Category Archives for "Consulting"

The Top Mistakes New Freelancers Make

By Randall Orser | Consulting , Freelancing , Home Based Business , Small Business

Once you have made the decision to leave the rat race and set yourself up as a freelancer, there are some things that you must consider before you begin, if you want to be successful. Although there is nothing wrong with giving it up and going back to your office cubicle and 9-5 routine, if you make these mistakes then you might be going back sooner than you think.

  1. Not Having Enough in Your Savings Account  - Experts say that you should have between three and six months of expenses saved as well as your start-up costs.  This can seem like a lot of money.  There are ways that you can raise money, but two things you should not do is withdraw from your RRSP or put everything on your credit card.  If money is tight you should start freelancing while keeping your full-time job.
  2. Not Defining your Goals – Once you decide to go out on your own you need to set your goals.  The first one is to decide what you want to get out of going freelance.  Is it about having a flexible schedule, and the ability to decide on the clients that you want to work with?  Is it about just making enough money to pay your bills or do you want to make more than you did as an employee? Once you set your goals you need to check them at regular intervals to make sure you are achieving them or to revise them.  
  3. Not Having a Business Plan- You need a business plan to use as a guideline for your future.  Your plan needs to include basic information about your business such as the contact information, what you do and what you are hoping to achieve. In the future. You need to describe the products or services you are offering including pricing. Information as how you will market your business is important as is an estimate of your operating expenses and what you will need for future growth.
  4. Jumping in too Soon – It is a good idea to start your freelancing career while still working full time.  You will be able to try out a different jobs and clients and see who you are happiest working with.  It enables you to make mistakes and still have an income and also to build your savings so that you are ready when the time comes to jump.  It also allows you the time to set up your office to suit yourself and have the equipment that you will need to do the work.
  5. Not Having a Contract – Having a verbal contract can be enough but a written one is usually better.  A contract will not always help you to get paid, but it will define expectations on both sides and make sure that there are no surprises when the job is finished.
  6. Not Having a System to Organize your Paperwork and Money– You don’t always need to hire a bookkeeper or accountant, but as your business grows this might be a good idea.  You can use an app such as Quickbooks to make tracking your income, expenses and taxes much easier.
  7. Taking on the Wrong Clients – Good clients are those who give you regular jobs that you can and want to do, and work with you to get the best results.  They are also easy to communicate with and pay your invoices on time. Inevitably you will end up with a client who does not meet those criteria and you spend more time than you should on them for less money.  You need to be able to decide when you have had enough and that they are no longer worth it, as well as how to recognize the signs to avoid this type of client in the future.
  8. Not Setting Realistic Rates for your Work  – There is no fixed formula for setting rates for your freelancing work.  Prices depend on the industry, geographic area, your skillset and expertise and the work you are doing.  You need to decide if you are going to bill hourly or by the project, which can change with each job.  You also need to decide what is your rock bottom dollar amount and keep this in mind when charging clients.  You may start out at a lower price as you are building your clientele and experience, but you must know how low is too low so that you don’t take jobs that don’t pay enough leaving you financially overextended and stressed.  As you gain more experience you should look at your rates and revise them if necessary. 
  9. Not Having the Required Self Discipline– You might start freelancing assuming that the best thing about it will be the flexibility of your work hours.  In reality, you will need to available for your clients during regular office hours which can be difficult if you prefer to sleep late.  Even though clients cannot demand that you are available specific hours they still need you to be available to answer their questions or they will move on to someone more accommodating.  On the other hand, you need to establish what hours you will be available to your clients, such as 8am to 6pm.  Make it clear that unless you say so, calls from them at 10pm or on weekends and holidays will not be welcome. 

Starting out as a freelancer can be difficult but you should not get discouraged if you make a mistake.  You will soon discover whether working freelance is a fit for you. 

Five Ways That you can Work from Home

By Randall Orser | Consulting , Freelancing , Home Based Business

A survey by Benefits Canada concluded that in 2017 47% of Canadians worked remotely or at home for at least part of the work week.  39% of these surveyed said that they mostly worked from home and 11% said they worked exclusively from home.  These numbers are bound to rise as more and more people want to avoid the daily commute and find ways to work at home.

