How To Work To Live NOT Live To Work

Author: Byron Pulsifer, 2007

Many of us have dreamed of owning and running our own home based business. This notion of our own business often arises when we are already working usually for someone else

With ever-increasing demands on our time, more pressure at work to perform because of downsizing, rightsizing, or whatever the terminology is used in your environment, there is greater interest as the routine of working for some else mounts. In fact, what we are really saying is that we would rather "work to live", NOT "live to work".

My wife and I arrived at this point in different times in our lives. While she was busy climbing the corporate ladder, I was steadily becoming disillusioned in my career. Sure it paid well, had all the benefits that go with it, six weeks of vacation, a nice office, but there was something missing. Every day I travelled to work on the commuter train, I thought about breaking away from this routine and doing something I really wanted to do. The question, however, was what did I want to do? In addition, there were the realistic concerns about on-going financial obligations, and monies that would be required for business start-up costs.

The decision to resign from a well-paying position with its security, benefits, vacation, and known environment did not come easy. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Periods of self-doubt, in fact, feelings of down right panic flowed too easily every time I put my mind in the other unknown environment.

Would I be successful, how long would it take before I could expect an income, could I survive long enough to make an income before I ran out of available capital, what type of business would I be best suited for, would this business require a physical environment other than my home, would I be able to conduct this business on my own without additional employees, and the list seemed to go on and on.

Fortunately, my wife and I agreed that it was time for both of us to change our lifestyle both looking for a simpler life where we had control not someone else. Along with this decision to move to a simpler life came the decision to move to the country where we could start our own business based on what we wanted to do.

We decided that we would start a small craft business where we developed, made, marketed, and sold our own hand-made products. With that decision, we developed a range of products, not just one product, but many different kinds. However, the range of products we made was a big mistake. It was a mistake because we lacked focus; it seemed we were all over the map with different types of products to the point where we didn't focus on any one kind, or, in other words, we didn't have a theme of product offerings.

After our first year of business with less than stellar performance, we sat down and reviewed what we produced. We came to the conclusion that if we were to be successful, we needed to focus our product development on a basic theme. We needed to decide what we made had to fit into an established theme so that any new product we thought about would be scrutinized against this theme so see if it fit.

In addition, what we were so used to doing in past careers, we hadn't done. Part of the reason was probably our desire to shed old trappings for new beginnings. However, there is also the benefit of lessons learned in the past to provide transferable skills to the current. What I'm talking about is our failure to write a business plan. There is no better way to focus your business than to seriously develop a business plan where goals are married to products that are married to targets that are married to marketing. The short version of the advantage to writing a business plan is that you know where you want to go, and what steps you need to take to get there.

Writing a business plan for a small business, a business that you run without the addition of employees where the key is a home-based business, is that you soon realize that there are only so many hours in a day. In short, you have to do everything; remember there are no employees to draw from to whom tasks can be assigned. You have to perform functions like: caretaker, procurement, product development, producer, sales, marketing, accountant, scheduler, and so on. All of these tasks must also be balanced with your normal living chores.

Consider the following advantages and disadvantages before you start your own business:

Advantages:
What you put in you get out..........Flexible schedule..........No bosses..........No commute..........No dress code..........No meetings, no travel to conventions

Disadvantages:
No dependable income..........No health care, no paid vacation, pension..........No fall back income in slow times..........No colleagues to answer questions..........No paid training..........No set hours - work longer

In every decision, there are pros and cons. The real issue here is if you do what you've always done, you'll always wonder "what if". The decision to start your own home based business especially when it's a complete break from your previous secure employment, is not to be made lightly. However, if you've always wanted to do something make sure that is something you enjoy because when you love what you do you stop living to work and work to live. We've found the difference between working for others and working for ourselves to be one of the greatest ways to live a more productive, and happy life.


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