Starting a Home-Based Business

According to Newsweek magazine, nearly 50% of American households will be involved in some sort of home-based business by the end of 2005. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which includes a lackluster economy and a less than favorable job market. This alone is causing people to accept undesirable jobs where they are overqualified and underpaid. Another reason people are venturing down the road towards a home-based business is the need for flexibility in their lives. This is especially true with parents of young children. The inability to find adequate and reasonably priced daycare is becoming increasingly difficult and is a huge motivating factor for either a mother or father to look into the option of working out of the home. If you are one of the millions of people entertaining the idea of starting a home-based business, it’s important to know if you have the right “qualifications” to do so. Answer the following questions honestly for a better understanding of just what it takes to be successful.

1. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do?
Whether it be working with animals, selling real estate, or decorating home interiors, the first step to going into business for yourself is to have a clear idea as to what you would enjoy doing.

2. Do you have adequate skills?
Even if you’ve always wanted to cater parties this desire alone won’t help you if you can’t successfully boil water. Having a passion for an activity is step number one. Having the skills and experience to execute that passion is a close number two. Of course, even if you lack certain expertise doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road. You just need to make a commitment to get yourself educated. Whether that means going back to school for an advanced degree, working as an intern in a desired place of business, or even just participating in a weekend workshop, make it a priority to become qualified doing something you love.

3. Do you have the money?
Even the smallest business requires some sort of funding for initial start-up costs as well as daily operational expenses. If you don’t have adequate money saved for your potential business, ask yourself if you’re comfortable seeking outside funding. This can be by way of a small business loan, an advance on a credit card, or borrowing money from a friend or relative. You need to be prepared to make a financial investment.

4. Are you a patient and persistent person?
Despite the business venture that “explodes” making someone a millionaire overnight, this is definitely the exceptionâÂ?¦. Not the rule! The average home business often takes years to break even and even longer to show a profit. So if you’re someone who enjoys quick results, a home-based business may not be the best option for you.

5. Are you a good at multi-tasking?
Unless you plan on hiring an assistant or a staff for your business, most of the burden will fall on you to get things done. Therefore, you have to be someone who can easily juggle more than one task (or two, or three�) at once.

6. Are you comfortable talking to people?
Generally, with any business, you are serving a client, a customer, or in some cases, another business. If you are a “one man shows” running your business, you can’t afford to be shy. You have to be able to feel comfortable interacting with possible vendors, potential marketing representatives, other business contacts, as well as the people you serve. You have to be able to network in order to be successful.

7. Are you self-disciplined enough to create and stick to a schedule?
Running a home-based business requires a lot of discipline for the simple reason that our homes are a minefield of distractions. Whether it’s the phone, the TV, the kids, or your spouse, you have to be able to tune these things out and stick to a work schedule.

8. Do you have the time?
Don’t kid yourself into thinking that just because you’re working at home that you can work at your leisure and still be successful. Although a home-based business does allow for a certain measure of flexibility it also still requires a lot of time, especially in the beginning.

Starting your own home-based business can be an exciting but scary proposition. Just remember, it is impossible to do too much research about your potential business idea. Read everything you can taking full advantage of your local library and the Internet. Although the process can seem overwhelming it is manageable if you just take things step by step.

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