People dream of having a home based business for many reasons. ‘I want to spend more time with my kids.’ ‘I can make more money working for myself.’ Or ‘I want more flexible hours.’
While these are all true, like all things, home based businesses have their own difficulties and drawbacks. Here are the real pros and cons that real entrepeneurs have encountered. As one put it, ‘This is a dream come true…but it’s not a fairy tale.’
Advantages of having a home based business.
Entrepreneurs say that running a home based business have given them greater control over their schedule and personal environment. They can work when they want, where they want, and they can even choose who they will deal with. (Although, bear in mind that profitability is still your boss—you may decide that you have to work with difficult clients or consultants because it’s good for your bottom line, but at least you made the choice yourself instead of being thrust into it because of a corporate structure.)
Other advantages is the priceless ability to ‘do what you love’ and ‘get personal fulfillment’ because your time and effort goes into your own project. This doesn’t mean an employee can’t feel passion for his job—it’s really a personal choice. ‘My colleagues feel very inspired by the chance to heal people and save lives,’ says a former doctor turned life coach, ‘but I always enjoyed talking and mentoring others.’
Some also say that there is a very deep fulfillment in being able to make their own creative and management decisions, and to see the business grow under their direction. ‘The closest thing I can compare it to is raising a child,’ says one entrepreneur. ‘It’s not easy and it’s very tiring and time consuming, but you feel like the business is your ‘baby’ and you’re proud of every milestone.’
Disadvantages of a home based business
Running a home based business is very hard work, and involves financial and even professional risk since you will be pulling yourself out of a career track that you may have developed over several years. You have to spend hours on tasks or details you had the luxury of delegating when you were working in a larger company structure, and you also need to invest time and effort in learning about logistics, market behavior, industry movements, etc.
Entrepreneurs also say it’s harder to balance personal and professional time (when is it ‘me’ time and when is it ‘work’ time?) and since you have to be hands-on for the business to succeed, you may even be working longer hours. Everyday struggles includes family interruptions and imperfect work conditions (noisy kids, less office equipment). And, of course, there’s no job benefits and job security.
How to make it work
Take calculated risks. Read up on the industry you want to go into, and beef up your home entrepreneur skills. You can also ask advice from the Small Business Administration Service Corps of Retired Executives Association or a busines expert (some offer it for free) to determine if a business has a high chance of becoming profitable.
Photo from llatech.com