Starting a productized service business is one of the best decisions you can make—especially if you’ve been freelancing or doing the agency thing for a little while. A productized service is the path of least resistance to scaling up to a more valuable business.
But how do you come up with an idea for a productized service?
You might start by searching Google for examples of productized services. It’s always good to find inspiration and ideas from other businesses. So later in this guide, I collected lots of productized service examples, along with my analysis of what makes them work.
But—examples alone certainly should not be the only way you decide on which productized service idea is right for you.
There’s a lot more to the underlying business models in client services, and productized services are no exception. In this article, we’ll get into what you need to know about the ins and outs of what to consider when choosing the right productized service business for you.
Most of all, the key to picking the right business idea—and this goes for any type of business—is to find “product-founder-fit.” Meaning, it won’t work unless you are personally a great fit to start and grow this business. We’ll get more into this too.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, you might be wondering what is a productized service? Don’t miss my guide where we unpack the productized service concept.
For now, in a nutshell: A productized service is a version of your service business that runs more predictably, and is built around standard packages, pricing, and most importantly processes that are designed to scale.
How to find the right productized service idea for you
Now that you’re starting to think about the productized service you can offer, you’ve probably heard of the idea “product-market-fit” which is about creating a product that makes sense for a particular, widespread need in a market.
As important as “product-market-fit” is as a concept, I think there’s an equally, if not more critical consideration that needs to come first:
I call it “product-founder-fit,” or in this case “productized-service-founder-fit.” That means you’re looking at what type of business is the best fit for you within the productized service space.
How do you get to “productized-service-founder-fit”? Reflect on these questions—write your answers down to get clarity and inspiration.
First, start by identifying your unique advantages:
- What industry experience do you have? Consider previous jobs and/or client work.
- What professional and personal communities are you a part of?
- What insider knowledge do you have?
- Is there a business process you know better than most? (That is, an existing process or workflow that is known and widespread (but inefficient), and you know it well and/or that you can do it better.)
- What are your experiences or interests?
Then pick your favorite customer(s):
- Which customers do you have inroads with?
- Which customers do you enjoy talking with?
- If you were flying to a conference and spending days hanging out with your customers, who would your favorites be? Who would you have great conversations with?
Now take a look at what you’ve reflected on so far. What patterns and commonalities do you see? These could be potential market opportunities.
Picture what it would be like to find 100 more people who are just like those customers you know and enjoy talking to. Additionally, would you be able to find 100 more of those potential customers and would you know where to find them and how to reach them?
If you’re pretty confident that you can answer yes, then that’s a sign you’re on the right path to “productized-service-founder-fit.”
Next, start to think about the product idea that is right for you.
A simple exercise to come up with your best productized service idea
When you’re starting to consider the type of productized service you want to offer, here’s an exercise you can try.
Remember, you’re not just trying to come up with a productized service—you want to come up with the productized service that you’re uniquely positioned to create.
In this process, you’re going to dream up your ideal customer, think about the product they’re asking for, and then you’ll figure out how to best solve that one business problem for that specific type of customer.
Follow these steps to determine your ideal productized service business:
- Your dream client
Think about a great customer who you’ve worked with in the past and you’d love to work with again (and again).
- Your dream client inquiry
Imagine they came to you and they say, “I have this business problem. It’s costing us a lot of money and I want to grow our business in some way. We know we need help, but we don’t know what we need. We’re looking for you for expertise and guidance to see what you think we need to solve this business problem. Budget is not an issue, we just want it solved in the best possible way.” Dream scenario right?!
- Your ideal solution
Write down: What would be the ideal package for a solution for that problem for that type of client? You call the shots; decide what to include in the package and the recommendations for this ideal packaged solution to this very specific problem. Remember that you are the expert here and it can be done how you want.
You now have the basis for your productized service offer!
