Who can sell a service? The answer is simple--anyone and everyone. Everyone is qualified because each of us has skills, knowledge or experience that other people are willing to pay for in the form of a service; or they're willing to pay you to teach them your specific skill or knowledge. Selling services knows no boundaries--anyone with a need or desire to earn extra money, work from home, or start and operate a full-time business can sell a service, regardless of age, business experience, education or current financial resources.
Don' t worry if you lack business skills and experience in areas such as time management, personal-contact selling, negotiating, bookkeeping and the ability to create effective advertisements. There's no question these are all important skills to have, but at the same time they're also skills that with practice can be learned and mastered. More important is the question, "What skill(s) do you have that can be sold as a service?" Any skill(s) you possess can be your best, and by far your most marketable, asset. If you know how to safely walk a dog, that's a skill people are willing to pay you for. If you know how to plan and throw one heck of a party, that's also a skill people are willing to pay you for as their event and party planner. If you know how to play the piano, this is a skill other people will pay you to teach them. If you know how to sell products and services online, once again that's a skill that people are willing to pay you for as an online marketing consultant. All are examples of skills that people pay other people to perform, or teach them how to learn.
Every person has one or more skills other people are prepared to pay for in the form of a service provided to them, or to learn. However, with that said, most people have a tendency to underestimate the true value of their skill sets and experiences. You have to remember, what may come naturally to you may not come so naturally to others. Likewise, you might think your particular knowledge or expertise may be of little value, but if someone else needs or wants to learn about that knowledge, it's very valuable to them.
Do you dream of being a small business owner? Being your own boss and living the dream is something everybody wants.
What follows is a list of ideas that are very simple to start, and most can be done as a sole proprietorship at first (meaning you don’t have to file any legal documents to get started, though you will want to do that if it starts to take off). Most of these can be done at home in your spare time in your spare space, also.
Antique refurbishment This is a perfect side business for people who love antiquing. Take worn-out antiques home with you, invest the time and care needed to transform those old items into something amazing, then resell them at a profit.
Auto detailing Have a meticulous eye for detail and love to get things gleaming clean? Auto detailing is probably a perfect side business for you. In essence, your job is to make cars sparkle inside and out – and many people are quite happy to pay well for this service.
Babysitting Got lots of evenings free? Like kids? Babysitting may be a great side business for you. Keep an eye on multiple children on Friday and Saturday nights and you can earn some solid income.
Bed and breakfast Have some extra space in your home? Turn that extra bedroom into a “bed and breakfast” room. This works particularly well if you have a somewhat older home or live near an area that attracts regular travelers and tourists.
Blogging If you enjoy writing, find a topic you’re passionate about and start a blog on the topic. All you need is a computer, some time, and some energy to consistently write.
Cake decorating Enjoy baking and have a bit of an artistic touch? Learn how to decorate cakes and make them for special events. One of my mother’s old friends does this and makes quite a bit of money on the side.
Candle making Candle making is a great little craft to learn. You can often easily sell the candles at local shops and also through websites like Etsy.com.
Candy making Homemade candies are easier to make than you think and quite popular. Package them in nice little boxes and sell them through a local gift shop.
Card making This is another artistic “crafty” angle you can follow. Make greeting/birthday cards from scratch using your own photographs, some blank cards, and a healthy dose of artistic flair. Again, you san sell items like these through a local gift shop or at sites like etsy.com.
Catering If you love to cook, take the “Blondie” route and start a home catering business. Catering is a business that’s perfectly designed to reward those who plan well and can often fit perfectly into weekends, lining up wonderfully opposite a normal workweek.
Childcare service Many states allow people to start up in-home day cares with minimal licensing and paperwork. If you love children and have plenty of time and space at home, this is a perfect business to get into.
Cleaning services for businesses Many businesses and civic institutions have a need for individuals who will provide cleaning services at a low cost outside of business hours. This is a great side business for those who can put in a few hours late at night or on weekends.
Collectible trading If there’s a particular type of collectible that you know a great deal about, you can often make good money as a collectible trader, utilizing tools like eBay and opportunities to find those collectibles in the community. I had some success with this myself with both trading cards and video games in the past.
