Saturday, July 7, 2007

Advertising Agency

  • Start-up cost: RM7,000-RM16,000
  • Potential earnings: RM35,000-RM75,000
  • Typical fees: RM75-RM150 per hour, a monthly retainer, or a per-job basis
  • Advertising: Networking, trade publications, teaching at a community college or adult school
  • Qualifications: Knowledge of design, layout, and typography; writing skills; experience
  • Equipment needed: Computer with modem and high-resolution printer, presentations, desktop publishing, and photo software, scanner, CD-ROM, fax, copy machine, business card.
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: Organizational dues and schmoozing may get costly
  • Lowdown: You’re probably not going to be doing ads for Cellcom, but if you are motivated and highly skilled you can build up a home-based ad agency serving clients in a specialized area. To get a foothold, you’ll need to have experience from a larger agency, or a source of clients who know you and respect your interest in what they do. Activities such as collecting or participating in a special sport could be your lead-in to a small but profitable market. Or you could specialize in one type of store, one product, or a type of service. You will get to know your client organizations well, and you will draw on all of your creativity, both verbal and graphic. New ways of getting a commercial message out to the public are revolutionizing the advertising field, so creativity extends into the nature of the business itself as well. Very few businesses can succeed without advertising in one way or another, so your creativity and awareness of market needs has many possible customers. You’ll need to educate your clients about the value of advertising—even when things don’t seem to be going very well for the company or when they are overbooked with too much business.
  • Start-Up: High-end computers with the graphics and print-production software now available enable small agencies to produce ads that once required an entire art department. Setting up this equipment is expensive, though, and could cost from RM3,000-RM5,000. Bill out between RM75-RM150 per hour, or determine your rates on a per-job basis that takes into account how much work is actually involved in the project. Many ad agencies also work on monthly retainers of RM500 or more; again, look at the workload and the time and expertise involved in each project.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: Advertising is a rewarding occupation because it relies so heavily on ideas and inspiration, connected directly to business results. Successful ad agency personnel (in this case, you) develop close relationships with their clients. You’ll be serving an area or group that you know about and enjoy, and you’ll be using all of your talents to do so. As a one-man (or -woman) band, you must be able to do all the facets of the advertising process, from sales to writing and pasteup. The pressure never lets up—and the competition for clients is sharklike.

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