While this is a bit of a dream scenario and it doesn’t happen very often (or ever) that your dream client comes to you and gives you free rein over the solution to a problem (and with no budget!), it’s a helpful exercise.
Why? This helps you move away from reacting to clients’ requests and move towards a more proactive, solution-based approach to designing your ideal productized service business.
Most clients think they know what they want, or maybe they have a specific idea about how to get it done. But this puts you right back into freelancing by the hour and crafting individual proposals and unique solutions. Remember—you don’t have to keep working that way.
This is the time to turn the table on clients and say, “My business offers this solution. We do it this way for your type of business and we know this is the best package of services that are strategically put together to solve this problem.”
Take my business as an example…
When I had the idea to start Audience Ops, I was in touch with many business owners who needed help with blog content and I had experience writing blog content from my previous business.
I thought, “If I were to hire someone to do blog content, what are all the things I would want to have included?” And that’s how I decided to create a package that wasn’t just writing the blogs (what the client asks for), but addressed what they really need in order to solve the problem.
Audience Ops includes creating topic ideas, writing the blog content, (including social media and a newsletter to support that content), copyediting and set up in WordPress. I wanted all of those pieces included to create a complete solution to the problem of “my business needs to do content marketing.”
And then, I created the systems to help this process run smoothly (more about that in another post!).
Now that you have an initial idea for your productized service business, I want to share about the business models to help you further round out and clarify your idea.
6 business models in productized services
So what do we mean when we say a “business model” within productized services? What this refers to is the structure of how your productized service is priced, how it’s delivered, and the cadence of how the services are delivered (one-time or other frequency).
A business model should also take into account the cost-structure, the roles of team members and how many are involved, and if there is software involved. All of these factors influence which business model your productized service falls under.
Keep in mind that the models we cover next can certainly overlap. For example, you can be a recurring service and a productized consulting model or you can offer one time (repeatable) projects and also productize your consulting. You can mix and match with all of these.
We’ll get into business model examples in the next section, but for now, let’s make sure we’re clear about the six business models in productized services.
1. One-time (repeatable) projects
In this model, the client pays a one-time fee and the service is delivered one time. The fee can be broken up into deposit and installments, but ultimately there is a clear start and finish to the engagement and a total fee received.
People might overlook one-time projects because they’re excited about recurring services and ongoing subscription revenue. However, one-time projects can work really well, especially if you can make them repeatable, meaning you can go back to the same clients and sell them additional or repeat deliverables.
Offering case studies is a great example. Once you do one or a small batch, it’s common that you could go back to your customers and they would want to buy these from you again. Each case study (or package) is a one-time project, but could be purchased multiple times.
Benefits of this model: One-time services are often easier to sell than recurring services because there is a lower bar for someone to decide to purchase. There are many potential solutions to problems that are one-time needs.
Challenges with this model: Every month, your revenue starts back from zero because this truly is one-time revenue. Rollercoaster revenue makes it more difficult to hire and sustain roles for ongoing team members.
2. Recurring services
This is considered the holy grail of business models: to have subscription revenue! The key idea with the recurring services business model is that you’re delivering recurring value. In order for this model to work, you have to be solving a recurring problem.
Be aware that a common pitfall is trying to take something that should be a one-time project and trying to fit it into a recurring revenue service model. That just won’t work.
If you try to do this, what will likely happen is that someone will subscribe, but quickly cancel because they’ve gotten the initial value and then realize there is no recurring value.
This model works well when the problem is naturally recurring, for example monthly, like the ongoing need for fresh content. That’s what we do at Audience Ops—people don’t just want one month of blog content, to do content marketing right, they know that it needs to be ongoing, so we offer a recurring monthly service
Benefits of this model: You can look forward to consistent income due to subscription revenue also known as monthly recurring revenue (MRR). The revenue should naturally grow every month because you don’t have to start over.
Challenges with this model: Churn. Plain and simple, there will be cancellations. If you’re not bringing in new clients and retaining your current ones, your business won’t grow and income will decline.
