Start Your Own Home Business In No Time

Overview

Are you ready to find a better way of living and working? Millions of people just like you have found the career satisfaction they have always craved through starting their own business, whether as a full-time job or as a second income. Filled with practical advice, easy-to-follow to-do lists, and step-by-step planning and preparation, Start Your Own Home Business In No Time puts you on the road to small business ownership. Walk through the process of starting a home-based business&#151from evaluating your ...

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Overview

Are you ready to find a better way of living and working? Millions of people just like you have found the career satisfaction they have always craved through starting their own business, whether as a full-time job or as a second income. Filled with practical advice, easy-to-follow to-do lists, and step-by-step planning and preparation, Start Your Own Home Business In No Time puts you on the road to small business ownership. Walk through the process of starting a home-based business&#151from evaluating your readiness to launch your own business, to writing a business plan, finding financing, setting up your office and equipment, getting legal issues and records in order and crafting a marketing plan that will build a strong client base. If you are like the many entrepreneurs who don't have the time to figure it all out on your own, let Start Your Own Home Business In No Time be your first step toward building the business of your dreams.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789732248
  • Publisher: Que
  • Publication date: 8/31/2004
  • Series: In No Time Series
  • Pages: 249
  • Product dimensions: 7.32 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol Anne Carroll runs a highly successful one-woman writing business from her home office in Northern California. With clients ranging from individuals to large corporations, she specializes in writing effectively—and teaching others to do the same. Her published works include hundreds of articles and more than a dozen courses, as well as business and marketing materials. For more information, please visit her website, www.carolannecarroll.com.

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Table of Contents

Introduction–Welcome to a Better Way of Living and Working!

Who Should Read This Book.

How This Book Is Organized.

How the Information Is Organized.

The Small Business Troubleshooting Toolkit.

Basic Tools and Special Elements.

Recommendations for Using This Book.

I. GETTING READY.

1. Exposing Myths of Self-Employment.

Calculating the Costs and Risks of a Nine-to-Five Job.

Calculating the Costs and Risks of Self-Employment.

Considering the Risks.

Assessing the Costs.

Summary.

2. Assessing Your Home-Business Readiness.

Understanding the Basics: True or False.

The Questions.

The Results.

Ten Questions to Assess Your Home Business Potential.

The Questions.

Assessing Your Responses.

Evaluating Your Overall Score.

Summary.

3. Creating Your Business Plan, Part 1: What, Where, When, and How.

Eliminating the Biggest Obstacles.

Review Your Employment Contract.

Clear Up Outstanding Legal Issues.

Calculate the Cost of Health Insurance.

Overcome Your Inexperience.

Determine that Your Business “Fits” As a Home Business.

Studying Relevant Planning and Development Restrictions.

Making Sure That Your Family Is On Board.

Creating the Framework of Your Business Plan.

Business Plan Form.

Introduction/Overview and Goals.

Outlining the Basics.

Business Overview.

Creating Your Marketing Plan.

Describing the Physical Logistics of Your Business.

Planning the Financials of Your Business.

Describing Your Assumptions and “What Ifs”.

Summary.

4. Creating Your Business Plan, Part 2: The Money Pages.

Creating Your Budget Spreadsheet.

Setting Up the Spreadsheet Columns.

Setting Up the Spreadsheet Rows.

Planning for Budget Items As Outlined in the Business Plan Form.

Introduction/Overview.

The Basics.

Business Overview.

Marketing.

Logistics.

Financials and Assumptions, Expansion, and Exits.

Accounting for Expenses As Listed in Schedule C.

Listing Gross Receipts, Returns, and Costs of Goods Sold.

Costs of Advertising and Car/Truck Expenses.

Accounting for Commissions, Fees, Contract Labor, and Depreciation.

Budgeting for Insurance Costs.

Planning for Costs of Interest and Legal and Professional Services.

Budgeting for Office Expenses.

Accounting for Pension and Retirement Expenses.

Accounting for Rent/Lease, Repair, Maintenance Expenses, and Other Necessary Supplies.

Budgeting Taxes and Licenses and Travel Expenses.

Listing Utilities, Wages, and Other Expenses.

