6 Home Business Lessons I Rediscovered From 2015

Solo Business Strategies, The New Entrepreneur, The Responsible Home Office
January 7th, 2016 No Comments »

The year 2015 was a banner year at Chief Home Officer and I landed a host of new clients, delivered some stellar work for my existing partners, and generally had a great year – or so my accountant told me. I also came away with a number of lessons, some of which were reminders of lessons learned over a 27-year career as a freelance writer and independent contractor to my customers. So, what did I learn – or relearn?

?– The “self-employment tax” is a bitch. When they say the government is every business’s de facto partner, they ain’t kidding. For the uninitiated, every worker pays 15.3% (12.4% for social security and 2.9% for Medicare) of income in payroll tax to the government. Typically, half of that (or 7.65%) is paid by the employer. When the “employer” is you at your solo enterprise, you’re paying both halves. This year, my employer self paid a healthy five figures in self-employment tax – atop my personal income tax. I’m not arguing the merits of the tax. A high tax bill means I did well. Just saying, Ouch.

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More Thoughts About Battery Backup in the Home Office

Technology, The Responsible Home Office
July 13th, 2011 No Comments »

When it comes to technology, I’m no power user. ?I don’t “game” on the home office PC, so I don’t slurp the wattage. My CPU is sufficient enough to run Word, Quicken, and a handful of open Chrome brower windows, and my monitor is a meager 19 inches. I’m running a writing business here, not NORAD.

But as I recently shopped a replacement battery backup for the home office, I thought “Spartan” when I should have been thinking deeper and more holistically. It’s not about how little I can get away with buying; it should have been about what are my real power needs. Read the battery back-up review here.

I was talking today with someone at Schneider Electric, the makers of the APC line of battery backup devices. While I had thrifty on my mind, she was talking about how battery backups are more than just a power source when the home or small office’s power runs dry.

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The Accidental Workshifter: An Enjoyable and Tolerable Workation

Commentary, Technology, The Responsible Home Office, The Road Warrior
June 30th, 2011 1 Comment »

Sitting in a hotel room near Palo Alto, California, my family’s enjoying some quality time, 21st Century style. Kids are on their MacBooks and iPod Touch. Robbie’s on her Kindle. I’m on my Acer Iconia Android Tablet, and we’re all surfing via our Verizon Mifi personal hotspot.

jz in santa feA little work, a little exploration. Nothing in particular.

We’re each in our own orbit around the sun of the moment – a bio of Selena Gomez on the TV.

Call it what you will, it is a wholly different form of quality time, the New York Times recently commented. But it’s quality time nonetheless.

Robbie and I wanted the kids to bring their devices. To demand otherwise would have been to, 1. Ignore reality, and 2. Invite World War III.

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Home Office Data Security: Protect Customer Info – And Your Small Business

Guest Column, Home Office Security, The Responsible Home Office
August 8th, 2010 No Comments »

Working from home offers freedom and flexibility, but it also opens the door to data breaches that can jeopardize your client relationships—and your bottom line. Identity Theft 911 CEO Matthew Cullina discusses how to enjoy the benefits of home-based work while protecting data integrity and safety.

Whether telecommuting for your corporate job, selling homemade crafts online, or practicing law from a spare room, you are responsible for protecting the personal information — such as names, addresses, birthdates, and Social Security and credit card numbers — of anyone you do business with.

No matter how small your operation, or even if you only occasionally work from home, your clients trust you to protect this data—and legislation in 46 states requires that you do so.

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Home Office, Telework, ‘Live / Work’ and Your Carbon Footprint

The Responsible Home Office
December 17th, 2009 No Comments »

As policy wonks and global leaders at COP15 this week ponder nations’ use of resources, home office workers and teleworkers lead the charge to change.

By choosing a “live / work” lifestyle, home office workers and teleworkers — or live / workers — are making one of the biggest contributions an individual can toward resource sustainability and green officing.

One of live / work’s key environmental benefits is its huge reduction in the use of precious natural resources. Consider…

– One property is constructed, not two (separate home and workspace).

– One property requires power, heat and A/C, not two (major reductions in waste of electricity, gas, water).

– Live/work is often constructed on previously used land. Read More »

Surge Protector Saves Home Office Electronics, Shaves Electric Bill

News & Reviews, The Responsible Home Office
December 14th, 2009 No Comments »

APC Power-Saving SPA home office / small business energy-saving programmable surge protector – with LCD timer! How Cool Is This?!

OK, so it’s still a surge protector. It’s not so very cool at all.

Except when it comes to charging stuff, protecting your pricey electronic and computing hardware, and generally turning two outlets into four — and having another cool gadget to fiddle with.

APC’s Power-Saving Surge Protector with LCD Timer is an on/off programmable surge protector that provides guaranteed protection from damaging power surges and spikes. By setting the surge protector to power on or off at select times, consumers are able to save energy and money by avoiding wasted energy draw to idle electronics. Read More »

Hold a Copenhagen Climate Summit in Your Home Office

The Responsible Home Office
December 7th, 2009 1 Comment »

Can you and your home office participate in the Copenhagen Global Climate Summit?

You may not live in Denmark. You might have no inclination to travel there, for the culture or climate or a Carlsberg beer.

But there’s much you can do to live up to the spirit of the climate summit currently taking place. If you work from home, you’ve already cut your carbon footprint. You’ve already reduced or eliminated the commute by running a home-based business or teleworking / telecommuting. Now do even more… Read More »

Printers, Netbooks & Other ‘Green’ Tech

News & Reviews, The Responsible Home Office
April 23rd, 2009 No Comments »

Is your home office an energy hog?

Curb its diet.

Companies are coming out with various products designed to curtain consumable use and energy consumption in the small office.

Consider HP’s latest offerings. Its HP Photosmart Premium Fax All-in-One ($299) offers versatility to print, copy, scan and fax. In addition to producing lab-quality photos, laser-quality documents and vivid color graphics, this device also features a duplexing automatic document feeder that allows users to print on both sides of the paper – conserving paper and saving money. Connect to a PC or notebook computer using multiple connectivity options including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Ethernet, allowing consumers to print from virtually anywhere in the home from multiple computers.

The HP Deskjet D2600 Printer Series ($49) is an affordable, easy-to-use, energy efficient solution that consistently delivers reliable prints for everyday projects. The printer is made of 50 percent recycled materials.? Additionally, its HP 60 ink cartridges are made from 50 percent recycled plastics as well as sources like recycled water bottles. The HP Deskjet D2600 Printer Series is also ENERGY STAR? qualified and provides a paper-saving printing option that allows customers to print on both sides of the paper.

The included HP Smart Web Printing software allows users to select and organize text, graphics and photos from multiple web pages to print only what is needed on a single page, eliminating paper waste.

Another HP initiative — its Planet Partners print cartridge return and recycling program with authorized retail recycling –makes it even easier and convenient to return and recycle old HP print cartridges. Visit to be sent free, postage-paid return options.

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