How to start a service business, and when’s the best time to start?
If you want to know how to start a service business and actually own your own life, then congrats. You’re steps ahead of normal guy who just want to get laid or get a girlfriend. Nothing wrong with any of that, since most of my content is based on girls. But it’s not the most important thing. Women tend to be the biggest problem men think they have. However, once you can get the girls you like, you realize it’s just an escape from reality and you can’t really enjoy it if you don’t have control over your income.
That’s what starting a business is all about. It’s about taking control of your money, ideally doing something you love or enjoy, and taking your life to the next level.
This article will specifically discuss how to start a service business.
Product businesses can be very lucrative, but the chance for failure is much higher and you can’t just grind through it. For your first business, a service business is the best choice because you don’t need much money to invest in it. Which means you’re not going to blow through whatever savings you have. You can always build a product business later, or diversify and add products, but I’d recommend a service business for your first one. For context, I built a marketing company (still my primary business) before starting Rebellious Development.
Right now is the best time
Right now is the best time to get started. You may not get your first client tomorrow and that’s fine. But you need to start the process asap. Every entrepreneur will tell you they should’ve started their business earlier. I’m in my later 20’s and started my business in my early 20’s, earlier than many. And I know that if I would’ve put more effort into it at 19, 20, 21, etc. that I’d be a lot more successful right now. Not to harp on the past, I’m blessed to be where I am right now.
The point is to stop waiting. Don’t put it off to next year or next month. Start working on your business on the side, even if it’s only for 2 hours a day. 2 hours a day 7 days a week is still 14 hours a week. Triple your hours on Saturday and Sunday (6 hours each day) and that’s 20 hours a week. You’ll be successful if you can do that for 2 years on the side.
Figure out what you love, or at least can enjoy
Best case scenario you love what you do. Worst case scenario you still need to enjoy it. Because if you don’t then you either won’t have the motivation to follow through or you’ll hate your life.
My first business was – and still is – marketing services. Primarily web design, ads management, social media, and stuff like that. None of those things my life’s purpose, but I still enjoy them a lot. Which is why I was able to put in time to learn the skills, get the experience, and work while not getting paid after a full day of my regular job.
If you have something you know you already want to do then you’re in a wonderful position. If you don’t, then you need to experiment. Try a bunch of different things and see what you like. You’ll never enjoy 100% of the business. But you need to enjoy actually doing the service itself.
And if you start an online business, then you can do work remotely and have more flexibility in where you live. But some men need to be doing something physical like landscaping or personal training in order to be happy. That’s also fine. Just keep in mind what you pick and if you choose a physical business, you should be setting roots in a metro area you plan on staying in.
For those of you that have picked something new, you need to get some basic skills. There’s tons of online courses that can teach you how to do most of the basics. I really like Udemy and learned a lot of the web design and ads management from there in the beginning.
Start experimenting and practicing
The way to really get good is to start practicing. For example, if you’re going to be a web designer, then practice designing websites. Or if you’re going to be an accountant, start doing what accountants do and make up a fake scenario for yourself helping a client as practice.
Whatever your chosen service is, you need to get comfortable with it and build your confidence in your abilities. This comes from practice and lots of it.
Get your first client / case study by offering services for free
This is the big first step towards really starting your business. Getting your first paying client is satisfying. But most of you will find it’s much easier to get those first paying clients when you’ve already done work. And you get those first case studies by offering your work for free. There are tons of small business owners who are happy to let you do the service if it means they get to save money.
You can ask someone you know in real life and get your first testimonial that way.
My first testimonial
I knew a few small business owners and I asked one of them if he needed help with his website. He wasn’t a great friend at the time, just someone I knew due to being an occasional customer. At the time it was down and he literally didn’t have a functioning website. He rejected the offer at first, but a month later he reached out and said he’d actually really like my help. I was still a customer of his and kept the energy positive when I saw him. He was struggling to make a good website and barely had the time because he had a business to run.
I not only got my first case study and experience with web design, but I became the webmaster, in charge of the email newsletter, and eventually photo + video creation. It was a lot of work to do for free, but this provided me with an awesome case study, a great testimonial, and experience that boosted my confidence.
I also got another case study by doing a bunch of email reach outs to business owners and then getting on the phone with a few. I have a background in sales so doing this kind of prospecting was straightforward.
