5 Secrets to Starting a Successful Home Based Business

Welcome to your financial independence and freedom. I worked for many years as a slave to my job. I was one of almost 1,000 lawyers in an international law firm. The day I made the transition to have a home based business was a turning point in my life. Today, I exclusively work from home. I work a fraction of the time I used to work. I am much happier and much more financially free. I would like to share with you a few secrets to help you become successful in your home based business.

Many people who decide to start a home based business are still working full or part time for their other “job.” You can still succeed and ultimately transition to exclusively working just your home based business if done correctly. Others are ready to focus on their new home based business full time. Either way, there are some secrets to setting up your home based business so that it will be successful and financially rewarding from the get-go.

Secret #1: Organize Your Office

Organization and success are directly linked. Make sure to select a room in your home specifically designated to your home based business. Setting up a work zone will minimize distractions and establish a boundary for those who know you work from home and feel they can stop by or call you in the middle of the day for personal issues. I also recommend having a separate phone line designated to your business calls and one for your fax machine. It is not costly to set up an additional line or two and it is all deductible as a business expense. You should also start a filing system right away. Letting stacks of paper accumulate and postponing a good organizational filing system will hinder your success. If done correctly and from the very beginning, you can avoid needing to hire a file person or secretary until your businesses growth demands it and can afford it.

Secret #2: Get a Website or Internet Presence

Selecting a home based business that has an Internet focus or presence is important in today’s market place. Purchase a domain name and set up your website right away. Web and Internet based home based businesses are the new trend in business. In order to capitalize on this movement and on a very lucrative sector, it is a good idea to have a business or product that can be marketed with a website and on-line. This allows your client base or customers to learn about you and find you easily. It also expands your client base beyond your local market. Gone are the days of opening the Yellow Pages. Most everyone finds what they are looking for today by searching on the Internet. According to Forrester Research, ecommerce will be a $329 Billion industry by 2010. Seize on it with an on-line home based business!

Secret #3: Make a Schedule

The great thing about a home based business is that you do not have to work any set hours or days. However, you should make a schedule of both when you plan to work and what you plan to accomplish in that time frame. Task lists and to do lists are a signature of those with successful home based businesses. Having structure and a schedule helps you to be disciplined. It also teaches others to respect your work time. Creating a somewhat predictable work schedule will go a long way towards your success.

Secret #4: Have a Calendar, But Just One

One of the best things about working from home is the flexibility to break to attend your child’s school play or sports event or take the day off to golf. It is best to merge your personal and business calendar with a home based business so that you do not double book and to keep things simple. No need to check more than one calendar especially now that you don’t have a boss who you need to appear to be working for. Initially, I tried keeping one calendar for my legal events (court dates, depositions, etc.) and one for my personal life. It resulted in a few instances of double booking and the headache and waste of time involved in having to consult and fill in two calendars.

Secret #5: Get Help When You Need It

Part of the beauty of working from home is having the flexibility to work when you want. If you get into the habit of working all the time and assuming all the tasks on your own, you will have defeated that purpose. Thus, consider outsourcing much of your work, projects, and errands (bill paying, appointment making, etc). I learned this best from Timothy Ferriss in his book The Four Hour Work Week. Pick up a copy from a local book store or your library. I recommend the CD version so you can listen while you exercise or drive in the car. He is very funny and ever so practical. He will give you great tips on hiring good, inexpensive help in India and other over-seas places. Also, learn to say no. When your plate is full, you are not doing anyone any favors by accepting more work. This is true even if you are being asked to be the room mom, coach your son’s soccer team, chair a community event, or take on another project you can’t possibly take on. Know how much you can handle and learn to say no. If you can only fit ten tasks on your plate and you take on eleven, one will slip. Avoid that from the outset.

I attended the University of Florida and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1997. After graduation, I attended law school at Chicago-Kent College of Law and graduated in the top of my class winning First Place the Moot Court and Trial Law Competitions. I completed a one year judicial externship for the Honorable Blanche Manning of the Northern District of Illinois. I became a trial lawyer in the litigation department of McDermott, Will & Emery in Chicago from 2000-2008. I am licensed to practice law in Florida and Illinois.