Should You Work from Home?

Key questions to consider if you're thinking of starting a home-based business.
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Laura Ljungkvisit

Home is where the heart is, but for some 10 million people it's also where the job is. The steady rise in home-based businesses is due not only to corporate layoffs but also to Americans wanting more flexibility and time for the kids. If you're thinking of taking the leap, here are some questions you'll need to consider:

Why do you want to start a home business? Is it to do something you love -- or to get away from a job you hate? "The clearer your focus, the more successful you'll be," says Paul Edwards, Pine Mountain Club, CA-based coauthor of The Entrepreneurial Parent.

Do you have the right personality? Will you miss the social life that an office provides? A self-assessment will help you decide whether you're suited for entrepreneurial life.

Will you have competition? Consider what makes your product different. On the other hand, no matter how good your idea is, your business will fade fast if there's little demand.

How will you handle childcare? Whether you'll work part-time or full-time, you'll need some kind of supplemental childcare if you have young kids.

Can you legally operate a business in your home? Check local zoning ordinances. If your homeowners' insurance doesn't cover damages to your home office, you'll need additional coverage.

Copyright © 2002. Reprinted with persmission from the September 2002 issue of Child magazine.

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