Planning for Estimated Tax Payments and Other Expenses Not Included in the Form.

Reviewing a Sample Business Budget Form.

Planning Your Incoming Funds: Where Will the Money Come From?

Developing a Pricing Structure.

Trimming Back Expenses.

Planning Necessary Savings.

Pursuing Other Sources of Funding.

Small Business Administration and Local Government Agencies.

Banks.

Home Equity Loans.

A Caution About Credit Cards.

Relatives and Friends.

Summary.

5. Setting Up Your Records and Preparing to Open for Business.

Setting Up Basic Records.

Important Electronic Records.

Must-Have Hard-Copy Records.

How Long Should I Keep These Records?

Setting Up Your Office Space.

Summary.

6. Getting Technology You Really Need (and Only What You Need).

Meeting the Technology Needs of Your Business.

What Do You Really Need?

Take Inventory.

Purchasing Technology for Your Business.

Choosing the Right Antivirus and Firewall Software.

Designing and Maintaining a Business Website.

Choosing the Type of Website for Your Business.

Deciding on a Site Design.

Summary.

II. PUTTING YOUR PLAN TO WORK.

7. Marketing for the Real World.

Understanding Real Marketing.

The Marketing Cycle: A Typical Story.

Slow Frying Fish: Understanding that Marketing Takes Time.

Marketing You and Your Business.

Announcing Your Business.

Tried and True Marketing Techniques.

Marketing on a Budget.

How Much Marketing Is Enough?

Using Professionals to Help You Market Your Business.

Finding Professionals to Hone Written Marketing Materials.

Using Pros to Craft Your Web Presence.

Summary.

8. Avoiding Expensive Mistakes.

Making Financial Forecasting Work for Your Home Business.

Creating a Simple Forecasting System.

Forecasting Income.

Forecasting Expenses.

Scheduling Regular Reviews and Making Changes.

Avoiding Risky Business.

Avoiding the 1099/W-2 Tax Trap.

Avoiding Bad-Risk Clients.

Four Areas That Will Make or Break Your Success.

Maintaining a Pricing Structure.

Maintaining Scope.

Making Sure That You Get Paid for Your Work.

Maintaining Good Communication.

Creating a “How I Work” Document to Set Policies for Good Practices.

Summary.

9. Conserving Your Resources: Time, Money, and Health.

Managing Your Time.

Setting Your Working Hours and Hours of Availability.

Prioritizing Tasks.

Estimating Time.

Managing Your Schedule.

Avoiding Common Time Problems.

The Gradual Transition to a Flexible Schedule.

Maintaining Your Health.

The Home Business Diet.

Illness and Stress.

Conserving and Managing Your Money.

Personal Spending.

Business Spending.

Summary.

10. “What I Did”: Five Home-Based Entrepreneurs Talk About Their Most Important Decisions and Dilemmas.

The Two-Business Couple–an Engineer and an Educational Consultant.

The Printer/Graphic Designer.

The Coach.

The QuickBooks Consultant.

Summary.

III. APPENDIX.

A: References and Resources.

Forms and Templates.

Business Plan Format.

Budget Templates.

Sample Invoice.

Sample Press Release Format.

Helpful Resources.

Financial, Tax, Insurance, and Legal Matters.

Technical Resources.

Marketing and Networking Resources.

Personal Development Resources (Organization, Learning Disabilities, and More).

Helpful to Self-Employed and Small Business in General.

Further Reading.

Small Business Troubleshooting Toolkit.

Tool 1: When Your Business Is Well–But You Aren’t. PDF:1.

Tool 2: Houston, We Have a Problem: Preventing Disaster During Equipment Failures. PDF:9.

Tool 3: Managing Angry Clients. PDF:21.

Tool 4: Surviving Lean Times: No Work, No Money. PDF:31.

Tool 5: Keeping Up When You Have Too Much Work. PDF:43.

Index.

Read More Show Less

Preface

Start Your Own Home Business In No Time

Welcome to a Better Way of Living and Working!

