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Business Startups: Tintype Photography, Guitar Teacher, and More

Teaching guitar, tintype photography, and repair and restoration were some of the business startups readers wrote in to report the magazine had inspired them to establish.

| July/August 1980

  • 064 bootstrap businesses
    Mike Mosel of San Marco, TX in his toys and trinkets shop, a store he opened after establishing a successful tintype photography business.

  • 064 bootstrap businesses

The following are business startups that readers came up with after reading articles in MOTHER EARTH NEWS.  

REPAIR AND RESTORATION: In January of last year I decided it was time for a change of career ... since my import/export enterprise was being sorely affected by the rising cost of travel and the increasingly negative attitudes many Third World countries had toward the United States.

I was certain that I could manage to make such a switch, because I'd successfully started a number of occupations over the years, but I first had to come up with an idea for a business that would be right for me. Many of my past endeavors had been inspired by MOTHER EARTH NEWS' success stories, and this time the tale of Brent and Carol Shafer's blacksmithing enterprise came to mind.

I'd apprenticed under a silversmith more than 30 years previously, after I'd been discharged from the army following World War II, and it seemed that I finally had the perfect opportunity to make use of that valuable training by setting up a "jack of all repairs" business. I invested a total of $542 in my new vocation: $12 for business cards, $60 a month for advertising in two local newspapers, $170 for tools and equipment, and $300 for insurance. In addition, I continued to purchase (whenever I could afford to) materials that would improve the quality of my work, and I scrounged useful implements wherever possible.

I began by accepting repair jobs on all metal-ware, plus glass, porcelain, ceramics, ivory, amber, tortoise shell, and marble ... currently I'm in the process of learning about the restoration of paper items as well: books, art prints, documents, and stamps, for example. Though I'm also experienced in repairing jewelry and mending wooden objects, I've found that I don't have time to accept chores that fall into these categories ... so I refer all such tasks to local jewelers and cabinetmakers, who—in turn—send appropriate jobs to me.

My earnings during the first 12 months of business have averaged $250 per week, and I anticipate a substantial increase in profits once I become established and better known in the community. In fact—from past experience—I think it's safe to expect that, before long, hard work and word-of-mouth advertising will serve to double my present income!

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