If you’re a GenXer who feels intimidated at the idea of launching your own online business where you’ll need to put yourself on public display as a leading expert, you might want to consider becoming a service provider.
These individuals are always in high demand online, and they provide services that already successful marketers desperately need. Whether it’s due to a lack of time, talent or desire, marketers will outsource certain tasks to others rather than try to do it themselves.
This is one way to earn faster money, too. Instead of having to take time to create an information/digital product, recruit affiliates and launch products, you can secure a deposit or payment in full for an upcoming project.
At the same time, if you know you want to branch out and create a blog or information product of your own in the future, then becoming a service provider is an excellent way to learn the ropes.
You’ll be behind the scenes working for marketers who are showing you the tasks they need done, and telling you exactly how to do it. This is insight few people get access to, so you have a chance to learn for free.
Why Service Providing Makes a Perfect Online Career for GenXers
This is a great career for GenXers who want to set their own hours, decide what kind of projects they take on, and what they want to get paid for it. Payment will vary. For example, with ghostwriting, you’ll see a wide range of prices.
Some ghostwriters who don’t need much money to live on may charge as little as $2 per page. Other ghostwriters might charge $30-50 per page or more. Regardless of which type of service you provide, don’t make the mistake of believing that cheaper prices always mean you get more gigs.
In fact, marketers admire those who know their worth. While some will certainly be on a strict budget, others will only want to hire the very best. So price your service according to its true value.
One of the great things about becoming a service provider is that you don’t need anything to get started. You don’t have to have a website or a large portfolio of work – or even any testimonials to show prospective clients.
You just need to put yourself out there and hang your virtual sign that says you’re open for business and ready to take on new work. As you build up a steady client base, you’ll be able to carve out the exact kind of career that makes you happy.
7 Business Services You Can Provide
If the premise of service providing sounds good to you, then you’ll want to know what your options are for the kinds of services you can provide. Remember, this isn’t the same as working from home for a corporation who happens to allow remote workers.
This is a situation where you’re aligning with Digital Marketers who need to outsource tasks. One thing you want to remember is not to go about this with the mindset that you work for the marketer.
You’re taking on their project, but you’re always in control of how it unfolds. Don’t let them walk all over you, force you to lower your prices or bully you into doing more work for free – because they will, if you allow it.
First, you may want to consider becoming a ghostwriter if you have the talent to write non-fiction articles or eBooks. Your work should be 100% unique and conversational for an online audience (as opposed to academic and stuffy).
They may hire you to write eBooks, shorter reports, email autoresponders, articles, blog posts, or social posts for them. Pay typically ranges anywhere from $7-20 per page, but can go higher or lower than that, depending on the project and who’s doing the hiring.
To become a ghostwriter, create a couple of same pieces so they can see how you write. You can call this your portfolio if you want, but a portfolio doesn’t have to include dozens of real customers’ work (and in fact they probably don’t want it showcased in one).
You want to learn their language. If you don’t know what an autoresponder, squeeze page or lead magnet are, do some research & educate yourself so you know what they expect to get back from you.
Another service provider gig you can do is to become a graphic designer. If you have good design skills, you can be hired to create the images and layouts for the sales copy they need for product releases, their banner ads for promotions, the eCovers or product images, infographics, social images and more.
Prices range heavily for these services. There are low end graphics providers who may charge $47 for an eCover bundle and those that charge in the thousands of dollars for a complete sales page package.
Most marketers aren’t looking to hire graphics designers who only know how to use templates from free sites like Canva. They want someone who knows Photoshop or other tools that advanced graphic designers comprehend.
Some marketers are looking to outsource website building to service providers. Some may want a WordPress blog, while others will want some other sort of site built. This includes the functionality of the site, and your clients may range from individual bloggers to larger companies looking for skilled, competitive freelancers.
The fourth type of service provider job you may want to try is a virtual assistant (VA). A good VA working for a successful marketer will handle many things they don’t have time or patience to do.
That includes answering customer service emails or support questions, scheduling content to go out in the email autoresponder service or on the blog, posting to social networks for them, and more.
Instead of being paid per project, these service providers are often paid an hourly wage. But there may be situations where you can negotiate a bulk batch deal, such as queuing up a month’s worth of blog posts or emails, for example.
Copywriting is the fifth type of service provider gig you can cash in on. This is different from ghostwriting. Ghostwriters are creating informative content, while a copywriter’s goal is to close a sale.
Sales copy will earn you a lot more than a simple article will, and many marketers need people with strong closing skills to help them write a persuasive sales letter and an effective call to action.
You might want to be a social media manager for a marketer, if their online presence on social networks is strong. Some people use these sites and apps exclusively to generate a flood of targeted traffic, so having fresh and engaging content is vital to their success.
Your job will be to help them build their brand on these sites. You can become a pro at all kinds of sites and apps, like Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, Tik Tok, Instagram, Twitter and more.
Last, you may want to work on getting hired as an affiliate manager for marketers who routinely conduct product launches of their info products or tools. The responsibilities you’ll have would be to recruit other marketers to promote for the launch, and provide them with everything they need to be successful with it.
Finding Clients and Customers for Your Business
So if you decide to become a service provider, where do you go to find clients? Of course you can set up your own blog or site for customers and clients to find you.
But the only drawback to that is that you have to then rely on search engines to help you get found, and search engine optimization can sometimes take quite a long time to master.
If you do create your own site, you don’t have to make it complicated. It can be a single page site with a contact form or an order page. You may want to screen your customers before allowing them to simply hire and pay you, because it may turn out that the two of you are not a good fit to work together.
