Work at Home Based Business

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Buying a New House – But You Work at Home?

We have our house for sale – its actually perfectly setup for someone who works at home as I do – but we are selling because we want to downsize our mortgage and spend less time fighting the garden.

But it got me thinking – what makes for the perfect home if you are looking for the best house for a home business? What does the work from home professional need in their home? Well, I have quite a long list having been renting for a few years – here’s some of them.

Requirements for a “Work At Home” House

  • Must have a good sized separate room, which I can call an office, or at least an extra bedroom that I can turn into an office. Having a separate office space, which you can close the door on is not only helpful psychologically – it also means that you will probably get a better tax deduction (check with an accountant or tax professional for the details on this).
  • I need some space, a view and lots of natural light. I also need warmth because I live in a very cold climate during the fall and winter months. You may need something cooling if you live in a more tropical climate.
  • Must have sufficient power points and phone/internet line connections – a quality and fast internet connection goes without saying. Improved wireless networking means that its no longer necessary to physically attach printers and modems to your computer, but they all still need power – so if you have the choice – you can never have enough power points!
  • If you employ a staff or have local clients that visit you at home it’s probably important to have a separate entrance to your work at home office if at all possible. You don’t need the kids answering the door to the client, or have them walking through your cluttered up house to get to the office area! Equally, you probably don’t want employees encroaching on your family space – so therefore you will probably need an office with a kitchenette and separate toilet too.

As my work at home business is entirely online based, I don’t need to deal with clients or employees in my home – so rather than looking for a self-contained home office – I want a room with a view, some space, good lighting, and insulation.  What I might do is take the largest bedroom and use it for an office. Where I live anything that is advertised as an “office” by a real estate agent really means “tiny cupboard” or large landing!  The key thing for me is to get a property that has an excellent internet connection – this is not as simple as you may think – in new suburbs there are often not enough fast connections to go around!

So whether you are looking for your next home or your first, whether you work at home or in a more traditional job, take a moment to sit down and really think about what you want from your next home, before you hit the streets checking out houses for sale!

A Home Based Office – How To Set One Up

So you have taken the plunge and are setting up your own home based business, or maybe your employer has given you flexible working arrangements so you can work from home. Whatever the reason – you now have to find room for a home office – and you don’t happen to have an empty room just waiting for you to occupy?  So how do you find space for a home office? Obviously some home workers will need more space than others – but most people these days will need at least a computer, an internet connection, possibly a telephone, and a desk.

Beyond these physical requirements most people will need a space which is free of distractions – particularly if there are children in the house – and which they can close the door on when the time for work is done.

So how to find the space for your home office?  Well if you are working online you need surprising little space. In fact, as I write this I am working on a small desk in the corner of a living area. Its hardly an ideal arrangement – and wouldn’t work if I had to share the space with someone else – but it works just fine for my needs.

The most common approach many people take is to convert a spare bedroom into a home office. If you have the money – replacing a bed with a more flexible piece of furniture such a convertible sofa means that the room can still work as a spare bedroom but you will have space for a work area. One bedroom I would never use as an office is your own – enough to give you nightmares – and make it way too easy to check email in the middle of the night.

Another area often successfully converted is a basement or garage area – though this may cost a bit if you need to add insulation and internet/phone lines.

Even if you don’t have a spare room, some place such as the kitchen table can be used temporarily. The space under the stairs can sometimes also convert to a surprisingly large amount of space if a built in desk and lighting is added. The problem with this arrangement is lack of peace and quiet. A door is highly recommended in this case as it will prevent little things like pens and mouse pads walking when you aren’t looking.

So if your home based business is just getting started or has outgrown the current working space, look around – you may be surprised to find a home office just waiting to be created in a corner of your existing home.

Home Based Business vs Home Job Opportunity

You are here because you either want to know what a work at home based business is or you want to find one. I am going to explain to you what a “work at home based business” really is and tell you the similarities and differences between a home based business and a work at home job opportunity. They are not exactly the same thing even though many people think they are.