That claim sounds fishy, doesn't it? Yet the facts backing up that claim are all around us. Starting your own home business is one of the best ways to balance your checkbook and your life simultaneously. Have you ever noticed

  • Most people on lists of the wealthiest individuals made money through self-employment?
  • Thanks to technology, fewer and fewer jobs need to be performed at a single, central location (usually an expensive, dreary office)?
  • Employers often think of their employees as commodities, rather than people?

There has never been a better time to start a home business. If you are reading this book, you might have noticed that many people are aware of this trend and are wildly writing about home business opportunities.

This book is different. Instead of writing about home business, this book shows you (yes, you) how to start and operate one.

Instead of insisting that a specific type of business is "perfect" for you, it acknowledges that you know—better than anyone—the business you are best suited to own and operate. Instead of worrying about degrees or pedigrees, this book focuses on the tools you need to give your business the best chance of success. Instead of dwelling on shortcomings (which we all have), this book will start with the assets you have—then help you develop the resources you need. Instead of theories and dry citations, this book provides you with reality-based exercises and guidance.

This book speaks to you for who you are: a future home business owner; an intelligent adult; an employee whose humanity, intelligence, and abilities are routinely overlooked; a person who wants a life in which he enjoys his work—but also wants to knock off at 3 p.m., once in awhile, to catch his kid's soccer game.

By the end of this book, you will know what you need to do in order to

  • Own a fully operating home business.
  • Use a workable business plan, a realistic budget, and a sound marketing plan.
  • Live a life that not only reflects what you want to be doing, but how you want to do it.

Who Should Read This Book

If you are ready to start your own home business, this is the book for you. You want real information about starting a home business—not home business scams, not snooty theory, but real information you can use in your own, real world. You have definitely opened the best book on the subject.

But if you aren't sure whether you want to own a home business, read the book anyway. Because this book covers most of the decisions and dilemmas home business owners face, you will have a realistic picture of what owning your home business will be like. And as you will read in Chapter 1, "Exposing Myths of Self-Employment," many of us make such decisions based on myth, not fact. Gird yourself with the facts, and a more realistic picture of what owning a home business will be like, by reading this book. That one act will make your decision as well-informed as possible.

If you want to start a business, but aren't sure whether to base it at home, read this book. This book provides specific details about a home business, so you will learn more about the unique advantages and challenges of a home business within these pages than you will anywhere else. (In fact, a special icon alerts you to these variations.) You will also learn what is involved in expanding a home business to a more traditional setting, as well as how to make that decision.

Career changers or recently unemployed readers will also benefit greatly from this book. While you are scanning the Want Ads, posting resume after resume on one Internet site after another, this book will provide you with another option. (And unlike some of the job offers you might receive, this book will actually be honest with you.)

How This Book Is Organized

If you have given your home business some thought—and at this point, you probably have—the process can seem overwhelming. That sleek, new office furniture would be the ideal addition to your home office. But maybe you should have a phone line or two added first. And does your office give you enough space for a new computer, as well as space to meet clients? Or will you meet clients in your home? In fact, can you do so—or is it forbidden? Suddenly, what seemed like a simple furniture purchase results in questions that put you right into overload.

This book is organized to avoid that paralyzing sense of confusion. Taking things in a logical order, step by step, you will be answering the most important questions first. Then, by dividing your larger goal into smaller, manageable tasks, you'll avoid inaction, and meet your goal of starting your home business.

How the Information Is Organized

This book is divided into two parts, which reflect the major stages of running your home business:

  • Part I: "Getting Ready," covers all the planning and preparation necessary to launch your home-based business. Because this is a life changing endeavor that is also risky, the planning section is quite long. But don't let that discourage you. Success is often based on how well prepared you are. (Just think about how much planning you put in to any important, life changing endeavor, such as moving your home, having a child, or graduating from school.)
  • Part II: "Putting Your Plan to Work," covers issues that frequently arise after your business is open. It will make sure that you know how to get your phone ringing and help you avoid customers who will cost you more than they are worth. And, real home business owners weigh in on their own experiences, providing you with additional help in starting and running your own successful home business.

