How to Start a Service Business: The Guide You (Actually) Need

Starting a service business might not seem as glamorous as launching a swanky tech startup, but trust me—it’s far from dull.

I bet you didn’t know the service sector accounts for nearly 80% of US private sector employment. It also accounts for my employment—I have several services, mostly revolving around writing.

So if you’ve been longing to embark on a daring entrepreneurial journey, now’s the time to explore the lesser-sung yet incredibly rewarding world of service businesses.

And forget the cliché image of a bored office worker dreaming of escape; the service industry is a veritable playground of opportunities just waiting for someone like you to make their mark.

So ready to swap the mundane for the thrilling? Buckle up, because we’re about to dive into the wild world of starting a service business.

In this article, you’ll find the nuts and bolts of building your empire and the kind of rare, unusual insight that takes hours of research to produce.

Prepare to be dazzled—because I was certainly dazed writing it.

Disclaimer: In the spirit of full disclosure, some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission for my caffeine addiction if you click on them. But hey, who doesn’t love supporting sarcastic writers on their quest for world domination?

1. Carving Your Niche

Unearthing the perfect niche for your digital service business is like discovering the philosopher’s stone.

When you find a niche that seamlessly blends your passions, skills, and profit potential, you’ll unlock the secret to entrepreneurial success and satisfaction. The realm of digital service businesses is vast and brimming with limitless opportunities.

Should you accept it, your mission is to delve deep into this digital landscape and uncover the niche that resonates with your soul, ignites your creativity, and fuels your drive for success.

The following examples offer only a glimpse of the possibilities that await you. Use them as inspiration, and remember that the only limit is your imagination:

Ghostwriting and Content Writing

If you’re looking for a no-nonsense, low-barrier entry into the digital service business, ghostwriting and content writing might just be your cup of tea.

Not only do writing-oriented businesses offer a great way to flex your creative muscles, but they’re also relatively easy to break into, especially with a little help from our AI friends.

In today’s content-driven world, skilled writers are in high demand. According to the Content Marketing Institute, a whopping 86% of B2B marketers use content marketing as a core strategy.

This means there’s a vast ocean of opportunities for writers who can spin a good yarn.

Now, let’s be honest: without help, writing can be a tough gig. Hours in front of a keyboard isn’t  a task for the faint of heart.

But AI writing tools like Lex Page and ChatGPT are here to lend a hand.

These nifty gadgets can help you whip up some sparkling prose in no time, leaving you free to focus on the fun stuff—like brainstorming puns and clever metaphors.

Of course, to make it as a top-notch ghostwriter or content writer, you’ll need to put in some elbow grease and polish your writing skills.

That’s where Elise Dopson’s Peak Freelance community and online course come into play—both of these were lifesavers when I was just starting my freelance writing career.

With expert advice, networking opportunities, and a supportive group of like-minded scribblers, you’ll be well on your way to writing greatness.

By honing your skills, leveraging AI tools, and surrounding yourself with a friendly community of fellow writers, you’ll be able to create a thriving digital service business that’s equal parts rewarding and downright enjoyable.

And who knows? You might just discover a hidden talent for crafting puns that’ll make even Shakespeare chuckle.


If you’ve got a wealth of knowledge and a knack for helping others succeed, consulting might just be the digital service business for you.

This rewarding niche allows you to flex your intellectual muscles, share your hard-earned wisdom, and earn a pretty penny. After all, who wouldn’t want to make money by simply offering their expert advice?

Consulting comes in many flavors, from business strategy and marketing to personal growth and career development. One lucrative consulting area is helping professionals grow their influence on platforms like LinkedIn.

For instance, I charge a cool $400/hour to coach clients on LinkedIn mastery—covering profile optimization, content creation, and more.

Now, you might be thinking, “Wow, $400 an hour? Sign me up!” But before you dive headfirst into the consulting game, it’s essential to establish your credibility and build trust with potential clients.

Showcase your expertise through blog posts, case studies, and testimonials from satisfied customers. After all, you can’t expect someone to shell out the big bucks without some proof that you know your stuff.

