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  • The Life of the Solopreneur – Is it Right for You?

    15 October 2010

    SolopreneurAccording to the SBA’s 2006 data, 53% of the 25.8 million small businesses in the US are home-based. This equals 13.7 million home-based businesses.  So, it’s clear that a whole lot of people work from their homes these days, and those who don’t, sometimes wish they did.  Is working from home all that it’s cracked up to be though?  Let’s look into some of the advantages and disadvantages that come with running a home-based business.

    First, the disadvantages…

    Distractions – Working from home means that you will have all of the distractions of home and family life.  The phone ringing, kids playing, people coming to the door, you name it.  Whether it sounds appealing or not, the fact remains that when you entwine your personal life with your work life, distractions are inevitable.

    Family – Your family might not be as understanding as you’d like them to be when it comes to running your business from home. This often means missing meals, staying up late, missing family functions, and other activities that may interfere with the rest of the family. Also, you need a quiet place to work within the home, and that can sometimes cut into the rest of the family’s plans. Fighting over the phone, computer games, friends being over, etc. can equate to way too much noise is being made – all of this while you’re trying to speak with a client on the phone!

    Time Envy – Other family members might start to become frustrated with the fact that you are physically there, but you’re not really there. I’m sure you can see how this might make a spouse begin to feel somewhat lonely and even jealous of your business.

    Drop-ins – Friends and family might think that because you are at home, they can call or drop by any time. It’s difficult to get the point across to people that you being at home sometimes means you’re working. It can be hard to get them to respect your wishes.

    Although these down-sides may seem like too much to deal with at times, the up-sides make working from home worthwhile.

    The Advantages…

    Set your schedule – You make your own hours. You will always be able to schedule in time for school functions and doctor’s appointments, and if you suddenly come down with the creepin’ crud, you don’t have to call into work and hope that your employer will understand.

    Save money – Working from home is very cost effective. Since your office is in your home, you may be qualified to use part of the home and other expenses as tax write-offs. Not only that, but your wallet will be thanking you now that you no longer have to budget in money for the gas to get you to and from work every day.

    Save time – A home office equals a drastic reduction in travel times. You will no longer have to spend your time in long commutes and traffic congestion. Since you are working from home, walking a few steps across the house is now your commute.

    Family time – The fact that you are at home and are able to spend much more time with your family will drastically improve the quality of life for the entire family!

    Just imagine…you wake up in the morning, open your eyes, and instead of sighing because you know you’ve got a long commute and full work day in front of you, you smile and take a big whiff of the coffee that’s brewing in the other room – just waiting for you to start your work day!  Of course as entrepreneurs, we know that wherever your work day starts and ends, it’s going to be a long one, but there really is something about being a solopreneur that can’t be beat.  Do you work from home as a solopreneur? Be sure to share your experience in the comments!

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    33 Responses to The Life of the Solopreneur – Is it Right for You?

    1. Pet Camera October 15, 2010 at 7:42 am #

      I can definitely related to the issue of family thinking because you’re home that pop ins and long phone calls aren’t and issue. Definitely need to set some boundaries with that so you can stay focused and not get into tangent city.

    2. Morgan October 15, 2010 at 7:59 am #

      The distractions are my greatest weakness. But I’ve been able to combat that with designating a specific workspace area and then wearing headphones to block out distractions, making it seem like a ‘closed in’ space (not ear buds, actual over the ear headphones).

      I do try to go to get out of the house and go to Starbucks to work which can help with personal distractions (such as cleaning, TV, etc).

    3. Brad Allmendinger October 15, 2010 at 9:37 am #

      I recently started a business and began working from home. It was a struggle to be productive for the first week. You have to build your own structure into the day. Set your own working hours, but don’t be afraid to take a quick break between tasks to run and errand or do something outside.

      It is a challenge to strike a balance, but you must.

    4. Robin Feltner October 15, 2010 at 9:49 am #

      Interesting to see the flip side of telecommuting/working from home. No one can even fathom a downside …until they do it for a few years. I still prefer it to the alternative (office), but it’s not without it’s drawbacks.

    5. Sell Textbooks October 15, 2010 at 11:06 am #

      I had to make a specific area for work so that i could minimize distractions.. That is my biggest problem with working at home. While I still get distracted it is more work related than not.

    6. Aluminum Cases October 15, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

      Yes it does take some adjustments to be able to effectively work from home. One disadvantage that you missed is lack of social interaction. If you are home in front of a computer all day, it is easy to get lonely. Of course it does seem that this post is more focused towards people with a spouse and kids, in which case that would not apply as much.

    7. katrina October 15, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

      I used to love working at home on random days when I had an office to go to full-time; but now that I’m doing my own venture I work half the week at home and half the week at a co-working space. I love the co-working space and am starting to dread working from home. Although the commute to the office can be crappy, I’d much rather be with other people in a designated work space than alone in my apartment for the entire day. I find that I’m more productive out of home, for those who feel like me checkout local co-working spaces which are popping up all over the place.

    8. tires October 15, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

      Wow I am highly surprised at that number, didn’t think it would be so high! Still though I think it depends on the person to determine whether it’s all that its cracked up to be. I’ve heard from plenty of solopreneurs who are doing well financially from working from home but don’t like working from home as much as they used to. For some its a lack of social interactions, for others its too much social interactions.. heh.

      Till then,

      Jean

    9. books October 15, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

      So true, working at home can be hit or miss. I personally find it hard to find the motivation to get out of bed every morning at a decent hour and get to work! More power to yo if you can.

