Money-Making Subscription Services That You Can Start Too

Money-Making Subscription Services (That You Can Start Too!)

Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of fighting, hunting, and practically begging for each new sale, you could set up a business in such a way that all your customers paid you regularly, time and time again?

Well, you can—that’s the beauty of offering a subscription service.

The subscription business model, once thought to only apply to products like magazines and gym memberships, has grown hugely in popularity in recent years. Covering everything from makeup to meals (and a range of subscription services you’d never have even imagined), there seems to be a subscription service for just about anything.

To give you an idea about what is out there, here are a few areas where the subscription business model has excelled.

Skincare and beauty

If you want to offer a subscription service in the skincare and beauty sectors, you’ll be in good company. In fact, one of the first subscription services on the scene, Birchbox, helped popularize the idea of selling small versions of makeup, skincare, and haircare products monthly.

If you want to start a health and beauty subscription service, however, you’ll have to think outside the (birch) box. While the subscription business model works well for beauty products, you don’t want to just repeat what has already been done.

Or, you could focus on green or all-natural products, a growing niche for subscription services. The possibilities are endless, but make sure you do your market research first!

Here are a few great skincare and beauty subscription services to spark your inspiration:

-Ipsy—five full-sized samples of deluxe beauty products

-Love Goodly—nontoxic, eco-friendly, vegan products that support various causes

-Vegan Cuts Beauty Box—vegan beauty and skincare products

-Lavish Bath Box—cruelty-free bath products

Home and garden

Starting to diverge from the subscription service beaten path, consider starting a subscription service business based around home and garden needs.

A great example of a subscription service that has tapped into this idea is Urban Organic Gardener’s subscription seed box, which sends new seeds monthly and tailors each box to the experience level and needs of the customer.

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If you’re interested in starting a subscription service based around home and gardening, take some time to assess your own personal habits and needs when it comes to your home. Home and garden products lend themselves well to the subscription business model, as we constantly need new products (cleaning supplies, for example, will always run out).

Perhaps you buy flowers regularly—enter Bloomsy Box, a monthly floral subscription service. Maybe you love filling your home with gorgeous, luxury scented candles? Wickbox provides a candle subscription service. What do you buy regularly that you could turn into a subscription service?

Here are some more great home and garden subscription services to get you started:

-Our Little Roots—a monthly organic garden including seeds, pots, and stakes

-Nicely Noted—a beautifully curated monthly stationary box

-Squix Box—a monthly subscription service providing germ-fighting products

-Jade Canopy—organic, heirloom, GMO-free seeds monthly

Pets

-Surprise My Pet—a mystery box filled with toys and other surprise goodies

-Meowbox—toys and treats for cats delivered monthly

-Doggy Lawn—a monthly delivery of a small square of grass for your dog to use as a “potty patch” (yes, really)

Babies and children

-Bluum—a subscription box for moms and babies “from pregnancy to preschool”

-IncrediBundles—offering a variety of packages like toys, books, and diapers

-Everyday Happy—natural diapers and baby products

-Doodle Crate—a monthly subscription box for budding artists

-Junior Explorers—themed monthly “explorations” for school-aged children

Elderly care

When you were a child, that lopsided clay duck you made in art class was a perfect gift for grandpa. However, as we grow older, it becomes harder and harder to find ways to do something special for our grandparents and other elderly relatives.

Subscription boxes targeting the elderly have become a way to fill this need, with everything from fun themed offerings like Grandbox (July’s theme was “picnic”—how cute is that?) to Gramsly, which allows customers to include a message and a photo for their grandmother, along with customized items ranging from food to crossword puzzles.

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So far, these are the only ones on the market, meaning this could be a great area for you to start a business with a subscription business model.

The best inspiration here will be drawn from your own family. What would you love to be able to send to your grandparents, aunts and uncles, or family friends regularly, or what service do they need often that could be turned into a subscription service?

Here are the elderly subscription services mentioned above:

-Grandbox—monthly boxes for loved ones over 65, filled with themed treats and fun surprises

-Gramsly—handpicked, personalized boxes specifically for grandmothers

Food and drink

-Freshly—gourmet meals delivered weekly that are gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and low carb

-Taste Club—monthly handpicked artisan goodies such as coffee, condiments, and oils

-UrthBox—all natural, GMO-free, organic snacks delivered monthly

-Try the World—gourmet ingredients, snacks, and beverages from around the world

-RawSpiceBar—small batch, freshly ground spices

Hobbies and crafts

-StitchyBox—themed cross stitch boxes delivered six times a year

-SketchBox—monthly delivery of art supplies

-Darby Smart—a monthly mystery DIY box aimed at tweens

-New Hobby Box—for those who want a new hobby but don’t know where to start

-Maker Monthly—offering notebooks and “creative supplies” monthly

SaaS and app-based offerings

This list wouldn’t be complete without a few software subscription services. The SaaS industry was one of the first to use the subscription business model, as it works especially well for intangible services. You probably already use a few of them—think Slack or Salesforce.

Creating a software product is a challenge set apart from the other examples on this list. If you are interested in starting your own software company, check out our recent article, How to Start a Software Company, which will walk you through the steps.

Now, realistically, I can’t list all of the great SaaS apps that are out there; however, here are a few of the ones I use regularly or can recommend highly, just to give you an idea of the great variety that exists.

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These great software and app subscription services can inspire you:

-Spotify—the streaming music service that has taken over as one of the most popular ways to listen to music

-Canva—free design program (great for creating logos, social media graphics, and more)

-Slack—great for workplace teams or even personal messaging

-Trello—an excellent project management system

-LivePlan—our own subscription software that helps entrepreneurs start and run their businesses (of course, I couldn’t not include LivePlan!)

What if I want to open a brick-and-mortar store?

Of course, I’ve focused a lot on subscription services that are either sent via a monthly subscription box or are an internet-based service.

But, don’t limit yourself to thinking that subscription services are only for boxes and SaaS companies! There are plenty of ways to integrate the subscription business model into your business without sending anyone anything.

For example, many hair salons are offering blowout subscriptions. What could you bundle together for your customers monthly and charge them a flat fee for? With the subscription business model, the possibilities are endless.

For example, many hair salons are offering blowout subscriptions. What could you bundle together for your customers monthly and charge them a flat fee for? With the subscription business model, the possibilities are endless.

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