There are many ways that you can work either fully or partly from home – here are five examples that offer the chance to avoid the commute, but they all have some pros and cons.

Telecommuting 

This is a home-based job where you work for an employer rather than in your own business. The advantages include receiving employee benefits and not having to worry about irregular income and little to no start-up costs.  The disadvantages can include lack of flexibility in hours of work, possible lower pay compared to on-site jobs. 

To get a work-at-home job you still have to demonstrate in your resume that you have the necessary skills and experience to do the job.  Your present employer may be open to telecommuting if you give them a good work-at-home proposal otherwise look for companies who are hiring work-from-home workers.  Jobs suitable for telecommuting include bookkeeping, writing and virtual office support.

Contract Work

Contract and freelance work are pretty much the same thing with only a few slight differences. Many of the jobs you see advertised hire workers as contractors instead of employees.  Contract jobs can be full or part-time, with regular hours and a steady income the same as a regular job.  However, contractors are considered to be independent from the company and are responsible for paying their own taxes.   

Pros of contract work include being able to negotiate fees, greater flexibility in hours and location of work.  The cons include the hours of work may be less than you would like, companies can easily let you go, you have to pay your own taxes, you rarely get benefits.

Freelancing

Freelancing is similar to contact work in that you are hired by a company to provide a service.  However, when you work freelance you normally have more control of the work that you take, how you do it, and how much you are paid.  Freelances often work under their own company name as a sole proprietor but they can become a limited liability company if they wish to. Freelancers market their services on social media, by networking, or on job sites.  Common freelance jobs include writing, marketing, accounting, web design and graphic design.  

Pros of freelancing include greater flexibility in your schedule, greater control over the work that you do, and the ability to set your own fees and rates.  The cons are the irregularity of work and the difficulties of finding clients, paying your own taxes and no employee benefits.

Starting your own Business

Many people are scared off of starting their own business believing it to be difficult and complicated, but with the right help and advice, it can be easier than you think.  Businesses are usually product based where you sell a tangible product, or service based such as home cleaning or graphic design.   

The pros of starting your own business include the flexibility in your working hours and pricing, the ability to turn something that you love into a business, and for service-based businesses easy and affordable to start.  The cons may be that your income is irregular as it takes time to get started, you may have start-up costs, you may have to work longer hours during your start-up, and you will have to pay for your own benefits.

Buying a Home Business

You can buy an existing business from an owner, buy a franchise, or buy a direct sales business.  The pros of buying an existing business or a franchise are that you are not starting from scratch, the business already has clients or people are familiar with the franchise, so it is easier to get customers.  For direct sales you need to pick a product that you believe in so that prospective customers are influenced by your enthusiasm.  In all cases marketing plans and materials are usually provided for you. 

The cons of buying a home based business are that it can be expensive to start out, there might be limitations on how and where you can market to build your business and it can be difficult to build a successful reputation when competing against competition in the same industry.

Does Your Small Business Need a Consultant?

By Randall Orser | Consulting , Small Business , Technology

Most small business owners are very hands-on and want to be involved in all aspects of their business.  They find it difficult to delegate tasks to employees or outside consultants.   

However, as their company grows, they may find that too much time of their time is being spent on activities that others could do just as well or better, so they should consider hiring a consultant.  They  need to decide what their time is worth vs the cost of contracting out some tasks.

Bookkeeping and Accounting

For those who find bookkeeping tedious or if the business has a large amount of transactions it makes sense to let a professional handle it.  A bookkeeper can usually keep your record keeping up to date in a few hours a month.  They can pay your bills, do payroll, submit invoices, pay government taxes and get your accounts ready for the tax season.  

An accountant will keep you updated on tax laws, make recommendations such as when to incorporate and give you financial advice to grow your business.  You may only need them for a few hours a year, but it may be well worth the cost.

Information Technology (IT) Services

Technology changes at a rapid pace and most businesses need the help of an IT consultant to keep up and to solve issues with hardware and software.  They will back up your data, set up cloud computing services, install hardware and software, provide training and advise on upgrades to technology to streamline the business and improve productivity.