I get a kick out of a lot of home business owners. They tell me that the reason why they want to run their own home business is because they don’t want to work for a boss and they want to be able to make their own hours and have the freedom to do as they please. Hey, that’s what a home business is all about. I had no choice. I started my own business because I lost my job. But trust me, I wish I had quit my job long before I lost it, because this is the life. But what about you? Are you really running a business or are you just working another job without realizing it?

Let’s look at some similarities and differences between working at home and running a home based business…

Are You Running A Business Or Working A Job?

The bigger question is, how can you tell? Well, the best way to tell is by looking at what you do on a daily basis and see if you’re a slave to it. If you didn’t do what you did today, would you still make money? This is a problem with people who freelance. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking freelancing, as it pays very well, but unless you work, you don’t get paid. That’s why, as well as copywriting pays, I wouldn’t want to be a slave to that business model, which is why I don’t take on copywriting clients regularly. I’ll do one from time to time, more to help out somebody who can’t afford the outrageous prices of some of these guys, but I’ll never make it a steady income.

Anyway, let’s dig a little deeper into the similarities and differences to find out the answer for you…

When you have your own home based business then you are obviously working at home while running it. So, in that regard they are very much the same. However, a typical work at home job means you will be working for a company or another individual. This is basically the same as going to a regular offline job every day except you get to do it at home.

You should never pay to work at home for a company or an individual. They should be paying you, not the other way around. But a home based business opportunity is different. You will almost always have to pay to join them. It might be a onetime fee or a monthly fee but either way it will cost you.

You likely have your own online home based business if you do one or more of these things to make money:

  • You make money at home by selling products. These can be products that you created yourself or products you are selling as an affiliate.
  • You earn money online from selling (flipping) websites or blogs that you have created or purchased and fixed up.
  • You make money from selling adverting space on your websites or blogs.
  • You make money online by selling articles or content that you have written.
  • You make money with Adsense on websites or blogs that you have built and got ranked highly in the search engines.

There are certainly other ways that you can make money at home online which would constitute you having your own online home based business, but the ones listed above are the most popular methods. Basically it boils down to if you make money from your own websites or blogs, or by selling something that is created by you then you have your own online home based business.

You likely have a work at home job if you do one or more of these things to earn money:

  • Someone else pays you to create something for them for a specified amount of money.
  • Someone else pays you for writing articles, blog posts, advertisements, sales copy, information products, or other content for them.
  • You get paid by someone else for building or designing web sites for them.
  • You get paid for taking surveys, reading emails, posting in forums, clicking ads, filling out free offers, or performing other similar tasks.
  • You do anything else for someone where they pay you for your time and work.

As with the home based businesses, there are other ways you can earn money that would constitute you having a work at home job but those listed above are some of the most common. Basically you have a work at home job if someone else pays you to do something for them.

Do you see the differences between the two?

It comes down to whether or not you make money from the sale of products or services. If you do then you have your own online business. And if you are getting paid by someone else for a service you provide, you have a home based job. There are exceptions to this rule but that’s basically the way it is for the most part.

When you own a home based business you make money doing things that benefit you and your business. You do keyword research and build your own websites. You do your own marketing and advertising. You make money from your visitors and customers. You are in control of how much time and effort you put into building your business and how much money you can potentially make from your work.

For example, if you write your own information product (ebook) then build a website and write a sales letter to sell it, then you have created your own business product. You will then market it using various internet marketing techniques and hopefully a lot of people will buy it. This is part of your own business and everything you do for the product benefits you. How much money you make from it mainly depends on your own efforts and you can continue to earn from that product for years.

On the other hand, when you have an online work at home job you must work the hours needed in order to complete the task you are getting paid to do for someone else. You will do the work and then give it to your virtual “boss” so they can use it for whatever they needed and pay you for it. You are helping them build their business, not yours. As soon you are done and get paid for your home based work, you will no longer make money from whatever you did. You have to find another new “job” to continue making money.

