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

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!

Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs.org, BizWarriors.com and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley).

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