48 Online Service Based Business Ideas

by | Apr 3, 2020

A service based business is a business which offers ‘services’ rather than ‘products’ to clients.

You’re essentially utilizing your skills or the skills of others to help entrepreneurs, businesses and companies achieve tasks in their business they don’t have the time or the in house skill set to do.

An online serviced based business is as per the above definition with an added parameter. The whole thing is done online. The contact, communication and work is all carried out remotely via your laptop from wherever you are in the world.

The customer benefits by being able to pick from a global talent pool and you benefit by working when you want from where you want.

It’s a beautiful thing!

If you’re considering starting an online service based business but aren’t sure what you want to do, here’s some ideas to get the wheels in your head turning!

Writing

Fancy yourself a bit of a writer?

Here’s some awesome online writing opportunities.

Ghostwriter

A ghostwriter as defined by Elna Cain in her excellent blog post on ‘How to Become a Ghostwriter for Beginners (Step by Step)‘ “is someone that writes copy like articles, speeches, books, blog posts, email newsletters, web copy, etc. and isn’t credited for that work.

I use ghostwriters here on the blog (shock, horror)! Am I writing this post right now or is it a ghostwriter? Well this is all me right now, but on some of the more technical posts which would take me hours to complete on my own I use a couple of writers to help.

Many of my posts are a collaborative effort with ghostwriters doing some of the meat and potatoes of the content and me adding my stories, experience and voice.

If you love to write and are happy to receive cash rather than credit then maybe ghostwriting is for you! 😁

Writing for Blogs

You may think guest posting is just to increase kudos and links back to your site, but you can actually make a full time income writing for other people’s sites!

Here’s a list of 10 sites that will pay you to write articles online.

Copywriter

A copywriter is someone who’s paid to write copy that markets products and services. Experienced copywriters can demand super high prices for their copy which includes putting together sales pages, email campaigns, case studies, white papers etc.

The goal is to get the reader to take action and therefore copywriters have an added skill in understanding the psychology behind consumer habits.

Tony Tran has put together an awesome guide here on How to become a copywriter: quick-start guide (for 2020)

Ebook Writer

If you’re looking to practice your book writing skills and get paid for it, a golden opportunity is in writing ebooks for others.

Here is an extremely detailed walkthrough of how to create an ebook by the folks over at Hubspot – How to Create an Ebook from Start to Finish with free templates.

Podcast Show Note Writer

Do you love listening to podcasts?

Perhaps you could get ahead of the game and both listen & earn. Become a podcast show note specialist and help podcasters (like your truly), create the best show notes for each of their episodes!

You can see from this buzzsprout post with the rise of podcasting there is a demand for show note services these days!

Grant Writer

“Grant writing is the practice of completing an application process for a financial grant provided by an institution such as a government department, corporation, foundation, or trust. Such application processes are often referred to as either a grant proposal or a grant submission.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grant_writing

Here’s an article from Emma Johnson on How to Become a Grant Writer.

Resume Writer

I used to hate writing my resume. In fact when I became a boss one of the jobs I hated the most was reading resumes!

That’s because most people’s resumes are boring!

How about becoming the authority on writing fun and engaging resumes that catch the readers attention instantly!

Here’s a great guide on how to write a resume to get you started and then it’s down to you, to add your own originality & flair!

Resume writing is so popular it even has it’s own association which might be worth joining to increase your visibility.

Proofreader

If you’re an avid reader and have a knack for finding even the tiniest typos and mistakes, then proofreading might be your jam.

Here is a guide to 31 Online Proofreading Jobs for Beginners

Copy Editor

You might want to take it up a notch from proofreading and head into the world of editing.

Making written work easier to read and understand, ensuring that it fits its purpose and correcting grammatical and factual mistakes: Does that sound like something you’d be interested in?

Before you dive in however, it’s not all roses & sunshine. Have a read of this interesting take on copywriting as a career by Laura Rosell on behalf of The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

College Admissions Essay Tutor and Editor

The cut-throat competition for college admissions has created an industry for expert essay writing. A platform like EduBirdie offers tutoring services to high school seniors at a fee.

These kinds of websites are backed by experts who have hundreds of successful essays to showcase their craft. While the job falls under content writing, high earners in this field are doctorate degree holders and professors- so, your work is cut out for you!

Transcriptionist

You might think this is a tough gig to get into what with all the cheap transcription services online today such as Zubtitles & Rev.com.

