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Graphic Design

Take your flair for design and start a business.

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Business At A Glance

Graphic Design

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

If you’ve always pictured yourself as a commercial artist but yourdrawing style is closer to stick figures than Cézannes, then graphicdesign might be just the business for you. With the great softwareavailable today, you can conjure up logos, letterheads, brochures,product packaging and mail order catalogs–just about anything thatneeds a distinctive graphic ambience for the business client.

Graphicdesigners work on a freelance basis, creating materials for corporateclients, advertising agencies, public relations firms and publishers.But they do more than merely sketch designs–they often provide visualsolutions to specific problems like company identity crises or imagechanges. The advantages to this business are that, provided you have astrong design and color sense, you don’t need to be able to draw, youcan work full time or part time and you can do it at home.

Hours areflexible–so long as you meet clients at reasonable times and meet yourdeadlines, you can work ’til dawn and sleep ’til noon if you want to.You should have a good working knowledge of your design. A degree ingraphic design or fine arts is a plus but not necessary; ditto foron-the-job experience working in an ad agency or for graphic designers.In addition to all that creativity, you’ll need to have good listeningskills so you can understand what your clients want, plus a good senseof marketing to help them sell themselves through the projects theybring to you.

The Market

Your clients will be other businesses–ad agencies, publishingcompanies, small magazines, product manufacturers and others, fromstartups to old standbys who need a smart image to start with or asnappy redesign of their aged chestnut.

Find these firms by placing adsin trade publications like those read by ad agencies, mail ordercompanies and the giftware industry. Send direct-mail pieces to thesesame companies–let them see your work firsthand. Network in yourcommunity and keep your ear to the ground for hints of new businesses.When you hear of an opportunity, make an appointment to present yourportfolio and discuss how you can be of service.

Needed Equipment

You’ll need a high-end computer (most graphic designers use Macs) witha Zip or Jaz drive, a top-quality color printer, a scanner, a faxmachine and the software itself. Talk to graphic designers to find outwhat programs they use, then haunt computer superstores to see what’scomparable and what’s the newest on the market.

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Media & Publishing

Personalized Story Time Books

Are you a pro at creating sentimental items for families? Look into personalized story time books.

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Business At A Glance

Personalized Story Time Books

Startup Costs: $50,000 – $100,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

The market for personalized story time books for children is enormous.Every child in the world loves to hear stories, and the best aspect ofthis new venture is the fact that this business enables you to createbooks to include children into the story.

This is a business that onceyou have established a relationship with a client you will want to keepthat relationship strong as the product has the ability to almost beclassified as a consumable. This means that once you form therelationship with the client, it’s a given that the relationship willcontinue to generate revenue for the business, providing the quality ofservice and product remains excellent. The average child can easilyhave five or six favorite books, and these books change on ayear-by-year basis.

This can add up to 20 to 30 different story timebooks that can be sold to the same client, and that number can multiplyby the number of children the client has. There are softwareapplications available including the reprint rights for creating thistype of book, or of course you can use the customer’s and yourimagination to create original stories. A marketing technique that canhelp get you started is to pick relatives and friends with children andcustomize books using their children’s names.

Once you have the booksproduced, simply show the story time books to your friends andrelatives. It will be nearly impossible for them to say no once theysee the finished product and how much work you put into creating thebook. profit potential: Once you have established a solid client base,this business venture has the ability to return excellent profits on apart- or full-time effort. As with any business, be sure to use abottom-up approach to product pricing. Factor in all costs, includingmaterials, labor and overhead, and multiply by the desired markup. Theend result of this formula will give you your retail selling price.

Needed Equipment

You will need a good computer system and printer if you plan to producethe books yourself. It can be very costly to have a print shop run asingle copy of one item.

Additional requirements will include softwarethat legally allows you to reprint the books or good writing skills tocreate your own stories. The latter is more fun, and you can base thestories on your local community and community events.

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Media & Publishing

Restaurant Placemats

Put designing capabilities to use on restaurant placemats.

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Business At A Glance

Restaurant Placemats

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Like restaurant menus, many restaurantowners are more than happy to have community businesses featured ontheir table placemats in exchange for receiving the placemats for free.Here is how the business works.

Assume that a busy 50-seat restaurantwould use 200 paper placemats each day or approximately 6,000 permonth, and the cost to print 6,000 black and white placemats on colorpaper would be around 10 cents each, or a total of $600.

Furthermore,the placemats would feature 16 business card-sized displayadvertisements around the outside of the placemat, while the inside ofthe placemat would feature trivia questions. Charging local merchants amere 1.5 cents per advertisement, per placemat would generate totalsales of $1,440 per restaurant each month, or a gross profit of $840.Now times that by ten restaurants, and you would have a great littleadvertising business generating sales in excess of $100,000 per year.

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Media & Publishing

Press Release Service

With up to 700,000 businesses being started each year, a press release service is in high demand.

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Business At A Glance

Press Release Service

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

More than 700,000 new businesses are startedeach year in the United States. This fact creates and incredibleopportunity for the innovative entrepreneur to capitalize by starting apress release service. A press release is simply a document thatincludes information about a new business enterprise or newsworthyinformation about an existing business, including expansion plans, newsales contracts, etc.

A press release basically serves two purposes.The first is to inform the general public is new or established. Thesecond purpose of a press key to success in this type of writingservice is to establish and maintain an excellent contact base withinthe media. Beyond your press writing abilities, business owners willpay top dollar to get their business information into the hands of aservice that can get a press release printed, seen, talked about, andheard.

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