Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Computer Consultant

  • Start-up cost: RM5,000-RM13,000
  • Potential earnings: RM40,000-RM100,000
  • Typical fees: RRM75-RM150 per hour
  • Advertising: Referrals, direct mail, publications, networking
  • Qualifications: Technical knowledge, specialty knowledge, people and time-management skills
  • Equipment needed: High-end computer, hardware and software, copier, fax, office furniture, business card, letterhead, envelopes
  • Staff required: No; must be able to subcontract outside of specialty
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: On-line service; time and expense of staying current in fast-changing field
  • Lowdown: It’s getting very hard to operate any business without a computer system, so almost anyone is a potential client if you know how to match up a computer system with their needs. Computer consulting is a big field today and will continue to grow rapidly in the near future. Many computer consultants become as essential to their clients as the systems themselves, earning a steady income in the process. This field is for individuals with wide expertise in hardware and software. Even more important is an ability to see issues from the client’s point of view. What are his or her real problems, and what creative solutions to those problems will be best served using computer technology? You will probably need to focus on one area of specialization, such as networking computers, or on one type of business, such as retail outlets or physician offices.
  • Start-Up: Your own business must have a computer system, including software, that is comparable to those of your clients. This will be your major expense, but if you have the expertise to operate this business, you probably have much of the equipment and software already. You’ll also need a high-quality copier and a fax/modem. The essential organizational dues and on-line services can also add surprisingly to your operating expenses. But, if you charge the going rates of RM75 and up per hour, you should be able to earn back your initial investment in as little as six months.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: Computer consulting is for big-picture people also skilled in keeping track of details. Each client and situation is different, making for a very stimulating work life. You will be able to function outside of normal time-space restrictions and you won’t find competitors undercutting you with cookie-cutter services. But computer consulting is extremely demanding. You will often be working under a deadline or in a crisis situation; you must produce what you promise and be able to train your clients’ employees to make the system work under real conditions. Bidding jobs is challenging, especially at first—keeping track of billing is essential.
Community-Based Coupon Books
  • Start-up cost: RM1,000-RM5,000
  • Potential earnings: RM15,000-RM30,000
  • Typical fees: Ad rates vary (but generally start at RM300-RM500 per ad); plus, you can sell the books to the public for an average cover price of RM29.95
  • Advertising: Yellow Pages, community newspapers, local radio
  • Qualifications: Ability to relate to both businesses and the public, one-on-one
  • Equipment needed: Computer, software, printer
  • Staff required: Yes
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: Phone and mileage for ad sales reps
  • Lowdown: You’ll be providing a useful service for both the businesses and the public. Businesses offer discounts to attract customers; you are aiding them in their marketing strategies by publicizing these discounts. You will sell advertising space in your coupon books, produce them with a printer, and then sell them to consumers through the mail. If you enjoy people and are good at presenting your "product," you will find that many customers in your community are receptive to receiving discounts from businesses they know and respect. The best part is, your revenue is collected from both sides (the advertiser and the buyer)—so you have a double stream of income.
  • Start-Up: It requires a lot of legwork to get a business like this started, but the end-product—an inexpensively printed booklet—is your major cost. Perhaps you can strike a deal with a local printer, offering a percentage of the take. Or, shell out the RM1,000-RM5,000 in your first six months of start-up—if you sell enough ads and begin to generate simultaneous interest from the public, you’ll make enough to cover printing (and still have quite a bit left over).
  • Bottom-Line Advice: You’re creating a business enterprise out of almost nothing as you develop and sell your coupon book. This is truly a business that depends on hard work. Many individuals find a deep sense of satisfaction in knowing that they have provided a useful community service while making a profit at the same time. However, gathering enough coupon commitments from businesses is difficult: selling has its discouraging days. This is an enterprise for people with a lot of determination and a great deal of free time to successfully promote the book to the public.

