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Action Plan - Day 2

 

Day 2 - Organize!


1) Define your work space (with a closeable door) Set yourself up for success by setting up a designated place for your office. If you can not devote an entire room, at least set aside a workspace in a corner of a room.

Most people approach a home office in a "seat-of-the-pants" fashion. However, by making the time now to do it right, you'll save yourself valuable future time and money. Depending upon your resources, you may have to follow this process in stages as you can afford it.

Here's a list of things to do. Remember, we're not suggesting you spend lots of money or remodel your home to accommodate your new office. Although, after you establish such a successful business so quickly that you may require a new 1600 sq. ft. addition with beamed ceilings and skylights, four more phone lines, two computers, audio-video system, paging system, car phone, training facilities to accommodate, say, 50 or 60 Directors in Training, a pool... well, you'll see.

Plan carefully when determining where your office should be located in your home. To satisfy IRS requirements, it should be an area - preferably a separate room or rooms-that you use exclusively for your business. If it is also used as a sewing room, a place for your children's model train layout, or a frequently used spare room, you cannot legitimately claim that entire portion of your home's square footage as business use for tax purposes.

If you have children or pets in your home, we recommend a room that can be isolated by a closed door (a secure door is a must, a lockable door may be even better). It will be frustrating to return to your office one day and find that your important business papers have been scribbled all over with red crayon by a budding artist or chewed by a teething puppy. If you invite customers or associates to your office, it's important that children and pets respect your professional space and not interfere with the conduct of your business.

Before settling on a location for your home office, consider a couple of things: foot traffic, machine noise (think twice about putting your office next to the laundry room), ventilation, heating and cooling, location of telephone lines, electrical circuits and windows. Too often, people select a location for a home-based office that is secondary to uses by other family members. That's a credit to your sense of fairness and consideration, but before you make that kind of decision, think about how much time you will spend in that office during the months and years to come. Think about the purpose of that office. If you are going to be spending one third or one-fourth of your waking hours in that environment - earning your and your family's living - it should be as comfortable and convenient a place as possible. The following is a list of essential equipment you need. You can go as elaborate as you want.

Telephone & Headset -

Okay.. this doesn't have to be anything fancy. But you will probably want to have a cordless phone and a headset. Trust me on this one. You will need a headset. One of the best brands is Plantronics. You can pick a decent one up at Walmart or Best Buy for less than $40. It will be one of the best investments you will make. You will go so much more done wth your hands free. plus, your neck will thank you.

Office Furniture

You do not have to go out and spend a fortune on "office furniture." The main consideration is comfort and functionality.

Making do with whatever furniture and equipment you have may oftentimes mean compromising your workflow. The picnic table that has not been used for years may be the most cost-effective way to start your office, but if you have difficulty accommodating your computer, printer, and table organizer, it could spell disaster.

You need to have furniture that is both functional and comfortable. Your desk is crucial to your work. It is advisable to get as much surface area as you can afford and fit into your office. You may choose a big table, or an L-shaped table particularly if you are using a computer. You may also find it easier to organize your work area if the desk has at least one file drawer.

If you really cannot afford an ergonomic chair at the moment, be sure to select a chair for its comfort and ease of motion. The ideal chair is one that adjusts to your unique body, and that re-adjusts to accommodate the changes in the ways you sit, type, or roll around your desk. Perched on your workstation, your chair should be able to swivel around to allow you to do your tasks easily and reach out for items you need. If your chair isn't fun to inhabit, your new business will become a burden along with your body.

If you are using a decorative table lamp as your main source of computer workplace lighting, you may want to consider enhancing your source of light. Proper illumination of your documents and work area increases your visual comfort and could improve your productivity. Try adding a floor lamp and supplemental task lighting, making sure that you reduce the glare from the window and overhead ceiling light.

Computer/Software

If you are starting out without a computer then you will have a more difficult time. It is not imperative but definitely should be at the top of the list for things "to buy" as your business grows. There are many options when considering a computer. But even just basic internet access will do for now. As long as you can check your email and get on a few websites, you'll do fine.

Remember to save all your receipts for this stuff because all these purchases are tax-deductible!

2) Buy materials/planner/software to organize contacts - Organization is the key to success. Whether you file and track everything electronically or by paper you need a system. There computer software systems out there that really help run your entire home based business. You can track your leads, your associates, and manage your time. Check with your director. They may have some software recommendations for you.

