Home based business: is it right for you?
It is many people’s dream to work from home, by starting a business from scratch or joining a legitimate work at home business opportunity, affiliate program or franchise. Working at home means you can work at something you enjoy, “sack” difficult clients, put difficult bosses behind you, and avoid a lot of the daily stress faced by employees. The home based business industry is expanding rapidly and research suggests that revenue from home-based businesses will increase by up to 17% a year for the next five years. Home based business can mean a consultancy, franchise, affiliate program, network marketing, party plan, internet sales, and many more.
It’s a big step from being employed to working for yourself, so plan as far ahead as possible. You will need to think about the effects on all areas of your life to prepare yourself, before you actually leave your job. With corporate cutbacks, redundancy can be the trigger for starting a home based business, and in this case you may have no scope for planning ahead. If you are made redundant try to negotiate as many extra benefits as you can from your employer: for example pay in lieu of notice, use of company equipment such as mobile phone or computer. Also see if there is any training your employer could pay for, to help you in your business, such as internet skills.
If you have no other income, you will need some savings to carry you through your business start-up period: work out basic living expenses for six months and try to put at least that sum aside. Don’t forget that you will need to provide for benefits you may have received from employment, such as health insurance, pension contributions or a use of a company vehicle. Of course, if you have a spouse or partner who is employed and is willing to provide these necessities during your start up phase, you are buying yourself extra startup time.
Of course you will want a comfortable and quiet work area, ideally away from the rest of your household. This is important not only to reduce noise, but also to create the psychology of being “at work” and not “at home” when you need to concentrate. While some lucky people do manage to start their home business from the kitchen table, you’ll find the separation will help you run your business much more efficiently. Don’t forget to allow space for storage and meeting visitors, if your business involves this.
When you are working from home to help your business succeed, sometimes long and unusual hours, it is easy to ignore both your physical and mental health. The usual advice applies – proper diet and exercise, and even if you don’t have a family at home, don’t work all the time. Entrepreneurs often report that the one aspect they miss in home working is the contact with colleagues, so be sure to maintain a social life, possibly through a business networking or support group. Try to surround yourself with positive, supportive people, and be sure to explain your business idea fully to your family. They will be a critical part of your support system. Those who love you the most aren’t usually trying to stand in your way – it’s just that starting a home business may be something unknown to them, and like everyone, they tend to be fearful of something they don’t understand.
Benefits of a home based business
Working from home is a different way of life from 9-5 employment and offers benefits – monetary or lifestyle – that can far outweigh those found as an employee. Whether you work at home already, are thinking about it, or your life circumstances now make working from home necessary or possible, be sure to think these benefits through as you choose your employment options.
Financial benefits are not always the prime motivator. Many people are willing to take a reduction in income to enjoy the lifestyle benefits of working from home. There is a huge sense of freedom in being able to plan your own timetable. You can make appointments, do your shopping, and run other errands without trying to fit everything into a lunch hour or on the way home from work when everyone else is doing the same thing. You can take advantage of a glorious day to take your dog for a long walk, or stop to watch sport for an hour in the afternoon. You may need to start earlier or finish later to compensate – but the point is that you have this freedom when working for yourself.
In addition to time freedom, another big benefit of working at home is a reduction in stress. Of course, any business will bring its own pressures, but there are certain stressful situations that can be avoided by working at home. and the less stressed you are, the more energy and enthusiasm you have, energy that can be spent on your family or business! The daily commute can literally be a few feet to an office or other work area. You can avoid the stress, time and wear and tear involved in the traditional daily commute, and literally add two hours to your working day.
Choosing the right business for you
Many escapees from the corporate world don’t have a clear, transferable set of skills that they can use in their own business. For example, an engineer can see a number of uses for the skills used in their former job. For the rest of us a little more imagination may be needed.
The key to success is to keep an open mind and do not dismiss an opportunity because it is different form things you have done before. Look around at the opportunities available for online and offline businesses, surf the net, visit sites that offer advice. Also remember that you could be involved in more than one business.
There is a wide range of business opportunities to consider, including Affiliate programs, Internet based businesses, retail sales, network marketing, party planning. Many are highly reputable companies with successful track records. It’s important to find out as much as possible about the company and to contact those already involved so you understand any risks you may be taking, how long before you can reasonably expect to make serious money, and what amount of work is required to make that money.
Be practical in your expectations of a homebased business: enormous income in a very short time is unrealistic, and a legitimate home business will not promise this. However, many offer a steady income stream that can increase gradually. It takes a certain amount of time to build any successful business. By starting and maintaining a legitimate home-based business, you can achieve your dream of being your own boss.