An Entrepreneur, an Event and Enlightening Advice for Our Work-from-Home Times

“More than half of all small businesses are now run from owners’ homes. And they’re not just hobbies. (In fact) 6.6 million of them supply 50% or more of the household income. Two-fifths employ two to five people. 10%…more than five…” (Excerpted from The Kiplinger Letter, Vol. 87, No. 31, Washington, July 30, 2010)

The Work at Home Business and Franchise Expo (WaHB) is truly an event for the times we live in and represents the contributions and expertise of a team of seasoned event-industry professionals. Derek A. Romo is the event’s General Manager. His personal and professional experience makes him uniquely qualified and equipped to produce this event.

In 1988, Derek received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern California, followed in 2003 by a Master’s Degree in Speech Communication from California State University at Fullerton. He started his first home-based business in 1986 with a drafting board, copy machine and phone line. For the last 20 years, Derek’s home-based business has specialized in event production, management and related services. He was recently selected as the 2011 Home-Based Business Champion of the Year by the United States Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Los Angeles District Office.

“In the last 20 years, I have been involved in the production of Horse Shows, Pilots Expos, Health and Fitness Expos, Computer Fairs, Consumer Technology Shows and even Tattoo Expos, and in all that time I have never seen an event that is more timely and relevant than this one.” —Derek Romo

The WaHB Expo is a Business Opportunity and Franchise Showcase. What differentiates this event from other franchise expos is access—more specifically, access by the average American family. At a typical franchise expo you will find business opportunities that require start-up investments of hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, rendering them unattainable for most people. But at the WaHB Expo, start-up investments for new businesses range from $50 to $75,000; meaning that, if you can afford to take a date to dinner or if you can afford to drive an SUV, then you can afford to start your own business.

So the real question is, can you afford not to?

The Work at Home Business and Franchise Expo is the next generation of public event. It really is a hybrid, bringing the availability of the consumer-show event together with the professional relevance of a trade-show event.

At WaHB Expo we believe that everyone, or at least every family, should be business owners. History has repeatedly demonstrated that no matter your profession or sense of job security, no job is 100% secure. This latest Great Recession is only the most current reminder.

The Work at Home Business and Franchise Expo is an event that is sensitive to the conditions of our current economy, as well as the needs of an inventive and industrious American work force. It is the natural evolution of a tradition of home-based entrepreneurship in America. Don’t forget…Hershey’s Chocolate, Ford Motor Co. and Apple Computer all began as home-based businesses.

If you have ever considered owning a home-based business but have been hesitant to invest without meeting representatives from the company in person, or if you have a home-based business and are looking for the services and network to grow and support it, then this is the event for you!

WaHB Expo offers you the opportunity to choose an option among the free market of ideas. It’s a chance to educate yourself about the wide variety of home-based business models and franchises available so you can make an informed decision about which opportunity is right for you, your family, your skill set and your desired lifestyle. WaHB Expo provides personal access to the tools, resources and experts that you want and need to grow and support your new or existing home-based business.

Great Advice on Home-Based and Other Small Business Ownership

Given his obvious and considerable expertise in owning and operating a home-based business,’s Entrepreneur Exchange asked Derek to answer just a few of the most often-asked questions regarding small business entrepreneurship. Here is what he had to say:

What is the single strongest piece of advice you would have for someone just starting out in business for themselves?

I always answer this question the same way when I am asked it. I believe the three most important issues you need to be sure about when you start out on your own are…

Number one: Limit your fixed overhead.

Number two: Limit your fixed overhead.

And number three… you guessed it! Limit your fixed overhead.

My response always gets a chuckle, but I am dead serious. I can’t tell you how many small businesses I see falter due to taking on too much of a monthly nut too soon. It’s a classic mistake. We all have big plans. The business is going to take off, and we want to be ready…right? We rent office space, buy or rent equipment, maybe even hire someone, all before there is a regular revenue stream. Take on additional overhead only when you have more than enough proven revenue to support it. Grow bigger because you are busting at the seams and not before.

If you work from home, what are the greatest benefits to doing so? What are the drawbacks, and how do you manage them?

Like anything else, there are advantages and disadvantages to working from home. The absence of an office environment can make it easy to become distracted. Ultimately, I believe that the suitability of this option is all about the individual. Doesn’t matter the business really, only that the person is disciplined enough to carve out the necessary time and focused enough to just do the work. For me, I cannot think of a better work environment. I work well on my own. I like the flexibility in my schedule so I can work around other responsibilities, and I always make certain to allot the time required to accomplish the work at hand. I deal with customers all over the country via email and the phone, so my location or physical environment is not especially relevant to them. What matters is that I provide them with the service and professionalism that any customer should expect. If I am meeting their expectations, then I am doing my job well.

If you own more than one business, how have you integrated your businesses to juggle it all successfully? Any suggestions?

There is not a single person I know that does not have to learn to juggle multiple responsibilities, whether it is the soccer mom with two kids and a side business or the CEO on several boards of directors or the entrepreneur with more than one business interest. I think our biggest asset given this reality is technology. Each of my businesses has its own access ports, meaning phone numbers and websites; to any outside contact, they see only those ports. On my end it all comes down to one source, whether that is my phone or my computer. The origin of the message lets me know which business is being contacted, and I can prepare and respond accordingly. I think that these resources make it possible for the soccer mom to manage her family and business, the CEO to manage his director duties, and the entrepreneur to manage his businesses more efficiently than at any time in history.

What is/are your favorite motto and/or quote when it comes to business? Any final words of encouragement and/or inspiration for the budding entrepreneur?

Never give up. In my opinion, more often than not, the single most important distinction between entrepreneurs that flourish and those that don’t is the tenacity to keep going. The willingness to get back in the ring even though you got pretty beat up in the last round.


More information about the Work at Home Business and Franchise Expo (WaHB):

Held annually since 2010 in Southern California, the WaHB Expo offers free tools and resources to startup and established home-based business owners and facilitates and encourages new home-based business entrepreneurship. Dozens of work-at-home business exhibitors and experts are slated to attend this year’s event, which is being held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in San Diego on Saturday, April 20 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Sunday, April 21, 2013 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and is sponsored in part by, among other notable industry leaders.

Admission is FREE for individuals who register in advance online or just $5 at the door. For more information about the event or to register for FREE admission, visit now!