But even though I use both of those services I recently paid over $180 to a transcriptionist as I had a particularly challenging video with bad sound I needed transcribing. It needed a talented human ear to make the best of it.

Transcribing is a huge business and many companies want someone reliable they can work with and depend upon to do a good job.

Here’s an excellent guide split into 2 parts on how you can started as a transcriptionist.

There are many writing opportunities all over the web. Just head over to upwork.com, fiverr.com, freelancer.com and other freelancing sites and see what’s already on offer. In no time at all you’ll find your niche and what and who you love to serve!

Marketing

If you love the marketing world & would like nothing more than to earn while helping brands promote themselves across the web, then this section is for you!

Social Media Manager

So this is a catch all for helping a brand build it’s profile across all of the social media assets online.

Here’s a great video by Latasha James on How to Become a Social Media Manager in 2020;


 

You may instead decide to specialise;

Instagram Marketer

Here’s a great post from Elise Darma on How to Become a Full Time Freelance Instagram Marketer

Facebook Marketer

These days with the rise in popularity of Instagram & TikTok, there may not be as much call for a ‘facebook marketer’ as such. You’ll probably need to specialise as either a ‘Facebook Group specialist’ or a ‘Facebook Ad specialist’ or ‘A Facebook Live Specialist’, or of course all 3!

Facebook is still a heavyweight when it comes to brand building but to sell your services you’ll need to get specific.

Abby Walla & David Storch run a facebook group all about being Confident on Camera in particular using FB Lives.

They sell courses, but there’s nothing stopping you in becoming an expert on this area and then offering consulting, setup, recording and editing services for people wanting to do regular FB Lives.

Use your imagination, look for where the needs are in the market and fill them!

YouTube Channel Manager

There’s so much to think about on youtube.

  • Researching keywords
  • Annotating videos
  • Adding end cards
  • Engaging with viewers
  • YouTube lives
  • Creating playlists

The list goes on.

Thankfully there’s such a role as a YouTube Channel Manager. Happy Days! If you love trying to beat algorithms and youtube floats your boat, this could be for you.

Here’s a great article on ‘How To Become A Successful YouTube Channel Manager‘ from the ladies over at shestartedit.co

Digital Content Manager

You could argue that a social media manager and a content manager are the same thing and there is certainly a lot of overlap.

However if I were hiring these roles, the content manager would be responsible for my blog, for finding guest posting opportunities for pitching me to podcasts for interviews and generally helping me, through the world of content marketing to grow my brand and profile.

They would work very closely with the social media manager who would be responsible for repurposing all my content across the social channels.

Here’s a list of skills a good Content Manager should have in 2020.

SEO Manager

Usually part of a digital marketing agency SEO is a huge subject that most blog owners don’t want to tackle. Me being one of them.

If you know your way around keyword research, backlinks, content outreach and general SEO principles this might be for you.

Here’s a fantastic guide from my fave in the business Brian Dean – How to Become an SEO Expert

Email Campaign Specialist

I must admit I’m not a huge fan of email marketing anymore. I much prefer engaging with my audience over social media. But there is no doubt it’s still a huge important part of any brands marketing strategy.

As a specialist, it’s up to you to work with your client to get into the minds of the target market, draft eye-catching content, help create lead generating landing pages, and write and execute segmented email campaigns.

Here is a quick overview of what an email marketing specialist does from the folks over at Campaign Monitor.

Paid Ads Specialist

I touched on ads when talking about facebook marketing. You could easily specialise in either Facebook Ads, Google PPC, YouTube Ads, even Amazon PPC has its place in the market these days.

Each platform has its own unique features & quirks so mastering just one is quite a feat.

Be sure to get the relevant experience in the ad platform of your choice and stay up to date with trends and industry changes. Remember your client is trusting you to spend their ad budget wisely and get results!

Of course the usual suspects apply in upwork.com & fiverr.com to get jobs, but you can also try Glassdoor and FreeUp for more opportunities.

For Google Ads, a certification will go a long way in getting you some work.

SEM Specialist

Also known as Search Engine Strategist, SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Specialist is an online job closely related to PPC and SEO Management. The job involves incorporating all strategies to rank a website including SEO, PPC, digital display advertising and anything else that might push your site to the top of google.

To get started, a certificate as a Search Marketing Professional could be handy.

Voice Over Talent

I personally hate the sound of my own voice, but if you speak clearly and succinctly perhaps becoming a voice over talent is the way to go.

