Starting a new business is hard but with the right information that business can get started off on the right foot. is dedicated to helping businesses get that help. Through pages of free information their website shares ideas on how other businesses may get started. For those that need a little more help, they also offer paid services, such as: web coaching, copywriting, ecommerce installations and online marketing.

I recently spoke with Alexandria Marx from Marketing Department about their website and found out a little more about the services that they offer.

What was the inspiration for launching

Offline, our small company served clients such as Dallas Business Journal, Garland Community Hospital and Pilgrim’s Pride. We wrote ads, designed brochures and conducted print production.

We were inspired to fill a void online, which at that time was an under-served niche of individual and small businesses who needed website development but didn’t have large budgets.

Although you originally launched in 95, you mentioned that the website went through a hiatus and relaunched in 2000. How did the website change during that period of time?

After five years online, the Internet evolved and the site needed to reflect new technologies. The site changed from a static HTML site to include a mix of interactive features. For example, the addition of PHP programming powered by a mySQL database, allowed for the installation of a shopping cart. Visitors could bypass the time it takes to get an estimate and order services online instantly.

This one change shortened the process and made it easier for clients to benefit quickly from professional services, such as copywriting for an email campaign, sales letter or website page.

Most people are not familiar with how to specify a project, such as a website or brochure, in order to get an accurate quote. Of those who are, few people want to take time to go through the process of writing out specifications and waiting for an estimate. The projects listed in our shopping cart include the specifications.

The site navigation was also changed from a long list of static links to a fly-out system using Javascript. This change made is easier for visitors to locate information without clicking through a hierarchy of web pages.

What would you say is the most popular category on your website?

It’s not surprising that copywriting is the most popular category on our website. On the Internet, copywriting can make or break a website. Good copy is like a pancake. One side has to attract web traffic and the flip side has to persuade visitors to take action.

Initially, 6 out of 10 requests were for website design and web hosting. Today, 6 out of 10 requests we get want a rewrite of existing copy. Requests for original copywriting for web pages and brochures are a close second.

Most agree that copywriting is even more important online than it is offline, although our experience in direct response and mail order copywriting might challenge that statement.

Historically, good design has always flowed from good copy, and good copy drives sales.

When the World Wide Web first opened to the public, people would launch a website and ask, “How does it look?”

Now, business wants to know how the website performs. A website must answer the visitor’s unspoken question, “What does this site offer that can make my life better?” Visitors find the answer in the web page copy.

What are some of the key areas you find most people needing the most help in when starting their business?

When it comes to starting a business online, most startups need help understanding how to make the Internet pay off for them. It’s like a roadmap to Disneyland where good times await. But like any road trip, it’s not free, shortcuts can be costly and there are plenty of potholes to avoid.

In the very beginning, a startup focuses on practical matters and later that focus changes to everyone’s goal of making money.

For example, a startup might ask for help finding the best domain name. People new to the whole concept of the Internet ask for help setting up their email account. One of the biggest questions we get concerns the type of website and what should be on it.

After a website has been live for a few months or even a year, many new business people need help attracting more visitors or finding an affordable solution to the problem of no to low sales.

Every person who wants to start a business comes to the table with different knowledge and experiences. Everyone expects to make money.

How much do your services cost?

Our services focus on helping people achieve success online. We believe that the cost of professional services for an online business is an investment in that business’ success.

Like most service providers, our fees are based on an hourly rate, but we go a step further:

a. Many of our services are pre-priced, because small business people generally have a tight budget and want to know their investment upfront.

b. We accept payments.

c. If someone is in need, we defer all or a portion of the payment due for most services.

d. If someone is really in need, we consider providing all or some services at no charge.

e. We also consider trades, partnerships and joint ventures.

Copywriting starts at $30/hr. Pre-priced websites start below $400. Ecommerce solutions start for less than $500 and the site we recommend for those who enroll in our free e-course for startups includes a 30% discount coupon.

In your opinion, what are some of the things about that you feel separates it from other websites like it?

We are dedicated to helping people succeed online. But we are not alone. Thankfully, there are other qualified service providers who also want to help people.

I think what sets us apart is our heart. We are not just a website. We are people helping other people. Our clients help us right back. Just the other day, we asked David Franklin, one of our new clients, if we could use him as a reference. He emailed back, “Let’s be a team and help each other.” We appreciate that mindset. It really speaks to how we feel about our clients and how they feel about us.

As we have entered into a new year, do you have any goals for that you’d like fulfill in 2009?

Even though there are a few flickers of hope for the economy to spring back, it may take more time. The financial crisis is not over. People are out of work. Mortgage payments are still a burden. So this year, our thoughts and plans focus on helping people survive financial setbacks.

For those who want to start a business on the Internet, our goal focuses on finding these individuals and providing creative business solutions to meet their needs in the shortest timeframe, for the least investment or for a fee they can manage.

Although your website helps others get started in business, what has it taught you about business?

This is a good question. After more than ten years in business online, we notice that there are two kinds of people: People who want success, and people who say they want success. It’s like going on a diet. Some people eat less and exercise more. For others, the extent of their action is to buy a weight-loss book or watch an exercise video.

If more people actually put in the time and effort, more people would find the success they want. Whether it’s to supplement their income or become self-employed, the Internet offers people a golden opportunity. It puts a work-at-home mom on a level playing field with big business. Where else is this possible?

If you had to narrow down all of your advice into one sentence, what would you tell someone interested in launching their own business?

Believe in yourself, because anyone can start a business on the Internet and make money.

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