requirements, then producers will do business with you,” says Carter. While Applause! has doubled its gross revenues each year since its inception, Carter is now ready to take it to the million-dollar mark with a full-scale marketing campaign set to roll out next quarter. Last season, the company earned almost $200,000.
Creating “content” or entertainment programming for the newer vehicles-such as video, the Internet and some of the smaller, specialized cable networks-is a wide open area, says Rose Catherine Pinkney, who sits on the board of Women in Film and is vice president of comedy development for Paramount Network Television in Los Angeles. The key is being skilled in the new technologies, getting in the door, working your way up, learning the business and making contacts.
For women, it’s especially important to seek out mentors and establish your own network, says Marty Cavendish, executive director of Women in Film and Video, Washington, D.C. chapter. In such a competitive industry, people are always interested in working with people they know and trust. A broad liberal arts background is helpful as well as experience in some aspect of the entertainment business-theater, television or music. To bone up on the industry, Variety and Hollywood Reporter are must reads. Other publications, such as Script and Filmmaker, cover specific facets of the industry.
Carter suggests interning as a way to break into what can be a tough business. Carter ran her company for the first year from her home with just a phone, a fax and a computer. As with all businesses dependent upon contract employees or consultants, have enough cash on hand to cover payroll, taxes and insurance costs for at least three months.
Cleaning Up Profits: Professional Cleaning Services Residential and commercial cleaning services have the second-highest projected growth rate in the services sector through 2005. The number of professional cleaners is expected to jump by more than a half million over the next five years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Services magazine, published by the Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI), which represents more than 2,500 member companies, reports that the commercial cleaning service industry’s receipts grew a total of 38% from 1992 to 1997, with another 10.7% gain estimated for 1998 by Marketdata. Lillian Lincoln is president and CEO of Centennial One Inc. a Landover, Maryland-based business maintenance firm. Her 23-year-old company, which specializes in cleaning commercial buildings, airports, colleges and universities, cleaned up $18.5 million in sales last year.
According to Lincoln, a former president of the BSCAI, the maintenance business has always been wide open for women. “There’s plenty of growth potential because offices need to be cleaned and they haven’t invented a machine to take over that work yet,” she says. “The fact that women make up most of the labor force makes it an optimal opportunity for women entrepreneurs.”
Lincoln, who learned the ropes from her previous employer, another black-owned maintenance company in the area, was challenged by friends and relatives to go on her own in 1976. Starting with