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“Charles, what would you do if you had to start over? I don't have the money to invest in a business and I don't have any skills to make money with! All I have is my time and work ethic. Please help. "

I've received such emails since COVID-19.

When someone is in a difficult financial situation, my advice is to find a job. And I don't mean that condescendingly.

A job is the fastest way to achieve stability. It's hard to start a business with your lizard brain worried about rent.

But things are tough.

We're in a pandemic right now and people aren't hiring.
You could be stuck at home with your kids learning virtually.
Or maybe your resources are limited due to the country you are in.

When starting from scratch, which business model should you focus on?
If you start with no resources or benefits?

I know some people are in a panic right now and have a "Miracle cure. "I can't give you a business model that is guaranteed to" make $ 1,000 a day in three months. " This mentality is detrimental to your long-term success.

Still, I wanted to think about what I would do in the following situation:

  • No money to invest. I'm assuming you have at least $ 100 on some basics like getting a domain name and hosting websites.
  • No existing target groups to tap into.
  • No existing skills.
  • A model that can earn USD 30,000 + USD within a year. This is not "how to get rich quick".

If you work in an open, patient, and solid manner, this framework can help you build an online business.

Narrow down business models based on your limitations

We need to look at yours restrictions and eliminate some ideas.

Let's say I wanted to train my future children to be professional athletes. I am small My fiance is short. Chances are we will have a few young children.

If so, it wouldn't make sense to try and get them into the NFL or the NBA.

I would encourage them to do sports where height is less important, like weightlifting, table tennis or soccer.

Let's take a look at each of your limitations and eliminate a few options.

1. You have no money to invest

What if you lack capital?

  • You cannot hire employees.
  • You can't afford to keep inventory.
  • You can't afford paid traffic as a means of distribution.

If you can't afford to hold inventory, most forms of e-commerce will be eliminated.

Dropshipping is an option. (This means you are out of stock. When the customer places an order, the manufacturer ships it from their warehouse.)

It sounds good on paper, but it's 2020. The pandemic is causing shipping backlogs. Some customers receive items three months late.

Affiliate marketing is possible. But most of the affiliate marketing I've preached is based on paid traffic as a form of distribution.

You can Do affiliate marketing by building your own audience or SEO, but it will take time.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.

2. You have no monetizable skills

Do you have skills that people are willing to pay for?

When you do this, you have options:

A. You can start freelancing right away on platforms like or
B. You can start the consultation through
C. You can create courses on a platform such as

This is the fastest way to make money.

I am assuming that you currently do not have the skills required. Or that you have some skills but want to move your career in a different direction.

3. Time is limited

I always preach long-term thinking. However, you need to build your foundation first before you can afford to think long-term.

You can't afford to play the long game now!

Great long term business is building an audience and then monetizing them in the future. You can build a brand on YouTube, podcasts, or blogging.

The problem is, it can take time Years Build an audience big enough to make money.

Same goes for niche blogging websites.

You need a model that you can pay for within six months.

Hopefully this analysis helps. It can be overwhelming to think of a business idea. The first thing I always do is eliminate decisions.

The best business model for you: Produced services

In these circumstances, I would recommend a business model: a Service model.

You don't need any money to get started and the overhead costs are low.

The hardest part of the service model is that you have to deal with it People. This can be tricky if you are an introvert.

You need to sell to people, make your customers happy, and when you aren't doing the job yourself, manage a workforce.

Here is the blueprint.

Step 1: find a target market and its main weak points

The most important step is to Find out which audience you want to serve.

We are dealing with the pandemic and businesses are in trouble. Restaurants are not good and neither are gyms. You are currently in survival mode and you have no budget.

Instead, find the target markets that are doing well despite our circumstances.

Some from my head:

  • Professionals such as lawyers and doctors
  • Digital marketer / e-commerce
  • Content creators such as podcasters and YouTubers
  • Etc.

Brainstorm as many audiences as possible. Are there any communities that you are familiar with? Do some research and see what kind of business is thriving right now.

Don't let the tunnels convince you too much in the internet marketing community. If you are reading this article, it means that you are anchored in the online marketing realm.

Do you realize how competitive it would be to sell funnel building services to other internet marketers? It's ten times easier when you turn to "boring" professionals like real estate agents, lawyers, chiropractors, etc. You have an advantage when you live in a big city.

Once you have a list of audiences, you need to see where they are online. I'm talking about places like subreddits on Reddit. Or Slack groups, Facebook groups, and online forums.

You will immerse yourself in their community. They will try to identify their pain points.

What services are people asking for recommendations for?
What pain points do people keep complaining about?

If you're serious, send messages privately. Ask them about their greatest challenges and weaknesses. If you could make your 3 biggest pain points go away, what would those pain points be?

Don't try to create a demand. Find out what people are dying for and give it to them.

People are willing to pay more for a pain reliever than a vitamin.

