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Organising and marketing yourself from home

Business etiquette expert Barbara Pachter, author of When The Little Things Count…And They Always Count," notes that out of necessity people are establishing their own businesses as unemployment increases. Pachter suggests seven guidelines to help individuals to maintain a business image no matter where their offices are located:

1. Have a separate space for your office. You need an area or room that is private and where you won’t hear dogs barking and/or children screaming. And if you have children, establish a closed-door policy. Your children need to know that you are working and unless it’s an emergency or really important, they are not to disturb you.

2. Answer your phone or cell phone professionally. Invest in a separate line for work calls. When you answer, give a greeting and your name: “Good morning, Barbara Pachter speaking.” When you are not able to answer the phone, have your callers hear a business message--no little kids talking or music blasting. Tell them who they have reached and when you will return the call.

3. Have a website. You can start with a basic site that explains what you do and how to contact you. Use an appropriate business domain name for your website and use that domain name for your email address. (i.e. and

4. Be organised. Most people can’t function in chaos. Have file cabinets. Use a contact management system, like ACT, to keep good records of your business contacts and activities. Develop good quality business cards, stationery and any company materials.

5. Create a professional Internet presence. In addition to having a website, use social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to let people know about your business. And remember anything you post becomes part of your professional image. Google yourself to find out what your customers will discover about you. Blog about your work. But don’t get so wrapped up in social media that you neglect other parts of your business.

6. Dress up if you need to. Many people tell me that it helps them feel professional if they put themselves together before they start working. However, if you can work well in your PJs, as long as you don’t videoconference, go for it!

7. Have the appropriate space if you are meeting with people. If you don’t have the space, arrange the use of a meeting room or meet in a restaurant.

**Barbara Pachter is a speaker, trainer, coach and author of numerous business books, including 'Work: 79 Etiquette Tips, Tools.' For a free copy of Pachter's communication e-newsletter, “Competitive Edge,” go to
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