If you have made the decision to start a home-based business, the next step is to decide how much time you are going to devote to making your dream a reality.
Many entrepreneurs start a home business on a part-time basis while raising children or working. They keep their full time jobs, while working on jump starting their home business. Others may have so many responsibilities and obligations already that they can only give five hours (or even less) a day to the business.
Some of these part-timers eventually transition to full-time entrepreneurs when profit starts to come in, or the business has grown big enough to warrant more time. Others are just contented to do their businesses on a part-time basis because they love their jobs or other activities and that’s all the time they can give to the business.
Others start full-time when family and finances allow. They quit their jobs, and put all their time and energy to starting a business. Still others, driven by their goal to turn their home-based business to a multi-million dollar corporation, spend every waking hour into making it grow.
To decide whether you should start full-time or part-time, you’ll need to examine your goals and assess your financial situation. Figure out how may hours per week you can devote to the business. Take a realistic view of your current living conditions–your employment, your family, and the amount of spare time you can afford to dedicate to the new enterprise, before determining which path you should follow. Make a weekly chart of your activities, examine it, and determine where the business fits. Do not assume you have time and find out later you do not.
Part-Time Home Business
If you are planning on starting the business on a part-time business, figure out first if the business can work with only a few hours given to it. An online blog earning from advertising lends itself well to be done on a part-time basis; or you can start a lawn care business but telling clients that you can only do evenings and weekends.
Advantages of a Part-Time Home Business
Part-time involvement in a business venture is the less risky way to proceed, particularly for a first-time entrepreneur. These are the advantages to starting a part-time business from home, such as:
- Provides supplementary income
- Minimizes the risk involved in starting a business by decreasing the amount of time (and money) spent on the venture
- Allows your business to grow gradually, in proportion to the demand for your product(s) or service(s)
- Offers an easier transition out of your current employment and into full-time home-based operation
Starting part-time will allow you to have complete control over the various aspects of the business, such as structure, personnel, advertising, production, and so on. You also regulate the amount of time you spend operating it, giving you flexibility to handle other areas of your life including your family or job. As much as possible, however, do not attempt to run a full-time business in addition to holding a full-time job as it can leave little or no time for a personal life.
A part-time home-based business also allows you to get started with less money, therefore lesser pressure to immediately reach profitability. The income you earn from your full-time job provides you with financial cushion to operate your household, even support your business.
If gradual growth and a casual atmosphere are what you seek, then a part-time home-based business is what you want. You may be content with your current employment and simply want to develop a business idea at home in your spare time as a means of supplementing your income. In that case, there is no reason to give up your day job just yet. You may be able to get your business rolling, by giving your idea just a couple of hours a day.
Should you decide to embark on your business venture full-time, the transition will be easier compared to quitting your job one day and starting the next day from scratch. A common misconception is that entrepreneurs leverage their livelihood by starting their own businesses. Home-based business is helping to change all that. By working part-time from home, you can create new opportunities for yourself without having to sacrifice anything in the process. But you will have to work at it.
Disadvantages of a Part-Time Business
While running a home-based business on a part-time basis has its attractive features, it also has its disadvantages:
- Professionalism is sometimes compromised, as owners of part-time businesses are not taken seriously by suppliers, potential investors, and prospective customers
- Slower growth
- Difficult to maintain part-time status
- Many home-based part-timers experience burnout and begin to neglect their businesses
- Not enough focus can be given to the business
Even when they start part-time, many home-based entrepreneurs find it difficult to maintain that status. Most are goal-driven individuals who expect results and are prodded by a belief that there is always more to be done. When you succeed to any degree, it is not easy to stop and be content with what you have; after you have reached a certain production level or gained enough clients, you have to become less aggressive in your quest for growth if you plan to keep your home-based business a part-time endeavor.
An important drawback is the perception of some people — potential customers, suppliers, among others — that home-based operations (especially part-time operations) are not as competent as their commercial counterparts.
It is difficult to say whether any business is ever really part-time. Most part-time entrepreneurs (especially those who are home-based) spend a lot of time thinking about their businesses–planning marketing strategies, practicing sales pitches, coming up with ways to streamline operations–even when they’re not actually working in the home office. For obvious reasons, many owners of thriving part-time businesses eventually shift to full-time status.
Limiting the amount of time you spend at your home-based business gives you the flexibility and freedom to work when you want and slowly grow accustomed to being a business owner. Ultimately, though, it also reduces your opportunities for expansion. Some of America’s most well-known companies started as an entrepreneur’s part-time dream, but they didn’t stay that way for long. You will have to work at your home-based business full-time if you want to take it as far as it can go.
Advantages of a Full-Time Business
Like part-time operations, full-time home-based businesses have their share of benefits and drawbacks. Some entrepreneurs prefer starting home-based businesses full-time because:
- Greater time commitment allows more time to develop business ideas
- Motivating factors include personal freedom, recognition, money
- Opportunity exists for more rapid growth
- A greater sense of professionalism develops
- Fewer distractions, such as other jobs
The more you invest in a particular pursuit, the more important the outcome becomes to you. Entrepreneurs who operate their businesses full-time, whether from start-up or three years after starting part-time, will invariably care more about their business’s well-being because they have put more time, effort, and money into it. If a full-time schedule will help you keep pace with an increase in demand for your product(s) or service(s), the result will be a jump in revenues (provided your costs remain comparatively equal). The same thing can happen when you go to a full-time schedule in order to increase your market share.
It is generally easier for businesses headquartered in commercial offices to convince potential customers and clients of their professionalism. Similarly, it is easier for a full-time home-based business owner to convey professionalism.
Disadvantages of a Full-Time Business
Starting a venture on a full-time basis does have some disadvantages, including:
- Greater risk
- Loss of second income
- Higher start-up costs
Although the risks of a full-time operation are greater compared to those of a part-time operation, they are countered by the offer of unlimited growth opportunity and financial gain. This is a risk versus return dilemma: Where the dangers are greater, there is a greater possibility for gain. The cost of starting up at full capacity, whether you are product- or service-based, is more substantial than if you start part-time. Likewise, the potential rewards are more substantial.
Recommended Books on Part-Time and Full-Time Business:
- The Six-Figure Second Income: How To Start and Grow A Successful Online Business Without Quitting Your Day Job
- Starting a Part-time Food Business: Everything You Need to Know to Turn Your Love for Food Into a Successful Business Without Necessarily Quitting Your Day Job
- eBay 101: Selling on eBay For Part-time or Full-time Income
- Online Business Ideas: 97 Hidden Methods, Secrets, & Websites For A Part-Time or Full-Time Income From Home
- Consulting on the Side: How to Start a Part-Time Consulting Business While Still Working at Your Full-Time Job
- Working From Home from Part-Time to Full-Time
- Balancing a Part-Time Business While Working on a Full-Time Job
- How Home-Based Business Entrepreneurs Succeed
- Why a Home-Based Business?
- Unemployed and Looking to Start a Home Business
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