There's one business I hear moms wanting to start all the time. They may already have the skills to start this business, or they read an ad stating there are companies out there who are looking for typists to work in the comfort of their home.
The home business I'm speaking of is word processing. While this can be a wonderful business to run from home, there are a few things you should be aware of before you start.
I thought the perfect person to inform you about the facts of starting a word processing business is Diana Ennen, author, "Words From Home: How To Start And Operate a Home-Based Word Processing Business."
Liz: How long have you been working for yourself as a word processor?
Diana: Since 1985.
Liz: What's the biggest reason why most word processors don't make it past the first year?
Diana: They lose their motivation. They think that by simply placing an ad or two or sending out a couple of letters, that will work. You need to be aggressive in the beginning and actively market your business. Plus, you need to have a complete plan of action established. Decide who you want to market to and how you want to market to them. Finally, I believe some don't possess the necessary skills. You don't have to be a super speedy typist, but you absolutely have to be accurate. That's how you obtain new clients and keep your existing clients.
Liz: I read in the classifieds all the time about ads that say a company will give you a list of businesses that are looking for word processors/secretaries. Should a person waste their time or money on them?
Diana: Absolutely not! These listings are almost always scams. Most of the companies don't even know they are on the lists and the ones that do get bombarded with requests. I would avoid these at all costs.
Liz: If you could give one bit of advice to someone just starting out their word processing biz, what would it be?
Diana: Love what you're doing and give it everything you've got. It's a wonderful feeling to own your own business. Enjoy it. Also, always give your clients more than they ask for. Let them know that they are more than just a client to you.
Liz: What's the best way to attract customers?
Diana: I've always had my greatest success by sending out letters to my targeted group. Create a very professional letter informing them of the benefits they can receive by using your services. Keep it short and to the point. Above all, make sure it's absolutely 100% accurate. What I normally do is to type it and let it sit for a couple of days and then go back to it and fine tune it.
Liz: What are the biggest mistakes a word processor can make?
Diana: Not charging enough. They believe if they charge substantially less they will get more work. This is simply not true. Also, many word processors are not consistent in their pricing. It's important to set your rates and keep to them.
Diana Ennen is the author of the book, "Words From Home". It's a 300 page "how to" book on starting a home-based word processing business. For additional information you can e-mail [email protected], phone (954) 784-7416, or http://www.gate.net/~gregnn
Liz Folger is Work-at-Home Mom Expert and author of, "The Stay-at-Home Mom's Guide To making Money". Her book is available at your favorite bookstore or by calling, 800-632-8676. Liz has also created a resource site for work-at-home moms at: http://www.bizymoms.com. When you visit don't forget to sign-up for the free e-newsletter just for moms who work from home. If you have a question that you'd like covered in a column, e-mail her at: [email protected].