Thursday, January 31, 2013

Success Secret #17: Training and Staying Current

SUCCESS SECRET #17: Get the training and education needed for your home business.

If you worked in the corporate world before, most likely you had to attend on-going training sessions and seminars, but with your home business it is your responsibility to keep up with the training you need to stay competitive in your business or even to get your business going. One woman was turned down repeatedly when she approached medical offices to start a medical transcription service business. "They looked at me like I was crazy when they found out I had no training, so I enrolled in local classes at a local business school. After I completed my course, every medical office I solicited contracted with me!"

Where to Get Training and/or Education Needed for Your Business

*First, ask yourself what skills or training do you need to help you improve the quality or production of your services—basic business management? marketing? computer software training?

*Match your needs to the resources that are available to you and that you can afford. Here are some suggestions:

--Small Business Development Centers and Women Business Centers offer seminars, conferences, small business management certificate programs, and workshops. See

--Community Colleges and adult evening schools may offer computer and business classes.

--Industry trade shows offer speakers and demonstrations.

--Chambers of Commerce and other relevant business organizations design many learning opportunities for business owners.

--Others include home study programs, online courses, video and audio cassette tapes, CD-ROMs, and instructional manuals.

--For "free training," get a part-or fulltime job or volunteer in the industry that you would like to have a business.

Also subscribe to at least one industry publication which will help you keep abreast of the latest advances in your field. One smart woman business owner says, "Savvy entrepreneurs never stop learning. Whatever your plans, be assured that information is developed today for the one-person operation just as it is for big business. Knowledge of your subject always give you the (competitive) edge, so go for it!"


Thursday, October 4, 2012

SUCCESS SECRET #16: Know the legal requirements of your home business.
     It is well-worth your time and money to consult with an accountant and lawyer specializing in small business matters when setting up your business!

It is very important that your should be aware that some kinds of home businesses may be illegal according to local, state, or federal regulations. For example, many home sewing businesses are in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Check with your local authorities, your state’s office that handles small businesses, and the U .S. Department of Labor for the current laws regarding home workers before your start up your business.

Zoning Matters
    Your first step is to know the zoning restrictions of where you live. Pick up a copy of your local governments laws and read it thoroughly. If you need a permit or license, find out the specifics and if you can work within the parameters set down.
     Most of the women I interviewed were told by their local government officials as long as their business did not cause their neighbors to complain or caused undue traffic or noise into the neighborhood, they could do business and would not even need a zoning permit.
Here are some additional tips to avoid zoning conflicts:
*Be considerate and do not annoy the neighbors. As long as your business (noise, excess traffic, fumes, etc.) does not interfere with your neighbors’ lives, they should leave you alone. (One street in my community of row houses had six women with different home businesses!)
*Keep your business within bounds. If you begin to expand and need a building or more storage space, you may want to consider renting in another location.
*Meet with clients at their offices or rent office space by the day or as needed from a member of the Executive Suite Association.
*Move to a less-restricted or more home business “friendly” neighborhood!
*Write the laws! Join with other home business owners in helping to have some input in any of the ordinances to be made regarding home businesses.

How to determine your Legal Structure (which form is best for your business)**
     You will need to decide under which auspices you will operate. There are a number of legal structures each with guidelines but these three are probably the ones with which you will most likely have.
Sole Proprietor- This is the most common form of business structure for micro-businesses and those just starting up with hopes of expanding.. With this form you keep all the profits but are responsible, too, for all the losses. 

General Partnership- This is an oral—but preferably written—business agreement between two persons defining the ownership interests of the partners and other important matters. Unfortunately, many partnerships eventually break-up due to conflict of direction, or the division of business duties, or life changes.
Corporation- With this structure, the corporation becomes an entity unto itself and is separate from your personal life. It must have officers and profits and losses are reported separately. The advantage is that if you incur debts, your personal assets cannot be taken.

