Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Single Mom From Pennsylvania Makes A Living Selling Bookmarks Online

Diane Waltman story


My business is designing and laminating bookmarks for wedding favors, business promotions, nonprofit organizations, holidays and other special occasions or projects. I design them on my computer, depending on what the customer wants. Then I print and laminate them.

I came up with the idea of a bookmark business because it was a fun way to express my creativity and would require a low investment. Extensive foot surgery forced me to quit my office job a few years ago, and my doctors told me I would be out of work for more than three years. I knew I had to do something while recuperating, so I decided to look into an online business. I researched my competition and found only one Website selling handmade bookmarks.

Within a week, in March 1999, I had started a business. After I researched my idea on the Web, I went to a local business supply company and bought most of my supplies -- a laminating machine, sheets of laminate and paper, ink and special software. Then I got going on my Website. I also checked my state regulations to see what forms I needed to file to make my business legal.

I researched Web design and learned how to build my own site, found a Web host and lined up a merchant account so I could accept credit cards. Then I was ready to market my online business -- probably the most important step.

I began by targeting some likely markets. I knew that my bookmarks would make great wedding favors, so I contacted bridal Websites and had a few list my business in exchange for a free ad in my weekly newsletter or a free link on my Website. I also advertised online in the classifieds and in newsletters from other sites and registered with the search engines. Search engine placement is very important. Offline, I designed fliers to post in local bridal shops. Most of my marketing efforts were free.

P.S. Business App Of The Day - East-Tec Eraser 2006


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