Tag Archive | "work from home"

How to Start a Mail Order Business

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Internet shopping has made the idea of learning how to start a mail order business very attractive. With some proper planning and work, anyone can start a mail order business and do well. Just as Sears was the mail order catalog king, you could be internet mail order royalty!

The concepts behind mail order have not changed much since the early days of the industry, even though the technology used to operate your business if vastly different from days passed. The major change due to technology is that you can reach a far larger audience than ever before. With about a billion people online, there is plenty of opportunity in the mail order business.

What You’ll Need to Succeed in a Mail Order Business

One of the first and most important decisions you’ll make when thinking about how to start a mail order business is which kinds of products you will sell. Your options are practically unlimited, so this step can take some time, but it’s worth thinking it through and researching thoroughly. When considering various products, some factors to think about are: initial costs, minimum orders, space for inventory, turn around time for new product, and of course market demand for the products you are considering.

Also dig into what competition there is in various possible niches. While the internet presents a tremendous opportunity, it is getting more and more difficult to stand out from the crowd. How will you make your company and your products more attractive to potential buyers than others?

Planning for future growth is another critical element for anyone learning how to start a mail order business. While “too many” customers can seem like a good problem to have, failing to meet commitments due to product shortages or lack of personnel to process orders can ruin your reputation and ultimately your business.

Consider developing relationships with temp agencies and outsourcing firms early on. This kind of planning will allow you to ramp up quickly if necessary, as you will have these resources at the ready. Also, if at all possible, pick suppliers that have the ability to increase production without a long delay. Many manufacturers are used to meeting deadlines and have very scalable operations.

How to Market a Mail Order Business

As your mail order business will be conducted primarily online, it makes sense to use online tools to market your business. Social media is one marketing medium that has proven to be very effective for anyone who is willing to take the time to learn how to do it right. If you are able to build a community of loyal followers, you’ll have a customer base excited to see what your next offering is.

When you’ve got people on the edge of their seats waiting for your next product announcement or special offer, you’ll know that learning how to start a mail order business was an excellent idea!

How to Start a Gardening Business

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Learning how to start a gardening business is a great idea for anyone who loves being outside and has a green thumb!  Both vegetable and flower gardening have gained in popularity in the past few years, so this is a great time to start a gardening business.  In fact, the retail numbers on plants and gardening supplies are through the roof compared to just a few years ago.

A gardening business can take on many forms, all of which are currently in demand.  Some of these include gardeners, landscapers, gardening stores, and freelance garden professionals.  This potentially lucrative field allows you to combine your love of plants and gardening with a great business opportunity.

Finding a niche while learning how to start a gardening business will be important.  As a retail gardening business, you would have to compete with the huge retailers, but by focusing on one niche market, this won’t be as much of an issue.  One direction to consider – which has become popular lately – is concentrating on only environmentally responsible plants, garden pest control products, and fertilizers.

The other area where you can differentiate yourself from the big box stores is in your level of service and expertise.  If you are a gardening expert, chances are good that you know a lot more about this field than the kid the home improvement store hired.

If you want to avoid competing with the large retailers altogether, consider becoming a freelance landscaper or gardener.  If you really know your stuff in these areas, you can do very well.

What You’ll Need to Succeed in a Gardening Business

As with any business, you will need to get a business license to start a gardening business.  Depending on where you live, there might also be other certifications and requirements, so be sure to check with your local licensing office for details.

A big part of learning how to start a gardening business is learning as much as you can about all the plants that grow (and don’t grow) in your area.  You should endeavor to become an expert on which plants thrive during different times of the year, in various soil conditions, and in each possible light condition.

Also consider carrying indoor plants and accessories that can be used year-round.  You don’t want your business to completely stop in the winter, if you live in an area where it snows.

You will want to stock a good number of plants, whether you decide to make your gardening business a retail store or work as a freelancer.  Get to know your local greenhouses and develop relationships with the best ones.  You will be able to negotiate wholesale rates in most cases, but quality will be more important than price.  Your customers will be willing to pay a little more for the best.

To market your gardening business, the Internet, as well as local print advertising are your best bets.  Create a website that demonstrates your expertise and the quality of your work, and make sure you work on your SEO so that the search engines find you.  You can also consider holding workshops on various gardening subjects.  These can be free workshops that will lead to the participants using your services, or you can charge for them.

Learning how to start a gardening business can be a lot of fun, and it can be a profitable business venture.  It takes work and know-how, but it’s all worth it when you look around and realize you are the owner of a thriving business!

