Copyright to Sean C. Castrina, © 2014. All rights reserved.
Published here May 2014

Editor's Note | Introduction | Assess Your Strengths and Do Your Homework 
Keep Your Overheads Low | Balance Income with Expenditures
Promotion and Customer Focus | Final Thoughts

Keep Your Overheads Low

3.  Make "home sweet home" your "office 'suite' office"

Odds are, you'll be starting your new business from home — a place that's full of distractions ranging from laundry baskets to televisions. That's why setting up a dedicated workspace is crucial for productivity. Depending on your home's layout and your personal preferences, you might be able to use a spare bedroom, a basement, a detached garage, or even a nook in the living room as your "office."

Personally, I converted our dining room into an incredible home office. I was able to do this on a dime because the room was already equipped with a large but seldom-used table. If you go this route, you might want to add a file cabinet and swap the chandelier for recessed or track lighting. As I found out, it's hard to tap into your entrepreneur mojo when you're constantly ducking a chandelier!

Also, if you set up a home office, don't forget to capitalize on tax deduction advantages. For example, if you set aside a separate room of your house in which to conduct your business and/or store products, you may be able to take a home office deduction. You can also write off transportation expenses to and from your home to your business appointments and, in some cases, expenses related to car maintenance and repair.

4.  Create a "dream board" to keep up your motivation

While you're still in the planning stages, set aside an hour to tap into your creative side. Envision your goals for your business: what you'll make or sell, who your customers will be, and — most importantly — how being an entrepreneur will positively impact your retirement. Then glue images, possibly a photo of that condo or country club brochure, and words that remind you of those things to a piece of cardboard or poster board. Make sure that dream board is visible in your workspace.

Dream boards may seem small, but they're very important. On those inevitable days when you think you must be crazy for starting a business after finally exiting the workforce, looking at photos of the vacation destination you want to visit, the logo of the college your grandchild will attend, or your debt-reduction schedule will motivate you and remind you why you became an entrepreneur in the first place.

Assess Your Strengths and Do Your Homework  Assess Your Strengths and Do Your Homework

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