Thursday, June 29, 2006

Home Office Organization Tips

By Laurie Hurley

Working at home is great, but has some definite drawbacks if you are not organized. Here are some handy tips to keeping the office neat, clean, and uncluttered.

As tempting as it may be to bring non-work related materials into your office, don’t! Have a separate place for mail and paperwork that is not related to your job in a separate area of your home, away from your office. This approach helps to keep your personal life and all its paraphernalia isolated in a different location.

Most home-based businesses need the obvious – a desk and chair, telephone, filing cabinet, computer, printer, bookshelf, and maybe an extra chair for visitors (if you have them in your office for business meetings). The bare minimum, tastefully furnished is sufficient. Too many plants, extra knick-knacks, excessive art work, etc. only takes up valuable space. Utilize your space efficiently and you will be less apt to lose paperwork or misplace an important document. There will only be one or two places to look!

This is especially important if you have children or if your office is in a high-traffic area of your home (not recommended!). It is too tempting for others to walk into your private sanctuary when you are not there and plop down at your desk, “borrow” a pen or paper or use the computer. Before you know it, things get shifted around or your neat desk has an open soda can on it that you did not leave there. If you can’t lock the door, or don’t even have a door to your office, there should be strict rules in the house as to who has your permission to enter when you are not present – and they should be enforced!

This might sound like a lot of work, but it helps to maintain the cleanliness of your office. Have a wastepaper basket and a recycle box. If you have a shredder, even better. Shred and dispose of everything nightly. Take your small recycle box to the bigger recycle area in your home. If you print a lot of documents for your use only, recycle the paper and use that in your printer. It cuts down on paper costs.

There is nothing worse than coming into your office at the beginning of your work day and facing a messy, disorganized desk. Schedule time every night to put everything away. Do not make exceptions to this rule because before you know it, you will have four days of unkempt papers lining your desktop and things WILL get lost or misplaced, just when you need them the most. Schedule clean up time on your daily calendar or to do list. This is one item that shouldn’t be postponed.

There will always be items you don’t get to finish at the end of your work day. Keep file trays on or near your desk labeled in the following way: (a)To Do Tomorrow, (b) Completed & Need To Be Filed, (c) High Priority – Do First Thing Today. Have one file tray for items that come up during the day that can be put in the (d) Future File that have a date on them. Some people call it a tickler file, but it is important to prioritize what needs your attention and when. Many items are probably stored on your PC, but most every business has paperwork associated with it and the visual filing system is a good one. Sticking things in drawers that you might not open because they are not right in front of you can spell disaster for any business.

Laurie Hurley is an entrepreneur and has worked out of her home for eight years. She runs a tutor referral service in Southern California. She also is President and Founder of Home Tutoring Business, her company that sells complete business packages to individuals who want to learn how to begin a tutor referral service in their community. She generates volumes of paperwork daily, but she goes to bed every night with a clean desk, and she doesn’t have a door to her office!

Our client - Laurie Hurley with Home Tutoring Business


Home Tutoring Business offers you the opportunity to establish a home-based tutor referral service in your community. A detailed business plan is already written for you. Your blueprint to success is thorough enough for you to be up and running quickly, while allowing you to add your own personal touches based on your business experience.

Home Tutoring Business

1) Low purchase price – packages are between $3995-$6495 with additional start up costs of approximately $1500-$3500.

2) Your revenue is not shared with HTB – no monthly fees of any kind – EVER!

3) There is no need to sign any contracts with us, thus no renewal fees or transfer fees if you sell your business.

4) We don’t ask you to prove your cash liquidity or net worth.

5) Grow your business – no geographical limits.

6) On-going support built in to each package price via email or phone.

7) Optional visit to our home office for training is provided but not required.

8) Personalized website is offered, not a corporate website.

9) Custom Accounting Software offered- written specifically for HTB.

10) Merchant Account provided – begin taking credit cards immediately.

11) Ad copy designed and provided for you, not only at the start-up phase, but throughout your tenure owning your business.

12) A comprehensive step-by-step manual is your guide, documenting exactly how to begin, maintain and grow your tutoring referral service.

13) Fulfill a niche in the tutoring industry by providing one-on-one in-home tutoring from the schools’ curriculum.

14)Work from home – you did not need an outside office or store-front which keeps your overhead low.


