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Tips For Home Business Owners

Many new home business owners find that running a home business isn't quite what they expected. Too often, people believe that they will have more time and more money by starting a home business. Unfortunately in the beginning, this is not the case. A business takes time to build, and home businesses are no exception.

Once this disappointment comes to light, many home businesses fail - usually within months of starting up. Here are some tips to help you set up and run your home business successfully with realistic expectations.

1. A home business is just like any other business. There are licenses, permits, and zoning laws that must be complied with. Make sure you find out all the details before starting your home business.

2. While in most cases, you can set you own working hours for your home business, you must be working during those hours, and those hours must coincide with what is convenient for your customers and suppliers. Establish a schedule and stick to it. Make sure that you schedule time for a couple of short breaks and a lunch hour during your work day.

3. You have to get the message across to friends and family members that you will be working during your work hours, and no interruptions will be tolerated unless it is an emergency. This includes visits, fighting kids, personal visits, personal telephone calls, and personal errands. Go into your home office, close the door, and get to work. Being distracted from your work can cost you your business.

4. Don't become addicted to your work. Some business owners are easily distracted from their work, while others cannot be distracted from their work. When your work hours are over, leave your home office, and again, close the door. Do not return to work until your next scheduled work hours. Do not allow work to consume your weekends or holidays either. Becoming addicted to your work can cost you your family, your happiness, and your health.

5. Keep good records. Home business income is reported just like any other business income. The IRS will want to see good records should you be audited, and you need good records for financial and business planning as well. Use a filing cabinet, and employ a standardized filing system. Back up your computer often, and print out a hard copy of all your business documents such as contracts, invoices and electronic receipts.

6. Hire professionals. Hire professionals just as you would if you were running a business outside of your home. The two most important professionals for a business owner are accountants and business lawyers.

7. Be professional. You have heard of people 'working in their pajamas' - don't do it. When you look professional, you feel professional and you act professional. You don't have to dress up in a suit and tie, or dress and heels. Dress casually, comb your hair, brush your teeth and look your best.

8. Be organized. Keep your office clean and organized. Clean out your files often, and keep an appointment book or calendar for appointments. Look at your office through the eyes of a potential client. What do you see?

9. Outsource work as needed. When your home business becomes successful, you may find that you don't have time to do all the work yourself. Consider outsourcing some of the small detail work such as paperwork or answering the phone to an outside source. You can easily find someone to help out from time to time through a temporary employment agency, or through one of the freelance databases online.

10. Network with other home based business owners. This will help alleviate some of the isolation that you may feel, and it may even get you some new business. You can easily find other home based business owners on the Internet through chat rooms and forums. However, make sure that you aren't spending your time chatting when you should be working.

Click here to return to our Entrepreneur Business Start Up Guide.