As a successful consultant, you’ll also need to develop top-notch communication and interpersonal skills.

Remember, your clients are coming to you for guidance and support, so creating an atmosphere of trust, understanding, and empathy is crucial. Be a good listener, ask insightful questions, and offer practical, actionable advice.

And don’t forget—part of being a great consultant is staying up to date on the latest trends and best practices in your field. Keep learning, growing, and evolving, so you can offer your clients the freshest insights and most cutting-edge strategies.

Combining your expertise with a genuine desire to help others can create a thriving consulting business that brings financial rewards and personal fulfillment.

So go on, share your wisdom with the world, and watch your influence (and bank account) grow—along with your clients’ success.

Selling Online Courses

If consulting is the appetizer, then selling online courses is the main course—and what a delicious, income-generating feast it can be!

By taking the knowledge and insights you’ve gained through consulting, you can create valuable online courses that teach, inspire, and generate income while you catch some Zs.

In fact, that’s what I did with LinkedX, my comprehensive LinkedIn online course. After coaching clients on profile optimization, content creation, and more, I noticed a pattern—many were seeking the same advice and strategies.

That’s when I realized I could package this knowledge into an online course, allowing me to reach more people and create a passive income stream.

But how can you (actually) turn your expertise into a successful online course?

Start by identifying the most common pain points and challenges faced by your consulting clients. Then, develop a course curriculum that addresses these issues and offers actionable solutions.

According to Global Market Insights, the e-learning market will surpass $1 trillion by 2027, making it the ideal time to jump into the online course business.

To create and host your course, I highly recommend Thinkific, the platform I use for LinkedX.

Thinkific offers an intuitive interface, robust customization options, and powerful marketing tools, making it an excellent choice for course creators.

Once your course is live, promote it to your existing network, and use your consulting experience as social proof of your expertise.

Offering valuable, high-quality content and leveraging your consulting credibility, you’ll be well on your way to building a successful online course business.

Turning Your Day Job into a Freelance Service Business

You might not need to look far for a service niche—your existing job might be perfect for a freelancing career.

With a dash of courage, a pinch of planning, and a healthy helping of humor, you can transition from employee to freelance entrepreneur in no time. Here’s how:

  1. Identify your transferable skills: Analyze your day job and list the skills that could easily translate into a freelance service business. For example, you could offer digital marketing consulting or social media management services if you’re a marketing whiz.
  2. Build your portfolio: Create a collection of your best work that showcases your expertise and talent. Your portfolio is like a business card on steroids—it will help potential clients see your value and trust your abilities.
  3. Establish a strong online presence: In the digital age, having a solid online presence is crucial for any freelancer. Create a website, set up social media accounts, and polish your LinkedIn profile to showcase your skills and attract clients like bees to honey.
  4. Test the freelance waters: While still employed, take on small freelance projects to build your client base and gain experience. It’s like putting on water wings before diving into the deep end of the freelancing pool.
  5. Create a financial safety net: Before you leap into full-time freelancing, save enough money to cover at least six months’ worth of living expenses. This financial cushion will give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on growing your business without worrying about the bills.
  6. Network like there’s no tomorrow: Your professional network is like a treasure trove of opportunities. Attend industry events, join online forums, and engage with fellow freelancers to build relationships and uncover potential clients.
  7. Master time management: As a freelancer, you’ll need to become a time management ninja. Learn to prioritize tasks, set realistic deadlines, and balance work and personal life like a tightrope walker extraordinaire.
  8. Celebrate the milestones: Once you’ve switched to freelancing, take time to celebrate your achievements. After all, becoming your own boss is like conquering Mount Everest—it’s challenging, exhilarating, and worthy of a victory dance.

Strap on your entrepreneurial boots and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime—freedom, flexibility, and unlimited potential await!

Still Undecided?

