Great discussion on the TropicalMBA about shifting from an agency model to productized services.
“Ian Horley left a long stint at a successful corporate job in 2014 to create his own web agency, but he ultimately found himself incredibly stressed and unhappy.”
“Today, Ian is the founder of HubSnacks, a productized service which offers unlimited tasks on the HubSpot platform for a fixed monthly fee.”
One of the key takeaways here is the idea to build productized services on top of successful platforms like HubSpot. It makes it very easy to find motivated customers with the exact problem you are solving. This could be done for Shopify, Salesforce, Zoom, and other platforms.
Another big takeaway here is how they work to identify the next opportunities for their customers to take advantage of. They constantly tell their customers what to focus on next. It’s a great way to build customer loyalty and prove value.
“Amazon FBA businesses are real, attainable, and allow people to work from home. Today, I’ll break down the basics of Amazon FBA and how to get started yourself and be well on your way to making $1000/month.”
“Resellers buy gig work for as cheap as $5 to resell for profit.”
This article is a bit critical of “drop servicing,” reselling other services for a profit, but there are opportunities here for creators.
There are many low-cost services that could benefit from better marketing and a niche marketplace.
“Drop servicing is yet another side hustle with promises of grandeur getting attention on social media platforms. It takes its name from the more commonly known practice of drop shipping. In drop shipping, a retailer sells physical goods online without maintaining any stock themselves, instead ordering directly from a manufacturer who ships the products to the buyer. The middleman then pockets the markup.
Drop shipping is often seen as shady or misleading by consumers, who don’t know where the product is coming from.
Drop servicing, sometimes called service arbitrage or service reselling, applies that same model to intangible services and products, like copy editing, voice-over work, graphic design, or social media marketing strategy — labor that is thought to be more specialized.”
“Georgia took her skill of writing, and despite a crowded world of other writers out there, did over $500k worth of work through the Fiverr platform last year, including $90k the month before we recorded.”
The gig platform Fiverr.com is a great place to find validated business opportunities. Fiverr has a wide range of inexpensive productized services that can be started small, yet offer the potential to become substantial businesses.
I’ve gone through all 196 Fiverr subcategories to discover promising business opportunities. I provide many specific examples below. Hopefully, you’ll find some inspiration for your next business venture.”
As a reader for this newsletter, I’m providing the spreadsheet of all 196 Fiverr subcategories, with the first 48 listings of each. You’ll see it on the thank you page after you sign up.
The gig platform Fiverr.com is a great place to find validated business opportunities. Fiverr has a wide range of inexpensive productized services that can be started small, yet offer the potential to become substantial businesses. The number of jobs completed for all its freelancers are listed, so you can clearly see what is popular and how much people are paying.
I’ve gone through all 196 Fiverr subcategories to discover promising business opportunities. I provide many specific examples below. Hopefully, you’ll find some inspiration for your next business venture.
I think I could do this in a matter of 30 days, is build a company by going to Fiverr.com finding one of two things:
One, the most impressive $5 bit of work. Something like … “are you kidding me this is only $5?” then I would make my own website and make it look amazing and sell it at a massive uptick and then just manage the contractors to get it done.
The second thing that I would do is find talent on Fiverr ….
I would find a Fiverr job that was positioned poorly and I would reposition it and market it just like this, so for example I found this guy that would do cartoons. I would just say, oh I’m going to just make it strictly dog cartoons. send me a picture of your dog … or I will narrate this thing for you… Custom voice mails by the guy who sounds like blank… Donald Trump impression voice mails.
You take impression guy who does a good Donald Trump impression… and this is Donald Trump wishing you happy birthday for $35 as a service… You just fix the positioning.
What is a Productized Service?
A productized service refers to taking an hourly service and converting it into a limited scope offering at a set price.
Instead of selling graphic design services at $60 per hour, you could offer a $199 logo package.
Rather than custom websites of widely varying complexity and scope, a web developer could offer landing pages at $299.
Almost any hourly freelancing or consulting project can be turned into a set price productized service. The model works for graphic design, consulting, coaching, website maintenance, content creation, social media management, online marketing, and almost any hourly service you can imagine.
WPCurve was one of the first and most widely known productized services. They sold unlimited minor WordPress Edits for $79 per month. Instead of trying to find and hire developers to do hourly work, WordPress users could have a team of skilled developers on-call to quickly fix small issues whenever they arise.
