Striking out on our own can be liberating and a bit scary. I don't know of anyone
who has taken a real jump and regretted it, but I haven't talked to everyone who has either. I have talked to several who wound up going back to the corporate cubicles, licking a few wounds, but they still didn't regret the leap.

What do we need?

On the whole you may find you need very little to start a home office, or even a
small office. Most freelance and self-employment ventures are service based, rather
than manufacturing or retail. You don't have to worry about a warehouse, or a work
room separate from the office.

Some do of course, such as eBay'ers and artists, but there are plenty of answers
for these people as well. Remember to solve the problem, not the ego. Generally you
will meet clients across the Internet or at their office, not your place. So you don't need fancy furniture or an impressive meeting room.

What you do need is communications, so a good computer and a couple of phone
lines are going to be a necessity. I find that having a cell phone is good, just in case the electricity goes out or something else happens. Being able to respond to the client is a major selling point for your service.

There are other answers as well, for example Skype, recently purchased by eBay,
offers a very impressive answer for Internet phones. Right now, for this year, all calls inside the US and Canada are free. I've known people that have been using the
service for years now, and it’s been a massive money saver.

Services such as Skype, and Instant messengers from Yahoo or MSN open up
communication alternatives we simply didn't have five or six years ago. For example
video communication isn't something on the Jetsons any longer, it is a real, viable
tool that has no cost beyond your high-speed connection attached to the service.
Just The Fax Ma’am!

Fax machines are required for some communications and services, but you don't have
to own one, there are online fax machines, and fax software for the computer as well. Some people just want a simple fax machine, which is fine. Combo printers are a good answer as well, but take the time to look at some alternatives.

For example and are available. Personally I discourage
faxing, it's not something that is good for a home office, where papers get used by
teenagers taking notes on the back, or spills on the front. Working with email is
much better. BUT everyone gets so bogged down with e-mail that using a fax can
actually be a little liberating.

Get one of the on-online fax services and then use a regular phone fax machine off
your main phone line. That way you can save money over having a second phone

Speaking of email, get an address from someplace like or
If you have your own website, then you can use that, but don't use for your business an address from your cable or DSL provider. If you switch your provider, that email address is gone. Same goes for your AOL or Earthlink, don't tie your business to those addresses. You will regret doing so.

Who Hasn’t Used Google?

Google and Yahoo now allow huge amounts of email to be saved on their servers, and
have great search tools to find conversations. Backups of your information, files, proposals, invoices and other documentation is going to be a requirement, which is why programs like Google Spreadsheets and Writely make quite a bit of sense after awhile.

Home networking is a breeze with the wireless routers that are on the market, so you can have the laptop and desktop working together. Seriously, they are basically plug and play now, and if you can't figure it out, it is worth the effort to find someone who can help you.

Keep in mind that you are not the first, or even the second person to strike out on their own. The movement has been growing for the last 10 years.

With job security a thing of the past, and job satisfaction on a slow decline, home offices have been springing up in growing numbers. Any logistical problem you could come up with has probably be faced and solved; there are solutions out there. Take the time to find them, it will save you days of hassle and hundreds of dollars.

What should I expect?

If you are the type that enjoys the thrill of moving up the corporate ladder and
finds value in the power struggles and politics, then you can expect a hard
transition. Self motivation becomes a completely different animal in the home

Leonard Lodish, professor at the Wharton School of Business and author of
Entrepreneurial Marketing: Lessons from Wharton's Pioneering MBA Course, states,
"People who have been in organizations where it's all about how big your silo was
and how much power you have don't do very well in the entrepreneurial setting
because they have a different value system," he says. "If you've done that long
enough, it's very hard to change."

David Paradise of the Family Business Resource Center in Boston says there are
three types of corporate workers:

1. Those who join a corporation with the intention of using it as a launching pad
for their own business,
2. Those who discover their entrepreneurial spirit while working in corporate, and
3. Those who never intend to leave the safety and security of corporate life.
Of this third group, he says, "They are not prepared in their minds. Psychologically, they have wanted to be with the corporation out of protection, out of identification,because the corporation knows more than I do or that they'll take care of me.

"When suddenly the corporation says we don't need your services anymore, they get
thrown into entrepreneurship by default."

I don't like statistics much, because if I had listened to them (or even knew about
the published odds against me) I never would have started out, and my success is
something anyone can achieve.

However, the growing success of small and home businesses has been on the rise
since 2003,( and lending institutions are more
willing to work with those in a small or home business more than ever

• Small business loans outstanding (loans under $1 million) totaled $495
billion as of June 2003, an increase of $11.1 billion or 2.3 percent between
June 2002 and June 2003, compared with an overall increase of 5.1 percent
over the previous period, according to the Call Report data.

• In 2002, a total of $227.5 billion in small business loans under $1 million
were extended by 905 CRA-reporting banks/BHCs, compared with $203 billion in 2001/
Large multi-billion-dollar banks and BHCs made 5.3 million micro business loans valued at $73 billion in 2002, compared with $4.9 million loans valued at $62 billion in 2001.

• The CRA data confirm the findings in the Call Report data of the importance
of multi-billion-dollar banks and BHCs in the market for the smallest loans.
The secrets aren't really secrets, they are the basics of doing anything worth doing, and you have been accomplishing these tasks all of your life.

Get focused: After we get through the feelings and the anger, we need to get focused. Enough is enough, time to get our heads together and some direction in our actions. Make the commitment: Once our energy is focused, we need to make a commitment to ourselves that this is what we want, and we are willing to take it. Motivation only gets you so far, tenacity is what wins the day.

Have a plan: A written plan will give you both direction and motivation, particularly if it includes a back-up plan. To write your plan, state your objective with timetables. Set goals and plan specific actions to help you
achieve them. Like I said, you have been doing these things all of your life, now you are just doing them for yourself, instead of someone else.

Author's Bio: 

Peter “The Reinvention Guy" Fogel is the nation's leading reinvention expert and author of the book, “If Not Now… Then When? Stories and Strategies of People Over
40 Who Have Successfully Reinvented Themselves!” And the soon to be released, "Reboot Your Career" 27 Ways to Reinvent Yourself In The Workplace!"

He went from being one of America's funniest comedians to reinventing himself into key note speaker and in-demand sales writer for multi-million dollar companies as Early to Rise, Strategic Profits, Biocentric Health, Renaissance Health, (to name a few.)

For further information on his products and to sign up for Peter’s FREE 7 Day Reinvention E-course at