One of the most exciting and daunting things about starting your own home-based business as your sole means of income is the reality that no one is responsible for your success or failure but you.
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Flying Without a Net

One of the most exciting and daunting things about starting your own home-based business as your sole means of income is the reality that no one is responsible for your success or failure but you. The lure of the home-based business is undeniable. But before joining the revolution, take the time to think about the real implications of self-responsibility.

In the past, you've always had the security of knowing that your employer was taking care of the background details ... you know, those little things like retirement plans, health insurance and capital investment. And making enough money to cover your salary and vacation time. Now it's all down to you.

So, let's take a look at four of the biggies: health and safety, insurance, tax issues and zoning.

Health and Safety

No matter how much you've invested in setting up your business, nothing is more valuable to your business or to you as your good health and safety. Apart from obvious measures such as ensuring you have adequate health insurance, keep the following basics in mind.

- You Are Not A Machine

Take regular breaks. These are important for your physical and mental health, not to mention your productivity. Breaks can be particularly important if your livelihood requires you to spend hours on end in front of a computer. The last thing you or your business needs is for you to develop carpal tunnel syndrome!

Avoid the temptation to do household chores or errands on your break time. That's not a break. Do something that breaks the mental spell, something that gets you out of your work environment for fifteen minutes every couple of hours. Go wander around outside and take some deep breaths to cleanse your lungs. Lift weights. Call a friend. Go sit in the backyard with a cup of cocoa and enjoy the sunshine. It doesn't matter what you do, but make yourself do it. Set an alarm to remind yourself if you must.

- Use the Correct Equipment the Right Way

Make sure you use the correct equipment for the task at hand. If your work requires long hours in front of a computer, make sure that your desk and chair are properly aligned and your work area is well lit. Ensure you maintain good posture.

- Nap when sleepy

Many home-based business owners work odd hours. That, after all, is one of the advantages! But if you start working very early or work very late into the night, your sleep patterns need to adjust accordingly. Therefore, if you find yourself feeling sleepy mid-afternoon, take an hour's nap. Any longer though and you'll risk waking sluggish and tired. Set an alarm to wake you if think you'll go longer than an hour or 45 minutes.

Don't tell yourself you can't afford the time to take a nap. A nap will do wonders for your productivity and you will be refreshed and ready to get back to work. You'll find you'll accomplish much more by the end of the day than you would have if you forced yourself to keep ploughing ahead even though you were so sleepy you couldn't think straight.

- Home Alone Security

Security is an issue for any home-based worker. Apart from personal security which is always an issue for everyone wherever they work, the home-based office with its usual array of expensive computer and other office equipment, and heaven knows whatever else electronic gadgetry is a prime target for thieves. So take these basic precautions:

* Don't expose your expensive office equipment to the view of casual passersby. Obscure the view with foliage (but not so much that you provide a place for would-be intruders to hide) and draw the blinds when you're away from home.

* Keep your doors deadbolted when you're home as well as when you're away.

* Think twice about inviting new clients to your home office. Try and meet at the client's office wherever possible or, if not, at a neutral location.

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