There are probably a thousand reasons to work from home these days, but that doesn’t mean it works for YOU.
During my 35 years of professional-level recruiting, I have had the good fortune to gain some refined perspective on the “how and why” of people’s career decisions. As you might expect, what I have seen ranges from the brilliant to the stupid.
Since embarking upon a career in the MLM/Home Business world, I have made some new observations which I feel compelled to share, especially if you are one of the hundreds of thousands who are now contemplating taking the plunge.
It is important to note: For most, this move would represent a radical departure from your previous lifestyle.
Now please allow me to put my “recruiter/career coach hat” on here. If you came to me asking for career advice concerning this kind of major departure from your work history, the first question I would ask you is, “Are you running FROM a past job, or TOWARD a future one? Or is it BOTH? Your answer is crucial. Wise decisions are driven exclusively by either “toward” or “both”.
Here’s where so many folks make the first critical mistake. Because of the actual “moving from” motivation, they lower the bar, without even realizing it. This leads to dangerous vulnerability, and it is so often about this time when the “clever pitch” arrives on the front doorstep. Believe me when I tell you, this can happen to the most discerning and mentally tough among us; and that has included your friendly author of this piece.
It is not by accident that I lead off with this extremely dangerous pitfall. Just look around at everything out there today from which one could run:
1. A failing economy, leading to the current massive layoffs
2. Corporate cultures which can be almost toxic
3. Bungling management, and bosses who are not trustworthy
4. Absence of corporate accountability, competence and even honest dealings
5. Disappearing pension plans
6. Dramatically declining home prices
7. A current average corporate job tenure of 2.7 years
8. Long hours; long and expensive commutes
9. Absence of competent and courageous political leadership
What I am saying is simply this: Make an honest and thoughtful appraisal, and take your time. Understand the fear-driven psychology which might come into play, and try to keep your head firmly positioned upon your shoulders.
Conversely, in this adverse climate it might make sense to at least CONSIDER the possibilities of working from home; so let us look at some of the variables which a prospect ought to examine.
Question One: What are the stakes?
Most people never really dissect this, and they should! Here are some of the questions which will determine the stakes:
1. Do I have other income streams?
2. How much time can I devote? How much time am I willing to devote?
3. What is the “buy-in”, or initial capital investment?
4. What will be the real cost of failure? Do I have a back-up plan?
5. Am I required to “Go for broke”, and quit my job? Must I work full-time to succeed?
6. What kind of career am I sacrificing for this business? (I must clue you in here. Employers are not particularly open-minded about unconventional career tracks, and perceived “adventures” of this sort.)
To state the obvious, one can see that the combination of “other income stream – minimal capital investment – no career cost – part-time requirement only” will put a completely different spin on one’s decision-making. Someone in that position could easily say, “What is to lose”? I have to agree. (Caution: just make sure your expectations of business results coincide with your time/money commitments.)
On the other hand, for those who find themselves closer to the “high stakes” end of the spectrum, I urge you to pay a bit sharper attention to the remainder of this article.
Question Two: What is your capacity for risk?
One of the real blessings of my long recruiting career has been the exposure I have had to successful entrepreneurs. Without exception, they have one thing in common: an above-average capacity for risk. The ultra successful can often tell you many colorful stories of being down to “pocket change”, taking out second home mortgages to finance their businesses, and on and on.
Most folks, when assessing their own capacity, think only of “financial risk”, but there is actually another important component, and that is “failure risk.” The facts are, most businesses fail, and most everyone knows it. Quite honestly, many folks are probably less equipped for this dimension than they are for the money part. Either way, it doesn’t matter how many times you explain to some folks, “You have to spend money and take risks to make money”, it falls on deaf ears.
And that is as it should be. These people are the highly valued employees, often working for entrepreneurs! Home business is probably not the solution for them.
Now let us suppose you have determined you are not one of those; and you believe you are ready to “get in the game.” You have digested my ideas up to this point; and you have taken a hard look in the mirror. So far, you say, it’s a “Go” for starting a home business.
Actually, you are probably most of the way there. Well, “hold your horses” while you take inventory by asking yourself these last few questions:
o Can I work alone? (This one is huge. Most people need co-workers.)
o Can I carve out the right kind of “space” in my current family and home situation?
o Do I need a lot of structure?
o Can I live with a high degree of uncertainty? Can my spouse and family?
o Can I “figure it out”, and take the initiative, or do I need direction?
o Do I have an attention to detail?
o Am I committed and persistent enough to make it through the tough times?
o Do I have a reasonable “supporting cast” of family and friends?
o Do I worry about what other people might think of home businesses?
o Do I have enough agility to achieve a reasonable level of skill in two rather different spheres: a) computer/technical/process, and b) sales/marketing/team building/coaching?
Actually, no one is going to score an “A” in all of the above; but you need to be pretty strongly in the “yes” side of the equation before you take the final step.
My own journey has given me an unusual view of the professional and career coin: individual success and failure, and what drives the decisions that lead to each of these outcomes.
So I say, hopefully with a degree of humility and modesty, I can see pretty clearly what kind of person is going to succeed in this business; and which of my readers should think twice before jumping in.