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Alone Behind The Desk

8 Tips to overcoming the isolation of working at home.

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This story appears in the April 1997 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

In 1987, Sue Hurlbut experienced every corporate employee's worst nightmare when she was abruptly and traumatically fired from a Portland, Oregon, construction firm she'd helped build into a multistate corporation. She recalls, "I began in entry-level customer service and rose through the ranks to become vice president of operations. I was also on the corporate board of directors and had developed such a level of trust with the company president that he allowed me to house-sit when he went on vacation."

But suddenly, Hurlbut says, life as she knew it was over, when her supervisor chose to believe a false accusation issued by another employee. Devastated, Hurlbut cried for two days. But only two weeks later, her homebased business, Organization Plus, in Clackamas, Oregon, was accidentally born. She was working for a temp service when a potential first client approached her about setting up a bookkeeping system. In her former position, Hurlbut had regularly completed manual bookkeeping and installed computer systems. Before she knew it, she'd embarked on a new career as a professional office organizer, specializing in helping businesses make the transition from manual to computerized accounting, as well as providing other organizational services such as creating filing systems, developing employee manuals, and organizing paper flow.

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