From the December 1998 issue of Startups

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.