Home-Based Business - Collection Agency

Collection Agency
  • Start-up cost: RM3,000-RM10,500
  • Potential earnings: RM30,000-RM60,000
  • Typical fees: 25 percent commission
  • Advertising: Phone solicitation, networking, writing articles for local publications, public speaking
  • Qualifications: Good communication skills, patience, high self-esteem, budgeting skills; clear understanding of the Debtors' Act and Small Claims Courts procedures, any relevant state laws and health insurance policies and billing practices if working with the medical field
  • Equipment needed: Computer with modem, printer, fax, word-processing and spreadsheet software, specialized collection software and phone with optional headset
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: Organizational dues for networking purposes; state and city licenses are typically required; fees for on-line services
  • Lowdown: Are you an addict of Unsolved Mysteries? Collectors are often put to the test as they track down elusive debtors. Using special collections software and a PC, a collection service becomes very efficient as it reduces the time and labor for handling mail and accounting. Additionally, on-line services cut the cost of tracking debtors considerably.
  • Start-Up: It is essential that you take advantage of the many high-tech devices that will make the collection process easier. A computer and modem is essential, as is customized collection software. Costs ranging from RM3,000-RM57,000 for these basics are average. Don’t forget to shop around for the best fee on phone line usage.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: The collection process is often frustrating. Keeping your self-esteem intact in the face of rejection is necessary. Although confrontation of unpaid bills can be emotionally draining, the work never ceases to be challenging and rewarding. In some cases, you are able to solve debtors’ financial problems and keep them from bankruptcy. When all parties agree on a suitable payment plan, everyone wins.

Home-Based Business - Clipping Service

Clipping Service
  • Start-up cost: RM1,500-RM3,000
  • Potential earnings: RM15,000-RM25,000
  • Typical fees: RM2-RM4 per clip (or a monthly fee for a predetermined number of clips)
  • Advertising: Local papers, business publications
  • Qualifications: Be observant and read voraciously! Access to a copier and various publications, word processor/typewriter, envelopes
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: Subscriptions could run high as a whole; try to negotiate the best possible rates or use on-line services; postage
  • Lowdown: Have you always clipped articles and pinned them to your bulletin board for future use? Or are you an avid reader who’s always clipping and mailing articles to people you know? You just might be able to make a living with this rather obsessive behavior. A clipping service finds and copies articles of interest to various businesses, including pieces on the company itself and/or its products, employees, the industry of the business, competitors, and related subjects of interest. Being familiar with the local library system is vital, but even more critical is the ability to search using the proper keywords (in the Information Age, you can accomplish such searches fairly easily on the computer). Good research skills and use of a periodical index will save a lot of time and hassle. Patience and curiosity are richly rewarded for folks in this field.
  • Start-Up: A moderately powerful computer, a pair of scissors, access to a copy machine, and a little extra time and money are all you need to get started in this business. None except the computer costs very much (about RM2,000), so you shouldn’t have much getting in the way of an easy start-up. The service that is really being paid for is the time spent searching through literally hundreds of publications. Being paid by the hour rather than by the piece is best; there’s no reliable way to know just how much press each company is generating without putting in a considerable amount of time. Get started by calling the public relations offices of local corporations to find out if they need this service; network in their professional organizations to drum up initial business.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: The most positive aspect of this business is its versatility. If you don’t have a computer, finding a local library with convenient hours is likely the most difficult task involved. Using your own subscriptions is not recommended, since it limits the number of copies available and is more expensive. Watch that on-line time (write down all possible keywords before connecting).

Home-Based Business - Classified Advertising Newspaper

Classified Advertising Newspaper
  • Start-up cost: RM5,000-RM10,000
  • Potential earnings: RM30,000-RM50,000
  • Typical fees: Ad space generally sells for anywhere from RM4 -RM500
  • Advertising: Cold calling, neighborhood bulletin boards, flyers
  • Qualifications: Energy, selling skill, word processing capability
  • Equipment needed: Computer, laser printer, copier, fax/modem, light table
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: Printing can get costly if you don’t know what you’re doing. Be sure to ask your printer how you can keep production costs down
  • Lowdown: Did you know that the classified ad section of the newspaper is the most carefully read section? Classified ads, taken together, are big business—and people do pick up and read publications that are classifieds-only when there is something they want to buy or sell. Persistence and a certain eye for detail are the main ingredients you will need to produce your own classified-only newspaper and circulate it. Selling the ads requires a love of that vital business activity. Putting the paper together will demand word processing skills, though not much in the way of design or layout. You will need to develop an effective method for circulating your newspaper; often such publications are distributed for free (although your existing competitor, Kuala Lumpur Classifieds is charging RM1 per copy) where there is high foot traffic.
  • Start-Up: You’ll need a location where people can come to purchase ad space (rent can start at RM350 per month). If you would like this to be fully home based, you must have an excellent communications set up (telephone, fax, e-mail) .You’ll need adequate computer equipment for the production side of your enterprise (add another RM2,000) and will need to set aside cash for producing the first six months of issues (RM10,000). On the upside, if you promote your paper and make sure it gets distributed in the right places, you could make RM30,000 or more per year just printing classified ads.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: You’re really building an enterprise out of your own energy and sense of business push. No one tells you when to go out selling, how to arrange your material, or where to distribute it. So you’ll have a real sense of ownership and pride, supported by happy customers who return to you because your newspaper has helped them complete the sale of what they’ve advertised. On the other hand, this is a lot of work for one person. Your commitment to complete each issue will be tested and tested again—and if you’re turning out a substandard product, your customers will notice.

