TMBA 362: You Can Start a Business This Weekend, Here Are Some Ideas

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On last week’s show, Dan and Ian  talked about the many entrepreneurs finding success with productized service business. One of the reasons for this is that these businesses can be started quickly, and with little/no capital outlay.

So, for today’s episode, they have asked their friend and expert ‘ideas generator’ Tristan King of Blackbelt Commerce to return. The last time Tristan was on this program listeners took the some of ideas he donated and turned them into successful businesses (Bean Ninjas being one).

Listen in to hear yet more of Dan and Tristan’s thoughts for productized service businesses that can be started up this weekend.


Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • Why productized service businesses seem to be maturing. (3:20)
  • One of Dan’s business ideas that is based on finding the right email marketing software for a client. (8:27)
  • A business idea that Tristan donates that is related to the Shopify ecosystem. (16:34)
  • An idea of Dan’s that uses Instagram to help eCommerce stores. (19:53)
  • Why Shopify Ninjas became Blackbelt Commerce and what that process was like. (32:27)

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Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Thursday morning 8AM EST.


Dan & Ian

Published on 11.10.16
  • Hey you guys! Thanks for a great episode love the ideas. But I need some suggestions, currently I am managing Google ads mainly for one client and looking to expand next year with that business. well, not to give to much info on the business i do work for, I have access to, free to use, over 22k doctor’s emails.

    What kind of ideas you guys could come up with for a productized service utilizing doctor emails? I was considering email marketing services, for businesses who would like to market to those doctors but not wanting to do themselves. Just one idea…not sure what I could do or if that would work. Plz help.. thanks a lot in advance.

  • Great episode. I’ll contribute a P.S. idea: Speaking of the SWWAS, there’s a big gap between 100% DIY website stuff like Thrive themes/Squarespace/Divi/Optimize Press and bespoke custom design. What if you’ve got thrive themes and lead pages and you’re good-to-go out of the box 99% of the time, but you *still* don’t want to spend all day making web implementations yourself. I know colleagues and clients and I often just fill this gap with VAs or apprentices, but what if there were a WP Curve of Thrive Themes, or, better yet, a WP Curve of GUI-plugin-based web design. For a startup fee they’d set you up with a suite of pages – home/about/opt-in/sales/whatever – USING these SAAS platforms instead of custom html – then you could pay a monthly fee for a certain # of interventions per month. Not saying this is the best business idea ever, but there’s definitely pain there;)

  • Hey Nate – glad you liked the episode! I think this is a great idea: “What if you’ve got thrive themes and lead pages and you’re good-to-go
    out of the box 99% of the time, but you *still* don’t want to spend all
    day making web implementations yourself” >> have been in this situation myself. “Extracting” the full power out of these kinds of systems takes a long time, and requires a lot of study of case studies etc., and testing to find out what works best for a particular business. So if there was a service out there for that, I think it’d be a really interesting one :)

  • Chris Mitchell

    I’d say a huge demand beginning next year and only increasing will be converting http websites to https (Secure HTTP, which Google is really pushing as the new default the Web should move to). If you’re not a geek, it’s a complex business and easy to screw up, so tanking your organic website rankings and your business. If you were to offer a service to seamlessly make the transition from http to https for a customer, and you didn’t bork their site in the process, you would earn their trust and gratitude from the get-go and could then sell them other web services beyond that. So while it would initially be a one-off sale there’s room to turn it into recurring revenue if you had other services all mapped out to present as logical next steps in their business development beyond the https gig. It would be a high pressure gig, no doubt, but you could charge accordingly. For someone who lives and breathes this stuff, finds it fun even, it would be a goldmine. Most people are terrified of it. Just idly googling “http to https” there is no one offering this kind of service.

  • Bunty

    Definitely considered this. Good to see other’s minds are in the same places.

  • Bunty

    I’ve seen many traditional web designers migrating to using these services opposed to building custom themes/html/css. Myself included.

    What would be the main difference of a web designer who sets you up with 5-7 static pages (home, about, services, blog, and contact) with Thrive/SqaureSpace/Divi/Leadpages for a flat $ rather than what your idea proposes? I’m not trying to oppose or criticize but really trying to understand this pain point.

  • Jonathan Kennedy

    Thanks for the intro plug. I really appreciate it. Tristan’s original thoughts in the previous podcast did plant the seed for HeyCarson and it’s been quite a ride since. I tried to pay it forward in my workshop at DCBKK by sharing a handful of productized service ideas. You had to be there (or they might be in the presentation notes in the forum).

    Again, I appreciate the mention in the podcast, and I’m grateful to be part of the ever evolving DC community.

  • That was awesome guys! Always get the hamster wheel spinning haha.

    I do wish there were more ideas outside of ecommerce. I think the SALES FUNNEL PACKAGE is going to be a good service coming up.

    Not sure if people know about a few tools from Google (trends, correlate, shopping insights, etc.) but I put together a post using these tools to verify market demand.

    Plus I gave out a few business ideas along the way too.

    9 so far, might add to more later though!

  • Evaldas Miliauskas

    Not sure why business ideas are such a exciting topic, but somehow it ignites the imagination of big things in one way or another. Sure these probably are not the regular “startup change the world businesses” but because of it comes from today’s problems they have a lot more potential to succeed.

