How To Start Your Own Home Desktop Publishing Business

Home desktop publishing is a very cutting-edge business right now. Find out how to start yours, right from your own home.

Desktop publishing refers to using a system of hardware and software to create, illustrate, and publish documents electronically rather than manually. Most companies, large and small, use desktop publishing in some fashion, whether it's to make their brochures or marketing materials, or for stationery, business cards, websites, and much more. The products a DTP can make are virtually endless, but a short list includes business forms, advertisements, newsletters, catalogs, menus, flyers, price lists, calendars, posters, and logos. Some DTP owners choose to specialize in one type of service; other generalize and produce anything a client needs. The choice is up to you.

The first step in starting your own DTP business is to asses your skills. Are you proficient at most page layout and graphics programs? Do you have computer expertise? Do you have graphic design abilities? Are you knowledgeable about printing operations? Do you have a full understanding of typography and typesetting? Do you know your way around the Internet? Are you a good editor? How well can you keep records and scheduling your work? Can you market and sell your work? Do you like to work from home? Do you have good interpersonal and time management skills? If you answered yes to most of these questions, you would probably succeed at DTP. You don't have to be proficient at all of these; you can learn most of them. But you should possess the majority of the skills listed here to be well-suited to DTP at home.

The next step you will take is to develop a mission statement, which outlines the services you intend to provide. Your statement should detail your ultimate business goals, although you may find yourself veering from that path once you get your business started. Your statement may say that you will offer general DTP services, but you find yourself starting to specialize in corporate clients. Or you might find your vision of your business changing because you find that you don't like certain type of jobs. That' ok; you mission statement isn't written in stone. It merely serves as a guide to help you get started on your path. Remember, it's your business and you can do whatever you want with it. And having a written goal makes it easier to make decisions about where you want to go with your business.



Your next step in starting your DTP business is to locate and develop relationships with subcontractor. You probably aren't an expert in every aspect of DTP, and you don't have to be. You can sub-contract out jobs or portions of jobs that don't fall under your skills. Maybe you come from a writing background, but your graphic design skills aren't as good as they could be. You can learn more about graphic design and you can find someone to take over that aspect of your work. But you have to be prepared before those jobs start rolling in. You can find outside vendors to sub-contract work to by looking in the Yellow Pages for whatever type of service you anticipate needing. Then call or visit that business. Ask about their prices and if they would be interested in doing some work for you should the need arise. Most will be happy to, and if you develop a good professional relationship, they might want to use you as one of their outside vendors. Develop your list of outside vendors and keep it handy o you're ready before a job comes in that you aren't quite ready to handle.

There are so many little steps that you'll have to take to get your DTP started, and if you follow those outlined here, you'll be well on your way.

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