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Oliver (Prof. Henry)
2,262 Posts
This has been a great thread with a lot of information and views from both sides. Tom said he wrote his original marketing piece for a couple who wanted to make a living with one machine. Some feel that it isn’t possible to make a living with such a small set-up.

Having worked in the marketing arena for many years I fully agree with Tom’s views. And, at the same time, I’m aware of how challenging it can be with just a two person operation. For 13 years I was the creative part of a two person graphic design and marketing studio. The only way a small company like that can succeed is if one person is constantly doing the selling while the other is busy with production. Someone needs to be out drumming up business and meeting with clients every day to keep jobs in the pipeline and the other needs to be meeting the production deadlines.

Can you make a living that way? Yes you can if you go after the right clients and develop relationships with them. Our little two person operation had some Fortune 500 clients as well as smaller regional businesses. In Tom’s example, since it is a couple, they can probably make a living doing something they enjoy. Will it be a “good living”? That is very subjective because we all have different needs and goals.

As always, one of the secrets is to avoid making commodity products that have a lot of competition. If you can focus of creative solutions that are a cut above the others you can demand more for what you produce. For example when I look at Etsy for carved wood signs I’m astounded at cheaply some are being sold. But when you take Tom’s example and create signage for hotels where every sign includes the hotel logo you have moved beyond simple signage and into the world of branding which is easier to sell and produces more revenue.

As for me, I don’t want to be in business again either. I do think it can be done on a small scale if you keep things in perspective and are willing to work at it full time. It’s tough to take vacations in a two person company.
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