Start a business out of your home. It's hard work, but you'll be your own boss, have flexible hours, and finally be able to chase that dream.
Step 1: Choose what you like Choose a home-based business that will have you doing something that you actually like doing. Check your state's rules on sales taxes and other guidance on home business laws in Illinois, Texas, Michigan, California, Florida and other states that may differ in their approach.
Step 2: Define objectives Define objectives and steps to succeed, listing the advantages of working at home. You can't recommend yourself for a new job if this fails, so be sure you want to be self-employed rather than an employee.
Step 3: Discipline yourself Discipline yourself and avoid fooling around, constantly visiting the kitchen, or watching TV during the day. Keep to a regular work schedule, just like you would at an office somewhere else. Good companies have sound structure and operating principles.
TIP: Focus a single aspect of the field you enter -- whether catering, freelance writing, editing books, or fixing sprinkler systems -- instead of desperately trying to do it all and getting spread so thin you lose direction and money.
Step 4: Design home space Design a practical office space in your home with plenty of storage, new equipment, comfortable room, and good light. Make sure it's quiet and all family members know to stay out during business hours.
Step 5: Rent space Rent a post office box for a business address to project a more professional image. Meet clients in a rented conference room or go to their office to keep up appearances.
Step 6: Join associations Join associations pertinent to the business to circulate with other industry people. Network for clients you wouldn't normally meet now that you're centered in the home.
Step 7: Involve them Involve the family in decisions and keep them informed, inviting their participation. Make a clear distinction between work and home life, shutting off phones and computers during your free hours. Hold your end up with home chores and activities, so that you can love your work, but enjoy your life, too.
FACT: The Small Business Administration reported in 2006 that small companies -- or independent businesses with fewer than 500 employees -- included 99.7 percent of the nearly 30 million total American employer firms.