3. “Unlimited” services
The “unlimited services” approach is a very unique model that has worked well for some productized services. The idea is that for a flat monthly rate the customer is entitled to an “unlimited amount” of a very specific type of service.
One of the earliest business models to popularize this was WP Curve- they offered unlimited website maintenance requests for WordPress sites to their members before being bought by GoDaddy.
Note that “unlimited” is not truly unlimited.
There is usually some mechanism in place to limit the number of requests, but allows the client to feel like they’re getting great value. For example, if you offer unlimited design for websites, you can set the parameters to allow one request/day with a 24 hour turn-around time.
This way, you’re managing the number of uses the person gets but it still feels “unlimited” because they likely won’t need to use the service the maximum number of times.
Another way to think about the “unlimited” model is to think about the service as an insurance policy. The customer is paying to have the service there at your disposal and ready to serve in a timely need. For example, with a website maintenance service, you might not need it for three months at a time, but the 4th month when you need to update something today, you’re glad you’ve been a subscriber.
Benefits of this model: When set up as a subscription, you have recurring revenue that grows over time.Can be relatively low-friction to deliver simple tasks, assuming your team’s systems and processes are set up efficiently.
Challenges with this model: Making sure that your service or offering truly is suited to the “unlimited” model- it won’t work if it’s really just a one-time need. Churn. If someone doesn’t feel they’re taking advantage of the unlimited opportunities, they may decide to cancel.
4. Coaching or done-with-you services
This model combines the common coaching model with the productized service model in that you take what’s normally done as hourly coaching, and you put some structure around it. This is also appealing because you can scale out to a team of coaches growing your ability to take on more customers and create more revenue.
This model is considered a “done-with-you” service because both you and the client are each doing some of the work. You’re playing an advisory role and guiding the client through a process or creating a workshop format and group coaching.
As mentioned, you can have elements of various business models—your coaching productized service can be a one-time project or a recurring service based on what you offer and if the value is one-time or ongoing.
Benefits of this model: Works well on a small scale with a small team. Through working directly with clients, you build a high level of trust, increasing the likelihood they’ll buy more products or services and send referrals your way.
Challenges with this model: It can be very time consuming to be both the founder and the one doing the coaching. It is harder in this model than the others to make your time investment more efficient.
5. Software with a service
Check out this deep dive into Software with a service (SWaS).
In the SWaS business model, the idea is to build your service on top of a software product—either a software product you’ve created or an existing 3rd party software product.
While developing your own software product is a dream for many online entrepreneurs, it’s actually a lot easier, and often very beneficial, to find a popular piece of software and structure your service on top of that software.
If the software is fairly expensive, that often means that the client is well-invested in it and they want to make sure they’re getting as much out of the software as possible. Your SWaS could help customers implement the software in their business which has huge value if the software is complex to set up and/or maintain.
If you’re a web developer, you have the option of building your own software, then using the SWaS business model to onboard customers as a way to self-fund and bootstrap the development of that software. Since creating and launching your software can be a long and expensive process, I especially like using a productized service offering to ease that long runway to profitability.
In this model, you can start with existing products or tools, building your productized service around them. Then, later you can add your software, perhaps after doing some things manually or using someone else’s tools for a while.
Benefits of this model: You are helping people and software become more efficient than the software alone because you’re automating the work. Finding clients and marketing to them is a bit easier if you’re building on the back of a popular software, because you can find those users and pitch your service.
Challenges with this model: There’s a little bit of a risk in building your business on top of someone else’s platform. If you build your software, it’s time-consuming and expensive. There is a long ramp to design, test, and get into the market.
6. Productized consulting
This final model can apply to any of these already mentioned models. This can be done while you stay solo or by maintaining a very small business and intentionally not hiring or growing a team. You, the founder, are the service provider, but you can still use the productized service model to productize your consulting.
