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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

4100,000 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 2,000--at least 60 percent of

all secretarial work, as we know today will be handled by women

working at home.

For most women, this is the most exciting news of things to

come 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 of years.

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 $10 to $25 if you already have a modern,

electronic typewriter. You can set up at your kitchen table, make

few phone calls, and be in business tomorrow.

If you don't have a modern, office quality electric typewriter

comparable to the IBM Selectric--a portable just won't do,

because it'll break down, wear out, and fall apart after a month

of heavy use..If you're aware of this delicacy of a portable

electric, you can conceivably begin with one, but you'll

definitely have to graduate to a bigger, heavier machine as soon

as possible.

An IBM Selectric, complete with start-up supplies kit which

includes a dozen ribbons, can be purchased for less than a

thousands dollars. On the contract, this would break down about

to about $175 for down payment and monthly payments of less than

$50 per month over a 2-year period. Naturally, you'd want to

include the standard service contract which costs about $100 per

year, and means that whenever you have a problem or want your

machine serviced, you simply pick up the phone and call the

service department. They'll ask you what kind of problem you're

having, and then send some one to fix it immediately.

Shoestringers can rent an IBM Selectric for about $60 per mont,

plus a small deposit. And those of you who are really on a tight

budget, can contract an equipment leasing firm, explain your

business plan, and work out an arrangement where they buy the

machine of your choice for you, and then lease it back to you

over five or ten year period for much lower payments.

Whatever you do, get the best typewriter your money can buy.

The output of your typewriter will be your finished product, and

the better, "more perfect" your finished product, the more

clients you'll attract and keep. It's also imperative that you

have one of the modern, "ball" typewriters. Only these kinds of

typewriters give each character a clear, even and uniform

impression on your paper. Typewriters of the "arm & hammer" type

quickly become misaligned, producing a careless look on your

finished product.

As mentioned earlier, you can start almost immediately from

your kitchen table if you've got a typewriter. However, in order

to avoid fatigue and back problems, invest in a typing stand and

secretary's standard typing chair just as soon as you can afford

them. Watch for office equipment sales, especially among the

office equipment leasing firms. You should be able pick up a new,

slightly damaged, or good used typewriter stand or desk for

around $20 to $25. A comparable quality secretary's typing chair

can be purchased for $50 or less.

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 typewriter. 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 typewriter, 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 first.

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 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 typewriter. You might

want something distinctive for the first letter of the company,

or perhaps a scroll or flag as a background for your company


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


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 each week.

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


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 advertising.

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


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 recipient.

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 work..

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.