Home-Based Business - Child ID Products

Child ID Products
  • Start-up cost: RM20,000-RM40,000
  • Potential earnings: RM35,000-RM50,000
  • Typical fees: Varied according to type of equipment sold; can range anywhere from RM350-RM1,000 per sale
  • Advertising: Direct mail to organizations sponsoring child ID programs
  • Qualifications: None
  • Equipment needed: Video cameras, fingerprinting equipment, background information forms to sell as a distributor
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: Insurance, equipment storage and shipping costs
  • Lowdown: Sadly, too many children are disappearing . . . and many times, it’s due to a bitter divorce and custody battle that went sour. That’s why so many parents are making sure that their children can be easily identified by facial features, voice, and fingerprints—and you can supply the equipment to produce such critical information by rounding up the necessary video cameras, 35mm cameras, and fingerprinting equipment that can be used by police departments and other organizations sponsoring child ID programs through schools, malls, or religious organizations. You’ll especially want to include an extensive profile sheet on each child, with information chronicling birthmarks and/or special medical conditions. You’ll market to organizations across the country that produce regular programs to help give parents peace of mind—it’s a noble profession, and it can be quite profitable if you can work out exceptional deals with your own product suppliers.
  • Start-Up: Your start-up costs will be moderate (RM20,000-RM40,000) due to the fact that you will need to have some product inventory on hand; keeping well-meaning organizations waiting for their child ID products could have a negative effect on business. Your equipment inventory will include video cameras and 35mm cameras, fingerprinting equipment, and detailed information sheets that can be produced via desktop publishing. If you market aggressively, you could make between RM35,000-RM50,000 per year.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: Marketing your services will be kind of tricky at first, since you’re basically selling a service that is based on a negative need. The best thing you can do is tell as many success stories as you can—and recognize that parents everywhere will want to take preventive measures necessary to protect their children against crime.

Home-Based Business - Child Care Referral Service

Child Care Referral Service
  • Start-up cost: RM500
  • Potential earnings: RM10,000- RM35,000
  • Typical fees: RM25 per client
  • Advertising: Classified ads, bulletin boards
  • Qualifications: Should be good at handling multiple tasks and somewhat detail-oriented
  • Equipment needed: Answering machine, pager, or cellular phone
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: None
  • Lowdown: This is a perfect match for those who like to work alone and as a valued resource person. As a child care referral agent, you would provide names and phone numbers of reputable child care professionals in your area—at a cost of about RM25 per caller. You would most likely get your start by placing a classified ad in your local newspaper, then scheduling a meeting time with the prospective client to discuss their needs and particulars with regard to the type of professional they’re seeking. For instance, some career couples are in need of a caregiver to watch their kids all week long, while others just need part-time care for their children. Some will want individual care, others will want you to check out the local service.
  • Start-Up: With a RM500 minimal start-up covering mostly your advertising and telephone costs, you could begin to pull in a profit almost immediately. You will need to build a vast network of child care professionals, which you can easily accomplish by posting flyers in public places (such as Seven Elevens and grocery stores) and combing the ads in your local newspaper to find baby-sitters who are offering their services. If you have a little bit of extra money to play with at the beginning, you should also invest in professional-looking stationery and business cards to convey the best-possible image to your baby-sitters as well as your clients.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: What’s not to like about setting your own hours and having essentially complete control over a low-overhead business? The only obstacle would be limitations with respect to the availability of child care providers or those in need of them. If you live in a small, rural area, this business could max out in a month—but if you are in suburbia, you could really make some decent cash.

