Home Business Owner: Offer a Product or a Service?

So, you want to be a home business owner. But will you offer a product or a service?

One of the things I love about our current culture and economy is the fact that technology has made a host of new opportunities possible for a wider range of people. While there are still definite problems with wealth inequality, those who manage to learn a little more and who can access the right tools have opportunities that weren't available in the same way two or three decades ago.

It's never been easier to start a home business, and make at it. Whether you offer a product or a service, there are ways to build your home business and market it, thanks to technology and the growing interconnectedness of the global economy.

If you want to be a home business owner, one of the first things you need to determine is whether you want to offer a product, or whether you want to offer a service.

home business owner

Initial Capital:?Service vs. Product

My choice as a home business owner is fairly obvious: I've decided to offer a service. I'm a writer, and that's something others will pay for. Other services, such as dog-walking, consulting, and providing financial advice, are all home business ideas that have low costs to start.

When you sell a product, you might have higher initial costs. My writing costs very little in terms of monetary costs. I need Internet access and a computer. And, if I didn't want to pay for the Internet access, there are plenty of places to get free Wi-Fi. If you would have a laptop anyway, it's really not much of an upfront cost to get started.?Other service-oriented home business ideas have similar low cost.

A home business based on a product, though, costs a little bit more. You might need purchase inventory up front. If you make the product yourself, you might need to purchase supplies. Buying special equipment might also be necessary. Of course, there are ways to start an ecommerce business without a great outlay of capital. In fact, if you do it right, you can get going for significantly less than you think is possible. The right approach, as a home business owner, to your ecommerce business — even if you are selling a product — can be low-cost and lucrative.

In the end, it depends on what service you offer, as well as what approach you take with selling your product. Some services, such as dog grooming or cutting hair, require that you purchase the initial equipment needed to perform the service, and that can become expensive. The key is to consider what you know, as well as how you might approach selling a product. Do your research, and make your decision based on time, ability, and how much money you can devote to your home business.

Scaling Up as a Home Business Owner

You also need to consider what happens if you want to scale up. My home business isn't likely to get much bigger. I'm pretty happy being a solopreneur. I've hired a virtual assistant to help me with social media stuff and some other mundane tasks, but other than that I don't plan to expand my staff.

When you offer a service, you have this option. You can choose to remain as you are, deciding to say no to gigs, and picking and choosing what clients you have. With a product offering, you might not have that option. Sure, you can reduce production and limit how much you make. While this might work in some cases, many home business owners are more likely to need to scale up their production.

Home Business Ideas


You might need to hire more people to work on your product. Or, if you operate mostly as a drop-shipping ecommerce store, you might need to change a supplier or shipper. Even if you don't operate with drop-shipping, you might still need to change suppliers, or make other moves, as you scale up.

It's something to think about as you consider whether to offer a service or a product. As demand grow for my home business services, I can accept higher-paying opportunities, and quite lower-paying gigs. This is a way that I can work less, but still earn more. I'm not sure how that would work with a product, unless you were willing to turn over some of your business operations to employees or someone else.

As a home business owner, you might decide to hire others to fill in for you. If you have trusted people, you can let them do some of the work so that you can work less. However, you might also outgrow your home office, depending on what it is you sell, and how you manage your production operations.

Make sure you consider all your options, and carefully think through the service vs. product question. Ultimately, you want to approach your home business in a way that you can successfully manage, but also that allows you to work toward the lifestyle you want.

3 thoughts on “Home Business Owner: Offer a Product or a Service?”

  1. I provide both. Mostly services, but am working towards adding few products too. Will take a while though, but I hope this will allow me to expand my offering and get more business

    1. Miranda Marquit

      That’s an approach I see more and more. Are you thinking of offering information products, or more “tangible” products? That’s another subject for a post, too, I think. 🙂

      1. Yes, it could make up a great post 😉

        Right now I am working on some templates (logos, PSDs, WordPress themes). The issue is that with the baby and my current clients, there’s little time to do this work.

        I am thinking about some tangible products, too, maybe some drawings I’ve started making … but .. again.. takes time. I do have a lot of ideas, but no time at the moment 😀

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