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Five Things People Don’t Tell You About Starting a Business

Owning a small business and working from home is becoming increasingly common today. While technology makes it possible for people to work remotely from virtually anywhere, and as the economy becomes increasingly decentralized, most people still have a romantic view about what it’s like to start a business.

 

Here are 5 things that people don’t tell you about starting a small business:

How to Separate Home and Business When Working from Home

Each day, thousands of Canadians head to their home office, garage, spare bedroom, or basement to start their work day. One of the biggest issues and most difficult aspects of working from home is creating separation between work and home life.

 

“When you exclusively work from home, physical boundaries between work and play can feel virtually nonexistent. Even if you're highly organized, it can still be difficult to successfully manage your career and a household in the same space, especially if you're raising a family, too,” says Shannon Gausepohl in Business Daily News.

Why Consultants Need Consultants

Consultants need consultants, too. This may sound like a strange statement, but when you break it down it is actually great business advice. As a consultant, you are hired by business and individuals because you possess knowledge, experience, and skills in a specific area that can help them.

 

Therefore, you should hire people for the same reason they are hiring you – because they offer a specialized skill-set that can help you with your consulting business.

 

You Can’t Be a Jack-of-All-Trades – Play to Your Strengths

 

As a freelance consultant, especially when first starting out and money is tight, many fall into the habit of being a jack-of-all-trades. The problem with this is that some professionals stay this way, even when they can afford to hire additional help. Trying to do everything yourself will wear you down eventually...

How to Transition from Employee to Independent Consultant

Becoming an independent consultant is a career goal for many professionals. Once you get your degree and work for a number of years in your field, there comes a time when you have the experience, skills, and network to do things on your own terms.

However, making the transition requires careful planning and consideration. As we have discussed previously in When Is the Time Right to Quit Your Full Time Job?:

“Working on a business part time is one thing, but actually making the leap to running a business full time without the safety net of your full time job is a HUGE step to take. It’s not a decision you should make lightly, and there are a number of important considerations you need to take into account.”

Making the transition from employee to independent consultant is very similar.

 

 

Welcome to the Freelance Era

Technology has had a profound impact on how people work, our careers, and our aspirations to be our own bosses. In an economy that is now more decentralized than ever, there has never been more opportunity for professionals to buck the traditional 9-5 and have more control over their careers.

How Decentralized Has the Economy Become?

According to Spera, “There are now over 53 million of us in the U.S. alone who do work and make money without ‘owning a business’ or reporting to an office with a boss every day. By 2020, it is estimated that over half the workforce will be working independent of a traditional employer, free agents of their trade.”

In Canada, there are now well over 1 million small businesses.

Today, being a freelancer and owning your own small business is a REAL and VIABLE career option.

The Working Vacation – A Realistic Option for Small Business Owners

For many small business owners, taking a vacation can seem like a pipe dream. Running a business takes a lot of your time, and as a small operation, many small business owners don’t have the luxury of handing over the keys to another who can steer the ship while they enjoy a week on the beach.

The good news is that, even though you may not be able to completely disconnect and take a vacation, taking a working vacation is an option that allows you to get a break from everyday business while keeping tabs on things. Plus, you can satisfy your family’s desire to get away.

So, What Is a Working Vacation?

It is exactly what it sounds like. It is a vacation where you spend a portion of your time working. A working vacation doesn’t have to mean you are simply putting in your hours from an exotic locale.

Clients Request Specific Insurance Coverage? The Benefits of Online Business Insurance

We all know that small and home-based businesses require business insurance to protect themselves from potential risk or losses, which could seriously threaten the survivability of their business. There are many types of small businesses that are required to show proof of insurance on a regular basis – landscaping and construction immediately come to mind. The Insurance Bureau of Canada provides a list of some of the main types of business insurance you may need for your business.

However, even with adequate coverage, you may run into a situation where a client requires you to carry additional or a different type of insurance as a contingency of doing business with them. For example, if you are a renovation company and you are bidding for a contract with a large organization, you may be required to have a certain level of liability insurance.

Should You Let Employees Work in Your Home? 5 Things to Consider

There are thousands of small businesses that have been started around the kitchen table. If you operate a business from your home, you are not alone. Far from it, actually. A recent survey of American companies found that 69% of entrepreneurs start their businesses at home, and more than half continue to operate their business from home after it’s up and running.

When most people think of home-based businesses, they envision it being a one-person operation. Quite the opposite, says survey author Donna Kelley:

“Home-based businesses may evoke an image of the sole entrepreneur working out of a spare bedroom or garage, perhaps with one or several cofounders. Somewhat surprisingly, though, only one-fourth of the entrepreneurs surveyed stated they had no employees working for their businesses.”

This brings up a few important questions:

• Should you let employees work in your home?

Home Based Business Technology Must Haves

Thanks to advancements in technology and small business friendly service apps (we’ll get to that), there has never been an easier time to start a business from your home. Armed with only your entrepreneurial spirit, even those of us with average computing skills can muddle their way through to launching a website in just one day – thank you WordPress!

But whether you are starting a dog-walking service or finally making the leap and quitting your day job to launch your accounting practice – there are a few technology basics you need to have in place.

Technology Basics

Let’s talk hardware and connection. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to connect effectively and efficiently with a business you are trying to do business with. Customers want exceptional service. If they can’t reach you in the manner in which they are used to,

4 Simple Ways to Create a Mental Divide Between Home and Work Life

Having a good work-life balance is one of the best, and can also be one of the most difficult, aspects of running a home-based business.

Most people are good a creating a physical work-home divide when running a business out of the home. They create a work space that is separate from the rest of the house and use it as their primary place of business. Contractors, landscapers, and renovation professionals have their workshops, while accountants, freelancers, brokers, and marketing professionals have their dedicated office space.

Creating a mental divide between home and work life is much more challenging. While we can build physical walls to separate work from life at home, there’s no “off” switch telling your brain it’s time to shut down and un-wind. Setting realistic limitations in order to avoid burn out and create work-life balance will contribute greatly to your success as a small business owner working out of the home.

5 Proven Ways to Inspire Yourself and Stay Motivated When Working from Home

Working from home has its benefits. It’s convenient, relaxed, and satisfying; however, there are also countless distractions that can cut into your level of inspiration — and motivation. From resisting the temptation to hit the snooze button on cold winter days to coping with cabin fever, working from home isn’t always easy especially if your business involves little human interaction on a regular basis.

Keeping your focus is particularly difficult when you’re not accountable to your boss or colleagues. When you answer to yourself, it’s easier to make excuses and let things slide.

Here are 5 proven tactics guaranteed to rev up your internal drive, and boost your inspiration when working from home:

1. Establish a professional network: Networking is one of the most important parts of running a business, especially if you work from home. Being an active part of industry and community groups will not only help grow your brand.