Home-Based Business - Carpet/Upholstery Cleaning

Carpet/Upholstery Cleaning
  • Start-up cost: RM1,000-RM3,000 if leasing equipment initially; RM4,000-RM10,000 if buying equipment
  • Potential earnings: RM35,000-RM50,000
  • Typical fees: 20 sen per square foot first room; RM40 each additional room
  • Advertising: Direct mail, Yellow Pages, newspaper ads, coupon books
  • Qualifications: Physically able to do manual labor, some prior experience
  • Equipment needed: Cleaning machine, large quantity of chemical cleaners, some mode of transporting materials
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: No
  • Hidden costs: Fuel for vehicle
  • Lowdown: If "Out, damned spot!" is your battle cry, getting others to enlist your services in the carpet / upholstery cleaning business shouldn’t be too hard. After all, we’ve all spilled seemingly unremovable food or drink on at least one piece of furniture in our homes—and we’ve all thought of paying a professional every once in a while to freshen up the house with a clean-smelling carpet, right? That’s why this is such a recession-proof business; the need for clean places to live never goes out of favor with consumers. You could offer your cleaning services to everyone from individuals to apartment complexes or even corporations, and the best way to get your name out there is through excellent, timely service and its resultant good word of mouth. You’ll sweep the surface dirt from furniture and floors, perform an overall general cleaning, and use industrial-strength spot removers on tough stain areas. Since each room takes approximately an hour to service (if there are few stains requiring more attention), there is the potential for making lots of money once you learn to work quickly and efficiently while maintaining high-quality standards. One final note: Buying cleaning fluids will be slightly more expensive if environmentally safe products are chosen, but many people prefer "green" cleaning products, especially for health reasons. Customers will feel safer and more satisfied when they know there are no toxic residues in their house.
  • Start-Up: Deciding whether to buy or lease equipment at first will depend upon how much capital is available to invest. A carpet cleaning machine itself will cost from RM600-RM3,500, while leasing will run about RM300-RM400 per month. Rotary shampooers and steam extractors are the two current types available, and each has its advantages and disadvantages, but rotary shampooers are the preferred method because they clean more deeply. A good, strong vacuum cleaner is the next most vital tool, and buying a sturdy canister model with a variety of attachments will cost RM400-RM600. The leasing option will be anywhere from RM100-RM200 per month. Access to a reliable vehicle large enough to tote around all equipment and supplies (and petrol to run it) is another expense involved in this business, but really won’t amount to much if you already have a station wagon/truck/van. Include advertising in your budget, which could run anywhere from RM600-RM3,000 for half a year. Coupon books seem to be fruitful ground for carpet cleaning businesses as a starting point for bringing in new customers. For carpets, fees are often 20 sen per square foot plus an additional RM40 or more per each extra room depending on size. Upholstery cleaning is usually done per piece, with fees ranging from RM50-RM150.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: Working for another local company first may give you a good idea of what’s needed to get started and how to proceed from there. As in most trades, experience is essential to success: knowing which contracts to take and which are just impossible, what are appropriate fees for your area, how billing works, and other general questions will make your start-up smoother. Sales skills are a plus since most people don’t realize that they might need your service, or know how often they need it. Calling former customers to find out if the work was performed satisfactorily and offering to repeat it will keep you busy.

Home-Based Business - Buyer’s Information Service

Buyer’s Information Service
  • Start-up cost: RM3,000- RM6,000
  • Potential earnings: RM30,000- RM50,000
  • Typical fees: RM25 and up
  • Advertising: Trade journals, local and national business periodicals, Yellow Pages, memberships in business associations and community groups, networking, referrals
  • Qualifications: understanding of and experience in the purchasing world
  • Equipment needed: Office furniture, computer, high-speed modem, fax, printer, cellular phone, on-line accounts, business cards, letterhead, envelopes
  • Staff required: Yes
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: On-line account fees, utility costs
  • Lowdown: A buyer’s information service does the legwork for overburdened purchasing departments. Researching the features and availability of new or unusual products, parts, or materials takes a great deal of time, experience, and persistence. Outsourcing this specialized work makes sense for many organizations, and your business supplies the need. You will probably specialize in a business type (electronics manufacturing, sports retail) or in a materials area (chemicals, lumber). Having an excellent network will enable you to gather the information your clients want quickly and thoroughly.
  • Start-Up: Communications are vital; you’ll be on the phone a lot, and the Internet will supply much of the information you need (RM3,000 to start). Once you build your network, RM30,000 and up should be easily attained.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: This business is a facet of the "information age." Yes, there’s lots of information available, but finding what is needed, when it’s needed, is possibly even more difficult than it was in the past. Sorting through the blizzard of product data, materials sources, prices, and requirements for the relevant facts is a real challenge. You’ll need to be very persistent, detail-oriented, and focused on your clients’ needs to make a success of this business. Once you become known as "the answer," you’ll have a steady stream of repeat business and referrals.

