by Jenna Kutcher
At the beginning of the year, I declared my word of the year to be “presence,” and while it’s served me well through the many ups and downs of 2020, I’d also argue another big word for this year could be “pivot.” (And not just in the Ross from Friends way… “PIIIIVVOOOT!”)
With a pandemic and a shaky economy, plus changes in work, school, and home environments, this year has left so many of us wondering what could possibly be around the next corner. It’s created a lot of fear and anxiety, but at the same time, I’ve watched hope for the future grow collectively stronger, too.
Whether you’ve lost a job, had to adjust your business model, can no longer work as much as you used to due to kids at home, or just don’t really know what’s next for you work-wise… I want you to know that you do still have some power and control. I’ve watched as some businesses have managed to flourish through this wild and unpredictable year. I’ve also watched people launch new endeavors that have taken off due to new needs created by the many changes happening in our world.
So if you’re wondering what’s next, I hope this post can give you a few ideas for starting something fresh. I want to share 10 service-based businesses you can launch with less than $2,000 to get started. (In fact, some of these require ZERO overhead to start!) After all, so many people think that launching a business requires loans and hiring employees and getting a workspace and building a website. But, you really don’t need ANY of that to kickstart these businesses and grow a solid client-base.
10 service-based businesses to launch with less than $2K
01. Personal Trainer (or Online Workout Class Instructor)
If you’re a workout aficionado, why not take your love of sweat seshes to the masses?! Did you know most trainer certifications range from $500 to $2,000+? You can get certified to lead others through your favorite kinds of workouts in just a few weeks and then offer your services to groups or individuals. Or just keep classes online (#socialdistancing) so that you can serve more people in more places!
02. Social Media Manager
Do you have a knack for knowing what to post online to get solid engagement and growth? That skill is not natural for everyone, and businesses everywhere are starting to understand the importance of a strong social presence. Create a few packages and pitch your services to a few smaller, local businesses at first who seem like they may need some support on the social media scene.
03. Dog Walker
Just because we’re undergoing a pandemic doesn’t mean pups don’t need their exercise. In fact, providing dog walking to your community could be an enormous help for working parents and busy families who just don’t have time to get outside with their fur pals. If you’re a dog lover (and who isn’t?!), post a few ads on Facebook Marketplace or local messaging boards to start building a list of clients!
04. Content Writer
Now more than ever, businesses are starting to get how important their digital presence can be. From blog posts to weekly newsletters to social media captions, solid digital content is an invaluable part of running a business of any kind. It boosts SEO, creates authority, and builds a relationship with a business’s clients and customers. If you love to write, build a starter package of services and begin pitching them to small online businesses!
As someone who got her start in entrepreneurship with a $200 Craigslist camera and a self-taught photography education, I can’t say it enough… Photography will always be a valued service. Events like weddings may be getting canceled THIS year, but people still want family, newborn, maternity, engagement, and elopement photos taken to commemorate this chapter of life.
There are tons and tons of affordable beginner photography courses online to get a quick intro, and practice is your best friend (and free!). Plus, secondhand cameras are way cheaper than brand new, so your startup costs for becoming a photographer really shouldn’t be too crazy!
06. Life or Business Coach
What have YOU personally experienced success in? What do you have a lot of experience in? Being a coach isn’t just trendy right now—it’s a full-blown career that people can make wildly successful futures out of. And there are coaching opportunities for everything, from freelancing, sales, marketing, and launching to self-care, mindset, money, and so much more. Whatever pocket of life or business that you’ve mastered, you can become a coach for others in that area.
If you love teaching but don’t have the capacity to become a teacher, tutors are needed now more than ever. Distance learning has presented a lot of challenges for parents and educators, but it’s also given us the chance to show up for kiddos in new ways. If you excelled in certain subjects in school, you may consider opening up your own virtual tutoring classroom for kids in your area.
08. Professional Organizer
Clean freaks, unite! You can turn your love of tidying up and creating organized systems into a business by offering organizing services to people and professionals in your area. Feel free to get specific and offer a niche organizing service (like, for kitchens, closets, or offices) so that people know where your expertise lies. As someone who couldn’t care less about organizing my own things, I can tell you this is a valuable service that I’d 100% pay for!
09. Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants are a HOT commodity right now for digital business owners everywhere. You can offer all kinds of helpful services, like email support, SEO management, scheduling, graphic design, proofreading, project management, and so much more. What kind of support would you excel at and what kinds of businesses do you want to work with? Build your menu of services around that.
10. Event Planner
I know events seem like a thing of the past, but they’ll always be around—even if they happen to be virtual for a while. If you are good at breaking down big-picture, detailed projects into smaller pieces and managing multiple moving parts, this is the business for you. So many people need support throwing events, from baby showers and business happy hours to weddings and bachelorette parties. Find an event type that you love and start sharing with your network that you’re available to support planning those!
How to start your service-based business
So much of starting a service-based business is picking something that excites you and then sharing your journey with anyone and everyone you know… Just putting yourself and your new endeavor out there. Start posting on social media about what you’re launching and asking for your followers/network to keep you in mind for future opportunities.
For locally-based businesses (like event planners and dog walkers), find local community boards you can post your services on. Provide ways for potential clients to get in touch with you and be clear about your availability and when you’ll begin offering your services.
It’s smart to also map out a menu of services and offer packages for every price point. A good rule of thumb is to start with three packages or offerings: one at a lower price point, one that’s a bit more pricy, and one at a premium price point. They should also go from simple to more complicated and detailed services. That way, anyone at any stage has access to working with you! Don’t worry about creating a website or branding yourself right away. Remember, it’s more important to BE a business (meaning you’re collecting payment for your offer) vs. just looking like a business.
What you need to get rolling at first is this, and only this:
- Any certifications required to legally provide your service (for example, personal trainers need to be officially certified in order to lead others through workouts)
- A social media page (it can literally start out as your personal IG or FB account where you begin sharing your services and why you’re offering them… Down the line, you can always create a business account if needed.)
- A menu and description of your offerings (you can just create a PDF menu that you send out to prospects via email)
- A way for people to pay you (PayPal, Venmo, and Stripe all work great)
That’s it! I think that we often over-complicate just starting when really, it can be so simple. You don’t need all the fancy bells and whistles to get a service-based business off the ground. All you need is a little grit, determination, and desire to deliver a top-quality service!