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Advice Please?!

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  • Advice Please?!

    Hi guys!

    I could really use some advice from those of you who do freelance restoration or have your own businesses.

    I have been doing restoration work as an employee for quite a while. People walk into the lab, see the restoration & retouching samples on the wall, and realizing this is "the place" they flock back with their own damaged prints.

    I would like to work for myself, (or at the least find an employer that will let me telecommute). I'm in very rural area where restoration/retouch artists are few and far between so I think I could make a niche for myself here. I am always busy in the lab, but it's over 1.5 hours drive one way to work. And, this may sound really dumb, but the thing is, I have no idea how to go about doing this on my own. I believe my skills are good enough, but I just can't figure out what to do next... I have a home office (more than 18 miles from the nearest small town) so it's not a "drop in" kind of place. I will have to go out and FIND customers somehow (and probably offer pick-up & delivery)...

    Any ideas?

    Thanks so much for any help you could give me.


    Jak

    Last edited by Jakaleena; 04-25-2002, 11:57 PM.

  • #2
    Hi Jak,

    For starters I think you should check out the work/jobs forum. There is a lot of business related information on there. Also, don't just look at the most recent posts. Go back to the beginning. Good luck.

    Ed

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    • #3
      To begin with, like Ed said, you might want to browse through the threads here in the work/job section. That would probably give you a basis upon which to start. That being said, I would suggest that you begin by putting an Ad in the local paper to let the folks in your area know that you are avaliable to do restores/retouching and see what type of response you get. Easing into your own business, allowing it to develop from a part time/put a little extra cash into the budget type operation into a full time one is the prefered way to go. It gives you some wiggle room to work out trouble spots, get organized, and get yourself known around the area, without feeling the crunch of being under pressure to produce enough income to allow you the little luxuries in life, like living indoors, the benefits of electric power, eating on a regular basis....I think you get my drift... Most small business ventures fail because they are (1) under funded,(2) lack of business experience/failure to assessthe market for what is being offered, and(3) discouragement. Beginning your venture on a part time basis helps eliminate these problems and gives you an exc ellent oportunity to build up your business at a comfortable and managable rate. Good luck and keep us informed how you are doing. Tom

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      • #4
        Hi Jak,

        Sounds like the place I live...I'm also 18 miles one way to the nearest town.

        Well I started out by just telling any and everyone who would give me a moment of their time, (mainly friends) about what I was doing. I also put together a sample book of before and after pictures showing the different types of work I did, ie. restoration, manipulation, colorization and creative stuff. I don't know if your area is like mine but being a small area and the nearest town also being small word spread like wildfire. As an example I have an elderly friend who belongs to a womens group and she asked if I'd come to her group and make a little presentation on what I do. I agreed and poof, the calls started. I don't really like meeting people at my home because I like the privacy and also we're in the middle of nowhere, so I meet them either outside the library in town, at the local chamber of commerce office etc. If they want me to come to their house I can do that as well. I've found a lot of the elderly people like this work as they want to pass along pictures to children and grandchildren. I work out of my house and stay very very busy. It has been just about a year now and the photo lab in town also uses me for their digital imaging work. Hope this helps.

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        • #5
          I don't know if this is an option, but you could explore working as a sub-contractor for your current employer. If they are pulling down that much restoration work, it might be a substantial blow to the business to lose a restorer! This might be an opportunity to put together a business proposal to approach your employer with.

          If the owner is a logical and open minded individual then a well thought out proposal might be just the ticket you are looking for and could be quite beneficial for the both of you!

          Best wishes in your venture!

          Randy

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          • #6
            Same story as Chris here....way out in the country etc...
            I also have a website to point people to. That has helped to let people know what I do and to browse on their own time.
            I meet people in town, their house......my house....I have done quite a few jobs thru the mail and thru email attachments. The latter were scanned in at double the resolution and really came out suprisingly good. (loooong download time though) It is scary to jump in... but why not? It is great to do what you love. The old post here in this forum are invaluable, I have used all to get my business off the ground. Good luck! You can Email with any questions

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