Yeah-But Rebuttals: Show Me the Money

yeah-butt-headThis is the third in a series of periodic posts on rebuttals to common “yeah-buts” that I hear from people wanting to work from home.

Yeah-But

“Yeah, but, I don’t have enough money to start a home-based business.”

The Rebuttal

It’s unfortunate, but often things end up coming down to money. Basing your future on how much cabbage you can scrape together may not be the best way to look at things. But in today’s world, you sometimes have to. One of the great things about a home-based business is the low overhead. Most home businesses can be started on a shoestring (though some may need a longer one than others). The key is to be frugal, bootstrap, and find a way to get the initial investment you need to get up and running. Now assuming that like most home-based start-ups your actual cost of entry is pretty low, here’s a couple of ways to fund it yourself.

Credit Cards

Now I can hear all you financial advisors out there cringing at this, but it’s one of the most common ways to fund a home-based startup. Contrary to popular belief, credit cards themselves are not evil. It’s the misuse that causes the problem. So using plastic to get up and running may be a good solution, with a few caveats:

  • I’m going the benefit of the doubt route here, figuring if you are disciplined enough to run a business you can handle a credit card. But really think about it, and look at your recent past to see if it’s a good idea for you
  • If you’re drowning in debt, another card is probably not a good idea.
  • Use it only for your business and nothing else.
  • Be frugal – no better yet – be a cheapskate.

A Better Option – The Mocha Fund

Another way to get some money to fund your home business is to stop drinking so many darn mochas. I know lots of folks who spend an average of $3-4 a day on their venti café mochas. That’s around $17.50 a work-week and $910 a year. Now, granted, there is vacation time and those days you don’t make it to the coffee place. But even conservatively, that’s $500-$700 a year.

So instead of getting coffee out, buy a decent coffee maker for home. I worked with a lady who used this idea in a very creative way to get her business off the ground. She stopped getting coffee on the way to work and bought a really nice coffee maker. Then she’d buy good quality, organic, shade-grown (and fair-trade) beans. She also kept a jar with a “Mocha Fund” label on it beside the coffee maker. Every day, she’d stick in 5 bucks, rounding up what she usually spent, and within 3 months had the money she needed. Now, I agree this is an extreme approach. But she liked the discipline and the action of actually keeping her money in a place designed to show her resolve about starting her business.

You don’t have to take it that far. But cutting out things like daily coffee from the corner place, or bringing lunch instead of eating out every day, is an easy way to get the cash you need to get going.


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Yeah-But Rebuttals: Computers and Software

yeah-butt-headThis is the second in a series of periodic posts on rebuttals to common “yeah-buts” that I hear from people wanting to work from home.

Yeah-But

“Yeah, but, I don’t have a computer I can use.”

The Rebuttal

Along with the excuse of not having a place to work, people often think they need some super powerful computer to get started. Others don’t have a computer at all. Though eventually you will have to get a fairly recent computer to run newer software (or better yet go open source – but that’s for another day), you don’t need anything fancy to get started. In fact you don’t even need a computer of your own.

I have known several people who have used friends’ computers, library computers, or a school or church computer lab to start a home-based business.

One young mother used her local library’s computers while her sister took her son to reading time. I also had the privilege to talk with a homeless artist who used a local church’s computer to check email and collect email addresses of potential customers. He didn’t even have a roof over his head most days, but was working on getting an art business started using freely available computers.

So no computer is no excuse. There are excellent, easy to use Web-based tools and programs you can use that can be accessed from any computer anywhere that has internet access. The need for personal desktop software is no longer essential to get started running a home business. Once you’ve been established, you can choose to upgrade, but you my find that the freedom Web-based tools offer is too good to give up. Here’s some I’d recommend to get you started:

The need for a new computer with lots of expensive software use to be a major cost of entry for the home-based business. Now, using your own older computer or others you may have access to, along with Web-based software, you can get up and going with as little investment as possible.

Yeah-But Rebuttals: Your Office Space

yeah-butt-headThis is the first in a series of periodic posts on rebuttals to common “yeah-buts” that I hear from people wanting to work from home.

Yeah-But

“Yeah, but, I just don’t have anywhere to set up an office in my home.”

The Rebuttal

This is a common one – and frankly, one of the silliest. I’ve had highly intelligent people, with well thought out home-business plans, decide to scrap their dreams of working from home, because of space. Crazy, huh?

They cite so-called “small business experts” who say you MUST have a separate office, and clearly defined boundaries. They think they need a big bonus room or office over the garage, decked out with all the latest home-office furniture and gear. Sure that would be nice, but it’s not necessary.

Often this is just an excuse masking doubt and fear about starting a home business. So the best way to alleviate it is to see the truth. You can really start from anywhere.

It’s pretty well known that Lillian Vernon got started at her kitchen table. It’s not an uncommon approach. I started in the corner of a guest bedroom, on a old table. You don’t really need much. The kitchen table works fine for those who are working while the kids are in school. If you have younger ones, and you don’t have help, you may have to work during naps and at night anyway. Just be sure that your business stuff is easily moved and set aside when not in use.

If your business is mostly done on a laptop, then you can really make your office mobile. The living room, deck, coffee shop. Unless you absolutely feel the need to have a permanent “space,” you can be a nest nomad. I know several people who work in a different spots every day, and love the freedom it provides. Their cell phone and instant messenger is their modes of communication, and their laptop is their office.

If you do want to set up a permanent space, be creative. Small and mobile workstations and desks make a great permanent or semi-permanent office space. A card table in the bedroom works too. Heck, you can even make a desk out of FedEx boxes if you want to.

The important thing is to decide, then do. It may seem more complicated, but its not really. Tell yourself, you’ll start with the FedEx box desk in the garage, and work your way up to the dream office. The key is to start, and not get bogged down in the misconceptions about a home office. If you have the desire to succeed as a nest-based professional, then you will. Regardless of where you’re starting from.

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