Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Home-Based Business - Desktop Publisher

  • Start-up cost: RM15,000-RM25,000
  • Potential earnings: RM20,00-RM100,000
  • Typical fees: RM500 (newsletter) to RM20,000 (for a large-run book or magazine)
  • Advertising: Direct solicitation, Yellow Pages, local publications, word of mouth, networking, advertising in writers’ magazines
  • Qualifications: Computer skills, knowledge of typefaces, design, and layout, writing and editing skills, communication skills
  • Equipment needed: Computer with scanner, laser printer, and CD-ROM, publishing, word-processing, and drawing software, fax, office furniture, business card, letterhead, envelopes
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: Marketing; keeping up with changes in software
  • Lowdown: Desktop publishing (DTP) enables people who understand graphic design and typography to offer a range of services to clients. Skills with computer software will allow you to produce books, flyers, and almost every kind of printed material in between. Many small DTP businesses succeed by specializing; for example, they might create newsletters for a specific type of business. Others produce entire books or focus on annual reports. Most will provide only the camera-ready master and subcontract the larger printing jobs to a commercial printer. The DTP field includes many small and large businesses, but there is room for people who do excellent work, produce it on time, and focus on their clients’ needs and expectations.
  • Start-Up: The computer equipment required can be very expensive, depending largely on the graphics capability you need. And you must have a work space that supports the complex nature of some DTP tasks. Figure marketing costs, too, of RM1,000-RM2,000 in the financial section of your business plan. Your income will be dependent upon how many clients you can win in a short period of time, so you’ll need to advertise your services (unless your former employer has become a major client). Billing can be done hourly (RM50-RM75 per) or, more typically, on a per-job basis. Smaller jobs can net RM50-RM300; larger ones can bring in RM5,000 or more.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: Although working on several different creative projects at one time can be interesting and challenging, the pressure can be unbelievable. In the days of instant information and 24-hour turnaround, everybody expects their work done today. That can be a problem when you have 10 or more clients you’re juggling—try to express realistic deadlines with your clients to avoid all-nighters and stress-filled days, and be sure to schedule time for yourself to complete the work.