By Brenda Parker
My name is Brenda Parker and I started Desktop Designs Printing & Graphics five years ago this Halloween from my Virginia home. I have taught myself graphic design through my many years of working for other people. Starting as a word processor, I took my lunches teaching myself graphics programs. If you do not have access to these types of programs, check out your local library (I did that too). Anyway, I HATED having employers tell me to get my priorities straight when my daughter was ill. But that is exactly what I had to do - get my priorities straight! I bought everything I would need to start a business while I was still full time employed. Once everything was purchased and in to place - I quit!
I know have over thirty regular businesses that I do work for as well as the referrals I get from them. I am able to take and pick up my nine year old from school, go on field trips and lunches as well as raise my two year old daughter at home. FINALLY - I'VE PRIORITIZED!
I love what I do and with today's technology it is easier than ever. Once I get artwork ready on my computer, I simply e-mail the art to one of my many printers who charge me wholesale. Since these businesses are large, they have all the latest digital output systems and my art actually looks better by e-mailing it than actually printing it out on my desk jet and delivering it everywhere. The only time I have to leave my house is to pick up my jobs and deliver to my customers - oh, AND go to the bank!
I have put an extra mail box in my backyard because many of my printers even deliver my work.
Don't limit yourself! Don't go into this thinking you'll make a living off doing business cards, Look through your phone book. Find companies that will charge you wholesale on stationary, forms, screen printing, banners and other types of signs. When you get a customer - you want them to know they can call YOU for any printing they need.
Although it is sometimes hard (and all sales are) it is quite worth it. Never give up! Raising your children is so beneficial and running your own business is just as rewarding. My kids are proud of me and they have learned what perseverance truly is.
I hope this gives someone else the courage to do what I have done - right now I'm going to take my daughter for a walk.
Sincerely, Brenda Parker
By Jennifer Czawlytko
My husband and I made the decision almost 8 years ago that I would stay at home with our children. In that time I have given birth, changed lots of diapers, watched my children grow, and have become involved with their school. School is really where I developed my skills in Desktop Publishing, I have created flyers, redesigned the PTA newsletter, designed stationery for the PTA & School, plus I am currently working on a new brochure for them. As time has passed I have heard over and over again “Why don’t you start your own business?” “You should be getting paid for the beautiful work you do.” Eventually my family started saying the same things so I decided to take the plunge.
I am still new to this field so I can not say I am successful, but I know someday I will be! I work strange hours sometimes and I don’t always go to bed when I should, but I am happy doing what I love to do. It also feels good to contribute to our family income while still being able to be with my children, they are my inspiration always!
When you are starting out it is important to have a good support network behind you, I found the support I needed in my family and my “adopted” family at the iVillage Forum on AOL. You can find wonderful resources as well as other people in your field with more experience, and just generally terrific people there. I have recently started managing the Desktop Publishing Message Board, because I wanted to do this to repay them for all the great advice I have received and the friendships I have made.
My background is probably not so very different from many entrepreneur’s out there. I have heard it said that most entrepreneurs have someone in their family who owned their own business.
My father has owned a business all my life and as such has been a great inspiration to me. I am proof that all those long hours he worked becoming successful and all the time he missed with me and my brother really didn’t make a difference, his example was what we needed and the love he showed when he could spend time with us.
One important lesson my Dad has shown me is what happens when a business goes under. How can this be good you ask? I think it better prepares me for if the day ever comes that I have to admit defeat. But before you say “Oh No!” I must tell you my Dad did not quit - he picked himself up and started all over again! So it wasn’t the failure that is important, it is the drive and the desire that makes the event inspiring. Today my Dad lives in the Florida Keys and is relocating his business down there, he has seen a business begin, thrive, and end, and then begin again - the result is his realization of his life long dream. So if you are just starting out and things are difficult, just think of my Dad and you can’t help but be optimistic.
The only advice I can give at this point is… do what you love, do it well, and you will be destined to become successful. Good Luck to all my fellow entrepreneurs!
(Since originally writing this article Jennifer's business focus has changed a bit, she wanted to be able to continue to explore her writing skills and creativity but found herself drawn to the internet more and more so she is now working in the area of web design & maintenance and is very proud to be the webmaster for the Bizy Moms web site.)