3) Set your hours, work schedule, and calendar - Develop daily routines and disciplines to establish a business-like attitude and atmosphere. This may seem elementary, but it needs to become a part of your new mind set. If you previously worked for someone else, getting started in your own business may be difficult for you. There is no one to care whether you get to work on time. There is no one to nag you about getting a project, task or assignment completed. There is no one to review your performance - no one to scold you for a poor job or praise you for a good one. No one whose job it is to make sure you're motivated. No one, that is, but you. You must begin to fill all of those roles. Opportunity is one side of the coin. Responsibility is the other. Commitment is the key, discipline the tool.

Establish good work habits from day one. A great way to begin is to pick a time that your office opens each day and be in it faithfully at that time. Treat your home and your office as two separate places that just happen to be in the same building. Don't mix activities between the two. When you announce that you're getting started in your own business, you are telling the world that you are ready to accept new risks and new responsibilities. You're telling everyone you know that you are willing to work harder and smarter than ever to make your dreams come true. You are letting everyone know that you are going to be successful in your new endeavor and that you mean business. It is also important to set a limit to your after-hours work. While you may have clients that call you at 9 pm, that doesn't mean you have to "always" be available then. Let your answering machine pick up calls unless you know there is a tight deadline and are willing to do it.

On the other hand, additional hours of availability may be just the advantage you need to give your business (or job-security) a boost. Just keep in mind that workaholism is high among those who work from home. Working from home can also be very isolating. Make a point to pick up the phone and call someone, or visit a neighbor, or something just to make contact with a live person occasionally. If you find yourself working for 10 hours straight without speaking a word, you may not last long in your new home office. Set it up in a program such as Microsoft Outlook. If you do not have a software program, you can access the same thing for free on Yahoo. It is FREE! Just create an account. Following the steps after clicking "Sign Up Now"



4) Make a place for keeping your business tax receipts - You are not working for an employer or a company. You will not receive a W-2 Form or a 1099-Form at the end of the year. You own your own business with Coastal Vacations. It is your responsibility to keep track of your income and expenses to report. We are not tax professionals and would not be able to advise you of the laws in your particular state or country. It is suggested that you contact your tax accountant, or find one who specializes in home-based businesses, to get all of your questions answered.

Almost everything you buy now is going to be tax deductable at the end of the year... including your package itself. (So buying that higher package was a really smart idea... since it gives you bigger deduction!) You need to designate a place to keep all these receipts. Nothing fancy... a shoebox, a drawer, a big manila envelope... whatever. Just as long as you keep them. But if you really want to organize and keep everything tidy, here's what you can do -

Go to the store and get one of those brown expandable file folders that has the months on it. As you get a receipt, place it in the appropriate month. On the first day of the month, pull out the previous month's receipts and sort through them, dividing them into piles according to what type of expense they were.... business trip, supplies & copies, business-related services (like your domain name, hosting fees, etc.), utilities (the phone bill you use for business), etc. Then clip each category together and place back in the file folder. At the end of the year, you will have perfectly sorted receipts... completely ready to hand to your CPA and with no pre-tax-deadline stress. Once he's done with it, the file folders store quite nicely just the way they are. Simply write the year on the outside, and you're done.

5) Print off the Call Schedule and plan your schedule for next week Plan to listen to as many live Q&A and Training calls as you can in the upcoming week. Visualize yourself as a sponge this week... you are literally absorbing all the information you can. You are learning by repetition. So the more calls you plug into, the faster you will see success!

Great Article:


"13 Ways To Have More Fun And Get Things Done" -- by Greg Balanko-Dickson

There's never enough time to do it right the first time, but there's always time to do it over again. Why not pick one of the ideas below that most appeals to you and live it the rest of your life? What difference might it make? Here are thirteen suggestions on how you can have more fun AND get more done:

In the first hour of my work day I do my largest or most intimidating task.

  1. Ask myself: what is the most important thing I can do right now? Focus on one activity at a time, and give it 100% of my attention, creativity and energy!
  2. Take 30 minutes at the end of the day to reflect upon the day's activities, then document what I have learned, plan for tomorrow and make one new decision!
  3. Speak with a friend daily.
  4. Find a mentor whose skills I admire and build a win-win relationship.
  5. Determine my purpose and outcome before making a phone call or going to a meeting.
  6. Create a personal statement of accountability to guide me through the day!
  7. Do one random act of kindness each day.
  8. Each day, set one tangible, measurable goal or result. Make it one that I really want and feel compelled to achieve.
  9. When estimating how long it takes to complete a task, I increase the time by at least 50-150%.
  10. Always add extra value to everything! Under promise and over deliver.
  11. Get clear about what I want, why I want it and ask for what I want until I get it!
  12. One more suggestion to get control of your time: when someone asks you to do something and you're too busy, just say NO!