Desktop publishing is a growing industry and a great area in which to start your own business. Here are some of the basics to help you get things started.
Research and Preparation:
All businesses, big small and in-between, need to have a solid business plan before getting underway. There is no shortage of resources to help you get your business plan together. The first thing you might want to do is do a simple internet search, and see what you find in the way of free templates and software. The better ones will have sections that allow for a little market research. If the case of desktop publishing, just as in any other business, you will need to know if the market is already saturated with similar endeavors, or if it is ripe for the plucking, or (more likely) it is somewhere in between. If there is competition, take a good look at what they are doing, how they are doing it, and how they are getting business for themselves. Maybe they left a publishing niche unexplored that you can pounce on, or they are leaving a market untapped. Knowing your target market, and how to pursue it is vital information to be armed with, and is just the type of work that goes into creating a good business plan.
There are some nonprofit organizations that can help you with your business planning by creating sort of a ‘mentor – pupil’ relationship with either a retired businessman or an MBA graduate student. These organizations can help you with all aspects of starting up a business such as desktop publishing.
If you are a great designer, but not so much a copywriter (or vice versa), you may want to think about teaming up with someone. You can either both go into business together or simply create a relationship with him or her on a freelance basis.
Whether or not you are going to farm part of your jobs out, however, you will want to have a working knowledge of the software programs that are generally used in desktop publishing. The more you learn about how to use these programs (such as the Adobe Creative Suite), the more work you will be able to do on your own, and the more money you will be able to keep for yourself.
There are a number of ways to market yourself, but nothing is ever going to work as well as the good old cold call to local businesses. Try to pick businesses that have at least 20 or more employees, as they are more likely to have the capital to pay your rates. Take some time and find the right person to talk to, and let them know what it is that you do and how it can help their business. You will also want to make business cards, and attend functions that feature small business owners. Stick to it, and you will have more work than you can handle in no time.
Printing and Binding:
More often than not, you sill simply be sending a PDF to your client and he or she will send it off to the printer of their choice. It may help you with some smaller jobs, however to be able to do your own binding. Take a look at the different types of inexpensive binding machines on the market and consider having one on hand so you can both raise your fee and get jobs done quickly and on-site.