The Small Business Troubleshooting Toolkit

After you have your home business up and running, of course, you face a whole new series of challenges. How do you prepare for and avoid work slowdowns resulting from computer or equipment problems? How do you keep your business running when you become ill? How do you manage problems when they arise, and what can you do to avoid angry clients? And what happens when you don't have enough work to meet your financial obligations, or when you have too much work to do before deadlines arrive? To help you answer these and a number of other important questions, we've provided a downloadable Small Business Troubleshooting Toolkit. This series of value-added chapters is available as downloadable text from our website at http://www.quepublishing.com. Type the ISBN of the book (10-digit number listed next to the bar code on the back of your book) into the Search field. On the book's web page you'll find a More Information box listing the Toolkit. The chapters in the Toolkit include:

  • When Your Business is Well—But You Aren't
  • Houston, We Have a Problem: Preventing Disasters During Equipment Failure
  • Managing Angry Clients
  • Surviving Lean Times: No Work, No Money
  • Keeping Up When You Have Too Much Work

Basic Tools and Special Elements

To help you keep track of what you want within your home business, you will be creating several documents throughout the course of this book. Those documents are

  • A business plan. This plan is written for your own reference, but later on, it can also be a document submitted to financial institutions when applying for a loan. As your business grows and changes, so will this document.
  • A business budget. These are the numbers that back up the words in your business plan. Without the budget, your business plan is just a nice idea.

These two documents will be your constant companions. They are "living documents"—that is, they will constantly be changing. It's a good idea to put them on your computer, if you are comfortable doing so. Treat them with care. They are the blueprints for your new life.

Throughout the book, you will be creating, adding, and changing both the business plan and the budget. Most of this work will take place in Part I, with some changes and additional work with these documents taking place in Part II and in the downloadable Small Business Troubleshooting ToolKit.

In addition, special icons point out particularly important items and related information. Here are the special icons you'll find in this book, and what they represent:

The Resource icon marks text that provides you with contact or order information for a company, book, or other item that can help you.

The Watch Out icon alerts you to text that describes situations or items that require extra care.

The Budget icon alerts you to items you should include in your budget.

The Business Plan icon alerts you to items you should consider or discuss in your business plan.

The Walk the Walk icon marks information that suggests ways to get into the business owner mindset. These items include exercises you might want to try, as they can help you improve the skills you need to run your home business.

In most chapters, you'll see a number of lists. To Do lists outline major tasks you'll accomplish within the associated section of the chapter. You'll Need lists provide a fast checklist of all the materials, tools, and supplies you'll need in order to accomplish the tasks described in the associated section. The book also contains a number of notes, tips, cautions, and sidebars—all containing useful information that will help you make the most of the skills you're learning.

Recommendations for Using This Book

If your hobbies include woodworking, home improvement, or sewing, you have probably heard the adage, "Measure twice, cut once." The idea is simple: Plan what you are going to do. Then, check your plan before implementing it.

If there was ever a time when this adage should be adhered to, it is now. Starting your home business will change your life, most likely for the better. But the process involves risk, and you might risk quite a bit, including your income and your home.

Because so much is at risk, it is particularly important that every item in this book is considered and, if applicable, acted upon.

Right now, you are probably thinking, "But wait. I can't keep track of everything. I'll miss something! Yikes! I'm human, remember?!?" Or, "Gosh, I'm so excited! Can't I just get going? C'mon! Let's go. Let's open the doors of the business tomorrow!"

We're all human. We overlook things. We forget something we read. It happens. But that doesn't have to mean you fail to do something important when starting your home business.

Read the book all the way through, and follow the instructions. Then, skim through it a second time. During the first few months of your home business, scan the pages again, making sure that you are taking care of everything you need to do in order to give yourself the best possible chance of business success.

Last, work through the book at your own pace. If you feel comfortable completing the book in one week, good for you. If you complete the book in three months, that is equally good. This is not a race. There is no prize for finishing first. There is great reward in finishing best.

Make the book yours. Mark up the book. Highlight key points. Write in the margins. Put colored tabs at key passages. This isn't school. You aren't expected to turn in your book at the end of the year, and no one is going to call your mom to complain. Keeping your book "clean" is not important. Keeping your business running successfully is.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Start Your Own Home Business In No Time

Welcome to a Better Way of Living and Working!

