From the September 2001 issue of Startups

We have a white board here in our office that serves, in part, as a spot to post various "survey" questions. That could mean anything from "What are your three most favorite books?" to "What's your guiltiest pleasure?" Recently, we had a question up there that I thought long and hard about but felt at a loss to answer without getting too philosophical (not that philosophy and white boards don't mix, but in all honesty, the question was erased before I could think of anything concise): "What do you miss the most about being a kid?"

There are, of course, the obvious things like not working and being able to play all the time, at least during the summer. Or just the fact of having summers free. Or not caring if you got your white dress dirty or managed to coat the kitchen table with fingerpaints. Most everyone misses those things. But I think the more important issue is not missing childhood per se, but reminding ourselves to behave like kids as much as we behave like adults.

No, I don't mean tattling on your neighbor or chanting "I'm rubber, you're glue." I mean approaching situations with the kind of honesty and integrity that is borne out of a need to get to the bottom of things, to question why things are the way they are. Think about how many times you asked "Why?" when you were a child, and compare that to the number of times you ask "Why?" today. Do you question what's going on in government? Are you curious about legislation that affects homebased business owners? Are you aware of what's going on in the world-not only the world at large, but also in your own neighborhood? Do you give back to your community-in small or large ways?

By starting a homebased business, you took on a tremendous challenge-one that likely grows weightier with each new client, sale, technology advancement and so on. But don't let that challenge prohibit you from keeping watch of the world around you. For starters, be sure to take our online survey next month, where we'll ask you just exactly what you care about as a business owner. (Check back at the end of October to access the survey.) And I would encourage you to put as much time and effort into being forthright and altruistic, consciously aware of current events and your surroundings, as you put into running your business.

Why, you ask? Well, at least that's a start.