Category: home base business

There are 24 posts published under home base business.

How to Spot Work-at-Home Job Scams

This article is  By John Rossheim, Monster Senior Contributing Writer

Who wouldn’t want to work from home on a part-time basis and earn thousands of dollars a month? It’s an offer millions of people can’t or don’t refuse. Unfortunately, some of these folks eventually regret having done business with a so-called work-at-home employer.

“It’s hard to distinguish legitimate work-at-home programs from people who are just out to get your money,” says Sheila Atkins, associate director of public affairs for the Council of Better Business Bureaus in Arlington, Virginia.

With that caveat in mind, use the following tips to steer around the hazards of finding work-at-home employment.

Likely to Be Legit

Some occupations and industries are much more likely than others to offer real opportunities for at-home work.

“A lot of legitimate companies are using home workers to take orders over the phone,” says Cheryl Demas, author of It’s a Jungle Out There and a Zoo in Here: Run Your Home Business Without Letting It Overrun You. “Some employers also employ customer service reps who work at home.”

Scam-Ridden Occupations

Other lines of at-home employment deserve a higher level of skepticism. It pays to examine the economics of the work you’re being asked to do.

Envelope stuffing is a classic example of a business that may not be for real. If you were the employer, why would you pay someone $1 or more to stuff an envelope when you could job out the task to a mailing house for pennies apiece?

At-home assembly work is also highly suspicious. If these companies were legit, why wouldn’t they be using offshore labor at a fraction of the cost?

And then there’s medical billing or claims processing. “Very few medical professionals will let just anyone handle private medical info,” says Atkins, especially with new healthcare privacy rules in effect. “Most doctors will not outsource billing services to individuals,” but rather to large, established companies whose workers are trained and employed on site.

The so-called refund recovery business was big in 2003, says Atkins. The scammers offer to sell you software to track late and lost UPS and FedEx packages and assist the shippers’ customers in obtaining refunds. The shippers say these refund recovery schemes are bogus.

In general, beware of work-at-home employers who ask for your money up front. “Legitimate employers pay you, not the other way around,” says Demas.

Time to Sleuth

If you think you might have identified a legitimate work-at-home job, it’s time to do some detective work. Here are three trusted stops for your gumshoe route:

  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB) maintains a national database of companies and complaints received about them. If BBB rates your prospective employer “unsatisfactory” or says the company has declined to answer requests for information, find another opportunity.
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) goes after individual work-at-home scammers. Search the site for press releases or other information on any employer you’re considering.
  • Fraud.org should be able to inform you of civil and criminal complaints with respect to your prospective employer.

Questions to Ask

Legitimate work-at-home employers should be willing and able to answer a variety of questions about their programs. Here are some questions the FTC suggests you ask:

  • What tasks will I have to perform? (Ask the program sponsor to list every step of the job.)
  • Will I be paid a salary, or will my pay be based on commission?
  • Who will pay me?
  • When will I get my first paycheck?

Finally, if the work-at-home employer passes all these tests but you still feel a bit queasy about the offer, trust your gut and run the other way.

For more information on how to stay safe in your job search, visit Monster’s Security Center. You can also check out LooksTooGoodToBeTrue.com.

Incorporating-Making Your Home Business Legal

Here in part 3 of Making Your Home Business Legal I’ll explain the differences between a “S corporation” and a “C Corporation”. Make sure you check out  Part 1 to understand the many state & federal regulations for legalizing your business and Part 2 for the pros and cons of the different types of ownership.

If you decide to classify your home business as a corporation you can go the traditional route of a C corporation; or you can classify your home business as a S corporation. Small businesses usually chose the S corp.

Whats the difference between a S corporation and a C corp?

They are very similar except in the way of taxation. With the S corp the profits and losses are passed through the corporation onto you, the owner.   You in turn report the profits or losses on your income tax returns.

