If you’re looking for a part time, home-office based business how about launching your own local free newspaper?

It could be easier than you think!

You see, the Internet is giving national newspapers a run for their money, but it’s absolutely hopeless for local news. (Go onto the Internet and you won’t find any of the down-my-street type of news, gossip and other goings-on that most people love reading about.) So a free, local neighbourhood newspaper could be a very good and lucrative gap in the market to fill.

Here are a few pointers to get you started:

* First, pick your circulation area. Neighbourhood newspapers are best when they have a very small, very local circulation area. That means they can offer specific local news and information that people really value. Don’t try to cover an entire town or city. Choose a circulation area with a couple of thousand potential readers maximum.

* Produce it yourself, in-house. To keep costs low. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. (So forget about doing a colour supplement before you start!) Most PC’s have inbuilt newsletter design software which will do the job. Print it off on your own printer to start, or use a local copy shop.

* Scout out some local news to give your neighbourhood newspaper a must-read feel. The more gossip the better. This way your readers will feel they’re missing out if they don’t read it. Here’s a good idea: Ask local clubs, societies, schools, churches, parish councils, businesses and so on to send you their news. This way you get interesting content for free!

* Deliver your neighbourhood newspaper yourself. It’s only likely to take a couple of hours for each edition and will cost virtually nothing apart from some shoe leather. You could also ask some local shops to stock your newspaper for you. A handy way of increasing your circulation for nothing.

* Find local businesses who want to advertise in your neighbourhood newspaper. Businesses like corner shops, convenience stores, takeaways, builders and plumbers, home improvement firms, hair salons, butchers and bakers, pubs and restaurants, florists, dry cleaners, taxi firms and the like.

You see, this is another advantage local papers have. Local businesses don’t want to spend £thousands advertising to people on the other side of town who’ll never be their customers. They need to make their advertising more cost effective and focus on people living in their immediate local area.

* Advertising revenue is the lifeblood of neighbourhood newspapers like this because you give them away free. Of course, with anything so local what you can charge, and what you can earn, is going to have its limitations. Don’t be under any illusion it’s going to turn you into Rupert Murdoch.

* Unlike national newspapers neighbourhood newspapers don’t usually appear daily or even weekly. Monthly is about right. If it goes well the best way to expand, rather than publishing more often, would be to roll it out and publish neighbourhood newspapers in other areas, not just where you live. You could keep on expanding it almost indefinitely.

Now let’s look at some figures. Say you charge each advertiser £50 for a quarter page ad. (You can also do smaller and larger ads. if you want to.) That’s good value for local businesses wanting to put their sales message directly in front of local people. It shouldn’t be too difficult to get anything between 10 and 20 advertisers to advertise in your neighbourhood newspaper. That would be anything between £500 and £1,000 revenue from each edition. You’d only have to pay for printing and office overheads out of that, so your profit margin would be pretty large.

And one more thing about local newspaper publishing – it’s a regular business. You could be pulling in the same revenue each and every month!