By Anwar Ahmed Ally
Bet you never thought about this money-making opportunity! If you're looking for a decent work-at-home opportunity with good returns, why not consider starting up and operating a newspaper clipping service from home.
Newspaper clipping, although often misunderstood, is an extremely lucrative opportunity that is growing in demand and popularity. It's a very simple opportunity and can be started instantly from home with little or no cost or investment.
Not many people know about this opportunity and if you tell your family or friends that you operate a newspaper clipping service, most of them will think that you skim through newspapers looking for birth announcements, funeral announcements or wedding announcements, cut out this clipping and send it the people concerned.
In actual fact, this is only a small part of this business opportunity. The real money is in the contracts you have with corporations and institutions to provide a press clipping service. These corporations and institutions want to keep updated and be aware of any matter that is reported in the newspapers that may have a direct or indirect affect on them. Information they may want to know includes public perception of a specific product/service, competitor activities, public demand, government comment and intentions, press write-ups about the corporation, public complaints against the corporation/product or industry-related complaints, business or marketing opportunities, etc. An informed company is a successful company.
Some bigger companies have their very own research department with full time employees to undertake these activities for them on a daily basis. But there are some companies, especially the smaller ones, and non-profit organizations who outsource the work to independent individuals who perform these tasks for them from home. That's where you can fit in.
Getting started in this venture is relatively simple and easy. Your most important piece of equipment is – wait for it – a pair of scissors! You'll also need a great deal of newspapers and magazines to skim through. You can buy them, if you wish, or you may simply visit your local library and use the newspapers and magazines there. You won't be able to clip items out, though, but you will be able to make copies of the relevant articles you need and clip out the required bit afterwards.
Your next step is to arrange your clippings according to the name of the company or institution mentioned. Create a file for each company/institution and file these clippings accordingly in chronological (date) order. When you have collected a sufficient amount of clippings about a specific company/institution – about ten – send them to the company/institution concerned with a letter. Address the entire package for the attention of the media liaison officer or director. Explain in that letter who you are and what service you perform. Offer to provide this service to them on a monthly basis and name your fee.
HOW MUCH TO CHARGE
How much you charge will naturally depend on the size of the company/institution concerned and the impact they have in public. Companies/institutions who expect to appear in the media very frequently will obviously be charged a higher rate as opposed to one that's not. As a rule of thumb, charge between $50-$100 per month, depending on the size of the company/institution concerned.
You may also expand your services for which you could charge extra. An expansion example could be to scan all the clippings into digital format with a scanner and computer. You can categorize your clippings and create a search facility. You could then offer your clients information in digital format or handle once-off requests from other interested parties. Taking the idea still further, you can even start a website and sell subscriptions for access to your database. The possibilities are endless – you just need to be a little creative and do some lateral thinking.
Formulate a sales brochure outlining your services, the benefits, samples of your work and a rate card. Mail these to prospective clients whose address you can find in telephone directories and your local chamber of business. Before you mail out your brochure, it is a great idea to find out beforehand the name of the person from the company/institution who would be the decision taker with such an activity. You can then address your correspondence directly to him or her. This tactic ensures that the right person reads it and not some low-level employee who won't understand the significance of your offer and may just take your letter and file it away.
A little ad on the internet or the classifieds may bring in some good prospects by telephone. Follow up these telephonic requests by mailing out the sales brochure as mentioned above.
Your best clients will come from referrals. Companies who use your services may recommend you to other companies they do business with. It is therefore imperative that you strive to render a professional, reliable service at all times. As you build up your business, you will find that a lot of companies will be approaching you directly. If you handle just ten companies and charge $100 per month, you could make an extra $1000 a month just by doing a couple hours of work per day.
Copyright (c) 2006 Anwar Ahmed Ally