WPCurve grew rapidly and later sold to GoDaddy. Now there are many other companies offering similar services.
Why Productized Services?
Imagine if every Uber driver had to bid on each ride like most freelancers and agencies do now. It would be a nightmare for both drivers and riders.
“Get a 3 Minimialst Logos in 3 days with 3 edits for $199”
“Let’s set up a meeting to discuss your requirements and we’ll come back with a proposal next week.
Productized services with upfront, fixed pricing benefit both buyers and sellers.
Benefits for the seller:
Discrete, limited-scope products are much easier to market, deliver, and scale. The product can be clearly explained and the deliverables clearly understood.
There is no need to write lengthy proposals or have a long sales cycle for every new client. Your website can explain the offering clearly.
Get paid upfront instead of billing for hourly work after the project is completed
Become very good at a narrowly defined service
Create clear work processes so it can be outsourced or delegated and business can be scaled more effectively
Benefits for the purchaser:
Much easier to understand what is being offered
Saves the time and hassles of meeting with and evaluating agencies and freelancers
Buying a small project with limited risk is simple and easy. The worst-case scenario is that you ask for your money back because the productized service wasn’t delivered as promised.
Fiverr Productized Service Opportunities
Here are some specific examples from the 196 subcategories on Fiverr. Be sure to further research the categories you are interested in to find related ideas. There are a wide variety of services under each category.
Want the Full Spreadsheet?
If you are interested in the full spreadsheet of the 196 Fiverr subcategories and the first 48 gig listings in each, Subscribe to my free IdeaEconomy.net Creator Newsletter. I’ll make the spreadsheet available to subscribers.
Example 1: Million Dollar Tagline Writing Service
The husband and wife team behind the Sucantare Fiverr account have 8521 completed orders for their “I will create a perfect slogan or tagline” service offered at three price points: $100, $125, and $150. It’s very likely that this service alone has earned the couple over $1 million dollars in revenue. This is just one of the many services they offer on Fiverr.
The couple also owns the VerticalFold marketing agency. I suspect their success on Fiverr is generating leads for the agency.
Example 2: 2 Million Dollar Resume Writing Service
Richard Lambert is reported to have earned over $2 million with his resume writing service. His most popular service has over 11,500 sales now which starts at $75. He’s expanded to cover letters, Linkedin profiles, acceptance letters, and more.
What’s interesting here is that Gotchseo discovered that someone on Upwork is buying her $10 service and reselling it for $75. There are many arbitrage opportunities like this on Fiverr because the platform tends to attract low-price-point customers. With Linkedin announcing their own gig marketplace, there will be many more arbitrage opportunities like this.
Glen Alsopp has recently published a lengthy post on how he made over $100,000 doing website audits that started inexpensively and went up to $8000 for a comprehensive report.
Glen details a complete blueprint of what he did in that post. A service like this could be the foundation of a very successful SEO business with a variety of related services that can be sold beyond the reports.
Example 7: Jesus Videos
For an example that is not business-focused, check out SocalChrist’s Jesus video greetings. He’s done over 14,000 personalized messages from Jesus that start at $10. Not bad for a direct connection to God. He advertises that “Jesus can be serious and or funny! Jesus will say ANYTHING you want. Yes, even THAT, you potty-mouth!”
Services like this would be perfect to promote on social media because of the potential to go viral. Check out the massive following that James Friedman has built for his funny photoshop edits. It’s a brilliant way to promote his non-profit foundation that supports the social and emotional well-being of children.
Example 8: NFT Gigs on Fiverr
Here is an interesting video on Fiverr freelancers taking advantage of the popularity of NFTs. NFTs are relatively new so the competition isn’t as fierce as other categories.
If you are interested in the full spreadsheet of the 196 Fiverr subcategories and the first 48 gig listings in each, Subscribe to my free IdeaEconomy.net Creator Newsletter. I’ll make the list available to subscribers.
Building a Startup Beyond Fiverr
While there are many successful Fiverr freelancers, it’s a competitive marketplace. Potentially even larger businesses can be built off the platform. Approach the productized service as a business, rather than freelance work and you’re likely to find customers that are much less price-sensitive. Start by differentiating your business so you uniquely stand out from other freelancers and companies.
