Should you start a home-based business? Answer 4 questions

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By Arrianee LeBeau KVAL News and KVAL.com Staff

EUGENE, Ore -  Architect Nir Pearlson's work can be seen all around town.

He said the years he spent working for other firms gave him the skills he needed to start his own business -- from home

"I can step out here at night or early in the morning or on the weekend and still be somewhat connected to what's going on at home," said  Pearlson.

Pearlson said he was not excited about aspects of his business like accounting. So he sought out the services of Lane Community College Small Business Development Center.

The Small Business Development Center assists people with plans for starting their own business. The program is a three year commitment.

"I owe so much of what I do now and most of my business to all my friends and mentors," said Pearlson.

Gary E. Smith is an instructor at the center who worked with Pearlson on a business plan.Smith meets with his students one on one to give them advice based on their specific needs. He said more of his students want to own their own business and work from home.

"You have to make sure that it is suitable for the business, that you can have a business and it can be ran from your home," said Smith.

But Smith said a desire to run your own company isn't enough. He stated four things people should think about before they start their own company.

  1. Delegate vs. Abdicate: Someone who delegates is involved in the entire business process and gives someone else a task when they are  unable to tackle it. Someone who abdicates puts things off and isn't involved in the process at all. Smith said this person is not an ideal candidate to run a business.
     
  2. Have to be good at what you do: Ask yourself if you can compete with the top 20 percent in the market.
     
  3. Know your product: Remember just because you love to do something doesn't mean people will pay you for it.
     
  4. Resources: Ask yourself do you have the money to survive the start up period?

Smith said the faculty at the Small Business Development Center want businesses to succeed. He said it is this success that will employ people in the community and boost the local economy.

Hearth and home

Pearlson said staying close to family was his main motiviation for building his office.

He converted his garage into an office that is just the right fit for his employees and himself. He said owning his own business has been a dream of his for years.

"It is a creative process. It is really a creative endeavor, creating a business," said Pearlson.

He said running a home office saves him money on taxes, rent and expenses like Internet and phone.

He has also invested in his property by adding to the garage and making it a fully functional room.  

"Pay yourself enough so you can create something that you can use when things start going up again," said Pearlson.

And Pearlson is confident that once the housing market is back up, the changes he has made will be money well spent.

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