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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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The Biz Question

I am a graphic designer with 10 years experience in the field. I want to work at home to take care of my son however haven't been able to make the jump yet because work is too infrequent and I need reliable income. Any suggestions?

Answer from our Guest Expert Laura Wiegert of Creative Consultants

Making that jump to working at home is a big step! I know when I did it two years ago, I was worried too, but before taking the big plunge, I did several things to help plan for a steady income. Maybe they'll help you too!

Moonlight on the Side

Ease into your home business by first doing freelance work on the side. With all of your experience and contacts in the field, you probably know some businesses that need design help or project work. Make a few contacts and get some things going outside of your full-time job. If you start to build a client base now, you'll have some established work when you start your business.

Join the Club and Network!

Start schmoozing with others now to prepare for your future home business. Become active in your local chamber or other professional organizations. Meet people who could work with you when you go solo. By meeting other business owners and professionals, you'll develop a database of fresh contacts for future work and assistance.

Mention to some contacts you know pretty well that you're considering going out on your own. Ask for their advice or opinion. See if they'd ever need your graphic design services or know of someone else who might. Someone always knows someone who knows someone!

Get Your Marketing Ducks in a Row Before Making the Switch

It'll be a lot easier to jump into your home business if you have your marketing material all set to go. So, develop your logo, business cards and letterhead now, so they're ready and waiting for when you go into business. (Even though you're working out of the home, you still want to project a professional image.) Also, get a marketing plan on paper that you can implement the same day you start your business. From brochures to direct mail pieces and a contact schedule, plan out your strategies for success.

Look for Ongoing Projects

Once you start your business, focus your efforts on getting steady projects. For example, newsletters are great jobs because they happen on a regular basis. This means steady income! Start looking at companies or industries that produce newsletters and maybe make a few phone calls. If you can get one or two newsletters going now while you're moonlighting, you're on your way!

Cook Up Some Other Options

To make room for both your new business and a steady income, consider ways to temporarily supplement your income. If you're anxious to make the jump right away, for example, look at getting a temporary part-time job. This will give you a steady income until you get your graphic design business off the ground; yet, it'll also give you more time at home than a full-time job. Could you negotiate with your current employer to go part-time? You never know until you ask!

Hope these home biz ideas help! Good luck with your graphic design business!

Laura Wiegert

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