Writer John Mclain of Oak Harbor has seen people fail, and succeed, at executing their small business dream.
After being “downsized” himself, he successfully started a national media consulting business and Web design firm.
While Mclain’s last novel and screenplay were both fictional, his latest non-fiction book is timed to the economy. He authored “How to promote your home business,” which also touches on small businesses.
This is an avenue, he says, that many laid-off workers are now looking at.
“In the news, unemployment has hit a 50 year high and a lot of people are out of work. The prospects of getting hired are diminishing,” Mclain said. “People are looking at alternative ways to make a living.”
According to Joe Giannamore, a regional labor economist for Northwest Washington, the unemployment rate in Island County rose to 8.2 percent in February, up from 5.5 percent last October.
In Washington, the rate is 9.3 percent, compared to last year’s 5.3 percent.
At the same time, Washington was also named the top state for starting a new business by U.S. News and World Report.
They cited very low taxes, which makes the costs of growing a business low. A downed national market can also provide lower costs in real estate, in terms of leasing space.
Mclain said that like many first-year small businesses, his first venture was a failure.
He began a home-based Web design business, but became outpaced by the technology.
“There were other firms with whole teams, who developed the latest technology for higher prices and it overwhelmed my business,” Mclain said.
A business counselor recommended that he tap the skill he did best — stick to writing. From home, he became a media consultant to 55 colleges and universities.
With his knowledge of the publicity world, and the world of the entrepreneur, Mclain compiled advice on gaining free publicity and low-cost promotion strategies. Essentially, how to market on a shoestring budget.
“I want to help people focus on how to get customers in the door,” Mclain said.
Along with traditional advertising techniques, such as making personal sales calls, Mclain also tells start-ups to get on the Web. A small, simple and attractive site only costs a couple of hundred dollars, he writes.
When asked what type of business he would open in Oak Harbor, Mclain responds, “There are two things missing in Oak Harbor. A strictly, pure Italian restaurant and a place that sells coffee and donuts.”
“How to Promote Your Home Business” can be applied to any enterprise, Mclain said, and people can find it online at Amazon.com.