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Work/Jobs Talk about the business side of things. Advice, questions, inspiration, and moral support

where does your business come from?

View Poll Results: what percentage of your business does your website generate?
100 7 12.07%
75 5 8.62%
50 1 1.72%
25 13 22.41%
0 14 24.14%
don't have website 18 31.03%
Voters: 58. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 12-29-2001, 10:34 PM
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kathleen kathleen is offline
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where does your business come from?

if i knew how to make this a poll, i would, but have never been able to figure it out. (tried once upon a time)

if you have a website for your business, do you have more trade via web or face to face bring it to your door? how come, do you reckon.
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2001, 11:08 PM
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DJ Dubovsky DJ Dubovsky is offline
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Down at the bottom of the "New Thread" dialog box you will see a box to check for a poll and a number of choices to set in your poll. When you check it, you will get another box to list each choice in your poll. That's really all there is to it.

Now to answer your question, my business comes face to face from a listing in the local Yellow Pages. I don't know enough about website ranking so I don't come up very high on the search engine lists. At this point in time, that is ok because I still use it as a reference of my work for the local customers I get. I think if business picks up too much I won't be able to handle it all so I'm ok with things as they are now.
DJ
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Old 12-30-2001, 07:54 AM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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What a great question! I'm curious about that too.
It seems many of the members here get quite a bit of business from their websites, and I'm really curious about that. I would be interested in more details about that.
Personally - I have had a web site for about 2 years, and have never received one order from that site. (anyone wishing to venture on the "why" of that, please do so) Anyway, like DJ, I have never really tried to market my site in anyway, for pretty much the same reasons. I use it as a portfolio, and I like having that available.
So where do I get my business? From a local camera shop, and word of mouth.
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Old 12-30-2001, 09:16 AM
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kathleen kathleen is offline
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i have gotten the general impression very little business is generated through anyone's website. i'm not sure that's the truth though, and that's why i asked. so far, 100% true.
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  #5  
Old 12-30-2001, 11:04 AM
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Bob Walden Bob Walden is offline
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I am a photo lab manager so much of what I do is through our customers. I also have membership in two Genealogical Societies. Several jobs from that but also word of mouth from members has helped me.

I also have made copies and prints for the Historical Society in the town I was raised. No work generated by lots of good feelings. Great places to meet interesting people.

Just a quick advertisement. If you have some spare time look into joining a society. Members are always needed and it is a great way to spend some time. Also there is a lack of younger people.
In my mid fifties I am considered the kid.

Bob
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Old 12-30-2001, 10:27 PM
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Ed_L Ed_L is offline
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As many of you know, I don't have a business. But out of curiosity I searched Google for "photo+restoration". It came up with 356,000 hits! Surely all of these aren't restoration businesses, but there are a lot of them that are. That's why it's so important to have the best looking site possible, and have everything perfect for the potential customer if you expect to do business on the web.

But I think web based businesses are at a disadvantage simply because they don't have eye to eye contact with the potential clients. I've always felt that you have to sell yourself before you sell your product. That's very hard to do on the web. Many people will also choose a local business over one from another area. So I think the percentage of business from websites will be very low as compared to doing business eye to eye.

Ed
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Old 12-30-2001, 11:18 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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I can vouch for the 'very little business done via the web' part. I'm up there all alone in the 100% category (so far). Frankly, the web sucks for agressively seeking new restoring business. But I do get a lot of email asking for "how-to" advice

Now, if only someone had a "how-to" website..."

Seriously, I do get a lot of email from my personal site, and that was the inspiration for this website. Just not a lot of paying business. That just leaves me with more time to work on this site.

But I do think every restorer should have an online portfolio, with an easy to remember address (or at least easy to write down with minimal tilde-backslash-hyphen stuff).
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Old 12-31-2001, 12:43 AM
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kathleen kathleen is offline
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hmmm.

doug, you were the only one i thought of as possibly having a good bit of web business; kind of disillusioning to hear you don't either. but if there's an inverse relshp between the amount of your web business and time devoted to the care and feeding of this site, well, i guess i'll just have to get over my disillusionment
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Old 12-31-2001, 03:20 AM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Sorry to disillusion you, Kathleen. It used to bother me that I didn't get more business, but it actually makes sense. It's not so much that people prefer meeting face-to-face, though that is certainly true, but more a case of healthy skepticism about their treasured photos. Photos in need of restoration are by definition one of a kind (if there were other copies, the restoration would be unnecessary).

There's also the whole payment thing. It's one thing if I'm standing in front of you to show the finished work, then you pay me and leave, quite another to send money to a total stranger before the work is even started (the only way I'll do it).

So there's a double-whammy against getting restoration customers via the web.

Now, I must say that there is SOME business to be had...
And I'm quite happy with the volume as it stands. Otherwise I'd go out and talk to photo labs, camera shops, frame shops, photographers, etc. and get more business than I could comfortably do while maintaining RetouchPRO.

I'm not all that old, so I'm also not all that wise, but I do have this one tidbit to pass along: whatever it is you love, do only as much as you can and still keep your enthusiasm. More will ruin it and you won't love it anymore. And love is a terrible thing to lose.
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  #10  
Old 12-31-2001, 07:24 AM
Vikki Vikki is offline
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Doug,
I think you are right on about people wanting to learn, more than buy. Over the last 2 1/2 months, I've had 2197 visitors to my site. Less than 5% came from search engines, and over 50% came from Katrin Eiseman's site.
I also agree that the web is not necessarily the best format for this type of work either, but it's great for a portfolio.
Another contributing factor could be age. Many of my customer's are older, and probably don't even own a computer. (It still surprises me that so many people don't own a computer, or have one, but never use it.)
If I really wanted to drum up some business, I would direct all my efforts to local advertising, as I really don't have any local competition that I'm aware of. Most people I talk with, want the service but don't know where to go, and have an idea that the price is way too expensive.
I don't advertise, yet. I like the working pace I have right now, and as you said, I would hate for this to be "work", and ruin the love of doing it.
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