Pros: Plenty of business and legal information; lots of additional resources
Cons: Somewhat dry
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
These days who doesn’t want to work from home? It’s such an appealing notion: wear what you want; no commute; be your own boss. Unfortunately, starting your own business is complicated. There are zoning restrictions and taxes to be paid. You need to decide what kind of business to form. Since you’re running the show yourself you have to know how to do everything—including marketing, accounting, and paperwork. Luckily, Barbara Weltman’s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business, Third Edition, is a very complete and detailed guide to getting it right.
Ms. Weltman provides a ton of edifying statistics regarding the current state of the working-from-home crowd: who knew there were so many people doing it these days, and doing it successfully? She gives us some idea of how long it typically takes people to start earning what they need to live on. She provides reminders of what we’ll be saving by working from home, as well as the new expenses we have to take into account (such as our own health insurance!).
If you want to work from home but don’t yet know what you want to do there, Ms. Weltman also includes plenty of information to help you choose. She tells us all about franchises, buying a pre-existing home-based business, e-commerce, etc. One of the appendixes includes a list of the 100 most popular types of home-based businesses, including the addresses of web sites with further information on them. You might be surprised by some of the possibilities here, such as: sketch artist, bed and breakfast, bridal consultant, personal chef, chimney sweep, nutritionist, event planner, interior decorator, jewelry designer, personal shopper, or speechwriter.
There’s plenty of information on organizing your business, such as choosing whether to incorporate. There’s also advice on setting up your business, writing a business plan, and obtaining financing from a variety of possible sources. Such issues as the zoning of your home are addressed, as well as legal means to get around any potential snags in this area.
Ms. Weltman goes into the practical issues of setting up your home office: office equipment, computers, and convincing your family and friends to let you get work done! She also delves into what you really need to do to make your business succeed in terms of marketing, networking, insurance, taking care of taxes, and getting the professional help you need when you can’t do everything yourself.
Ms. Weltman injects some welcome humor here and there, but this book is somewhat dry reading. However, if you’re using it as a reference to look up what you need then that’s hardly an issue. I highly recommend this read to anyone who’s thinking of starting up their own business from home: it could save you some costly mistakes, and help to ensure your success!