  • Podcasters need help editing their episodes and marketing.
  • Ecommerce folks have an insatiable appetite for videos for their Facebook campaigns.
  • Lawyers. I made a quick phone call to my attorney about some of his pain points and man, they are endless. The first concerns marketing. He needs more evidence of cases. The second is general inefficiency. His technology stack got stuck in the early 2000s. He does not use Calendly, CRM software or billing software.
  • Local businesses want to make the move to selling online but have no idea how. Setting up Shopify, an inventory system and fulfillment is too confusing for them.

When choosing services, you should use a mental model that I am calling Market efficiency.

I would Not Start a logo or landing page design space. Why is this? These services have been around since the 1990s. There are too many options for humans, aka red oceans.

Instead, look for newer Services.

E-commerce, YouTube, and podcasts have all boomed over the past decade. Which new services are therefore needed?

This is another way to use the blue ocean and red ocean strategy.

Blue ocean = Creates a new demand. Companies develop undisputed market spaces instead of fighting over a shrinking profit pool. An example could be a service to manage Tik Tok influencers.

Red ocean
= Everything about competition. As the market tightens, companies compete fiercely for a larger share of the limited demand. An example could be a generic Facebook agency. Yes, you can make money, but it's extremely competitive when you start from scratch.

By this point, you should have a list of the target markets and the top three vulnerabilities for each.

Photo by Chevanon Photography of Pexels.

Step 2. Deploy or outsource the service yourself

You should have compiled a list of the services you are looking for.

The next question is Product delivery.

You can either learn how to do the service yourself or do drop service.

Option 1: do it yourself

People underestimate what they can learn with two months of intense concentration. I speak 8 hours a day, 7 days a week for two months.

There are some skills that may be capped too high, such as: B. Programming. But think of other skills that you can learn.

  • You can learn decent podcast editing
  • You can learn decent video editing
  • Check out Shopify to learn how to pan a local business.

You won't be the best in the world. But the more experience you get, the better your prices will be.

Option 2: drop servicing or outsourcing to someone else

Drop servicing is a new buzzword, but that model has been around for decades. It was big in the 90s.

  • They go to local companies who offer to make a website for them for $ 2000.
  • They found someone online who could build it for $ 500.
  • They pocket the difference of $ 1,500.

You focus on selling, managing the customer, and making sure your product delivers.

Some of you think, “Why should a customer be interested in working with me instead of working directly with the service provider? What value do you bring to the table? "

That's a good question.

Think about it.

So many ecommerce companies are repackaging items available on Alibaba. You give them great wrap, story, shooting photography and boom!

All are happy!

There are a lot of people who are great service providers. But they suck on marketing, sales, and branding.

You capture this difference in value.

There are a few challenges when doing drop servicing

  • Finding reliable but affordable freelancers. Try Fiverr, Upwork, or Reddit.
  • Lower profit margins. If you can learn it yourself, you keep 100% of the profit.

If you want bigger profit margins, you can try negotiating with the freelancers for a lower rate. The more customers you bring with you, the greater the discount.

Between the "Do it yourself" and "Drop Service" options, I prefer outsourcing.

Here's why:

  1. If you do it yourself, your markets will be constrained – What if you find that your greatest opportunity is designing funnels for lawyers? You may not have enough time to develop expertise.
  2. You focus on selling – Affiliate marketing allowed me to be a world class marketer because I was just focused on marketing. I didn't have to worry about customer service or product development. The same is true here. They focus on sales and work with people who are world class in what they do.
  3. You will eventually outsource. Would you like to design your own logos for the rest of your career? Sooner or later you will be hiring and training people. Drop service gives you experience with this model.

Even if you outsource, You should invest some time in learning some basic skills.

You have more control over your company. People are drawn to first class service.

You always have a glass ceiling for your prices and brand when you outsource it all.

Step 3. Develop a produced service

Services can be a soul-eating business.

Your customers never seem satisfied. They always want change, and they want it fast. And they're hard to scale.

What's the solution for that? Aim for a productive business.

It is a service created for you with a defined price and scope. The key is figuring out what's in demand and finding a service for you based on that.


If you want extra credit, try to find one recurring service.

How many podcast covers does someone need? Probably one. You spend all of that effort getting a customer and you can only sell them once.

It's inefficient because all of your energy goes into customer acquisition.

How many podcast editing services does a podcast need? Metric tons. You could sell podcast editing 4 times a month for years.

Here's the big part about productive services: They can scale into millions of dollars in businesses.

Some examples are:

  1. Scribe Writing – They help you create a book.
  2. Design Pickle – Unlimited graphic design on a monthly retainer.
  3. LightSpeedWP – Make Your WordPress Site Faster.
  4. – monthly accounting service

Fiverr is a great place to do market research on productive services.

Step 4. Validate your ideas

Sell ​​it before you build it.

You don't want to spend months building a service, just find out that no one is interested in paying for it.

My challenge to you is to find 5 paying customers. This doesn't mean 5 people think this is a great idea. This doesn't mean 5 people say they would pay you if you offered it.

There are 5 people ready to send cash to your PayPal.

