Leslie Truex is the author of The Work-At-Home Success Bible (Adams Media)
One of the fastest, most affordable ways to make money at home is to start a service business. If you use skills and resources you already have, you can be up and running in a matter of hours.
Here are tips for starting a service business fast.
1. Use skills you already have from your job, volunteer work or hobby. If you’re great with kids, start a daycare service. If you love to bake, start a baking service. If you love to organize and plan, start an event planning service. If you’re helpful around the office, start a virtual assistant business. If you’re handy around the house, start a home-repair and fix-it business. If you love to decorate, start a home decorating or home staging business. If you like to help people or businesses, start a coaching or consulting service. If you like to connect people to needed resources, start a referral service. Just about any talent or hobby can be turned into a service business.
2. Use resources you already have. Odds are that if you have the skill, you probably also have the tools and resources you need. Using existing resources saves you money and time.
3. Find out what the day-to-day tasks are in running your business. Some businesses sound fun or easy, but actually may be tedious. I’ve always thought being a criminal lawyer would be interesting, but many I talk to say most the time it’s research, not courtroom drama. You can learn about what’s involved in running your business by participating in groups related to your business idea at Linked-In and Facebook, checking out associations related to your business idea, and networking within your sphere of influence to find people who work in the business you want to start.
4. Decide what services you’ll offer. You can provide a host of services or specialize in one particular area. For example, some virtual assistants only do marketing tasks while others do everything but marketing.
5. Decide who your market will be. You can have a wide market or focus on a specific group. Using the virtual assistant example again, some VA’s work with anyone who needs their services while some VA’s work with a specific market such as Realtors.
6. Determine your service pricing. Some services involve one-time service providing, while others are on-going. Some can be both. Decide what you’ll charge for your services. If you’re services can be on-going, consider offering a discount to clients who hire you on retainer. Also decide if you’ll offer discounts to clients who refer new clients.
7. Find out if extra training or licenses are needed. Some services such as real estate, finances, personal care (i.e. hairdresser) and others are regulated by the state and my require passing a test and/or getting an occupational license.
8. Find your first client fast. You should have a marketing plan, but most successful service business owners I know found their first client through their existing network and get most of their new clients by word-of-mouth.