Ask any would-be entrepeneur why he or she wants to start a home based business and you'll get a wide variety of replies. Regardless of reason, there's one thing for certain: starting a home business doesn't just affect you, entrepreneur; it also affects your family.
The change in lifestyle that comes with a home business requires adaptation from entrepreneur as well as his or her spouse and children. So before you jump into world of home business, have a frank discussion with your family about issues such as:
__How Will You Separate Business and Family?
Home businesses are particularly difficult to manage because they're just steps away from family life. You need to be able to concentrate fully on your business, yet when you spend time with family you shouldn't be distracted by business matters -- or worse, tempted to go do 'just a little work.' Some things you can do to help keep business and family separate include:
* Set 'office hours'. This is time where you focus on your business without having to worry about family.
* Take time out for yourself. No one can work all time, and you'll burn out if you try. Set aside some 'personal time' to exercise, read, or do something else you love.
* Take a guilt-free day off with family. Yes, an entire day away from business! You'll feel more refreshed and better able to concentrate on business afterwards.
* Get organized and stay focused! The less time you have to spend searching for email, papers, etc., more time you'll have to actually perform productive work. This will free up time so that you can do other things.
__Will Family Members Contribute to Business?
Come to a clear understanding about what your spouse will or will not do. For example, you may ask for help during unexpected busy periods but not on a regular basis. Or you might agree that it's okay for your spouse to send or read business mail, but that you are only one who answers phone.
It's best to set this straight from beginning. Don't assume that your spouse is willing to help out. Likewise, don't assume that you'll have complete independence because "it's YOUR business". Come to an agreement -- it will help to lessen stress for everyone.
__How Will You Handle Financing of Your Business?
Money is almost always a big issue with families. A home business, particularly in startup phase, is going to require funding. Your family may have become accustomed to a certain level of 'comfort' when it comes to luxuries such as dining out, recreation, spending money, and so on. Will any of this need to change, and if so, what?
There are many ways to finance a home business, including:
* Use income earned from your 'day job'. Many people continue to work their regular jobs in order to fund their home businesses. It is only until their home businesses are producing a reasonable income that they have option to quit their jobs.
* Finance your business with savings. If your savings were to be used for another purpose (for example, a family vacation or buying a home), how much of it are you willing to 'sacrifice' for your business, even if it's meant to be a 'temporary' loan?
* Help from family and friends. Consider possible impact on your personal relationships. Borrowing money from loved ones can lead to significant stress... for example, what do you do if someone suddenly needs or wants their money back and you aren't in position to provide it? What happens if your business fails and you are unable to pay back loans?