If you can't find 5 paying customers, you may either be selling badly or there is no demand for what you offer.

When nobody cares about what you are selling …it's good. Better to know now than to waste weeks thinking about it.

Too many people are trying THINK if idea A or idea B is better. The only way to know is to test.

Suppose I wanted to test if a podcast editing service has any potential.

  1. Find a solid freelancer to outsource to.
  2. Create a quick landing page for yourself.
  3. Find your first customers. I would start getting into newer podcasts. Join different communities and offer value.
  4. At this point you test the idea. Take 0% profit to make your offer more tempting.

I would test as many ideas as possible to see which one gives the most traction. Imagine dating before you get married.

I try to avoid the following.

Scenario 1: You fall in love with the idea of ​​podcast editing without testing it. You spend two months building a service and no one cares. You wasted 7 weeks than you could have found out in a week.

Scenario 2: You think of 3 different ideas and spend a week starting a podcast editing service. You get 5 sales in your first week. You go all-in on your idea without testing others! But what if the others had a lot more potential?

Scenario 3: You will test different ideas and get 5 sales for the podcast editing idea. But you keep testing your other ideas. You are testing your third idea, which is marketing funnels for lawyers. You get 10 sales and you make big profit margins! You go all-in on this idea.

Market validation is underestimated.

I know most of you will be scared of selling, but trust me, it's a skill worth developing.

It's one of those key skills that improves everything else in life: communication, persuasion, negotiation, etc.

If you don't give a shit about sales, read everything you can find at Zig Zigler.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.

Step 5. Establish a brand

Don't spend too much time doing it.
I repeat, don't spend too much time on it.

I've seen way too many entrepreneurs waste time on stupid shit like "Which logo do you think is better?"

Choose something and go. You can always improve it later.

Your focus should be on researching, selling, and testing ideas.

A quick checklist:

A. Create a name for your company.

You don't want to operate with your personal name. It's of lesser perceived value and it can prevent you from selling the company if it ever comes to that point.

B. Design a logo.

Big budget for 99designs.
Low budget go to
If you're on a budget, use Hatchful and design your own.

C. Design a landing page.

Build something out of WordPress. Don't waste $ 99 a month on a landing page builder until you actually have customers.

Create a website with the following information:

  • About you
  • Talk about your unique selling points. How do your services differ from the others?
  • credentials
  • Portfolio
  • Pricing
  • Create a lead magnet to capture emails.

Think of your landing page like a version 1.0. It won't be perfect and you have to be okay with that.

Once you have established yourself in your business and made some profits, you can start investing in a better website again.

D. Find out your unique selling proposition

Your prospects have options.

What makes you different from the competition? You need to find out which benefits are important to customers.

  • Page change. I love that OneHourTranslate and have a fast turnaround time.
  • Your unique background / experience. I was looking for CPAs and there was a guy who used to work for the IRS!
  • Extras. I worked with this one logo designer. He provided unlimited revisions to the source files and gave me an additional model for free.

Avoid the "cheapestService provider. That's not really an advantage and can easily turn into a race to the bottom.

You should always try to improve your services so that you can increase your prices.

Step 6. Find your sales channels

You designed your service. It's validated.

How do you find customers?

I simplify the distribution into several categories.

  1. Cold reach. If you provide services to lawyers, it means that you are contacting them directly. E-mail. Calls. This is a fantastic way to develop your sales skills.
  2. Your own audience. Your email list. Your YouTube channel. Build a website and let go of the SEO.
  3. Paid. Run a campaign on Facebook, Google, etc.
  4. Other people's audience.

I am assuming that you have no audience and you cannot afford paid traffic.

That leads us to other people's audiences.

Some examples are:

  • Social media like FB, Twitter and Instagram. Search for hashtags.
  • Communities such as forums, subreddits, and Facebook groups
  • Paid marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr.
  • Influencer. Could you offer some services for free in exchange for a review?
  • Recommendations. Once you start getting some customers, ask them for referrals. It's free.

Select 2 channels.

If I were, I would choose a combination of cold outreach and free communities. Don't spread too thin.

Each traffic channel has its own rules and customs.

You need to understand how the communities work. For example you do NOT You want to get on a Facebook group and your first post is promoting your services. Don't whip your cock out on the first date.

Answering questions.
Give value.

Go to large Facebook groups and see some service providers do it. The best present case studies and drop knowledge bombs. They pass on valuable information for free.

Those who constantly promote their services are banned or laughed at.

If you spend enough time and offer enough value, you can establish yourself as a point of contact in a community. In this case, leads can flow to you. You can't get this leverage if you spread yourself too thin.

Find what works.
Double it up.
Keep going until it is no longer as effective.

There is always an opportunity

No excuses.

I've set a framework for you to follow.

It doesn't matter which country you are from.
It doesn't matter if you don't have a big budget.
It doesn't matter if you have no audience or no skills.

If you work hard, you have confidence that after this framework you can build a successful business.

Photo by Jopwell from Pexels.

Please rate this article – it helps me know what to write!


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