Meet two types of home-based business
There are two types of home-based business owners, the laissez faire homegrown and the ambitious solo professional. It seems no matter which we are, others assume our businesses are a mere folly.
The ‘homegrowns’ home business is a convenient way to make a few dollars and the ‘solo professionals’ are committed to their home-based businesses and choose to work from home because it suits them.
It’s an attitude thing.
The ‘homegrowns’ tell you they are not available at 10 o’clock because they have to have their legs waxed. The ‘solo professionals’ don’t provide any superfluous scene-setting information.
The homegrowns give the impression they are fitting you in to their day and the solo professionals are focussed on your needs.
Of course both types have a legitimate right to exist and to operate however they like. But the problem is that the former are spoiling it for the latter.
Because home-based businesses aren’t weighed down with overheads, many out earn larger out-of-home businesses and because they get to keep most of what they make the turnover of a home-based business can be a fraction of that of an office-based one and can still make its owner more money.
Flying solo can be flat out smart. And doing it from home even better.
While the life balance issues and the flexibility are desirable, there is no reason that home-based businesses cannot equally be about making lots of money. We don’t have to apologise for that.
Those flying solo need to decide whether they are a homegrown, just grateful for the few extra dollars coming into the household, or whether they are solo professionals, who have chosen to make their contribution to the world from their home-based office. Flexibility doesn’t have to be traded for poverty. Repeat after me. “It’s okay to make lots of money however you choose to make it.”
After four years of paying my landlord’s mortgage as well as my own, I have moved my work back home (yes, for the usual flexibility reasons) and now run two businesses at home while I attend to my considerable, varied and never-ending mum duties. On hearing the news, most people sympathise, assuming I am ‘giving up’ or that it was ‘too hard’.
Two things are certain. One, that this year I will make and keep – substantially – more money than I did last year. Two, that I will throttle the next person who asks me how my ‘little’ business is going (and kick their shins as well if they add the ‘sigh, I hear you’re working from home now’).
It makes no difference to anyone where our desk is or what we are wearing when we’re working at it or what time of day it is when the work is done, unless we allow it to by behaving more homegrown than solo professional.
What does matter is the work we do creates value for those we do it for, that we can be contacted when we’re needed and we front up for meetings at client offices looking like we could fit in there if only the thought of organisational life didn’t make us feel a little off colour.
Flying solo? Yep. Zooming.
Karen Morath has spent more than 20 years in the communication industry and believes so strongly that communication empowers that she named her company after it. This article first appeared on www.flyingsolo.com.au, Australia's online community for solo business owners.