Can I Really Work from Home??
Work from home. For many it’s an idea that sounds good, but not an idea they’ll take action on. If you’ve ever wondered whether you could work from home, the short answer is, “Yes!”
You can do anything you want to if/when you make up your mind that you WILL succeed and resolve within yourself to NEVER quit.
But before I go any further, I really want to clarify some terms associated with working from home. Generally speaking, when someone says they want to work from home, they could actually mean a number of things. Depending upon the context, the phrase “work from home” can have significantly different meanings. So for the purposes of this discussion, I want to differentiate between working from home, having a home-based business, and having an online business.
Have you ever heard of the phrase, “pro et contra?” I bet you have; however, it probably wasn’t in Latin when you heard it. It means, “pros and cons,” specifically, for or against, and has to do with the advantages and disadvantages associated with anything. As you evaluate these different scenarios associated with working from home, you really need to weight the pros and cons of each.
Work at Home (For Other Employers)
For some, “work from home” means being employed by another company or organization, but to be allowed to actually work at home. Back in the day, one of the primary examples was stuffing envelopes at home. Some of the assignments that quickly pop into my mind include being a customer service representative and/or performing data entry at home. These are all examples of “work” that you could perform at home. I’ve included a hyperlink to an article that identifies 6 legitimate jobs that you can perform from home – Work From Home: 6 Companies That Hire Remote Workers. You could also search Google, Bing, Yahoo, AOL, etc., for related phrases such as “legitimate work from home jobs,” “jobs working from home,” jobs at home,” “part time jobs at home,” “work from companies,” etc.
Work at Home Advantages:
There are definitely advantages associated with working from home, the most obvious of which is you get to work from home! If you want to sit around in your pajamas all day, I guess you can. Some other advantages is that you can start earning income immediately; i.e., as soon as you start working for the organization. For individuals in immediate need of money to support themselves and/or their family, this is probably the more attractive option. I’ve seen quite a few single moms exploring and seeking these types of opportunities – they have kids at home and can’t afford child support (or they simply want to be with their children) and they need money to support the family right now. As with any home-business, there are significant tax advantages associated with working from home, and you can write off a portion of your monthly utility bills, monthly mortgage, and other associated business expenses.
Work at Home Disadvantages:
There are some significant disadvantages associated with working for another employer at your home. Most people have significant shortfalls in one or more of these three areas – financial independence, time, and job security. Unfortunately, even if you work from home for another employer, you’ll may still have these shortfalls.
Pay & Taxes
Most work at home positions don’t pay too well, meaning $12.00 to $16.00/hour. This may sound like a lot to some, but that’s an annual salary of $33,280.00, which is barely above poverty level. Depending upon the size of your family, this wage is well below it. Most of these positions are contract positions where the employer doesn’t pay the taxes – you would be responsible for paying them yourself. If you consider on average there’s about a 50% self-employment tax, now you’re only making about $16,000.00 a year, and that’s on a 40-hour per week basis. So now you might need 2 or 3 “work from home” jobs to support your family, and you’ll still just barely be scratching by, struggling to make ends meet, and living check-to-check, with no savings. Lastly, this scenario, where individuals are employed as contractors, generally results in trouble with the IRS. When you don’t have enough money to live on, when you’re living check-to-check, it’s impossible to put aside money for taxes, no matter how well intentioned you may be. If it’s putting the money aside or feeding your kids, where is the money going to go? So then you wind up owing back taxes to the IRS, and with today’s technology, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll escape their notice and stay off their radar.
It should go without saying that there are few benefits associated with this type of work at home. Typically these types of positions offer no vacation, no sick time, no health insurance, no pension, no retirement, etc. Subsequently, you may need a significant amount of additional income to offset the absence of these benefits. Having to secure health insurance as required by law now can be a significant financial impact.
Financial Independence, Time, and Job Security
While you would be working at home, you’re still not going to have any additional or free time. You will likely need to hold 2-3 jobs, as stated earlier, and it will eat up your time. Yes, you’ll work from home, but you’ll be tied to your desk, and having your children there is going to distract from your task, and will also take time away from your work each day. If you’re getting paid based on how many envelopes you stuff, or on how many claims your enter into the computer, or on how many widgets you make, the time you lose while trying to take care of your kids is going to eat into your pay. At a minimum, those types of distractions can also result in human error, which again, can impact your wage.
The bottom line is that you still won’t have financial independence. You won’t have any additional time, and you won’t have job security. Today’s economic landscape is changed forever. Back when I was a young boy companies were focused on hiring people for the long-term. The expectation used to be that you would be hired by an organization, work there for 30-40 years, and then retire with a company-provided pension. But as you already know, those days are gone! There are no more company pensions. As stated earlier, as a contractor being self-employed (you pay your own taxes), there are no benefits, no 401K or other savings program available to you. The economic environment is still poor, and companies are still cutting back. If your organization decides to reduce staff, who do you think is going to be the first one to go? It definitely won’t be those employees who are getting up and driving in to work every day…
I’ve spent some time on this idea of working from home as a contractor employed by an outside organization. While it may look like your only option, the truth is that there are always choices. If this is the choice you make, you just need to be very clear on the advantages and disadvantages when stepping into this scenario. Al that glitters is not gold, and in this case, you’ll make very little gold. You might think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but you’re going to find out that it’s an oncoming train.
