Sunday, November 06, 2005

Working and Living: Don't Blur the Lines.


By Mario Giordani
Copyright 2005. All Rights Reserved.
http://1stpromotions.com

When you're at home all the time, people have a way of giving you everything to do, with no regard for your job. It can be very hard indeed to keep your family life separate from your business when you work at home -- in fact, this is one of the most common reasons home businesses fail, and their owners come away all too glad to get back to the corporate grindstone. If you don't want to be driven away from home business, here's what you need to do to keep your family at bay.

Work Time, Home Time.

Make a schedule for when you're going to work and when you're not, and stick to it. This doesn't have to be inflexible -- it's very silly to only work nine to five every day, for example -- but it still really needs to be there. Without a plan, you're inevitably going to go too far one way or the other, and either work far too much or nowhere near enough. You might find it best to a new plan at the start of each month or week, so that you can still respond to changes in circumstances.

Yes, I know it can be difficult to draw clear lines between family time and work time, especially if your family is around for some of the hours that you want to be working. The only thing I can say to you is that it's important to keep on trying, because the moment you give up everything's going to come crashing down. Whatever you do, don't let your family anywhere near your office space.

Fit Errands Around Work.

People will obviously be upset if you absolutely refuse to run their errands -- is it really so much trouble to run down to the bank when you're at home all day? -- but you can't let them take away hours from work. You should make your response automatic. When someone asks you to take an hour out of work to do something during the day, tell them that you'll have to make that hour up at the end of the day, so they shouldn't expect you out of the office until an hour later than usual.

Don't Do Chores.

It can be tempting to do the laundry or the dishes when there's a load of them to do and work seems slow, but don't give it to it during your working day. Chores eat up an amazing amount of time. One thing you can do to help resist the temptation is to wear better clothes than you usually would when you're working -- not a suit, but something business-casual that you wouldn't really be willing to wash dishes in.

Have a Business Phone Line.

You need a phone line that's just for business to let clients leave messages for you when you're not in the office. Say exactly that in the message: 'I'm not in the office right now, but please leave your name and number and I'll get back to you'. Whatever you do, don't be tempted to take business calls after-hours, or give out your personal number to business contacts -- this is a sure-fire way to never stop working. Turn off the ringer on your business phone when you leave the office for the day.

With Children, All Bets are Off.

If you have children at home during the day (if they haven't started school yet, or it's a school holiday), it can be very difficult to maintain a sensible work pattern. They will come and bother you at every opportunity, because they miss you and want to see you. They'll even cause trouble just to get you to sort it out. They wanted to come and bothered you at your office job too, you know, but they had no way of getting there.

So what can you do when there are children in the house? After all, it's harsh to just ignore them, isn't it? The best answer I've found is to hire a babysitter, who can keep the kids entertained while you work. It could get expensive, but it shouldn't be for long, right?

Avoiding Home Business Scams.


By Mario Giordani
http://1stpromotions.com

Now maybe the reason you’re interested in setting up a home business is because you’ve seen an ad somewhere, or you’ve been approached by someone. It was all about a great work-from-home money-making opportunity, and you’re excited. Finally, you can quit your job!

If you’re thinking of working from home by someone else’s rules, though, you have to realise that at least 99% of the offers out there are scams – after all, if it was that easy to pay a few dollars and make thousands, wouldn’t everyone be doing it by now? Here are the biggest scams out there, how to recognise them, and how to avoid them.

Location, Location, Location.

Where did you see that work from home offer? If you got it in the post, or by email, or saw it on a poster taped around a telephone pole, then I can guarantee you right now that it’s not a legitimate offer. If you saw the ad in a newspaper, in a jobs magazine or on a jobs website, then it’s a little more likely to be legit – but not much. Always check out any offer, and assume it’s a scam until you have iron-clad proof to the contrary.

Envelope Stuffing.

This is the most established work-from-home scam, and it’s been going for decades now. Basically, once you pay your money and sign up to work from home, you’re sent a set of envelopes and ads just like the one you responded to. You might make some money if someone responds to your ad, but eventually there just won’t be a market for it any more. Anyway, work from home offers like this are illegal pyramid schemes.

You won’t make any money putting letters in envelopes – get over it.

Charging for Supplies.

The practice of charging for supplies is hard to pin down to any one scam – it’s the way almost all work-at-home scams work (including the envelope stuffing, above). You’ll be asked to make a small ‘investment’ for whatever materials would be needed to do the work – and then you’ll be sent very shoddy materials that aren’t worth anything like what you paid, and you’ll find that there’s no market for the work anyway.

If anyone asks for money upfront, run. A real company should be willing to deduct any ‘fees’ from your first paycheque – if they won’t do that for you, then that’s because they don’t ever plan to pay you.

Working for Free.

This variation on the scam is common with crafts. You might be asked to work at home making clothes, ornaments or toys. Everything seems legitimate – you’ve got the materials without paying out any money, and you’re doing the work. Unfortunately for you, when you send the work back, the company will tell you that it didn’t meet their ‘quality standards’, and will refuse to pay you. Then they’ll sell on what you made at a profit, and move on to the next sucker.

Never do craft work from home unless you’re selling the items yourself. Note that you don’t need to be selling to consumers (you could be selling to wholesalers), but you still need to be the one deciding what you make and getting the money.

Home Typing, Medical Billing, and More.

There are lots of work-from-home scams that involve persuading you that some industry has more work than it can handle, and so has to outsource to people working from home. For example, you might be told that you’d be typing legal documents, or entering medical bills into an electronic database. These scams have one thing in common: they all say that all you need is your computer, and they all then go on to say that you need to buy some ‘special software’.

This software might appear to be from a completely unrelated company, but don’t be fooled – the whole reason the ‘work-from-home’ ad was there to begin with was simply as cynical marketing for the software.

As you can see, running a ‘home business’ that just involves ‘working’ for one company is a bad idea. You don’t know who you’re dealing with. Here’s the clincher, though: even with entirely legal work-at-home offers that do pay you for your work, you still won’t make anywhere near as much as you can with your very own home business. So why bother with them at all?