Home is Where the Career is

Home is Where the Career is

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For generations, women have taken on outside work from their homes to supplement family income. My mother took in ironing, as well as children from a fledgling group of the 60's working moms. The extra money paid for “luxuries” like straightened teeth.

While in-home daycare is still an option, others turn to home-based businesses like Mary Kay, Longaberger and Pampered Chef to pad the budget, but discover that it enriches their lives, as well.

I started my Mary Kay business as a retirement hobby. Though seriously skeptical of sales, I realized that I spent my entire teaching career selling my love of literature and writing to reluctant adolescents. Four years later, my client list tops 200. My life is richer. I’m more confident , I have a circle of wonderful friends and I’m never bored. My neighbor, Jamie Cella, a multiple sclerosis victim, found new direction and purpose through her Mary Kay business, and says since the onset of her illness, “It’s the best thing that’s happened to me.”

Many home-based consultants are motivated by love of the product and discounted price. Melissa McCabe of Cleves supports her Longaberger “habit” from her 25 percent profit, end-of-year product bonuses and recruitment incentives. Amy Arnold’s 20 percent Pampered Chef commission and bonuses provide kitchen tools for her new Lawrenceburg home. Both love the freedom and flexibility. I enjoy a 50 percent discount, commission, bonus program, free products, superior support and and, of course, great skin.

However, success in any home-based business requires planning, self-discipline and time-management Bonnie, administrative partner in her Hamilton family business, says the biggest drawback for her is the “uncontrollable urge to do laundry.” Proximity to the daily housekeeping grind can skew one’s focus. Controlling distractions and procrastination is a struggle, but manageable with family involved. Children acquire a work ethic through exposure to a home-based business, while spouses become valued partners who share the vision. My husband manages my expense reports and offers solid marketing ideas. As partner in my business, he’s more amenable to my absences, delivery side trips and unfamiliar people in our home.

In addition to family support, my professional background made the transition to self-employment easier. As a relatively autonomous classroom teacher, I planned lessons and evaluated progress, so setting business goals and priorities was a natural transition. Though I loved teaching, I don't miss it, as my business is my creative outlet. Likewise, most consultants find their days so full, once they work their business and can be home with their children, they don’t miss the grind of their previous employment

However, like many other consultants, the biggest roadblock to my success was “working the phone.” I realized the phone didn’t have hair and fangs when I finally started hearing, “I’m glad you called.” If I’d had a boss pressuring me, I’d have probably quit before I discovered that.

An additional roadblock for some is “spending money to make money.” Whether for promotions, supplies, transportation or phone/Internet, independent consultants earmark 10 percent of profit toward these tax deductible items. But I could earn a car, 85 percent insurance and free trips. The rewards are great. Numerous consultants have become millionaires. Though that’s not my goal, my life truly has been enriched through my in-home business.