With a home business you keep earning money even if you aren’t working. Once you have built it up to the point where money is coming in regularly, you might be able to take an entire month or longer off to go on vacation and your income will stay the same. With a work from home job, your income goes away as soon as you stop working.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both but I highly recommend starting your own home based business rather than doing work at home jobs. The reason is simply because you must have your own business if you really want to create financial freedom for yourself and continue to do so into the future. You will not get rich doing work at home jobs because you will always have to keep working and completing tasks for someone else to get paid. You can only work so many hours in a day and you can only earn so much for your work. There’s a low ceiling on how much money you can earn from work at home jobs. You have a lot higher income potential as well as leverage and options with a home based business.

If you want to earn a good living online and not become a slave to it, you need to think long term. In other words, you want to set up a business model that will pay you in the future for the work you do today. Take a look at what you’re doing today and see if it’s something that you’ll want to be doing years from now. If the answer is no, maybe you want to rethink your business model. It’s never too late to make changes that will bring you a greater income with a lot less work.

Now is the time for you to sit back and really think about how you are making money at home online. Do you have your own internet home business or do you have a work from home job? There’s certainly nothing wrong with doing work for someone else and getting paid for it if that’s what you enjoy. However, if you are worried about your future or want to create financial freedom for you and your family, you really need to get started on your own online business right now!

The next time you are looking for “work at home based business” you will know that phrase is actually two separate things combined into one. You can do both or you can choose a side. You now know where I stand on the issue.

Are you looking for a way to start your online home business or add an additional income stream to an existing internet business? Here are my top recommendations for the best home business opportunities.

Working At Home is Bad For Your Health!

When I used to drag myself to someone else’s office five days a week I always dreamed of working at home! The thought of not having to get dressed, not having to rush to get out the door, not to having to sit in traffic was enormously appealing to me.

The reality, as so often in life, is a little different. There are the slight annoyances – suddenly the electric bill, water bill, toilet paper purchases, coffee costs, and several other expenses go through the roof – but is probably off-set by the savings on gas, lunches and snacks at work. There is also the fact that you are the one that gets the door-to-door salesmen and the telephone survey “opportunities”.

The single biggest issue I had working from home and sitting online in front of my computer all day – was health. Basically building my own business was hugely absorbing and I could work for hours upon hours and not get up from the computer at all – in fact I barely changed positions many days. My body hurt. I didn’t have full-blown RSI but I would certainly have developed it had I not noticed and changed my keyboard and mouse positions around to stop myself hunching over the keyboard quite badly. Luckily, I also realized the toll all this sitting was taking on my health so I began making sure I get up from the desk several times a day to walk around or do some quick body weight exercises.

I got lonely too – although I have always vowed loudly and often that I didn’t go to work just to meet people – not going to work I certainly found quite isolating. My poor partner came through the door every afternoon to a barrage of chat as I practiced using my voice again! That only lasted about a month or so and I got used to it though. It was tougher for me because I was living overseas at the time, but then I am also quite self-contained so I don’t need to have social contact every day. If you do I seriously suggest you think twice about working from home – it is a very different environment than working in an office.

Then one day you look up and find you don’t fit your jeans anymore. Even if you don’t currently walk or cycle to work, even driving involves a few more calories moving between car and buildings than moving from bed to home office, and all too often, via the fridge. If you don’t want to put on weight when you start working from home you really are going to have to make an effort to exercise. I am lucking that I take martial arts lessons three days a week. For me, this is all the fun parts of exercise without any of the boring bits – and that’s the key you need to find something physical which you enjoy doing to get you away from the computer and active. The human body is not designed to sit inactive in front of a screen for hours on end. If you don’t plan to get some exercise into each day your working from home lifestyle will be far from healthy.

