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Starting a Business

Calling Out

Pull up an ergonomic chair and a headset-yes, you, too, could be telemarketing from home in no time.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the June 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Q: I've suffered disabling injuries and want to put my sales skills to work at home by starting a B2B telemarketing company. How do I get started?

Via e-mail

A: Telemarketing can be an attractive alternative for people who are confined to the home and personable on the phone. There are two forms of telemarketing: inbound and outbound. With outbound telemarketing, you call prospects and use a carefully prepared script. Inbound telemarketing involves answering calls generated through advertising products or services in another medium, like TV or radio. Typically, those ads provide a toll-free number that's routed to you; you then take orders or provide information to callers.

In choosing between inbound and outbound telemarketing, consider your desired working hours. For outbound telemarketing, federal law restricts the hours you can call to after 7 a.m. and before 9 p.m. local time. Inbound telemarketing usually requires having your telephones covered 24 hours a day, because people will call at all hours.

As an outbound telemarketer, you'd be making lots of phone calls (to make 100 contacts in an eight-hour day, you have to dial about 300 numbers), so you'll need a telephone headset and other equipment, like an ergonomically suited desk chair, to ease the physical stress.

You'll also need to market your services. You can advertise on the Web via TelePlaza, an online directory of call center, telesales and customer service resources. Rates to get in the directory begin at $225 a year.

Because you're disabled, you may be eligible for funding or counseling to help get you established. Your nearest Small Business Development Center should have a list of programs in your area.

The following national organizations also offer various forms of support and, in some cases, funding:

Businesspeople Overcoming Limitations from Disabilities (BOLD)
Disabled Businesspersons,
National Rehabilitation, (703) 836-0850.
Worldwide Association of Disabled Entrepreneurs Inc. (WADE), (317) 542-8923.

Paul and Sarah Edwards' most recent book is Changing Directions Without Losing Your Way. Send them your start-up business questions at or in care of Entrepreneur.

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