Tips for Accommodating Your Home-Based Business’ Growth Spurt

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Once again, we welcome Jim Vogel, co-founder of ElderAction, who focuses on helping ensure seniors thrive throughout their golden years by sharing pertinent resources and information.

Do you run a business out of your home? If so, you’re in good company. A recent study showed that more than half (69 percent) of all businesses in the United States were started in someone’s home. In fact, even Apple got its humble start as a home-based business when Steve Jobs launched it from a garage. (That very same garage is now listed as a historic site.)

For Carrie Wilkerson, founder of The Barefoot Executive, the primary motivation for starting a business was getting out of debt and providing a better life for her children. As a wife and mother, Carrie worried that long hours spent working at a day job would prevent her from watching her children grow up. She decided to start her own home-based business, and now runs multiple six-figure businesses from her own home — and with the love and support of her family.

Although it’s true that not all businesses will see the success that Wilkerson or Jobs have seen, that doesn’t mean your business can’t be successful. You’ve probably heard that most small businesses don’t survive their first year, but new data is actually showing this might not be true. On the contrary, the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) reports that only 20 percent of businesses survive their first year. Nearly half of all businesses survive for five years or more, and one in three businesses will last 10 years or longer.Whatever your reasons for starting a business might be, if you’ve survived this long and your business is growing, congratulations! You’re living every small business owner’s dream. Now that sales are rolling in and the demand for your products and services is increasing, all the freedoms of running your own business from home are at your fingertips.

Although it’s a good problem to have, sometimes business growth means your home office can no longer accommodate the site of your business. If that’s the case for you, then it’s time to find a way to make your home accommodate your business growth so you can reach your full potential. For many small business owners, that means two things: upsizing your home and funding more growth.

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Upsizing Your Home

If your home no longer accommodates your business, consider upsizing. There are a few key things that home-based entrepreneurs should look for in a new home.

  • Price and expenses. Before moving into a bigger house, make sure you can afford it. It won’t do your business any good if you are stuck in a mortgage that’s beyond your budget. You’ll either get burned out with the hustle or you might have to give up your business ventures all together to focus on making ends meet with a full-time job.
  • Office space. Home-based business owners have to consider something that other homeowners don’t: where to work during the day. You’ll need a quiet, distraction-free room that is large enough to accommodate any office supplies, inventory, desks, and other equipment related to your business.
  • Location, location, location. Consider how conveniently located your new home will be, including high-speed internet access and distance to clients.

Funding Your Growing Business

Regardless of whether you’re upsizing your home, you’ll also want to consider how you’ll fund your continued business growth. Business credit cards or loans can be a great way to do this. When securing a credit card or loan for your business expenses, it’s important to understand processing fees and rates and how to lower transaction fees.

The things listed above may not be the most fun considerations when running a business or purchasing a new home. However, it is crucial to consider them before you make a big decision. Otherwise, you might get locked into a mortgage for 30 years that isn’t right for you and only ends up hurting your business. Save yourself some trouble and money by researching these things in advance so you can make the right decision for you — and for your business.

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How to Help Your Dog Adjust Come Moving Time

Once again, we welcome Jim Vogel, co-founder of ElderAction, who focuses on helping ensure seniors thrive throughout their golden years by sharing pertinent resources and information.

Do you think moving is stressful for humans? Try looking at it from a dog’s point of view. Mother Nature designed your pet to associate familiar sights and sounds with safety. Placing him/her in strange surroundings that lack their normal environmental cues can make them feel insecure and fearful. This can happen even if the new home has a bigger yard and other pup-friendly perks. Never fear, though. You can help them adjust to the change by using the following tips.

