Nine Reasons Why Home-Based Business Ownership Works For Parents
So you’re a parent, or thinking about becoming one. No matter what your background or walk of life, you are probably dealing with the question of combining parenting with holding down a job outside the home. If you ponder these things, you are not alone. I wondered the same things as a new bride in 2000.
My husband and I wanted a family, yet his job as a camera man on ABC's Nightline required him to work from late in the afternoon to long past midnight. I worked like crazy from morning until after the dinner hour at a Washington, DC law firm. We had a fantastic combined income, yet we knew that it would be impossible to have a child with our schedules and the stress caused by our jobs.
I took action by starting a business from home. For the first year, I worked part-time for $500 a month at a small law firm while my husband covered all of our bills, so I could transition out of financial heaven. I delivered our first child in October 2001, and by January 2002, I was sitting in my home office nursing my baby while drafting up my next online newsletter. (Here's one of the more humorous editions, published a few months after she was born.)
It's not always easy to simultaneously work from home and manage the home too, but then, parenting is never easy. And neither is making a living. But when you work and parent from the same location, the two tasks are combined in a way that makes it sensible to do both.
Here are 7 reasons home-based business ownership can work for you and your family.
1. Your Heart In Your Home
If you're like me, you know that parenthood is not just something we do to populate the world or create little clones of ourselves. Parenthood is a calling. An irresistible leaning that leads to a commitment of your time, talent and resources to accomplish a specific goal.
If you are called to parenting, then you want to do everything you can do pursue that calling as successfully as possible. Home-based business ownership allows you to earn a living in a way that acknowledges and facilitates your ability to put your home first.
When you have children, especially when they are young, being at home allows you to put their needs first, not only emotionally but also physically. That's impossible when you are someplace else all day. It's hard to put your home first when you're sitting in rush hour traffic thinking about how someone else is curling up with your infant or watching your toddler take her first steps.
Lets face it, parenting requires flexibility. One minute, everyone is healthy and the next, sniffles abound — and at midnight no less! Parenting requires you to turn around on a dime, go with the flow and change plans quickly. If you have to check in with a boss and a few co-workers every time your child has a fever or your spouse goes away on a business trip, it's hard to be flexible.
Having a business at home allows you to create your schedule based on the needs of everyone in the family, not worrying about the schedule of those outside your home.
4. Environmental Benefits
Working at home facilitates an environmentally friendly lifestyle. Reducing your automobile emissions is a great way to start living a more earth-friendly lifestyle, yet people who work outside the home usually have no control over the distance between home and work. It can take up to an hour during rush hour to travel a distance that would otherwise take 15 or 20 minutes. Being at home for work eliminates your contribution to the toxins caused by so many cars on the road. It also shows your children how your choices are actually helping to care for the environment.
5. Economic Benefits
If you don't drive as much, you save money on gas — and who doesn't need to do that these days? You also save money in other ways: dry cleaning, suits, fast food and more. Plus, the tax benefits to a family with a business that takes the deductions it is entitled to are too many to name.
6. Unlimited Personal Potential
When you control the pace of your career advancement, the sky is the limit. Take IBN member Lela Barker, owner of Bella Lucce in South Carolina, for example. Six years ago, she was a single mom with no job and no place to live. She moved into her mother's basement with her daughters and started whipping up sugar scrub.
Recently, Lela's corporate revenues passed the million dollar mark. The growth has caused her to move production to a facility, but she's still close to both home and her daughters' schools. Lela travels the globe working with some of the world's most luxurious spas and hotel chains to develop upscale products. She schedules everything around her children and husband. Her potential as a business woman is unlimited, yet her heart remains in her home first. This sets an excellent example for her girls and for other young people watching her success.
7. Entrepreneurial and Life Education
This morning, before my husband took our 4-year old son went to school, my son and I took a look at the family business bank statement. I showed him the "plus" and "minus" signs so he could see for himself the connection between money coming in and money going out, and how that translates into food on the dinner table and additional Spiderman paraphernalia.
He doesn't understand the details, but he gets the gist of it: mom and dad work together to generate the cash needed to provide for him and his sister. This is just a small sampling of how we use our business to teach our kids crucial life skills they will need in the future.
Let's face it, keeping a marriage together is a challenge. When you work with your spouse, the challenges are compounded. Not only do you have to make things work personally, you also have to make them work professionally. When your marriage and your profession are interdependent upon one another in this way, special mountains need to be climbed.
But as IBN member Maggie Hanus of A Wild Soap Bar in Texas says, "The family that grinds together also binds together."
I have found this to be true, as the business gives me and my husband one more significant reason to work out any personal differences we may have (and we do have them), and this benefits everyone.
It's fun to work from home and make a living at the same time! We make up our own days. Sometimes, we just get up and go swimming or for a walk. We can pack up the Blackberry or laptop (or not …) and take the day off at the zoo or to another fun location. We can work all night and play all day if we want to.
I sometimes have neighbors, some of whom also work from home, over during the day for a meal. It's a fun way to socialize that doesn't happen in too many neighborhoods any more.
What about you?
Are you a parent who works from home? How is it working for you? Tips to offer? Or maybe you're a parent trying to figure out how you can make the transition I did, so you can enjoy the benefits of working from home and owning your own brand too. Let me know if you're out there! If there's enough of you, I'll put together a free seminar just for you!
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