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