Home based businesses have been around for a long time, even long before the internet gained the popularity it has today. Before MLM as we know it, there was Amway and Avon and Mary Kay. All reputable ways to earn a side income. But with the birth of similar opportunities and new business models operating primarily online, our society has been blanketed by a fear of such opportunities, which we are now calling the "home based business phobia."
While there are many reputable business opportunities online, there are just as many "scams" that have been grouped into the same category. These are usually services in exchange for post-payment (which never comes) or pyramid-type schemes that contain no real products, only the opportunity to earn from recruiting others. Unfortunately, as with most any situation, the negative starts to outweigh the positive. Before you know it, all home based businesses are overshadowed by the reputation of the few actual scams.
I believe that the fear of home based business stems from this fact, as well as others. While there are many potential customers who fear the scams without knowing what is and what isn't, there are also those who fear anything that is different from the norm in terms of earning a living. Lets face it, society raises us to work hard at a physical job. Even from youth, we are trained to do well in school all the way up through in the hopes of securing a decent job. It is what our parents did, and their parents, and all of our ancestors all the way back through time. So when the proposition of earning a decent living without working at a physical job makes its way into the minds of society's leaders, it is viewed in a negative light. This, I feel, is because we as humans naturally fear anything that is different, or that we don't understand. This is not how we've been raised, this isn't how anyone has every earned an income before (not a full-time income, anyway). Therefore, it is not easily accepted.
The truth is that entrepreneurship is what drives our economy. Even the largest of corporations started out as mom&pop stores or small-town restaurants. Small business and entrepreneurship help to balance out the hold that "big business" has on our economy. Without them, large corporations would have no competition and therefore no standards to uphold.
So exactly what is the biggest fear surrounding any home based business opportunity? I have a theory, and it involves initial start-up. Most individuals are afraid of losing the money they would have to invest. They are afraid of the risk involved. But what is so bad about risk? Don't most things in life involve some type of risk? The old adage "Nothing ventured, nothing gained..." comes to mind. If we never step out of the box that society has created, we will never know what could be. We will never experience different or better. We will, in short, become the one thing that our species fears the most...stagnant! Our world's best inventions (products and services like electricity, stop lights and air travel) came from forward-thinking individuals who dared to look outside of the "norm" for better and more efficient ways of living. Without those who embraced this mindset, we would still be living as Neanderthals, barely using fire to heat caves and cook food (and even this was forward thinking for the time).
The risks we take should always be calculated, to an extent. We should consider heavily the pro's and cons of our decisions. And the decisions we make should not be anything that would hurt us, injure our loved ones, or cause us to go completely and utterly broke. Well, home business doesn't do any of these things, does it? It does not threaten or harm us or our families, and if we are researching and investing wisely, it should not expend all of our income either. Home business in its original state was not meant to ruin financial situations, but to improve them, either by supplementing the existing income or surpassing and replacing it. So the fear is simply losing a few hundred, or possibly $1000 or more. A valid and understandable fear from those who work hard for every cent they have. However, part of the point of earning money is to put it to work for us. This is done by investing in programs (whether through stocks, money market accounts, CD's, savings accounts that accrue interest, online businesses or otherwise) that allow us to earn more than we've invested. When you put your money to work for you, you have a better chance of achieving financial security, which is what we are all working toward.
So then, should a person go out and join every money-making opportunity they can find? Of course not! Investing or starting a home business is a wise decision, but should be done with care. It is always a good idea to do ample research on the program(s) you are interested in joining. You must consider everything from the legal aspects to the products being promoted. And as an important side note, you should always investigate the person or entity that has introduced the opportunity to you. Often, this person will become your "sponsor" in the program, and the one responsible for guiding you and helping you to get going in the right directing. As disturbing at it is, there are some "sponsors" who are not fit to be so. The do little, if anything, to help their customers or affiliates. People like this unfortunately give their parent companies a less than desirable reputation. Most distributors work independently of their parent company. While there are certain regulations to follow, they are not limited in the ways they can advertise or market. For this reason, I recommend that when researching home business opportunities, you maintain an open mind and do just as much research (if not more) on the individual who will become your sponsor.
Lets talk about some of the other fears surrounding home based business. One of the most common ones is that the opportunity is illegal; not approved by state and government regulations. The easiest way to circumvent this issue is to check with local and state officials (usually the State Attorney General). If you are interested in a program, contact your state official to learn the requirements and restrictions for involvement in a home based business. And of course, one you join, take the necessary steps to report your income to the IRS, and to register your business with the federal government.