Human Resources Services

Most business cannot afford a HR individual or department to deal with personnel issues, so they  hire a consultant to deal with employee relations.  HR consultants are knowledgeable about recruitment of new staff, dealing with discipline and terminations, planning training and orientations and managing employee safety and welfare.  

Marketing Services 

Attracting and retaining customers is an essential requirement for business growth. A marketing consultant can implement an overall marketing strategy and design and implement marketing campaigns. They are experienced in social media, email blitzes, website and blog promotions, press releases, flyers, and arranging educational seminars for clients.  In addition, they can set up charity event sponsorships that give your company publicity and cross-promotions with other businesses.

Legal Services

Although many legal tasks such as setting up a business name, incorporation and setting up contracts with vendors can be done by a business owner. More complex legal issues such as partnership agreements, share allocations, lawsuits, real estate or franchise agreements, and trademarks require the services of a lawyer. 

How to Hire a Consultant:

  1. Assess your needs – whether you will need weekly or monthly service or on-call emergency assistance (especially for your IT consultant).  
  2. Make a list of potential candidates – word of mouth is a common way to find a good consultant.  You can also get recommendations from the local Chamber of Commerce and by networking with other people in your business.
  3. Meet with the candidate to discuss your requirements and their qualifications to see if you are a fit.  Ask questions about familiarity with your business, when they are available especially when needed, how you can contact them and of course their rates and how they bill.
  4. Once you have decided who to hire draw up a contract for their services.

 

Summers Coming! Self-employment Ideas you can do in the Sun

By Randall Orser | Consulting , Freelancing , Home Based Business , Small Business

The warm weather is almost here and maybe you are considering earning some extra cash over the summer.  If you are looking for a small business idea that does not require a year-round commitment here are some ideas:

Food Truck:  Once you have acquired a vehicle and got all your permits you can work whenever you want to.  Summer presents the greatest opportunities to provide tasty meals and snacks to people in various public venues such as concerts and shows, outdoor markets, sports events and college campuses.

Outdoor Adventures:  If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you can offer guided hikes and arrange white water rafting and other water excursions for your clients.

Personal Training:  Offer your services as a weight-loss or fitness personal trainer to motivate people into a healthier lifestyle.  Teach outdoor yoga or tai chi classes, and when the weather gets colder you can take your business indoors.

Gardening and Lawn Care:  If you are a gardening enthusiast direct your talents into a business offering mowing, weeding, mulching and raking. You could switch into snow removal in the winter.

Tour Guide:  Take people on guided tours of places of interest or historical significance in your area.  People particularly love “haunted” locations!

Pet Sitter/Dog Walker:  This can be a year-round business as people are often looking for someone to be a sitter for their pets while they are on vacation or out of town.  Dog walkers are needed all year round.  This business idea has little or no start-up costs but clients who don’t know you may need references or a background check before you go into their home.

Pool Maintenance:  If you know about pool chemistry and don’t mind hard work, then a pool maintenance business for the summer months could be ideal for you.

Growing and Selling Fruit, Flowers, Plants or Vegetables:   Advertise on the roadside and sell out of your home or set up a roadside stand to offer your home grown produce. Alternatively, you can take a stall at one or more Farmer’s Markets in your area.

Garbage and Re-cycling Collection Service:   For a fee, pick up unwanted household items such as furniture and appliances, and either donate, sell or recycle them.  Many people would rather pay you to take their junk than have to dispose of it themselves.  As well as earning money you are doing your bit for the environment.

Short-term Retail:  Take a short-term lease on a small retail space and create a pop-up store renting or selling summer items such as bicycles.  Later in the year you could sell or rent Halloween costumes, and selling Christmas gift items and treats could be a big seasonal money-maker.

These ideas give you the opportunity to run a profitable business during peak seasons and to work as little or as often as you like.