That claim sounds fishy, doesn't it? Yet the facts backing up that claim are all around us. Starting your own home business is one of the best ways to balance your checkbook and your life simultaneously. Have you ever noticed

  • Most people on lists of the wealthiest individuals made money through self-employment?

  • Thanks to technology, fewer and fewer jobs need to be performed at a single, central location (usually an expensive, dreary office)?

  • Employers often think of their employees as commodities, rather than people?

There has never been a better time to start a home business. If you are reading this book, you might have noticed that many people are aware of this trend and are wildly writing about home business opportunities.

This book is different. Instead of writing about home business, this book shows you (yes, you) how to start and operate one.

Instead of insisting that a specific type of business is "perfect" for you, it acknowledges that you know--better than anyone--the business you are best suited to own and operate. Instead of worrying about degrees or pedigrees, this book focuses on the tools you need to give your business the best chance of success. Instead of dwelling on shortcomings (which we all have), this book will start with the assets you have--then help you develop the resources you need. Instead of theories and dry citations, this book provides you with reality-based exercises and guidance.

This book speaks to you forwho you are: a future home business owner; an intelligent adult; an employee whose humanity, intelligence, and abilities are routinely overlooked; a person who wants a life in which he enjoys his work--but also wants to knock off at 3 p.m., once in awhile, to catch his kid's soccer game.

By the end of this book, you will know what you need to do in order to

  • Own a fully operating home business.

  • Use a workable business plan, a realistic budget, and a sound marketing plan.

  • Live a life that not only reflects what you want to be doing, but how you want to do it.

Who Should Read This Book

If you are ready to start your own home business, this is the book for you. You want real information about starting a home business--not home business scams, not snooty theory, but real information you can use in your own, real world. You have definitely opened the best book on the subject.

But if you aren't sure whether you want to own a home business, read the book anyway. Because this book covers most of the decisions and dilemmas home business owners face, you will have a realistic picture of what owning your home business will be like. And as you will read in Chapter 1, "Exposing Myths of Self-Employment," many of us make such decisions based on myth, not fact. Gird yourself with the facts, and a more realistic picture of what owning a home business will be like, by reading this book. That one act will make your decision as well-informed as possible.

If you want to start a business, but aren't sure whether to base it at home, read this book. This book provides specific details about a home business, so you will learn more about the unique advantages and challenges of a home business within these pages than you will anywhere else. (In fact, a special icon alerts you to these variations.) You will also learn what is involved in expanding a home business to a more traditional setting, as well as how to make that decision.

Career changers or recently unemployed readers will also benefit greatly from this book. While you are scanning the Want Ads, posting resume after resume on one Internet site after another, this book will provide you with another option. (And unlike some of the job offers you might receive, this book will actually be honest with you.)

How This Book Is Organized

If you have given your home business some thought--and at this point, you probably have--the process can seem overwhelming. That sleek, new office furniture would be the ideal addition to your home office. But maybe you should have a phone line or two added first. And does your office give you enough space for a new computer, as well as space to meet clients? Or will you meet clients in your home? In fact, can you do so--or is it forbidden? Suddenly, what seemed like a simple furniture purchase results in questions that put you right into overload.

This book is organized to avoid that paralyzing sense of confusion. Taking things in a logical order, step by step, you will be answering the most important questions first. Then, by dividing your larger goal into smaller, manageable tasks, you'll avoid inaction, and meet your goal of starting your home business.

How the Information Is Organized

This book is divided into two parts, which reflect the major stages of running your home business:

  • Part I: "Getting Ready," covers all the planning and preparation necessary to launch your home-based business. Because this is a life changing endeavor that is also risky, the planning section is quite long. But don't let that discourage you. Success is often based on how well prepared you are. (Just think about how much planning you put in to any important, life changing endeavor, such as moving your home, having a child, or graduating from school.)

  • Part II: "Putting Your Plan to Work," covers issues that frequently arise after your business is open. It will make sure that you know how to get your phone ringing and help you avoid customers who will cost you more than they are worth. And, real home business owners weigh in on their own experiences, providing you with additional help in starting and running your own successful home business.