How to Start a Wedding Invitation Business

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When you learn how to start a wedding invitation business, you will be entering a world of fun, creativity, and profit.  Every year, millions of people get married, and almost all send out wedding invitations.  So the potential for a wedding invitation business is very good.

Learning how to start a wedding invitation business is for you, if you love to work with people, love weddings, and have a flair for design and creativity.  Your artistic abilities will come into play, as will your ability to deliver your product on time, as promised.

What You’ll Need to Succeed

In most cases, you will be able to run your wedding invitation business from home.  Another option is to partner with another business that caters to people getting married, such as a florist or wedding planner.

In either case, you will need to purchase some quality design software that will allow you to create any design you and your clients can imagine.  Also, develop a relationship with a local printer who can print very high quality invitations and who has a reputation for on time delivery.

As you get started in your wedding invitation business, be sure to keep a sample of each wedding invitation you create. You can use these samples to build a portfolio of your work, which will become an important sales tool.

Something else you will need as you learn how to start a wedding invitation business is a thick skin.  Tastes and preferences differ, and you might create a design that you love, only to have it rejected by your client.  It is important not to take these situations personally and view them as an opportunity to provide what your client considers to be the perfect wedding invitation.

Marketing A Wedding Invitation Business

Part of learning how to start a wedding invitation business is learning how to market it.  You’ll want to let anyone getting married in your area know that you are the best choice for their wedding invitations.  This is where partnerships and relationships with others in the wedding field come in very handy.  While those getting married are you clients, it is a good idea to target your marketing to florists, wedding planners, caterers, formal wear shops, and others that cater to people planning a wedding.

Creating a high quality website, with examples of your best work, is also a great idea.  Using the internet as a sales tool, you do not need to limit your market to your local area.  You can sell your creations to the world!

As your wedding invitation business takes off, don’t be surprised when people ask you to create invitations for other events too.  This is a great expansion opportunity.  Birthdays, graduations, retirements, and charity events are just a few of the occasions where people need invitations.  Once you are supplying invitations to a steady stream of satisfied customers, you will be very glad you took the time to learn how to start a wedding invitation business.

How to Start a Welcome Wagon Business

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Do you love to meet new people and have a flair for hospitality? Then learn how to start a welcome wagon business!  The purpose of a welcome wagon business is to welcome new people into your neighborhood or town by giving them a welcome basket of great stuff, provided by local businesses.

New people receiving baskets pay nothing for your service, but local store and service business owners will pay either a flat fee or commission for being included in your welcome baskets.  It is a true win-win business, as new residents feel welcomed, local merchants get to advertise their businesses inexpensively, and you make a very nice profit.

What You’ll Need to Succeed

In addition to coupons and merchandise from local businesses, your baskets will contain valuable information for those moving to your area.  This includes police and fire department information, local government contact info, and guides to local tourist sites.  Some who learn how to start a welcome wagon business are also sure to include neighborhood association information, parks and recreation details, hospital doctor’s office locations, utility company phone numbers and web sites, nearby restaurants and theatres, and other information that will help a new resident acclimate more easily.

Providing relevant, useful information and fun, valuable offers and merchandise in your baskets will be important for merchant participation as well as creating buzz about your service.

Marketing Your Welcome Wagon Business

When you learn how to start a welcome wagon business, you quickly realize you have two sets of “customers.”  The new residents who receive you baskets must be cared for, and the merchants who are placing discounts or items in your baskets are the clients who are providing your revenue.

Your marketing efforts will primarily be aimed at local merchants.  The best way to reach these business owners is to go and talk with them.  If you are not comfortable cold calling, this might not be the business for you – unless you have the resources to hire a sales person.

In addition to going to places of business to speak with business owners, you can also attend local networking events where business owners go to mingle with other like minded people.  These events are a good opportunity to meet the right people and begin a dialog, but don’t try to sell anything at the event.  Simply meet as many members of your target audience as possible, impress them with how professional and polite you are, then follow up in the days after the networking event.

Many welcome wagon businesses also create a website where they have valuable information and coupons for new residents, and merchants pay to advertise on the site.  In fact, some welcome wagon services are completely online.  If you decide to run your welcome wagon business with a website component, the key to success is making the site attractive, easy to navigate, and relevant.  Make sure all the information on the site is up to date and accurate.

Once you have realized success with your welcome wagon business, it’s time to think about expanding into other nearby communities.  You could even consider franchising your model and selling franchise licenses throughout the country.  When you learn how to start a welcome wagon business, the sky is the limit!

