How To Start a Home-Based Word Processing Business
by Janice D. Byer, CCVA, MVA
Docu-Type Administrative & Web Design Services
So, you want to start your own home-based word processing business? Where do you begin? What do you need to do to get a word processing business started? Well, I could go on and on! There are so many things that need to be covered to assist you in getting started. So, let's get to it!
First and foremost, please be sure that you are really serious about starting this kind of business. It takes a lot of time and effort to get a business like this off the ground. You will end up working a lot of hours to market your business, but, if you are anything like myself, it is completely uplifting and rewarding to know that you are accomplishing such a tremendous task. Each time a new client comes on board, you get a feeling of exhilaration and satisfaction.
You will find times when you are feeling discouraged and wondering what the heck you have gotten yourself into, but these fears are quickly alleviated when you get a request for a quotation or, better yet, you get a new client.
When I first started this business, I spent a lot of time researching both the demographics in my area as well as the viability of running a business that can help people worldwide. There are many sites on the web that can help you out, but to list them here would be too much.
I will however recommend one site that was a godsend to me. The site is called The Word Processors Web Site (how appropriate ;-). This site is the brainchild of Diana Ennen, owner of Ennen Computer Service. She has put together a site devoted to helping home-based Word Processors compete and succeed in today's business market.
One feature of this site is Diana's book..." Words From Home". This book includes everything you ever wanted to know about starting this kind of business (see our Book Review). Now, if you are based in Canada (as I am) some aspects of the book will not apply to you. Such areas as Taxes are American based and will have no affect on your endeavor to be an entrepreneur. To find this kind of information for Canadians, simply do an inquiry in any search engine.
You may be a bit skeptical about buying something off the web, I know I was. But, this book is well worth the $29.95 (plus whatever taxes & shipping). It has been my bible for running this business. I have used and continue to use it so much that I may have to order a new copy to replace my tattered, well-worn copy that is on my desk now.
As you can tell, I highly recommend this book. It is far better than any other book I have read on this subject. Oh, and when you order, let Diana know I sent you. She is trying to keep track of where her referrals are coming from.
Now, on to other areas that may help you. I did a search of virtual assistance and word processors in the major search engines when I was getting started. From each one I got an idea or two and have combined all the various aspects of each competitor to produce the business that we have now. You should do the same. Take a look at your competitors and get ideas that can help you. Each one is original in it's own right and can provide you with a different view of how to make this kind of business successful.
Before you start trying to acquire a clientele, be sure you have decided on an appropriate name. Docu-Type stands for Document Typing...now if that doesn't say it all I don't know what will. Believe me, I went through dozens of potential names before deciding on Docu-Type.
Then put together a business card and brochure. I have recently written an article on marketing strategies...."You Are What You Communicate" which outlines the steps you should follow when trying to convey your message on paper or on the web.
Let's see, what else....well, as most of my associates will attest to, I am a big supporter of Networking. Every opportunity you get, give your literature to someone. Even if they may never need your services, they may know someone who does, or someone who knows someone who does. The chain could go on forever.
Attend your local networking meetings. I belong to several networking groups and have found them to be a wealth of information and contacts. Again, look up 'networking' in any search engine to find more information.
Also, join business associations in your area. We are members of the Brampton Board of Trade (http://www.bramptonbot.com) and the other members are in the same mind set as we are. They are part of this group to find new clients and work with new strategic alliances (which is another topic altogether). They work together to improve the business and residential sectors of our community.
Sign up for online newsletters, they can be a wealth of information. Start with ours (sorry, shameless plug :-). There are so many out there these days that are loaded with great ideas and tips. We, personally, receive over 30 a month. Now, some of them may not cover topics that you are interested in, so you simply have to unsubscribe. But most will give you a guiding hand for running your business.
Pick up business magazines whenever you get a chance. These, too, are loaded with helpful information. As I said above, we could go on and on about starting and growing this kind of business. Take a small business course, continually upgrade your skills, and buy Diana's book...it will guide you through other steps that you can take.
I hope this helps you get started and guides you to success. Remember that this is a long and rewarding road that you are taking. Live, learn and enjoy!