Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Baby and Self-Employment

By Christina VanGinkel

If you are expecting a child, contemplating becoming pregnant, or already have a brand new baby, you may be wondering if you really want to go back to work. Alternatively, maybe you have been a stay-at-home parent up until this point, but with another child, feel that it is time for you to bring in an income. While many parents work full and part time jobs outside of the home, be sure to consider all of your options, including a source of income that would be generated by yourself joining the ranks of the self-employed.

Start by pinpointing what it is you like to do, what you are good at, and research if there is a market for it, either in your area, or through the online markets, such as a direct website or through sale places such as Ebay. Also, determine if you are in need of a full time income, or a part time income. Keep in mind that even the best laid out plans for a business will have a curve between start-up and profits, so be sure that you can handle the wait. Many people get a job outside of the home, from a third party source, while simultaneously starting a venture, only jumping over to the self-employed side solo when the business has taken hold. This may not be an option for you if baby has already arrived, and time is at a minimum, but may work if you are in the planning stages of building a family, and just want to be established at home before you become pregnant.

Depending on the venture, does your household have space for it? While the online world has created jobs that use no more space than your computer area you already have, others will require, at the minimum, their own space, or room. Selling handcrafted or recycled merchandise will require space to assemble, package, and ship goods from, for example.

Consider if you have a talent that you can market, such as designing crafts, like those seen in magazines and kits. Each one had to be created by somebody, so why not you? The best part is many of these companies hire freelancers to keep the ideas fresh, and designing for more than one craft will provide you with numerous markets. Look for submission information company to company, as each will have their own set of guidelines.

Consider the many businesses that exist through outside companies, those that handle the merchandise, but require you to do the selling, through catalogs and home parties. There are cosmetic companies, such as Avon and Mary Kay, house wares, such as the time honored Tupperware Company, Home Interiors, and the numerous start-up and established scrapbook and craft companies, such as I Remember When, Stampin' Up!, and Creative Memories. These may require you to do as little as drop off catalogs and merchandise, to as much as going into homes to demonstrate products and teach classes on how to use the products sold.

Even when choosing to go with an established company, keep in mind that to be successful, you have to like what you are selling, or the venture may end up costing you, in both time and inventory, instead of earning you money.

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