profitable business from it.
You can do the same too with your skills.
Question #2: “What do I do on Saturday mornings?”
We all have things we like to do on our mornings off work that have nothing to do with making money — and everything to do with things we’re passionate about.
These are things that you can actually leverage for your service business.
- Researching your genealogy and ancestry while building out a family tree. This is something plenty of people struggle with and would pay you good money for.
- Weightlifting for both strength and size. This is the ultimate fitness goal for millions of guys out there — guys who would pay you to teach them how.
- Painting or working on an art project. This is an impressive skill many unartistic and burgeoning Rembrandts would pay you handsomely for.
So what is it you like to do in your free time — and how can you turn that into a business?
Question #3: “What challenges have I overcome?”
Sometimes all it takes to come up with a good service business idea is immense physical and emotional trauma.
Seriously. Your most painful and tumultuous moments can be very impactful. They’re also likely not very novel, meaning there are others out there who have experienced the same thing.
You can help those people — and they’ll even pay you money for it.
- RockstarWomenWithMS.com. Lisa Cohen has MS — but that doesn’t stop her from kicking ass. She helps other women cope with the disease and get past the mental barriers it can put up through coaching services.
- CrohnsColitisLifestyle.com. Dave Johnson uses his knowledge and experience from having Crohn’s disease to help others with it reach their fullest potential in the realm of fitness.
All of these entrepreneurs struggled (and still do) with the cards life dealt them. The difference here is that they were able to turn their trauma into an opportunity to make money while helping others.
If there’s a better way to make money, I don’t see it.
So ask yourself: What pain or challenges have I gone through — or am currently going through? How can I use my experience to help others?
Once you have your 9 – 15 service business ideas, it’s time to plop them into the Demand Matrix.
Step 2: Use the Demand Matrix for guaranteed profits
The Demand Matrix is a tool that helps test profitability and guarantee the success of your business.
It works by dividing your service business ideas into four areas:
- High end. These are ideas that have a high rate of profitability — but probably won’t give you a lot of customers. Any luxury brand you can think of falls into this category (e.g., Rolls-Royce, Gucci, Prada). Since you’ll likely have less competition, you’ll be able to charge a high price. However, you’re going to struggle finding your customers.
- Mass market. These are areas where you’ll be able to find a TON of customers since your business appeals to a lot of people. However, you won’t be able to charge premium prices for your offerings. Think of gigs like driving for Uber or books like The 4-Hour Workweek. Plenty of people want those things — but you’re not going to charge a lot for them.
- Labor of love. These are service business ideas that have very little customers, and generate very low profits. These are essentially the worst business ideas ever — however, you might be very excited about them. That’s why they’re labors of love.
- Golden Goose. This is the sweet spot. Service business ideas here will command a premium price with no shortage of people willing to pay for them. Think things like Apple’s iPhone or P90X.
Take some time now and list each of your business ideas into the Demand Matrix by asking yourself two questions:
- “Do a lot of people care about this?” If yes, you have something with a lot of customers!
- “Are people willing to pay a premium price to solve this problem?” If yes, then you can charge a high price for it!
By the end, yours could look something like this:
Don’t overthink this. The Demand Matrix isn’t an exact science and is more of a back-of-the-napkin way to find a good service business idea.
When you’re finished, it’s now time to put your idea to the true test: Customer research.
Check out our resources on that topic below to help you get started:
- The truth about customer research, from someone who knows
- How to create the perfect customer survey
- Exactly how we do market research
Creating your service business idea list
To make sure you’re able to come up with a profitable service business idea you’ll love, I want to give you our Idea Mapping Checklist.
This is the same system many of our students use in order to find their successful business ideas.
With it, you’ll learn:
- How to tap into your personal vault of golden nugget ideas
- The #1 mistake people make that virtually guarantees they’ll never make a dime online (and how to avoid it)
- How to quickly assess which of your ideas have the highest profit potential, and which ones to avoid
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