Start a Home Business: Business and Career Advice: Explore New Careers

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Is It Time To Start Your Own
Home-Based Business?

by Lex Thomas

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Is It Time To Start Your Own
Home-Based Business?

It will come as no surprise to anyone that the world of work has changed over the past two decades. Gone are the days when it was usual to retire from a job 40 or more years after starting it. These days, by the time most of us reach our early forties (and sometimes sooner), we've had at least two career changes, maybe more.

Why Most Jobs Are Not Secure

Why the change in workplace culture? One major reason is economics. Most businesses operate on the premise of supply and demand. Whether they manufacture a product or offer a service, businesses won't make money without an audience of consumers ready to shell out hard cash for what they're selling.

But even a gaggle of buyers won't guarantee long-term success. Public tastes are notoriously fickle. So is the consumer's purse. What may seem like a good buy or a must-have product today can be relegated to the delete bin by tomorrow, often making an entire workforce obsolete in the process.

Social pressures also play a role in job stability. A flood of women in the workplace, an aging population that, whether by choice or necessity, continues to work, and young people with higher levels of education than ever before, all contribute to making the workplace more diverse, and also more crowded and competitive.

For many of us, starting a home-based business can mean the difference between working and not working, between having some control over our career path and being at the mercy of a volatile job market, and between having a job we enjoy and one that does little to fulfill us.

And while it may seem like a huge leap to go from being an employee to being self-employed, the rewards are well worth it, if you take the time to decide what you want to do, set some goals, come up with a business plan, learn about low-cost advertising and promotion, and follow municipal, state and federal regulations.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Let's start at the very beginning -- making the decision to go out on your own. Whether you have a clear vision of what you want to do or have no idea where to begin, you'll save yourself a lot of time and trouble later if you take the time to do some preliminary research. Start with asking yourself some basic questions.

  • What do you have to offer? What product or service are you selling? Do you want to consult in some area in which you have plenty of experience and expertise, or. capitalize on a talent that you have never had the opportunity to use professionally?
  • Who is your target audience? It won't matter how fabulous or unique your product is if there isn't a market for it. You'll find plenty of advice in FabJob guides, and many industries (consulting, writing, crafting, and many others) have published market guides for home-based businesses.
  • Where will you locate your business? If it's in your home, you may need special permits and business insurance if clients are going to visit you. If you have children, or have been a stay-at-home parent, you'll need to establish "working hours" and office space that your family can live with. If you plan to rent space, you'll need to budget for rent, utilities, and incidental costs.
  • Will you face a lot of local competition? If no one else is offering the same product or service, it may be because there's not a large enough audience for it in your area. In that case, can you broaden your target audience through mail order or the Internet?
  • How much time do you plan to devote to your home-based business? Are you prepared to make a full-time commitment, or are you looking to fill a few hours every week? Most people underestimate the amount of time it takes to set up and run a successful home-based business.
  • How much are you prepared to spend? Start-up costs depend on the business you have in mind. Some need little more than a telephone, computer and fax machine, while others need a significant investment in equipment and supplies. You'll need to decide how much you can afford to invest based on the time it will take to build your client base and income.

Some experts recommend writing down your answers, making lists, or keeping a journal. Although it's a good exercise and fun to look back at as you progress, if you're like me, your mind is constantly mulling all these issues over. I do, however, recommend keeping a notebook close at hand to jot down ideas that can so easily be forgotten if they're not captured the moment they occur to you.

Bear in mind that there are no right or wrong answers. Every business, no matter how large or small, started with a vision and a dream. The more honest you are with yourself at the outset, the better chance you have of making your dream come to fruition without a lot of wasted time, energy and money.

Visit Now to find the career of your dreams.

Related Information: Should You Turn Your Hobby Into a Business?

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by Lex Thomas
Lex Thomas is the author of the FabJob Guide to Become a Caterer or Personal Chef. She has over 15 years' experience as a professional writer and public relations consultant and offers editorial and PR solutions to meet short-term needs and long-term goals. Visit her website at

Become a Caterer or Personal Chef is featured in Woman's World Magazine ("Land Your Dream Job" article, April 2007).

FabJob Guides have been featured in stories at The Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur Magazine sites.

Become a Caterer or Personal Chef

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