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How To Start Your Own Home-Based Secretarial Service


A new approach to serving one of the oldest and most basic needs of even the smallest business community, a home-based secretarial service can satisfy the entrepreneurial needs of even the most ambitious woman!

This is a kind of service business with a virtually unlimited profit potential. Third year profits for businesses of this type, in metropolitan areas as small as 70,000 persons are reported at $100,000 and more. It's a new idea for a traditional job that's growing in popularity and acceptance.

As for the future, there+s no end in sight to the many and varied kinds of work a secretary working at home can do for business owners, managers and sales representatives. Various surveys indicate that by the year 2,000 - at least 60 percent of all the secretarial work, as we know it today, will be handled by women working at home.

For most women, this is the most exciting news of things to come since the equal rights amendment. Now is the time to get yourself organized, start your own home-based secretarial service and nurture it through your start-up stages to total success in the next couple of years.

Our research indicates little or no risk involved, with most secretarial services breaking even within 30 days, and reports of some showing a profit after the first week! Your cash investment can be as little as $10 to $25 if you already have a modern, electronic typewriter. You can set up at your kitchen table, make a few phone calls, and be in business tomorrow.

If you don't have a modern, office quality electric typewriter comparable to the IBM Selectric - a portable just won't do, because it'll break down, wear out, and fall apart after a month of heavy duty use... If you're aware of this delicacy of a portable electric, you can conceivably begin with one, but you'll definitely have to graduate to a bigger, heavier machine as soon as possible...

An IBM Selectric, complete with start-up supplies kit which includes a dozen ribbons, can be purchased for less than a thousand dollars. On contract, this would break down to about $175 for down payment and monthly payments of less than $50 per month over a 2-year period. Naturally, you'd want to include the standard service contract which costs about $100 per year, and means that whenever you have a problem or want your machine serviced, you simply pick up the phone and call the service department. They'll ask you what kind of problem you're having, and then send some one out to rectify it immediately.

Shoestringers can rent an IBM Selectric for about $60 per month, plus a small deposit. And those of you who are really on a tight budget, can contract an equipment leasing firm, explain your business plan, and work out an arrangement where they buy the machine of your choice for you, and then lease it back to you over a five or ten year period for much lower payments.

Whatever you do, get the best typewriter your money can buy. The output of your typewriter will be your finished product, and the better, "more perfect" your finished product, the more clients you'll attract and keep. It's also imperative that you have one of the modern, "ball" typewriters. Only these kinds of typewriters give each character a clear, even and uniform impression on your paper. Typewriters of the "arm & hammer" type quickly become misaligned, producing a careless look on your finished product.

As mentioned earlier, you can start almost immediately from your kitchen table if you've got the typewriter. However, in order to avoid fatigue and back problems, invest in a typing stand and secretary's standard typing chair just as soon as you can afford them. Watch for office equipment sales, especially among the office equipment leasing firms. You should be able to pick up a new, slightly damaged, or good used typewriter stand or desk for around $20 to $25. A comparable quality secretary's typing chair can be purchased for $50 or less.

While you're shopping for things you'll need, be sure to pick up a chair mat. If you don't, you may suddenly find that the carpet on the floor of the room where you do your typing, needs replacing due to the worn spot where the chair is located and maneuvered in front of the typewriter. You'll also want a work stand with place marker and a convenient box or storage shelf for your immediate paper supply. If you plan to do a great deal of work during the evening hours, be sure to invest in an ad just able "long arm" office work lamp.

When buying paper, visit the various wholesale paper suppliers in your area or in any nearby large city, and buy at least a half carton - 6 reams - at a time. Buying wholesale, and in quantity, will save you quite a bit of money. The kind to buy is ordinary 20 pound white bond. Open one ream for an immediate supply at your typewriter, and store the rest in a closet, under your bed, or on a shelf in your garage or basement.

In the beginning, you'll be the business - typist, salesman, advertising department, bookkeeper and janitor - so, much will depend upon your overall business acumen. Those areas in which you lack experience or feel weak in, buy books or tapes and enhance your knowledge. You don't have to enjoy typing, but you should have better than average proficiency.

Your best bet in selling your services is to do it all yourself. Every business in your area should be regarded as a potential customer, so it's unlikely you'll have to worry about who to call on. Begin by making a few phone calls to former bosses or business associates - simply explain that you're starting a typing service and would appreciate it if they'd give you a call whenever they have extra work that you can handle for them. Before you end the conversation, ask them to be sure to keep you in mind and steer your way any overload typing jobs that they might hear about.

The next step is "in-person" calls on prospective customers. This means dressing in an impressively professional manner, and making sales calls on the business people in your area. For this task, you should be armed with business cards (brochures also help...), and an order or schedule book of some sort. All of these things take time to design and print, so while you're waiting for delivery, use the time to practice selling via the telephone. At this stage, your telephone efforts will be more for the purpose of indoctrinating you into the world of selling than actually making sales.

Just be honest about starting a business, and sincere in asking them to consider trying your services whenever they have a need you can help them with. Insurance companies, attorneys and distributors are always needing help with their typing, so start with these kinds of businesses first.

For your business cards, consider a free-lance artist to design a logo for you. Check, and/or pass the word among the students in the art or design classes at any nearby college, art or advertising school. Hiring a regular commercial artist will cost you quite a bit more, and generally won't satisfy your needs any better than the work of a hungry beginner.

Be sure to browse through any Klip Art books that may be available - at most print shops, newspaper offices, advertising agencies, libraries and book stores. The point being, to come up with an idea that makes your business card stand out; that can be used on all your printed materials, and makes you - your company - unique or different from all the others.

I might suggest something along the lines of a secretary with pad in hand taking dictation; or perhaps a secretary wearing a dictaphone headset seated in front of a typewriter. You might want something distinctive for the first letter of your company name, or perhaps a scroll or flag as a background for your company name.

At any rate, once you've got your logo or company design, the next step is your local print shop. Ask them to have the lettering you want to use, typeset in the style you like best - show them your layout and order at least a thousand business cards printed up.

For your layout, go with something basic. Expert typing services, in the top left hand corner... Dictation by phone, in the top right hand corner... Your company logo or design centered on the card with something like, complete secretarial services, under it... Your name in the lower left hand corner, and your telephone number in the lower right hand corner...

Everybody that you call on in person, be sure to give them one of your business cards. And now, you're ready to start making those in-person business sales calls.

Your best method of making sales calls would be with a business telephone directory and a big supply of loose leaf notebook paper. Go through the business directory and write down the company names, addresses and telephone number. Group all of those within one office building together, and those on the same street in the same block. Be sure to leave a couple of spaces between the listing of each company. And of course, start a new page for those in a different building or block. Now, simply start with the first business in the block, or on the lowest floor in a building and number them in consecutive order. This will enable you to call on each business in order as you proceed along a street, down the block, or through a building.

You'll be selling your capabilities - your talents - and charging for your time - the time it takes you to get set up and complete the assignment they give you. You should be organized to take work with you on the spot, and have it back at a promised time; arrange to pick up any work they have, and deliver it back to them when it+s completed; and handle dictation or special work assignments by phone. You should also emphasize your abilities to handle everything by phone, particularly w hen they have a rush job.

Establish your fees according to how long it takes you to handle their work, plus your cost of supplies - work space, equipment and paper - then fold in a $5 profit. In other words, for a half hour job that you pick up on a regular sales or delivery call you should charge $10...