Doing this for a living can be very rewarding. There are a ton of benefits, but there can certainly be some negatives too. You have make a real effort to maintain a social life, exercise regularly, and get out of the house for at least a little while each day.

Ecommerce Success Begins With Good Business Sense

There’s a false perception among many would-be home based business owners that all they have to do is build a website, buy a stack of shipping boxes from UPS, and before too long those homemade crafts and trinkets that are all the rage with their friends and family will suddenly make them rich. Ha! Not happening. 

Yeah, I’m sure that there are a handful of lucky people out there who do occasionally find such success despite having zero business sense and absolutely no plan, but for those of you who are serious about increasing your odds of becoming a profitable enterprise I’d like to share some advice.  I happen to operate an ecommerce site, so these tips come from my own observations and mistakes.  I make and ship game-related products, so for the purpose of this post, I’ll focus on home businesses that take orders via a website and produce a tangible product.

First and perhaps foremost, if you don’t have a whole lot of startup capital then it should be common sense that you need to pick a product that you can begin to make without the need for expensive machinery, computer upgrades, or a large storage space.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the truth is that no matter how well you plan ahead of time, there is still a chance your business will fail at some point down the road.  Better to fail and have your bank account intact than to fail and still owe the credit card companies thousands of dollars because you went nuts and bought all kinds of machines and gear during the startup phase.  Your product should ideally be something that you’ve already made from the comfort of home and that you fully understand.

Second, I would highly recommend that you focus your efforts on a product that is easy to replicate and does not rely on customization.  If you have to customize something per the customer’s request for every single order then it will slow you down beyond belief.  I’m not saying that customization-based businesses are necessarily doomed to failure.  They can, in fact, be very lucrative, but the energy expended on this kind of business model is huge.  I’m sorry, but I’m just not interested in exchanging seven emails and having three phone calls with each of my customers to make sure that their custom embroidered pillow looks just the way they want it.  Better to have a product that can be mass-produced quickly and efficiently.  This will also cut down massively on the number of returns and exchanges you have to deal with after shipment.

Speaking of shipping, you’d be wise to choose a product that can be easily and cheaply shipped without a high risk of damage.  The products that I ship are small, compact, and virtually unbreakable.  They are small because I don’t want to have to rent out a huge warehouse to make room for my product – I’d rather do it from my basement.  The size also makes it much easier to pack and ship.  The fact that my product is highly resistant to breakage or damage during shipment is a huge benefit.  I had to learn this one the hard way.  I used to make and ship a product that was huge, heavy, and susceptible to damage.  This became a major hassle because ridiculous amounts of time and energy were expended during the packing phase, and it turned out that no matter how well it was packed it still sometimes arrived damaged because of its properties.  This then led to dealing with sometimes irate customers, and it meant doing a long-distance exchange in each circumstance.  Needless to say, I learned pretty quickly that I needed to eliminate this particular product, and this move streamlined the business in a major way.

Finally, it would be a good idea to follow the advice of Warren Buffett by creating a business that offers you a distinct “competitive advantage”.  In other words, how could your particular situation or your particular skill set give you an advantage over potential competitors?  Perhaps you have a family connection who can provide you with cheaper materials than anyone else.  Or maybe you’ve spent a lifetime perfecting a talent or skill that few others can match as far as speed or quality is concerned.  Or maybe your marketing skills are so remarkable that your conversion ratio is through the roof.  The bottom line is that you need to find a way to get a permanent leg-up on the competition so that you have better flexibility with pricing and a better chance of eventually dominating your niche.

These are just a few things to think about before you launch an internet-based store from home.  As you can see, just a little bit of forethought and planning prior to startup can mean the difference between a business that bombs and a business that spits off cash like it’s nobody’s business.  Good business ideas are a dime a dozen, and the shrewd home-based entrepreneur understands that even good ideas can fail if not executed with an intelligent strategy in place.