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 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 ar 41,000.00
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 2,005--at least 60 percent of all secretarial work, as we know today will be
handled by individuals working at home.
Women still rule the world of administrative assistants/secretarries. For some women, who are
desirious of starting a home based business, this is the most exciting news to come along 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
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 $100 to $250 if you already have a state of the art, personal computer, laser
printer, and a recent version, of an established, main stream, word processing program.
Make a few phone calls, and be in business tomorrow.
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
your do your typing, needs replacing due to the worn spot where the chair is located and maneuvered
in front of the computer. You'll also want a work stand with place marker and a convenient box or
storage for immediate paper supply. If you plan to do a great deal of work during the evening
hours, be sure to invest in an adjustable "long arm" office work lamp.
When buying paper, visit the various wholesale paper suppliers in your area or in 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 computer, 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--typists, salesman, advertising department, bookkeeper and
janitor, so, much will depend on 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 is selling your services is to do is 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
For your business cards, consider a freelance artist to design a logo for you. Check, and/or pass
the word among the students in the art or design classes at nearby college, art or advertising
school. Hiring a regular commercial artist will cost 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 Clip 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 printed materials, and makes
you--your company--unique or different from all others.
I might suggest something nostalgic, 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 monitor. You
might want something distinctive for the first letter of the company, or perhaps a scroll or flag
as a background for your company name. Also, the comtemporary abstractions are always popular.
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 a 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 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 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 the dictation or special work
assignments by phone. You should also emphasize your abilities to handle everything by phone,
particularly when 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 half hour
job that you pick up on a regular sales or delivery call, you should charge $10...
Another angle to include would be copies. Establish a working relationship with a local printer,
preferably one who has a copy machine comparable to a big Kodak 150 Extraprint. When your clients
need a sales letter or whatever plus so many copies, you can do it all for them.
Only make copies on the very best of dry paper copying machines, and only for 50 copies or less.
More than 50 copies, it'll be less expensive and you'll come out with a better finished product by
having them printed on a printing press. When your furnish copies, always fold in your copying or
printing costs, plus a least a dollar or more for every 50 copies you supply.
By starting with former employers and/or business associates, many businesses are able to line up
40 hours of work without even making sales call. If you're lucky enough to do this, go with it,
Start lining up your friends to do the work for you--girls who work all day at a regular job, but
need more money, and housewives with time on their hands. You tell them what kind of equipment is
needed, and the quality of work you demand. You arrange to pay them so much per hour for each job
they handle for you--judging from the time you figure the job would take if you were doing it, or
on a percentage basis. I feel the best arrangements is on a hourly basis according to a specified
amount of time each job normally takes.
Whenever, and as soon as you've got a supply of "workers" lined up, you turn your current
assignments over to them, and get back to lining up more business. If you're doing well selling by
phone, and your area seems to respond especially well to selling by phone, then you should
immediately hire commission sales people. Train them according to your own best methods and put
them to work assisting you. Your sales people can work out of their own homes, using their
telephones, provided you've got your area's business community organized in a loose leaf notebook
style. All you do is give them so many pages from your notebook, from which they make sales calls
Even so, you should still make those in-person sales calls..If for some reason you get bogged down,
and can't or don't want to, then hire commission sales people to do it for you..Generally, women
selling this type of service bring back the most sales. And for all your commission sales people,
the going rate should be 30 percent of the total amount of sale. Point to remember: Sooner or
later, you're going to have to hire a full-time telephone sales person, plus another full time
person to make in-person sales for you--Eventually, you want workers to handle all the work for
you, and sales people to do all the selling for you--So the sooner you can line up people for these
jobs, the faster, your business is going to prosper.
Later on, you'll want a sales manager to direct your sales people and keep them on track, so try to
find a "future sales manager" when you begin looking for sales people.
Your basic advertising should be a regular quarter page ad in the yellow pages of both your home
service telephone directory and the business yellow pages. You'll find that 50 percent of your
first time clients will come to you because they have an immediate need and saw your ad in the
yellow pages, so don't skimp on either the size or the "eye-catching" graphics of this ad.
