Many women look to starting a home based business each year, and it may surprise you that not all of them are financially motivated to do so. There are a number of reasons for deciding to go down this route and a number of ways of making it work for you and your family. The main thing to keep in mind is the reason why you are starting your business, as this will help you decide which route would be best suited to you.
The first reason that people turn to a home based business is likely to be because they simply cannot afford to take on premises to work from at this point in time. This certainly applies to many artisan type businesses where people are turning a craft hobby into a source of income. The attraction to this type of business of being able to work from
a spare room or outbuilding is obvious as the renting and running of business premises can be expensive. The downside of not having a high
street presence is that entrepreneurs with this type of business will need to work harder to get their message out to the public. However, there are plenty of vendor events around that they can take their wares to as well as local markets and fairs. This can in itself lead to problems in that entrepreneurs find themselves spending so much time on marketing and promotional activities that they do not get to do what they went into business to do (i.e. make stuff) as often as they would like. Often they end up working ridiculously long hours just so they can do their baking, crafting, woodworking, etc… around the hours, consumed with 'office' activities.
Marketing of goods made by your own fair hands can be made slightly easier if you sell your items through your own website or through third party sales sites such as Etsy, eBay and Amazon. However, the problem again is being found by your target customer. If you only advertise on one of these sites, then you are relying on your target customer shopping through that portal. You could, of course, adopt a scattergun approach and advertise on all of them plus your own website, but then the fees could soon start mounting up with no guarantee of a sale.
The other problem that is common with artisan type businesses is that it is hard to ensure you get paid fairly for all the hours of loving work that you have dedicated to a project at least until you have really made a name for yourself as a top designer in your field. For example, if I made a beaded bracelet and spent 15 hours making it, at the UK minimum wage of £6.50 (US $9.31) a reasonable labor charge would be £97.50 (US $139.65). So, including the cost of materials my eventual selling price would probably be more like £120 (US $171.94). Would I sell many bracelets at that price? Probably not. A more reasonable price based on what's selling on Etsy now would be around £15 (US $21.49), however with materials likely to cost around £8 (US $11.46), that means I'd be getting paid £7 (US $10.03) for 15 hours work or
Then, at some point during our ancient past, according to Dr. Gross, there was a shift to a male dominated commerce environment where the focus turned to making as much money as possible, whatever the cost. Unfortunately, this is the business environment that we have retained over the centuries and there is plenty of evidence of this male dominated egocentric business attitude in the Information Age that we are currently living in.
In fact, once the shift to a male dominated commercial society had taken place, women were effectively 'locked out' of being influential in societies all around the world. In many countries women couldn't have their own property, their own money or participate in a political activities including voting.
The more resourceful women soon started to develop so called 'cottage industries' which could
only include activities that were deemed 'socially
acceptable for women to do' such as spinning yarn
and weaving cloth. Some ladies kept chickens and sold the eggs, or kept goats for the milk. Of course,
there was usually the wise woman of the village
who knew about herbs and sold potions and often acted as the local midwife. In short, women did whatever they could within the confines of what society expected of them to earn a few extra coins to feed their family better, or they'd use the extra money to buy clothes or education for their children.
Somewhere, deep within the female psyche, we have somehow retained that original purpose for commerce and we understand that business shouldn't just be about creating fat bank accounts and having flashy cars, but about having a better quality of family life, enabling the next generation to have a better future and supporting our local community. This is evident today, because we have
Options for Starting Your Home Based Businesses
The problem is being found by your target customer.
By Heather Barlow
Peyote Toggle Bracelet by Heather Barlow. https://www.facebook.com/stitchedbead/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf. Photo: Heather Barlow
60 | Ceres Magazine | Fall 2016