 

Home-based Business? How to Make Your Home Client Friendly

By Randall Orser | Consulting , Freelancing , Home Based Business , Small Business

Many people are embracing the “working from home” option.  There are over 38 million home businesses in the US alone meaning that 50% of all small businesses are being run from the owner’s residence.  If your home business includes meeting with clients however, it is important that your home has a client friendly and professional environment.  Here are some tips on how to have successful meetings with clients in your home.

1.  Parking   

Make sure that there is parking easily available for your client.  Give them instructions on where to park.  If you have a driveway in front of your property, make sure that you move your own car to create a client parking space.  If you live in an apartment try to secure an additional parking space for your visitors.  If your clients continually use the visitor parking space it can cause problems with the other building occupants and management.

2.  Street appeal

Make sure that your home appears well maintained.  This includes regularly mowing the lawn as well as weeding and pruning. Make sure the exterior of your home is in good condition and not requiring cleaning or a coat of paint.

3.  Dedicate a space in your home for your office

Your home office should be a separate space in your home, not the kitchen counter.  Your office should be appropriately decorated and include comfy seating and all the technology that you need to do your job. 

4.  Make the way to your office easy to navigate

If your home office has its own outside entrance, make sure that there is signage explaining where it is.  Signs should be discreet and not visible enough to annoy your neighbours.  The path to your office should be unobstructed and safe.  You need to move any obstructions, prune shrubbery as well as ice and snow. Outside steps should be kept clean and have a railing.   You should also carry adequate business insurance to cover any accidents in your home. 

5.  Make sure that your home office décor is suitable for a business 

You need to make sure that your office décor projects your business image. It should be tasteful, inoffensive and not distracting.  The furniture should be in good condition and should give an impression that you are successful in your business.

6.  Your office should always be clean and uncluttered

This goes without saying, but make sure that you get rid of all those dirty coffee cups and dust bunnies.

7.  Try to make your office as quietest as possible 

If you have small children try to schedule meeting during their nap time or hire a babysitter to take care of them while you are working so that they do not interrupt you.  A “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door will let family members know that you are busy with a client.  If children have access to your business phone, make sure that they know how to answer it correctly.  

If you have pets keep them out of the way so that they do make a noise when someone comes to the door.  Make sure that you regularly vacuum and clean the spaces where your clients will be walking and sitting to eliminate the risk of allergies to pet hair.

It is important to create a good impression with clients so that they remember the business that you discussed rather than that your house was cluttered and that your children or pets were running around.

 From an article by Susan Ward

Do you Have to Declare Hobby Income?

By Randall Orser | Consulting , Freelancing , Home Based Business , Personal Income Tax , Small Business

Did you know that what you think is a hobby the CRA may see as a business?  If you are making a profit from your hobby, then it is a defined as a business by Canada Revenue.  It does not matter if your hobby is small, you still have to declare any income from it on your tax return.

However, it may not always obvious to you whether your hobby is taxable or not.  For example:  

  • Producing crafts to sell at a Christmas sale might be seen by the CRA as a business, but if you are actually spending more on the materials to make the crafts then you ARE NOT making a profit, so you don’t have to declare any business income.  
  • However, in a second example you may be buying items at clearance or garage sales, marking them up and reselling them on-line.  In this example you ARE making a profit, so you need to declare this as income.

The income you make must be reported on Form T2125 Statement of Business or Professional Activities, which is included with the T1 income tax return package.

Doing this extra paperwork does have some major advantages.  You can write off your business expenses against income, including business-use-of-home expenses, meals and entertainment expenses, motor vehicle expensesetc.  You can also use the Capital Cost Allowanceto annually write off a portion of assets.  To claim these expenses, you must keep track of all your sales and expenses and all of your receipts.

If you have income from a regular job, the net loss from your hobby gets deducted against your total income which may result in a lower tax bill.   However, there are limits: you cannot continue to write off losses from your hobby year after year without the CRA using the profit test to see whether or not your activities are conducted with a “reasonable expectation of profit”.

