There is one thing you can count on when you begin your own business. You wont be bored. There are plenty of details to work out; a number of tasks that await each day. You wont find yourself looking at the clock very often, , thats for sure!
What do you do? Thats easy! What ideas do you have? More importantly, what would you like to do? What are your current interests? What hobbies do you have that youd like to work at more and make them pay?
Lets say you have a vivid interest in history. Youve spent a lot of time reading history books. Lets say youve even specialized and most of your reading is about the American Civil War. Do you think there might be something you can do about the Civil War?
Of course there is! If you have a computer and subscribe to the Internet, why not try polling people via e-mail about their interest in a Civil War newsletter that you will publish monthly on line! A substantial interest will help you set a subscription price and begin enrolling people. If you have enough interest, this could be your full-time job. Youll spend the month coming up with the assorted items for the monthly newsletter, from articles about unusual aspects of the war, to commemorations of anniversary-related events that month, to news about meetings held everywhere for other Civil War enthusiasts, to book reviews of the latest volumes written. If you have an interest in the Civil War, youll know that there isnt any period of history which has generated more interest and more books about the particulars. But what if youre not into computers? If youre interested in the Civil War, contact the local universities and colleges and find out who teaches the subject on their campus. Contact those individuals for suggestions first. It could very well be that they long to write their own book about the Civil War, but dont have the time during the academic year to do the necessary research to write it on their summer break. You have the time, though, and they may be willing to hire you as a researcher for them.
You should also buy any Civil War magazine you can lay your hands on and turn to the classified sections of their pages. A current issue is best. Read everything you can. There may be direct advertisements needing help, or names and companies with interests in the Civil War whom you can contact. Find out if there are any local Civil War Roundtable chapters in your area. Find out if there are any Sons of Confederate Veterans (or Union) or United Daughters of the Confederacy (or Union) chapters locally. Attending those meetings will bring you into contact with a number of like-minded individuals. Some of these folks might pay you to write about their ancestors. Or they may know publishers who specialize in Civil War history who would be willing to listen to an idea you had for a book. Or you could contact some local community colleges and put together your own course on the Civil War and get paid to teach it.
This is the kind of analysis you need to do with any of your ideas. Make lists! Put your idea at the top and think of all the possible connections to it. Leave no idea out! Nothing should be considered silly or off-limits! This is your business now! The most obscure contact can yield the greatest results. Try them all! This should also serve notice that any idea is possible for business. If its something you like to do, why not try it? Many of these ideas can be followed up on your own time, even while youre still working for someone else. If you hate the job youre currently doing, wouldnt it be great to work at something you truly love? Especially if what you love has an interest for others enough interest to have someone put down a few bucks for your product or service. The Civil War is a great example. People who have an avid interest in it will shell out a few dollars to read anything about the subject. The more they read, the more they want to know. And there are thousands of ideas that can sustain the same kind of interest! Securing clients for your service is the key. New subscribers to a newsletter will more than offset the ones who, for whatever reason, dont renew. The more new customers you obtain, the more likely your business will experience tremendous success.
Prospecting for new clientele is an ongoing process. It never stops! Some people may not care for that end of the business, but youll be different. Why? Because youre working in your own business, doing what you love to do in an area that you have a great amount of knowledge and curiosity. When you talk about it, there will be no hiding the fact that you truly believe in your product or service. Talking about it is fun. Talking about it is prospecting. Hence, prospecting is fun!
How do you get people to open up today when youre in a conversation with them? You ask them about a subject you know they like and then let them talk. Prospecting in your business is going to be much like that. Youre going to feel compelled to talk to people about a subject because its your favorite topic. Those that share that interest are going to like listening and talking about it! Theyre prospects! Theyre interested! Theyre potential clients!
You may choose to advertise your product or service. This has more start-up costs to it, depending on where you advertise. Try and be market-specific! In other words, advertise to an audience most likely to be interested in your subject matter. For Civil War buffs, there are plenty of magazines that you can successfully target an audience. Advertising the same product or service through your local newspaper at two or three times the price makes less sense since its more money and not as efficient. You can also reach an audience through some type of direct mail. This also carries a significant expense in terms of postage costs. Thus you want to be sure that you are reaching an audience base most likely to respond. This should be a secondary approach, however. Reaching out via the phone lines is more cost-effective.
