Pull up your Facebook home feed on any given day and I’d be willing to bet that you’ll see at least one or two advertisement for your friend’s home business. Small/Home businesses – especially direct sales businesses – are very common in the military community. It is getting increasingly harder to make ends meet on one income – especially that of a service member. Many military spouses have chosen to bridge the gap while simultaneously stressing the importance of staying home with their children – or simply saving the day care money - by starting their own home-based business.
Owning a home based business does more than just allow you to earn a living, it gives you the freedom to test your limits and see what you can accomplish. There are many benefits to working from home; low overhead, no need for childcare (though I would argue this one on most days), tax deductions, flexibility, safety, security, and it’s simple to relocate. Sounds like a military spouse’s dream! Right?
Before you jump in with both feet it is essential you realize that it is much harder than it seems if you intend to be truly successful and/or replace or generate a meaningful amount of income.
Working at home requires discipline. All too often individuals want the money but they do not want the work. Success takes work. Images of watching day-time TV or meeting the girls for lunch everyday must be set aside. Self-employed people must keep focused on setting up the business and sticking to deadlines. Remember, you have not said goodbye to the boss. The boss you have now is you, your customers, and your success.
If you work from home you must expect the unexpected. In other words, be prepared for PVT Murphy. You must be prepared to adjust your schedule at any given moment for any number of reasons - a sick child, a backed up drain, or an upset client.
You might have to give something up to work at home. Whether you have a full time job with a steady income or are just starting out and wanting to make some spending money you will have to invest either your time or your money. Remember millions don’t fall off of trees so expect to put something toward your business.
You must always be on top of your game. To run a business as well as manage a household takes determination and scheduling. You may not feel like you have a schedule, but take a look at your day/week and see how you are spending your time.
The reality is that tomorrow you will not wake up and “sign up” to work from home. Your paycheck will not be instant. Legitimate employers with home based jobs hire the same way traditional employers do. There will be an application process and possibly an interview or test. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a resume written that outlines your skills and experiences.
If you choose direct sales, your sign-up might be instant, but the money will not. You will have to work hard to plan parties and online sales. You will also have a lot of networking to do if you plan on making it a long term success. Plan your work and work your plan.
Lastly, if you choose to develop your own business concept, your work will encompass hours of research and development, marketing and promotion, and business planning.
I’m most certainly not trying to scare you about working from home. It is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Military life takes us through many twists and turns and I can always take my business with me.
Do you work from home? If so, what do you do?
What have you found is the biggest challenge of working from your home office?
What have you found is the biggest challenge of building your business?