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How I Started My Color Scanning Business

© 1998, by Annie Douglas

I began a business in computer scanning last Spring after receiving a color scanner as a Christmas gift. But more important, I saw a need for this kind of service in our area. I also wanted a little extra income yet be able to continue to stay at home mom with our twins.

We live in a small rural town and the closest business that would do computer scanning was about 30 minutes away -- and they charged an exorbitant amount for their scanning service. I knew that many people in our area were adding computers to their homes and many wanted to get a web page up or just send photos to relatives via email.

My set up began with an application for a service vendors licence and registering the name of my business. Your local or county municipal building should have these forms. Next I worked up a pricing schedule and set up forms that the clients would have to fill out; this included a disclaimer for copyrighted materials. I designed a simple web page with all of this information and printed up business cards as well as fliers for advertising at local computer shops and bulletin boards. Later I purchased floppy disks for sending clients their pictures.

Total cost for my set up (including: scanner, licences, fliers, business cards, software to manipulate pictures and floppy disks ) was approximately $450.00.

I advertised all over the Internet, including message boards, our local ISP classifieds and local town classifieds. I posted fliers at local computer shops and stores.

Since I am a stay-at home mom I am usually busy with "mom" stuff during he day, so most of the work I do for my business occurs after the kids go to bed and on weekends.

Advice for new WAH moms:

  • Set realistic financial and time goals.
  • Review your plans with your accountant, attorney and insurance agent.
  • Talk over goals and plans with your spouse and see how he can help with achieving those goals. Be sure to thank your husband for helping in these areas. I wouldn't be able to do what I do if it weren't with the help of my wonderful husband!
  • Plan one chunk of time each week to devote to your business and get a sitter if needed to come to the house.
  • If you have to work every day on your business, set limits for your time. It's so easy to get caught up with work and forget about meals, cleaning and your husband ;-)
  • Try not to feel guilty about the time you put into your business. I know I fall prey to this very often. I think of it as my mentally stimulating exercise for the day!
  • Lastly, keep your priorities in line! My family always comes first, no matter how busy my business gets. I know that the time that my children are young and at home is very short :-)

Annie Douglas is the owner of Douglas Computer Services, featuring fast, affordable scanning. You can reach her via e-mail, or her web site, .

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