You can start getting news out about your product or service through your family and friends. They can do a lot of word of mouth advertising for you. The more people they talk to, the faster the word about your business gets around. If you are also prospecting by calling others, even remote acquaintances, all the better. The more people who know, the more likely you can get referrals. This is the hardest part of the business getting enough people to know about what youre doing. But once you know how to do it and youve started the machine rolling, this all becomes easier. You may end up with more clients than you know what to do with a great situation to have!
There are a number of resources for you to review and contact as you get started. The advice and information you can obtain may help you to avoid some of the more common mistakes. Every connection you make might lead you to a nest of prospects. Many of the organizations listed here can help you focus in on the right direction and save you time and money pursuing people who have no interest in what youre doing.
Working From Home, by Paul & Sarah Edwards
Making Money With Your Computer At Home, by Paul & Sarah Edwards
The Work-At-Home Sourcebook, by Lynie Arden
Homemade Money, by Barbara Brabec
Retired? Get Back In The Game! by Jack & Elaine Wyman
How To Make Money With Your PC! A Guide To Starting and Running Successful PC-Based
Businesses, by Lynn Walford
How To Succeed As An Independent Consultant, by Herman Holtz (Wiley & Sons, publisher, 1993)
Newsletter: Barbara Brabecs Self-Employment Survival Letter, bimonthly newsletter, P.O. Box 2137,
Naperville, IL 60567
Newsletter: ReCareering Newsletter, monthly, Publications Plus, 801 Skokie Blvd., Suite 221,
Northbrook, IL 60062
Audio Tapes: How To Make Money Doing Research With Your Computer, by Sue Rugge, contact: Heres
How, 2607 Second St., Suite 3, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Audio Tapes: How To Publish A Profitable Newsletter: The Reasons and A Roadmap for Getting Into
Newsletter Publishing with your Computer, by J. Norman Goode, contact: Heres How, 2607 Second
Street, Suite 3, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Organizations and Associations:
Home-Based Business Tips [ includes a free start-up guide ]
Contact: Answer Desk
U.S. Small Business Administration
409 Third Street, SW
Washington, DC 20416
Home-Based Manufacturing Operations
Wage and Hour Division
Employment Standards Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room S3516
Washington, DC 20210
American Association of Professional Consultants
9140 Ward Parkway
Kansas City, MO 64114
American Federation of Small Business
407 S. Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60608
American Home Business Association
397 Post Road
Darien, CT 06820
American Home Sewing Association
1375 Broadway 4th Floor
New York, NY 10018
The American Society of Interior Designers
New York, NY 10018
Association of Desk-Top Publishers (AD-TP)
San Diego, CA 92108-0034
Association of Electronic Cottagers (accessible on-line through the Working from Home Forum)
CompuServe Information Service
5000 Arlington Centre Boulevard
Columbus, OH 45220
Chartered Designers Of America, Inc.
P.O. Box 348
Elmwood Park, NJ 07407
Family Firm Institute
P.O. Box 476
Johnstown, NY 12095
International Association of Independent Publishers
P.O. Box 703
San Francisco, CA 94101
International Information/Word Processing Association
1015 N. York Road
Willow Grove, PA 19090
Mothers Home Business Network
P.O. Box 423
East Meadow, NY 11554
National Association for the Cottage Industry
P.O. Box 14460
Chicago, IL 60614
National Association of Desktop Publishers (NADTP)
P.O. Box 508
Boston, MA 02215
National Association of Entrepreneurial Couples
P.O. Box 700
Aptos, CA 95001-0700
National Association for the Self-Employed
2324 Gravel Road
Ft. Worth, TX 76118
National Association of Women Business Owners
600 S. Federal Street Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60605
National Computer Graphics Association
2722 Merilee Drive Suite 200
Fairfax, VA 22031
1410 Wilson Blvd. Suite 403
Arlington, VA 22209
Support Services Alliance
P.O. Box 130
Schocharie, NY 12157