woman at computer with baby
Working from home is no easy task. Add children to the mix and your existence becomes a fruitful mix of joy, frustration, happiness and chaos; and yet a home-based business can be very, very fulfilling.
Women choose to work from home for various reasons. Many are moms who move into entrepreneurship as a way to give their kids more personal time and yet maintain some income or professional status. Other moms find their way into a home business because of unexpected life changes. Jan Landon, a freelance writer, needed to give up her job as a daily newspaper journalist when her youngest son was diagnosed with a serious health condition. Mary Lynn Fisher, a local Monavie acai juice distributor, began her home based business as a way to supplement her teacher’s salary and help her children attend college.
No matter how women with children come to work from home, it can be both challenging and rewarding.
A first, very important step to owning your own home-based business is having a good idea. Some of the easiest home businesses involve becoming a representative for an already well-established company. Brand names such as Pampered Chef, Avon and Mary Kay, to a certain extent, market themselves and then business is furthered through word-of-mouth. Well driven individuals have become very successful financially through these ready-made businesses.
Skill-based businesses often require little monetary investment. These include freelance writing, marketing, consulting and computer services, among others. Some types of home-based businesses are start-ups in any number of industries and often cater to a specific local clientele.
Many women turn a craft, hobby or personal passion into a thriving business. Angie Brooks is a local artist who specializes in decorative painting. Hers is a passion-driven business that is inspired by her love of creativity and art.
Creativity can also lead to a home-based business selling goods. Some businesswomen create their products personally such as homemade foods and others buy items for resale in gift baskets or as part of an online retail business.
Once you decide to start a home business and choose a product or skill, find out what is required on a local, state and federal level. Initially, anyone starting a business must address the legal structure of the business. There are several choices including a Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Corporation and more. If you need one, you will have to file a Form SS-4 with the IRS for an EIN (Employer Identification Number). Anyone doing business under a name other than their own, must file a Florida Fictitious Name registration. If your business involves selling goods, you will need a Florida State Tax ID number. This will allow you to collect taxes and make payments to the State of Florida for those items sold. It is also necessary to check zoning laws and any laws pertaining to your particular industry.
Beyond these basics, www.myflorida.com has many helpful links for those wishing to start a business. In Collier County, www.co.collier.fl.us is a useful website to visit.
With its own positives and negatives, Southwest Florida is an interesting place to start a home-based business. This area has a population with a lot of disposable income. If you find a product or service catering to the local population, the possibilities are endless. There are also a lot of tourists and snowbirds, all of whom take any number of gift and local items home with them each year. If you are handy or do not mind working hard, cleaning and handyman services are in great demand – especially if you are an upstanding and honest business owner.
There are plusses and minuses to any entrepreneurial undertaking and even more so when you have kids at home. Managing your time well is a must for anyone with a home-based business. “My day starts around 7 am and goes until 1 in the morning,” Angie says.
Moms are already well aware of how much time and juggling children take, but a home-based business incorporates other peoples’ deadlines and needs besides those of your family. Is your desk or personal space already not-your-own? Try using that space for a business. The task of looking for a lost beloved toy becomes even more tedious when the phone rings and you need to put on your best professional voice. Dogs barking in the background, crying baby, or fighting siblings; these are all fears when trying to decide whether to answer the phone at any given moment.
“Not all interviews can be done while the children are at school, so there is also the challenge of trying to sound professional when there are children needing attention and friends coming in and out,” Jan says. “It is difficult but it can be done.”
On the plus side, you get to be home when you need to be. A home-based business gives moms flexibility, income and time with the family. And just because it can be crazy and hectic, each entrepreneur has the leeway to create the business model she desires. If you only want to work 10 hours a week then make sure you keep your focus small and limit growth. For moms who thrive on crazy, the opportunity for unlimited growth is only contained by the imagination and efforts to work hard. Mary Lynn sees her home business as, “planning for your future.”
Whatever area you choose for your home-based business, it is important that you have passion and drive. Angie, put it well, “You either have an entrepreneurial spirit or you don’t.”