The art takes dedication and plenty of practice to perfect. There’s help…Ryan Knott’s post details everything from the first time you attempt a voice over to the point where you are doing it like a pro.

This post details 8 places you can then go to find work!

Work those vocals baby!

Design & Tech

Are you a designer at heart, maybe a bit of a techie, love learning and using apps, playing with video, trying out new technologies?

This section might be for you.

Graphic Design

Got an eye for design?

This is super specialist area and if you’re a talented designer can be extremely lucrative!

I for one have been hiring and working with graphic designers since starting online 10 years ago.

As a graphic designer you’ll be able to showcase your work and look for clients on sites such as upwork.com, fiverr.com & 99designs.com. In fact here are 5 places you can sell graphic designs online.

Here is a video by a chap called Ben G Kaiser on ‘How to Start a Freelance Graphic Design Business’


 

Logo Designer

Rather than simply being a graphic designer you might decide to specialise and become a logo designer.

This is about truly understanding a client brief from the niche they’re in to their target customer to the products & services they’re going to be offering.

You have to try to get in the clients head and present them with something so amazingly on point they’ll have you doing all of their online assets (such as social media headers, blog headers etc) to ensure uniformity across all platforms.

If they’re anything like me, they’ll then want a logo pack with different colours, transparent logos, logos for products, logos for web, logos for videos. One simple logo job could turn into a huge contract if you’re lucky. And I don’t know about you, but I tend to get luckier the longer I stay in the ring if you know what I mean!

Here’s some prices logo designers command on Fiverr.com

Video Editing

If you love playing and working with video, then video editing might be your thing.

I love this video on the 7 skills you need to get hired as a video editor by Chris Hau;


 

Podcast Producer

I have a podcast producer! His name is Luka and he’s awesome.

All I have to do is record my podcast and load it into our shared dropbox folder. He then edits it to get rid of any mistakes or dodgy sound issues, creates the time stamped show notes, uploads it to my podcast app, anchor.fm, adds the show notes to the blog and schedules it all to go live!

Here’s an article covering the basics of becoming a Podcast Producer.

Photo Editor

I am totally on the lookout for one of these right now. Every man and his dog is selling presets online (filters you add to make photos look better).

But imagine having an editor on your team so you can just take and load photos and the editor makes them look so beautiful, you could sell them!

I would say with the rise of sites like instagram the role of photo editor is becoming more and more popular! In fact just looking at Upwork there are literally hundreds of photo editing jobs looking for the right person to fulfill them.

If you love playing with photos here’s your chance!

Web Design & Development

If you love to tinker with code and building websites then why not sell your skills.

You might think this is an over saturated market but there are more and more websites coming online every single day as individuals realise they can start a small online business from their front room!

Here’s a great guide by Nick Shaferhoff at websitesetup.org.

If you need to brush up on your coding skills, here are 76 of the best places to learn to code for free!

SAAS Developer

In Day 12 of my 30 Days to Start & Grow Your Service Based Business Guide, I go into great detail on How to Start a Saas Company.

But what if you just want to develop the apps not sell them!

Well I have absolutely no idea as it’s all way above my head, but that’s why I found this awesome post for you from learntocode.me.

Presentation Designer

We are living in a world of presentations; whether it is a sales pitch, a lecture, a student project…the list is endless. The problem is, turning the information into beautiful presentations is not everybody’s cup of tea.

If you can manipulate software like Powerpoint, Keynote, and Prezi among others to make their wishes come true, you can charge a fee and everyone will be happy.

Upwork.com and Workana are great places to land clients.

Coaching / Consulting / Teaching

If you love to coach, support, encourage, educate and teach then this section is for you!

In this post – ‘How to Start a Coaching Business‘, I walk you step by step how to get your coaching business off the ground.

For now here are a few business ideas in this arena to get you started;

Online Business Consulting

Do you possess business strategy, planning, and problem-solving skills that can help businesses succeed? Why not turn this into a profitable consulting business.

This 18-step checklist on how to become a small business consultant by Karyn Greenstreet is a good place to start.

Also, this post details out 20 different consulting business ideas, including everything from accounting to marketing to communication to writing services.

The world is your oyster!

WordPress Website Consultant

WordPress, an open-source web content management system, powers 35% of the internet in 2020. While the platform is fairly easy to use, starting from scratch can be time-consuming for business owners.