Home-Based Business - Business Broker

Business Broker
  • Start-up cost: RM2,500- RM7,000
  • Potential earnings: RM100,000 (based on one sale a month for ten months of the year)
  • Typical fees: Standard 10 to 12 percent of the selling price of the business
  • Advertising: Direct mail, telemarketing, networking, referrals, ads in Yellow Pages and business publications
  • Qualifications: Ability to understand financial reports, solid business background, considerable legal knowledge, good sales and "people" skills
  • Equipment needed: Computer and office equipment, telephone, answering machine or voice mail
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: Some states require a real estate broker’s license
  • Lowdown: Business brokers match clients interested in selling a business with others who want to buy—and many are home-based. This field is growing; many people think it’s less risky to buy an existing business than to start a new one. Nearly all brokers represent the client who is selling a business, but a few choose to represent the buyer. Specializing in a particular size or type of business, or in a particular geographic area, brings success to many home-based brokers. Excellent communication skills are vital, particularly empathy and an ability to listen carefully. Strong sales skills, coupled with the essential legal knowledge and business background, will help you establish what may be a most lucrative business.
  • Start-Up: Computer, printer, and software (some specialized) will cost an average of RM3,500. Add to this at least RM700 for office furniture, phone, letterhead, and supplies. Your earnings will hinge on whether you’re able to strike a deal; if so, take a 10 to 12 percent cut on the selling price.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: Network, network, network! Talk to people who own businesses, figure out what associations they belong to, and join them. Take some adult education courses, if necessary, to help you learn more about the unfamiliar aspects of your new business. Get referrals from lawyers, accountants, and bankers. Getting businesses to sell is hard work (although specialization helps) and you don’t get paid until you sell something, but it’s fun to act as matchmaker and satisfying to help your clients succeed. Your expenses and start-up costs are low, and the opportunity to make a great living is excellent. Nothing succeeds like success, so once you make a great match, you’ll have a basis on which to build future business.

Home-Based Business - Barter Systems

Barter Systems
  • Start-up cost: RM500-RM1,000
  • Potential earnings: RM15,000 and up
  • Typical fees: RM15 or more per transaction
  • Advertising: Penny savers, community newspaper classifieds, bulletin boards, flyers, networking, participation in community activities related to recycling, cooperative grocery stores
  • Qualifications: Friendliness, detail orientation
  • Equipment needed: A computer would help you keep track of the information, but you could use a paper system as well
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: Phone bill may be higher than expected
  • Lowdown: You know everyone. You never waste a penny. You love to solve problems, and to help other people solve theirs. That’s why you will derive great satisfaction from your barter system business. It’s really just putting two and two together: what someone has, with what someone needs, and vice versa. Making it all work as a profitable business will be a bit more challenging than just this (which you have probably been doing on an amateur basis most of your life). Many barter systems are warehouse operations, with individuals buying bulk odd lots and then trying to trade them. You will need to become known, to gather the data, the offerings, and the needs, and to work continually at the matches. Creating some kind of valuation system for disparate objects and services may pose difficulties also: how does a carwash match up with a soccer ball? Trading small ski boots for larger ones is easier.
  • Start-Up: Costs will be minimal (only about RM500 to start). You’ll need some way for your clientele to reach you, and some way to track what is bartered. Your thoughtfulness is your real product in this business. A part-time business should net you around RM15,000.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: Barter systems appeal to people who try to live inexpensively and not wastefully—the cooperative market types, people in academic communities, and creative thinkers who are trying to step off the whirl of consumerism that keeps the rest of us in debt. You’ll develop repeat customers if you can help people achieve their wants, and get rid of their don’t-wants, without the exchange of large sums of money—just a small fee to you for the privilege. This business is a classic example of making something out of nothing. Virtually no investment, no training required, nothing but hard work on your part.

