Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Digital Imaging Service
  • Start-up cost: RM20,000-RM40,000
  • Potential earnings: RM25,000-RM45,000
  • Typical fees:RM15-RM45 per scanned-image product
  • Advertising: Yellow Pages, mall kiosks and other high people-volume locations
  • Qualifications: Training in equipment
  • Equipment needed: Computer with scanner and video imaging capability
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Possibly
  • Hidden costs: Insurance, equipment maintenance and upgrades
  • Lowdown: The digital craze is on—and it’s not limited to musical instruments or compact disks. You can cash in on the trend by starting your own digital imaging service. You’ve probably seen such businesses in your local shopping mall or at a community flea market: the proprietor simply takes a video image of a person and places it onto a computer screen for printing on a color printer; the image is then transferred to a product (such as a felt banner, T-shirt, or coffee mug) and a personalized gift has been created. It’s that simple, and the product generally sells itself if positioned in a high-traveled area. You can buy a franchise or start your own version if you are familiar enough with the equipment and can work with product vendors. Expect to market your service aggressively; you’ll need to talk to people and have excellent sales ability to make enough money to cover your expenses (particularly mall rent). Still, it’s a fun method of gift-giving for many consumers—and they will buy if you are visible enough.
  • Start-Up: You’ll need RM20,000-RM40,000 for your equipment and space rental, slightly more if you buy a franchise. Your equipment will include a computer with color printer, video camera, and software that permits image transfer from video to computer screen to printer. Thermal transfer equipment will also be necessary to produce those personalized coffee mugs and T-shirts. On the plus side, you might see as much as RM45,000 for little effort on your part.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: Your business will fluctuate according to season; expect low times in the fall and spring, and festive seasons high (complete with long hours and heavy volume).


It isn't the billions of ideas, that pop up in the minds of humans around the globe that make money. Very few ideas are worth the time it took for the thought. Most ideas are fleeting 'sparks' that go no place and are forgotten before the next day. Of the ideas that are very good, very few are followed up and ever end up as a worthwhile development in the market place. Most people are just not oriented to do anything about their ideas, while others believe it would take too much of their time or leave them open to others taking advantage of their original idea and benifiting themselvs. The situation is wide open for the person who can'create' profitable ideas, and then invest some time and money in following through the idea to completion. There are three major formats you can use to create profitable ideas: 1. Find something that already exists, the presence of which has never been known before. 2. Invent something. Most inventions are merely new arrangements of things that have already been invented. 3. Alter or improve in any number of different ways something that already exists. As you create ideas, write them down. What you dream up can be your key to great wealth. Keep your mind open as you go through each day. What did you notice in the department store that would reduce costs, save money or increase sales if some simple procedure were added or something changed?

Monday, April 30, 2007

Day Care Service
  • Start-up cost: RM3,000
  • Potential earnings: RM25,000-RM40,000
  • Typical fees: RM40 per child per week or RM50 per adult per week
  • Advertising: Referral service, bulletin boards, classified ads
  • Qualifications: Some states require a license and insurance
  • Equipment needed: For children: cribs, toys, movies, and games; for adults: furniture, medical supplies
  • Staff required: No (but many states impose a limit on the adult-to-child ratio;
  • Handicapped opportunity: No
  • Hidden costs: Insurance
  • Lowdown: The day care business has been growing in direct relation to the rising number of women choosing careers in addition to families—and never has it been more flexible. There is a need to care for both seniors and children—and a few innovative entrepreneurs have integrated both at their care centers, so that the two groups can enjoy and learn to appreciate one another. You can easily start a day care center in your home if you meet the necessary zoning requirements of your community. It works best if you have a large yard and extra room (perhaps a finished basement) so that there is plenty of room to play. You’ll need to be clear in your rates/policies (especially about regular hours, vacations, and payment due dates), and be careful not to let the parents treat you like a baby-sitter who is at their beck and call. Be assertive about protecting your personal time with your own family.
  • Start-Up: Your main start-up cost will be getting the word out about your service. Classified advertising, bulletin boards, and mothers’ groups are a good way to build word of mouth. Your larger expenses will likely come from updating your home to meet zoning regulations; your home may have to pass inspection before licensing. If you decide not to license or not to carry insurance, be sure to let the parents/families know, because you will be held liable in the event of a disaster if you don’t. Along those lines, be sure to familiarize yourself with safety procedures in case of an emergency.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: If you love to be around little people or seniors, you’ll enjoy the opportunity to do so daily. Also, if you have children of your own, you can be paid for watching them play with others—not a bad position to be in. On the downside, although you are responsible for the children you watch, you are not their parent—a fact the parents themselves may constantly remind you of. Be sure to meet with the parents of children or the families of seniors on a regular basis to keep communications straight.
Database Consultant
  • Start-up cost: RM5,000-RM13,000
  • Potential earnings: RM40,000-RM100,000
  • Typical fees: RM100+ per hour
  • Advertising: Referrals, publications, trade journal advertising
  • Qualifications: A high level of skill in database management and analysis, possible programming skills, awareness of business information needs, excellent communication skills, project management skills
  • Equipment needed: High-end computer, database software, modem, printer, fax, office furniture, business card, letterhead, envelopes
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: Business insurance, need to incorporate to protect your assets against risk, updates on software, training to keep up with developments in field
  • Lowdown: Companies develop databases to perform a wide range of essential functions; they need information that cross-references their data to make critical decisions and develop corporate strategies. An effective database can reveal all kinds of vital information. For example, an organization can effectively use a database to garner interesting information about its customers, such as what they purchase by mail, what time of year, week, or day they call to place an order, what sizes and quality selections they make, and the types of mailings they find most appealing. If you have the knowledge to create a database system that will present the needed information correctly, efficiently, and accurately, you can sell your services for a very high hourly rate. It may be your responsibility to write the program yourself or you may recommend other programmers—or you may supervise the customization of existing software.
  • Start-Up: You will need computer equipment to support your work, even though much of your time will be spent at client companies. This could run you in the neighborhood of RM5, 000 or more, since you’ll need a powerful computer that can handle and manipulate huge amounts of data. But, since you’ll charge at least RM100 per hour for your services, you should be able to see a profit in a short period of time.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: This is an enormously challenging business for people who love working at a high level with abstract ideas. Central to your success will be your ability to understand what information your clients really need. This involves learning in detail how the business operates and having the imagination to realize what a database could do to support that mission, now and in the future. The downside is the size and length of each database project. Some of these people have different agendas and may not share your commitment to making the database work effectively.