Additional Legal Matters
*Check also with your state and federal regulations regarding your specific business. Jane Mitchell who creates specialty cheesecakes needed to pass an inspection of her kitchen before the state gave her a license to bake from her home kitchen. Many other states do not permit commercial cooking from home.
*Obtain a Federal Tax ID number—with sole proprietorships it is your Social Security number, but many business forms require a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). Contact your accountant, Small Business Development Center or your local IRS for the form.
*Learn what taxes you will be required to pay such as local wage, income taxes, state sales taxes, Social Security, etc. Consult with your accountant from the beginning and she can advise you about your tax requirements, quarterlies, etc.
*Consult with an independent insurance agent for advice about your business’ insurance needs: health, liability, disaster, disability, etc.
*Insist on having contracts with suppliers, independent contractors, and with your customers. Also have your lawyer write a waiver if you fear any lawsuits could result from the type of business you do.
*Legalize your name - If you do not want to concern yourself with a fictitious name, you can use your legal name in the designation of your business. If your name is Jane Smith, you can title your business Jane Smith Janitorial Services. However, you call your business Executive Janitorial Services, you will have to register your name with your state’s business office and county clerk’s office.
     This business registration requirement is also called “doing business as” (DBA) and will be printed in your paper so people will know you are conducting business under another name. Your state will also let you know if that name is already registered. You can go to your local courthouse and register the name yourself or you can have your lawyer do it.
     Choose your name carefully, because it will be a constant marketing tool. Here are some considerations in choosing the best name for your business:
*Your business name should tell potential customers who you are and what advantages they will have by patronizing your business. Names like “Smith Enterprises” or “ABCD Specialties” do not really describe what service or product you provide or how it will benefit your customers. Jane’s, “Sweet Endings,” aptly describes her mouth-watering, specialty cheesecake and desserts business, as does professional organizer,  Shawn Kershaw’s “Time Matters Organizing Services.”   
*Avoid names that are associated with well-known corporations to avoid confusion and even lawsuits.
*You can include the geographical location, town, county, etc. of your potential customers in your name. If your customers are across the country or even the world, you could include such terms as American, United, Pacific, National, State, etc., to express the extent of your business market.
*Add a tagline, a short sentence summarizing your services or products, to your business name in five words or less. Two examples, “Computer Medic, The Housecall Specialists,” “The Cruise Palace,” Personalized cruise travel service,” have taglines which  imply their customers are going to receive a little extra service than competitors like “Smith’s Computer Consulting,” or “Smith’s Tours & Cruises.”
*Make a list of names you like and then compare them to your competitors and ask others’ their opinions.
     The ideal name is the one that will help your customers associate better quality and service over your competitors.

How to determine who is an Independent Contractor
     As many home-based business owners work as independent contractors, it is important that you understand who is and who is not an independent contractor. The IRS has a list of criteria defining this type of employment status. Basically, the factor between who is an employee and who is an independent contractor is one of control. If you are in control of your hours and business operations you are an independent contractor; but if your client  sets the guidelines of your business time and procedures, then you would consider being an employee. Talk to your accountant and/or an IRS representative before you ever sign your first contract as an independent contractor!
** It is advisable to consult with a lawyer specializing in home-small business legal matters before and after your business is established.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Child Care Options
     Even though your primary reason for working from home may be to be with your children, most women have some sort of child care option so they can work for uninterrupted periods of time. Here are some of their strategies:

*“Share” a nanny with another home working mom.
*Hire a babysitter or teenager after school to come into your home a few hours a day or week while you work.
*Enroll pre-schoolers in a nursery school one or two days a week.
*Join a community mother’s group where you barter babysitting hours.

     Work hard, but not to the point of being a workaholic. Make time to relax and reap the benefits of working from home—earning money at a business you enjoy while being with those you love!

Next: Legal requirements of your home business.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Business Opportunity Providing Services for Seniors

The U. S. Census Bureau projects that the percentage of seniors, 65+, will increase 147 percent between 2000 and 2050. As our world's population ages, the number of services and products that will be in demand will naturally grow.

