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The most basic, yet most underrated of online business models is that of simply selling services. Thanks to the internet, just about anything that can be done on a computer, can be outsourced. Those who choose to supply those needs can easily make a living online, and if it’s done right, can make some good money.

Note: This episode deals with selling physical services – not services provided by online software. That’s a discussion for another day.

Also keep in mind that any of these business models can be implemented by a single person, and then scaled up to allow for more income. Some allow for more scaling options than others.

Here are just a few examples of how people are making money online by selling services:

1. Writing and editing services:

This is a very wide field – and can range from writing articles to writing and/or editing ebooks. It can include the writing and/or editing of informational or news articles, compiling reports, fiction or non-fiction ebooks, transcription services, translation services, website content, newsletters, etc.

However, the price range is just as wide as the range of potential services. On the one end there are people writing for as little as $1 per 500 word on freelance sites, but on the other hand there are people getting paid several hundred dollars for a piece of 750 to 1,500 words.

As with all forms on online business, it comes down to marketing and providing value.

2. Social media services:

Almost a decade ago, the big names (back then) in internet marketing stated that there would come a time when the whole (business) world would turn to the internet to market themselves. They also stated that “even those with mediocre knowledge of the internet would be able to make a living for themselves” – because in the land of the blind, the one eyed jack is king…

That time is now. More and more business want to be seen online, and managing the social media presence for a small local business in relatively simple.

Helping people to establish a social presence online can be lucrative – just browse the classifieds to see how many people are looking for social media managers. Fair enough, mmost of those jobs are for people with qualifications in marketing – but it demonstrates the demand for social media services.

For a local business owner, simple things like creating a Facebook page header that doesn’t break the rules can prove challenging. Systematically posting to group boards is a foreign concept to most of them.

This can also be combined with writing services to offer content marketing services.

3. Graphic design:

Anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort to master the basic skills of graphic design can start an online graphic design business. You can even do so without any money if you are willing to master GIMP-shop (open source software similar to Photoshop).

Business owners and bloggers need lots of stuff to be created – social media headers, banner ads, marketing graphics for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more, as well as ecovers, website header images, logos, etc. The scope is incredibly wide.

4. Done-for-you setup services:

Many people simply don’t have the time, patience or skills to do setups that would be simple to the average internet marketer. These include things like setting up social profiles, setting up WordPress, setting up autoresponder newsletters, and even simple things like Google analytics.

5. Virtual assistant:

Many small business owners, who work on a small scale, simply cannot afford to employ someone full time – yet they need someone to take calls, process emails and documentation, and even handle social media advertising for them.

One person can do all of that for several business owners, right from their own home office.

6. Consultation:

This requires some expertise, and in most cases, it requires some qualification or certification. Once again, it’s a wide scope, including anything from offering marketing advice to life coaching. While the income per hour is likely to be a lot higher than for the other online business models, it is a bit more difficult to scale it – because you will need to employ professional people.

7. Managing advertising:

Many whole businesses have been built on simply creating and running ads for business owners at a monthly fee. Some specialize in Google Adwords, some specialize in Facebook ads, and others specialize in banner advertising and re-targeting.

Taking it to the next level:

Any of the above can be scaled to include more people doing the actual work. The beauty of it as that, since your business is completely internet-based, your workforce can work from their own homes. They don’t even have to live in the same town, or even the same country.

The only limitation on how big you can scale your online services business, is the scope of your marketing (and in the case of consultation, the availability of affordable professional help).


For ALL of the above, you will still need to market yourself. The normal principles on marketing online still apply:

Having a blog or website.
Having a social media presence.
Doing content marketing, social media marketing, or paid traffic.
Preferably having a mailing list.

Of course, having a mailing list also enables you to offer other products or services (for which you can get a commission) to your prospects.

And that in itself, already scales your business to more than the money you can earn by simply working for it yourself.

Of course, if you combine that list with arbitration, it becomes a whole new ball game.


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