The telemarketing business involves making phone calls to potential customers, clients or donors. These calls are often unsolicited and frequently attempt to sell a product, service, subscription, to solicit a donation, or to complete a survey. The nature of the telemarketing business is offensive to many people, thus facilitating recent legal limitations imposed on telemarketing companies in the USA.
The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)  reports that there were more than 341,000 telemarketing jobs in the USA in 2008. BLS projects that number will shrink by 11.1 percent over the decade from 2008 – 2018. However, nearly 86,000 job openings will still occur over this decade due to the need for replacement workers. A very small percentage of telemarketers are self-employed, according to BLS.
An unlimited and inexpensive phone service would be the key “tool” in the telemarketing business. An Internet phone service may be the least expensive option, and one that could integrate well with electronic databases that may be provided by customers.
You will also need a phone service that is capable of transmitting caller ID information when outgoing calls are made. This is required to comply with legal requirements for telemarketing calls.
An office of some type, whether in the home or out of the home, will also be essential for this business. Maintaining a dedicated office, even if only in a spare room at home, will allow you to close the door when making phone calls and also allow you to set up your records and office equipment.
Direct marketing to companies and organizations that may use telemarketing services may be the best starting point for a new home-based telemarketing business. Many non-profit organizations use telemarketing services to conduct fundraising drives. Political parties and candidates often use telemarketing services communicate with voters – particularly around election dates. Contacting these organizations directly may be the best way of introducing yourself and your new business.
Online marketplaces like Guru.com, eLance.com, and craigslist.org can be a good source of leads. Each venue offers its own benefits or advantages, but all can be a good place to start.
Nearly every business needs a website and a telemarketing business is no exception. A website allows customers to find you, and also allows you to provide additional information to potential customers.
The telemarketing industry has several trade journals. A subscription to one or more of these journals may be a good investment. This can be a good way to stay abreast of current events, legal issues, and new technologies.
US law now requires telemarketing companies to not call residential phone customers who have submitted their number to a national do-not-call registry . Telemarketing companies that violate the do-not-call regulations are subject to penalties. There are some exclusions to the do-not-call registry, notably charities and businesses that have conducted business with the consumer in the past. This is one are where you will want to perform careful research or even obtain professional guidance to avoid making any expensive mistakes.
The telemarketing business is certainly not for everyone. People who enjoy talking on the phone, particularly those with a background in telemarketing or call centers, may consider this to be a good, home-based business opportunity though.
Government projections anticipate a decline in the number of job available in this industry over the next decade. However, this could be an advantage to a cost-effective, home-based business that is prepared to leverage the flexibility and cost savings that they can offer.
1) United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Site accessed on 7 October 2010.
2) National Do Not Call Registry. Site accessed on 21 October 2010.