As vice president of sales and marketing for an electronics company, Winston Moss sometimes spent five days a week on the road, away from his wife, Betsy, and two children, Mitchell, 13, and Chelsea, 9. Tired of the flying, driving and general trekking, Moss started looking for a business he could run from his home near Richmond, Virginia.
It was a newspaper ad that introduced Moss, 49, to RSVP, a direct-mail marketing company. After seeing samples of the franchise's postcards, Moss decided to join, and in June 2000, he opened his own homebased business. RSVP creates postcard advertisements, which are sent out to residences four times a year. Moss' clients are mainly small businesses looking to advertise to the 100,000 homes that receive RSVP's Richmond mailings.
Only one company per category advertises, giving Moss' publication a "best of" feel. "Many of our clients say this validates their business [among customers]," he says. "We do offer exclusivity. I look for a client in a category and make that the only business in our publication--no competitors allowed."
Moss' close date for ad sales is about a month prior to the mailing date, giving Moss about three weeks to get all the cards designed, approved and proofed before sending them to the printer and then mailing them out. In 2002, Moss' sales increased by 30 percent over the previous year. And he expects that figure to grow to 40 percent this year.
Though his days are spent running all over town to meet with clients or the printer, Moss does have the luxury of a family life his corporate job didn't provide. "I walk my kids to the bus many mornings. I'm there when they get home, and I coach my son in basketball and baseball," he says. "Being homebased has enabled me to do things with my kids I was never able to do before and [has] given me a lot of time I never would have had."