Service vs Product businesses. If you had to start all over again which would you start first?

besides my smaller ventures in college and freelancing for event marketing companies, i officially became an entrepreneur in 2014.

my first roles were freelancing, then co-founding an agency, then starting product businesses. if i had to do it over again, i probably wouldn't change a thing.

service businesses make money faster, while product businesses scale better in the long-term. therefore, to some degree the type of business you get into "chooses you." can you afford to live on savings while you iterate a product and build a base of revenue? if not, delivering services means you can pay your bills by the end of Month 1.

besides cash flow, pursuing services also means you get paid to learn. i won at least 15-20 freelance contracts by saying, "sure, i can do X," then learning how to do X on-the-job. you have to be careful extending yourself like this, so self-awareness and the ability to say "no, i can't help with that" goes a long way.

when you build a product, on the other hand, not only does nobody fund your tuition, but you don't get the breadth of experience. suppose i start an online store selling custom umbrellas. yes i will learn about supply chains and email marketing. but what if i could start an umbrella store with dozens of campaigns for other ecommerce stores industries under my belt? now i can synthesize key learnings and apply them as best practices.

services and products both have their place. for me, it was an order of operations. serve first, learn on the job, pay my bills, then moonlight in products and finally go full-time after my product business started working. other people jump straight into products, spending all their time developing expertise in that field, then figure out how to a) get traction quickly or b) live on savings.

a few more of my thoughts on services vs products: