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        Another AHBBO Article
        Look Before You Leap ... Is A Home-Based Business REALLY For You?

        Working from home sounds wonderful, doesn't it? No commute;
        no boss breathing down your neck; no fixed schedule; reward
        for effort; control; work/family flexibility; not having to
        worry about being laid off; leaving the office politics way
        behind; not having to get dressed up; being with your
        children. Is this what comes to mind when you think about
        what it would be like to work from home? If so, take a
        good hard look before you make the jump from paid to self-
        employment.

        Although these are all indisputably strong benefits of
        running your own home-based business, they need to be
        weighed against some pretty harsh realities if you are to
        make an informed decision whether a home-based business is
        truly right for you. These realities can be grouped into
        three main areas: personal, financial and situational.
         

        PERSONAL REALITIES

        -> Commitment - you must be totally committed to making a
        success of your business. It is important to distinguish
        between commitment and mere interest. If what you want to
        do as a business is only an interest, your enthusiasm and
        motivation may wane over time. You must be absolutely
        committed to the success of your business if you are to
        achieve the success you desire.

        -> Risk-Taker - one of the benefits of owning your own
        business is that you don't have to answer to a boss. The
        other side of the coin is that there is no-one to fall back
        on if things go wrong. If you make a mistake or suffer a
        loss, you wear it. For this reason, you must be comfortable
        taking calculated risks. If security and stability are very
        important to you, perhaps paid employment is a better option.

        -> Self Motivation - again, there is no boss to wave a carrot
        under your nose to get you moving. You must be able to
        motivate yourself to do what needs to be done and that
        includes the stuff you don't particularly enjoy doing.

        -> Self Discipline - being your own boss means exercising
        personal discipline to ensure that the work gets done.
        There will be no end of distractions to tempt you away from
        the task at hand when you're working from home. You will
        need a healthy dose of self discipline to ensure you stay on
        track.

        -> Patience - starting a home-business is one thing; turning
        a profit is quite another. You will not make a profit
        overnight. Be prepared to be patient and frugal during the
        first few months of your new venture.

        -> Reasons - closely related to the need for self-motivation,
        your reasons for wanting to work from home will keep you in
        the saddle. If your reasons are to get rich quick or work
        fewer hours, think again. A home-based business will
        definitely not deliver.

        -> Flexibility and Adaptability - you may have come from a
        corporate environment where you enjoyed a certain status.
        You may have had a secretary or assistant to take care of
        the more routine aspects of your job description. In your
        home-based business you will need to be prepared to wear
        many hats, at least in the beginning. This means being
        flexible and adaptable, being prepared to learn new skills
        and willing to take on new tasks.

        -> Willingness to Sacrifice - especially in the early stages
        of your business, be prepared to make sacrifices in terms of
        time and money to get your business off the ground. You
        will need to be prepared to put in long hours and, more
        likely than not, get by on less money than you were bringing
        home from your paid job.

        -> Work Ethic - the backbone of all of the disciplines you
        will need to practice in your home business is your work
        ethic. If you have a strong work ethic then the need for
        personal discipline and sacrifice will come as no surprise.

        -> Stress Management - the burden of your business's success
        or failure will rest squarely on your shoulders. That's a
        lot of responsibility. Consider your capacity for stress
        management. If it's not high, learn ways to increase it.
         

        FINANCIAL REALITIES

        -> Cash Reserves - if business is slow to start, do you have
        sufficient cash reserves to see you through? If not,
        perhaps you should consider starting your business part-time
        until it is bringing in enough of a profit to sustain you.

        -> Retirement Planning - say goodbye to the employer-
        sponsored pension plan and hello to the world of IRAs
        (Individual Retirement Accounts). You need to think
        differently about your retirement plans and should seek the
        advice of a qualified financial planner in the early days of
        your new business.

        -> Health Insurance - say goodbye too to the perks of paid
        employment such as free medical, dental, life and disability
        insurance. You will need to take out your own cover for
        these risks.

        -> Vacation - no-one's going to pay you while you take that
        two week vacation any more. And, while we're at it, who's
        going to run your business while you're away?
         

        SITUATIONAL REALITIES

        -> Hard Work, Long Hours - if you think that working for
        yourself means you won't have to work as hard or as long,
        think again. Most likely it will mean more of both.

        -> Interruptions - if you have children at home, be prepared
        for constant interruptions. Being with your children, of
        course, is one of the main advantages of working from home
        but you will need to set limits if your business is to get
        sufficient attention. The same goes for your spouse!

        -> Distractions - beware of the temptation to take care of
        household tasks during the time you have allocated to your
        business. It's very tempting to run a load of washing or
        vacuum the carpets instead of facing up to that business
        task you don't feel like doing right now. Self-discipline
        is crucial if you are to avoid procrastination undermining
        your productivity.

        -> Isolation and Loneliness - if you come from a busy
        corporate background, at some point after the novelty of
        working from home begins to wear off, you may begin to feel
        isolated and even lonely. Be prepared with strategies to
        keep the isolation blues at bay. See "Overcoming Isolation
        in Your Home Business" at Overcoming Isolation for some
        suggestions.
         

        As you can see, although there are many wonderful reasons to
        work from home, there are also many strong reasons why a
        home-based business may not be the right choice for you.
        Take a good hard look at the above realities and your own
        personal qualities and motivations. Do you have what it
        takes to make a success of your business? Are you prepared
        to do what has to be done? Whatever that is? If so, a
        home-based business may very well be just what the doctor
        ordered. But, if you have any doubts, look very hard before
        you make the leap from paid employment to your own home-
        based business. You could very well be jumping from the
        frying pan into the fire.

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