How to Start a Senior Portraits Business

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If you have photography skills and a winning personality, you might want to consider learning how to start a senior portraits business.  In the senior portraits business, you will be creating memories for teenage girls and boys who are about to enter their senior year of high school.  Helping them look their best and producing high quality work will be paramount to your success.

The students who use your services will want to have pictures in several poses and then choose the one that they like best for their yearbook and to hand out to family and friends.

What You’ll Need to Succeed

In addition to professional photography equipment, such as cameras, filters, lenses, lighting, and props, you will also need a good computer to keep track of clients, the ability to print final pictures once proofs are created and reviewed, and some marketing abilities will be important as well.

As you are learning how to start a senior portraits business, think about the location you will want to find for your studio.  You want it to be easily accessible, with plenty of room for several photography settings, and an outside area that is suitable for photographs would be nice too. You don’t have to locate in a high end retail area, but you do want your shop to have good visibility and be in a good area of town.

Some people who start a senior portraits business operate out of their homes.  This is a great way to reduce your startup costs, as long as your home is suitable for your senior portraits business.

Find out the school colors of each of your local high schools, and make sure you have backgrounds and props to match each of them.  You might even want to consider having backdrops created with the various school mascots on them.

Other items you will need to invest in when starting a senior portraits business include: software to track clients, their appointments, and their work, an accounting and payment system of some kind, and professional photo editing software.  Of course at least one photo printer and quality paper are also necessities.

You don’t have to have any specialized training to start a senior portraits business, but you will obviously need to be a good photographer to realize success.  Also important will be your ability to create a comfortable, fun environment for the teens you are photographing.  In some cases, you might even want to consider using a nice local park as a spot for outdoor portraits.

Marketing a Senior Portraits Business

Think about the amount of competition in your area when considering how to start a senior portraits business.  You will need to differentiate yourself from your competition if you hope to be successful.

One way you can do this is to form relationships with the high schools in your area.  Consider sponsoring their teams and supporting them in other ways.  If they will allow it, leave some high quality pamphlets at the office of the various schools – or even in the lunchroom.  It is also sometimes possible to purchase advertising in the school yearbooks.  This is a must whenever possible.

As your business grows, consider expanding into other areas of photography.  If you are good at what you do, don’t be surprised when your customers (or their parents) start asking you to do other photography work for them.  That’s when you’ll know that learning how to start a senior portraits business was a wise choice!

How to Start a Cake Decorating Business

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If you’re the one in your family or among your kids’ friends’ parents who is always asked to make cakes, why not learn how to start a cake decorating business? If you’re good, there is a lot of opportunity in this low overhead, fun small business idea.

Professional cake decorators make cakes for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and many more special occasions. There are enough opportunities for well decorated cakes that if you market yourself well and produce a great product, you’re sure to stay busy.

What You’ll Need to Succeed with a Cake Decorating Business

Before you get too far into learning how to start a cake decorating business, take a moment to find out what kinds of licenses and permits you will need to operate such a business from your home. Of course you can open a shop for your business, but to keep overhead low, a home business is ideal. If you are not allowed to operate a food business from your home in your area, and opening a shop isn’t in the cards, renting a commercial kitchen on an as needed basis is a good alternative.

When you start a cake decorating business, you can work as much or as little as you like. This is a perfect business for someone who is looking for some extra money to supplement their regular income, and it can grow into a full time venture if that’s what you desire.

You will need to invest in some high quality baking pans, bowls, and decorating implements, if you don’t already have them. Purchasing cake molds of various types, including cupcake tins, is a good idea, but you might want to buy them as needed to reduce startup costs. For the most part, you can buy all your baking and pastry supplies and ingredients as orders come in, and if you charge half of your price up front, you might even get by with no out of pocket costs!

How to Market a Cake Decorating Business

When learning how to start a cake decorating business, you have the option of focusing your marketing efforts on individuals, corporations, or resale outlets, like local bakeries and supermarkets. All of the big chain grocery stores have bakeries in them, but smaller local stores might not. Also, while bakeries bake their own cakes, they might not have someone on staff who is an expert cake decorator.

Connecting with local event and wedding planners and other party planners can provide a flow of customers as well. Most big events, from weddings to company grand openings, will feature a well decorated cake, and you can be the one providing them.

Using free classified websites, and advertising in your local paper can also bring in quite a bit of business. Whenever possible, display pictures of your work when advertising. If you take a picture of every cake you decorate, your portfolio will continue to grow, and so will your customer base.

