Thursday, August 14, 2014

Working from home

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     from a lifetime of personal experience starting-up and running businesses.

     I grew up on a dairy farm, so working from home is as natural as it gets. Dozens of cows grazed in the pasture and provided the twice-a-day milking. Then we bottled and delivered the milk to doorsteps all over town.

     Today's advanced communications make it easy to start-up and run a business from home. Running a business is easier than ever--with a laptop or tablet, a cell phone or smart phone, and a place to keep records.

     Examples: Personal trainers can meet a client at the client's home gym. Nutritionists and cooking teachers can meet a client at the client's home kitchen. Holistic healers and massage therapists go to clients' homes. Consultants and coaches can start out at home, perhaps growing into bricks-and-mortar offices as the business develops. In a previous blog, I described a doctor who closed his clinic office. He now sees patients exclusively in their homes--he specializes in the problems of the elderly.

     Most of these businesses are one person operations. But some develop a network of other specialists working together. All these have a place for record-keeping, but that too is frequently fully computerized. 

     Examples: Tradespeople have long worked from their home offices. Electricians, plumbers, locksmiths, masons, cleaners, repair specialists and others frequently start out working from their homes. As they grow, they might establish an office, serving as a base for bigger operations.

     Single person businesses are easy to start at home. Again, using today's communication and transportation technologies, it's easier than ever to establish a business--right from home.

     Examples: Artists and artisans typically work from home. They are running a business, and sometimes they have a working studio--in a barn or attic or an extra room in the home. The business end of their love is conducted out in the marketplace, including the Internet, or they ban together for group shows and galleries. I knew a sculptor whose loft served as both his living quarters and work space. Finally, he ran out of room and rented a studio elsewhere. I knew an artist who started out working from home back in the 1980s, then opened a combination store/studio, and finally closed it--going back to working entirely at home. 

     In business, you move with the times. Working from home makes it easy to transition from a single person business to a larger operation. It can be a part of your business plan from the very beginning. I know. I did it myself--starting a typesetting operation on the dining room table. After several months, it had grown to the point that I rented an office, expanded, and never looked back. Growing up milking all those cows on the dairy farm prepared me for the hard work of establishing a business of my own--beginning at home. 

     As the Good Witch of the North advised Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, the place to begin is at the beginning. Starting a business at home can take you down the road to the Emerald City.    

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