Starting a Home-Based Career Service
When I began my home-based résumé writing business, I had some idea of what was involved. Some years back I ran a small boutique where I sold beads; tiny little glass, metal, plastic and wooden beads. I worked in my store six days a week and then spent at least an hour every Sunday placing orders to replenish stock. That experience did away with foolish notions of “more time to myself.” But, it did give me the confidence of knowing that I had the wherewithal to commit to self-employment when I began my home-based résumé service.
If you are tossing this idea around, here are three of the aspects of running a home-based business that you should take into account:
- Get ready for bad hair days: you must wear many hats. I am the decision maker and receptionist, and am accountable for landing sales and for tracking accounts payable and receivable. I develop new handouts, reports, samples, articles, and update these regularly with new information; cold call prospective industry contacts and “schmooze” even though I am a dedicated introvert; deal with customer concerns, complaints, and thank goodness, their joy and thanks! The only task I don’t handle is computer glitches (I leave those for my I.T. guy, my husband!).
- Forget about goofing off just ‘cause you need a break. A micro business is highly dependent on reputation for quality and service. For the first few years, you will be spending time augmenting your skills with on-line courses and self-study to ensure that your reputation for quality grows. You will spend lots of time researching, developing, and implementing customer service measures and strategies that help you stand out from the crowd. You will get the odd half-day here and there, and grab them when you can, but don’t count on large stretches of days off as you’ll have neither the time nor the revenues.
- Hold off on that new pair of shoes: all your funds go into the business. Guys, I’ve no idea what you spend your money on, but girls tend to love new shoes! As your business earns a few extra dollars, you will need to reinvest in courses, reference books, technology, website, video marketing, memberships, conference attendance, and so on. Those business pundits who say you won’t turn much of a profit for the first few years are absolutely right.
One of my outreach initiatives is to speak to local private college students (Trios, Medix, Liaison). At one session, I recall one fellow sharing that he decided to take the I.T. Network course so that he could enjoy better working hours. I had to hold onto my words of wisdom. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are smarter than the rest.
Some may think “I will organize my time better and will make sure that I can take time off.” And I encourage all to take those gifts of time when no client has called for days. Read a good book, call friends and family, or work out in the garden. But I know from experience that the discomfort (fear and panic!) you feel when the phone isn’t ringing will have you scrambling to create new alliances, research and implement new marketing ideas, and build your business.
It is time-consuming to play every role, perplexing to figure out how to reach new clients, difficult to absorb unknown skills like marketing and sales, and every working minute demands your focused attention — so why do we become entrepreneurs? Because there is something about holding the power to evaluate the alternatives, make each decision, change it mid-stream if you so wish, and mold and direct your own business that is intoxicatingly exhilarating!
If you have self-discipline and talent, are passionate for the work you will be doing, and have a vision to deliver your services from a home-base, by all means, join the ranks of the Canadian entrepreneur!
Is self-employment right for you? To find out, access CPC’s free course, Start a Career Practice.
Stephanie Clark has earned her rank among North America’s top résumé services. Enhancing her innate talent for the written word with training in business communications, Stephanie is recognized as a Master Certified Résumé Strategist with Career Professionals of Canada, as well as a Master Resume Writer, conferred by Career Thought Leaders (US). Stephanie’s skill at capturing and communicating each client’s distinctiveness has revitalized more than 1500 job searches since 2007. You can find her work in Best Canadian Résumés and Best Canadian Cover Letters, Modernize Your Resume, and Expert Resumes & LinkedIn Profiles for Managers and Executives.