Many people who learn how to start a cake decorating business do so because they are decorating cakes anyway. If this is you, make a small business of it, and start getting paid for your efforts!

How to Start a Judgment Recovery Business

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If you have seen any of the daytime court TV shows, you already have some idea of what a judgment recovery business is all about.  Very often, when someone takes a person to court, one of the parties in the case is awarded financial damages.  But just because the court has ordered one party to pay the other doesn’t mean they will necessarily pay.  That’s where your judgment recovery business will come in.

If it sounds like learning how to start a judgment recovery business is much like starting a collection firm, you aren’t far off.  Your job will be to collect on judgments that the court has made but that the paying party has not paid.  When you accomplish this, you will receive a fee, usually a percentage (typically 50%) of the total collected.

While you can offer your judgment recovery services to anyone, commercial accounts are where many people choose to focus their efforts.  Court awards tend to be higher in business cases, and it is easier to reach business clients than individuals, for marketing purposes.

What You’ll Need to Succeed in a Judgment Recovery Business

Finding people and businesses that need your services takes some research, but it isn’t difficult.  Court judgments are part of the public record, so it is just a matter of going to the courthouse or county clerk’s office to look up recent judgments.

Businesses often have a difficult time collecting on bad debt, and this can be even more so the case with a court awarded judgment.  So your services might be in high demand in your area.  Because they are giving up half of what you collect, businesses typically try to collect through their own methods before hiring a judgment recovery business.  But if you are good at what you do, word will get around, and you might just find that many businesses will turn to you sooner, to avoid the hassle and expense of in-house collections.

If you are worried about confronting those who owe judgments or the collection methods you will need to use in your judgment recovery business, it might not be as hard as you would expect.  Most of the work you will do – if not all of your work – will take place through the court system, and you might never actually meet or speak with the person you are collecting from.  Because these are court ordered judgments, methods of collection can include seizing bank accounts, garnishing wages, and placing their property in lien.  You will need to learn how to go about doing all of this, but it is not difficult once you learn it and become comfortable with the process.

The learning process for starting a judgment recovery business can be long, but there are many online resources that can help you learn the ropes.  Mostly, you will want to get to know the folks at your local courthouse and read your local civil codes to understand exactly what you are and are not allowed to do.

The great news is that the overhead for this business is extremely low, and you can make a very good living at it, once you know how to start a judgment recovery business.

How to Start an Auto Glass Repair Business

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Learn how to start an auto glass repair business if you are the kind of person who likes being out and about, meeting new people, and being rewarded in balance with your own efforts.  This is and always will be an in demand business, as windshields are continually getting cracks and chips that must be fixed before turning into larger cracks that require expensive windshield replacement.  As long as there is not too much competition in your area, your low cost methods of auto glass repair will be a welcome, much needed service, wherever you are located.

One of the best selling points of auto glass repair is that often times there is no out of pocket expense to the customer, as many insurance companies waive their deductibles for auto glass repair.  They know that if they don’t cover the cost of auto glass repair, they will just end up covering the much more costly service of auto glass replacement.

What You’ll Need to Succeed in Auto Glass Repair

To start an auto glass repair business, you will need to purchase some specialized equipment.  This auto glass repair system works by removing air from the crack or chip and replacing it with one of a variety of different kinds of resin.  When you purchase equipment, it is likely to come with several necessary tools and resins, and possibly heat exchangers and moisture evaporators.

Both the quality of the resin you use and the quality of your equipment will be big factors in determining your success in the auto glass repair business.  It is better to spend the money to get the best equipment than to gain a reputation for work that is less than perfect.  With the high end of the equipment spectrum being around $1,500, you won’t have to make a huge investment, even when you go with the best equipment.

You will of course need to learn how to use whichever system you purchase, and the good news is that most of them come with instructional DVDs and other educational materials to walk you through the auto glass repair process.

Once you have completed at least 200 auto glass repairs and have worked in the industry for a minimum of six months (or been formally trained), you can become a Certified Auto Glass Repair Technician.

Marketing Your Auto Glass Repair Business

When you learn how to start an auto glass repair business, you have a choice between catering to commercial clients or consumers.  Commercial clients you might target are car lots, auto repair garages, and body shops.  The advantage to focusing on commercial accounts is that you might be able to do a number of repairs at the same location.  The competition is stiff in this market in many areas though, so be sure to check it out where you are.

One way to target consumers is to go door to door.  This is especially effective if you first see a vehicle at their house that is in need of auto glass repair.  Once you tell them that their insurance might cover the entire cost of your service, what do they have to lose?  Flyering cars in large parking lots can work well too, but be sure to check your local ordinances first.

