Home Business Information

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The home business information on this page, I hope, will help you plan your way through starting and managing a small business and help you avoid the unnecessary risks and problems you may find along the way.

If you are like most American adults, and others around the world, it is likely that you have thought about starting your own home business and working from home on a schedule you set for yourself.

I can tell you from personal experience that this is possible, but the reality may not live up to your fantasy, unless you are very prepared and are willing to work long hours to get your business up and running.

Who am I to tell you about owning a home business?

Since the late 1970s, I have enjoyed Honest Work From Home Success in a variety of areas. You don't have to be an Internet marketer to be able to work at home and enjoy all the benefits of owning your own home based business. You can learn a bit more about me, if you want, by reading about my work from home success over the last 30 years.

Are you prepared to own
and run a home business?

I don't want to throw cold water on your dream, because I truly believe in acting on your dream and creating the life you want for yourself and your family, but not everyone is prepared to work at home and not all home businesses are equally successful.

The facts are that most new businesses, not just home businesses, will fail in the first five years and many will fold in just the first year or two.

There are many reasons for this, but I believe the top three are (1) starting your business without adequate up-front planning and knowledge, (2) being inadequately funded with no backup reserves, and (3) ineffective marketing.

Fortunately, most home based businesses cost much less to start than purchasing a franchise or leasing office and/or shop space. This means that you are less likely to have to close your business when you make typical start-up business mistakes, and you will make mistakes.

By working from home, you dramatically reduce your overhead and this lowered expense level gives you a better opportunity to learn from your mistakes and to correct them.

Still, you need to invest time, effort, and money to build your business and you have to market it effectively to generate the cash flow necessary to earn a profit. Additionally, you need to dedicate part of your time to learning new management and marketing skills to help you grow your business and increase your profits.

Home business ideas

I can't help you with your start-up funding, but I can offer some home business ideas that won't cost nearly as much to start as many other small businesses. I particularly enjoy running a home based affiliate business, because the barrier to entry is low and consists mostly of time and effort rather than investing a lot of money just to get started.

You may not be interested in online marketing, so perhaps you'd rather learn more about home businesses that involve child care, lawn care, and many other offline, real-world businesses where you actually meet and help real people in person. Entrepreneur Magazine has a list of 55 home based business ideas that you can start for under $5,000.

Now, I would advise caution when you are planning your business. Some businesses have a much higher rate of failure or are harder to get into than others. For example, just because Entrepreneur Magazine offers a start-up guide for a Medical Claims Billing Service, that doesn't mean that just anyone can be successful with this type of business. Do you really think physicians and clinics are going to let just anyone handle their claims billing? Really? Of course not. However, if you have a lot of experience doing this work for a physician, hospital, or clinic already and have a good reputation with those professionals and organizations in your community, then you may have a chance at building a good business in this field. However, if you have no experience and the doctors don't know who you are, I don't think you will have good odds for success.

So, between exercising caution and good common sense, you can avoid wasting your time, effort, and money.

How to get the experience you need

If you don't have the necessary experience, get a job in the field doing what you want to do in your business and see if it is what you think it is.

If you can't find a job in the field, try for an internship. It's one way to get the experience and may lead to a job down the road if you decide you don't want to start your own business in that field.

Do you like the tasks you need to do and the people with whom you will be working? Do you feel better after a day of working or does it leave you drained or disturbed?

If you don't love it, don't start a business doing it. I guarantee it is much more work when you have your own business than when you are an employee, and there's no use tying yourself to something you don't love doing.

Work from home businesses

You may be able to work from home by being employed in someone else's business.

This will provide many of the benefits of a home business of your own, such as less commuting, more time at home, and the casual atmosphere of your own home, but without all the pressures and seemingly endless number of things that have to be done when you own a small business.

If you are already an information worker in a corporation, you may be able to avail yourself of their flex-time plans or telecommuting opportunities.

Ask your supervisor if any of these alternative work plans are available where you work. If the company is big enough, check with the human resources department and see what is available.

Even if there are no existing plans to let you work at home, at least part of the time, perhaps you can devise a way to perform at least some of your existing tasks at home and make it beneficial for your employer.

After all, someone has to be the first to create a flex-time or telecommuting plan for each business. Why not you?

In our current economy, with ever-escalating oil and gasoline prices, any day that you can work at home and not commute to your office helps reduce our energy needs and saves you real money.

A penny saved is a penny earned. -- Benjamin Franklin

All small businesses
are not home businesses

While it is probably true that almost all home based businesses are small businesses, the converse is not true.

The U. S. Small Business Administration offers help, advice, training, and some support for building small businesses, and some of this information may be helpful for you and your home based business.

You may find that the SBA website offers some good information about starting a home based business. As a home business owner, you can ignore a lot of the information you'll find in that section of the SBA's web site, but the information on planning, starting, and managing a business is helpful for a business of just about any size.

After all, knowledge is power.

Another good place to get advice from successful business advisors is to visit the SCORE - Counselors to America's Small Business website. You can learn a lot from their site, can get advice from online mentors, and may be able to get in-person counseling if there are any SCORE advisors in your area.

Please avoid the obvious scams

As the common advice says, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

You are not going to get rich in a few weeks or months without working for it.

It just isn't possible. If you plan to get rich quick, save your time and go buy a lottery ticket. The odds are terrible, but I'll conjecture that they are about the same as most get rich quick scams.

You will not get rich stuffing envelopes, assembling crafts projects, or doing any of the common schemes that are designed simply to prey on your hopes and needs and then take your money.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers some good advice that can help you avoid getting caught in some of these scams. One good place to learn more is their Investments and Business Opportunities: Work at Home Schemes page.

They offer more home business information pertaining to business opportunities that you should know about.

Advertising

There are both legal and illegal ways to advertise your home business, and you should be aware of both so that you don't get yourself in trouble without meaning to do so.

The FTC Business Information section offers a good page on advertising that explains things you can and cannot do. A rule of thumb is you must tell the truth, not be deceptive, and be able to back up any claims you make with facts.

One reason I mention advertising on this page is because I'm an affiliate for Google's Adsense advertising program, where I earn money for showing ads on many of the pages on my websites. Google's computers analyze every page with the Adsense code and try to place ads that match the subject matter of each page.

Now, those ads are placed by a wide variety of people and not all of them are conversant with the rules for advertising as explained on the FTC's website. So, since this page is about home businesses, you may see ads that are misleading or non-factual, so that is one of the things you should watch out for. I'm sure that Google constantly disables deceptive ads, but there are millions and millions of them, so some may get through for a time.

I'm sure most of the ads you'll find on my site are for valid products and services, but I can't guarantee all of them are - so do your own research before jumping into something you know nothing about. Ok?

Additional home business ideas

Make Your Own T-Shirts - Make your own t-shirts by creating your unique designs and selling them in your own CafePress store.

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