Work from Home (Home-Based Business)
For many people, when talking about work from home, they’re really talking about being self-employed; having their own home-based business. The differences between working at home for another employer and having your own home-based business are significant.
In this scenario, when we’re talking about a home-based business, we’re talking specifically about a business where goods, products, or services are provided from home. Some examples include being a CPA, having a bakery, sewing or cleaning clothes, cleaning homes, and cutting yards. I know that’s a wide variety of products and services, but hopefully you get the context. You’re making some type of good or product at home, or offering a service from your home.
Home-Based Business Advantages
There are definitely advantages associated with this home-based business scenario. You do get to work from home, and for many there is significant pride and satisfaction in provide some type of quality product or service from their home. You get to write your home business off each year, which is definitely beneficial. You can write off some of your monthly utilities – if you use electricity, natural gas, internet and phone for your business, you can write a portion of those bills off each month. You can write off a percentage of your monthly mortgage or rent. You can write off every mile you drive for your business and any related expenses, like gasoline, oil changes, and other vehicle maintenance costs. You can write off your meals – and all that is just the beginning. I’m no expert when it comes to taxes, but there are some definite tax benefits associated with owning your own home-based business.
You also get to pick your line of work. When you work from home for another employer, you do whatever they tell you. With your own home-based business, you can choose whatever career you want, assuming it’s profitable. If you like working with your hands, you can do that. If you like working outdoors, you can do that. If you like building, baking, cleaning – whatever – you can DO that – you can pursue whatever product or service that you prefer. So yes, there are some definite advantages associated with having your own home-based business.
Home-Based Business Disadvantages
Startup Fees, Operational Expenses
There are also some disadvantages associated with owning your own home-based business. One of the first is the startup costs. In 2009, the Kaufman Foundation estimated the average cost of starting up a home-based business at $30,000.00. It’s true that there are some home-based micro-businesses that can start for less, but even then, the Kaufman Foundation estimated that cost at approximately $3,000.00. Home business franchises were estimated to have average startup costs of $1,000.00 to $5,000.00. Some estimates approximate the average cost of starting a business (not home-based) at $65,000.00. Starting a McDonald’s™ franchise used to cost about $150,000.00 for startup – I don’t know what it costs today. But it’s all perspective. Starting a home-based business for $30K isn’t much compared to paying $150K to start a McDonald’s™. As you can probably see, regardless of what you do or how you do it, there are going to be startup fees and expenses, and this doesn’t include your monthly operating expenses.
Hidden Costs / Recurring Monthly Expenses
Here is a good article that describes 10 Hidden Costs of Running a Business. I’ve operated a home-based business before, and it really wasn’t that big of an operation. But sometimes there are fees and expenses that you don’t think or know about in advance. For one job performing some soil sampling, I had to have $1-million in liability insurance; there was equipment rental; contract reviews by attorneys; lab analytical fees (service fees); monthly utility bills, etc. You’re always going to have expenses related to your operation – you’re always going to have to by materials, services, and/or other products to support your business. There are advertising and marketing expenses – you’ve got to tell people about your business. You’ve got to buy the ingredients for your cupcakes, the gasoline for your lawn mower, the cleaning supplies for your house keeping business, etc. So you’ve got to know, going in, that starting up a home-based business can be expensive, and even on the low side you’re likely looking at several thousand dollars for startup, and you will also have monthly expenses as well.
Limited Income Potential
One of the other disadvantages of operating a home-based business is that your income is limited. You can only do so much in a day. You can only see so many clients, bake so many cupcakes, or cut so many yards. If your business does grow, you’ll need to hire employees, and then you’ve got payroll and benefit issues to deal with. Now those are probably good issues to have, but they are concerns and aspects of owning a home-based business that you will have to deal with. In addition, in many cases, the estimated time for a home-based business to reach the break even point is a minimum of 3 years. You’ll work 80-120 hours a week, for 3 years, before you’ll start to break even, much less make a profit.
What’s the Bottom Line?
So it may be that with a home-based business you can realize some advantages related to job security, but then again, that is dependent upon supply and demand for your product and service. You may or may not gain financial independence, it’s not likely that you’ll ever be financially wealthy (most don’t get rich), and you’re going to have to spend a significant amount of time operating your business. On average you’ll likely spend 80-120 hours per week operating your business. Even if you are actually engaged in running your business 40 hours a week ( or more), there is going to be more work “off the clock” to perform you administrative responsibilities. You definitely will be tied to your desk, or your truck, or your kitchen – wherever you operate your business from. But if you are able to start a home-based business, for entrepreneurs it is a definite step up from working for someone else.
