Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wed on Twitter from 8-9pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Holly Reisem Hanna @Holly_Hanna. She is the Founder & Publisher of The Work at Home Woman; an online business resource dedicated to helping women and moms achieve their dreams of working from home or becoming self-employed. For more information, please see: www.theworkathomewoman.com
Smallbizlady: What kind of considerations do I need to take into account when considering a work-at-home business opportunity?
Holly Hanna Before exploring the work-at-home realm, you will need to consider these factors: How much money do you need to make? Do you need benefits? Are you looking for full-time or part-time work? Are you willing to go back to school or take a class? Will you be working at home with children? By answering these questions you can narrow which path to take.
Smallbizlady: How should I research potential work-at-home business opportunities?
Holly Hanna: Always take the time to thoroughly research the opportunity; talk to others in the same field, make sure you understand all the opportunity fully and weigh your options objectively. There’s no such thing as a get rich quick opportunity — running your own home-based business take lots of hard work and time.
Smallbizlady: What are the types of work-at-home business opportunities available?
Holly Hanna: There are basically three different opportunities available; direct sales, purchase a franchise or create your own business.
Smallbizlady: How do you avoid work-at-home scams?
Holly Hanna: Unfortunately, the work-at-home realm is riddled with scams. First and foremost, take your time and research the company and/or opportunity extensively. An easy way to do this is to simply type in the company or program into Google and see what comes up. Use the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website to research the company, see if they have any positive or negative reviews. Also check to see if the company has any contact information listed; an email address, phone number and physical address. Try to contact them and get some additional information on their company or product. If they don’t have any contact information listed, this should be a red flag warning to you. If the opportunity sounds too good to be true it probably is. If you really want to operate a legitimate work-at-home business, the surefire way to do that is to create your own.
Smallbizlady: Whatare some reputable online sources for ideas and solutions for starting working at home businesses?
Smallbizlady: What personality types do best with working at home?
Holly Hanna: People that are self-motivated, organized, flexible, good communicators, able to deal with distractions and people that are able to work independently without a lot of guidance.
Smallbizlady: When working at home, how do you maintain work-life balance?
Holly Hanna: Maintaining balance is one of the most difficult aspects of working at home, because the work is always right there staring you in the face. I have found that having a separate work space, de-cluttering, making a list of priorities, creating a daily to-do list and scheduling work and play times helps to keep me on track.
Smallbizlady: What kinds of resources are available to support people who run home-based businesses?
Holly Hanna: There are numerous online sites and blogs that have free and reliable information for individuals who are running a home-based business. I also suggest participating in online forums, the various social networks (which end becoming your virtual water-cooler) and joining a local business group where you are able to connect with other liked minded individuals.
Smallbizlady: What should I do before starting my own business?
Holly Hanna: Don’t quit your day job just yet! Often it is best if you can start your business part-time and work on it at nights and weekends. It often takes many new businesses a year or longer to generate a profit. Along with this, always be learning, whether it’s reading a new business book every month or taking a business course at your local community college. Joining a business group also has many benefits; it allows you to network with like minded individuals and ask questions to others who have been there and done that.
Smallbizlady: What should I look for when considering a direct sales opportunity?
Holly Hanna: When looking at direct sales opportunities, it is always good to check and see if they are affiliated with the DSA (Direct Selling Association), their mission is to “Protect, serve and promote the effectiveness of member companies and the independent business people they represent. You will also want to test out the products to make sure that they are of a good quality, along with this you will want to see how much money it costs upfront and how much commission you will receive from each sale.
What is the best way to organize my home office?
Holly Hanna: Organize is the key word here. By creating an organization system which includes a filing system, mailing system, scheduling system, and regular de-cluttering and cleaning you can control your time and space without it getting the best of you.
How do I avoid distractions when working at home?
Holly Hanna: Planning ahead is key — having readily available snacks for consumption, pre-planning children’s activities or having child care arranged and having a separate office space can all help minimize distractions.
If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9pm ET follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.