If you've been thinking about working from home for a while, now might be one of the best times to say goodbye to the office and strike out on your own. With the economy faltering and job positions continuing to dwindle, you might be considering self-employment now more than ever. And while wearing pajamas to work and spending more time with your pets might seem like great perks, running a business from home requires a lot of planning and a lot of discipline. Here are 5 tips to consider when starting your own home business.

1. Come up with a solid business plan.
Before you even quit your current job, come up with a thorough, professional business plan. This involves not only detailing how your home business will work, but whether there is even a market for the services you plan to offer. There are a lot of resources that you can find at your local library on how to write a business plan. You should write one even if you're not planning to apply for a small business loan, just so that you have a clear idea of what you'll be getting into.

2. Consider becoming an independent contractor.
Does the company you already work for and others like it farm out a lot of their projects to independent contractors? If so, perhaps you could become one of those contractors and work right from home. You get sole proprietor tax benefits if you go with this option.

3. Set up a separate work space.
Because the comforts of home can be distracting, it's imperative that you set up a separate work space/office if you're planning on becoming your own boss. Preferably, you should have a separate room in your house for work, set up with an office chair and work station, its own computer, fax machine, printer and anything else you need to run your business. If possible, it might also be a good idea to get a separate business phone line.

4. Have a professional look.
Even if you're working in your pajamas, you're business itself should look as professional as any other company. Looking the part is important for the purposes of attracting clients. Get your own domain name and set up a professional website. Get business cards and stationary on par with what a large company would use. Places like 123Print.com can help you get set up.

5. Plan for retirement.
Being self employed means you'll have to plan for your own retirement. That's why it's important to set aside retirement money every month. A good way to do this is by setting up an individual retirement account with your bank or a SEP IRA.

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