    10. tires October 15, 2010 at 4:02 pm #

      @Aluminum Cases, you are very right on that, I love working from home but there are times that I will admit I do get lonely, and feel quite depressed. It’s an on and off feeling but I always feel like in the long run it’s going to get better.

      -Jean

    11. works October 16, 2010 at 2:38 am #

      I recommend anyone who has family to work at home. You get to spend as much time as you want with your kids and if you do it right you can make a very nice salary. I wish everyone will listen to you and this post!

    12. car battery October 16, 2010 at 6:13 am #

      I think for most people that work from home, whether they enjoy it or not depends on the kind of personality they have. People who like to work in a crowd and enjoy the social aspect of a office might be miserable sitting home the whole time. But on the other hand, people who enjoy their privacy and don’t want to deal with office politics and the like, working from home is the way to go. Thanks for your suggestions on how to make the most of it. In time, juggling family/home and work becomes second nature.

    13. JohnAtBlogtrepreneur October 16, 2010 at 8:49 am #

      Lots of great feedback here. I’ve been working from home for about 3 years now, and while I can say for sure it’s a thousand times better than going to a job every day, it does have the drawback of not getting the adult human interaction that is so important.

      Thanks all for sharing!

    14. lara October 16, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

      i am not working from home yet,but i am really looking forward to it. i cant wait to get things together and start. i love the fact that i will be in control of my life and time.
      i especially like this part of—- “Just imagine…you wake up in the morning, open your eyes, and instead of sighing because you know you’ve got a long commute and full work day in front of you, you smile and take a big whiff of the coffee that’s brewing in the other room – just waiting for you to start your work day…..
      thank you for this.

    15. Carlton October 16, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

      I think you wont be much social as well when you work from home. Also, you might not learn many thing because you are not in a team.

    16. email search October 16, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

      Despite all of the advantages that working from home might seem to offer to many people, it has great disadvantages too such as: having trouble separating home and work life, domestic interruptions and distractions, isolation and … So before one decides to choose this lifestyle they should consider all aspects of it.

    17. quitsmoking October 17, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

      As others stated working from home is just as difficult as working out of an office. While my business is “work from home capable” I choose to rent a small office.

    18. Aluminum Cases October 18, 2010 at 10:57 am #

      @email search: yes people should definitely consider aspects like that. To people who have always worked in an office, it may be tough to imagine any drawbacks of working from home. It may sound like the ideal setup, but there are still bound to be some kind of complications.

    19. Jasmine October 19, 2010 at 1:43 am #

      The biggest disadvantage of working from home is loneliness! I know this because I have gone through this same thing sometime ago.

    20. Printable Coupons October 19, 2010 at 5:19 am #

      Working from home pros and cons. Well, it depends on how you manage your time and set your priorities..

    21. JohnAtBlogtrepreneur October 19, 2010 at 8:41 am #

      @Jasmine: The loneliness factor is something a lot of homepreneurs talk about. If you work from home, it’s important to participate in networking events and other activities that get you out of the house and among real, live people!

    22. buy p90x October 19, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

      These are some important things to consider if your plan to become a “Solopreneur”. This lifestyle is definitely not for everyone and it can take its toll for sure. Thanks for the post Matthew.

      - Robert

    23. Foam Fabricator October 19, 2010 at 10:15 pm #

      I work from home, my wife bothers me all the time, that is why I work at night. I get the most work done while she is sleeping. lol

    24. Computer Tips Tricks October 20, 2010 at 2:57 am #

      That’s absolutely what I’m doing. For me, “self discipline” is the most important factor that push me forward.

    25. car battery October 20, 2010 at 11:07 am #

      The human interaction is a very important aspect though. Even back in the caveman days, humans hunted in packs for example. Since working at home gives you a flexible schedule, adjust it around your friends so you can spend time off with them and have a healthy bond with them as an enriching social life.

    26. Mauricio Malchevic October 20, 2010 at 11:49 am #

      Very good post, I was born to be a Solopreneur. As the post mentioned, there are many disadvantages, especially the family factor. But if you think about the advantages and the infinite possibilities that you have in front of you is well worth the risk.

    27. Sell Textbooks October 21, 2010 at 10:34 am #

      Finding the balance between home and work can be really hard. You do get flack from others because they think it is all fun and games. But when you are your own boss you have no one to answer to but yourself. That can hurt and help at the same time. There are so many different variables.

    28. Unlimited Reverse Phone Lookup October 22, 2010 at 10:48 pm #

      I agree with the point you have put across.If you look profit wise then Solopreneur is good but again you have to sacrifice too many things to be one successful Solopreneur.

    29. tampa seo October 23, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

      very good points. I have been working for myself since 1995 and had downtimes and great peaks. I think it’s not for everybody as it does take a lot of selfdisciplines, perseverance and determination not to mention lots of other tings from the family members:) But it comes with its rewards, hopefully more often than disappointments.

    30. Brandon October 24, 2010 at 1:20 pm #

      I think all the negative reasons can be ignored when you consider the idea that you can spend more time with family. You get to take breaks when you want. Etc.

    31. Braun toothbrush heads October 25, 2010 at 10:35 am #

      i think being in business for yourself is definently the way to go as long as you have the desire and motivation to work on it everyday.

    32. Jasmine October 26, 2010 at 1:27 am #

      You are right. Sometimes I just chat with my friends on MSN when I feel bored. :)

    33. Alfred Siliano October 27, 2010 at 11:03 pm #

      Just because you are a Solopreneur doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself. There are many entrepreneur support groups in which the Solopreneur can find good and valuable advice. I suggest you take the time to develop a business plan, sell what you know and learn what you don’t know.

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