I recently had the privilege of speaking with Jodie Watson of TLC's lifestyle make-over show, Real Simple, Real Life on the steps entrepreneurs need to take when starting home based businesses and how to save money and headaches while doing so!
Candace Rose: What are the most important things we should know prior to starting a home based business?
Jodie Watson: "Well, you know Candace, one of the biggest mistakes that people make when starting their own home business is to start a business in an industry that they don't know anything about. So one of the biggest ways to succeed in your business is to start a business in an area in which you're trained or in which you have a skill set. Choose a business you are good at and that you really love doing."
CR: According to Entrepreneur Magazine over $427 billion is generated each year by home based businesses. What is the key to success?
JW: "The key to success in running your home based business really is organization. You want to be organized from the get go. Even in organizing your home office, it's the same as if you are organizing an office as an employees. There are some great organization products and tools available to you to help you get and stay organized. And when you set up your home office don't overlook your desk chair. You're going to be sitting in it for a long period of time. In order to be as productive as you can be, you don't want to have a bad back or an aching neck. Hon has a great new line of office chairs that is available exclusively at Office Depot. They have two models – the Volt and the Ignition. You can check them out at Officedepot.com/customdesign and what I love about these chairs is that they are the ideal design for sitting for long periods of time (5 to 8 hours or more) and also they come in over 30 designs, patterns that you can choose from to personalize and customize your chair to coordinate with your home office."
Hon Ignition & Volt Chairs solely available at Office Depot
CR: Do you have any tips on setting a schedule and staying organized?
JW: "Definitely, you know when you work from home it's really important to be self-disciplined. You have to be able to discipline yourself by setting a schedule and maintaining office hours can really, really help you to get into a routine – a work routine that even though you're working from home, you have an office mindset."
CR: How can business owners stay on budget and avoid on overspending on technology and other services?
JW: "Well, where technology is concerned it's important to do your research. You're looking for a great price but you're also looking for added value. So, look for areas where you can bundle services together, like your internet, your telephone, your cable – so that you can get those discounted package rates. Get a smartphone that can make your home office mobile. Mobile computing is the way of the future and smartphones, such as the Motorola ATRIX 4G can literally transform into a laptop so that you can conduct your business on the go wherever you are. You can take a look at them at ATT.com/ATRIX4G and this is just a great time saving and productivity tool. It's literally like having a laptop in your pocket and technology can help to reduce stress. A recent clinical study showed that playing Bejeweld 2 reduced stress by 47%. When you are running a home based business it can be extremely stressful, take a few minutes out here and there. When the going gets tough, download the new edition Bejeweled 3 from popcap.com, a great way to just unwind for a few minutes and refresh yourself so that you can get back to work and continue to make your business successful."
The ATRIX 4G can transform itself into a laptop. – Att.com/atrix4g
Looking to ease some stress? Be sure and download Bejeweled from Popcap.com.
CR: What is the mistake home based businesses make that can cause hundreds or more in taxes?
JW: "When tax time rolls around there are legitimate deductions that you can get having a home based business and you need a financial consultant to help tell you what those are but as an organizer, what I can say is keep track of expenses and maintain great financial records. You want to keep all of your receipts that are deductible expenses and invoices so that your financial records are in order and when tax day rolls around you can get those added dollars into your pocket. You can get these tips and more at yournewscafe.com, so definitely visit that."
CR: Do you have any additional information you'd like to share with us?
JW: "Just that it's a great time for starting a home based business. People do have time on their hands. Many people have lost their jobs, there may be something that you really love doing and now is the time to maybe explore that possibility of having your own home business. But do your research, get organized and definitely you have a chance of turning what maybe was a hobby into a lucrative business."