Step #5: Home Office



Your Own Domain Name
If you wish to own your own domain name and brand your name, you can simply forward Your Own Domain to your La Bella Baskets  website.

You have an option to buy your own domain name for $7.49 for the year at 




Note:  Do not purhcase hosting or anything else. All you need is a "domain" name.
Once you purchase your own domain, you can have it redirected to your website. 

When visitors go to your new domain, their Web browser automatically forwards them to the URL you specified. For example, if your own domain name is:  www.elegantgiftbaskets.com, and you link it to the website url we have provided for you, then your customers go directly to your website! Simple!

Simply go to GoDaddy.  Get a domain name that you like (they are super affordable).
Next, call them and let them know that you just bought a domain name from them.  Next, tell them that you would like it set up that when people go to your new domain name, it is forwarded to your LaBellaBaskets website.  They will walk you through the process.  It takes about 2 minutes to get it forwarded  :-)

For more information you can contact GoDaddy 24/7 Technical Support (480) 505-8877


Get Organized
Working at home can sometimes get challenging because we can get easily sidetracked.  We recommend to write a work schedule and stick to the schedule.  If you do not have a calendar, you can open a free www.gmail.com account. Gmail has a great calendar where you can Create Events and Tasks.

Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can be doing today. Put at least 10 hours per week into this business. Treat it like a business and it will pay you like a business.  

If you do not wish to use an online calendar, you can purchase a Monthly Planner. A monthly planner is usually separated on two facing pages, with boxes for entering appointments and other vital information.  You can also use a Daily schedule to plan the day’s chores and a “completed” box to check  each item when accomplished.  A telephone directory, listing everything from your best client to the local pizza parlor; A note section, to jot down thoughts or important telephone numbers to call later; and other sections, as needed, for expenses and schedules, as well as zippered pockets for stamps and receipts, working twenty—four hours a day to ensure that neither family nor business suffers in the hectic months ahead.


Add your Clients to Your Contact List
It is important to add all of your customers and potential customers to your contact book.  This way when we have sales, you want to keep them informed.   For example, if you use gmail make a folder and call it "my customers".  Everytime you get a call from a prospective client or everytime you have a customer purchase anything from your site, add their email address to your contact list.  This will come in very handy especially during the holidays! People will be looking for gifts and you want to keep your business on their mind.

Birthday Alarm
One great software to use that is free is: BirthdayAlarm.com.   Birthday Alarm sends you an email at the beginning of the month which clients,friend or family is having a birthday or special events.  You know they are going to be buying gifts, might as well buy them from you!


Long Distance Telephone Service
If you  plan to run your business nationwide and if don't already have unlimited long distance set up on your home phone, this would be a wise thing to do for your business, as well as, for the personal calls you make from home. You will save money with unlimited long distance. What that means is that you can call anywhere in the U.S. at anytime and talk as long as you want without having to worry about how much it is going to cost. Unlimited long distance plans are a flat-rate monthly fee.

One of our favorite unlimited long distance is magicjack.com.   You can call anywhere the U.S. for only $20.00 a year!    They offer a 30 day free trail.  


Toll-Free Telephone Number (optional)
If your going to be advertising in the internet, we recommend to get an 800# so your customer can contact you.    Here is company that you can enroll for a trial basis









Freedom is a Web-based telephone and fax service for professionals and small businesses. It provides a toll free or local phone number and advanced features not found in traditional phone systems.




KEEP COST LOW
Fortunately, you have chosen  a business that you can run from your home.  You don’t have to worry about renting a space nor buying and shipping baskets.  If you are going to invest in anything, always ask yourself this question; do we really need this and how will this help make my business more profitable?  

There are many ways to promote your business at no cost. Once you start generating income, then we recommend to look into ways to reinvest into your business.     


Answering Machine
It is important to have a professional sounding  message on your answering machine – nothing goofy. You want your customers to know that you are serious about your business.






Set Up Your Home Office & Deductions
 



         Set Up Your Home Office        
           
 Free 15 Day Trial!

The importance of having a business (why is it that a couple with 2 incomes is still broke?)


GREAT ARTICLE
You have more tax deductions 
as a home-business owner 
than the super rich.
Continue reading the article...
Capitalizing on your Home-Based Business
  Home Office Deduction
Car Mileage
If you use your car for the business (and you probably will), keep a mileage log for tax deduction purposes, where did you go, who did you see, what was it for, and how many miles you drove.  

Learn how simply owning a homebased business is the best tax shelter ever!

You are  not going to LOSE money, you are actually going to put alot of money back in your pocket!
Hire Your Kids!

It's hard in today's turbo-charged world to find time to spend with family. Why not do as a growing number of creative small business owners are doing and hire your kids?

Not only does this give you a great opportunity to spend some quality time interacting with those closest to you, it also provides a rare opportunity for them to learn meaningful skills and acquire valuable training that will serve them well into the future.

Hiring your kids can also be a financial winner for all concerned. You get a tax deduction and your kids get some extra income. The IRS allows reasonable wages paid to minor children to be deducted the same as any other business expense. The key word is reasonable. As long as the wages you pay to your children are in line with wages you would pay to another person doing the same job, you should not have a problem claiming the deduction.

The beauty of this type of arrangement is that you will be able to effectively shift income away from your business to a child who will probably be in a position to shelter the entire income from taxation (depending on the amount). Currently, children under the age of 18 can earn approximately $4,700 (for year 2002) in income without owing any federal income tax. It may also be possible to avoid FICA tax withholding - depending on the legal structure of your company. Check with your accountant to see if your business qualifies.

Before putting your kids on the payroll however, you should consider the following:
Get some professional tax advice.

While the tax law provides for the employment of minor children, there are some specific requirements and guidelines which must be adhered to in order to stay in the good graces of the IRS. It is always advisable to seek professional guidance as you structure an employment arrangement of this type.
Establish formal job agreements with your employed children.

Formalizing a child's job responsibilities will provide important documentation in the event of a tax audit. It should go without saying that the work that is being performed should be relevant to the ongoing operation of your business. Mowing the lawn, for example, will probably not qualify as a legitimate business deduction. Formalizing a job description will also provide a valuable tool to help your child understand exactly what is expected of him or her.
Keep careful records of work performed and payments made.

It will be important that you be able to demonstrate exactly what work was performed and what payments were made to your children in the event of an IRS audit. Detailed records will go a long way toward satisfying the curiosity of an inquiring IRS agent.
Be sure to complete and file all required tax forms.

Again, this is an area where professional guidance will be important. For starters, you will need to fill out W-4 forms for each of your children that will be on your payroll. If FICA tax witholding is required you will need to treat wages paid to your children as you would any other wages. Don't forget that even though your child may not owe any taxes, it may still be necessary for them to file a tax return. 
  
Love and Support from Family and Friends
You’re about to add a new family member to your family.  Like all new babies, this  one needs changing, it needs love, and yes, it will keep you up at night.  Over the years, you’ll worry about the direction its taking and be proud when it makes the “good news” headlines.
If you’re single with no children, you’re free and clear to start the business at home as you wish.  Having a family and starting a business require a mix of consideration and compassion from the pending change at home.

Family support has a dual role.  Family members will want and need to be included in your decision to start a gift basket business and be kept p to date on its progress.  As this business is a new addition to the family, it will compete for your attention.  Get your family involved and let them know why you are doing this business and what this business will be able to do for them!  Once they start seeing the income coming in, many of our family members get excited and then they start asking  "how can I start my business".