If you are an expert on the platform’s plugins, updates, and themes, there is a huge market waiting for you. Search for website consultant on Upwork brings up hundreds of opportunities.

Small Business Marketing Consultant

If you did a web search on cafés, would all your neighborhood cafés appear? Even with increasing online stores, the majority of customers still do walk-in purchases – but with a twist – the majority will do an online search first to locate businesses.

This is just one of the tasks that a small business marketing consultant works on.

The process of ensuring that a business ranks in local online searches is known as local SEO. This is a service that you can offer from the comfort of your home for hundreds of businesses, anywhere in the world.

Tutoring/Teaching Online

How good are you at imparting knowledge? You don’t necessarily have to be a teacher by profession, but with a good grasp of a given subject, you can build a full time income teaching online.

Who knew there were so many platforms dedicated to teaching English to kids all over the world?

Here’s a rundown of the leading remote English teaching platforms some of which require no prior experience.

But you don’t just have to teach English, depending on your skill set you might teach maths, music, singing, cooking, how to play the ukulele!


 

What do you know that would be a useful skill for others?

Yoga / Meditation Instructor

A few years back now I started a 30 day yoga challenge on YouTube with Yoga Master Adriene. With 7.2 million subscribers I would say she’s probably got one of the biggest yoga channels online.

Yoga and meditation has seen a huge rise in popularity in recent years. Understandably, people need to relax in the midst of today’s busy lives.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the time to attend physical classes, and right now as I write this, people can’t go to physical classes.

Enter remote instructors.

Start a YouTube channel, create a website, build an Instagram following, however you choose to do it, you could then offer one to one or group classes online.

SAT / IGCSE / A Level / IB Tutor

SAT and other standardized college exams are a source of stress for both parents and their children – evident from the numerous exam tutoring services available online.

If you build your reputation as an expert tutor, parents will be more than willing to part with a generous hourly pay to see their kids gain entry to college.

You can borrow a thing or two from a fellow tutor, Alex Heimbach. He has shared detailed tips on how to teach SAT for tutors and parents.

Online Personal Fitness Trainer

Are you a fitness trainer? Doing what you do best online is a great way to transform your business and expose yourself to an unlimited client base.

Much like the yoga example above, you can build a huge audience with videos & training advice.

In case you are wondering how to go about it, Jonathan Goodman has written an excellent guide on How to Get Started as an Online Personal Trainer.

There are many more teaching, consulting and coaching opportunities, these were just a few to whet your appetite.

What do you know, what experience do you have and how can you coach others to success are the questions you need to be asking yourself. Then read ‘How to Start an Online Coaching Business’ and make it happen!

Administrative Roles

Are you super organised, love systems, email, data, dealing with customers, research and / or analysing numbers?

If any of the above rings true for you then an administrative role might be just the ticket.

Virtual Assistant

When it comes to offering assistant services, virtual assistance is one job that tends not to come with a firm job description. You just need to go through Rob Rawson’s list of 98 tasks that can be outsourced to a virtual assistant and you’ll understand what I mean.

The good news is this; you don’t have to be a jack of all trades, just narrow down your client searches to tasks that you are most qualified in.

Then find work on job sites such as upwork.com & peopleperhour.com

Customer Service

Enjoy dealing with people in a positive and friendly manner? If your answer is yes, combine this with great communication skills and attention to detail and you will be ready to offer your services as a customer service assistant.

Customer service may come in the form of managing a clients email account, manning a helpdesk, on even being on call at the end of a telephone.

Here’s a comprehensive guide from paldesk.com on becoming an online customer service representative.

Home Call Center

A very close relation to a customer service representative is a home based call center.

All you need is a phone line, a solid internet connection, good communication skills and fluency in preferred language or languages.

Be careful though, many sites advertising for home call center operatives are looking for telemarketers. Fine if you enjoy being abused for most of your day by people who hate being cold called.

When you feel confident to jump in, try your luck with Liveops or browse for possible clients on Jooble and Freelancer.

Data Analytics Consultant

This involves gathering information, analyzing it and planning for a way forward. If you’re particularly good at drawing conclusions from numbers, this could be the online business model for you!

Educational qualifications and experience in relevant fields are a great plus. This post by Lucien Formichella of noodle.com gives in depth info on what you need to become a data analytics consultant.

Accounting and Bookkeeping

If you have a head for numbers and no official qualifications bookkeeping might be a good start for you. If you have started or finished your journey to become an accountant, then account your way out of overheads like offices and premises and become a remote online based accounting company.