If you’re on the fence about which digital service business niche to pursue, fear not, intrepid entrepreneur! I’ve got you covered with a foolproof guide to discovering your Shangri-La:

  1. Assess your skills and passions: List your top skills and the activities that bring you joy. Remember, a niche that aligns with your abilities and interests is like the perfect slice of pizza—it satisfies, delights, and leaves you craving more.
  2. Explore market demand: Now that you’ve identified your strengths and passions, it’s time to play Sherlock Holmes and investigate market demand. Dive deep into industry reports, surveys, and trends to uncover opportunities. For example, Upwork found blockchain, content creation, and UX design were among the fastest-growing skills in 2020.
  3. Analyze the competition: Scour the digital landscape to gauge your competition. A quick search on platforms like Fiverr can offer valuable insights into the existing market players. A little healthy competition is like the perfect amount of hot sauce—it adds flavor without leaving you in tears.
  4. Test the waters: Dip your toes into potential niches with small-scale projects or “micro-gigs.” Doing so lets you get a feel for the work, gather feedback, and gauge your enthusiasm for the niche. It’s like sampling from a buffet before committing to the main course.
  5. Embrace the pivot: Don’t be afraid to switch gears if your initial niche doesn’t resonate with you. Like a master chef, you can tweak the recipe until you find the perfect blend of passion, skill, and market demand.

Embark on your niche-finding journey with confidence, wit, and a sense of adventure.

Who knows? You might just discover the digital service business niche that makes your heart sing and your bank account dance with joy.

2. Winning Friends and Influencing People (Online)

As someone with over 100k followers on all social media platforms, I can assure you that making a digital splash out there is vital for promoting your service business.

And the best platforms to start on? LinkedIn and Twitter. Both are packed with decision-makers eager to hire talented service workers.

Check out how my LinkedIn profile garners the attention of potential clients:

I’ve both hired and been hired on social. Here’s how you can get off on the right foot:

LinkedIn: Where Serious Networking Meets Serious Fun

LinkedIn is the ultimate playground for professionals, especially these days. LinkedIn is investing tons of resources into turning it into an influencer’s paradise.

But how do you stand out among the sea of suits and corporate jargon?

  1. Create high-quality content: You don’t have to be Shakespeare, but you should strive to make your content informative, engaging, and—dare I say it—entertaining. Using a tool like Taplio can help you generate fresh ideas and polish your writing.
  2. Network with other creators: Remember, you’re not just building a business; you’re building relationships. Connect with like-minded professionals and engage with their content to increase your visibility and credibility. The more you mingle, the more your network will grow.
  3. Learn from the best: To master the LinkedIn game, consider checking out my online course, LinkedX. I promise it’s not just a shameless plug; it’s a comprehensive guide to help you skyrocket your LinkedIn presence without making it feel like a sales pitch.

Twitter: Where Brevity Meets Brilliance

Ah, Twitter—the land of pithy one-liners and viral hashtags. There’s no better platform to expand your reach and showcase your brand personality.

Here’s how to win on the bird app:

  1. Craft engaging content: Sort of a gimme, but with a 280-character limit (unless you have Twitter Blue), every word counts. Use tools like TweetHunter to generate tweet ideas that resonate with your audience and showcase your expertise.
  2. Interact with your community: Don’t be a wallflower. Join industry-related conversations, participate in Twitter chats, and engage with your followers to foster meaningful connections.
  3. Stay consistent: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a robust Twitter following. Keep posting, engaging, and learning from your analytics to refine your content strategy.

Remember, my friends, social media success is a marathon, not a sprint (unless you’re following the advice in LinkedX, then it can be a sprint).

Stay committed to creating high-quality content, nurturing relationships, and leveraging tools like Taplio, TweetHunter, and LinkedX to elevate your online presence.

Soon enough, you’ll be the talk of the digital town.

3. Streamlining Your Workflow

As your digital service business begins to flourish and your client roster expands, you may find yourself buried under a mountain of tasks, deadlines, and expectations.

Fear not, multitasking maestro, for this section is dedicated to helping you streamline your workflow and maintain your sanity.

By leveraging a veritable smorgasbord of tools, you’ll be juggling new clients like a seasoned circus performer, minus the spandex and face paint.

