Come on, admit it. Pretty much all of us who have ever worked for a company, large or small, have had that dream of one day turning around to the boss and telling them that, while it’s been great and all that, the time has come to do your own thing.
While this merely remains a dream for most workers – given the mortgage, rent, groceries and kids’ Christmas presents don’t pay for themselves – a healthy portion of the Australian workforce have opted to be their own boss from now on. “There has been a stampede to start home based businesses in the last few years,” says Robert Gerrish, a business commentator and the co-author of Flying Solo – How to go it alone in Business. “More and more people are opting to work for themselves at home as they strive for a better balance in life, wanting to spend more time with their friends and family, less time commuting to and from work and being in control of their own destiny.”
The growth of micro businesses in Australia makes for startling reading. In 1997 there were approximately 300,000 sole business owners in Australia. Just over a decade later, that figure has increased by more than three-fold to over one million, accounting for 72 per cent of the small business community. It is estimated that around 700,000 of these businesses are home based.
“Technological changes, such as the development of the internet, have enabled more and more people to go it alone,” Gerrish says. “People can now develop and create their own business from home, and have clients from all over the world.” An interesting feature of the shift has been the high proportion of women moving towards home-based businesses. Over half (58 per cent) of the respondents to a micro and solo business survey of 1770 people conducted by the Flying Solo website in March this year were women. The survey also found that 46 per cent of respondents reported a household income of over $100,000 and 69 per cent of participants ran their business from a home office. “The majority of people who tend to work from home are independent professionals selling their professional expertise for a fee,” Gerrish says.
“Many of these people also have other forms of income, with women especially attracted to working from home as they seek to maintain a professional career while having children and raising a family.” While a large number of the people who decide to work from home have already been successful in business, Gerrish says that you need to remain disciplined in establishing a new work routine and be mentally switched on. “You should have a designated, separate office space that is free from household clutter,” he says. “I know one person who puts on a suit and walks around the block before starting work from home, while others work better in casual clothes. You need to find what works best for you and incorporate that into your routine.”
Before you go into business for yourself though, you should ensure you are financially stable. One person who can vouch for this is Ed Thistlethwaite. Three years ago, while working as a project manager on major brewery upgrades for clients including James Boag and Penfolds, Thistlethwaite decided to take a year off and work for himself. This has now stretched to three years and counting. “I have always liked the idea of doing something for myself, and I was wondering why I was working long hours and constantly travelling to line someone else’s pocket,” he says. Thistlethwaite used his technical skills to create a project management software package and website (www.ezyestimator.com) from his home office that allows contractors such as plumbers and electricians to estimate, schedule and track their projects in the one package.
“The advice I would give to other people thinking of working for themselves is to make sure you have some money in the bank and that you have a profession or skill to fall back on,” he says.
Kwik Kopy are well versed in enabling home-based business people achieve the desired look and image with their range of products. Speak to your Kwik Kopy account manager about creating personalised business stationery, marketing pieces and sales material to boost your business.
For more handy design and printing tips, head to your nearest Kwik Kopy Centre.