Cross one more errand off your list: Starting late this year or in early 1999, homebased business owners should be able to purchase postage online.
The concept, pioneered by E-Stamp Corp. of Palo Alto, California, in partnership with AT&T Ventures and Microsoft, uses secure Internet-based software that enables customers to generate postage from their PCs. Users purchase postage online with a check, credit card or by transfering funds electronically; it's then downloaded and secured in the E-Stamp Security Device, which connects to your PC's printer port.
When you print on envelopes, E-Stamp prints a SmartStamp, a bar code that functions like a postage stamp or traditional meter imprint. SmartStamps can also be printed on mailing labels or directly on the mail itself.
The U.S. Postal Service has approved E-Stamp for beta testing in Washington, DC. The tests will expand to San Francisco and Tampa, Florida, before national distribution. If you live in one of these areas and want to participate, visit http://www.estamp.com or call (888) 4-ESTAMP.