A. Embrace Your Inner Technophile

In the digital realm, technology is your best friend, your trusty sidekick, and your secret weapon all rolled into one.

By harnessing the power of cutting-edge tools and platforms, you can automate repetitive tasks, enhance your productivity, and stay one step ahead of the competition.

Planable is an absolute game-changer for social media managers, allowing you to schedule posts, monitor your accounts, and track your engagement in one place.

Content writers, meet your new best friend—Lex Page. This AI-powered writing tool can help you generate ideas, polish your prose, and even draft entire articles in a fraction of the time.

Twitter ghostwriters, rejoice! Tweet Hunter is here to help you uncover the most engaging content, monitor trends, and craft tweets that’ll leave your clients grinning from ear to ear.

And for writers of all stripes, Wordtune is the ultimate wordsmith’s companion, helping you transform your sentences from “meh” to “marvelous” with just a few clicks.

B. Time Management

With a suite of powerful tools at your disposal, it’s time to tackle the most formidable foe of any digital service entrepreneur—time management.

According to a Harvard Business Review study, professionals spend a staggering 41% of their time on discretionary activities that could be delegated or automated.

By ruthlessly prioritizing your tasks, setting clear boundaries, and optimizing your schedule, you’ll become a master of time and the envy of your fellow entrepreneurs.

C. Never Stop Learning

In the ever-evolving digital landscape, staying ahead of the curve is not just a luxury—it’s a necessity.

Dedicate time to learning new skills, exploring emerging trends, and expanding your knowledge in your niche.

By investing in your growth, you’ll better equip yourself to handle the challenges that come your way and position yourself as a leader in your field.

So, gear up, service entrepreneurs, and prepare to streamline your workflow like never before. 

With the right tools, strategies, and mindset, you’ll be juggling new clients with grace, efficiency, and a generous helping of wit—proving once and for all that you don’t need a red nose and floppy shoes to put on a show-stopping performance.

Tips for Juggling Your New Business

Let me be clear: quitting your job to start your own service business is a bad idea. You don’t know if you’ll actually succeed until you get results.

So play it safe—you can grow your new gig on the side while still working your day job. Once you get results, then you can make the transition.

The only issue is not letting your side hustle get the better of you. Here’s how to juggle your new venture effectively:

  1. Set clear boundaries: Master the art of compartmentalization. Designate specific hours for your side hustle and stick to them, ensuring your main gig doesn’t suffer.
  2. Maximize your productivity: Time is a precious commodity. Utilize productivity tools and techniques like the Pomodoro Technique to maximize your side hustle hours.
  3. Network like a boss: Leverage platforms like LinkedIn to connect with potential clients, showcase your expertise, and build your digital service business’s reputation.
  4. Stay flexible: Accept that your side hustle might evolve over time. Embrace change, adapt your approach, and remember that the journey is part of the fun.

With a dash of wit, a dollop of determination, and a sprinkle of strategic thinking, you’ll soon be juggling your side hustle like a pro, all while keeping your day job firmly intact.

Seize the Day and Build Your Service Empire

There you have it, intrepid entrepreneur—your roadmap to digital service business stardom, sprinkled with a healthy dose of wit and an extra-large helping of value.

Now it’s time to take the plunge, armed with the knowledge, tools, and confidence to turn your entrepreneurial dreams into a reality that’s even more fabulous than a unicorn disco party.

As you embark on this thrilling adventure, remember to stay true to your unique brand of humor, passion, and expertise.

After all, the world needs more digital service mavens who can bring a smile to clients’ faces while delivering exceptional results.

So, strap on your metaphorical jetpack, embrace your inner superhero, and prepare to soar to new heights in the world of digital service businesses.

And when you reach the top, don’t forget to pause, take in the view, and revel in the fact that you’ve conquered the digital realm with a winning combination of skill, determination, and a sense of humor that’s worth its weight in gold (or Bitcoin, if you prefer).

May your journey be filled with laughter, success, and an unending supply of wisdom.

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