Instead of taking that route by itself, go to sites where freelance service providers get hired. That may include sites like UpWork, where you can get hired as a ghostwriter, copywriter, customer support person, graphic designer and more.
Here, you can upload your own profile information and create a portfolio to showcase your talents. Marketers can then invite you to bid on their projects, or you can scan the site to find projects you might want to work on and place a bid to be the one who gets hired based on how much you would do the job for.
You want to avoid the low wage sites, where you’re expected to do things like write articles for $1. There are some freelance marketplaces where they expect you to rise in the ranks and earn the ability to charge more by completing a bunch of low cost projects.
This is how the sites attract the customers, and you’ll find it hard to get competitive pay when there are always willing participants who accept the arrangement of having to charge much less than they’re worth just to earn a higher ranking.
You can also go to marketing forums, such as the Warrior Forum, and network with marketers who will want to hire you. Depending on their rules at any given time, there may be an ad or listing you can make to let people know about your services.
One of the best things you can do to earn as a freelance service provider is to brand yourself as the go to person for that skill set. If you wrote copy for a big name marketer and it converted at 35%, say so.
Try to get your clients who are happy with your deliverables to create testimonials for you to use. This social proof lets other marketers who are concerned about the risk of outsourcing feel more at ease handing over money for a task.
Word of mouth is going to be one of the most effective ways to get clients. People tend to talk behind the scenes and make recommendations for freelancers to their friends, so be sure to network as a friend to many marketers.
If you’re bidding in a competitive environment, such as UpWork, make sure you focus on the projects and earning potential. Don’t just mass bid on dozens of projects to see what sticks.
You can start out by bidding competitively, slightly undercutting the competition, but don’t do it too often because then future clients will expect the same rates. You just want enough to get some feedback and reviews under your belt as proof of your deliverables.
If you start out charging $7 per page for ghostwriting, and your schedule gets fully booked, raise your rate to the next group of clients to $8 and then replace all lower paying clients with higher ones until you’re achieving the pay rate you desire.
You can also create package deals to increase your earnings. So for example, you might charge a lower per page rate as a ghostwriter, but you can also offer the service of uploading the articles to their blog or email autoresponder for them, at a higher price.
Beating Out the Competition
Price isn’t always the bottom line that decides whether or not you get hired. In fact, for many successful marketers, it’s one of the least important elements in the equation. They have a good budget – but other aspects are critical to their success.
First and foremost, scheduling. If you develop a reputation as a freelancer who is always late on deliverables, it will make others hesitant to use your services. Marketers have firm launch dates and many people (including their affiliates) are relying on you to meet your deadlines.
When you bid on a project, don’t use a canned bid that talks about yourself. Make it a point to discuss the client’s needs in the bid so they can tell you took the time to read their listing and understand their needs.
When you accept a job, go above and beyond with your deliverables. If they bought 10 articles, deliver 11 – or if they said they have to be at least 400 words, make them longer.
Unexpected freebies can go a long way in wowing your client and making them want to use your service in the future. So if you write a report for them, send a second copy that you format and enhance with stock images or do something extra like add a complimentary eCover.
If you’re friends with another service provider or even have a significant other who has another marketable skill, then you might want to consider partnering up to offer a complete service package. For example, you could write, launch and recruit affiliates for a marketer – a one stop shop.
Whatever freelance gig you choose, always work on setting yourself apart in some way – unique service proposition. Whether it’s your amazing your deliverables, being ahead of schedule, or learning better technology or strategies to do better than the competition, it will help you win more jobs and see more repeat business.
The two most important skills that you will need to develop within yourself is branding & networking. These will help you generate a nice service provider income. If you’re shy about your services, it’s going to be more difficult to be found as a prospective freelancer.
If you’re hired to work for someone, make sure you are the one doing the work. There are some shady marketers who teach people to promote themselves as a service provider and then turn around and outsource it to a cheaper provider and pocket the extra cash. This shady practice is referred to as service arbitrage or drop-service.
This is unethical and stressful because you might end up getting something back late, of poor quality, or even stolen from one of their competitors, such as plagiarized content scraped off the Internet.
Don’t get bogged down with too many projects to the point that you have too many plates in the air and can’t meet any deadlines. You may be tempted to say yes, but it’s better to have fewer projects and satisfy each client than to disappoint them all.
If a project ever does go South, stay professional and try to repair the damage that’s been done. Accept personal responsibility if you’re late or if your work doesn’t measure up and try to work something out with the client so they don’t smear your name to others.
Taking Your Skills to the Next Income Level
Starting out as a service provider is fantastic. But you may eventually want to add another business branch, because with services, there are only so many hours in a day, and that limits your earnings eventually once you raise your prices to the maximum the market is willing to pay.
Look for other ways to build a business. If you create graphics or content, you might start selling private label rights to some things you create on your own time. You’ll sell these cheaper than you do to exclusive clients, but the product gets purchased by many people, so you often earn more.
You might want to flip websites or blogs with the content you create or website creation and SEO with the skills you possess. You can build up a website and flip it to a hungry marketer who wants to hit the ground running with something ready-made in their niche.
If you write reviews for marketers, and you enjoy it, consider taking time to create your own product review site and earn affiliate income from it. Or, create your own information products with you as the expert. Becoming a service provider as a GenXer is a great way to get started online. It provides you with a no cost method (if you go that route) to launch a business online with big earning potential and the freedom to set your own hours.