For women who choose to center their lives around their homes, fitting business ownership into their already hectic schedules can be a challenge. Yet the selection of the right business and the right approach can yield tremendous personal and financial rewards.
Goals and Challenges
Opening a business may allow you to fulfill several pressing needs, such as for additional income, adult interaction, self improvement, “me time” or to build a resume for getting into the work force. Make a list of what you hope to accomplish with your business, both financially and in your personal growth.
If you're interested in a home business, chances are you already have significant home-based responsibilities. Consider the specific challenges you'll face in running a business, and design a business that can survive those challenges, while still meeting your goals.
If child rearing, taking care of parents or supporting a soldier take the bulk of your time and do so in unpredictable patterns, select a business that you can do on your own time rather than on a client's schedule. One military spouse stationed in Europe does freelance writing. Each assignment is due in one week, and she's free to do her writing at night or as time allows throughout the week.
Should one of your primary goals be adult interaction, consider a job that can be done with a business partner or with subcontractors. For example, a woman living in Kabul, Afghanistan, runs a distributed embroidery factory. She buys her supplies wholesales, then drops off one order and its supplies at each of several hundred women's homes. A week later she picks up the completed embroidery, then sells the pieces online to hotel gift shops in Europe.
If you're entirely housebound because of health or location, choose something that can be done over the Internet or by mail. A severely diabetic couple in an agricultural area run a seed business. They grow certain garden crops, package the seeds in small envelopes, and deliver them by mail. Another couple in similar circumstances orders children's toys wholesale and retails them over the Internet.
Having the luxury of a day or two to dedicate to your business each week can increase your options dramatically. One woman, who was laid off from a high-tech job, devoted her free time to writing iPhone applications. Another started a “speed photography” service, meeting with clients in parks and other beautiful, free settings for quick, inexpensive but professional-quality photographs.
Check It Out
The possibilities are endless, once you apply creativity to your circumstances and goals. But before embarking on your business journey, be sure to do your homework. Check the laws in your location and state and check with the Small Business Administration.