 From an article by Susan Ward

 

Top Small Business Opportunities for 2019

By Randall Orser | Consulting , Freelancing , Home Based Business , Small Business

Are you thinking about starting your own business next year? Here are some of the best small business ideas for 2019, many of which can be operated as a home-based business.  
All these opportunities

  • Have the potential to be profitable now and in the future
  • Will do well even when the economy is uncertain
  • Do not require a high level of education or years of experience.  Some need trade school training, a university degree or a prior apprenticeship, others only need experience and a passion for the industry
  • Do not require a lot of start-up capital but do need lots of dedication, hard work, perseverance and a desire to succeed!
  1. Fulfillment by Amazon – this program allows you to market your products through Amazon and takes the headaches out of running an online retail business.  In exchange for fulfillment and monthly storage fees Amazing handles storage, packing, shipping, returns, customer service enquiries as well as listing your product on their website.  Once your listing is live and sales begin you receive your portion of the proceeds on a weekly basis.  
  2. Skilled Trades  Nowadays being in the trades can be a very well paid and rewarding career choice.  As trades people are retiring there is a huge demand for talented workers and the nature of skilled trades make them ideally suited for self-employment.  Many can be operated as home-based businesses as the work is actually done at the customer’s job site.  Start-up costs are relatively low, and most trades cannot be automated to any degree ensuring future job security.  There is also the opportunity to travel to other locations to receive higher compensation.
  3. Software Engineering and Development – The demand for software engineers and developers is expected to increase by 17% by 2023 and the median pay in 2017 was over $100,000 making it a great business opportunity for those who have these skills. Many people start off as employees and then become self-employed contractors.  Using Cloud Computing and remote access it is easy to make this a home-based business.
  4. Meal Kit Sales and Delivery – Meal kits have become very popular with busy people and the industry is expected to reach $10 billion in sales in the US by 2020. Meal kit suppliers usually source ingredients from local farms which also creates business for small growers and delivery providers to pick up and deliver to customers.
  5. Bike Sales, Service and Rentals – Bicycling is the second most popular outdoor activity by frequency of participation in the US.  This has resulted in $81billion being spent annually on biking.  This is a great opportunity for the entrepreneur who loves cycling.
  6.  Senior Care Services – Senior care ranks as one of the best business opportunities as people are living longer. Many of these people create a wealthy demographic that can afford to pay for services to help them to maintain their lifestyle including driving, household chores, property maintenance, landscaping and caring for pets.  There are many opportunities for those who are interested in starting their own business or being part of a franchise.
  7. Gourmet Coffee – If you think that you could not compete with Starbucks you it might be easier than you think. You need to open your coffee house in a convenient location for foot, cycle and vehicle traffic with lots of parking. You must offer a pleasant atmosphere including an outdoor patio. Serve a high-quality beverage made from small-batch specialty coffees that are served by trained baristas so that the product is always consistent and just sell brewed coffee and pastries do not try to compete with fast food outlets.
  8. Facilities Support Services  Providing a full range of services for businesses including cleaning, security, building maintenance, painting, and moving is an industry expected to grow by 30% by 2026.  All you need is a background in maintenance and good organizational skills.
  9. Food Trucks – Food trucks are no longer just hot dog stands they now provide healthy nutritious food, and many have their own specialties such as vegetarian or ethnic. Ingredients are usually locally sourced and often have a seasonally changing menu.  If you are able to create great food this could be a good business opportunity for you.

So what are you waiting for? Start writing that business plan for 2019!

From an article by Susan Ward

Some Less Common Tips for the Small Business Owner

By Randall Orser | Business Income Taxes , Consulting , Freelancing , Home Based Business , Personal Finances , Small Business

Being aware of your competition is important to every entrepreneur. Competitors are everywhere and come in all shapes and sizes. Some are immediately recognizable, and some may be just sitting back and watching your progress. Some may be huge multi-national organizations who want to make sure that they retain their market share.  You need to develop a competitive edge to keep you in the game and to achieve your goals, here are some ideas. 

Put Yourself in Their Shoes 

Some businesses do not take the time to make themselves familiar with their customers and their needs.  A customer may have a long history with a company, so the business does not take the time to discover how this relationship can be improved and made more profitable for both parties. 

