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Home-Based Business – The Boss Is at Home!

You show up at an important meeting wearing your pajamas…. No, it’s not a nightmare, but a dream-come-true for home-based business owners gabbing on the phone with customers, colleagues or employees. Can you be both a franchise owner and work from home? Absolutely – there are many home-based opportunities available, both as a full-fledged franchise owner or as an independent business owner affiliated with a larger company.

Though people often associate franchising with retail stores and brand-name restaurants, many franchises and business opportunities in a variety of industries are home-based, such as:

• Vending and ATM (The Gumball Factory, Kickbutt Fun Energy Vending) • Pet-related (Bark Busters, Preppy Pet Suites, DoodyCalls) • Business Franchises (BCM, The Business Alliance) • Automotive (Alloy Wheel Repair, Novus, Creative Colors) • Home Improvement/Decor (ClosetsbyDesign, FreshCoat, Made in the Shade) • Kids (Sand Magic Creations, Kinderdance)

There are home-based franchises to fill every demand, from propane delivery to yard cleaning; from driveway seal-coating to junk hauling; from sign production to real estate.

Before you start fantasizing about hanging out at home all day in your PJs, remember -- you will be working! You must put on the business-owner hat for a defined part of the day to ensure that everything gets done – sales calls, accounting, paperwork, inventory, supplies, mailing lists – all the countless processes that underpin any successful business operation.

And you may have to don presentable business clothes, or even a uniform, for part of the day when you’re meeting with a customer to close a deal, or delivering a service such as lawn care.

Running a home-based business means that you set up your office at home, but you may spend a good part of your day out of the office to call on customers; collect money from your fleet of massage chairs; make deliveries; or perform work at someone else’s home or office, such as gutter installation or computer repair.

Here are some practical tips about working from home:

• Do your due diligence! Get all the information about up-front investment required, training and support, ongoing fees, projected earnings etc. There are lots of how-to guides out there – use them! • Talk with other people involved in the business to get a first-hand account of their experiences. (Beware of franchisers or business opportunists unwilling to provide references.) • Make sure your local community permits home-based businesses. • Set up a separate area dedicated solely to the business. • Enforce boundaries between your home life and your business. Establish rules not to be disturbed when you’re working, and stay out of your home office when spending leisure time with your family. • If you are home alone a good deal of the day, don’t become a hermit. Network with other home-based business owners or colleagues working in the same franchise business.

Working from home is not for everyone. It requires strict self-discipline to stick to a schedule; the ability to ignore distractions and focus on the task at hand; and strong organizational skills to keep your business office in proper order. And, yes, you’ll probably need some suitable attire that conveys the right image for your business.

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