If you’re serious about working at home, you’ll need to create a comfortable space where you can work undistracted.  Whether your home office is a corner of the family room or a separate room altogether, this primer can help you get started.  What follows are your home office essentials.

The Basics

Computer – While you may be tempted to pick up an inexpensive model, consider buying the best computer you can afford. It pays to purchase a model that will last for several years than to continue to pay for multiple upgrades. Busy parents should consider a laptop for those moments they need portability. A small laptop can go with you to the play room, back deck and playground.

Software – There’s no way around it. If you want to work at home, you’ll need the essentials. If you haven’t yet installed Word, Excel and other necessary Microsoft Office software, you’ll need to do so. Most employers expect you to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint, but these programs can be expensive.

If money is an issue, visit openoffice.org and download Open Office for free. Open Office offers software alternatives compatible with the Microsoft programs. Another free program that’s an absolute must is Adobe Reader. You’ll need this to open PDF files.  Download this at Adobe.com.

If you’re not sure how to use these programs, there are plenty of free online tutorials to help you. The library also offers plenty of “how-to” books and tutorials.

High Speed Internet –
Dial-up is no longer acceptable in today’s busy home office. Employers want reliability and speed. Dial-up may be cheaper, but it’s not better. Considering how you can write off many home office expenses, including your Internet service, why would you use a slow connection?

Desk or work station – You don’t need to have anything fancy, but you do need to have a work area that’s sturdy, holds all of your equipment and supplies without being crowded, and allows you to move in comfort. For some people this is an old kitchen table, for others it’s an entire work cubicle. Decide what will work best for your space.

Dedicated Phone Line – Depending on your line of work, you might need a dedicated phone line. If you will be spending a great deal of time on the phone you’ll want your own line, one family members won’t be using all of the time.

Headset – If you’re going to be working a job requiring you to spend a lot of time on the phone, a headset is a must. Nowadays, headsets are lightweight, comfortable and many consist of a single piece fitting over one ear.

Comfortable Chair – If you’re going to be sitting for hours at a time, you’ll want a chair offering good back support and comfortable seating. A wheeled chair allowing you to move freely between stations is best, but not mandatory.

Scanner or Fax – This too depends on your work at home job. If you find you need to copy or send documents on a regular basis, these items are necessary staples. If you only need to fax the occasional contract or paperwork, it’s probably more cost-efficient to visit your local copy center.

File Cabinet – This can be a one drawer or four drawer depending on your needs. Even if your job doesn’t generate a lot of paper, you’ll still need to store check stubs, receipts and contracts.

No Printer?
Notice I didn’t say printer? That’s because most home workers don’t need one. In fact, most of us email our work directly to the client. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t have a printer for household or family business, however. If you can’t afford to give up spare work space, there’s no shame in keeping the printer in a closet until you have something to print.

Keep Organized
Once you have the essentials, you can start to set up your office. Think carefully about where to put each item. For instance, a bulletin board should be in your direct line of sight so you can see calendars and reminders at a glance. Often used office supplies work best within a hand’s reach, while others can be stowed away in a drawer.

Keep your work area neat and tidy. Consider buying slotted trays and file holders to store important papers. You’ll waste less time having an organized work space than if you have to hunt through clutter to find paperwork.

A Quiet Space
It’s best to have a door you can shut keep out the noise. Of course this is easier said than done when working in a home with children. After they are in bed however, you may need to close out the world and take a few quiet hours to work.

It’s What You Make of It
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on the latest equipment or have an addition attached to your house. Your home office can be any space where you can work comfortably and in a productive manner. Whether that’s a card table in your basement or a 20-piece work station is entirely up to you.  (Author Deborah Ng)

I highly recommend installing at least (3) different types of antivirus/antispy software on your computer.  Free versions work fairly well, but it is always a good idea to invest into one individual FULL version application, which you will provide you with greater protection in the long run and employers are more apt to consider you for many projects to come.

To Your Success in A Home Career…


As you are conducting your search right now for that AWESOME opportunity to do from the comfort of your own home.  I want to make sure you understand the difference between working a home based job and a home career.  Many of us didn’t know that there was a difference.  In the beginning, I know I did not.  So it is best that this is explained to you now so that you understand.

Sometimes people get confused by the terms work at home job and business opportunity. They are generally two different ways to work at home. Some people think they are interchangeable, but they really each have their own characteristics.

A work at home job is much like a job outside the home. You will be EMPLOYED by a company. You will have a Manager to report to and will be given work and often have a schedule to follow that is set by the company.  While most work at home jobs do not hire on people as employees, they are still basically working in the role of an employee.  Most work at home positions are as an independent contractor, which basically means the company does not withhold taxes and do not have to guarantee work for the person.  Most companies will pay you as W-2 employee and will pay either per minute, hourly, salary, commission or base by.  It varies by each company.

Many of these companies have tedious hiring processes.  They will have many applicants to compete with as there are not that many companies that hire employees to work from home.  These companies most likely will complete a background check and require a headset, landline, printer/fax/copier, no distractions and so forth.  Most times you will have to purchase these things to be able to start. Some companies will reimburse you for these, some will not.  If you have children, you may still need daycare or a babysitter because you cannot have any background noises or distractions for most of the positions companies offer.   With a work from home job, there is still no security and no freedom.  You can be fired or laid off at anytime.  And worst of all, with a work at home job and a traditional job; you are trading your valuable time for money.  (Find out more about work from home jobs by contacting a well known company that specializes in placing people in legitimate jobs from home: Blessed 2 Be Home. You can send them an email and get a current listing of hiring companies)

A home business is like any other business.  The person is generally responsible for every aspect of the business from customers to products to administration.  A home business owner can work with a company and sell their goods or offer their services, so they do not have to worry about products and in some cases orders.  They are Independent Contractors and issued 1099s instead of W-2s.  This shows the IRS that they are not employees and are able to receive all the tax cuts that regular business owners receive.  This means that you would be able to write off your mortgage/rent, phone bill, cell phone bill, gas, electric, car mileage, printer ink, internet, computer usage, and so much more.  However, the main point to a home business is that you are not given work to do. You are responsible for managing your business.  You will not have a boss to report to, quotas to meet, or a set schedule to work.  Most companies that you start a home business with will send you a commission check daily, weekly, and/or monthly, but if you are not working with a company and it’s your own company then you’d handle your own pay. When you are your own boss, you are in control of the income that you make.  You can give yourself a raise when you want too!  You have the ability to build a lifetime income through residual commissions (which means you get paid over and over off of something you did once—you will not get this perk with a job from home!).  A tax-deductible monetary investment is normally required some as low as $50 and often a low monthly tax-deductible overhead cost to maintain what the company provides to you to use to operate your own business.

The two terms, work at home job and home business, are often a cause for someone to get wrapped up in a work at home opportunity they do not understand. Many people mistake a home business for a work at home job and are disappointed they have to handle so much work or that they are not guaranteed paychecks on a steady basis. Others get a work at home job and are not happy at having someone give them work to do and a set schedule. That is why it is important for anyone wanting to work at home to understand the difference between the two.

I hope you enjoy all of the information provided in posting.  I know that I enjoy sharing it.   By the way, I LOVE receiving feedback from each and everyone of you… so please DO NOT be shy!  Leave a comment below & SHARE this information with your friends by clicking the links below the post to share on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and so forth.

To Your Development In Any Career You Pursue…