Is a home business right for you? 5 questions to ask

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The lifestyle that comes with owning a home business can seem carefree. Without the fixed hours of a physical business and no daily commute, you can enjoy a flexible schedule and have more time for yourself, right?

Yes, it’s possible, but not everyone is cut out to run a home-based business, and not all home-based franchise owners spend their day in a bathrobe sitting in front of a computer. In fact, most home-based franchises require you to be out and about interacting with the community. The success of a home business depends on the efforts of the owner. There is a certain amount of agitation required.

Here are five questions to ask yourself to find out if this type of franchise is right for you.

Related: The Basics of Starting a Home Business

1. Are you motivated?

One of the biggest advantages of a home-based franchise is the low cost. There are no expensive leases or constructions to worry about. But without a storefront, you’ll have to find ways to market your business. After all, customers won’t be knocking on your door.

Many service businesses get leads through Google Ad Words or through websites like Home Advisor. Consider the cost of these services and ask yourself if you are able and willing to immediately follow leads. With some franchises, such as personal training services, billboards or newspaper advertising can help drive business. Unless the franchise system has a call center, you are responsible for scheduling appointments and following up with leads.

The success of other types of door-to-door franchises, such as school enrichment programs, relies on the local relationships you build. Are you motivated to go out and visit community leaders and school officials? Are you ready to exhibit at local trade shows, attend your local chamber of commerce meetings, or attend community events? Home business owners should be pushed to find businesses.

Related: How to Start a Home Business Without a Product or Service

2. Can you set boundaries at home?

Is your home too chaotic to do business? Setting expectations and boundaries with family makes good sense for home business owners. For example, your work computer should not be used for your son’s homework. A “do not disturb” sign on your office door keeps family members from barging in and interrupting important meetings.

Will your customers hear children screaming in the background? Custody arrangements must be agreed in advance with your spouse. Your little one might be adorable, but having them on a sales call won’t necessarily help close that deal. By agreeing the ground rules in advance, everyone in the house will know what is acceptable and what is not.

3. Can you ignore distractions during work time?

If you give in to every distraction at home, you will never do anything for your business. Can you ignore that messy kitchen or that exploding pile of laundry? If the dog barks all the time, will you be able to concentrate? Without a lot of structure, home-based franchises aren’t for everyone. If you’re not super focused by nature, ask yourself if you’ll be able to separate work responsibilities from household responsibilities. If the answer is “no”, you might be better off opting for a more structured option. The key is to be honest with yourself.

4. Can you set your own schedule and deadlines?

Making a plan for each day with goals and deadlines is the best way to stay ahead of your home business. It’s much easier to juggle multiple roles and tasks with a plan in place. Can you create a schedule and stick to it? When exploring an opportunity, see if the franchisor has a recommended schedule or if other franchisees can give you examples of how they handle their day-to-day tasks. One of the best parts of owning a franchise is being able to share best practices. Understand what success in the franchise you envision means and ask yourself if you are up to the challenge.

Related: 5 Businesses You Can Start From Home and Scale for Under $100

5. Do you know when to stop working?

While getting motivated can be difficult for some home-based franchisees, ending the workday can be a hassle for others. As a home-based franchise owner, your home doubles as your office. The reminder of work is always present. Will you be tempted to keep burning the midnight oil? Will you be able to keep regular hours and enjoy a healthy work-life balance? At some point, you have to turn off to close the computer and have time for yourself. Knowing how to compartmentalize is essential.

Find the perfect home business

Home-based businesses are great for many reasons, but they’re not for everyone and they all work differently. Before you decide on one, make sure it will work for you. It is important to do your due diligence before any franchise purchase. Many resources are available to guide you through the process. Researching the web, visiting trade shows, and subscribing to franchise publications are great places to start.

To help you narrow down your choices, you can enlist the help of a franchise advisor. These industry professionals help aspiring franchise owners find opportunities that fit their lifestyle, interests and financial situation. With your experience in mind, a franchise consultant will show you opportunities you may never have considered. With so many options, there’s probably a home business that’s perfect for you. Take the time to explore and find the one that best suits your lifestyle and priorities.

About Ricardo Schulte

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