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Need advice on whether business idea will work

PromisedJoyPromisedJoy subscriber Posts: 1
I am currently investigating the possibility of starting an at home business which would offer small churches the possibility of preparing their bulletins, designing flyers or anything else they are unable to do because of lack of funds. This service would be priced very low because I want to help these churches succeed and not take money that can be utilized otherwise.
Additionally, and this would be the heart of the business, I would like to offer churches, small businesses, and individuals several administrative support products. I would like to create greeting cards for specific occasions, invitations and announcements for birthday, graduation, anniversary and weddings.
I would also like to design web sites. I currently do a monthly update of a website for my husband which can be found at http://mysite.verizon.net/joyfulhope/index.htm</A>. This could be done on the company or individual`s computer or I could do it on my own computer.


  • PromisedJoyPromisedJoy subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks for your response, Ken -
    The church adminstrative support would be in addition to the other areas such as invitations, announcements, etc. I would also like to provide small businesses with specially created letterheads as well as possible help them launch a web site.
    I don`t mind being a helping hand service & I`m not looking for a large profit. Just want enough to feel that I am worth something even though I am 60 and have some disabilities that tend to disqualify me for many employers.
  • keyconkeycon subscriber Posts: 34
    Let me welcome you, too.
    I second everything Ken posted. The business you describe is very viable. It may not be a high profit business, but based on what you stated, it doesn`t sound as if this is your #1 priority anyway.
    The great thing about doing work for non-profits is you can make a great name for yourself based on your work and relationships. These relationships can build your network of contacts that could/can lead to more work down the road as you decide how big and busy you want to become.
    Go for it and good luck!
  • keyconkeycon subscriber Posts: 34
    "In Kind" services should definitely be invoiced as a value so they can be listed as a charitable contribution on year-end tax returns. This would help reduce tax liability (not an accountant, but I have done this with non-profit work on my accountants advice).
  • zmanzman subscriber Posts: 1
    I would suggest that you also use the "low profit" or non-profit services you provide to the churches as a means to offer your greeting card/announcement, etc. products to their membership and attendees. In exchange for your services, churches and other organizations may be willing to help you advertise and promote your offerings. 
  • cslade3cslade3 subscriber Posts: 1
    Hi Joy,I think you have a great idea and think everyone has given some great advice so far. I would just mention that the website you listed above does not show up correctly in Mozilla Firefox which is used by many people accessing the internet instead of Internet Explorer. Also one way to get your fliers and cards out to the churhes and non-profits is to give some of the material away initially and then after you have generated some interest, they will come back to you for more materials and services. Good Luck!
  • PromisedJoyPromisedJoy subscriber Posts: 1
    I have been trying to find out have to have my web site seen by those using AOL, Netscape and Mac browsers. Perhaps you can tell me if it is Publisher that is creating the problem or is there something else I can do. I am using verizon.net because we are customers and it doesn`t cost unless we get extra storage which we have right now.
    I`m open to hearing from anyone. I also have Web Easy but am having a problem getting it launched. Any advice is very welcome.
  • LogoMotivesLogoMotives subscriber Posts: 15
    "In Kind" services should definitely be invoiced as a value so they can be listed as a charitable contribution on year-end tax returns. This would help reduce tax liability (not an accountant, but I have done this with non-profit work on my accountants advice).
    [email protected] question whether your accountant is giving you good advice.  The IRS states in many of their information documents that an individual can not "deduct the value of your time or services" when working with charitable organizations.  Here`s just one reference on the IRS web site. (in this case the reference is in the first bulleted item on the list).  My accountant has always made this very clear to me as I do a great deal of work with nonprofits.  I can deduct any expenses incurred, and travel costs, but not the value of my time.It is always good to invoice nonprofits the full value of the work you have done so they have an understanding of the true value of your services - but any deductions on that balance due or donations will be out of the goodness of your heart.Here`s an article I wrote about the value of working with nonprofit organizations.- J.
  • LogoMotivesLogoMotives subscriber Posts: 15
    I am currently investigating the possibility of starting an at home business which would offer small churches the possibility of preparing their bulletins, designing flyers or anything else they are unable to do because of lack of funds. This service would be priced very low because I want to help these churches succeed and not take money that can be utilized otherwise.Welcome PromisedJoy!  Your business idea sounds excellent.  Perhaps the churches could even consider getting a business owned by a congregation member to "sponsor" your efforts.  I know of several churches that have member businesses sponsor the cost of printing newsletters/bulletins each month in exchange for a small ad or listed credit.  Maybe the same could be proposed for the value of your time in helping the church coordinate such projects.Good luck! - J.