A regular one column by 3-inch ad in the Sunday edition of your area's largest newspaper would also
be a good idea. Any advertising you do via radio or television will be quite expensive with
generally very poor results, so don't even give serious consideration to that type of
By far, your largest advertising outlays will be direct mail efforts. You should have a regular
mailing piece that you send out to your entire business community at least once a month. This is
handled by sending out 200 to 500 letters per day. For this, you should obtain a third class
postage permit or else these postage costs will drive you out of business.
Your mailing piece should consist of a colorful brochure that describes your business. It should
explain the many different kinds of assignments you can handle--a notation that no job is too small
or too large--and a statement of your guarantee. Do not quote prices in your brochure--simply ask
the recipient to call for a quotation or price estimate.
It's also a good idea to list background and experience of the business owner, plus several
business testimonials or/ compliments. You could also include a couple of pictures showing your
workers busy and actually handling secretarial assignments. The most important part of your
brochure will be your closing statement--an invitation, indeed--a demand that the recipient call
you for further information.
All this can very easily be put together in a Z-folded, 2-sided self mailer. Again, look for a
freelance copywriter and artist to help you put it together. Once you've got your "dummy" pretty
well set the way you want it, make copies of it, and either take or send it to several direct mail
advertising agencies. Ask them for their suggestions of how they would improve it, and for a bid on
the cost if you were to retain them to handle it for you. Listen to their ideas and incorporate
them where-and if- you think they would make your brochure better. And, if one of them does come in
with a cost estimate that's lower than your independent, "do-it-yourself" costs, then think
seriously about assigning the job to them.
This is definitely the most important piece of work that will ever come out of your office, so be
sure it's the best, and positively indicative of your business. This will be the business image you
project, so make sure it reflects the quality, style and credibility of your business--your
thinking, and your success.
Your brochure should be on 60 pound coated paper, in at least two colors and by a professional
printer. The end result is the Z-folded brochure--Z-folded by the printer--with your third class
mailing permit showing on the cover side. This cover side should be flamboyant and eye-catching.
You want your mailing piece to stand out in a pile of 50 or 60 pieces of other mail received by the
When you're ready to mail, simply take a couple of cartons of your brochures to an addressing shop,
have them run your brochures through their addressing machine, loaded with your mailing list,
bundle them and drop them off at the post office for you.
This takes us back to the planning on how to compile your mailing list. I suggest that you begin
with Cheshire Cards by Xerox. You type the name of your addressee on the cards, maintain these
cards in the order of your choice, take your boxes of cards to the addressing shop whenever you
have a mailing, and there's no further work on your part. The addressing shop loads their machine
with your cards, prints the address on your cards directly onto your brochures, and gives the cards
back to you when the mailing is completed. A mailing of 100,000 brochures, via this
method--generally could be completed and on its way in one 8-hour day.
In essence, you'll want to solicit business with a regular routine of telephone selling, in-person
sales calls at the prospective client's place of business, media advertising and direct mail
efforts. All of these efforts are important and necessary to the total success of your
business--don't try to cut corners or spare the time or expense needed to make sure you're
operating at full potential in these areas! In addition to these specific areas, it would be wise
for you to attend chamber of commerce meetings, and join several of your area civic clubs--you'll
meet a great number of business leaders at these meetings and through their association, you'll
gain a great deal of business--and even help in many of your needs.
Once you're organized and rolling, you can easily expand your market nationwide with the
installation of a toll free telephone and advertising in business publications. Perhaps you can add
to your primary business with a "mailing shop" of your own--the rental of mailing
lists--specialized temporary help services--telephone answering services--and even survey
The "bottom line" thing to remember in order to achieve total success, is planning. Plan your
initial operation through from start to finish before you even think about soliciting your first
customer. Get your operational plan down on paper--itemize your needs, estimate your costs, line up
your operating capital, and set forth milestones for growth.
Set profit figures you want to be realizing 3-months... 6-months... 1 year... 2-years... and
3-years from your business start-up date. Learn all you can about the "support systems" involved in
operating a profitable business--planning, advertising, selling, bookkeeping, and banking--and
continue to up-date your knowledge with a program of continuous learning. Do your homework
properly, an there's just no way you can fail with a Home-Based Secretarial Service.