If you want to get into eCommerce without a lot of start-up capital, selling services online is an excellent way to earn an income. Perhaps you’re looking for a career change, or want to make some extra money on the side. Services don’t require shipping, manufacturing, or storage. While it’s true that selling services online can require a little extra time and effort up front, once you’ve developed your business and gotten it off the ground, this source of side income actually requires minimal effort.

Some influencers encourage people to find the most popular service out then and then learn the skills it takes to sell it. That tip might make sense to someone just starting out, but any small business owner knows the potential perils of dedicating your life to what other people want. Tastes and trends change. Many businesses fail not because they were founded on bad ideas, but because they weren’t the right fit for the person starting that business.

I can already hear you thinking, “But I don’t have any skills that someone would pay for.” Believe it or not,  some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs felt that way before their ventures took off. Many of us find it hard to believe that we have something of value to offer. When it comes to marketable skills, it can be tough to look inside and trust that you can do something special, something that other people want so much that they will pay for it. You may be surprised to find out that you already possess valuable skills that can enrich the lives of your customers.

Five Keys to Selling Service Online

  1. Reflect on Your Daily Routine

  2. Look Back at Your Life Experience

  3. Identify a Purpose and Direction for Your Skillset

  4. Start Selling Services Online

  5. Develop a Marketing Plan

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Instead of starting with what you want to get, start with what you have to give. You have unique preferences, ideas, and skills. You will be exchanging your time and effort for success in your online business, so it should be something that feels good to you. This post will help you find what you have to give, how to monetize those skills, and how to start selling services online.

1. Reflect on Your Daily Routine

What is your morning routine? If you wake up on time every day, it shows that you are punctual and have good planning skills. Maybe you make your kids’ lunches each morning for school? The shopping, preparation, and organization that go into making those lunches are all saleable skills. You may also put extra effort into the presentation of those lunches, demonstrating still more special abilities. When you arrive to the office and head into your morning meeting, how do you communicate with your co-workers? Whether you present a detailed PowerPoint presentation or are able to gather your team for a guided meditation, that part of your day demonstrates more of your individual skills. Go through this exercise for every part of your average day and write each skill you discover on an index card.

A person cleaning their kitchen is an example of a marketable skill, and you could start selling services online like this one. Check out FounderU and Selz for seriously simple selling tips.

2. Look Back at Your Life Experience

We learn valuable skills from our parents, friends, and teachers as we grow up, and we also learn from observations and experiences that we collect as we grow. Take a stroll down memory lane and revisit important moments from your childhood, teen years, and so on. You may have grown up in a house full of academics, surrounded by books and mentors with exceptional tips for quick and effective research. Perhaps your family was into sports, and you developed strong event planning skills because of the catering and timing crucial to your annual family Super Bowl party. You may have participated in debate, design, or science clubs in high school, and those groups provided moments and learning that give you a different perspective. Is there anything that you loved to do as a child that you stopped doing? Is there something that you are great at that you haven’t practiced in a while? Write these skills down on index cards as you remember them. This also a great way to return to skills that you miss using.

These exercises will help you locate your strengths and weaknesses as you develop your plan for selling services online. They are also ways to recognize your subconscious habits, to strengthen your natural hope and resilience as you move into a new business that will both challenge and excite you.

A woman looks back at the end of a hike, symbolizing reflecting on life experience to glean a sense of what you can offer to start selling service online. Selz and FounderU make selling seriously simple.

3. Identify a Purpose and Direction for Your Skillset

Now that you have a full stack of index cards, take a look at everything together, all at once. Some of your cards may be similar, and that’s ok. It can be helpful to lay them out on the floor, or to hang them on a wall. Once you can see them together you can start to play. Sometimes the way that we connect our skills is more helpful than seeing them individually, so group your skill cards in different ways.

What do you love to do and what do you dread? What do you feel confident doing, and where are you a bit rusty? What do you enjoy doing for short bursts of time, and what can you see yourself enjoying for years? What do you do out of necessity and what skills bring you joy?

Now that you have a clear sense of what you bring to the table, return to that list of ways to start selling services online. What services jump out at you, and which seem like a wrong fit? You may like writing for short bits of time, have a strong sense of organization, and love to talk and instruct. Teaching online sounds like the perfect service for you.

