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Make money working from the comfort of your own home! How many times have you heard that phrase? Lots, I’m sure. It is used so much because marketers know that staying home and making money is the dream of millions of people.

And why not?

Did you know that the majority of fatal heart attacks happen at 9 a.m. Monday morning? It’s true. It seems a lot of people would rather die than get back to the old grind after a weekend of freedom.

So when someone offers an opportunity or plan for you to take your job and shove it, yet still make enough money to live and pay all your bills, it sounds blissfully irresistible.

Of course, bliss and reality are always two different things. Is it really possible to run a business from your own home that is more than a hobby or source of part-time income? Can you get rich working out of your own home? Can you really trade your commute and necktie for blue jeans and the comfort of your own home?

Well, for your information, home-based businesses are one of the fastest growing kinds of enterprises in America today. Some 40 million Americans are doing at least some form of work out of their homes, and the numbers are growing rapidly. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, as many as 70 million people will be working out of their homes by the year 2005. Government studies have indicated that as much as 75% of all work done in this country could eventually be moved home.

The overwhelming majority of home workers, however, are not exactly getting rich. The average work-at-home American earns less than $15,000 per year. That may not be bad as a supplemental income, but let’s face it, fifteen grand as your total income is not much above the poverty level.

However, you can have it all, you can stay home and make as much (and more) money than your current job provides you.

In this article, I will outline and discuss five key rules on how to work at home and make money, no matter where you live.

RULE 1. It Takes Commitment

Is it any secret in America that most people detest their jobs? Study after study proves that most people simply dread going to work Monday morning, and they live for the freedom of the weekend. But even that freedom is tainted, because we know that it is only temporary.

Why do people hate their jobs? Everyday, there is a lot of butt kissing that needs to be done. There are endless meetings which usually accomplish nothing. There are pointless interruptions, a lot of drifting this way and that, and lot of idiot supervisors who do nothing but waste your time and then dog you for not getting your work done. There are co-workers you hate, and who would stab you in the back in a minute if it meant recognition for them instead of you.

When you work for someone else, you live a regimented life. Your body may not want to get up at 7 a.m., but you have to be at work by 8 a.m. so you stumble out of bed still half asleep.

People who choose to work at home are doing more than just escaping the yoke of their master; they have made a deep, firm, life-altering decision which says that health, happiness and prosperity depend vitally on the freedom to work for ourselves, and do so in the comfort of our home.

I want to really emphasize the fact that to be successful in a work-at-home situation, you have to be nothing less than a fanatic; a zealot, who is utterly committed to making work-at-home not only a successful venture, but a profound commitment for life. You must be convinced that a return to an outside office job would be the equivalent of a death sentence.

Many people hate their jobs, but they have made an inner compromise with themselves. They have convinced themselves that their job is “not so bad,” pays the bills, and that they can stick it out because they have to.

If you want to be truly successful at quitting your day job, there cannot be any room for such compromises in your soul. You have to take the attitude that to work any longer at your hateful job will sicken and kill you.

RULE 2. Eliminating the Home-Office Mentality

To move your work home, however, does not mean you eliminate every single thing about the traditional American office. Rather, you should select what is useful and what is not.

It’s a mistake to quit your job and go home with a “home-office mentality. By this I mean thinking small, and believing that you will automatically sacrifice a decent income in exchange for your freedom. Please! DO NOT THINK SMALL!

Working at home provides many benefits. We can save a lot of time because we don’t need to commute and you have more control over your schedule. You can save a lot of costs because you don’t have the overhead requirements of larger businesses. You can cut your stress (and so have more energy) because you avoid many of the characteristic problems of life in the traditional work place. You must work these advantages to your profit.

RULE 3. Your International Headquarters

Today, to make the entire world come into your living room, all you need is a phone jack.

We live in a unique time in history. Satellites, fiber optics, the integrated circuit and other communications miracles means that you can be just about anywhere in the developed world and establish communication with anyone.

The telephone, the fax machine, the computer, the modem; all of these are not only affordable by any middle-class citizen; they are the key to eliminating your need to drive a hectic freeway everyday to get to a place of business outside your home.

With these devices at your disposal, you should allow yourself to “think globally.” Too often, home-based businesses focus on the narrowest market, the neighborhood, the county, the city or state. This is fine if you are providing a local service and are content with a certain moderate level of income. But if you want the big bucks, you should “think globally.” Also, you should not believe that, just because you are home-based, you cannot compete with the big boys.

The purpose of any business is to seek out every possible market for its products and services, to ascertain whether these markets have the ability to buy these products/services, to determine whether there is sufficient profit in these markets to warrant approaching them, and, once positive assessment has been made, to launch a sustained marketing campaign that gets a significant percentage of this market to purchase your product or service.

Your home telecommunications machines will not only enable you to do this, but they can also help you overwhelm larger, more cumbersome traditional businesses that are your competition.

As a home-based entrepreneur, you will not have all of the disadvantages of your more traditional competitors: no office rent, equipment or expense; no employees to pay salaries and fringe benefits for; no time wasted on meetings, employee problems, paid sick leave, etc.

All the money your competitors spend on heating the office and buying furniture could better be spent on the actual marketing itself.

As a home-based business, you will be already positioned where the traditional business is currently struggling to move: toward the lowest possible overhead and the greatest possible concentration of dollars on product/service development and product/service marketing.

So, a home-based business takes full advantage of three major goals of modern business success:

(1) Vastly reduced overhead
(2) Easy access to a global market
(3) Full advantage of telecommunications.

RULE 4. The Computer

You should pay close attention to what computers can do for you in your plans to escape your job and make your work-at-home dreams come true.

People who want to run a home business usually have a very small staff — in fact, a staff of one — you! The rest of your needs can be handled by independent contractors, depending on the kind of business you are in and the services you need.

Today, by connecting a computer to the phone line with a modem, your machine becomes more than a data storage system and repetitive task handler. It becomes a multi-task, multi-level communications processing center that connects you to the world.

Such things as e-mail, on-line services, the Internet, the Web and more can’t help but revolutionize the way business is done. If you do not become a part of it today, you certainly are going to suffer for it greatly in the near future.

The Internet is definitely where a lot of innovative things are happening. It’s a great place to exchange ideas, find out what hot, what’s not, and stay on the cutting edge whatever your particular business is.

RULE 5. Your Business Hours

If you’ve been paying attention to the first four rules, you’re well on your way to becoming a successful home-based business owner. Now I don’t want you to blow it by thinking you can keep banker’s hours.

The global market, is a 24/7/365 market. Let the others sleep late on Saturdays and take Sundays off. Those times could be your day to move and corner loads of customers that the others miss.

You should get up earlier and quit work later. You should be open for business on holidays and be available 24-hours a day, either personally or through your voice mail.

“But wait a minute!” you might be thinking at this point! “I thought that working at home was all about freedom and an end to drudgery. This sounds like nothing but endless work!

Well, here’s the thing. For most of you who quit your regular jobs to go to work for yourself, you’ll discover something magical. You’ll discover that when you are working for yourself, when you are building your own business, a lot of what you do, does not seem like work at all.

When you stop selling your body and soul to some company or corporation and start giving your energy to yourself, work has a way of turning into inspiration and play.

The perfect work is that which you don’t think of as work, yet doing it makes money and provides you with the bread and shelter of life. You’ll see what it’s like if you make a true commitment to being self-employed, put all your energy into it, and stick with it for the long run.