How to start a service-based business in retirement

by | Feb 17, 2023

A service-based business is a business that performs tasks for the benefits of their customers, and this can include anything from transportation, cleaning, traveling, hospitality, maintenance, consulting and marketing. With so many people finding that they still need to earn money in what are usually seen as the retirement years, having the right process to start a service-based business can save a lot of time.

Service-based businesses are becoming successful avenues for business owners as they can easily capitalize on their own skills and are easily marketable online. They’re an especially useful avenue for those nearing or already in retirement, as these businesses offer more flexibility, choice, and require less stress and learning than a regular job. You may find you have plenty of life experience that translates into a service-based business, even if you haven’t earned money from that skill or knowledge before.

If you’re interested in exploring the service-based world for yourself, we’ve developed this foolproof guide on how to start a service-based business in retirement. But note: this step-by-step guide is useful for everyone!

How to find the right idea

The first step to starting your own service-based business is to come up with your idea and that's super easy when you first consider your skills and what you have to offer

When it comes to starting your own service-based business in retirement, the first thing you’ll need to do is come up with the right idea. 

It more or less always comes down to your own skills, which is beneficial for those in retirement as the wealth of skills available exceed those with less years of experience. Consider what you’re good at, what you enjoy, and what your many skills combine to make you capable at. 

And if you’re struggling with imposter syndrome this early in the game? Consider these words from Paul Dillon:

“I think people don’t, many times, realize the experience that they have and to go out and try and see what happens. Now, as you know, you don’t know. I mean, it’s not guaranteed, but if you don’t want to sit around and play golf or cricket or whatever … this is a good thing to try. 

“And I would encourage people to think long and hard. People may say, “Well, I don’t have any expertise, I don’t know… Think about that. If you worked in a company for 40 years or wherever, or a number of companies, you have some skills.”

How to create an offer to bring in the most business

To create your offer, be sure to consider the problems your clients face and how you can bring hope to their lives with YOUR solution

When you’re coming up with your offer, you need to think about what you can do differently from what is already in the market to make clients come to you. 

It’s a good idea to base this offer off the problems that the individuals who use your service actually face. Your offer should consider all the benefits you’ll provide and how people will actually feel once their problem is solved: the solution that will save them from whatever stress or overwhelm they’re already facing. 

That doesn’t mean you need to focus on fear-mongering like many fall into the pattern of thinking. It’s better to reframe the concept into how you can give your clients hope. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what will bring them true happiness and relief. 

One way to define your offer quickly, and stand out in any market, is to think about what your potential competitors do “wrong” and articulate what it is that you do “right”.

5 resources you need to start a successful business

5 resources you need to succeed to start a successful business

When it comes down to the resources needed for business, there’s a standard list of 5 things needed to succeed that will be adapted depending on your specific business:

  • Financial resources/funding

Even the most basic home business will include a number of startup costs. Even if you don’t opt for business cards for a business phone just yet (but work off your mobile) you’ll still need to register a business name and will need to consider costs for this. Most of the time, for a small service-based business, you’ll be able to fund this yourself from your own account. However, loans and lines of credit may be granted from financial institutions, friends and relatives, or investors. 

  • Human resources: employees

The success of any business is reliant on the talent and strength of its employees. You may not need to hire early in this stage or have designed a service-based business that can be run completely alone. But if it is just you? Give yourself a pat on the back and maybe consider rewarding yourself employee of the month!

  • Education resources: premises and equipment

Whether you’re working from home or needing multiple locations, every business needs the appropriate physical resources to succeed. This includes a functional work space, working telephone, adequate information systems and effective marketing materials such as email marketing platforms, a website, etc. This can be one of the costliest aspects of business planning which is why it’s important to consider what resources you’ll need early.

  • Emotional resources: support

While this one may seem optional, it’s important to have a support team that can offer inspiration and guidance as needed. Starting your own business can be one of the most stressful experiences, which is why it’s important to have even just a few friends or family members who’ll be there to help.

How to make a Facebook business page

Here's a step by step guide on how to create a Facebook business page

Whether or not you’re ready to go all in for a website, a Facebook business page is a great place to get started. Many service-based businesses can avoid website overwhelm at all, by simply creating an online presence that clients can use to verify your business. 

More so, it means you can collect reviews easily, put down all your contact information, and advertise your services. 

But how to get started? First, you’ll need to have a Facebook profile of your own. From here follow these simple steps outlined by Facebook themselves:

  1. From the Pages section, click Create new Page.
  2. Add your page name and category.
  3. Add your pages bio and click Create.
  4. (Optional) Add information such as contact, location and hours, and click Next.
  5. (Optional) Add profile and cover photos, edit the action button and click Next.
  6. (Optional) Invite friends to connect with your page and click Next.
  7. Click Done.

And that’s it! From there, you have created a page your clients can use to find you. 

How to write simple copy and create graphics in Canva to promote your business

Promoting your business is actually easier than it seems, thanks to these simple tips on how to write copy and Canva!

When it comes to promoting your business, it’s much easier than it looks. 

You can write simple ad copy that you can either feed through Facebook ads or use as “organic posts” that you simply share to your Facebook page, and can promote as desired. 

How to write this kind of copy? Think back to our point on creating an offer: lead with the problems you wish you address, what solution you offer, and how that differs from your competitors. From there, sprinkle in any reviews or promotions you have and you’re there! The simple structure of good copy of even the most successful marketing business is:

  1. Address fears/concerns of audience
  2. Dig into these “pain points” with a little more context
  3. Present your solution and why it’ll help solve their problem
  4. Include link or contact details

It really is that easy! And the same goes for creating incredible, attention-grabbing graphics in Canva.

Canva really is a great platform for any creator to use. They have free memberships which will allow you to do most everything, with free templates available to get you started. All you’ll need to do is choose a template you like, sprinkle in some images and relevant text, and you’re good to go! You’ll be surprised by the quality of work you can actually produce from their free membership. 

How to promote a business without social media

If you don't want to promote your service based business via social media, you can still succeed. Here's how!

If you’re NOT savvy with social media and want to promote your business without it? Don’t worry, you can still succeed! Here’s how:

  1. Improve your copywriting skills. It may be helpful to turn to free resources online like those found on SkillShare.
  2. Develop a website and potentially a sales page to make sure that any promotion you do have is strong. Plus, doing this will give you a lot more authority online than social media can. 
  3. Reach out to EVERY person you know, explain what your business is about, and ask if they could let anyone know about their work who may need you. Networking really is the basis of good business and can be done easily without social media. 
  4. Launch a new offering, sale, bundle or deal, to keep your clients intrigued
  5. Include as many testimonials as you can 
  6. Create a lead magnet – often a free resource that will help educate clients. It’ll help you gain authority as, once they implement your free resource, they’ll trust the advice you have AND the fact you’re willing to give some aspects out for free!
  7. Send a newsletter through an email marketing platform such as MailChimp

If you want to go to the next level of promotion without social media, we recommend checking out Leonie Dawson’s course. She not only has the kind of tips and tricks that are backed by hundreds of successful cases, she’s also an inspiration in terms of how she uses copy and creative to really differentiate herself from the market. Even if you’re not considering purchasing, we definitely recommend glancing at this page for inspo!