The Small Business Troubleshooting Toolkit

After you have your home business up and running, of course, you face a whole new series of challenges. How do you prepare for and avoid work slowdowns resulting from computer or equipment problems? How do you keep your business running when you become ill? How do you manage problems when they arise, and what can you do to avoid angry clients? And what happens when you don't have enough work to meet your financial obligations, or when you have too much work to do before deadlines arrive? To help you answer these and a number of other important questions, we've provided a downloadable Small Business Troubleshooting Toolkit. This series of value-added chapters is available as downloadable text from our website at quepublishing.com. Type the ISBN of the book (10-digit number listed next to the bar code on the back of your book) into the Search field. On the book's web page you'll find a More Information box listing the Toolkit. The chapters in the Toolkit include:

  • When Your Business is Well--But You Aren't

  • Houston, We Have a Problem: Preventing Disasters During Equipment Failure

  • Managing Angry Clients

  • Surviving Lean Times: No Work, No Money

  • Keeping Up When You Have Too Much Work

Basic Tools and Special Elements

To help you keep track of what you want within your home business, you will be creating several documents throughout the course of this book. Those documents are

  • A business plan. This plan is written for your own reference, but later on, it can also be a document submitted to financial institutions when applying for a loan. As your business grows and changes, so will this document.

  • A business budget. These are the numbers that back up the words in your business plan. Without the budget, your business plan is just a nice idea.

These two documents will be your constant companions. They are "living documents"--that is, they will constantly be changing. It's a good idea to put them on your computer, if you are comfortable doing so. Treat them with care. They are the blueprints for your new life.

Throughout the book, you will be creating, adding, and changing both the business plan and the budget. Most of this work will take place in Part I, with some changes and additional work with these documents taking place in Part II and in the downloadable Small Business Troubleshooting ToolKit.

In addition, special icons point out particularly important items and related information. Here are the special icons you'll find in this book, and what they represent:

The Resource icon marks text that provides you with contact or order information for a company, book, or other item that can help you.

The Watch Out icon alerts you to text that describes situations or items that require extra care.

The Budget icon alerts you to items you should include in your budget.

The Business Plan icon alerts you to items you should consider or discuss in your business plan.

The Walk the Walk icon marks information that suggests ways to get into the business owner mindset. These items include exercises you might want to try, as they can help you improve the skills you need to run your home business.

In most chapters, you'll see a number of lists. To Do lists outline major tasks you'll accomplish within the associated section of the chapter. You'll Need lists provide a fast checklist of all the materials, tools, and supplies you'll need in order to accomplish the tasks described in the associated section. The book also contains a number of notes, tips, cautions, and sidebars--all containing useful information that will help you make the most of the skills you're learning.

Recommendations for Using This Book

If your hobbies include woodworking, home improvement, or sewing, you have probably heard the adage, "Measure twice, cut once." The idea is simple: Plan what you are going to do. Then, check your plan before implementing it.

If there was ever a time when this adage should be adhered to, it is now. Starting your home business will change your life, most likely for the better. But the process involves risk, and you might risk quite a bit, including your income and your home.

Because so much is at risk, it is particularly important that every item in this book is considered and, if applicable, acted upon.

Right now, you are probably thinking, "But wait. I can't keep track of everything. I'll miss something! Yikes! I'm human, remember?!?" Or, "Gosh, I'm so excited! Can't I just get going? C'mon! Let's go. Let's open the doors of the business tomorrow!"

We're all human. We overlook things. We forget something we read. It happens. But that doesn't have to mean you fail to do something important when starting your home business.

Read the book all the way through, and follow the instructions. Then, skim through it a second time. During the first few months of your home business, scan the pages again, making sure that you are taking care of everything you need to do in order to give yourself the best possible chance of business success.

Last, work through the book at your own pace. If you feel comfortable completing the book in one week, good for you. If you complete the book in three months, that is equally good. This is not a race. There is no prize for finishing first. There is great reward in finishing best.

Make the book yours. Mark up the book. Highlight key points. Write in the margins. Put colored tabs at key passages. This isn't school. You aren't expected to turn in your book at the end of the year, and no one is going to call your mom to complain. Keeping your book "clean" is not important. Keeping your business running successfully is.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Read More Show Less

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