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August 2010
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Starting A Home Business? Know The Rules.

We’ve talked many times about starting a home business, and various aspects of doing your own business.  Today I want to mention a few “rules” that may or may not affect you in trying to start your own home business.

** Regulations.  If you live in a subdivision that has homeowner policies and regulations, you will definitely need to read the rules to see if you are allowed to have a home business in your home.  For a sewing or alteration type of business you may have many customers coming and going which could cause problems with parking in addition to the hours you may want to be “open” which could be a problem in the area.  Keep in mind that if you are running an internet or mail order only business there would not be any additional traffic, other than your own vehicles coming and going.

** Insurance.  Check with your homeowner insurance company to see what they will and will not cover on the contents of your business office furniture and supplies.  You will probably need to extend the coverage to be sure the computer systems, furniture and office materials are covered.

** Assess What Your Needs Are.  This is very important because if you’re wanting to set up a home business to do sewing or alterations and you have neither a garage or any work area that’s open enough for your business, it will be next to impossible for you to even begin.  You MUST have an area that is totally dedicated to the business and nothing else.  In other words you simply can’t work “off your kitchen table”, even though articles and stories in years past tell about people doing their business “off the kitchen table”.  If you have a family of any size at all, how do you plan to get any work done if the kids are constantly at the table for snacks or your “3 meals a day” at the table, etc.  My house is big enough that I have a spare bedroom for my actual office and a large workroom for all my sewing and craft projects.

** Location.  Think about whether you’ll need a space for office equipment in a location that you’ll easily be able to install a separate telephone and fax line and perhaps cable for a tv if you like to watch tv while working.  I’ve always liked a space where I can hear what’s going on in the rest of the house, but still have my own private area where kids aren’t allowed to come in to play or eat/drink, etc.

The main point is to check out the various areas that COULD become problems later after the business is open.  When you are actually open for business, you certainly don’t want the president of the homeowner association coming to your door and demanding that you close the business, etc.  Plan ahead to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before opening your “business” door.

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Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author

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