THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF A FUNNY PAGES NEWSPAPER BUSINESS
You make money by selling ads in a 4 to 8 page funny or comic newspaper that you provide to local businesses such as restaurants, coffee shops, hair salons, and so forth.
If you know where to get your paper printed, the low cost of the printing allows you to sell ads at a significant profit. If, for example, you deliver 20,000 funny page newspapers to your community containing 15 ads sold at $200 each, you would have raised $3,000. The cost of printing and shipping would average around $1,000 so you would have netted around $2,000-and that is every month!
This is the bare minimum of the potential for a funny page business in your area. We will discuss profit potential in detail later on.
IS THERE A MARKET?
Your market should consist of a town or city with a minimum population of 10,000 to 50,000 people. A printing of 5,000, 10,000 to 20,000 funny papers each month is sufficient for these size populations. A metropolitan area, however, can be divided up into sections, and an enterprising individual can produce several funny papers for each region, suburb, or surrounding cities. This can bring incredible profit potential!
In such a market, there ought to be plenty of businesses eager and willing to place advertisements in your funny pages. There also ought to be plenty of distribution points for you to deliver your papers to.
DETERMINE THE LEGAL AND TAX RAMIFICATIONS
Each state, city, and county is different in what they require. Most states will require some sort of business license and a registered trade name. Consult your state’s Secretary of State website. Your Trade Name could be as simple as: The Funny Pages of Your City Name.
In most cases, you will not have to worry about sales tax since you are not selling a tangible item. You give away your Funny Papers for free. You make money by selling advertisements in them. This is usually sales tax free. Still, it is best to check your local codes.
A simple Sole Proprietorship business is often sufficient.
You will need to be aware of income tax, Social Security taxes, and Medicare taxes. Most of this information can be found at the IRS. It would be recommended to pay these taxes monthly, quarterly, or yearly (this is often determined by the profit your business produces, see the IRS website).
START UP COSTS
There really is no start up costs other than a little leg work.
The money to print your funny pages is supplied by the advertisers. If you wanted to, you could purchase some stands for your papers. This is advisable, but again, this can be purchased from the profits of your first paper, not in advance.
PROFIT POTENTIAL OF A FUNNY PAGE BUSINESS
Since this can easily be done as a one man operation, you get to keep all the profits. Here are some likely scenarios:
SCENARIO 1: Printing 20,000 4 page papers with 15 ads sold at $200.00 each
- Total Income: $3,000
- Total Cost (including shipping) of Papers: $1,000
- Net Monthly Income: $2,000
SCENARIO 2: Printing 20,000 8 page papers with 30 ads sold at $200.00 each
- Total Income: $6,000
- Total Cost (including shipping) of Papers: $1,400
- Net Monthly Income: $4,600
SCENARIO 3: Doing ‘Scenario 1’ in TWO cities:
- Total Income: $6,000
- Total Cost (including shipping) of Papers: $2,000
- Net Monthly Income: $4,000
SCENARIO 4: Doing ‘Scenario 2’ in TWO cities:
- Total Income: $12,000
- Total Cost (including shipping) of Papers: $2,800
- Net Monthly Income: $9,200
Scenario 1 would be your target goal to begin with. Achieving that will allow you work towards the other scenarios. But once established it is much easier to expand and grow. You can sell more ads than the scenarios above suggest. This will bring in more income too. You can also choose to sell the ads for even more money.
The legwork part of this business is soliciting the advertisements from the local businesses in your area. But once done over several months, you will have a base of advertisers to draw on with a few phone calls!
STEPS TO STARTING YOUR OWN FUNNY PAGE BUSINESS
Step 1: Build Your Distribution Points
This will not be difficult, just a little time consuming. Approach a business and ask to see the manager or owner. Tell them what you are doing and ask if you could leave papers with them every month for their customers to enjoy. The papers are free, and most businesses will not complain about having something that occupies their customers’ time and keeps them in their establishments. Offering stands makes this even easier.
Keep in mind what you are offering. Families with children all the way to the elderly love funny papers with comics, trivia, puzzles and more. So consider the following places to put your papers:
- Restaurants (including fast food restaurants)
- Hair Salons
- Doctor Offices
- Dentist Offices
- Coffee Shops
- Gas Stations
Compile a list of these distribution points on a piece of paper, or in a database or spreadsheet.
Step 2: Solicit Your Advertisers
Take your compiled list of distribution points to other businesses and show them who is taking your funny papers. Seeing where their ads will go will help in the selling process.
Ask to see whoever is in charge of the advertising. Have a print out of your pricing to share with them. Here is a possible pricing chart:
- Monthly Color AD: $250
- Monthly Black and White AD: $175
- 10% discount per AD if they sign a 3 month contract
- 15% discount per AD if they sign a 6 month contract
- 20% discount per AD if they sign a 12 month contract
Note: Make sure you provide your advertisers with the size options of their ads. See Step 4 for more information.
Of course, you can set your own pricing chart. Having discounts for monthly contracts is very attractive and will give you guaranteed income each month without having to solicit it! You may even have an introductory price for first time advertisers! You can have different pricing for different sizes of ads too.
Make sure you keep a database on all your advertisers, when they advertise, what size the advertisement is, color, black and white, frequency, and any contract they sign.
Bill your advertisers monthly with an invoice either mailed or e-mailed to them. Make sure they write their checks out to your trade name. It is important to collect enough money to cover your printing costs before printing.
Step 3: Collecting The Ads From Your Advertisers
The best thing would be to receive the Ads through e-mail. Make sure they are in a jpg or jpeg format so that you can upload them to your design software.
Some businesses will struggle designing their own ads and may ask if you could do it. If you are able and capable of doing so, either offer it free, or charge a $50.00 design and setup fee. Otherwise, ask them to find someone willing to design it for them and have it e-mailed to you.
Step 4: Designing And Printing Your Funny Pages
You could use a local webpress printer, but the cost is often prohibitive. See the end of the article the source of the newspaper pricing given above.
There are many different software applications that you can use to design your paper. But you will need some sort of publishing program, unless you can find a printer that has templates that you can use (again, see end of article for more information about this).
Make sure that you have given your advertisers the correct sizes of the ads (although this is adjustable in the designer) and upload your ad images. Once they are all uploaded to your satisfaction, order your papers!
Step 5: Distribute Your Funny Pages
Once you receive your papers, retrace your steps to all your distribution points and drop off your papers. In many cases, such as restaurants, you can give them extra to resupply once they are all taken.
Other places may not receive as much traffic so it may take a few months to determine the amount of papers to leave at each distribution point. Keep track of it in a database or spreadsheet.
Make sure your advertisers receive as many copies as they want. They ought to see their ad in your paper!
Step 6: Doing It Again Next Month
Fortunately, you will not have to do everything all over again. Many of your advertisers will advertise again-particularly if you have a signed contract with them. The leg work to get advertisers is cut in half the second month. Eventually, you will have a large enough advertiser base that you will hardly have to solicit any others!
And you already have your distribution points in place. You may need a few more, but much of that work is already done.
Simply put, a few phone calls from home and a bit of driving to deliver your papers will net you a monthly income!
Your Funny Pages business just turned into a part time job with a full time income!