Home-Based Business - Association Management Services

Association Management Services
  • Start-up cost: RM2,000- RM9,000
  • Potential earnings: RM20,000- RM50,000
  • Typical fees: Monthly retainers of RM1,000- RM5,000 are not uncommon (directly dependent upon the association’s size)
  • Advertising: Network with professional and trade associations, advertise in related publications
  • Qualifications: Good organizational, writing, marketing, communication, and motivation skills, an eye for detail, office management or administrative experience is helpful
  • Equipment needed: Office and computer equipment, phone, fax, copier, business cards, letterhead, supplies Home business potential: Yes
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: Membership in associations; subscriptions to related publications
  • Lowdown: From the Association for Association Management (yes, there really is an association for everyone) to the Association for Children for Enforcement of Support, most organizations need help in managing their operations. Especially well-suited to a management service are groups too big to rely solely on volunteers but not big enough to justify hiring someone to do it on a full-time basis. Your services for each client may vary, but may include maintaining membership lists, publishing a newsletter, mailing out information about the organization, keeping records, collecting dues, and handling meetings, events, and fund-raising activities. Not only can you work for an existing organization, you could also start an association of your own. Best bet: base it on your own profession or something else with which you have personal experience.
  • Start-Up: Office and computer equipment are your biggest expenses (about RM2,000). You may be able to get the organization(s) you represent to pay for some supplies, but that is not something to rely on at the business plan stage. Charge a monthly retainer of RM1,000-RM5,000 for your services to make sure you cover all of your expenses; since many of these associations work with volunteers, they may try to take advantage of your expertise, too. Don’t let them. Bottom-Line Advice: Association management provides a great variety of duties and an opportunity to interact with interesting people. You will also get opportunities to learn about an array of topics at meetings and conventions. This is a great opportunity for those with philanthropic tendencies.

