For the past 10 years, my wife and I have operated a million dollar business from the comfort of our home. It’s been a joy not having to commute to work, and we’ve seen our three boys grow up right before our eyes into fine young men. We’ve had the freedom to set our own hours and determine our fate, good or bad.
But, we didn’t start out with that intention: of running a home-based business. In the beginning I considered it a stop gap while I took time to seek out the ideal job opportunity. I had just left a dot-com that lured me to San Diego (fortunate for us) but had been acquired by a company intent on moving the firm to Nashville. Nothing against Nashville – I love country music – but we enjoy living in Southern California.
Once we did make the commitment to grow our own business beyond a part-time endeavor, we set out to operate as if we were a multi-national conglomerate. We set aside a room in our house just for our office. We managed our accounting, sales, and production as professionally as we could, and set normal work hours as well. We got a business-class phone system and computer network. In short, we had all the trappings of business without the office lease and overhead.
However, being your own boss can be a real challenge. No one challenges your decisions. You’re the one who writes the pay check to yourself, and in lean months there’s no guarantee you’ll get paid.
But Cyndi and I would not trade our experience – and success – for anything.
Which is why it saddens me when I see so many scam artists try to take advantage of people who want to enjoy some, if not all, of the benefits we’ve had as home-based business owners.
A quick search on Google for “home based e-commerce” or “home-based business opportunity” yields pages of results pointing to what are obviously masked “get-rich-quick-schemes.” To the uninitiated, inexperienced or desperate seeker, these sites can sound quite enticing.
I’m probably not revealing any deep, dark secrets here when I point out a couple of truisms I’ve learned from decades of business experience:
- Hard work combined with a passion for success is the best combination.
- Finding someone to mentor you is a very smart pursuit. Find someone who has done what you’re trying to do, not someone who is out to charge your “only $29” for some secret guide to riches.
- Never pay anything to anyone for a business opportunity or start-up program until you have the opportunity to speak with someone personally. I have found that speaking to people gives me great insight into their honesty and dedication. No, e-mail does not count as “speaking to someone.”
- Know your strengths and your weaknesses before you start so you can appropriately leverage your skills and seek help where you need it.
In short, if you want to create a profitable home-based business, treat it as a business, not a hobby. Hobbies are for those who have passion without income. A successful business is for those who want to passionately make money.