If you’re tired of commuting and working your life away to make someone else’s dream come true, perhaps you’ve thought of running a home business. Between the tight job market, lagging salaries, and a desire to live life on your own terms, many people are starting their own home business. What are the rewards and challenges of running a home based business?
Rewards of Running a Home Business
There are many positive aspects to running a home business. These are the ones you can gush about to your friends as they congratulate you on your new venture.
- Pick your passions. The business can be set up around a passion, hobby or skill that you are enthusiastic about. Use the business to share your unique talents, skills, and personality with the world.
- Be the boss. You become your own boss and get rid of office politics and glass ceilings in an instant. You are in charge of your own success and paycheck.
- End the commute. Most people spend a significant amount of time and money just getting to work and back. The 10-second commute is a huge benefit of working at home!
- Gain time freedom. Give more time and focus to yourself or your family and run your business with flexible hours around other commitments. You still have to get the hours in, though!
- Fill a niche. When you start small, you can identify and fill a need in the marketplace. Your small, online niche may be incredibly lucrative.
- Reduce risk. Unlike starting a traditional company, your overhead and risk are extremely low because you don’t have to rent, build out, furnish an office space, or pay franchise fees. You just need enough capital to get your product or service launched.
- Lower stress. Life happens. Kids get sick, cars have issues, and sometimes the weather won’t cooperate. Having flexibility means that life’s little hiccups are more manageable.
- Home businesses are more likely to use other home businesses and workers for their resources. A team of home-based employees can, if necessary, be hand-picked to benefit key areas of the business where the owner needs additional skill sets, and work can be easily steered in the direction that the owner chooses.
- Start a ‘lifestyle business’. With growing product sophistication, steadily falling costs, and increased efficiency of suitable IT and telecoms solutions, home working and/or running a home business on a ‘remote basis’ is becoming ever easier. You may be able to run your business with just your laptop from anywhere. How about a warm beach?
- Keep your money. Your income is tied directly to your performance. If you’re not making money, you’re not performing. If you perform well, all the money is yours instead of just your pre-determined salary.
Challenges of Running a Home Business
You know it won’t be all roses, but what is the reality of the challenges you’ll face in your home business? Here’s the real truth, are you ready?!
- No guaranteed income. Unlike working for someone else, there may not be a regularly scheduled paycheck, especially when you first start your business. And if you can’t or don’t work, there may be little or no money.
- Not enough time. Yes, are you free from the commute and all the meetings, but you’ll find that life takes time, and you’ll now be managing all kinds of other things during business hours. Guard your work time jealously or it will slip away.
- Too much to do. Because you’re doing everything yourself, including family management, you may struggle to learn the new skills you’ll need to grow your business.
- Lack of Training. Companies train you for your job one way or another, but when you’re on your own, you’re on your own. If you don’t know how to start, grow, and run a business, you’ll need to invest in training that will teach you the skills you need, especially sales skills.
- Separating work and family life. You’ll soon find yourself finishing a blog post to change the laundry, or putting kids to bed and going back to work. You may even end up answering work emails at midnight while you’re in bed. When you have to squeeze work around the family schedule, both roles and their jobs will expand into each other’s space.
- Isolation. When you’re used to bouncing ideas off of others, or at least all working together, switching to a situation where you’re the only one there can be difficult. There can be issues around motivation when not working in a team. Joining local networking events, business networking sites can help home business owners to stay connected within a business environment.
- Self-discipline. When you’re on your own and life is busy, there’s no one to keep track of whether or not you’re blogging, creating a new product, or making sales calls. Your self-discipline and determination to make your business work will be a deciding factor in whether you sink or swim as a home business owner.
- Space to work. Your business may live in just a small corner of a room, which means that your business papers are in your family’s space, and you may struggle with family noise while you’re trying to work.
- All the problems are yours. An independent business will not, for example, be able to rely on a large company’s I.T. department for help with computer systems, and may have to pay for expensive repairs or solutions. Websites issues, a hacked blog, customer service problems, clogged toilets… you get to deal with them all.
- Zoning regulations. Check with local authorities to ensure that there are not rules or covenants in place to prevent a business being run from a domestic dwelling. Your insurance premiums may go up with a home business in your house. Special provision is made in UK tax laws for home businesses, including expenses that are allowable if running a home business.
Despite the challenges, running a home business can be extremely rewarding and give you back a serious amount of quality time to spend doing the things you love.
Image sources: www.policyexchange.org.uk & www.channelweb.co.uk