And within a few months I had two solid case studies, real experience, and momentum to go forward.
You can get your first case study or two following the same method. Get a friend or person you know in real life to agree to let you do work for them for free, and/or cold email / cold call business owners.
Marketing and selling
Once you have case study, now it’s time to actually market your business and begin to sell. The first few things you need are a website, social media, and a business email. Your website is where you’re going to drive traffic to when you begin marketing. It’s also the digital home base for your business. When you reach out to prospects and they want to learn more about your service business, they’re going to check out your website.
On your website you want to convey the core message of what you do, how clients benefit from your services, and how they can get in contact with you. This is why having a case study will help out so much. It will be a great storytelling piece to use on your website.
Social media and advertising
Social media makes it seem like your business is more legit and active in the market. It’s also a way for you to engage with clients + potential clients. When you have an ad budget or get your first few clients, you can re-invest money into advertising on social media. The best platform will depend on your business and audience. LinkedIn can be great if you’re going after business owners.
Instagram is amazing for B2C, but most service businesses are focused on B2B and will want to stick with LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google. However every business is different so it doesn’t hurt to experiment. For example if you’re a personal trainer, then Instagram will be your bread and butter.
However, let’s not jump the gun.
When you’re first starting out, unless you have a main job where you make a lot of money, you’re not going to have an advertising budget. Which means you’ll have to find leads yourself. This takes a lot more work. You’re going to have to cold email and cold call people trying to close for a conversation about how you can help their business. You’ll get tons of rejections. But learning how to build a service business for most people means getting out there and selling.
I have a background in sales so this was easy for me. At least in terms of knowing what to do. I hate prospecting as much as the next guy and prefer to do marketing to get clients coming to me. But when you start out and have no revenue, you need to do the outbound sales yourself.
But don’t worry. Grind like hell for a few months, get a few clients, and you can re-invest all of that revenue into marketing spend. That way the prospects will be much more qualified and already have an interest in working with you.
Get more clients over next 6 months to a year
Once you sign your first paying client, it’s time to build off that momentum. With a combination of outbound sales (you emailing and calling) and inbound meetings (leads that come in through your advertising), you’ll start to get more clients and expand.
How quickly you get clients depends on how good at sales you can get, the strength of your ads (and who you’re targeting), the demand for the service you’re offering, and most importantly, the time you put in. There’s a lot of guys who aren’t actually that great in sales but who do well in sales. They put the time in. If you reach out to enough people, run enough ads and practice targeting the right people, and have enough conversations, you’ll get the business.
Decide on future for the company
After a year or so of working to get new clients and deliver on your service business, you should have some decent revenue. Anywhere from 30k-100k depending on the work you put in and how much you charge.
For some of you, this will be a solid side business is addition to your main job. For a few of you, this may even overtake your main job in terms of revenue. Based on my experience and what I’ve seen from other men, it usually takes 2 years or so before you actually are making more than your regular job, unless you’re in one of two extremes where you get paid very little or a ton at your main job.
If you make 100k+ at your day job, then expect it to take longer before you make your money. In fact, it may take you leaving your job for you to scale your business up to the point where it’s making you more.
There comes a point where you need to decide where you want to take your small business. You can keep it as a side business for a while, and in addition to your main job, end up making a lot of money. The pros to this is that you still have your safety net and can make a very nice living. But you also won’t ever really be able to blow up your business when you still have a main job.
And you’ll be working like a dog. It’s one thing to work 80 hours a week for a year or 2 when you’re growing. But at a certain point you want to be able to work 40-50 hours a week and still have a lifestyle where you can have a social life and date women.
Leaving your job
So that means eventually quitting your job. If you’re out of debt and have a solid savings of 50-100k in the bank, with a very solid profitability from your service business coming in, then I’d say you’re in a good position to quit your job and do this full time. If you’re unsure, then it’s not a big deal to wait and still keep your job for a bit. Definitely don’t quit your job when your service business isn’t making any money or no money. Otherwise you may blow your shot at financial freedom. Instead keep on doing both even if it fucking sucks.
You can finally quit your job once your service business is able to cover your bills and the some and you have a solid amount of savings.
You’ll need to make the leap at some point. Just make sure you’re in a strong position when you do so. Learning how to build a service business is fairly straight forward, but it does take a lot of work. If you’re willing to put in the time, it can be the simplest way to taking control of your life and achieving freedom.