Working at Home: Both Sides of the Coin
If you're considering a home-based business, why not begin a special list of the advantages and disadvantages of running such a business. While the following article may seem flippant, there is a serious side to almost every phrase.
Before you make your final decision, interview everyone whose comments might help you make a better decision. Here are some things I discovered during my interviews with experienced home-based business owners who formerly worked for large employers and couldn't wait to escape the rat race:
- Now you can complete projects without getting anyone's permission, but there's no one to review (proof and analyze) it and play Devil's Advocate. Find people, and when necessary, pay them to help you. Even though you may have faced too much criticism on a project at work, you do need to hear from people with various perspectives.
- You now have flex hours, but they can stretch to more than you or your family may want, especially in the first year or two. Give yourself some short- and long-term goals. Plan special activities for now and for once you're better established. Make time for your family and yourself.
- You may spend less on wardrobe: your spouse may put your clothing and shoe budget at $5/month.
- You now have a designated parking spot, if you can still afford to have a car.
- You spend less on eating out, an activity you loved. No more Big Macs or Jumbo Jacks!
- You now have the authority to make your own decisions: when it's time to empty the trash, back up the hard drive, and do fitness exercises.
- Now you can maintain direct contact with vendors, clients, etc. You're still working on avoiding telemarketing people who make your life a nightmare. You're waiting for clients to call, not someone who says, "May I speak to the person who makes the purchasing decisions, please?"
- You can apply your creativity and talent to your business. Figure out a different voice mail recording for each day of the week. Fix your broken office chair. Dust the furniture.
- You pay your own benefits (medical, dental, insurance, etc.) and discover that they are so high you feel a heart attack coming on.
- You are now responsible for legal and/or governmental rules and taxes. Make friends with a CPA, and always, always, be kind to this valuable person. Speak nicely and send gift baskets at least semi-annually.
- You make considerable capital outlay, including upgrades & repairs. One fried hard drive. Two telephone lines. Three file cabinets. Four reams of paper. And a partridge in a pear tree.
- You live with the reality of sporadic, unpredictable income. Things are slow. You panic. You start searching in the Help Wanted section for a job for your spouse.
- You may experience personal satisfaction when things go well, but be prepared for the possibility of depression when things go wrong. Don't let it happen. Leave the office. Take a walk, smell the flowers, read a great book, watch a Disney movie, go for a run: do something to get your emotional balance back. When you're really feeling down, avoid over-the-counter medications that might bring on depression (sudafed makes me depressed), alcohol, people who don't understand, and sweets. Pizza's okay. But get outdoors if you possibly can.
- Sometimes family members don't (or won't) understand your need for isolation, so you can focus and think without interruption. Marriages have weakened over such issues.
- Family and friends think you have a part-time job (or no job at all), and call or drop in whenever they're bored. After all, this isn't a real job, right?
No excuses about how you're no good with numbers, or writing, or marketing. You'd better be prepared to do all of the above, or have associates who can, if you want to succeed. Your business community will expect a polished, effective operation the moment you open the doors for business!
There are lots of ups and downs in having a home-based business, but if you have a passion for your business, help from friends who've been there and done that, and family support, you can succeed!!!