Getting Started Tips

Read these 12 Getting Started Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Home Office tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Can I Become a Lifetips Guru?

Be a Lifetips Guru

Are you looking for a way to make a completely fresh start? Maybe turn your hobby into a paying business? Consider being a Lifetips guru. Lifetips is a fairly young company looking for people who are eager to try hard; in return, they have an opportunity to turn their interests into a paying job. I'm a prime example of this! I've been a writer for a long time, and I've worked a home office for a long time. But Lifetips has given me an opportunity to add a new skill to my arsenal: "content-provider". Go to www.lifetips.com, and look for the section, "Who You, a Guru?"

   
How can I keep from forgetting my good ideas?

Write it Down!

The ability to generate new ideas can your biggest source of future wealth. I try to keep a pen and paper handy at all times, (or even a microcassette recorder), because the worst thing in the world is to have a great idea while driving or in the shower, to trust it to memory, and then to realize you forgot what it was.

   
How much risk can I tolerate?

Tolerating Risk

What have you got to lose if your business fails? It's an important question to ask yourself as you work toward a start-up. If you're borrowing a lot of money to start, or if your family income is dependent on a successful start-up, remember that it's better to start slow and keep your expenses low. I tried to start several businesses before I finally got going, and while I have never regretted those failures, I could probably have been "less aggressive" on expenditures like letterhead and office space.

   
What´s the oddest "home office" story you´ve ever heard?

A different take on the home office

Lifetips president Byron White had a bit of a different take on the home office. When he first started out, he was able to save office rent by renting in a residential area; however, to satisfy the "residency" requirements of his "home office," he often slept at the office during the week! (Source: Wall Street Jounal, "Space Crunch Lures Firms to Residential Locations," November 1, 2000.)

   
What kind of business should I start?

Do What You Like

There is almost no limit to the different kinds of business you can operate out of your home. The key to selecting something? Do what you like to do. Hobbies are great to turn into home-based businesses.

   
What makes me better than everyone else?

Differentiation

What's your "corporate identity"? How are you different than anyone else? How can you be better than everyone else? If you can answer those questions, you will be on the road to finding your best message, and your business calling.

   
How can I avoid start-up risk?

Starting on the side

Do you hate your job? My brother-in-law hates his job, and he's asking me for advice on how to start his own business. The difficulty is that, my sister, his stay-at-home wife, is afraid he may jump too soon, and give up his job with health insurance, a 401k, and other assorted benefits. My solution? Go to a site like Bigstep.com, and set up a storefront for his prospective new business. That way, there's minimal cost, minimal risk, and he can test his new business idea in his spare time, and maybe even generate some surprisingly good results, without having to make my sister nervous at all.

   
How do you get out of the blocks quickly?

Slow and Steady

Some people are like rabbits when starting a business; they begin quickly, with a lot of enthusiasm, but after they run into some obstacles, their enthusiasm cools off. Better to work a business like the tortoise: start slowly, build small successes, and keep that business going into profitability. My mom always used to tell me, "slow and steady wins the race!"

   
Should I consult part-time between jobs?

Just a stepping stone?

Because a job search for executives can last for months, or even for a year or more, especially in unsettled times, job search experts recommend working as a "part-time" consultant for a time. It can help your severance pay last longer. And who knows? This "temporary" effort might even become your next full-time job.

   
What do customers care about?

Find a need and fill it

No potential customer is going to care about your business idea, or your business, unless you fill some need of theirs. Therefore, the companies that fill some important need for their customers are going to successful.

   
What´s wrong with sharing?

Shared Office Space

Are you working in the living room? In the kitchen? In your bedroom? That's all right if you're just getting started; don't try to grow too fast. Let your business outgrow your workspace, not the other way around. Otherwise, you could end up paying a lot more than you need.

   
What if my office is too small?

The Pantry is OK

When you're first starting out, anywhere you want to put your office is fine. My wife put me in a 4'x6' pantry next to our kitchen; but my clients never saw my office, they only saw the quality of my work. As I grew, I moved into larger areas. But remember, quality overcomes a multitude of start-up constraints.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Lynne Christen