Islander tells how to start your own home business

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.

John Mclain tells about his new book

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.

More in Business

New wheels add shine to grooming biz

The newest addition to Oak Harbor’s grooming salon Posh Puppies may have… Continue reading

Rockin’ a Hard Place: Beth’s tasty 20-year road to success at bayleaf

I’m always intrigued by the fascinating, sometimes convoluted stories of how people… Continue reading

Dolls of historical figures are available at Purple Moon.
Whidbey offers unique gift ideas

Shoppers looking for gifts beyond the usual online and big-box options have… Continue reading

Restaurant owners see wharf location as a plus

If Damien and Tiffany Cortez could only say one thing about their… Continue reading

New Oak Harbor chamber director not content to ride others’ coattails

The former “poster child” for the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce is… Continue reading

Pet rehab: Dogs in ‘doggles,’ cats get post-surgery care

For dog and cat owners, seeing their loyal companions endure aches and… Continue reading

Marvelous marbling: New Coupeville business bringing added dimension to Front Street

A drop of blue spreads rapidly across the still water, growing and… Continue reading

New children’s clothing boutique opens in Coupeville

Rain Puddles Kids Boutique has a variety of items for ages up to 5

New take on thrift

‘Storage wars of Whidbey Island’ leads to unique store

Kingsview opens Coupeville office

Kingsview Asset Management recently opened the doors to its new office and… Continue reading

Local brewer taps into neighboring market

Big plans are a-brewing at one Coupeville-based business. Penn Cove Brewing Co.… Continue reading

After 30 years, Whidbey Coffee is strong as ever

Whidbey Coffee’s story began with chicken fajitas at a small community festival.… Continue reading