Benefits of this model: This is a much more efficient way to deliver your services because you’re creating the systems and processes to handle one need for one type of customer really well. You can focus on work you really enjoy and can focus on clients you like to work with.
Challenges with this model: It’s just you, and you can only do so much.You might hit a ceiling on the amount of revenue you can grow.
Productized Service Examples (of all types)
I find it useful to look at examples of productized businesses when they’re broken down by specific business model, so that’s what you’ll find here.
While some of these examples might fall into multiple categories, you’ll start to see which business model and product idea might make sense for you.
As you look at the product ideas and examples on our list, note that we’ve carefully curated our list to offer unique examples, each offering a different twist on various services and solutions.
As you go through these ideas, remember that you’re meant to use these as inspiration—don’t copy! Use these as a starting point to learn more about what the options can be and to move you in the right direction for your best idea.
One-time (repeatable) projects examples
Testimonial Hero makes getting video testimonials easy for B2B companies. They have expert videographers around the globe, so you can get high-quality video without travel fees.
Their service can be purchased once, or as many times as needed for different videos, making this a strong example of a one-time, but repeatable productized service.
Check out my podcast interview with the founder, Sam Shepler.
When you want to promote your business through case studies, Case Study Buddy helps you do that with both written and video options. Their specialized team provides a few different package options that are set up to be purchased once with all deliverables clearly outlined.
This is another repeatable example since a business may want more case studies later or in a different format, making their package options appealing.
Check out my podcast interview with the founder, Joel Klettke.
Website by Tonight connects those who need a Squarespace website with designers who then design the website while screen sharing with the client.
Focused on a very specific niche (SquareSpace users), Website by Tonight is designed to be a one-time service, helping get to the finished website design in hours, not months.
Check out my podcast interview with the founder, Jared Gold.
Getting a WordPress Theme set up can be a challenge, so Theme Valet will set up (and even load content) for a low fee. They help people who don’t want to set up their WordPress theme themselves, or who just don’t have the time, and they do it quickly and securely.
This is a well-defined one-time productized service focused on the (large) niche of WordPress users.
Website Rescues takes an existing Squarespace or Shopify site and makes it feel like new again -- looking better and running faster than before.
They also offer website review or a full website setup, giving potential clients a few one-time project options.
When you want to improve the look and impact of your presentation, 24 Slides has a team of presentation designers ready. You upload the presentation, they review and revise, and then your presentation is ready to download and present.
The company has clear parameters for the work and delivery of a one-time service that clients are likely to purchase again.
The cover of a book is critical, especially for self-publishing authors. Rocking Book Covers not only offers full design services for book covers but also has an array of pre-made covers for aspiring authors to choose from.
No matter what the client chooses, all packages and options are for a fixed fee with deliverables clearly outlined.
With options for individuals or couples, the Stash Plan creates a “personalized financial game plan for HENRYsTM [High Earner, Not Rich Yet].”
Stash Wealth has a few options for people who want to take control of their money and their financial future, but the Stash Plan is their one-time service.
Scribe Writing, formerly Book in a Box, helps clients go from book idea to publication. Their team of experts will help individuals write, edit, and publish your book.
They have created clearly outlined packages based on how much support is needed to get a book published and distributed.
Tech Packs is designed for businesses that have to explain products to factories for manufacturing. They create technical packets that combine all of the documentation needed so that users can communicate clearly and manage their costs and time.
Though this is a one-time service, clients could easily need this in a recurring way for multiple products.
Check out my podcast interview with the founder, Belinda Jacobs.
When you want transcripts done quickly and with 99% accuracy, Casting Words is a great option. They have a clear pricing structure and have created a user-friendly workflow along with live order tracking so that users know what’s going on with the transcript and when it will be ready.
This is another good example of a one-time project that clients would likely need more than once.
