As the world becomes increasingly more electronicized, more and more people and businesses are converting their archives from physical to digital. Since this work is time consuming and requires specialized equipment that an organization need only use once, many choose to contract this work out. This is a great opportunity for people with the computer skills and starting capital to land those deals.
Get Set Up
Buy a fast computer, or multiple computers. You'll be dealing with large graphics files as you scan each page. This can quickly overload the capabilities of older or slower machines.
Subscribe to high speed internet. You'll want to be able to email files back to your clients. As with your computer, the size of these files can make slower connections sluggish and limiting.
Buy a commercial quality scanner capable of multiple document feeding. This means you can put a stack of docs into a hopper and press one button to scan them all.
Get trained on any components you're not certain how to use. This can mean taking a course, calling customer service or reading a book.
Get in touch with all of your friends, family members and acquaintances. Let them know what you're doing and ask them to tell their friends. Somebody, somewhere is going to be needing what you offer.
Use social networking websites to get your business face out on the web.
Contact local accountants, bookkeepers and law firms. These businesses advise clients on how to store records every day. If you establish a good relationship, they'll start advising them to have you scan those records.
Stop by local scrapbooking shops and photography stores. Both businesses have clients who routinely end up with large archives they'll want to either back up or convert completely to digital files. In many cases, they'll need to do this again and again. See if they'll let you leave a flier or brochure for their customers.
Do a job or two pro bono for a church, school or other nonprofit organization. Choose one that has lots of members and do the work in exchange for mentioning you to their supporters.
Look into getting a security clearance (usually by taking a government contract). Many documents contain sensitive information, so a clearance level will help you get contracts to scan those documents. The best way to go about this is to get a gig with a government agency, which will make clearing you a part of the hiring process.
- Interview with Kathy Long, Technical Writer, Albuquerque, N.M.
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