Choose a Dog-Friendly Neighborhood

You love your cold-nosed companion so much that it’s almost impossible for you to understand that not everyone feels the same way. Still, whether it is due to fear, allergies, or simply personal preference, some people just aren’t big fans of dogs. In the ideal scenario, your neighbors will welcome all of your family members, furry ones included. However, here are some warning signs that your potential new neighbors may not greet your beloved pooch with open arms:

  • They have no dogs of their own. Beware of communities where pets are scarcer than pink elephants – or where pink elephants are the pets, for that matter.
  • They act leery or hostile when you try to introduce them to your dog. It’s always a good idea to take your four-legged family member with you to inspect a prospective neighborhood. If you find yourselves shunned, then it’s best to look elsewhere for a new home.
  • Local anti-barking rules are unreasonable or burdensome. It makes perfect sense for an area to crack down on incessant animal noise, but sometimes it can be taken to the extreme.
  • The neighborhood lacks pet stores, vets, dog parks, and similar accommodations. This may signal an anti-animal area. At the very least, it means you will have to go out of your way to provide these essential services for your pup.
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Let’s say you’ve found a home in an area that will welcome your critter with open arms. That’s great! But remember that your dog has no concept of such uniquely human inventions as mortgages and moving vans. According to the ASPCA, it’s only natural for them to feel uneasy when they see you boxing up your belongings for the big day. Here are some tips for helping them make it through the moving process:

  • Try to keep them out of the house while you’re packing things. One family member could take your dog for a walk, or a trip to the dog park, while the rest of you get ready for the move.
  • Keep their schedule as close to normal as possible. Maintain their usual feeding, walking, and playing times. This will help them have a reassuring sense of continuity throughout the upcoming changes.
  • If you must keep them at home while you’re preparing to move, then give them a “safe room” where they will be out of your way. This is vital for everyone’s safety.
Photo Credit: Pexels

Tips for Selling Your Home

One way to minimize everyone’s moving-related stress is to keep your home as appealing as possible to buyers. Here are some things you can do to help sell your home as quickly as possible:

  • Lighten things up. Keep the blinds or curtains open during showings, use high watt bulbs in lighting fixtures (if safe to do so), and trim your hedges to allow added sunshine to enter the home. Buyers love a bright, cheery house.
  • Make some space. Buyers want to picture your home with their furnishings in it, not yours. So remove as much furniture as possible without compromising your comfort.
  • Send the dog packing for the time being. This may sound cruel, but the presence of a pet is a huge turn-off for many buyers. Showings are a good time for your pup to visit the park or go for a walk around the block – under the guidance of a human family member, of course.

Following the tips in this post will help make your upcoming move a positive experience for all involved. The hard work will pay off when your dog realizes that his/her family is still by their side, just like always. Good luck and happy pet parenting.

Photo Credit: Pexels

DOGGONE IT, TIME TO MOVE

OK, if you’re the type of person who hates change, raise your hand.

Wow.  Ok.  That’s….a lot of you.  Do you hold meetings?

But in all seriousness, we get it.  Major life changes carry with them a level of uncertainty, and uncertainty can fray your nerves and cost you precious sleep.  Let’s face it – nothing causes upheaval in your life quite like moving day.  Your home, that sanctuary of calm and safety, draped in a blanket of cellophane and stuffed with Styrofoam peanuts.  It’s enough to make even the most poker-faced among us twitch.

But think about this: if it causes YOU that much stress, what effect is it having on the furriest of your family members?  Whether you realize it or not, your pet is constantly pickin’ up what you’re puttin’ down; they read your emotions better than any mood ring.  You’ve prepped your human children for the big day, so why would you neglect Mr. Whiskers?

Some tips from your friends at d’aprile:

Don’t Procrastinate – Pulling an all-nighter to pack the day before is a surefire way to stress your pet out.  Pack over time, keeping things as normal as possible.  And make sure to leave their bed, water bowl, etc. until the very end.  Also, don’t make drastic changes to their routine; feed and walk them as you normally would.  And remember to keep their toys, treats, and medication off of the moving truck, and with you for the journey.

Plan Ahead – There’s going to be a lot of traffic in your new home over the first couple of days, which could mean a lot of open doors and windows.  It can be easy for a jittery pet to to sneak out, so be sure to update your pets tags with your new address and/or phone number.  And just to be safe, keep a photo of your pet on hand, to show neighbors just in case they choose to hightail it out of there (terrible pun intended). 

Help Them Settle, GretelIt’s going to take everyone time to acclimate to their new surroundings, so now is not the time to trust your pets to always make the right choice.  Always take them out on a leash to explore their new territory, and try to return home the same way, at least in the beginning.  A little routine can go a long way to making them feel comfortable.

By thinking ahead and keeping a positive attitude, you can ensure that everyone – including your favorite Furball – settles into your new place quickly and easily.  Let the shedding begin.