    From the idea’s given migration one sounded like has a lot of potential in terms of being hard problem for a lot of businesses, but niching down here would be essential as there are so many products out there that can be swapped it would be hard to generalise. The least promising at least from monetization perspective was comparison of ESP (email service providers), at least justifying the cost for businesses to pay for this, nevertheless I think upselling the consultation for using these products is valuable.

    I also have few idea’s/opportunities of my own I’d like to throw out here:
    1. podcast advertiser matchmaking – I actually wrote a detail post on this in short reducing the friction for advertisers to buy ads on multiple podcasts
    2. code review service – problem: it’s quite tedious to review code changes and takes additional resources for any dev shop which they not necessary want to spare knowing deadlines and all other factors in todays software development environment. So having a service that can offload that task for them could be useful.
    3. ecommerce opportunity in UAE – this is more a market opportunity rather than a new business idea, basically just selling nutrition supplement products online. The unfair advantage here compared to local pharmacies who sell same products but have a much larger cost due to store rents, staff, etc. The other part is I can provide extra tools (early stage development) for personalizing user experience on the store and automating some parts of marketing.

    Even thought it’s cliche by now but I see ideas as good as execution, especially that need to be hustled-up.

    Looking foward to round 2 with Dan Norris!

  • Evaldas Miliauskas

    this is a good one. Another similar problem I think which will never go away is changing domain name as it involves some changes to avoid loosing link juice from SEO perspective

  • Nice idea! Definitely a scary one, so for webmaster types it could be a great service.

  • Amazing what you’ve done Jonathan and great seeing you in BKK!

  • Thanks for listening! I’m a bit skewed towards eCommerce idea she since that’s where I’m mostly focused, but check out Dan’s other episodes (in the notes) in the productized services series for some other goodies!

  • Thanks and some cool ideas there, so many business opportunities coming up via these podcasts and the comments! :-)

    +1 looking forward to Dan Norris’ episode too.

  • Hey Windell — thanks for listening! To me this idea seems a little iffy.. are you authorized to use that mailing list to contact them? It sounds as though it might be a list of your client’s clients, in which case, personally, I wouldn’t use it as it sounds like it might not be super legitimate (if they haven’t opted in to *your* list, then they won’t know who you are and it won’t get quality results anyway). Maybe there’s a way you can use what you learned from *managing* that list, to tap into the biggest ideas / needs you hear from respondents etc., and spin something of your own?

  • 100% agree, recently asked a tangentially related service to help and they couldn’t. So now we’re in a position of finding, hiring, and trusting somebody we don’t know to do this change. Nice idea!

  • Nice, huge pain point for larger sites too as it’s a once time thing, big downsides, and no experience doing it.

  • Feel the same, my sense is that biz ideas appeal to entrepreneurs even if they are fully committed to a mature business.

    Agree the key is to niche down with the migration stuff.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas too!

  • Cheers Jonathan, thanks so much for making the trip and sharing your story with us! Tristan might have an alternate career ahead of him!? :)

  • yep, SWAS FTW… this is the way to start as a ‘freelancer’ in 2016, instead of sitting on top of wordpress or drupal, your sitting on top of a particular marketing package on that platform (ideally though you could SWAS it out of the gate) for other readers ref:

  • agree! will check out the link…

  • @TropicalMBA:disqus thanks for introducing Bean Ninja’s also. Had a chat with Ben the other day and have moved forward with them.

  • cheers my pleasure, that’s great to hear

  • Great idea Chris — in fact I liked it so much that I launched Secure SEO (, a productized service specializing in migrating sites to HTTPS for a flat fee of $399. As a general-purpose software consultant, I’ve done tons of these over the last 4 years and so I’m confident I can profitably deliver at this price point (even after hiring). Like Dan said in the episode, **taking responsibility** is one of the fundamental tenets of entrepreneurship and this business does exactly that. Rather than attempt this highly technical, error-prone procedure on your own, I can say to you “Relax… I’m going to take care of this for you”.

    With that said, like you pointed out, the lack of monthly recurring revenue is definitely a drawback. Fortunately I’ve got plans for some additional back end sales around other website improvements in the same vein… Will just be a matter of finding out what sticks.

    Anyway, judging from the last business ideas episode comments section (, this is just the first of many that will spring from this episode! Looking forward to seeing what everyone else launches too.

    Feel free to email me at for more info. Or for anyone who is ready, the buy button is waiting for you :)

  • Patrick

    Having built one productised service business already I really like this as a business model. I was worn out running an agency and productising the service allowed me to grow the business.

    Since the first business I have experimented with a few software tools. They haven’t really taken off although one did give me a nice 3X return when sold.

    You sparked my interest with the mention of Instagram management as a service. The reason being the second tool I built automates posting to Instagram. So I am in a position to take advantage of this opportunity.

    Would you be interested in following it as it grows? I believe this was done with a listener from an earlier show.

    Either way huge fan of the show! Keep the great content coming :)

  • Zach Daniel

    Hi guys- I took you up on lead magnet implementation productized service. If anyone is interested, you can check it out here:

  • rockin!

  • certainly you should post your site/status here in the comments so we can follow along.

  • Hey guys! I took your ESP Matchmaking idea and ran with it. Even bought the domain you mentioned ( to redirect to a site I was tinkering with anyways ( While I won’t ask people to pay for the matchmaking, I did make the form in depth so I get highly qualified leads for the ongoing services I offer. I’d love to turn the diagnostic tool into something automated but I wanted to get an MVP out the door and test it before taking those steps to automate and scale.

    Let me know what you think!

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