The bottom line is that when you learn how to start an auto glass repair business, you have the flexibility to run it however you please, and to change direction whenever necessary.  This makes the auto glass repair business an entrepreneur’s dream!

How to Start a Vending Machine Business

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For a business that lets you set your own hours and gives you freedom to work at your own pace, learning how to start a vending machine business is the ticket.  Convenience is the name of the game in today’s society, and vending machines provide a quick solution for thirst, hunger, and a number of other needs.

The multi-billion dollar vending machine industry is continually growing and innovating, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Today, you can get a lot more from a vending machine than a candy bar or can of soda. Everything from razors to iPods can be purchased from vending machines. Some are even stocked with nearly as many items as a convenience store!

The vending machine business is a great way to start an entrepreneurial venture part time and work into full time status as the business grows. For someone leery about leaving a steady job for self employment, this transition is perfect.

What You’ll Need to Succeed

When planning how to start a vending machine business, remember to take into account all your expenses. Remember that you’ll be driving from location to location to collect money and restock your machines, so don’t forget to include gas, wear and tear, maintenance, and insurance for your vehicle in your costs of doing business.

Your first task when you start a vending machine business will be to find locations for your machines. Vending machines can be found pretty much anywhere that people can be found, so there aren’t many bad locations. Building managers and business owners will be your target market for placing your machines, and they’ll be willing to listen to you if you present a professional, pleasant approach.

Another important consideration is which kinds of vending machines you will specialize in. Candy and soda machines can be found all over, so think about placing unique products in high traffic areas to stand out from the crowd. Be careful though – if you end up placing higher dollar items in your machines, make sure they are located in good neighborhoods.

If you notice other vendors’ machines that are out of product often, it might be an opportunity to take over that spot and service the client better than they are. Just make sure you deliver on your promise to keep your machines well stocked.

When you’ve decided what you’ll carry and where you will place your machines, it’s time to buy or lease the vending machines. While it is possible to purchase good used vending machines, be sure they are in good shape and that they work well. Nothing is more frustrating to a customers than putting money into a machine and not getting a product out.

Research online to find out which machines fit within your budget and will work best for your purposes. From there, it’s just a matter of keeping your machines stocked, collecting money, and always expanding to new locations. Many people who have learned how to start a vending machine business have built their businesses into thriving companies, and you can too!

How to Start a Courier Business

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When you learn how to start a courier business, you are filling a very real need in the business community.  Although the Internet and email have replaced a lot of the need for quick courier services, there are still many documents and items that need to get from one office to another the same day, and couriers are often the only option available.

Not only are couriers less expensive than having their own employees deliver items to other offices, but using a courier avoids taking an employee away from his or her regular work.  Also, the larger delivery companies don’t offer the same level of same day service most couriers provide.

Before getting too far into the process of how to start a courier business, make sure there is a need in your city for this service.  Chances are, there will be competition, but don’t let that scare you.  If you can provide a higher level of service, you’ll be able to compete just fine.

One of the best ways to determine whether or not there is a need for a courier service where you live is to network with business owners and managers.  Attend networking events sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce or other business organizations, and get to know the office managers and business owners.  Architects, lawyers, and doctors are prime candidates for your service.  When you talk to these managers, ask if they use a courier service, what they like most about the service and (most importantly) what they would change about it if anything.  This information will be invaluable to you once you start a courier business.

You’ll also need to determine some other specifics before you start a courier business.  These include: your delivery area, the types of packages you will deliver, and your company’s pricing.  Also consider whether or not you will hire a staff to help you.  At first, it might make sense to start on your own, but your business might grow quickly, and you don’t want to turn away work, so have a hiring solution in place before this happens.

How to Market Your Courier Business

Part of the process of figuring out how to start a courier service is finding ways to market your service.  Getting clients might not be easy at first, but if you follow the networking model above, you’re bound to start with a few who will give you a try.

Beyond networking, place ads in your local business journals and newspapers.  Target the publications office managers and business owners are likely to read.  Also get some business cards made and visit as many offices as you can in your area.  Once a few clients agree to give your service a try, you can use this when talking with other potential clients.  It will be difficult to balance your marketing efforts with the work you must perform as a courier, so it is a good goal to hire help as soon as it makes sense.

However you market your service, the real key to your success will be in how you treat your customers and follow through on your promises.  Get a reputation for on time, friendly delivery, and you’ll be successful.  Then just think of how glad you will be that you learned how to start a courier business!