With the C corp the Corporation will pay taxes on its profits and then the owners or shareholders (you) will report money received from the corporation (in the form of salary or dividends) on your income tax returns.

So which is better for your home business, an S corp or a C corp?

That depends. Some states don’t recognize S corps and some states will tax an S corp just like a C corp. So you must do your homework.

And get advice from a business law attorney. And preferably one who has experience dealing with small businesses. (I always tell my clients to niche themselves and here is a perfect example beneficial that could be for you. People with a small niche seem to know more about their clients needs.)

In what state should you incorporate?

Since the 1920’s Delaware has been a popular state to incorporate.  I remember with my first incorporated business I choose Delaware.  I didn’t know why or how it benefited me. Duh! It didn’t. It’s best to incorporate your business in your home state.  The reason that Delaware has been so popular as an incorporating state is:

  • It often revises it’s corporate laws.
  • The legal system is very attentive to corporations. Delaware has a special court, called the Court of Chancery. On the benches sit judges who were former corporate lawyers. Their expertise tends to be beneficial for the corporations that find themselves in a lawsuit.
  • There is no income tax on corporations that are organized in Delaware but do business in another state.

All 3 of these points are advantageous for large corporations, not home business. Incorporate in your own state.

(Now Nevada and Wyoming are becoming popular places to incorporate because they have no corporate or personal income tax and they don’t share information with the IRS.)

Ownership-Making Your Home Business Legal

After operating your home base business for a period of time you have to decide how you’re going to make it legal.

Yes I meant that to be read exactly as I wrote it! Many people run a home business and never think to legalize it in terms of ownership. It is to your advantage to do so because the form of ownership you choose has important financial, tax and marketing propositions.

There are several forms of ownership:

  • sole proprietorship-you are the only owner
  • partnership-2 or more parties-there are 3 classifications: general partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership
  • corporation -a legal “person”, separate from the individuals who own the corporation-there are 3 classifications: S corporations, C corporations, LLC

Which one should you choose? Well as I explained in part 1 of this Making Your Business Legal Series, I’m not an accountant nor an attorney. You’ll have to talk that over with one of them but here is some simple information that will help you get a grip on the TONS of information out there.

Sole proprietorship

pros

  • the easiest to set up & run
  • you don’t have to maintain a separate bank acct, just keep accurate records
  • you don’t have to pay employment or unemployment taxes for yourself
  • less paperwork and fewer regulations to comply with

cons

  • you are 100% responsible for all business debts & actions
  • You could lose your personal assets if the biz gets sued or goes bankrupt
  • financing your business may be more difficult-banks don’t like to lend to sole prorietorships
  • your fringe benefits are limited-for instance the amount of tax-free money that you can put in your pension plan is limited

Partenership

pros

  • it lets you pool resources with others to build a larger, more profitable business
  • the partnership can be formed for a specific project and then dissolved
  • you many have lower costs & fewer legal regulations than you would running as a corporation
  • all profits (& losses) get passed along to the individual partners

cons

  • partners don’t always get along
  • each partner is legally responsible for the actions of the others
  • you need to have an attorney draw up a legal agreement and this could be costly
  • like sole proprietorship, your fringe benefits are limited

Corporation

pros

  • your corporation is a legal personality and can enter into contracts, own property, lend or borrow money etc.
  • under some circumstances your tax rate may be lower
  • it’s easier to transfer ownership
  • you may be able to raise capital more easily
  • incorporation will protect your personal assets
  • HUGE fringe benefits like the deduction of education costs, vehicles, employee insurance

cons

  • your cost of doing business usually increases because of added fees
  • lots of paperwork
  • the IRS could limit your salary as an employee of your own corporation
  • your personal finances MUST be kept separate
  • you are subject to double taxation-the profits of the corporation are taxed as well as your dividends  on the profits. But for a small home business you’re usually won’t have that problem.

In part 3 of this Making Your Home Business Legal series I’ll break down the categories of corporations to help you decide which is right for your home business

Making Your Home Business Legal

You are honest and report all of your income from your home business so you feel safe from the government right?