Do not let that happen in your business!  Continually place yourself in your client's shoes. Find out what you can do to improve your business relationship. If you give your client suggestions and alternatives that will improve their business, they will be most likely to support your business.  Looking at things from the client's perspective will also help you to detect anything that could cause issues down the line. 

Your Team Is as Important as Your Plan

A great business plan is essential to your success as are smooth operations.   These provide the blueprint for your business and should be utilized as checks and balances to make sure that your company is progressing as planned. 

Some business owners can get over-confident and may start to cut corners by hiring poorly qualified staff who do not follow company procedures. This can do a lot of damage to your company’s reputation and relationships with your customers resulting in a loss of business. 

Well qualified and well-trained staff are a crucial part of your business. They understand the company and work to maximize every opportunity to improve your business.  In addition, savvy specialists can help you to create new ideas and refine your procedures. 

Not All Clients are Worth it 

The mission to find more customers can drive entrepreneurs crazy, not because they are difficult to find but because they can turn out to be more of a liability than an asset to your company. 

Clients who are hard to deal with or request difficult or impossible things from you, can make you feel that the income from these people does not justify the amount of time and effort put in to work with them.  Usually you're right - customers that cause difficulties for you or your employees are best left to other companies. If you lose these customers your workers and you will be less stressed.

In addition, staying away from troublesome customers can help your business’s image. Positive company values will increase your reputation with clients and prospective clients and you will be seen as a good company to do business with.

Understand and Nurture a Good Company Culture 

All companies need to have policies in place regarding the standards of behavior expected from their employees, usually in the form of a company handbook given to new employees. Always be aware of any issues arising concerning your employees and understand how to solve conflicts that may arise. An encouraging working environment is important for the happiness of your employees and the success of your company.

Always Tune in to Your Customers 

Entrepreneurs can be become totally absorbed in their own ideas for their products and their company.  They may not appreciate criticism as they believe that they know best. However, they are not looking at things objectively, it is important to be flexible and to listen to your customer. You need to respond to any requested changes and to what your customer really wants rather than what you think they want.  Be open to input from others, tune into your clients and work with them to satisfy their requirements. 

Plan Ahead for Growth 

Getting to a point in your business where your growth has outstripped your projections is a fantasy for some entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, this can mean that they are not prepared when they do achieve success.  It is like winning the lottery, they may have huge plans, however the majority of these plans are not feasible.  You can't wing your way through expansion you need to be ready by making plans at an earlier date. 

You need to consider what expansion means to you. For example, does it mean moving to a different location, and if so is this convenient for your employees and customers?  All companies need to develop a framework and procedures for future expansion. It's never too soon to get ready for a splendid future! 

Market Size Matters 

Financial specialists and investors who are an important part of any business which is looking for capital, are not as worried about what your business does, as they are with the benefit potential. 

They need to know how much of a market share you could get, and that will determine how much they will agree to put resources into your company. Your projections may be fine and dandy, but you need to able to prove that your business has amazing potential in order to raise capital. 

Remember that company size is relative. The more specialized you are, the greater chance that you will have of gaining a bigger market share in your field. If you are a big fish in a small pond you will not have to work so hard to gain clients and be successful in your venture. 

Whenever Possible, Focus on Timing 

Numerous companies have bombed due to poor planning. A good business plan can be difficult to do but is very necessary.  For example, you may already have a lot of clients, but it is easy to lose them, so you need to make sure that your advertising and marketing is continually attracting more.  Your initial business plans may need to be revised as your number of customers increases. Make sure that you are reading your financial reports regularly so that you are always prepared with the information that you need to make changes. 

These are not the most important things that you will need to do to succeed, but they can be a helpful addition to the information you may already have.  It is not easy to start and run your own business, yet it's not impossible. Continue to be aware of your competition and how it may be affecting your business, and search for ways in which you can improve your own operations.  Having your own business can be difficult and unpredictable at times, yet it can be justified by the rewards and the satisfaction that you achieve.

 

Should you Start a Home-based Business After Retirement?

