Julia Hutton's public relations firm in Phoenix is an example of how a startup business can be successful by establishing a virtual workplace. The 20 publicists who work for Hutton work from laptops in their homes home -- from Las Vegas to Tampa. Telecommuting is one of the ways a small firm can cope with a weaker economy because it cuts costs for gasoline and energy, says a senior fellow with the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation.

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