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        Another AHBBO Article
        Flying Without A Net

        © 2013 Elena Fawkner

        One of the most exciting and daunting things about 
        starting your own home-based business as your sole 
        means of income is the reality that no one is responsible 
        for your success or failure but you.  The lure of the
        home-based business is undeniable.  But before joining
        the revolution, take the time to think about the real
        implications of self-responsibility.  In the past, you've
        always had the security of knowing that your employer
        was taking care of the background details ... you know,
        those little things like retirement plans, health insurance
        and capital investment.  And making enough money to 
        cover your salary and vacation time.  Now it's all down 
        to you.

        So, let's take a look at four of the biggies: health and
        safety, insurance, tax issues and zoning.

        HEALTH AND SAFETY

        No matter how much you've invested in setting up your
        business, nothing is more valuable to your business or
        to you as your good health and safety.

        Apart from obvious measures such as ensuring you have
        adequate health insurance, keep the following basics in
        mind.

        => You Are Not A Machine

        Take regular breaks.  These are important for your 
        physical and mental health, not to mention your
        productivity.  Breaks can be particularly important if your
        livelihood requires you to spend hours on end in front of
        a computer.  The last thing you or your business needs
        is for you to develop carpal tunnel syndrome!

        Avoid the temptation to do household chores or errands on
        your break time.  That's not a break.  Do something that
        breaks the mental spell, something that gets you out of 
        your work environment for fifteen minutes every couple of 
        hours.  Go wander around outside and take some deep 
        breaths to cleanse your lungs.  Lift weights.  Call a friend.  
        Go sit in the backyard with a cup of cocoa and enjoy the 
        sunshine.  It doesn't matter what you do, but make yourself 
        do it.  Set an alarm to remind yourself if you must.

        => Use the Correct Equipment the Right Way

        Make sure you use the correct equipment for the task at
        hand.  If your work requires long hours in front of a computer,
        make sure that your desk and chair are properly aligned and
        your work area is well lit.  Ensure you maintain good posture.

        => Nap when sleepy

        Many home-based business owners work odd hours.  That,
        after all, is one of the advantages!  But if you start working
        very early or work very late into the night, your sleep patterns
        need to adjust accordingly.  Therefore, if you find yourself
        feeling sleepy mid-afternoon, take an hour's nap.  Any longer
        though and you'll risk waking sluggish and tired.  Set an alarm 
        to wake you if think you'll go longer than an hour or 45 minutes.

        Don't tell yourself you can't afford the time to take a nap.  A 
        nap will do wonders for your productivity and you will be
        refreshed and ready to get back to work.  You'll find you'll
        accomplish much more by the end of the day than you would
        have if you forced yourself to keep ploughing ahead even 
        though you were so sleepy you couldn't think straight.

        => Home Alone Security

        Security is an issue for any home-based worker.  Apart from
        personal security which is always an issue for everyone
        wherever they work, the home-based office with its usual
        array of expensive computer and other office equipment, and
        heaven knows whatever else electronic gadgetry is a prime
        target for thieves.  So take these basic precautions:

        * Don't expose your expensive office equipment to the
        view of casual passersby.  Obscure the view with foliage
        (but not so much that you provide a place for would-be
        intruders to hide) and draw the blinds when you're away
        from home.

        * Keep your doors deadbolted when you're home as well
        as when you're away.

        * Think twice about inviting new clients to your home office.
        Try and meet at the client's office wherever possible or, if
        not, at a neutral location.

        * Ensure your property is well lit at night to deter intruders.

        * Don't advertise the fact that you work from home.

        * Consider using a post office box for your office address.  
        This is particularly useful if you run an online business and
        are concerned about revealing your residential address to
        all and sundry.

        * Get an alarm system installed and display the alarm 
        company's sign prominently on your property.

        * A dog can be a great security device, not to mention
        company for the solo worker!

        INSURANCE

        Don't rely on your homeowner's insurance to cover your
        business.  Most policies limit loss of business property
        to $2,500 and don't cover losses away from the home.
        And you can just forget about claiming on your homeowner's
        policy for injury sustained by a client visiting your home
        office.