There are a serious amount of brands / companies looking for home based accountancy services, so if you’re good at what you do, you should have no problem finding clients.

Check out Accountalist for a multitude of remote based accounting jobs.

Tax Preparation

Different from management accounts, tax accounting is a specialist area.

Taxes are a must and during tax season, the need for tax preparation services spikes all over the world. Individuals often need professionals to help with tax filings and for business, this task is often outsourced.

If you love to talk taxes and are always on top of the latest tax regulations, then this might be an area to look at.

As an aside, even if you’re not a qualified tax professional, many Amazon & ecommerce sellers look for an organised assistant with an exceptional eye for detail and a head for numbers to help them file sales tax reports on sites such as taxjar.com

Computer Technical Support

The best computer technical support agents aren’t just tech nerds but also understand what a user is looking for. Somehow they can cross the chasm between user & tech.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you frame it) there aren’t that many who can cross that chasm. Not great for a user like me, fabulous if you’re someone who can!

Here is a very comprehensive list of skills required to be a great tech support person.

If you need a little help, check out this online course in technical support fundamentals offered by Google.

Migrating Websites

Strictly you could say this falls under tech support, but there seems to be a demand for this service all on it’s own.

The internet is a fluid beast. Very often, new developments necessitate the need for websites to move onto new platforms. Known as migration, the job involves moving content and adapting it to new formats.

The opportunities are in hundreds if not thousands. For example, at the time of publishing, ‘Migrating Websites’ jobs just on Upwork totaled 576.

Typical listings include migration from Clickfunnels to WordPress, SquareSpace to WordPress, Hostgator to Siteground, and Squarespace to Shopify.

Internet Researcher

I reckon we’re all geniuses at this job!

I can research the net like you’ll never know.

Scrolling through cat videos on facebook, clearly research. Wishing I looked like the youngsters in bikinis on the 100th IG post that morning…Research! Browsing through the latest very clever creative endeavours on Tik Tok, definitely research. 🤪

If like me, you are adept at surfing the net, then you might want to consider starting your own internet research business. In all seriousness many institutions and industries depend on research for their growth.

Here’s a superb response by Holly Reisem Hanna, from workathomewoman.com to a question asked to her by a member of her community regards starting an internet research business.

Travel Assistant

As a traveller I would love a travel assistant!

Someone to book the flights, organise transport, find the best hotels close to where we’ll be doing activities or site seeing, book the activities, arrange paperwork for visas. Even help with a packing list, ensuring we have correct vaccinations and making any arrangements for things to run smoothly while we’re away.

What fabulous work this would be!

I’m heading back to the lovely Hanna again from workathomewoman.com who has a fab post all about becoming a work at home travel agent.

I think if I didn’t do what I was doing now, I just might do this!

Translator

Do you have command of another language(s)? If so don’t let it go to waste! As an ecommerce professional we needed translators for our Amazon listings in France, Spain, Italy & Germany so you never know where opportunites will pop up!

Here’s a great guide outlining the 10 Steps to Becoming a Translator, which the writer follows up with a great story and some tips on how he landed his first translation job and how you can to!.

Also here are the top 15 websites to get freelance translation jobs.

Remote Recruitment Expert

“The average hiring mistake costs a company $1.5 million or more a year and countless wasted hours”.

Excerpt from the book Who by Geoff Smart & Randy Street.

We (being my hubby & I) recently began looking for an expert recruiter to help us bring on board a new operations manager for our businesses.

Pushed for time in between running our businesses and our lives, we made the decision to utilise the skills of an experienced online recruiter to help sift through the initial raft of applications, hold first interviews and only present to us the best of the best according to our requirements.

If we’re doing, and we’re small fry by the way, you can bet your bottom dollar there are hundreds if not thousands of firms actively looking for recruitment support.

If you’re a people person, a good judge of character, have an eye for detail and excellent communication skills this could be the business for you!

To help you get started I highly recommend reading ‘Who’ by Geoff Smart & Randy Street.

With this knowledge you’ll be streets ahead of the competition.

Summary

I’ve really only just scratched the surface here. I’ll be updating this post regularly and adding new ideas as I come across them.

Use your imagination, look for a need and fill it‘, I said above. And that’s precisely it. Hope it helps! 😎

Please share with anyone you think this might benefit. Thank you 🙂