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Home Decorating Guide

No, print isn’t dead. Give homeowners a decorating guide they can flip through while sitting on their couch.

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Business At A Glance

Home Decorating Guide

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

In spite of its popularity, we haven’tturned our world completely over to the internet. Good old printpublishing is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. Apublishing business that creates and distributes semiannual homedecorating guides can still earn excellent profits.

The businessconcept is very straightforward: Simply design a guide featuringinformation, articles and tips on home decorating and furnishing ideas.The guide can be printed and distributed free of charge throughout thelocal community it serves twice a year, for example. Revenue for thebusiness would be gained by selling advertising space in the guide tolocal businesses, such as furniture retailers, home improvementcompanies and interior decorators.

As a method of promoting the guideand business on a year-round basis, consider forming a joint venturewith a local or community newspaper. In exchange for a weekly homedecorating tips column, the paper could promote and print thesemiannual home decorating guides. Joint ventures are a fantastic wayto potentially increase the size of your market while decreasingstartup and monthly operating costs for the business.

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Media & Publishing

Online Studio Musicians

Help produce tracks for musicians from far and wide.

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Business At A Glance

Online Studio Musicians

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes

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Media & Publishing

Specialty Greeting Cards

When people need to say more than “Happy birthday, Mom,” they turn to specialty greeting cards.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Specialty Greeting Cards

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

Millions of greeting cards are sold annuallyin the U.S., and starting a business that designs and producesone-of-a-kind custom greeting cards for clients is a terrific desktoppublishing business to set into action. In addition to a high-qualitycolor printer, you’ll also need a computer and design software.

Ideally, marketing efforts should be focused on potential customersthat would send a lot of greeting cards each year, as well as clientswho’d benefit the most from sending customized greeting cards.Potential customers would include corporations, associations,organizations, professionals and individual consumers who would beprepared to purchase the specialty greeting cards in minimum orders of50 at one time.

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Media & Publishing

Niche Greeting Cards

Let others use your unique perspective to express themselves–with a niche greeting card biz.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Niche Greeting Cards

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 love picking out and sending just the right card for everyoccasion, and if you’re a whiz at designing that perfect card yourself,then niche greetings cards is the business for you. This is a fieldwith room for growth, and while the big players like Hallmark do tendto dominate the market, most of the country’s more than 1,800 greetingcard companies are small ones.

You can help businesses develop andmaintain a rapport with their clientele by sending customized cards forspecial occasions. You can also send cards announcing clients’ specialevents and even embellish cards with your customers’ signatures andlogos. You’ll purchase blank cards at wholesale prices and, dependingon the size of each project, imprint the message on your own printer,have them imprinted commercially, or design and print each card on yourown computer system.

Or you can go the retail route and design cardsfor the regular consumer market. The advantages to this business arethat you can start part time, it’s fun and creative, and it’s a warm,fuzzy, feel-good business–even though you don’t see the recipients ofyour cards, you know they’re enjoying them. For this business, you’llneed a sense of fun, creativity and–the flip side of the coin–goodorganizational and time-management skills. When you send out cards forbusiness clients, you need to stay on top of things. But you’ll need tostay far ahead of the calendar with a retail design business, too.Winter holiday cards hit the stores soon after Halloween, and Mother’sDay missives appear soon after St. Patty’s Day–which means that you’llhave to have yours designed, printed and ready to ship even earlier.

The Market

For custom corporate cards, your clients will, of course, be otherbusinesses. You can target just about any type, but your best bets willbe those who need to stay firmly established in their customers’ minds,like doctors, dentists, insurance agents, real estate brokers,apartment managers, car salespeople, hair stylists and shopkeepers.

Anddon’t forget those corporate types with customers, vendors andsuppliers all over the country. Sign up these clients by–howelse?–sending them greeting cards. Design a catchy card that explainsyour business, then follow up by phoning for an appointment to showyour card portfolio. Send a one-time mailing of your cards for acharitable organization free of charge–make sure the cards mentionyour company and what you do.

Use this same mailing to get write-ups inlocal publications. While out and about town, ask business owners ifthey’re planning a sale or promotion, then offer your services to sendout card announcements. If you choose the retail road, you’ll sell toretailers or distributors. You can start out small by selling yourwares to local specialty shops and boutiques or shoot for sales repsand distributors by displaying your products at trade shows like theNational Stationery Show held each May in New York City. (Call GeorgeLittle Management at 914-421-3200 or go to www.glmshows.com for moreinformation.)

Needed Equipment

You’ll need a computer, a high-quality color printer, a scanner,greeting card or desktop publishing software, and–if you’ll be takingthe custom corporate route–database software for maintaining mailinglists and a resale license for buying cards at wholesale prices.

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