By Randall Orser | Consulting , Freelancing , Home Based Business , Personal Income Tax , Retirement , Small Business

With more seniors working later into their lives, either for monetary reasons or because they basically appreciate working, there is a requirement for new occupations for these people. With such huge numbers of people searching for few occupations it is becoming increasingly hard for them to find work. This is why starting a home business may very well be the best choice for them. 

There are a wide range of advantages and favorable circumstances related with a home business. It also it opens the way for retirees to keep working, without competing with candidates in the general workforce. 

Boundless Potential 

There is no lack of locally situated organizations where help or volunteers needed but it is important to build a solid website and network to find clients for their business. Retirees can do be pretty much anything from using the special abilities that they had in their working lives, to to taking a shot at new project or even giving help to people who are not able to look after themselves. Regardless of the type  of work, these sorts of positions are ideal for the gen X-ers age and it helps to open the door and to remain as a merger between conventional work and retirement. 

Work When You Want 

Setting your own hours is one of the best parts of a home business. In the event that you like to awaken early and get a good start on the day then you can begin work at 5 or 6 am and work until early evening. Additionally, if the you have an appointment or need to run an errand, or simply needs to sleep during the day, you can modify your work schedule to suit your needs. This keeps you feeling relaxed and stress free while you can still enjoy working.  In addition having your home business is a source of additional income. 

Odds are, most retired people have more enthusiasm and energy for something that they never used in their profession. They may love carpentry or making candles or cooking for people who can't cook for themselves. Retirement is an ideal time to start a home based business and to maybe begin a new vocation and enjoy it more what they did in their work life.

 

Four Tips to Help You Work Successfully from Home

By Randall Orser | Consulting , Freelancing , Home Based Business , Personal Finances , Personal Income Tax , Small Business

Working from home is fast becoming a trend. Many have succeeded in their home business although there are others who fail in such a set-up. The most common reason a lot of people fail in a work-at-home set-up is they lack the motivation. It is quite easy to adopt a lax attitude if you run your business from home. The comforts of home (e.g., the TV, video games, the fridge!) are temptations that are simply easy to give in to than resist. You need to create an environment that is conducive to working if you wish to achieve home business success.

Define Your Workplace at Home 

It is important that you designate a specific area of your home you can use as your office. Having a defined workspace helps you achieve two things. One, you will subconsciously associate your home office with work so that every time you sit at your desk, you automatically get into your working mood. Two, you will be able to organize your work better. Your home office can be a spare room or even just a quiet corner anywhere in the house. The only requirement is you have enough space where you can have all the things you need when you are working. You should also be able to isolate yourself during your working hours to avoid being distracted by the daily activities at home.

Get the Appropriate Office Furniture and Equipment 

As you build your home business office, you may easily be tempted to buy stylish furniture, high-tech pieces of equipment, and fancy gadgets. If you do give in to that temptation, you may discover sooner rather than later you have only wasted money if it turns out you hardly have use for them. Thus, plan the furnishing of your home office and plan it right.  

Depending on what kind of home business you have, you must first determine the types of furniture and equipment you will need for your daily operation. Identify which ones are necessary and which items you could do without. This way you could shop wisely and save your money for other, more productive uses. And do not forget your communications system. You will need a separate telephone line and an email account to be used exclusively for your business. You may also need a fax machine but do check your actual communication requirements, which must depend on how or what you will communicate with your customers, associates, and suppliers.

Develop Self-Discipline 

When you decide to work at home, you become your own boss. With this comes the responsibility of finishing your work on time. This means you should not be playing with your kids when you know you must be working on a project. Arrange for a sitter or place them on day care when you have to work but do set a family time so you can spend quality time with them. Online chatting and playing computer games are also big time robbers that you must be smart enough to pass up during your working hours. Of course, you also need to go on breaks during your workday but schedule those breaks to avoid disrupting your focus. 

Organize Your Work and Create a Routine 

One way you can efficiently work from your homebusinessoffice is to regard it as a regular work place. Organize your paperwork, file your documents regularly, and schedule all your tasks. Observe cleanliness in your home office and keep your desk uncluttered at all times. Set priorities and arrange your schedule accordingly. 

Follow the aforementioned tips and you can be certain to achieve home business success.


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