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Can you work for YOU?
By, Holly Burnham

So you want to start your own business? Well, why don't you? This is not a hard question. I'm certain you have barriers to following your dream or you would have done it already. We need to examine what is standing in your way and coax you into dipping your toe into your dream water. Most of the time, keeping you from doing your own thing is fear. Well, fear is good. It keeps you real, but don't let it plan your life or paralyze you.

I have enjoyed owning several different businesses in my life time and hope to develop and run many more. I love the excitement of building a dream into a reality. It can be challenging, frustrating, time consuming, moneymaking or a dismal failure. You learn from each experience.

I have so many little ventures in my head to try in the future. You need to acknowledge the creativity in yourself, decide what interests you and how you want to spend your time. I read one time that if you do what you love, success will follow. I'm not sure that success is always measured in dollars... we can weigh happiness and contentment also.

I want to assure you there are issues to worry about. If you are half of a two-paycheck family and your regular earnings are needed to keep your family comfortable, you do have to recognize the risk to venturing out on your own. If you are a stay at home Mom and want to contribute to the household but have short human beings to care for, you need to plan carefully so you don't end up burning the candle at both ends, therefore jeopardizing the reason you wanted to stay home with your children.

Let's explore a few ideas and you will see that it is possible to work for yourself if that is what to really want to do.

Think of something you do you enjoy. Can everyone do this thing as well as you can? Do they have time? Perhaps you can do it for them.

I love to knit. I REALLY love to knit. Last year I made flyer type posters and hung them all over town wherever I could. Grocery stores, yarn shops, laundromats, etc. On the poster I offered to give knitting lessons in my home at the client's convenience. I waited and because I am not a patient person, when I didn't get any calls I decided this was one of the ideas I wasn't going to brag to my friends about..and then...when I had given up hope, (two days after hanging the posters, I told you I was devoid of patience), I started getting calls. I got so many calls I had to go out and purchase a scheduling calendar. I scheduled the lessons when they were convenient for both the client and me. I scheduled hour-long sessions and charged $25.00 for the first session, $10.00 for each lesson after that. No one questioned the fee and several said they were relieved it was so reasonable. I had no overhead and only profit in my pocket from showing other people how to do something I enjoyed doing so much. Word of mouth soon made it unnecessary to put up any more posters and I can be as busy or not as I choose. Although my husband is always supportive of my entrepreneurial endeavors, even he was surprised on a day I had three new students and two return students and made $95.00 sitting on my couch knitting.

I once decided our area could use a cleaning service for residential homes at a reasonable price. Now, previously when I said do what you love and you will be successful, I certainly don't want you to think I love to clean...quite the contrary, however, I do like to make money. I put two ads in our local newspaper. One ad advertised for someone to clean houses. The second ad offered reasonable fees to clean your home. The calls started coming in. When an applicant called I would interview them, make sure I felt very comfortable with them and told them I would get back to them in a week. When folks called who wanted their home cleaned I would go to their home, see what they wanted done and gave them a price to do it. I left them a contract and asked them to think about my offer and call me back. The first week was a little disorganized and I questioned why I just didn't get a paper route. But..the second week things really began to smooth out and it just got busier and better from there. I soon had three ladies cleaning three houses a day. I could have even let this venture grow, as it wanted to take on a life of its own once it started. My part was to carry liability insurance (not expensive at all), advertise in the paper if I lost either a worker or a house and be certain that I always gave the customer a charge that would cover my expenses and pay my ladies with a little left over for me. I never cleaned a house. When I felt I had done this long enough and wanted to go on to something else, I offered the business to the first woman I had hired. She was one of my best and most dependable workers and the customers loved her. I knew she could keep things running and I could walk away from this baby feeling secure it was in good hands. My mistake, (I told you that you would learn even from your blunders), was that two years after I gave her the little cleaning business she sold it for $35,000. Hummmm, it never dawned on me I could have sold it. Duh..

Can you install perennials and/or maintain them for folks. Everyone appreciates their yard looking well but few folks like getting dirt under their finger nails while swatting black flies.

Working moms stress over having to take time off for routine dental and doctor appointments. Are you in a position to do this for them? Can they call you if their child needs to be transported to a sitter because of illness during the day?

Can you bake? Well, get out that mixing bowl and stand back! People will pay you for making birthday cakes, cookies for school functions that need to look home made, and desserts for their parties. Word of mouth and return customers can keep you hopping.

Can you devote a Saturday morning to watching children while their mom, who has worked all week, does errands? Advertise yourself available to sit, on short notice from 9AM to 11:00AM on Saturday mornings. I'll bet you will make enough during those two hours a week to keep you free to spend time with your own children the rest of the week. Most working moms have sitters who don't do weekends.

Do you enjoy cleaning? I have found that even people who don't mind doing their day to day house work really dislike cleaning their bathrooms. Specialize in bathrooms. Yes, people will call on that ad. They will happily pay to have you shine their bathroom while they work. (And, Mom, you can usually take your baby with you to do this.)

The key is to think about what you love to do. If you're going to do something you don't enjoy just for the money you might as well work for someone else. Then test it. Is anyone interested in paying you to do this thing? Next, visualize how to make it happen. Can you do it during the day with children or in the evening when re-enforcements are home? Don't be afraid to try several things and fail. Eventually you will find a niche if you stay focused and realistic.

Dream a little and control the magic in your life.

Related articles:
Home Based Business Opportunities
By, BB Lee
Online Business: Work Smarter, not Harder
By, Keith Bryan

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