Computer troubleshooting If you have a knack for fixing computers, this is a good place to start.
Consignment buyer Consignment shops and consignment auctions are often loaded with good deals if you know how to identify them – quite often, you can turn these good deals around and make a nice profit elsewhere. Get started by visiting some consignment shops and critically evaluating the prices on the items there.
Cookie making Much like candy making, homemade cookies can be a great seller. Bake the cookies, package them well, and resell them through a local gift shop. Often, you can find people in your social network who will buy batches from you for special occasions.
Dinner preparer I recently met a woman who earned quite a bit of money as a very part-time chef. Once a week, she would go to someone’s house and prepare a homemade meal for their family, then do all the dishes and cleanup work. This gives the family plenty of together time, while earning the lady some cash in the pocket. If you love to cook, this can be a great opportunity, but you may have to put a lot of work into searching for clients.
Event coordinator Events like family reunions and large parties are often full of busywork that many people simply don’t want to tackle. That can be the perfect place for you to step in and take charge of the planning and coordination.
Event DJing Are you an audiophile? If you have a great sound system and a large selection of music, you’ve already got what you need to hire yourself out as a DJ for various events and receptions. This is a great way to fill an afternoon and evening while also earning some cash in the process.
Exercise teacher Many gymnasiums will trade membership and often a bit more for a person willing and able to teach an exercise class. If you’re in good shape, this is a great opportunity to earn some extra money, plus it can often lead to additional income with one-on-one teaching opportunities.
Furniture making If you’re adept at woodworking and have just a bit of basic equipment, it’s easy to get into business making deck furniture. It only requires a few items – a saw, a drill, a sander – and some creativity and passion for working with wood.
Garage sale management One person I know holds a garage sale at their house almost every weekend during the summer. As a result, that person has a lot of regular customers who stop by almost every weekend to see what’s on sale. That person then goes to neighbors and friends and offers to sell their stuff at that yard sale for them, splitting the proceeds. People are usually happy to do this, since they don’t have to go to all of the work of running a yard sale, but still get rid of unwanted items and earn a bit of money, too.
Gardening services I’ve actually had requests from others for people willing to do this, so the demand is out there. To put it simply, some people are willing to pay others to get a vegetable or flower garden started for them in their yard so they can have access to ultra-fresh produce without all the legwork.
Handy man services Skilled at basic home repair? Let people know that they can call you for little repair jobs, like basic plumbing and other things. You’d be amazed at the simple things people are willing to pay others to help them with.
Housecleaning Many people simply don’t enjoy cleaning their homes and are willing to pay a reasonable price to have someone do the work for them. This is a great way to earn extra money in a flexible way, particularly if you have time off during the workweek.
Interior decorating Fascinated by interior design? Have a huge collection of interior design materials around? Many people are quite happy to hire individuals to help them decorate their home – I know, for one, that I have no eye for this type of thing.
Jewelry making If you have a good eye for detail work and a lot of patience, homemade jewelry can be quite profitable. As with other items on this list, there are many opportunities to sell such items through local gift shops or at sites like etsy.
Knitting / crocheting / quilting Skilled at creating blankets and sweaters? There’s a huge market for these types of items – even better, you can usually make them in your spare time whenever you have it. As always, local shops and places like etsy are great places to go to sell such items.
Landscaping services Willing to mow lawns and trim bushes and trees? Many people are quite happy to pay for such services. Not only is this a great side business for a fit adult, it’s also a great way for a teenager to get a small business started.
Meal-to-go preparations Remember my earlier post about breakfast burritos? Making meals in advance is a great way to save money for yourself – but you can often prepare these for others as well and sell them for a markup. Prepare eight casseroles, for example, then sell six of them to cover your costs, and you’ve got two free dinners for your family (and maybe a bit more). You can grow this by taking orders from others and finding out what they like.
Online media consultant Like participating on message boards, Facebook, Twitter, and so on? Become an online media consultant and help people promote things. Start small – help local businesses get a presence on Facebook and set them up with Twitter. From there, you can grow to whatever works for you.
