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Everybody's Little Helper

You don't have to make things to make money. Just help people get things done and rake in the bucks!

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This story appears in the November 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It is often said that it's better to give than to receive. Some of today's entrepreneurs might also say it's better to serve than to be served. Keep that principle in mind as you prepare to start a business, and you may discover that service-themed businesses are not only profitable, but also often overlooked.

The key to a successful service business is to offer something that's desperately needed-and often that's something you'd never think could be a business. Jayne Anne Harris and her sisters, Eloise and Mary Lou, discovered just how necessary the coat-check business is. As aspiring actors and singers, the Harris sisters worked the coat room at the famed Studio 54 in New York City. The company that provided the club's security also worked other events, and it soon asked the Harrises to run coat-check rooms at other soirees. "At first, it was a side job to pay our rent," says Jayne Anne, 46. "We tried a few, and it accidentally turned into a full-fledged business."

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