5 Advantages To Running a Home Business

I run my small business from home, and I love it, but it’s not the perfect fit for everyone. There are both advantages and disadvantages to running your small business from home. Today I’m going to focus on the advantages, but I’m also going to present the disadvantages for each.

  1. One of the biggest advantages is working in your slippers if you want to. When you’re not meeting with clients or customers you can hang out in comfortable clothes and your slippers if you want to. I do always try to get dressed for the day when I get up in the morning. I think that sets the tone for the day. When I’m up and dressed I’m ready to get to work. The disadvantage: Sometimes it’s hard to get in a work mode with dishes to do, a pile of laundry staring at you, or your family has other plans for the day. It’s easy to get sidetracked and get nothing done!
  2. You can set your own hours (sometimes). Setting your own hours is usually a benefit, as long as you make sure you set aside some time for work. Don’t just blow it off because you have flexibility. You’ve got to put the hours in if you want to build your business. The disadvantage is you never leave work! It can be tempting to work too much, and neglect your family if you’re not careful, or to let clients take over your down time.
  3. You can decorate your office or work space however you want to. If you want to go all out for Christmas, there’s no one stopping you. If you want photos on your desk, or a coffee warmer, it’s all up to you. The disadvantage (for me at least), sometimes it’s easy to let my office space get cluttered with non office clutter, and to let my office expand into other rooms in the house. It can be difficult to keep things separated.
  4. You don’t have to pay for a separate work space. If you set up an office or a storefront it’s an additional monthly cost to your business. Disadvantage, the same as number 3!
  5. You’ll save big on commuting costs. With gas prices up you can save big dollars each month on gas, wear and tear on your car, and insurance by driving fewer miles and working from home. Disadvantage: Since you are at home it’s hard for others to believe you’re working, and easier for them to try to request things from you during your work time.

If you run your small business from home, what is your favorite advantage?

Do You Have A Business or Hobby? Can It Be Both?

One thing that I love about blogging and creating Squidoo lenses is taking things I enjoy doing (my hobbies), and making money from those hobbies.

One of the most popular ways to start a small business is to take something you love and build a business around it. But is it feasible to create a business around your favorite things, or hobbies? It is if you think outside the box!

Handmade cards

Sometimes you have to get creative to build a business around your hobby, but it can be done. You might not be able to create a business crafting or drawing because it’s too time consuming to make much money at it (although I’m sure there are those out there who do).

Think outside the box with your hobby, here are a few business ideas using the crafting and drawing examples I used above.

  • Instead of actually selling hand crafted pieces maybe you could create patterns from what you make and sell the patterns.
  • Create a blog about your craft or art work. Teach others to create.
  • Make crafting or drawing how to instructional videos and sell them in an online store, or have others sell them for you through Clickbank.
  • Create a website to sell your favorite art and craft supplies. You don’t even have to stock the supplies yourself just find a good affiliate program to promote.
  • Don’t have money for your own website? Start with a couple Squidoo lenses about your hobby, and make money selling the supplies through Amazon, ebay, or your own affiliate links. Promote your Etsy, ebay, or Zazzle store.
  • Sell your crafts through Etsy.
  • Sell your artwork on t-shirts through Zazzle, or Cafe Press.
  • Teach crafting or drawing classes locally
  • Create a membership site with learning resources for people who would like to learn more about your hobby.

Just substitute your hobby in for the crafting and drawing, many of these will work for different hobbies. If you like to play music, collect antiques, take photographs, etc, just take a look at the list and decide what might work for you. If you’re good at what you do share it with others, you should be able to create a small business around it.

Many business ideas can be tested these days without a big dollar investment. You can create a video and upload it to Youtube, set up a free blog or Squidoo lens, or patterns to be downloaded by your customer, and it will cost you very little, but you can make money from it with a little promotional effort.

Think outside the box, what type of small business could you create around your hobby? How can you promote that small business?

Image: istockphoto.com

Do You Work Regular Hours On Your Small Business?

I work full time from home, some of the work I do is on my own blogs and websites, but I also have several clients to juggle into the mix. My work for clients usually has deadlines, but no one’s looking over my shoulder to make sure I get my work done.

home office 4

Sometimes it can be easy to say I’ll do it later, and do something else instead. My motivation is, I LOVE doing what I do. I love working from home, and I love writing and creating. I don’t want to do anything else, period!

So yes, I keep regular business hours, and I treat everything just like a business. I make a daily schedule and I try to stick with it. If I didn’t I’d be out of a job and back to work someplace with someone watching over my shoulder.

Do you keep regular business hours for your small business? There are many reasons why you should keep regular business hours, even when your small business is just starting out.

  • If you set up regular business hours you will be more motivated to sit down and work. If you sit down and get sidetracked make a schedule and set a timer. Then you’ll know it’s work time and time to get focused, that you shouldn’t be folding laundry, or mowing the lawn. You should be working on something to move your business forward.
  • Your customers and other contacts will know when to contact you. Whether your contacts are hundreds of miles away, or right down the street, it’s good for them to know when your business hours are so they know when they can do business with you. I do regular phone interviews, and I usually schedule them for about the same time of the day, it helps to build a routine in my day.
  • Set rules with your family for your work hours. If you have older children you will be able to let them know when it’s OK to interrupt your work time, and when they need to be able to take car of themselves for short bursts of time. For younger children you’ll need to decide if someone else will need to care for them during your work time, or if you can pull double duty. It’s tough to balance work and children. Even if you schedule your work for short bursts with plenty of family time in between make sure you schedule that work time.
  • You’re better able to schedule your work day. If you have set work hours for your small business you’ll be able to make a list of what you need to get done, then set up a schedule during your business hours to get the tasks on your business to do list accomplished.

Even if your business hours can only be a few hours per week, it’s still a good thing to set aside that time to work on your business. The more time you can devote, the more you’ll have a chance to grow your business.

Image (c) L Gerlach