Proofreading Pros has team members all around the world, so 24/7/365 users have access to expert proofreading and copyediting. Their service is flexible in terms of the type of content written and allows for niche topics, making this a one-stop-shop to get error-free content that’s ready to publish.
Like many examples in this section, it’s easy to see how this packaged one-time service would be purchased repeatedly by clients.
Recurring services examples
This is the company that I started in 2015. We’re done-for-you content creation: blogs, case studies, and podcasts. But we don’t just write the content, we develop topic ideas, write the article, copyedit it, and provide the social media and newsletter posts to go along with each article we create, making it the total solution for your content marketing needs.
Since companies generally want ongoing content, I developed this as a recurring service, but without locking anyone into contracts. But since content is an ongoing, long-term need, many clients remain subscribed for multiple years.
“Founders shouldn’t keep the books” so Bean Ninjas handles bookkeeping needs for online businesses.
They offer monthly and quarterly options for a variety of services related to your bookkeeping and accounting needs, and also do one-time work as well giving them one-time revenue in addition to the recurring revenue plans.
Check out my podcast interview with founder, Meryl Johnston.
When a business is ready to scale with targeted Facebook ads, Growth Ninja is there to help.
Their pricing model is based on the revenue attributed to their ads so they are motivated to run ads well while keeping prices down for this monthly recurring service.
Check out my podcast interview with founder Vincent Nguyen.
Lead generation is a critical part of business, so Lead Cookie becomes the client’s digital sales team, engaging in LinkedIn lead generation and outreach in a thoughtful, handcrafted way.
The company offers a few different options for services depending on the client’s needs, all of which fall under the recurring revenue model.
Check out my podcast interview with founder Jake Jorgovan.
Instead of continuing to look at data, Test Triggers “will give you money-making insights instead.”
The company works with established eCommerce businesses to determine where they’re leaking revenue—they offer both recurring plans and a one-time CRO research option.
Check out my podcast interview with founder Josh Frank.
Creating a podcast is a lot of work, so Podcast Motor takes what’s hard for most people (the editing and setup process) and does that work for you. With their service, all their clients need to do is be the expert and create great content—they take care of the rest.
Like most content production, companies want fresh, ongoing content so Podcast Motor has several packages for ongoing content production.
Check out my podcast interview with the founder, Craig Hewitt.
Lower Street takes all of the guesswork out of creating, launching, and distributing a podcast. Additionally, they help analyze data to see how the podcast is performing and can even help you grow the audience.
Data is best when it’s analyzed regularly, making this a good fit for a recurring service model. They also offer options for one-time services showing that you can be a productized service business with more than one business model.
Check out my podcast interview with founder, Harry Morton.
The founder of Fencepost knew that home service businesses often need better leads (and more of them). The company helps customers create a strong online presence using GoogleAds, social media ads, and more with three levels of recurring monthly services.
SEO doesn’t have to be hard. GrowthTurn focuses on “sustainable, white-hat SEO techniques” so that traffic turns into customers for Saas, B2B, and tech companies.
With two options for monthly involvement from the GrowthTurn team, both options include unlimited SEO support, showing how they’ve got an unlimited option within their recurring revenue model.
Check out my podcast interview with founder Marcin Chirowski.
A slow website is a major problem, so LightSpeedWP focuses on supercharging WordPress sites, making sure they’re superfast and bug-free.
Last I checked, they offer both one-time speed optimization services as well as recurring WordPress maintenance plans.
When you’re looking for talented team members like marketers, project managers, virtual assistants, or have specialized service needs, Boldly’s subscription staffing service will find you the highly experienced individuals you need.
Boldy’s monthly plans are designed to include a specific amount of hours per month that your dedicated staff member will work with you, and each plan includes a host of other recurring benefits.
Public relations (PR) can be expensive, making it hard for startups and growing companies to invest in a PR team or strategy.
Publicize focuses on the core, critical components of PR and has created several monthly packages that are affordable and provide transparency of what is included.