Paula Kay has a business, Ageless Checkers Seniors Services Agency (known as Ageless Placement, Inc.) that hires seniors to help other seniors in non-medical tasks and errands. Her St. Petersburg, Florida business was so successful, she developed an opportunity that others can purchase to set up in their area. More information about her business opportunity can be found at

She recently added another business training manual that focuses on Alzheimer's Disease. The manual takes people step by step to help them start a caregiver business to help family members care for their loved ones with this disease. More information can be found at


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Recent family matters highlighted needed services

Two recent family matters highlighted several needed services:

1) Dog DayCare; Pet Boarding; Pet-House Siting:  Our son adopted a dog from a shelter, but as he is not married, he did not want to pen the dog up all day while he was at work. He discovered a nearby dog- daycare facility not far from where he lives that he plans to take his dog when he is at work.  If he travels for work and will be away, we plan to house-dog sit for him; as my husband and I are able to carry on our work, as long as we have access to the Internet. But our son could also hire a professional pet-sitter if we were not available.
Thus, if you love pets and have a background in pet care-training, starting one of these pet-related businesses on your own; or investing in a franchise is something you might consider.

Here are some related links:**
**Note: These links are not an endorsement of their products-services. Be sure to consult your financial, legal and other experts before signing any contracts or opening a business.

***Please note, too, that associations are usually networking and informational organizations; and do not necessarily have business start-up information. Always include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you are corresponding to them via postal mail.

*DogTopia -
*Fetch! Pet Care -
***National Assn of Professional Pet Sitters -

2) Hospital Hospitality House: While my husband was recuperating in our hospital, I picked up a brochure about a nearby hospital hospitality house. The homeowner offers rooms to relatives of hospital patients at reasonable rates. I was fortunate that I could stay overnight with my husband in his room; but in some instances this is not possible for patients' relatives. Thus, a house like this is an excellent option with its homey atmosphere; reasonable rates; and meeting others whose relatives are also hospitalized.

With work experience or training in the hospitality industry, and the availablity of a suitable house that is close to a nearby hospital, this is a business idea for you to explore.

Please, note that many of these hospital hospitality houses are not-for-proft; and meant to help families, not to profit from their circumstances. Consult with business experts and attorneys as to the operations you prefer to implement.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Integrating Home and Work Space (continued)

...continuing the last blog entry...

*"Spend some time planning how you will use your time, and always allow for the unexpected by scheduling 'just-in-case time,' says one home-based working mother of several children. She suggests to help eliminate stress caused by attempts to balancing parenting and money-maker roles, that you concentrate on time management and planning.

*Realize family "emergencies" can happen any time and disrupt your business schedule. Prepare for this with back-up plans and building in some extra time to complete a project.

*Take breaks with your family. Depending on the age of your child, take periodic breaks to eat lunch, take a walk, play a short game, or do some other one-on-one activity with them.

*"Do not forget why you are home in the first place," says another home-based mother. She says to take time with your children and significant other. "They grow up so quickly, and you can never have yesterday back. Live today to the fullest." One parent often takes turns taking her daughters to lunch or shopping, one-on-one time.

to be continued...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


One of the reasons many women and men want to work from home is to stay home with their children, usually with their pre-school children. But older children and teens may need even more support these days with their academic and activities' demands (not to mention the potential for all kinds of "trouble" that can occur in a home with no adult supervision!). It can be especially hectic to work from home with children of any ages, but here are some helpful tips from parents who do:

*Involve your children when possible. When her four children were at home, Patricia C. Gallagher (, MBA and professional speaker, says to involve your children so they really feel they are contributing, and celebrate with them when something special happens in your business.

*Try to keep to a working schedule so your children will know when you are and are not working. Have a sign posted or a signal they know that means you are busy at the moment.

(excerpt, 101 Best Home-Business Success Secrets for Women) be continued.