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Although many entrepreneurs first start their businesses from home, many don’t take into consideration (or aren’t aware of) the complex issues involved. According to the National Association of Home-Based Businesses (NAHBB) in Owings Mills, Maryland, more than 55 million people work from home. Of that number, about one-third (18.5 million) are independent entrepreneurs in areas ranging from computer consulting to commercial cleaning.
"People can no longer count on a regular 9-to-5 job. To gain some stability, they are using home-based businesses for a secondary income source, if not a primary income source," says Rudy Lewis, president of NAHBB.
Other would-be entrepreneurs choose home-based ventures because of their convenience and low start-up cost. Although the expense varies according to the type of operation you start, some can be launched for as little as $500.
But low cost does not mean low maintenance. Starting and operating a successful home-based venture requires careful planning and discipline.
This nine-part series will show you how to turn your domicile into a productive and profitable work environment. Throughout the series we will discuss the following:
- Zoning regulations.
- How to define your work-at-home environment.
- How to balance the kids and your home business.
- How to insure your home business.
- How to prepare for client meetings in and outside the home.
- Tax planning for home-based entrepreneurs.
- Organizations targeting home-based business owners.
- How to make the transition from a home-based business to working in an outside store or office.
Of course, not everyone is cut out to work from home, and not every home will successfully support a business. Before you rearrange the basement or convert that spare bedroom into an office, consider these factors:
- The type of business you will operate. Not all businesses can thrive from a home base. You must determine if the one you’ve chosen will fit comfortably into your residence and community. Consider whether your business will require a lot of customer or client visits. If so, you may encounter problems with zoning rules.
- Assess your space requirements. You may need to store large pieces of equipment or inventory, so if you have only a small bedroom from which to work, operating from your home may not be feasible. Also, consider your community. Some businesses create loud noises or odors that could have a negative impact on your neighborhood, forcing you to take down your shingle.
- Your level of discipline: Working from home sounds ideal, but are you disciplined enough to focus when you’re home alone? In order to operate a successful home-based operation, you must be self-motivated and have self-control. If you’re the type of person who’s more productive when surrounded by co-workers, a home-based business may not be right for you.
Starting a home-based business can be an effective way to achieve autonomy if you have the right tools and the right attitude.