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Tip of the Day Avoid Fees

Avoid Fees - When using long-term investments as a money-earning vehicle, it is wise to remember that any returns that are made on that money must deduct any fees paid...

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How to Start an Online Business

Q:I am starting a small business doing web design and graphics. I have very little money to work with and need some advice on how to get my name out there. Cold calling is out. I won't do it.

A:How about a blastin' print ad that touts a very good deal for a one page web for small business owners to have first time web presence. This will allow biz owners to get on the web to begin with for a low price, let them feel the waters for those who are "iffy about it", gives you small projects, and lures them in slowly for bigger projects in the future. First, since you're going to do website designs and graphics, you need something to show and at least a few decent clients. Your own website doesn't have a lot of value. Having done someone else's website will as it shows you can work with clients and meet their needs. However, without a track record, you'll likely have a hard time selling your services to these businesses/organizations so offer to a select few to do them for free. No one will know this ... especially if you tell the business/organization you're doing it free for not to tell that it was done free for them. Just tell them you need some work examples done for real-life businesses/organizations and ask if they'd like to be one of the few that you do this free for. As for which to do this pro bono work for, I'd recommend doing it for high-profile clients. Radio and television talk shows being the best of these as they'll help promote your business in the bargain as well as have name recognition. Unfortunately, many of these already have website design firms doing theirs and they'll VERY likely not want to turn over theirs to someone just starting out ... even if you offer to do it for free. However, all this means is that you've got to hunt for radio and television talk shows that are either just starting up (catching them before they soar), don't currently have a website, and/or have one that's obviously slapped together by some production assistant or even the hosts themselves. For example, I'm starting up a talk show at the moment so if you'd like to do mine, send me an email and we can talk about it. However, you'll need more than one. At least three. The more, the better. Once you get a few clients (at least three), go around to all your local computer consulting firms and offer to help them with their work overload. Use those clients you've helped out as your proof of ability. If the computer consulting firms are any good, they'll have more work than they can tackle. However, do NOT come in and act as a jack-of-all-trades. Jacks-of-all-trades are masters of none. Pitch your specialty. The more specialized your specialty is, the better chances you'll get work from them. In your case, it's website design ... but if you can specialize in one aspect of website design that is easy for firms to farm out, that would be an even better choice. Tell them that if they've got overload work in that area, you can help them out. The BIGGEST thing you need to be sure happens is that you're not invisible to the client. You want to establish a name with the public and the only way to do that is by stepping out from behind the curtain. How to do this without causing problems is simply saying that you'll want to meet with the client to at least show your work ... if not discuss their case. If the firm refuses you this, don't get upset with them. Simply state this is your preference. If they continue to not want to give you public exposure, only do work for them when no one else has work for you. Also, charge two rates. State that you have a "visible" and an "invisible" rate and that the "invisible" (to the client) rate is much higher. This will drive the point home to them and make it very clear that you want public exposure. Cold calling stinks, I agree, but there is no less expensive way to get your name out there of which I'm aware. If you really want to do this on the cheap, your next step up from cold calling is walking door-to-door through business parks and introducing yourself. You can also pass out flyers by yourself and suffer only the cost of printing. You're going to have to get yourself out in front of people and sell, period. If you think cold calling is difficult because of the level of rejection you experience, that's a problem. I suggest you buy some books on marketing. I think the Guerilla Marketing books are pretty good, at gmarketing.com, especially for those with a limited budget.

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Definitely it's a great content you have shared, mainly because it deals with the subject that many surely needs to be well discussed. The facts and contexts are clearly exposed in this piece of writing and I'm sure it will turn an effective contributor for many who come and read it. I'm working for an online essay writing service and most of the perspectives you have shared seem quite connected to the terms and effects of any online business, whether it's small or large. Regards, John Vides

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