Work From Home Tips – Tip #1 – Set Up Your Work Space

Are you working at home already? Or is it something you’re considering doing in the near future?In my experience (and I’ve spent 20 years successfully working from home) the idea of working from home is one many aspire to, with the ideals that it brings a healthier quality of life, which it certainly can.But to make it work and for you to create a successful business working from home, you need to GET ORGANISED!Once you’re organised you can conquer the world, or at least stay happily on top of your own little corner of it.With this in mind, this is the first of a few articles relating to giving you some simple but key tips on how to successfully work from home…Tip #1 Set Up Your Work Space At HomeFirst, you need space. Somewhere that’s yours, even if it’s temporary! Thankfully, working from home means you can be creative and flexible. If your home doesn’t have a dedicated office or study, then think about where else could you find space? Are there a few square feet to spare in any of these?
Loft or Attic
Basement or cellar
Under stairs
Walk-in wardrobe
Corner of living room or bedroom (you can even use a simple privacy screen if necessary, to give you more of a private area)

Foyer or lobby
Hall or landing
Garage
Garden shed
Laundry room, utility room
etc…
Once you’ve decided where your home office will be, you need to be set up right with the correct equipment to get the job done.Essentials include:
Desk (or any flat surface ie kitchen table, where you can work)

Computer – desktop or laptop/notebook with Internet access, ideally broadband which provides much quicker internet access, and allows you to use the phone & internet at the same time.
Printer
Phone (using a digital cordless phone gives flexibility, in case you have to move to another space)

Answering machine
Filing system (cabinet, crate, box, concertina folder)

Comfortable (important!) chair
Good lighting (equally important if you’re planning on working late)

Basic office supplies (pens, highlighters, folders, stapler etc.)

But (and this is a very important “but”)… don’t go out and spend a fortune on ‘stuff’ straightaway. learn to start with what you have, add what you absolutely need. Once the money’s coming in you can spoil yourself with shiny new stuff but do that only when your business begins turning a profit and you can afford the extras.As you purchase things and create your workspace, keep in mind the need to be flexible and efficient. Your computer is crucial. Make sure your computer is ‘man enough’ to do what you’re asking of it – there’s nothing more frustrating then having to continually wait while your computer opens files, connects and/or reboots.Ensure your software up-to-date, and you’ve installed adequate anti-virus and firewall protection (something I’ve learned the painful way!). Create regular backups of your data. Your data is your business’s lifeline… protect it above all costs.Using a laptop or notebook computer and wireless Internet means you can work anywhere in your home, even outside in the garden! If you are a stay-at-home mum or dad and you have small children who can’t be left unsupervised, a wireless laptop is ideal. You can work wherever your kids are.A notebook with wireless also lets you work outside your home wherever there’s wireless Internet… in local restaurants, coffee shops, hotel foyers, airports, etc. Having the option to “go out and work” can make a tremendous difference to your quality of life and productivity.Another great tip to maximise your budget, space and time is to combine functionality. If you need a printer, look for a model that includes a printer, copier, scanner and fax machine… all-in-one – there are some great ones available at very reasonable prices.No matter how small your work space, enjoy creating one that is just for you, by making it personal to you. I love my work space – and you need to do the same, after all you’re going to be spending a fair bit of time in ‘your space’……so make it a ‘space’ you really enjoy being in – your work-from-home business will thank you for it!More ‘Work From Home’ Tips in future articles…

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Work at Home Tips – Income Tax Organization

Is it really that time of year again? Time goes by so fast, especially if you’ve been relatively busy with your home business within the past year.There are so many things to remember when preparing your tax returns, as well as knowing exactly what is considered taxable. Let’s take a quick look at what may be taxable in your work at home situation.Here are just a few that I’ve listed below:1. Monthly Internet bill. I know this is the number one item on my list since I work at home and I have to use the Internet to make my income.2. Monthly hosting bill if you own your own domain name. This is another important write off for your business, especially if you own several domains/websites and your hosting bill is considerably high.3. Monthly phone bill. If you own a business and you use your phone to run your business, then yes, you need to write off your phone bill.4. Business transportation mileage. If you use your automobile for business, such as home parties, this is another important taxable write off. Fuel prices has went up considerably. You need to keep careful track of all your transportation expenses (including gas receipts), and file anything and everything that you can.5. Advertising expenses. Some people pay for advertising for promotion purposes and some do not. If you do pay for advertising, then you need to file these expenses on your taxes. Depending on the type of advertising, it may or may not be taxable, but it’s always safe to file all expenses.6. Charitable contributions. Your contributions must meet specific criteria to be considered taxable. It’s still important to record all contributions for the year and your tax adviser will sort it out accordingly.There are definitely more that need to be listed here. I just wanted to go over a few of the top ones to consider for your business. To do a more elaborate research on what is taxable, you can visit irs.gov.Tips for organizing your tax documentsDon’t wait until the end of the year to start getting those important documents together. Start at the beginning of the year and place all relevant papers in their proper place. There are so many people (and I used to be one of them) that just shove these documents into hiding anywhere they can find, and not where they are supposed to be kept for fast reference.For example I have a file folder in my file cabinet that houses my office expense receipts, ink cartridges, paper, pens, pencils, software receipts, new computer/printer receipts, and the like. When you purchase something for your business, immediately when you return home, place those receipts in their proper folder.Earnings and expense recordsI’ve learned over the years to keep a document for my earnings and also for my expenses in safe folders on my computer. I also actively backup all my files on a regular basis. You can of course figure out your earnings and expenses at the beginning of every year, but wouldn’t it make much more sense to do this as you go along with your business and record each transaction? It would definitely save you a considerable amount of time by doing this daily.Basic office supplies for organizing your work at home office calendar
file cabinets
interior or manila file folders
hanging file folders and labels
Microsoft Money or Quickbooks accounting software (if you choose), you can always keep active spreadsheets for business accounting purposes
sticky notesWith careful home business planning and organization skills, you will be more career productive.Important: Also with precise organization, you will know at a moment’s notice where these documents are if you are ever audited.