How to Differentiate Your Service
Find a popular Fiverr service and see if you can differentiate it with better positioning. Here are some ideas:
1. Unique Positioning
Make your service unique by focusing on one particular in-demand trait.
Rather than offering a general service to anyone, specialize in a particular market.
Idea A: Instead of website audits, do website audits for home improvement companies. Idea B: Instead of a broad resume service, specialize in resumes for nurses.
3. Create a Mini-marketplace
Package together many productized services so you can offer a one-stop marketplace.
Idea A: Voice Over marketplace in a variety of accents and styles. Idea B: SEO marketplace of inexpensive gigs, similar to what Growth Geeks does for marketing.
4. Combine services for a more comprehensive offering
Idea A: Rather than ghostwriting, offer a complete ebook writing, editing, and design service. Idea B: Add logo design and domain availability research to a business naming service.
5. Language Specialization
Fiverr is predominantly English. Focus on services in a different language or country.
Idea A: Birthday greetings in foreign languages. Idea B: Translate Shopify stores to Japanese.
6. Turn One-off Services into Recurring Subscriptions
Idea A: Monthly content writing subscription like Content Sherpa . Idea B: Recurring subscription to website customizations and maintenance like WPBuffs.com.
See if you can mix and match differentiation strategies like these to come up with something else. For example, a monthly blog post writing subscription for dentists.
Productized Service Blueprint
Once you have a unique service that you can position more distinctively than the competition, build it out into a real business. If it works on Fiverr, there is likely substantial demand from people who would never think to use Fiverr. Here are some basic ideas:
Create a professional website for the service
Utilize cold email outreach and direct sales to find customers
Use paid advertising to generate leads
Regularly publish valuable content optimized for search engines to demonstrate your expertise and find leads
Become active on relevant subreddits and communities
Promote your service through affiliates
Hold webinars with related businesses where the host can earn affiliate commissions.
Other Considerations to Finding the Perfect Startup Opportunity
With Upwork’s new fixed price Project Catalog and Linkedin’s upcoming gig marketplace. There will likely be many arbitrage opportunities to buy low-priced services on Fiverr and resell them at a substantial profit with the right positioning. (Check out Example 3 above for a specific example.)
Let Artificial Intelligence Do the Work
Many of these services can be augmented with GPT3 type AI tools. Technology is rapidly developing in this area, so it’s worth keeping up with what can be done. Check out the large number of tools that already exist for copywriting, logo design, and more. It won’t be long before computers outperform humans in many of these services. Can you automate any of these services with machine learning to minimize the amount of human labour required?
Higher Value Services and Consulting
Think beyond the first service you are starting with. A low-priced productized service can be a great way to sell other services and consulting in the future. Businesses that know and trust you are much more likely to pay for more expensive services in the future.
Productized Services Startups
Here are some examples of productized services businesses for more inspiration:
Fiverr can be a great source of inspiration for your next startup. There are countless proven services with clear market demand. Take your favorite ideas and combine them to better serve a particular niche. With better positioning, delivery, and marketing you can charge more and build deeper connections with customers for more future opportunities.
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There are two really good insights offered in this post reviewing keyword research services.
1. Drop Servicing Opportunities: There are many opportunities to hire inexpensive workers on platforms like Fiverr and then resell their services at a higher price. One of the Upwork freelancers used a $10 Fiverr freelancer to deliver the $75 service. There are many arbitrage opportunities like that.
2. Fiverr and Upwork are great platforms to find opportunities. For example, Purecopy has sold 999 business tagline packages ranging from $30 to $90.
How about offering that service through a dedicated website focused on tagline related content so that you rank in search? How much more could you charge if you become an expert in landing page taglines?
3. Bonus Opportunity: There is demand for organizing all Fiverr and Upwork categories in a spreadsheet so others can find new startup ideas easily. Validated Ideas has recently done something similar for poorly executed apps. I’d be interested in this if one of you build it.
Productized services are a great business model. Rather than always try to find new clients and doing custom consulting, productized services allow you to charge a monthly fee for relatively standardized services that are easily outsourced.
WPTangerine offers unlimited WordPress editing for a monthly fee. This is a great business idea and can be done in many niches.
You don’t always need to be unique or first. This is the same idea that Dan Norris of WP Curve started many years ago. The company was sold to GoDaddy.
Almost every type of consulting or agency work could shift to a productized service model.