NOPE!

No matter how small your little home business is it is governed by a tangled web of local, state and federal laws. Some laws were created to protect your clients, employees, creditors and suppliers. Others are to protect you from competitors and your clients. And then there are other laws that exist just because “that’s they way it’s done.”

All you want to do is make a couple of thousand dollars a month so that you can take your babies on nice vacations without tapping into mortgage money;  yet you have to untangle, decipher and interpret  crazy legal laws!!

I know it sucks, right?

So in this series  of Making Your Home Business Legal, I’ll give you some simple info. But you must remember I’m NOT an attorney or accountant and some laws vary from state to state.  I’ll keep it general and make it painless but for goodness sake don’t live off of these blog posts! I’m a mom with 5 kids who researches info so that I can help my clients, but even they are still responsible for gathering their own information because they all come from different states.

In general, if you are a business with no employees you will need to follow some (if not all) of these steps to make your home business legal in your state.

  • register your business name and get a certificate of doing business under an assumed name
  • meet specific bonding or insurance regulations that your state has authorized for your type of business
  • obtain required permits & licenses
  • comply with zoning regulations, regulations regarding signs on your business property, licensing laws etc.
  • keep accurate income & expense records
  • report your income to the IRS and state tax authorities
  • pay owed income taxes and self-employment tax quarterly
  • collect state sales tax if you sell taxable products or services

Depending on the type of business you may have to observe noise codes and sanitation regulations.

To find out about the state and federal laws that affect your business talk to someone in the Small business Administration (SBA),  the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) or Small Business Development Centers (SBDC).  You can also call a college or university in your area that have small business or entrepreneurial majors.

To find out about zoning laws look in the phone book (remember those things?) under government listings or city zoning board. And of course you can always Google “city zoning laws your town“.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about the 3 forms of ownership options for your business.

Have you found it easy or difficult to keep up with your state regulations?

Becoming a Work at Home Mom – How to Make the Change to Working from Home

Working from home requires discipline

Working from home requires discipline

Work at home moms usually aren’t created overnight. If you are like many moms who decide to work from home, you have probably been frustrated by juggling being a working professional with being a parent and managing your family life. You may have been on a quest to find the perfect work from home job for you.

Now that you’ve found the right opportunity, you may be wondering how you will adjust to your new life as a work from home mom. Not to worry, as it is possible to successfully transition from the corporate world to working from home.

Here are some ideas to help you make this transition and enjoy the best of both worlds, as a mom and as a working professional.

1. Set a schedule. One of the most difficult things in working from home is determining a schedule that will work for you and your family. You now have the freedom to work whenever you want, but you will need some structure in your day so you can get things done, and still meet your family’s needs.

2. Make childcare arrangements. Many work at home moms believe that, since they’re working from home to be with their children, they don’t need to use childcare. If you continue to use childcare, though, you will find you are more productive during your work day, and you’ll be able to give your children more of your attention when they come home. On the plus side, you won’t need to use childcare as often as you did when you worked outside the home.

3. Find other work at home moms to connect with. Whether you join work at home mom forums, or network with other work at home moms in your community, it’s important to have this kind of support. Moms who work at home face many issues that no other group does, and these support networks will give you an opportunity to learn from others’ experiences and share your own.

You will be successful as a work at home mom because you took the time to find the right job that will work best for your life. By using the above ideas, you will soon enjoy the sense of freedom that working from home brings. It is then that you will realize the best of both worlds: being a mom and being able to make a living from home.

For more tips on how to make the transition from working mom to work at home mom down load my awesome, free ebook, How To Get Your Business Up and Running in 30 days…even with a baby on your hip!

This article was written by Denise Willms.  Denise Willms is a professional article writer and owner of a busy article directory for work at home moms, WAHM-Articles.com.

Thank you Denise and my God bless your family!