Before you can choose which service business to start, you have to ask yourself, “What do I want from my service business?”. Your answer to that question will definitely influence your decision when choosing the specific service business to start. Over the next few posts, I’m going to start throwing a bunch of questions at you which will hopefully continue to narrow down the scope of potential startup ideas and help lead you to a startup decision.
Do you want to be tied down to a certain location? Or do you prefer to be mobile and capable of running a business remotely? I personally like to travel so this is a huge factor for me, but maybe you’re rooted in your local community and would prefer to keep your roots local. Having said that, thanks to the power of the internet, almost any local type business can now become a remotely run business with the help of the right online tools and proper delegation. For example, I’m currently writing this post in a coffee shop in Berlin, Germany while I have someone in California generating income for me by cleaning gutters locally for my gutter cleaning company. BUT.. not all local businesses are easy to start remotely and not all local businesses are easy to separate from as the owner, which you would need to do if you wanted to run it remotely in most cases. For example, a local window cleaning business is a more local type business while doing online advertising services for a window cleaning company can be done remotely from anywhere using a computer.
Time is one of the most precious things we have. Once it is used up, you can never get it back and it never pauses to wait for anything. So this is a very important factor to consider when choosing a service business. Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that starting a business will take up 100% of all of your time to get going and to bring it to success. They aren’t wrong, but it doesn’t have to. It really all depends on what kind of business you choose to start, and what kind of resources (not just money, but knowledge, tools, etc.) you have access too. We will go over everything eventually, but right now, I’m trying to make you think about how much time you want your business to take to run successfully and make money from the beginning, or in the end once you get it rolling and can automate or delegate certain tasks. If you’re getting into doing something you truly love, then maybe you don’t care if you do it every moment you aren’t sleeping. Maybe you’re doing something as a side hustle just to bring in some cash and only have access to two days a week. Figure out what you want from timing, and see if that is possible with the idea you are considering, or while you’re brainstorming ideas.
The flexibility of your business sort of ties into Location and Time. What kind of flexibility do you want to have with your business? This could be related to location: being able to get up and go anywhere. This could be tied into time: being able to work when you want and not work when you don’t feel like it or by being able to have a specific type of schedule. Flexibility could also mean something completely different to you. List out what flexibility means to you and run your business ideas past these filters to see if they pass.
How much money are you trying to generate from your service business? I find that people are many times very impractical with this one which kills their business drive in the long run if they don’t see results near to their expectations. It’s easy to think you want your business to generate a million dollars, but have you ever sat down and actually mapped out how much money it would take to come in every month to make your life dramatically better? You’d be surprised little the amount is compared to a million dollars.
If you currently have a job, would you be happier if you replaced the income you currently make with your business but gained freedom of time, location, and flexibility?
If you currently have a job that isn’t producing enough for your current situation and if you could make just an extra $300/week in the day or two days that you have free, would your life be made considerably better?
Map out your monthly bills/expenses and desires, and find out how much it would cost a month just to survive, or continue as you are now. For 99% of you, the number will be pretty small compared to a million dollars which will make it much more realistic and attainable from your new business startup and will leave less room for disappointment from falling very short of your goals, which could discourage you from continuing through the hard times.
BUT… to all you big thinkers who want to generate millions and feel the fire burning inside you that tells you that you can and you will no matter the costs and sacrifices: choose a business that has that kind of potential. If you start a local ice cream shop, it might be difficult to make millions because you’d have to sell hundreds of thousands of ice cream cups. On the other hand, if you start a metal roofing installation company, it might be a bit more realistic because now you go from $3 ice cream, to $50,000 – $200,000+ metal roof installation jobs. One isn’t necessarily easier than the other, but the service costs dramatically defer. Besides service pricing, you also have to look at the market you’re targeting with your business. Selling ice cream in Manhattan is going to give you a lot more foot traffic than selling ice cream in a small town in the middle of no where. So it’s not always the idea as location also plays a large role. We will go over this more in upcoming sections.
No matter what, it’s tough to be in business without having to work with others or interact with people in some way, but some businesses require much more than others. Are you looking to work alone, or to create jobs and put together a team that works with and under you? Some businesses will require the help of many employees while others can be run on your own or with just a couple people. Some might require no other people besides yourself. Starting a window cleaning company could require a hired help to work alongside you, and it will require that you communicate with customers every single day that you work in the field and every day you pick up calls from potential customers looking for a quote. On the other hand, if you offer writing services, you might have one or two clients you work with which means you only really have to deal with 1-2 people in general a few times a week when you have questions or submit your work for review. Otherwise, it’s just you.
Once again, I want to reiterate that we live in an amazing age where the internet exists and literally changes everything. This means almost ANY business can be molded to fit into your perfect definition of how you want your business to run based on your lifestyle desires, but some businesses will make it tougher to than others. Run your business startup ideas by your lifestyle desires to make sure it matches up.
I’ve put together a little guide to help you run through a list of questions to help you understand what you really want from your business. Click here to download it so you could print it out, or copy paste it into a word processor.