Wouldn't it be wonderful to be your own boss – even better, to work from home, set your own hours and look after your family's needs? Wouldn't it be wonderful to bring in money without driving yourself mad commuting to a job every day?
Millions of parents dream of this picture – and many try starting a business or two. But the reality is: it is not easy to find something that will earn you real income, that's honest, and that will make sense to you and other people.
You might think of starting your own business. If you have a passion and a talent for something, you could turn that into a business – custom seamstress, music school, writer, caterer . . . Of course, it takes a lot of money and time to succeed and unfortunately, even with all the pieces in order, many of these businesses struggle to survive, or they fail.
Your other choice is to partner with an existing business. Franchises are extremely expensive and chances are that you'd be working longer hours away from home than ever.
To truly work from home, you'll want to look at some form of marketing. If you've done any research, you'll know there are several options:
- home parties for cosmetics, housewares, even lingerie
- sales meetings for nutritional supplements, 'miraculous' weight-loss products and New Age herbal tonics
- telecom and Internet access services
- Internet money-making schemes like 'e-books' and dubious-sounding 'affiliate' programs – and outright illegal scams.
When looking at the options, you'll want to consider:
- Do you want to resell products to people? Can you sell enough to do well?
- Do enough people want or believe they need nutritional supplements, herbs and weight-loss capsules or drinks? Can they afford them?
- How hard is it to convince people to change their Internet or telecom service? How much competition is there?
- Does anyone actually read 'e-books'?
- Is it legal to make money without a real product or service involved? (hint: No!)
Lots of questions – but very important ones to ask before you take up your pen to sign! Too many people start a business that isn't viable or doesn't suit them, then fail and vow never to try again. And that's sad, because it is possible to succeed in a home business if it's the right one.
The truth is that not many of these business opportunities are designed so that the average person can do more than break even. So . . . what are the crucial things you should look for?
Start-up cost: It is not necessary or wise to invest hundreds or thousands of pounds initially. On the other hand, free opportunities generally give returns in line with their initial cost – nothing. A small investment in your own business makes most sense.
Money-back guarantee: Any company that does not offer this doesn't have a lot of faith in their own quality. Beware!
Company longevity:Start-up companies are as common as mushrooms in autumn – and they shrivel and disappear just as fast. Look for a company with a strong track record that has been in business at least five years.
Desirable products or services: You want something that real people are going to want and need. If you have to convince people they want what you're offering, it's like trying to push a piece of string uphill . . .
Ongoing costs: Any monthly order requirement should be reasonable, and the costs should be competitive. Overpriced products will kill your chances of success. Many companies require you to buy more than you need personally and to resell it. If you can't sell that extra inventory, you will find yourself losing money.
Income opportunity: Ask for income statistics from the company. See how much the average income is at each stage of growth. Ask the person you're talking to how much they make and how much their partners make. Don't be afraid to seem rude – ask for real figures!
True residual income: Once people become your customers or partners, you should not need to badger them to continue. If they see the value in the product or service, they'll want to remain. Look for a company with a high retention rate.
Teamwork: To build a successful business, you need help. The company you choose should offer free training and support, and a minimal amount of administrative work.
You may now be wondering, 'Are there any companies that meet all these criteria?' the answer is, 'Unfortunately, very few'. The good news is that there are some. If you're serious about a home business and are willing to put some effort into building it, the dream is possible. Just be sure to do your research first!
This article was written by Elizabeth McLean, Business Coach
Elizabeth McLean is partnered with a $500 million, 18-year-old company with a debt-free record of growth. In addition to meeting all of the above criteria, they have recently won an environmental award. They manufacture a natural, nontoxic line of over 300 household products that families use every day, from dish and laundry soaps and other safe cleaning supplies to salon-quality hair care; a luxury body, skincare and cosmetics line; first-aid supplies; nutritional supplements and even pharmaceutical items.
After establishing their reputation in North America, Australia and Asia, they have expanded to the United Kingdom this fall. By simply switching shops to buy healthier products and referring other customers – without selling products, collecting money or buying more than we need – we're able to create serious incomes. If you're interested in a home business or in creating a safer home, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a free, live Internet overview especially for UK residents, where you can be among the first to learn all the details.