Linda was the manager of an income tax preparation agency when the company downsized and she lost her job. "I've always enjoyed helping clients with their tax returns," she says, "so when I had to strike out on my own, it was easy to decide what I was good at--selling my tax expertise to clients. Only this time, it was on my own and out of my home."
She used some of her savings to buy a computer and software, a fax machine and a copier. She also bought stationery and business cards. "I didn't want to spend the money," she recalls, "but I felt that I had to appear as professional as possible."
Linda wasn't able to bring her previous clients with her or even tell them she was going into business for herself. She recalls vividly how hard it was at the beginning. "It was in November. I had business cards made and over the holidays I handed them out to practically everyone I met. I remember many nail-biting days in January when the telephone never rang once. Those were the longest days of my life."
In February, Linda began to get calls as people started to think about their taxes. "More clients, including some of my old ones, began calling as word of mouth spread. It has really worked out well."
Although Linda found she enjoyed working out of her home--especially not having to commute to an office--her business is now too big for a single person. "This spring, I plan to move out of my home and into a small office space downtown. I've even convinced my former secretary to join me."
Linda took courses on running a small business and found them very useful. "I attended several weekend seminars at a local university about home-based businesses. And now I'm taking evening courses offered by the Federal Business Development Bank. They're just what I need to strengthen my weak areas."
Last revision on April 13, 2004