13 Replies Latest reply on Oct 10, 2010 1:01 PM by JerryD

    Home based businesses

    irisiana

      Does anyone have experience with home based businesses?  I would like to hear from you.  What are the success stories and the drawbacks?  Thanks.

      Irisiana

        • Re: Home based businesses
          kybluegrass

          Hi

          Yes, have been in many home based businesses over my lifetime.  Some have

          worked, some have not.  However, I have found over the years that if one applies

          oneself, you truely can have a great home business.  I am currently in a program

          that is really great!  How about no more grocery or gasoline expense?  I can show

          you how to do this -- just by sharing the good news with a few.  I highly recommend

          home based business to everyone as their Plan B in today's economy.  I am a retired

          school teacher, having taught at Marshall University.  So now, I am putting to practice

          what I used to teach!  In fact, I am still "teaching", but now making a good income and helping

          others to do the same. 

           

          • Re: Home based businesses
            Chrysalis

            I am 60 years old and have had a home-based business for 10 years creating computer-based training courses for scientists and public health professionals. I love working for myself. I love getting different contracts and learning new things all the time. And I make good money ($55-$75/hr depending on the complexity of the project). I intend never to retire. Because I am self-employed and work on projects, if I want to take time off for a couple of days, I do. If I want to take a couple of months off, I just don't accept any contracts for that time.

            The bad news: the only reason I can do this is because my husband has a stable, full-time job with medical benefits. Without that, we'd be up the creek. Other bad news is that my income is very erratic-- it took me a long time to learn how to plan a budget when one year I earn $30,000 and the next $70,000. I hate marketing myself and trying to get new contracts. And one has to be very self-disciplined about putting in the time and effort when absolutely no one is watching you. And you have to be prepared to put in tons of hours when a deadline is approaching-- no excuses allowed! Oh, and don't forget the social isolation and the fact that you're on your own-- no IT people, no one to answer your questions (except online user forums), no accounting department.

             

              • Re: Home based businesses
                neelikiwi
                I would like to start a home based business but with my teaching background I don't know what kind of business I can start. Any ideas?
                  • Re: Home based businesses
                    Chrysalis
                    What did you teach? What subject? What grade level? What did you like about teaching? What did you hate?
                      • Re: Home based businesses
                        neelikiwi
                        I teach Pre-K. When you teach this level it is not so much about academics. We focus on physical development, social skills and cognitive development. We do touch areas such as math, science, social studies, literacy etc. which are incorporated into the daily activities that are planned. I like several things about my job. I like working with children. I am very creative. The job allows me to plan little art projects for the children which I really enjoy. I am able to come home early and also have a lot of days off. What I find hard is talking all day long. I am not a talker, but when you teach young children you have to talk constantly. I come home and stay in my room,and choose not to talk to anyone for some time each day.
                          • Re: Home based businesses
                            Chrysalis

                            OK. There you go. You answered your own question.

                            You like to develop games and activities for preschool children. You like your time to be flexible. And you don't want to have to talk a lot.

                            So maybe you could create preschool craft kits at home and sell them over the internet. Every kit would be complete--scissors, glue, pencils--don't assume that there is anything around the house. Try to find a unique "spin" you could put on your product--these kits are great while riding in the car, or these kits are for bilingual children, or these kits teach a certain skill important for later social or academic success. You might want to team up with a children's writer and/or illustrator to enhance their appeal and effectiveness. Advertise them on websites mothers and divorced fathers frequent, advertise them through home-schooling networks (while Mom is home schooling her 6 year old, what is the 3 year old doing?).

                            You have skill, experience, and passion. Now you need imagination, courage, and persistence. Go for it!

                              • Re: Home based businesses
                                neelikiwi
                                Loved your response. I will use every bit of advice that you have given me. Unlike professors and teachers of upper grades, pre-school teachers cannot keep working too long because it is physically very demanding. I have been thinking of starting my home based business for years. Now as retirement looms closer and closer, it's time for action.I liked the last sentence where you write, "You have skill, experience, and passion. Now you need imagination, courage, and persistence. Go for it!"
                                I told my self, it's time for ACTION!
                                Thanks for the advice. Please stay in touch.
                                  • Re: Home based businesses
                                    Chrysalis

                                    Obviously, you don't have to make Pre-K craft kits. The point is to think about what skills you have (for employment or otherwise) and what you like to do (for employment or otherwise). Think of as many skills and interests as possible. Write down what  you like and don't like about each. Then think of how you want your life to look in 5 years--be realistic. Work from home? Make a lot of money? Travel? Convivial colleagues? You're not going to be able to have it all, so you need to set your priorities. Also, how much money can you afford to invest/lose? You don't want to put $50,000 into a franchise, for example, unless you can afford to walk away from it.

                                    Then you need to set your imagination free trying to think up several business ideas that are in your areas of interest and expertise, and that will give you the lifestyle you want in 5 years, within the budget you have to spend. Then throw yourself into it whole hog and don't expect to make a profit for 3 years.

                                    The number one thing that kills start-up businesses is undercapitaliztion. You can't expect to earn a living from your new business for quite a while. What will you live on for 3-5 years? Be wary about taking loans from banks or family. If the business fails, how will you repay? What are you going to do for health insurance? These issues are why most people start a business on the side while they keep their day job. Or (like me) they have a working spouse who provides the basic income and benefits.

                                    So, yes, if you're planning to retire in a couple of years, this would be an excellent time to start your own business--nights and weekends!

                                      • Re: Home based businesses
                                        neelikiwi
                                        I do not intend to quit my job and start a business. Like marriages, many businesses fail. At my age I cannot take too big a risk. However, I can start small and grow slowly with time. If I reach a point where I can afford to quit my job I will do so.
                                          • Re: Home based businesses
                                            JerryD
                                            neelikiwi said...

                                                 
                                                      I do not intend to quit my job and start a business. Like marriages, many businesses fail. At my age I cannot take too big a risk. However, I can start small and grow slowly with time. If I reach a point where I can afford to quit my job I will do so.
                                                 
                                                            

                                            Neelikiwi, with the growth of day care, some associated with universities and large businesses, and charter schools, is there an opportunity for you to work with them to create programs for these situations? Maybe you could investigate pre-packaged projects that you might find a market for.

                                            I was never a teacher, but when I did some national testing in rural schools I was blown away by the  reactions of young grade schoolers to a subset of testing related to experiments. Some kids were just scared and others could hardly be contained due to their excitement. Obviously there are many situations where kids are not being exposed to exploratory projects that could only enhance their future prospects. Maybe you can help here.

                            • Re: Home based businesses
                              LarryBTDT

                              After years of volunteer work involving ethics complaints and commission arbitrations at my local board of Realtors, I became an expert in those issues. 

                              Now I get work as an expert witness and work out of my home office.  Most of the work is done here  -- reading, annotating, and writing opinions.  When necessary, I travel to meet attorneys, to get grilled at depositions, and for trial appearances...all on the clock at $150 per hour.  

                              My long parallel experience as a writer helps me write effective opinions.  My long experience as a presenter helps me in front of a jury.   The same goes for my years of teaching at the college.  It all comes together in this field.

                              Attorneys and the public know about me from my ads in the business-law newspaper, the Bar journal, and from my web site.  There is no constant demand for my services; every contact is a surprise.  If I agree with the caller's position, I will take the case.  If not, I decline.  Some times I help plaintiffs prosecute; other times I help defendants (usually brokers).

                              Expert work is extremely interesting and stimulating,  If you are a recognized expert in some field, maybe there's another way that you can contribute and reap rewards for your earned status.