How do I choose which service business to start? – Self-awareness

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When choosing which service business to start, you have to have a level a self-awareness to know what your strengths and weaknesses are so that you choose a direction that you can succeed in. For example, take a look at this video. This is a direct example of someone that lacked self-awareness before coming to the X Factor competition.

This guy truly believed he was great and had a chance. In reality, the only way he could possibly succeed in music is if he went viral for the purpose of hilarious memes or comedy… and not the type where people laugh along with you, but at you. If he continues to pursue music, it will most likely be a huge waste of time and effort because while he may be a good model, he definitely wasn’t born to be a singer. The same time and effort put into modeling will take him so much further than if it were put into singing. This is why you must be self-aware of what you’re good at, what you’re bad at, what you could be good at, or at least what you’re capable of doing well enough when deciding in what direction to go with a service business.

So let’s start with a few questions that you could ask yourself.

What are you great or good at?

This could be natural gifts/talents that you have or things you learned over time that you’ve become advanced or proficient in. It doesn’t necessarily have to be things you love to do, just things you are good at. I’ll give you a couple examples using myself.

  • Playing the cello
  • Fixing computer problems
  • Online advertising

If you’re having trouble with this question, ask yourself, what kind of things do people consistently come to you for help? This should help expand the above list.

  • Building websites
  • Business advice

What do you love to do, what do you love in general?

  • Helping automate and run businesses
  • Snowboarding
  • Traveling all over the world
  • Food/Eating
  • Reading
  • Swimming

What can you be good at if you wanted to try and learn?

  • Cooking?
  • Programming

My first business was actually an online business. It wasn’t really a service business in the general sense, but I want to tell you about it because it’s relevant to this question. I decided that for my first business, I would write and sell an e-book online. The problem was that I really didn’t have any deep knowledge of any one subject that I could write an ebook about, but I was super interested in the topic of computer security and ethical hacking. I decided that I was going to learn the subject, and as I learned it, I would break down what I learned into easy to understand ebook chapters. So that’s what I did. Eventually I finished a whole ebook and went on to sell thousands of copies of it. I could have decided that having nothing to write about would prevent me from moving forward, but instead I made something to write about and learning it from scratch gave me an incredible perspective that allowed me to write for people looking to get into the subject that have 0 knowledge about it. There were a lot of them and the ebook did very well! So don’t let a lack of skills/talents keep you from starting a service business if that’s what you want to do.

What can you do… in general? Think about what you’ve done in the past and what you do every day. From basic chores, previous jobs to things that are part of your everyday routine. List everything, even if you hate doing it.

  • Cleaning gutters
  • Walking
  • Vacuuming
  • Annoying my friends
  • Cleaning snow
  • Power washing

Now, let’s start processing all of this. Right away, I’m sure you can start seeing a bunch of potential business ideas. Let’s look at a few that I came up with by looking at my responses to those questions.

  • Playing cello for events like weddings business
  • Office cleaning business
  • Gutter cleaning business
  • Business automation consulting business
  • Computer repair/tuneups business
  • Online advertising business
  • Travel or cooking blog that could be monetized and turned into a business
  • Dog walking business
  • Snow removal business
  • Power washing business
  • Hire me to annoy someone for you business
  • Hire me to read to you business
  • Carpet cleaning business

Do the same for your list and see what you come up with. Be creative and open minded. List literally every type of business you can come up with based off the list you made. After your list is complete, split it up into 3 categories:

  1. What I would love to do.
  2. What I wouldn’t mind doing if it meant quicker cash flow.
  3. Hell No.

Stop reading until all of the above is complete.

Now it’s a little story time. I want to explain why I had you split up your business ideas into those categories. You’ve probably heard many times from many people that you should only do something you’re passionate about and not something just for the money. I do agree with this.. BUT.. sometimes to get to do something you’re passionate about, it helps to do something that you aren’t necessarily passionate about but doing it can help create the circumstance where you could concentrate on the business of choice. Let me give you a couple scenarios, one being an example from my life so that you could better understand what I mean:

I’ve been self-employed since I was 16. I’ve hated the idea of having a typical job since I got my first one working at Six Flags, an amusement park. At some point in my business journey, I started a web design business with a couple buddies. For reasons that I won’t go into in this post, I got burnt out and hated what I was doing. The partnership ended, the business shut down and I was left happier, but with no money to my name. My choice was simple. Go find a job or start a new business. Getting a job for me was like willfully agreeing to be waterboarded every single day of my life. It was not an option. So the other choice was to start another business. I had a few big ideas that I wanted to go after but they all required capital to begin that I didn’t have and I wasn’t willing to get into debt at that point. Also, the ideas that I had were great ideas, but they would take a while to make any profit from. So to start the business that I really wanted to go after (category #1 list) would require two things: Money and Time to work on it without worrying about it making me any money for a while. So what did I do? I started a local gutter cleaning business from my  category #2 list. Why? Because:

  • Since I already had access to a truck, the startup cost of starting a gutter cleaning business would be very low.
  • Most jobs take no more than an hour to complete then you get paid and move on. So once a job is done, it’s done, unlike my previous business where I would sell a website and spend a month completing it and communicating with the client. This means that I have more time to concentrate on the business of my choice once I finish gutter cleaning for the day or week.
  • An average gutter cleaning job in my area was about $150. So I could schedule all my jobs for 2 days a week and make $600 – $1000+/week. What this flexibility did was allow me to concentrate on the business that I wanted to run 5 days a week and provided the cashflow for it as well.
  • In the process of running this gutter cleaning business I was learning an unbelievable amount of business knowledge and business wisdom that would help me so much in my other endeavor.

Did I enjoy gutter cleaning? Not one bit. In fact, every time I had to clean a gutter it would drive me to work that much harder at my main business startup so that I would never have to clean another gutter again. But did I love it at the same time? Absolutely! It created the circumstance that allowed me to pursue the business that I really wanted to start because it gave me a full time job salary while only working two days a week and it gave me the freedom to pursue what I wanted for the rest of the 5 days every week. Oh.. and let’s not forget.. I was still my own boss.

Here’s another scenario:

Maybe you want to start a business but you have a full time job so first you have to gain back your freedom of time. Maybe the business you want to start can’t be started if you only have the weekend to work on it. Maybe you need to start something else that you can work just the weekends on that has the potential to replace your full time salary, allowing you to start pursuing the business that you want.

Figure out if you can pursue your main business startup from the get go with your current circumstances. If not, see if there’s another business you can start in the meantime that could help open the door to do what you actually want to do like I explained in my personal example. In the process of starting ANY business, whether it’s the one you want or the one that will help you start the one you want, in the process you will learn so much valuable business knowledge and wisdom that will only help you in your business journey.

What if you have no clue about any of this? Haven’t decided on a service business idea yet? Decided, but not sure if it’s worth pursuing? Not sure if you can start it up right now? Don’t worry. Let’s keep going through to the next part of this series and I hope that I can help you answer a lot of these questions.

I created a PDF print out that you can download that has all the questions I spoke about in this post. Click here to download it.

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