1) Franchise prices begin at approximately $19K and can be as high as $100K. Additional start up costs are usually between $20K-$60K or more.

2) Franchises take a monthly percentage of your revenue. Some also take a percentage of revenue for national advertising which may or may not benefit you, depending on the market you service.

3) The typical franchise agreement is for a period of ten (10) years with a renewal fee due at the end of that period if you plan to continue operating your franchise.

4) Franchises want to know your personal financial situation. They often ask for proof of your liquid assets. If you don’t meet their requirements, you may be turned down for a franchise.

5) Franchises allow you to “buy” a protected territory. If you want more than one territory, usually defined by population, your franchise fee will be higher.

6) Support is usually promised when you sign your contract. When you are dealing with a large franchise corporation, it is infrequent that you will speak directly to the President or owner.

7) Many franchises require you to visit their corporate office for two-three days of training. You pay your own expenses.

8) A corporate website is powerful, however, not personalized to your business. Most franchises will provide your contact information and you receive any inquiries via an email.

9) Some franchises have Accounting Software programs and some don’t.

10) Merchant Accounts are rarely provided. If you want to take credit cards (which will substantially increase your revenues), you are on your own to find a vendor.

11) Depending on the franchise, you might be able to have ads designed for you specifically, especially at the beginning of your ownership. On-going ads are cookie-cutter because they apply to every franchisee.

12) Franchises usually provide a training manual, written by the training department, not the owner.

13) There are very few one-on-one in-home tutoring franchises in the marketplace. Most tutoring franchises are learning centers, which involves a huge capital investment.

14) Learning centers are obviously just that – a center – and that is where your office will be located. You will be responsible for rent, insurance, employees and everything else that goes along with owning a business outside of your home.

For many people, a franchise is the way to go. As an ex-franchisee for three years, I was very disappointed in my experience, and I was a top producer for the company. I owned one of the only major in-home tutoring franchises in existence eight years ago. There are a few others on the market now, but they are small and usually owned by a teacher or educator, not a business person.

Financially, HTB is offering more to the buyer – we are offering an opportunity to be a true entrepreneur backed by my knowledge, support and experience actually working in the field for eight years. HTB will help you establish your own company name and identity in the geographical areas you decide to service.

Personal experience, backed by individualized attention and knowledge of how to begin a lucrative tutoring referral service that is in high demand in almost every part of the country can be yours – without the steep financial investment.

Laurie Hurley is the Founder & President of Home Tutoring Business. based in Southern California. If you are looking to begin a tutor referral service in your community without the high cost of buying a franchise, contact Home Tutoring Business,, at 1.805.376.0033.


Contact: Diana -
(954) 599-3067

Terror Attack, Small Pox Threat, or Flu Pandemic – A Nation Prepares

Los Angeles, California, June 2006. In late September, Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt told members of Congress in a classified closed-door meeting that bird flu could conceivably kill hundreds of thousands of Americans. Within 24 hours, a $3.9 billion legislative proposal to buy and stockpile huge new quantities of vaccines and antiviral medications was designed and passed with almost no debate or discussion.

Mike Osterholm wrote in a July 2005 issue of Foreign Affairs, “If an influenza pandemic struck today, borders would close, the global economy would shut down, international vaccine supplies and health-care systems would be overwhelmed, and panic would reign. To limit the fallout, the industrialized world must create a detailed response strategy involving the public and private sectors.”

Pandemic viruses aren't the only threat facing our nation. Drug-resistant bacteria and terrorist attacks spreading anthrax, smallpox or other deadly substances are also concerns in Washington.

Dr. Paulo J. Reyes, an ER Doctor and first responder in California is the author of a book on bioterrorism, Sledgehammer. He strives to increase the awareness of this potential threat now. Reyes’ book, Sledgehammer, (ISBN #097713870-4) a fiction thriller, details an outbreak of smallpox and its devastating and fatal effects. Based on factual information and real life hospital settings, it portrays a terrorist attack utilizing smallpox and the struggles the medical profession must endure to get government acceptance that this deadly disease is once again a clear and present danger. The plot is well written and has received numerous 5 star reviews. You grow fond of the characters and long for a cure in time to save the hospital staff and the nation.

To learn more about the dangers of smallpox and his book go to Dr. Reyes website at His book, Sledgehammer is also available at, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other leading bookstores.