There are other less verbalized fears that pertain to our own abilities. Many individuals feel that they do not have what it takes to run a home business. They may feel they lack experienced in the industry, or lack skills necessary for marketing and customer service. The majority of home business programs in existence today offer some type of training and support. While some programs are better than others (according to current and past members or affiliates), it is not hard to gain the skills and experience necessary to succeed. If you are interested in joining a home business, be sure that your research includes an investigation of the company's (and sponsor's) training regimen and support. Join only if you are satisfied that you'll receive the individual help you need for your skill level and situation. Along with this, many fear that they will need large budgets for advertising their business. This issue too can be solved by the training offered with the opportunity. There are several methods of advertising for free that are very effective (though they can be a bit time-consuming). Your chosen home business program should know a good number of these methods and be willing to train you on these methods also. Be sure to ask if they include this in their training and support. If they do not, move on to researching another opportunity.
One of the last fears I have encountered is the investment of time. Individuals fear that operating a home business will take too much of their time; time away from their jobs, school, family or hobbies. The point of working from home (however you choose to do it) is to allow you more time at home to spend of your family or hobbies. A regular job in the workforce takes more time from these interests than a home business would. While jobs and school may seem secure, they do not allow you the freedom that you so rightly deserve. Home business programs seek to solve this problem by giving you the freedom to set your own hours. Also, home businesses, while they may take a bit more time in the beginning for initial set-up and marketing, can eventually run from just 2 or 3 hours of effort per day. Imagine earning more from a sale in one day than you would earn in 2 weeks or even a month from your job, and from 5 less hours of work? Is that not what we ultimately strive for? Time is important, especially because it is not guaranteed to any of us. The best way to maximize your time here on earth is to do what you can to enjoy more of it. A home based business can bring about an opportunity for freedom that most of us never though possible, thanks to society. Why not go for it, when there is so little to lose?
While all of the fears discussed are valid, none are so disheartening as the possibility of no future stability, no security or no retirement. More than anything, I fear having to come out of retirement to make ends meet. I fear having to compete with a younger, sharper and more technologically-inclined generation for a job at an older age. I fear not being able to retire when I want because I have not built up a deep-enough income or secure-enough future. I fear my children not being able to go to college if they want, or not having enough to provide everything they want and need. I fear working to the point where I have missed out on life's most precious moments...my children growing up, my relationship with my spouse, my grandchildren and so on. Most of all, I fear passing on nothing but debts to my loved ones. For me, these fears far outweigh the possibility of losing money or learning something new. It is for this reason that I became involved with the home business industry. I am young, and as so many say have my whole life ahead of me. I would like the personal and financial freedom to enjoy some of it. I would like to start off my marriage on a solid and secure plane. I would like to stay home with my children when they are born. I would like to see them off to school each day (or even home-school them), teach them new things, attend their performances and games, and be there to encourage their individuality. I would like to have something to pass on to each of them (a home, a substantial inheritance, a car...a future). I don't want my family to "want" for anything. My home based business is allowing me to do all of those things and more!
A few thoughts to those who are considering a home business of their own.
What is stopping you? What is it that you fear most about investing in a home based business? Do you not want all of the things described above? If all of your fears were addressed and dispelled, would you still be hesitant? If so, why?
The ugly truth is that today's economy and our workforce do not provide financial security. Your position can be terminated or passed on to another at any time, and without any notice. Most businesses, especially large corporations, focus only on the needs of the business. If you, your pay grade or your skills stand in the way of these needs, you pose a threat and will be removed without much consideration. And unfortunately, this type of treatment is legal in most states. Does this sound like security to you? Wouldn't you rather have control over how your family is allowed to live than a corporation that cares little about them? Wouldn't you want a back-up plan in case this happens to you? It is another sad truth that most individuals live and think inside their own little bubbles. They see unfortunate things happening all around them, but never stop to think that it could happen to them at any time. None of us are immune to such occurrences. None of us in invulnerable to the trials and tribulations of life. It may be someone else, but it can always just as easily be us! One more thought...if a major situation came about the required a large amount of money to solve (a fire, your only vehicle breaking down, a flood, a break-in or theft, even a baby being born), would you be able to handle it without depleting your life's savings? Would you be able to take care of it immediately? Or would it take months to save up enough?
A home business can be a great addition to any lifestyle. Most do not take exceeding amounts of time to work, most do not rob our wallets of of unbelievable amounts, and they allow us to earn enough to greatly supplement our current incomes, even replace them! With so many more pro's than cons, why shouldn't you consider a home based business of your own?