Home-Based Business - Abstracting Service

Abstracting Service
  • Start-up cost: RM2,500- RM8,000
  • Potential earnings: RM20,000- RM40,000 per year
  • Typical fees: At least RM 5- RM15 per article (full abstract with index)
  • Advertising: Solicit database publishers, corporations, respond to newspaper ads for abstract work
  • Qualifications: Knowledge in the areas you are abstracting, ability to research a wide range of topics, ability to organize and consolidate data, good writing and communication skills, knowledge of database services and CD-ROM publishers
  • Equipment needed: Computer and modem, fax, printer, software, office furniture, business cards, letterhead, reference books, dictionaries.
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: Keep an eye on on-line time if using these services
  • Lowdown: Abstracters read articles from various publications, summarize them, and store the data on a computer. Some abstracters also index the articles by key words or terms that help the computer locate them quickly. Often abstracters specialize in areas such as engineering, science, and other technical fields; some work in medical and legal fields. A keen interest in reading is very important to your success, as is the ability to retain what you read. Good writing skills and knowledge of the topics you are abstracting is essential, especially for condensing the material. This business could also fit well with an existing editorial services or technical writing business. If you don’t have actual paid experience as an abstracter, you can select articles of interest to certain potential clients, make up a portfolio of samples, and pitch your services to them. You might also talk with database publishers to discuss how you might help them, and vice versa.
  • Start-Up: In addition to basic computer equipment and a word-processing package, you don’t need much beyond office furniture and reference books. Your business can be launched for as little as RM2,500. Charge RM5-RM15 per article.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: Many larger corporations, in particular, rely on abstracting services to keep them updated about competitors and innovations in products and services relating to their businesses. This work allows considerable flexibility in your schedule and requires only a modest investment. Abstracting demands great concentration and careful organization, but also exposes you to a wealth of knowledge and contacts. You also will have the satisfaction of knowing that your work provides a valuable service to your clients.
WeLc0Me t0 mY bLog!!! :)
First of all, let me congratulate you on acquiring the only manual of its kind in Malaysia. The home based businesses sector has quietly boomed in Malaysia over these few years. The main reason being advances in technology which enables many people with regular employment to work in their homes and earn a lucrative income during their free time. Computer software, handphones, divert call facilities and the internet have all contributed to this. Yet, many people still live in the misconception that one has to have capital, skills, contacts and a special entrepreneurial quality to start a business. Well, this is not true if you plan to start and run your business at home.This manual will try to give you 100 ideas on how to earn income at home. But I feel that you should be given a basic guide on how to use this manual to benefit from it 100%
. Keeping Your Costs Low
Throughout this guide you will be informed of an estimation of what you will need to spend to start your home based business. Do not be alarmed if you see the figures running into thousands of ringgit! Actually, the figures refer to what it would cost if you were to embark on a full-time, non-home based operation. For most home based businesses, the start-up cost is around RM200 -RM500.Of course you are wondering: how you are going to purchase all the equipment necessary to start your business - especially computers? The answer is in leasing and outsourcing.By leasing, you will be able to purchase a high performance PC for a downpayment of a few hundred Ringgit and pay instalments of about RM200 monthly. It is important that I use a computer for an example since for most operations you would only need a computer to perform most tasks. Many companies offer this option. You might also want to check out if some companies allow credit card purchases. The repayment on the amount you have used is usually very affordable.If you do not want to commit yourself to any debt, then outsource your work to other part-time operators. I foresee that most of your marketing communications will involve the printing of letterheads & envelopes, invoices, receipt, business cards and brochures. I started off my first home based business, a language consulting business, without a PC and I use a part-time Desktop Publishing operator to handle all my marketing communications. Of course, the cost per task is more expensive than if you were to print your materials on your own but at an expense budget of RM200 a month, I cannot be too choosy. Also, look around for a cheap photocopy shop for making multiple copies. If you agree to use their services on a long-term basis, you will be given very good rates.
Looking Big
If you are running a business, you want to look as big as possible to instill confidence in your first-time customers. Once they like your work, they won't care less if you work part-time from home. So, please use letterheads, printed envelopes and business cards to convey this message.Also, you must take note of the following:
1. Any phone number you give must must be a land line i.e. not exclusively a handphone number. A business card with only a handphone number smacks of a fly-by-night operation. Although you work somewhere else during the day, you can create this image by giving your home phone number as your business number and diverting all calls from your house phone to your handphone. You can even describe it as a '24 hour hotline'! Let's see your corporate competitors do this.
2. Any good business should have a fax. It's best if you have a fax machine connected to your second line. However, if you don't, give your business number as a phone / fax number. If somebody sends in a fax, answer the call quickly and say " I'm sorry our fax is not working today. Please fax your document to our associate company". What you do next is to run to your office's fax to intercept your fax!
3. If you live in a house, it is okay to use it as your business address. This can pass off as an office in a shoplot. But if you live in an apartment or condo, it will be obvious that you work from home when they see the address. Consider using a rented mailing address for this purpose. Look up management services companies in the Yellow Pages which provide this service but make sure it is close to your office so that you collect your mail easily.
Possessing Relevant Skills
It's true that not everybody can start just any kind of business they choose, but don't get disheartened when you see that 80% of the businesses featured in the manual require some form of specialized skill, qualifications or experience. However, if you feel that business is right for you, that's all you need because you can partner with someone who can do the job! Your partners will be those people who have the skills you need but don't have. The difference between you and them is that you are an entrepreneur and they are not. Your function is to sell their services to the market and make a profit out of it. They'll be only too glad to have you find a buyer for their services and make more money per day than they can a week. How you split the income is between you and your partner.But you should at least try to learn as much as possible about the service that you are selling so that your selling job is easier. Most importantly you should learn the skills required so that you can perform the actually task yourself if required.
Synergizing Businesses
In marketing, there is a law which says that "selling to an existing customer is easier and cheaper than selling to a new one". For this, you should expand any business you have started by creating another one selling to same market. For example, if your chosen business is to provide Networking Services, your customers will be other businesses. You should then find it easy to start a Corporate Training service or Management Consulting service by selling to the same customers and their acquaintances. Only be careful about not losing focus.
Pioneer Businesses
Some of the businesses featured here are so new to Malaysians that you might think that there is no market for them. Which reminds me of the story of two shoe salesmen who visited a place and found out that nobody there wears any shoes. The first one says, " Nobody here will want to buy shoes" and writes off the place. The second one says, "Wow, everybody here needs shoes!". Are you the first or the second salesman?
Useful Resources
Along the way, you will be stumped as where to find services which support your business. Well, I exist to help you. I haven't survived this long by relying on expensive and difficult suppliers / vendors!
I wish you all the best in your chosen business. When you make it big, I will be proud in knowing that I were the ones who inspired you to achieve great things…..