Podcast Bookers helps business people get booked as experts on podcasts, allowing them to expand their reach and grow their audience.
Owned by marketing and SEO experts, Podcast Bookers offers several monthly booking plans for entrepreneurs and business owners.
Officengine provides business management solutions that are affordable, flexible, and comprehensive.
Their variety of recurring revenue packages take care of back-office needs “from launch to exit.”
Creating social media content and maintaining a consistent posting schedule isn’t what business owners and founders should be spending time on.
Outreach Artist will manage social media with daily posts for a fixed monthly rate and a money-back guarantee.
Small businesses can get their websites set up quickly and cost-effectively with One Week Website. Not only will the website be ready to launch in a week, but users can make ongoing unlimited changes as the business grows and evolves.
One Week Website’s creation and launch are a one-time component, and management is a recurring service with part of it being an unlimited service, showing how these business models can be layered together.
“Unlimited” services examples
Design Pickle believes that design does not need to be expensive nor time-consuming. With their service, the dedicated professional designer will provide “unlimited requests and revisions” and it will happen quickly with streamlined communication processes in place.
Design Pickle’s plans are an example of how the “unlimited model” can grow to a truly massive scale, especially with same-day delivery in the Pro plan.
Check out my podcast interview with founder Russ Perry.
Video Husky knows that businesses will need video content but that hiring a freelancer can be time-consuming and expensive.
They pre-vet their editors and project managers, providing unlimited video editing with a project dashboard where clients can monitor progress.
HubSnacks has built its business around the popular tool HubSpot, allowing its clients to get the most from their investment.
For a fixed monthly fee, HubSnacks will perform unlimited HubSpot tasks and with their focused niche, it’s clear who their customers are.
Shopify store owners need a site that looks good and runs well. Hey Carson has dedicated Shopify developers who are ready to customize Shopify stores.
The company offers both one-time and subscription options with pricing to match each business’s needs.
WP Buff offers 24/7management and support services for WordPress sites. They’re set up to support businesses or can be white-labeled by agencies and are a “team that offers every aspect of premium WordPress support services.”
Their 24/7 monitoring and availability and in a focused niche of WordPress site users make this an interesting approach to the unlimited model with the overall product being a subscription service for recurring revenue.
Check out my podcast interview with founder Joe Howard.
Airline miles management is what Abroaders focuses on. Not only will they help clients earn more miles, but they also assist with better management and smarter use of those miles.
The company includes a handful of unlimited services, but given that it’s all related to travel, you can see how there are natural mechanisms in place to manage how a customer uses their services.
Coaching or done-with-you services examples
Boss as a Service is built around the idea that having a boss keeps you productive and accountable. You send your to-dos and proof of when you completed them—if you don’t, Boss as a Service will be on you to make sure you hit your goals.
This service is built for those solo workers who would benefit from some coaching and support to get their work accomplished.
Finding a naturopathic doctor isn’t always easy. Dr. Alexis Shields has developed health consulting that is 100% online. She has grown her business by shifting to this done-with-you approach where she can serve more people and from a distance.
Instead of continuing as an in-person practitioner, she found a unique and valuable way for a healthcare professional to offer a service.
Check out my podcast interview with founder Dr. Alexis Shields.
GrowthMentor is a group of vetted startup and marketing mentors who provide personalized advice to those looking to grow their business or their area of expertise.
Their intuitive and clean UI allows users to find a mentor who is an expert in the area they are looking for support in, meaning that clients can easily gain access to a coach who meets their needs.
After working at Airbnb for three years, the founder started Optimize my bnb where he helps Airbnb hosts make more money.
He provides a personalized optimization report that will help Airbnb hosts improve their rankings, bookings, rates, and more. He is also available to work with clients which adds a coaching element to his offerings.
PressDope takes DIY PR and media outreach and using a done-with-you approach, kicks it up a few notches. With a fashion industry focus and options for self-guided support or additional support and coaching, they are an affordable way for socially responsible brands to get attention in the media and grow their businesses.
Therapists are a niche of their own and Kat Love is the go-to for the ultimate therapist website review. In order to take the stress out of improving therapy websites, Kat Love provides a report for what to improve. She also has an option to add on coaching to spend an hour with Kat to go over the website report.
Software with a service examples
ProcessKit is my most recent project—process-driven project management software made for client services. ProcessKit Implementer is the done-with-you implementation where we’ll run point on giving your operations an upgrade using ProcessKit.
This has been a great way to both help new customers get onboard with our software, and for helping them be successful with it long-term. It’s why I love the software with a service model!
Bookkeeping is no easy task and Bench’s online bookkeeping is “powered by real humans.” They use their software, Bench for accounting, showing clients how to use it, and then they manage the bookkeeping and send powerful, intuitive reports.
Created just for insurance websites, AgentMethods allows insurance agents and companies to focus on sales and clients and takes “website creation and maintenance off your hands forever.”
In addition to using their platform to create sites in this specific niche, they provide ongoing support as their SWaS.
Check out my podcast interview with founder Aaron Kassover.
Successful real estate agents are often backed by a marketing team but that can get expensive.
Avenue’s platform and features help clients grow their business by building great-looking lead-generating websites. Some of Avenue’s packages include additional support and management for a done-with-you experience.
Not only will TownWeb design your municipal website on its platform, but users also get amazing features such as website hosting, SSL security, hack-proof design, and the functionality your users need for great user experience.
For clients that would need this type of site, it’s likely they wouldn’t have the time or expertise to set it up. Offering all of the backend needs and setting the site up for the client is a strong example of a much-needed SWaS for this niche.
Check out my podcast interview with founder Dustin Overbeck.
Jason Resnick’s Email Automation Service
Convertkit and Drip are popular email marketing software choices for businesses and entrepreneurs so this SWaS was built on top of existing software.
Jason developed several options to help make the user experience and outcomes more impactful: two one-time services to get the email tool or marketing up and running, as well as a recurring monthly option for businesses who are ready to invest in their email marketing.
Productized consulting examples
Punchline Conversion Copywriting
“Laugh all the way to the bank” with funny copy written by Lianna Patch. “Specializing in sass and SaaS,” she takes boring content and turns it into witty copy that converts.
She can be hired to rework your emails, landing pages, and more, or you can purchase her productized consulting and “Buy My Day” to work with Lianna herself for the maximum punch to your content.
Check out my podcast interview with founder Lianna Patch.
Draft teaches Shopify Plus users how to “make more money by teaching them how to make informed design decisions” and is one of the early success stories with productized consulting.
Nick Disabato has since grown into offering books, courses, and other services alongside his Draft method, the productized consulting service that helps clients understand their customers’ motivations and increase profit.
Check out my podcast interview with founder Nick Disabato.
UI Breakfast, a UI/UX and product strategy service for SaaS companies offers Correlation—monthly creative direction.
Another early entrant to the productized consulting space, Jane Portman solved the need for companies who lack in-house creative designers or can’t afford to work with an agency. UI Breakfast provided a trusted design expert to consult with clients regularly and in a standardized way to improve business.
Check out my podcast interview with founder Jane Portman.
Amanda Northcutt has “17+ years of sales experience, specializing in high-touch B2B sales and revenue funnel optimization for online recurring-revenue businesses.”
She has standardized her processes and can help companies to recruit a stellar sales team or they work with existing teams to help them reach and exceed their goals.
Phillip Morgan offers a small group program called The Expertise Incubator, and along with other products and services, he “helps implementers to become advisors.”
Through his training plans and support, his programs assist individuals to shift from being the ones doing the work to the ones advising about the work.
Based in London, 3 Wise Bears helps businesses all over the United Kingdom with their accounting and tax needs.
Each client gets one dedicated accountant who is tech-savvy and available for consulting when the clients need them.
How to validate that your productized service idea will work
Now that you’re excited and have the idea for a productized service that’s right for you, we can’t overlook one more piece: validating your product idea.
I think validation of your productized service idea is more of a spectrum.
As you learn more about an idea, as you go down the path of exploration and talking to customers, and as you start to sell it and deliver it, you gain degrees of validation.
When you move through those necessary steps, you get closer and closer to see that yes, this is working, or you start to see signs that you’re not making progress. If it’s the latter, that’s where you can start to change course.
Part of what’s great about going down the productized service route is that you can quickly learn whether or not your product idea is working. If you look at business ventures like building software, writing a book, or selling a course, they’re harder to validate because those all can take a long time to create.
It’s tough to validate other types of products.
But with productized service businesses, you can get going quickly. You can start with just an idea described on a landing page or outlined in a document. You can then share it with contacts, and not only can you immediately get feedback, but you can also immediately start selling the service.
From there, you can then build out your systems, processes, and team as you go, and continue to further validate your product idea.
With Audience Ops, I literally launched it to its first 3 paying customers within the first 30 days of soft-launching the idea, with an additional handful of paying customers within 60 days. I have seen plenty of other examples of productized services which launched in just a matter of days.
Productized services businesses can launch quickly—I’ve seen them launched as quickly as in a weekend—and once you launch, you will be able to further validate your business idea, processes, and model.
So how do you actually validate your idea?
To validate an idea and determine whether it’s right, think about validation happening in stages. Keep in mind, you could have a good idea for a productized service, but it may not be the right idea for you—working through the stages of validation will address this as well.
There are five stages of validation. Each stage will allow you to feel more or less confident in the validity of your idea and business.
5 Stages of Validation for Productized Service Businesses
- The customer: As we discussed at the beginning of the article, you need to validate the customer— that you’ve chosen the right customer, the right market, and that you have enough connections and inroads for this to be viable.
- The problem: You also need to validate that you’ve identified the customer’s problem. It’s important that it’s not just you who knows they have this problem; your ideal customers need to feel this is a known problem, and you need to validate that they’ve demonstrated they’re willing to pay for a solution.
- The solution: Over time, you must validate that you’ve come up with the right solution to that problem. There are 100 different ways to solve a problem, but have you come up with the most efficient way, the way that delivers the best results, or a solution that you can easily put into a process and scale? If you’re answering yes to these types of questions, then that validates that you’re on the right track.
- The business model: You also have to make sure that you have the right business model—that you’ve landed on the right pricing structure, the right price point, and the right cost-structure of the product and how you set up your team. Remember there can be overlap in the models, but you need to have the right model in place for your product idea to be validated.
- Your marketing strategy: This is often overlooked, and is very important. Even if you’re successful with the first four, if you don’t have a marketing strategy (meaning if you haven’t validated or are able to reach enough of this customer to make it viable) then it will just be an uphill battle for your productized service. Don’t overlook your ability to market your potential idea.
Ultimately, if you can’t make the idea work on all of those levels, it will be near impossible to scale and grow, or it will go a lot slower than you’d like.
The good news is, even if you find that your idea isn’t being validated, you may be able to make adjustments or refine what you’re doing so that your productized service is able to be validated. And, if need be, go through the exercises again and review the examples as inspiration to help you land on the product idea that’s right for you.
Determining what your productized service will be is exciting, and while these businesses can be launched quickly, you also shouldn’t rush into deciding which productized service is the right fit for you.
Take the time to reflect so that you can determine the best product-founder-fit and consider the ideal business model(s) using the included 50+ productized services examples to inspire you.
Then, when you’re ready to launch, validate in stages as you go.
If you’re looking for step-by-step guidance on identifying your best productized service idea and developing it into a healthy long-term business, then I invite you to consider joining Productize, my video training and private community for productized service founders.