        So ensure you obtain business insurance separate from
        your homeowner's policy or, if your insurance company
        offers it, an endorsement to your existing policies.  This
        type of extension, where available, can be as low as an
        additional $200 or so annually.

        The kinds of risks to consider, depending of course on
        the nature of your business, include:

        => Health and Disability

        Check with any trade or professional associations of 
        which you are a member for health insurance packages.  
        Many such associations will have negotiated insurance 
        packages for their members and this can be a good way 
        of getting good cover for a cost-effective price.

        Other types of insurance to consider are disability
        insurance in case you can't work due to illness or
        disability and workers' compensation (remember, you may
        be an employee of your business).  Depending on your
        personal situation, you may also want to consider key 
        man insurance which protects your business in the event 
        of your death.  The business becomes the beneficiary 
        under this type of policy and this cover is intended to enable 
        the business to replace you.

        => Property

        This covers your physical assets - furniture and
        equipment, inventory and supplies including, where
        required, cover for equipment taken away from the
        premises such as laptop computers.

        => Liability

        There are three main types of liability insurance.
        Depending on your business you may need only
        one or two or all three.  The three types are (a) general
        liability which covers you for accidental injuries sustained 
        by business visitors; (b) professional liability if you are a
        member of a professional occupation such as a lawyer
        or an accountant; and (c) product liability which protects
        you against damage caused to a third party as a result
        of a defective product.

        => Business Interruption

        This type of insurance covers your lost profits as a 
        result of some insured event which makes it impossible for 
        you to carry on your business such as a fire or flood.

        TAX ISSUES

        One expenditure you should definitely not try and avoid
        is an accountant to prepare your taxes.  There are many
        home office tax deductions available but they are scrutinized
        carefully by the IRS so make sure you get professional
        help in this area.

        The types of deductions available to the home business
        owner include a proportion of your housing costs and
        expenses if you use a part of your home exclusively for
        your business; use of your car for business purposes;
        health insurance; postage; trade magazines and other 
        business-related publications; and capital equipment.

        The best way to save money on accountant's fees is to
        keep accurate, organized and complete records.  Keep 
        your receipts organized so that when tax time comes you 
        can hand everything over to your accountant in a nice 
        neat package.

        In addition, do not hestitate to contact your accountant
        for advice if and when you intend to take on employees.
        A whole slew of responsibilities goes along with 
        employing others in your business including withholding
        tax and social security benefits and workers' compensation
        to name just a couple.

        ZONING

        Finally, a word about zoning.  Zoning laws can be
        inconsistent so just because your friend Dave can run
        a business out of his garage in town X doesn't mean you
        can do the same thing here in town Y.  Some municipalities
        will give you a hard time if you're receiving clients on the
        premises but will turn a blind eye if you're not.  Others
        focus on the detriment your business causes to the 
        amenity of your neighbors.  If your neighbors find they
        can't park their car in their own street because of the
        flood of traffic to your door, expect problems.  Also, don't
        expect to be able to erect a sign in front of your house
        or, possibly, anywhere visible from the street, advertising
        your business.   Still other municipalities will restrict
        the numbers of employees that can be employed in the
        home business.  In these municipalities you often won't
        have a problem if you're a solo worker but once you start
        hiring employees to work on the premises you may have
        trouble.

        So, before you start your business and invest a lot of
        capital in getting set up, check with your local authorities
        what, if any, zoning restrictions you need to be aware of.

        These are just a few of the major headache areas when
        you cut the ties and set out on your own.  By taking the
        time to get these things in order before you get underway,
        you'll create a safety net for yourself and your business so
        that when things go wrong, as they inevitably will, your 
        dream of a home-based business of your own will continue
        to be a happy reality and not a nightmare.

        _________________________

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        ** Reprinting of this article is welcome! **
        This article may be freely reproduced provided that: (1) you
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        Here's the resource box to use if reprinting this article:

        Elena Fawkner is editor of Home-Based Business Online. Best business ideas and opportunities for your home-based or online business.

        Copyright 1998-2017, AHBBO.com. All rights are reserved. Monday, 25-Jan-2021 21:11:18 CST

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