Personal shopping Many very busy people and elderly people are willing to pay a fee for people to do their shopping for them. Simply retrieve a shopping list from them, return with the receipt, and accept payment for the purchased items (plus a little fee). You can often do this in conjunction with your own shopping trip if you’re well-organized (take two carts!).
Pet grooming Many people loathe bathing their pets and trimming their hair – I know I do. Pet groomers perform these tasks for a small fee – a perfect job for a person who loves dogs and cats.
Pet sitting When people go on trips, they’re often concerned as to what will happen with their pets. That’s where you step in – offer yourself as a safe place to leave their pets, or be willing to go to their home to take care of their pets.
Pet walking Many busy people leave their pets home all day, but realize that those pets really could use a vigorous walk (and an opportunity to relieve themselves) during the day. Pet walking is a great opportunity for exercise, fresh air, and some pocket money if you have free time during each day.
Pet yard waste cleanup For many people in suburban areas, cleaning up pet yard waste is a real hassle – it’s disgusting, for one. Instead of cleaning it up themselves, they might hire someone to do it regularly, two to three times a week. There are several such services in our area, actually.
Produce selling Like to grow vegetables? Focus in on one vegetable and sell the excess to grocery stores and at farmers’ markets. My father does this with tomatoes and earns some solid extra money during the summer months. You can do really well, though, if you can grow things inside during the winter – February fresh tomatoes can sell quite well.
Proofreading Have strong English skills and exceptional grammar? You may have opportunities to work as a proofreader from home. Advertising for this can be difficult – seek out those who might actually be able to use your services and advertise directly to them.
Public speaking If you’re the type of person who can get the attention of a room easily, public speaking might be for you. Take advantage of every public speaking opportunity you can and you’ll be surprised at the opportunities that make themselves available for you.
Scrapbook making Many people dream of having beautiful scrapbooks. They collect all the materials they want in the scrapbooks but never follow through on the actual creation. You can step in here – take their ideas and materials and assemble a scrapbook for them.
Senior citizen assistance Many elderly people need assistance with a wide variety of simple household tasks – cleaning, laundry, and so forth. Many children of elderly people are quite willing to hire someone to help out their parents.
Sewing and alterations My wife is quite handy with a sewing machine and often hems and modifies our children’s clothes. She could easily take this a step further and offer her services to others, doing basic garment repair and modification for a small price on lazy evenings.
Soap making Making amazing homemade soaps isn’t as hard as you might think – it just takes time and patience. Again, items like these can easily be sold via local gift shops and through websites like etsy.
Teaching music If you know how to play an instrument (particularly the piano or the guitar) and have patience, you’ve got what you need to teach others how to play. Offer lessons in that instrument to others – this can also be an excellent thing to barter with, too.
Toy making From simple things like sock monkeys to more elaborate things like handcrafted chess sets, many people are willing to pay good money for handcrafted toys that you can easily make at home in your spare time. Again, gift shops are the place to go with items like these.
Tutoring Did you major in a particular topic in college? Do you have patience with children? You likely have what you need to tutor kids in particular subjects. Seek out parents and let them know that you tutor in a particular subject and provide materials for them to share and phone calls will often trickle in.
Video preparation services Many people like to have videos made for special events, such as weddings, or for gifts. This may mean actually taking the video yourself at a special event, or it may mean simply assembling materials and creating a video from those items. Either way, with a well-equipped PC, some taste, and some patience, you can make quite sophisticated video productions at home.
Virtual assistant Many ultra-busy professionals appreciate having someone who can check and answer their email, organize task lists for them, update their calendars, and so on, with minimal interaction. The best part is that you can provide this service from home with a good internet connection.
Web site design Many small businesses in your community could use a very basic web presence to tell others about their business. Quite often, these businesses don’t have a large budget for such things. That’s where you come in – get a bunch of clients from the local community by beating the pavement, create sites for them, and maintain them for a small fee. Get enough businesses and you have a nice side business of your own that doesn’t require a ton of maintenance time.
