It is very tempting when you find yourself unemployed at home with young children, especially if they are at an age when they are out occasionally at play group or preschool to think that you could use the extra time you suddenly seem to have to start your own business working from home to get some extra income. When the children are asleep or out of the house it seems as though there are loads of free hours but it is at this point that you need to stop and think as to whether you really are in a suitable position to make self employment work.
Sit down with a piece of paper and make two lists; one of the hours that you know are yours to do with as you like, come what may and another of the hours which are never going to be at your disposal. Unless you have an absolutely cast iron back up plan of childcare options, it is a fair bet that the first list will be very short. Even sleep time is not a given with children as the child who slept all night without fail last week could easily become a child who can get by on three hours sleep a night the next. But assuming that you do have the hours to spare, your next two lists should be the places in the house where you can work unencumbered and without inconveniencing anyone else, set against the places where you would be in someone else’s way at some time or another. Something to bear in mind when planning to do a job working from home is that the net gain must be worth it. If it changes the family dynamic or makes people unhappy, it is not going to work in the long run.
If you have the hours and the space to spare, do you actually want to work from home? As a lifestyle it doesn’t suit everyone and before you start home working you have to be sure that you are ready for the changes it will bring. If you are in the habit of going out to see friends while the children are otherwise engaged, you would have to consider that part of life pretty much over, especially if you have counted those hours in the ‘free in any circumstances’ list. Unless you set the bar so low in your business plan that you don’t have worthwhile goals, you are unlikely to be able to just drop everything to see friends and they are a very important part of the work life balance.
If having read this piece you still feel that you want to become self employed, that the lifestyle changes this will bring are worthwhile to you then you are in a suitable position to become self employed. If any of it gave you pause, it is perhaps a good idea to put off starting home working until your personal position is different. Like the child who changes his sleeping patterns for the worse, life can change very quickly and something that didn’t seem possible last week can suddenly become the business opportunity of your life, so keep looking.