Does The Freemium Model Extend To Services?
Borrowing a quote from the Freemium entry on Wikipedia via Fred Wilson:
Give your service away for free, possibly ad supported but maybe not, acquire a lot of customers very efficiently through word of mouth, referral networks, organic search marketing, etc., then offer premium priced value added services or an enhanced version of your service to your customer base.
Fred uses the word "service" but if you look at the post the above quote comes from, service relates to a product or web service.
I'm wondering, if you're a talented person with an entrepreneurial vision with limited coding / product-building experience / skills, can you instead shift the focus of the business model above from products to services?
(Yes, I have signed up for Code Year.)
If you're building a product, and it takes you two months to build that product before getting it out to market (alpha, beta, whatever), you're probably either building the product on your own time (which probably means that two months is longer) or you've left your comfy job and are building it on your own dime (ie, limited-to-no income).
So, why can't you do that with services?
If you're a smart person who can provide some help to other people / teams / companies, why can't you do that for free for two months? Once those two months are up, you can then get your service to market. Now you'll have real-world feedback and a list of references to pitch your services from.
Wouldn't you gain the same advantage as those who are doing the same thing with a product?