Work from Home – Make Money Online
I saved the best for last, and I have no doubt that you’ll take that away from this article. For me, operating an online business, or also known as an Internet business, is the “cat’s meow” – it’s wonderful, it’s marvelous, it’s the crown jewel, the “crème de la crème,” the very best choice you can make when it comes to making money online. Operating an online business has a ton of advantages and very few disadvantages.
Online Business Advantages
When I think about making money online, three (3) significant advantages come to mind:
- Income Potential
- Operational Costs
Location, Location, Location…
When it comes to location, when it comes to the “online” home-based business opportunity, the last place you have to be is at home. If you have a smart-phone and an internet connection, you can operate your business from anywhere in the world. You’re not tied to any place, anywhere. You can go anywhere at any time, and your online business will continue to operate. You still have all the benefits associated with operating a home-based business. You can write off all the expenses associated with the “home office,” and you can write off all your travel expenses. No matter where you go, if you discuss your online business with someone, the travel now becomes a deductible business expense.
Unlimited Income Potential
When it comes to income potential, the reality is that your potential income is unlimited – that’s no exaggeration. When you have a home-based business where you offer a service or product from home, your income potential is limited by the number of bodies that are creating your product or providing your service. But on the Internet, there are no such limitations. An online business is a world-wide business. You can have one person or 1-million people buy your online product or service, where you are or your number of employees has little to do with it. Also, your business operates 24/7, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There is no vacation, no sick time, no unexpected work stoppages because of bad weather, etc. You don’t have disgruntled employees to deal with, no benefits or insurance to provide. No one needs a break, no HR issues to deal with – it’s easy-peasy! If set up correctly, your business runs on auto-pilot. You don’t have to stock supplies, materials, or equipment and the majority of those types of expenses simply don’t exist. With an online business, individuals are realistically able to start generating a profit within months, not years, and in some cases, even within the first month of operation!
Recurring, Residual Income
Additionally, with respect to income potential, online businesses are the only type of home-based business that offers the potential for recurring, residual income. You do the work once, but the profit keeps rolling in. There are very few businesses in the world that offer that kind of income potential. In addition, with an online business, individuals can generate multiple streams of income. This is another disadvantage associated with your typical home-based business. In the real world, if you’re working a full-time job, or operating your own home-based business, the scenario is the same – all your eggs are in one basket. If you lose your job, or your business tanks, your income simply disappears. But with an online business, you can have multiple income streams, and even if a few of those streams dry up, the others keep flowing, and you can always add additional income streams to your online business portfolio. Online businesses really do level the playing field, and the average individual has just as much potential to become a millionaire (or greater) as anyone else. The only limitation in the process is the individual.
Low Startup Expense
I already mentioned it, but when it comes to Operational costs, operating an online business is, by far, one of the least costly, least expensive options available. You can literally build a million-dollar business, with startup fees in the hundreds of dollars. Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying there are no operational costs, but they are insignificant compared to operating your own home-based or brick & mortar retail business. Nothing is free (and I’ll write about that later), but comparatively speaking, you can start an online business for pennies on the dollar, eliminate the majority of overhead and operational expenses, enjoy the tax benefits associated with owning a home business, and have the potential to do far better financially than you ever would with another type of home-based business. When it comes to financial independence, time freedom, and job security, the truth is that the greatest potential to realize freedom and independence in all these areas lies within the online home-based business opportunity.
Online Business Disadvantages
There are challenges associated with having an online business. I don’t know that I’d call them “disadvantages,” because honestly, I don’t see any disadvantages (maybe I’m blind). There are obviously some of the same aspects to consider, such as startup expense, having to pay taxes, and having to market your service or product. But the startup expenses can be very low, and you’ll never have the ability to reach so many customers as you do with a business on the internet. There is a learning curve associated with running an online business, but this would be true with any work from home business opportunity.
So what you’re telling me is…
If your desire is financial independence, time freedom, and job satisfaction, and you want to work from home (or anywhere else in the world for that matter), the online business opportunity is leaps and bounds beyond anything else that’s “out there” today. If you want to work from home with the least risk and the lowest startup cost, an online business is the way to go. You don’t have to quit your current job, because you can build your business on a part-time basis, at a pace that is comfortable for you.
Related Content – How to Make Money Online in 2017
Work from Home – Conclusion
Yes, you really can work from home. There are likely more home-based business opportunities out there, including online / Internet-based opportunities, than ever before. It really just depends on what you want to do, and how you want to do it. The main ingredient for success in ANY home-based business is YOU. You definitely need specific skills and tools to succeed in a home-based business, and as an entrepreneur and consultant, my desire is to help ensure your success via provision of high quality, value-added information, and by provision of the online tools that you need to be successful. You just need to think carefully about what kind of business you want to operate and how you want your business operations to proceed.
My recommendation is obviously for the online / Internet-based opportunity, hands down. But that should not preclude you from engaging in whatever work from home business your heart desires. Just make sure you have a clear head and a clear understanding of the advantages and disadvantages before you start. You must plan ahead and set appropriate goals and objectives in order to be successful and to overcome any resistance that may be associated with those disadvantages.
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Your Can Start Your Online Business Today!
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