This story first appeared in the December 1998 issue of Startups. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Feeling left out of the holiday excitement just because you work at home? Don't mope--join the celebration! It will lift your spirits and have a positive impact on your business. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Get festive. String a few lights. Steam some potpourri. Perch a tree on top of a bookcase. Download a holiday-themed screen saver. Gift-wrap a few boxes, and pile them in a corner. Welcome yourself to work each morning with a little holiday music.
  • Throw a party. Depending on the size of your home, you may want to stage an open house for your customers or a simple gathering for other homebased colleagues.
  • Give yourself gifts. These rewards, for all the effort you've put into your business this year, cost nothing: Take an hour or a day off (or just sleep in one weekday morning); treat yourself to special holiday snacks--hot cider and a cookie, for example; learn new software that will make your life easier; take a long lunchtime walk or get some other exercise; write yourself a congratulatory letter and pin it on your wall (list all your accomplishments this year and your expectations for 1999); take at least half an hour a day to read something for pleasure; or go online to chat, just for fun.
  • Give unto others. It's easy to become a bit self-centered when you work from home, especially if your business doesn't require interacting with very many people. So this holiday season, take advantage of your flexible schedule and volunteer a few hours a week at your favorite charity. Make that your gift to the community that's supported your business all year long.

Lynn H. Colwell is a business writer in Post Falls, Idaho.

Set Your Sites

Wondering where to go on the Web for useful information on homebased businesses? The following sites are a good start:

  • The Business Owner's Toolkit (http://www.toolkit.cch.com). Its SOHO Guidebook has thousands of pages of information on starting, planning, financing and marketing your business, plus homebased business advice and news.
  • Business Start-Ups online (http://www.bizstartups.com) features past "Home Front" columns, plus other articles on homebased businesses.
  • Idea Cafe (http://www.ideacafe.com). This site caters to the light and serious sides of business. There are cartoons, bulletin boards for starting and running a business, and experts' answers to your questions.
  • iVillage Work From Home newsletter (http://ivillage.com/work/index.html). Topics include a software library, feature articles and expert tips. There are also message boards and classifieds for finding computers, software and other office supplies and equipment.
  • Let's Talk Business (http://www.ltbn.com). This online radio show features audio interviews and discussions with entrepreneurs.
  • The Small Business Advisor (http://www.isquare.com) features marketing tips, tax advice, business news, checklists and a monthly newsletter.