Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Home-Based Business - Clip Art Service

  • Start-up cost: RM3,000-RM5,000
  • Potential earnings: RM15,000-RM35,000
  • Typical fees: RM10-RM15 per image or, preferably, a monthly clip service where you provide new images each month for a fee of RM30-RM40 per month
  • Advertising: Business publications, direct mail to advertising/public relations firms
  • Qualifications: A graphics or art background will help build credibility
  • Equipment needed: Computer with high-resolution laser printer and scanner
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: Your resource materials will run high at first if you use other people’s clip art; if designing your own, watch for best prices on art materials
  • Lowdown: Downsizing has severely affected the art departments of many corporations, with many now outsourcing to freelancers or buying predesigned work to paste into their presentations. Smaller agencies are also turning to nontraditional solutions for quick, inexpensive art. What is quicker and easier than copyright-free pictures that can be copied and pasted (or even scanned) into any of your business publications in a matter of minutes? The fact is, there are thousands of decent illustrations out there, whether in clip art books (available in most book stores for a nominal fee) or in software programs dedicated to specific themes (such as business art, sports art, cartoons, and religious art). The obvious problem with running a clip art business is that you’re competing against literally hundreds of software programs that can do the same thing. Your major strategic selling point, then, becomes the fact that you have it all to choose from in one place, and that your availability is even better than overnight delivery. If you can sell your customers on those two concepts, you stand a fighting chance of making it. However, it would be wise to come up with an add-on service, such as cartooning or small-scale art production, to help you keep a steady income rolling in. Also, think of producing your own clip art and selling clients on the fact that it was specially designed by you.
  • Start-Up: Your start-up fees could be quite high, especially compared to your first-year potential earnings. You’ll need to invest in just about every clip art book and software program you can get your hands on in order to build a sufficient enough library for clients to choose from, and that could cost anywhere from RM1,000-RM1,500 total. Next, you’ll need to advertise in business publications or through direct mail to advertising and public relations companies, and that could run as high as RM3,000. When you consider that your charges may be as little as RM10 per image, it doesn’t take a wizard to see that the return on investment will take a while. Your best bet is to try to design your own clip art and market it on a subscription basis to local companies; for a monthly fee of RM20-RM40, you could earn more money on a more regular basis.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: You’ll really need to network with advertising and promotion specialists to get this business off the ground. Understand that people buy people, not just art, and that your biggest asset is personalized service. You can save companies time by searching through a myriad of resources for that perfect image—stress that point in everything you do.

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