by Dana Sitar
Debra Cohen had a killer job.
She was vice president of a Spanish-language aviation magazine in Manhattan, which sent her all over the world — an “amazing adventure.”
She was on a business trip to Paris when she found out she was pregnant with her first daughter.
Cohen was faced with the working mother’s dilemma: Could she keep her corporate career and have the kind of family life she valued?
That was 20 years ago.
Cohen’s response to this common dilemma ultimately led to her version of “having it all” — the chance to raise her (now, two) daughters and grow a home-based business that’s grossed almost $4 million.
Leaving a Successful Career
“My husband and I had a heartfelt conversation one night about how I was missing out,” Cohen explains.
“He said, ‘quit your job.’ [It was about] quality of life over quantity of money.”
Cohen’s company accommodated motherhood as best it could. After maternity leave, she was even able to work at home some days.
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Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She also writes about writing, life, comedy and love and attempts humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).
That’s how much I made my first year operating my Homeowner Referral Network (HRN) business. I worked about 15-25 hours each week in the early morning, when my daughter napped, in the evenings after dinner and on weekends.
My goal in the beginning was to bring in a few hundred dollars each month to help make ends meet but word about my business spread and soon I went from one or two job referrals each week to ten!
And, as homeowners began to know and trust me and my business, they started to request contractors for larger jobs. For example, my first job referral was for an exterminator, a $30 commission. That same homeowner called me a few months later looking for a contractor to build cabinets in her playroom, an $800 commission.
That’s what it’s like to build a business. It’s not overnight riches or instantaneous success. In fact, if someone promises you that you’ll make six figures in your first year, you should run the other way!
Solid businesses (like houses;) are built on a strong foundation with good materials, patience and some hard work. That’s how my Homeowner Referral Network (HRN) business was built and that’s why it’s still standing 18 years later!
Check out this great article in Business News Daily about the growing demand for businesses that cater to the growing senior market:
As baby boomers approach retirement, the growing market of seniors and retirees offers great opportunities for savvy businesspeople. As of 2012, 13.7 percent of the population was over the age of 65, and by 2030 this figure will grow to 19 percent, according to U.S. census figures.
Want to seize the opportunity these consumers represent? Here are some new, niche business ideas for entrepreneurs hoping to capitalize on this growing market.
Help seniors ‘age in place’
For the elderly who prefer to stay in their own homes instead of moving to an assisted living facility or retirement residence, maintenance and housekeeping may become more difficult as they age. These challenges represent many opportunities for service businesses that help the elderly around the house, including those who do specialized renovation and contracting work.
“Most homeowners can relate to the difficulty in finding reliable contractors to work in their home, but for senior homeowners in particular, this can be a tremendous challenge,” said Debra Cohen, owner of homeowner referral agency, Aging in Place Referrals.
Cohen said that unscrupulous contractors may prey on seniors, and many of this population’s homes need safety modifications.
“After my own experience trying to take care of my elderly parents in their home several states away, I personally realized the value a contractor referral business offers to senior homeowners who want to age in place,” she said.
This led Cohen to launch her business, which serves the needs of senior homeowners by pre-screening contractors to ensure they have the appropriate licenses and insurance.
View complete article here
Make Sure There’s a Market
Before building a business, make sure that there is a market for your product. Before launching Home Remedies, her contractor referral business, Debra Cohen talked to local real estate agents to find out whether they thought local homeowners would use her service. After launching, those agents became a great referral source for the business.
Cohen recommends making a list of trade organizations, industry associations, websites, newsletters and trade publications to gain as much information as possible about the industry you’d be entering. “Identify who the major players are,” says Cohen, who has since helped more than 300 entrepreneurs launch local contractor referral businesses like hers. “Make a chart of the products and services they offer and identify what will differentiate your product or service from theirs.”
Read more on DailyWorth: http://www.dailyworth.com/posts/2708-how-to-build-your-own-business-while-working#ixzz35e7Q17tV
My father used to tell me “When something comes in like fireworks, run the other way”. His advice rings true (on so many levels!) but particularly when someone is looking for a legitimate home based business opportunity.
The internet, coupled with a sluggish economy have made home-based business opportunity seekers more vulnerable than ever to unscrupulous companies and individuals peddling work-at-home scams and get rich quick schemes. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom looking for a way to make money from home while raising your family, someone looking for a second income, a career changer or a retiree, I’m sure you’ve come across websites or business opportunities promising that you’ll make thousands of dollars each month with very little effort.
And, there’s a big difference between work-at-home opportunities vs. home-based businesses. When you launch a home based business, you are the owner and work for yourself. When someone offers you the opportunity to work from home, you work for them. And, as a rule of thumb, if you find a business opportunity, distributorship, licensee opportunity or franchise that offers you the opportunity to work-from-home for their company but they require that you pay money to them first, beware. These are generally scams.
Below is a short list of some of the most notorious online “work-from-home schemes”. If you’re searching for a home based business online and feel confident that one of these opportunities is the right fit for you, I advise you to do your research and ask questions!
• Envelope stuffing
• Craft/product assembly
• Rebate processing
• Claims processing
• Multi-level marketing companies where money is generated solely as a result of your recruitment of others
• Posting ads online
• Check cashing
• Contract typing where you pay for a lead list of potential clients
• Name and address collection services
• Mystery shoppers
The bottom line is that the rewards of operating your own home based business are tremendous but they require time and effort. If a company or website promises overnight riches consider it “fireworks” and run the other way.
It’s a simple fact—in today’s economy, it takes two incomes for most families to survive.
And, if you already have a full time job or are a stay-at-home mom, finding a viable home based business that can be operated on a part-time basis can really be a challenge.
The key is to find a home based business that:
- Has low overhead.
- Will turn a profit in a short period of time.
- Allows you to work smart, not hard.
And, the Homeowner Referral Network (HRN®) business does just that.
Low Overhead: Did you know that the monthly expenses required to operate an HRN® business are less than $250 month? And, you can get up and running with just a computer and a phone? The HRN business is a “word of mouth” business which means that you won’t have to invest thousands of dollars in expensive advertising.
Profit: Since operating expenses for an HRN® are so low, most owners report turning a profit within the first 6 months of operation. And, many HRN owners start out working from home on a part time basis and grow their business into a full time operation. There have even been HRN business owners who have sold their companies for more than $250,000!
Work Smart: While an HRN owner is working from home in his/her office, there may be 10 or more contractors at work on jobs referred by their business. And, you—as the HRN® business owner—are earning commissions from all of those jobs. That’s working smart, not hard.
If you’re looking for a proven, turnkey home based business with low overhead and outstanding profit potential, an HRN is an ideal work from home solution.
Please feel free to contact me if you have additional questions about launching this unique home based business in your area.