Wedding planner If you’re one of those people who can’t help but flip through bridal magazines and think about various wedding arrangements in your daydreams, wedding planning might be the perfect thing for you. A great way to get started is to develop a website on the topic, get to know people online, and offer your services throughout the community.
Effective entrepreneurs are generally very good at selling their products or services and as an entrepreneur nearly everything you are doing is selling: your are selling customers on buying from you, you are selling suppliers on working with you, you are selling investor on investing in you, you are selling employees on joining your company, etc. And you will most likely find yourself saying the same things (like explaining your value proposition or explaining how to use your products or services) over and over again.
Entrepreneurs must develop and manage their sales pipelines given the direct impact of the sales pipeline on the health and growth of their company.
Here are a few helpful sales tips.
Fully understand your prospects pain.
Before listing off a product's or services's features and benefits, you should find out from the prospect what kind of pain points they have. If you can't find a problem your product/service solves, it's either the wrong market fit, it's not a good product/service or your sales pitch needs to be tweaked to focus on solving specific problems that companies face.
Always add value.
Don't think that once a customer hands over cash for your product, the selling process is complete. Check in with your clients on a regular basis and look for ways to keep supporting them, listen to their evolving needs and be ready to answer questions before problems arise. You don't necessarily need to be in selling mode but touching base helps keep the communication channels open. Also, if for some reason your solution is failing to meet their expectations, you need to hear feedback, as you want to improve or solve the situation before it's too late.
Respect your prospects.
Prospects get called by sales people all the time, and they can tell the difference between a sincere problem solver and an impatient sales person who doesn't really care about their problems. Be a part of the former group and listen to your prospect and address their problems. The better you listen to what they need and not what you want to sell, the better your sales relationships will be.
Make sure yours is the right solution.
Prospects know when someone is just trying to sell them something, regardless if it is the right fit or not. Don't be that person. Instead, provide a solution the prospect truly needs, based on their unique circumstances.
Entrepreneurs are often motivated by a sense of idealism: You're trying to do something better, faster or more efficiently. You're looking to create and innovate. You're bringing something into the world that hasn't been done before.Be sure to bring this spirit and passion into your sales conversations with customers.
There is no way to eliminate all the risks associated with starting a small business. You can improve your chances of success with good planning and preparation. A good starting place is to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses as the owner and manager of a small business.
Carefully consider each of the following questions.
Are you a self-starter? It will be up to you - not someone else telling you to develop projects, organize your time and follow through on details.
How well do you get along with different personalities? Business owners need to develop working relationships with a variety of people including customers, vendors, staff, bankers and professionals such as lawyers, accountants or consultants. Can you deal with a demanding client, an unreliable vendor or cranky staff person in the best interest of your business?
How good are you at making decisions? Small business owners are required to make decisions constantly, often quickly, under pressure, and independently.
Do you have the physical and emotional stamina to run a business? Business ownership can be challenging, fun and exciting. But it's also a lot of work. Can you face 12-hour work days six or seven days a week?
How well do you plan and organize? Research indicates that many business failures could have been avoided through better planning. Good organization of financials, inventory, schedules, and production can help avoid many pitfalls.
Is your drive strong enough to maintain your motivation? Running a business can wear you down. Some business owners feel burned out by having to carry all the responsibility on their shoulders. Strong motivation can make the business succeed and will help you survive slowdowns as well as periods of burnout.
How will the business affect your family? The first few years of business startup can be hard on family life. The strain of an unsupportive spouse may be hard to balance against the demands of starting a business. There also may be financial difficulties until the business becomes profitable, which could take months or years. You may have to adjust to a lower standard of living or put family assets at risk.
Small businesses are vital to the success of the economy. Not only do they provide jobs and success stories of the future, but because they also meet local needs (e.g. hairdresser, financial consultant, plumber). They serve the requirements of larger businesses e.g. for photography services, printed stationery, catering, routine maintenance and many other product and service needs.
Small businesses survive and prosper for many different reasons several are listed below:
The main reason many people choose to set up a small business, is because it gives them independence. They also reap the rewards for themselves; these are two powerful incentives.
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