Here’s a list of profitable, manageable examples of selling services online:

  • Are you the first person to sign up for discount programs,  know all the best sites for coupons, and have strategies to save money at home? Share the wealth! Write an eBook or blog about saving money.
  • Give a webinar about your favorite kitchen tricks. They could be family recipes, a new way to use an old tool, or a system that saves time when you’re multitasking in the kitchen.
  • Share tips and workarounds that you use on software or phone applications
  • Ghostwrite a book
  • Take on social media posting for a busy person or business
  • Offer personal training online using your personal workout routine. You may not be a pro, but your personal experience might include where to find the best trails, workarounds for when you’re traveling, or techniques that make a workout better for your body.
  • Build customizable graphic design or web design templates for weddings, children’s parties, or other special events.
  • Create digital content. Whether you are a writer, a photographer, or an avid online enthusiast, there are people out there who would love your help!
  • Support a cause by writing blogs, editorials, or posting online. No matter what you believe in, there are other activists out there who are strapped for time with funding that can subsidize your support.
  • Give advice on your hobby in a webinar. You may be able to make the perfect tree for your miniature railroad with items from your backyard or a walking tour path for the best local jazz. You can help fellow enthusiasts learn more about what they love.
  • Provide template spreadsheets and other tools for project management. You’re a whiz with project management methodologies, and there are professionals looking for the tools you made every day.
  • Offer your time as a consultant or mediator for business skills.
  • Offer classes and training online for people struggling with dating or relationships. You are already a go-to for friends and family. Extend your circle of support and provide services and advice for customers seeking love.
  • Provide tools and services for parents. Parenting is tough no matter what kind of support system a family has. You may have tips for quick clean up or a great technique for tantrums, and there are parents out there who can use your knowledge.

A person taking photos, a great example of how selling services online can help other professionals. Selz and FounderU make selling online seriously simple.

4. Start Selling Services Online

Now you have a solid plan for selling services online. But how exactly do you monetize your existing skill set? Are you a professional in your industry with contacts and knowledge to implement your services, or are you just starting out? Either way, you will need to show the world your expertise and prove that your services are worth the investment.

First, ask yourself if you need more knowledge to make your business a success. There are hundreds of online classes and tools that can help you sharpen existing skills. This research has more than one benefit. As you use these tools, think about how your potential competitors are marketing their services. This is a chance to see what you do and don’t want as you move forward with your business. Use your research as a guide when you price your services and identify your primary audience.

Next, it’s time to create a simple website that makes it easy for your customers to understand, access, and take advantage of your services. While it doesn’t need to be the most advanced, high tech website, it should be user friendly and well designed.

Read: Building a Professional Website in Six Steps.

When you’re categorizing the services you offer, remember that selling different options within a service group is a good idea. For example, if you create a 10-video lesson program for cleaning your closet, you may also want to develop an online class, eBook, or podcast. This makes your business selling services online more successful by helping connect you to customers who are seeking the information you offer, but want it in a different format or at a lower price point.

Approach the visual identity of your business in a professional way and pay attention to the aesthetics of other sellers in your niche. New customers may be wary of investing your services, but if you pack your website and other marketing materials with great photography, clean error-free copy, and generous customer testimonials, you will go a long way toward earning their trust.

A woman puts finishing touches on her website - don't overlook this step when selling services online. Selz and FounderU make it seriously simple.

5. Develop a Marketing Plan

What makes your service distinct? It will be different because it is yours, and you have built this service from your own life experience and knowledge. But it’s important to identify exactly why this is valuable to your future customers.

How did you discover this skill, and what potential uses will someone else have for it? Anyone can accomplish just about anything online with some time and a little research. If you show that you’ve done some of that work for your customer, you will have an edge on selling services online. Find a way to communicate your unique skills and how they work together to benefit your customers. This will often mean telling stories that highlight the wisdom of your mentors, friends, and family who have shared their know-how over the years.

Practice your elevator pitch about your mom’s last-minute cookie fix or that trick your brother uses to make his at-home oil changes quick and clean. Write emails or social media posts about how you were taught to master filters in Excel, and the benefits that those tricks have given you in your life and career. Keep your message clear.

An "open 24 hours sign" is a prime example of basic marketing, but you will need to get a little more strategic when selling services online. FounderU and Selz make selling simple.

Life goes by fast, and your consumers are hungry for a way to make each day shine. They want more time to do the important things, and to spend less time researching. When you start selling services online, make a point to provide your customer with everything they need to become successful at a skill.  The services you offer will give someone hope. Your tips, tricks, templates, and videos could change someone’s life for the better. In a time of access, invention, and communication, it’s easier than ever before to share your skillset in a way that benefits others, and creates generates income for yourself. So why wait? Get started today!