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When you know you want to start your own business, but you don’t know where to start when it comes to finding an idea, it’s easiest to think of businesses in three distinct categories.
But first, a little disclaimer:
Starting a business isn’t just about picking an idea off the shelf.
I want you to find the best idea for you.
Just picking one to make money is the wrong path to take.
I know from personal experience.
You’ll end up burned out and unhappy, rather than fulfilled and passionate.
If you’re truly struggling to come up with an idea, I suggest you use the free resources on this site or take a look at The Idea Generator.
All that said, it can be helpful to break things down into general categories, and when we do that, the business ideas for beginners become clearer.
Three categories of business ideas that are perfect for beginners
Speaking in very broad terms, you can break down most businesses into one of three categories:
Products, services, or education.
Product-based businesses are fairly self-explanatory.
This is where you physically manufacture something that people can purchase.
In the internet world we live in, this would also include products that aren’t strictly physical – like print-at-home cards and invitations, ebooks, or meditation MP3s.
This also includes businesses like restaurants and yoga studios to some degree because the meal or the class is the product people are buying.
Services are businesses where you are doing something for somebody else.
This could include everything from maid service to accounting to SEO.
You can perform the services in person, like nannying somebody’s kids, or online, like managing their social media.
And finally, education businesses are your coaches and trainers, no matter what field the education might be in.
With my start-up coaching, I fall into this category, but so would a life coach, a personal trainer, and a foreign-language tutor.
The easiest business ideas for beginners and startups
The easiest business ideas for beginners are ideas the businesses where you perform a service FOR someone.
With a product-based business, there are often major start-up costs associated and overhead that must be maintained.
You must have the financial means to produce your product for people to buy:
Supplies, space, labor, shipping and other costs are all factors with a product business that don’t come up with other businesses.
Digital products, that may not require as much start-up capital, usually require a large audience to turn a profit.
Coaching or training people requires you to build authority in a field and it takes a lot longer to actually reach the point where people know, like and trust you enough to hire you.
If, however, you offer to take something painful off your customer’s hands then they are much more likely to jump at purchasing from you.
That’s the beauty of a service business.
This model works for in-person businesses like pet sitting, personal assisting, personal shopping, organization and so on, or digital businesses like social media management, virtual assisting, copywriting, bookkeeping, and so on.
The catch here is that in order to have a successful business, you can’t just pick one from the list.
Certainly, anyone who can string a few words together could advertise themselves as a copywriter, but if copywriting isn’t one of your particular talents, the likelihood of you becoming truly successful at that business is slim.
Look at your unique skills and talents for inspiration.
Whatever you can do best, there’s someone out there who doesn’t do it well, and might consider paying you to do it for them.
How to grow your service business in conjunction with the other types of businesses
The other fantastic thing about starting a service business is that it can naturally lead into the other two types of business ideas.
As you build a reputation as a qualified and respected service provider, you can move into coaching or training.
Many super successful online entrepreneurs started with a one-to-one service model before branching out into coaching or producing courses.
It’s also a good idea to perfect your own skills before trying to teach them to anyone else:
Even if you have been using your skills for years working for other people, running your own business you may find new challenges and insights.
Likewise, as you build a following and your own expertise, you may find that you transition naturally into selling products, like books, digital downloads, or even physical products that you or someone else manufacture to complement your services.
Many people want to rush out and create their first course, coaching community, or even eBook straight away, but without a large following these business models can be slow to make money.
Services, on the other hand, can be almost instantly profitable when you find the right need (pain point) that’s not being addressed, and pair it with your unique skills.
Now I Want To Hear About Your Business Idea:
If you have started your own business, which type did you choose and why?
What would be your biggest considerations when thinking about the type of business to start?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments…