Have you considered starting an online service business and wondered what the trend is and what clients really want? Are you considering basing your own services on what appears to be popular or what a majority of potential clients seem to be looking for? If the answer is yes, you're not the only one, but I urge you to read on before you make any decisions about what to offer your clients.
Over the years through the virtual assistants and online service providers I've worked with I've come across a variety of people who have had the dilemma of what services to offer - I've had questions such as...1 - What should I be offering?
2 - Will what I offer appeal to enough people?
3 - What's popular right now?
4 - Is the market saturated for people offering XYZ service?
These are all valid questions, but the real discussion point is - are they relevant?
Is The Trending Service Sustainable?
If I was to tell you that Facebook Advert Creation is currently a trending services, then you could go away and decide you'll focus on Facebook Advert Creation, and then what if the next week, something else is trending... what are you going to do? I doubt you'll jump at the thought of retraining. You'd be at square one if Facebook pulled their advertising options, or made a change to their terms, which could render the service not as desirable.
In 2012 in VMF we were cooking up a storm in SEO services, literally making thousands of dollars a month through a specialist service - article marketing, we were the people select SEO companies outsourced to, so our clients' client-base contained quite a number of clients we didn't directly interact with - then in one huge blow Google introduced "Panda" and "Penguin" - completely altering their algorithms and changing the SEO landscape (which is now constantly undergoing substantial adjustments to this day). The SEO companies we worked with overnight dramatically decreasing their orders as their clients dropped off and we were left with a lot of income to replace and a trending service that was no longer trending. Thank goodness for the other (not so trendy but 'old faithful') services in my business that were still allowing my company to function...
For sustainable service delivery choose a service you can build and expand upon, something that has a more general nature to it - such as a 'variety of services' centred around Facebook.
Have You Got The Mojo For It?
This is a very important factor to consider, as no matter what the service is, you may find somewhere along the line that it doesn't float your boat, then that's like being in a relationship with someone who you aren't attracted to, it just doesn't work out over the long term...
Save yourself the trouble and choose a service you love instead of a service that other people want you to love in order to serve their purpose... The reason being is that there will always be someone out there who makes it their life's missions to be the best they can possibly be at whatever particular service there is in question - and it's those people that will draw the clients in who need that service, because they are the ones that have the most enthusiasm and passion for it - it's like a magnet. This won't render your service void - but if you make the wrong choice it doesn't exactly make it a pleasurable option for you or the client.
When I was starting out, I offered very basic bookkeeping services, you might consider this a 'trending' service since every business owner needs to keep accurate books [every - single - business - owner], and most business owners don't like doing this themselves. I was thinking that I 'should' be offering this as the market was huge...
To start with almost every small business client I worked with enquired about this service - but the issue was I didn't enjoy it, so I started outsourcing the few clients I had, and used to think to myself constantly how I didn't like offering this service, even laying in bed at night it would be on my mind, almost wishing clients wouldn't ask me about it - the result, I very rarely got any enquiries for the service, and it eventually died a death. I was pleased about that and switched my attention entirely on what I personally found I enjoyed and was fulfilling, and then the clients gravitated towards these services.
Do You Realise Your Reach?Whether a service is trending or not, there's most likely a huge market of people who are looking for whatever it is you're offering - that's the absolute beauty of working online. You have access to literally billions of people, where smaller local businesses or 'mobile' service providers don't have that kind of coverage, as the radius is far more restricted.
What you should be focussing more on is not what's trending, but how you market your chosen services, and to whom. By choosing services that can be offered completely online (without any need for physical contact) then you have opened millions of doors that would otherwise be closed.Right now Wordpress as a content management system is far 'trendier' than Adobe Business Catalyst - you can find Wordpress developers everywhere, they're spreading across the 'people for hire' sites to the point where the market is becoming saturated with them, but I'm sure they're able to find plenty of work if they are the right kind of people and shine in there delivery of Wordpress services - I offer both Wordpress and Adobe Business Catalyst - but what's trending in my business right now? You guessed it, Adobe Business Catalyst - I put this down to the fact that I love it, and I want to be working in this system more than Wordpress.
So what is trendy in online services?I know this question is still outstanding, and I'll come to that in a second, but I want to be clear that pin-pointing trending services doesn't always equal a faster profit for your business, a higher enquiry rate or even a better financial result. So in my opinion, attention should be given to these areas, before trends:
a) Sustainability - Something you can expand on that has other avenues.
b) Interest - Something you want to excel at.
c) People - Something you can offer 100% online.
You can then begin to consider trends from there as more of a secondary influence.
I provide Administrative, Marketing and Creative online service provider training based on the most popular services we offer in Virtual Miss Friday - this is about the closest I would be willing to go in suggesting any kind of trends, because the trends appear through each of these core packages, and they are updated annually so I can keep my members in the loop on what we're providing here at VMF - but the most important thing is that you enjoy the services you offer, which triggers your creativity and excitement, and will attract the right kind of clients to you through your marketing efforts. As those wise women of Bananarama so rightly put it - "It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it, that's what gets results."