  • keyconkeycon subscriber Posts: 34
    Jeff - thanks for clearing that up ... I stand corrected. I should have made myself clearer. I was thinking - but did not communicate it well - of items she might be giving the non-profits - such as the finished work of cards, printed material, etc. I do believe these items can be donated and taken as a legit deduction.
    Thanks - R@
  • EricEric subscriber Posts: 8
    Being honest, I would say that Mike is right. There are many low cost services available to small and poorly funded churches. If you are serious about creating a real business, you have stiff competition out there and your success will depend on your sales approach and how your services will be better than all the rest.
    Now on the other hand, if you are just a good hearted person that wants to help small churches by pointing them in the direction of low cost resources, You may want to try to develop a refferal type business that would compile a tremendous list of existing companies that offer these low cost solutions to struggling churches. (I`m sure there are already several companies that do so) but there is always room for more!
    With a quick search I was able to find these and it`s just a tiny handful of the available resources out there.
    http://guide.gospelcom.net/resources/ch ... mplate.php</A>
    Just as with any product or service, your success will depend upon the way you package and promote yourself and your services, and the energy that you put into what you do.
    Let us know what you end up doing. I wish you the best.
  • PromisedJoyPromisedJoy subscriber Posts: 1
    To all you who have responded - many thanks. I would like to be more clear about the help to smaller churches. I would be doing the actual design and printing of bulletins and flyers for those churches without secretarial staff and the pastor and/or his wife is doing this and feels overwhelmed because of other demands within their ministry.
    The hope is that my company name would appear on the printed materials in hope that members in the congregation who have businesses or some input into a business they work for when they need someone who can put a personal touch on things they put out.
    I would really only need a small repeat group of clientele to provide me what I need to cover the cost of materials and still give me enough money to occasionally buy things I need such as clothes and toiletries. Perhaps even save for the trip down south we are planning for next year.
    I`m not looking to become a millionaire. Only to be able to earn money with my abilities since no one wants to hire me without me paying "x" amount for the secrets of this or that person. I`m not a sales person nor do I wish to be. I just want to feel useful and have the ability to earn money I don`t have to always get from my husband.
  • EricEric subscriber Posts: 8
    Thanks for clarifying. That changes things quite a lot. You aren`t looking to go "big time" you  are really just out to ease the pressure on a handful of churches and you`re really only looking for a moderate compensation.
    This might sound crazy, but would you consider offering your service in return for the cost of materials + a donation? Churches do operate using donations and that way they would be giving you what they could afford without worrying about a regular "fee" for service. Churches that could give you more would do so and the churches that are just lucky to have you would be very appreciative to have you helping them out.
    You may start by offering a church your services say for one month with no obligation on their part. That could be very appealing. Be honest and let them know that you are trying to get into the business. Once you remove the obligation, it would be hard for a church to not give you the opportunity if they don`t already have a solid system in place. When your "trial period" is over they will give you their answer and their opinions and you will learn from that experience and it will make your service better.
    I know you must have a lot of energy and a lot to offer to be willing to take on such a business the way your are. I respect that.
  • CalgaryPixCalgaryPix subscriber Posts: 2
    Some ideas for you.How about seeing if there are a couple of business people in the congregation who would "sponsor" the newsletters, etc for a nominal fee to cover printing and other hard costs. You could then add yourself as a sponsor to remind other business people in the congregation of your services and perhaps they will put some work your way. You might even get companies outside the congegation to do a sponsorship. You could then expand the service (and those sponsors) to other churches and while not making a lot of money on any one newsletter or other printed piece you might make enough to pay for your own marketing pieces and perhaps a little extra for yourself. Use that to expand your client base for your own company.Try and make everything you do part of a system to take the least amount of time so you can concentrait on other things. Make templates for your newsletters, and try to create an efficient work flow to get things printed the most effectively. And don`t charge by the hour - as you get more efficient you don`t want to make less money.I used tp estimate a job by thinking how long it should take, doubling that and adding 10 per cent. If the client is a bit of a jerk, add 25 per cent. Amazingly, this works every time. Once I got better, I`d still quote the old rate, I just made more per hour. And, the clients got the benefit of my experience rather than just my time. That expierence has been much more valuable to my clients.As for your husband`s website - I believe the problem is that Cascading Style Sheets need to be slightly different for IE and other browsers - and FrontPage seems to be writing only for IE. On my site`s statistics between 20 and 30 per cent of visitors over time are now using other browsers so it doesn`t make business sense to conentrait on only IE. Through about 15 years of building websites, I standardized on Dreamweaver as having the least problems/ugly code of the visually based html tools. While CSS has become very good for formating sites, I still use mostly straight html as it breaks the least.
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