<strong>Author:</strong> Rob Spina
<strong>Published by:</strong> Legacy Marketing
<em>….this article has appeared on various web sites. </em>
Thank you for letting me share some of your time in cyberspace. I appreciate the opportunity to tell your readers our story, and for my wife and I, it’s an important one. It defines where we’ve been and where we’re going. And, I hope our story helps a few people define and execute their short and long-term goals as well.
<strong>Can you relate? </strong>
At the time this all began, my wife and I had already been married over 20 years. Like a lot of couples, we were always looking for ways to make extra income to make life easier. Not necessarily simpler — just a little easier. Not surprisingly, the combined income from our jobs was just barely enough for us to get by. We weren’t looking for a million dollars (though that would’ve been nice) but just enough to get by and cover the “extras” that most couples need. Extras to cover such things as car repairs, house maintenance, some furniture, taking the kids to the amusement park or an occasional meal out.
Acknowledging that we needed more money was the easy part. Doing something about it, without losing everything we had, was the not so easy part.
Let me back up a bit. Over the years I’ve tried my hand at many different small businesses. I lost a lot of time and money in the process. As I got older, I felt I had less of each to lose.
We were frustrated. We were tired of scrimping. We were tired of working long and hard hours for other people. We were tired of trying to save money when our paychecks ran out before the month did. And most importantly, we were tired of making the effort to get something going, only to wind up with the same results as people who did nothing. Sound familiar?
<strong>We did know one thing! </strong>
We thought carefully about the type of business we should start and operate. But what? It was a tedious process of elimination. But though it took awhile to figure what business made sense for us, we did know one thing from the start — we were already “failure- sensitive” enough by this time to know that this next new business should be run from home. So it was decided. We will operate from home! This way, we could tend to it while we took care of the kids, the house, and other personal duties. And, it would keep our overhead low.
But we knew that low overhead and operating from home weren’t the only “musts” we should have on our checklist. Aside from a low cost start-up, there was additional criteria that had to be part of the foundation of the business we chose. We decided it should also have a potentially large customer base… that the large customer base have continuous growth potential… that there be plenty of room for us and competition… and the income potential unlimited.
At this point, I think I can tell you we’ve finally found what we’ve been searching for (these many years). We’ve found not only the additional income we need, but, a source to supply that income for many years to come, as well.
<strong>Finally, a successful business is born! </strong>
The business of our dreams? An <a title=”How to Start And Operate an Errand Service” href=”http://www.legacymarketing.net/products-page/publications/how-to-start-and-operate-an-errand-service/”>errand service</a>. Talk about a business that people need and many can’t do without! During our business research phase, we discovered how busy people really are, and the level of help they need getting it all done. My wife and I figured that this overall need for assistance, by both businesses and consumers, would easily support an errand service and for once we were right.
We couldn’t have made a better choice. This business has everything we were looking for — from a huge demand from an always growing customer base — to being able to operate out of our home. From earning an income from time-squeezed individuals — to providing a valued commodity that usually money can’t buy. Both business owners and consumers latched onto our service right away. We had arrived and there was no looking back.
Simply put – people need help At the very beginning, my wife and I quickly discovered that people are busier than at any other time in history (we read that in the last 20 years, 600 annual work hours have been added to our schedules), and need help putting order back in their business and personal lives — in a reasonable timeframe.
People simply need more time to do what they need to do, and they’ve never been more determined to get it. We were offering not only errands — but the commodity of time as well.
<strong>A lot of need out there </strong>
We found that businesses such as law firms, doctors, ad agencies, hospitals, escrow and real estate firms, court reporters and medical transcriptions (and more) are document-intensive. They all need assistance getting these original documents and packages from one place to another. Also, we found that some businesses need to make deliveries but no longer want the expense of keeping delivery people on their payroll. We solved that problem by offering our errand service. This includes bakeries, picture frame businesses, computer and car repair shops, pharmacies, printers and many more.
As far as consumers, we found them to be just as needy (if not more) as business people. From that need, we offered dry cleaning and pharmaceutical pick-up, pet service (and pet food delivery), grocery shopping, new mom service, mobile valet service, pantyhose delivery, concierge service, house sitting, seniors service, kid transport service, meal delivery, and much more.
Due to the wide variety of our services, the demand for errands, at times, was overwhelming. Our dream was finally realized. We were working out of our home… our customer base was large and growing… and for the first time, we were making the income we needed. We felt good about ourselves and we were doing this together. A common interest — the reason, I feel, for the success of our errand business and our marriage.
<strong><a title=”How to Start And Operate an Errand Service” href=”http://www.legacymarketing.net/products-page/publications/how-to-start-and-operate-an-errand-service/”>How To Start And Operate An Errand Service</a> is born</strong>
Now, one day not long ago, a visiting relative wanted to start their own errand service, and asked if I could provide an outline of important aspects of this business. They had a lot of good questions. Aside from wanting to know how to get started, they also wanted to know: how to get new customers, how to advertise, how to build a client base, what services to offer business owners, what services to offer consumers, what to charge, how to maintain it, and what would given them an edge? Plus, they wanted to first understand what motivated someone to use an errand service in the first place.
At first, I felt the request was a tall order. Doing what we did to start and run this business was one thing — but a step-by-step breakdown of it on paper, was another. Or so I thought.
<strong>Those “creative juices”</strong>
Once I began writing about how to get started, how to choose a business name, and about working from home, I couldn’t stop until the material I gathered filled a book. A guidebook, to be exact. When all the research and writing was over, not only did I know more about my own errand business, but a book was written that we call, How To Start And Operate An Errand Service.
I consider this guidebook the blueprint for the business my wife and I started. It includes answers to the original questions asked by my relative, as well as information about the services mentioned above (and more) that we offered to our customers. And, this “How- To” book now includes a section on inexpensive ways to build a client base, as well as a section on Questions and Answers, Strategies and Tips, Cutting Costs, Doing More With Less, Keys To Success, and Outside Resources To Help (to show that no one is alone).
How To Start And Operate An Errand Service has generated a lot of attention. Not surprisingly, a lot of that attention is coming from women. My wife thinks it’s due to the dual role that today’s women have to play — that of stay-at-home nurturer and caretaker — and that of full or part-time real income producer. With owning an errand service, we found that women can be both.
Women aren’t the only ones to benefit from the real need for help out there. We’ve received many letters from men who’ve lost their jobs and started an errand service – only to NEVER go back working for someone. We’re talking men of all age groups, including retirees.
<strong>We now have the blueprint!</strong>
Regarding our errand service, my wife knew we made the right choice when she saw me operating the business one day, out of our home, with our little boy on my lap. She was right.
Regarding our How To Start And Operate An Errand Service Guidebook, it’s helped a number of people (both women and men) cancel their dependence on someone else’s business. To us, it’s made everything worthwhile.
The guidebook has been profiled on TV (cable TV in Philadelphia), in various small business magazines (Small Business Opportunities, Entrepreneurial Edge, and more), and on various websites (Entrepreneur Magazine, ivillage.com, Edge Online, The Planet Post, Business Start-Ups, and more).
This story proves, if even on a small scale, that no one should ever give up their dreams. Thank you for allowing me to tell it to you.