1. Start with a plan in mind. Create a simple, informal business plan that addresses the major areas of your enterprise: marketing, cash flow, legal structure, etc.

2. Claim your space. Set up an area in your home that’s devoted exclusively to your business. Have all the office supplies and equipment you will need readily available.

3. Establish a professional presence from the start. Get business cards and letterhead printed, set up a voice-mail system to handle missed calls, and have a place to consult with clients if you invite them into your home.

4. Set the ground rules for family and friends. Let them know your business hours, and explain that you can’t be disturbed during that time.

5. Develop a contact network. Don’t become isolated. Join local business groups and the chamber of commerce to promote your business and meet other micro-business owners.

Gene Fairbrother Leade Consultant ShopTalk 800 National Association for the Self-Employed Dallas

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