So you’ve taken to motherhood and decided that it just won’t fit in with the job you did before maternity leave. Or you’ve just received your redundancy cheque and decided to go it alone. But what home business should you choose?

Are you going to pick a franchise or distributorship with defined products to sell and all the marketing done for you? Are you going to train and learn a skill so that you can provide a service to people?  Are you going to invent something and bring it to market?  Or something else entirely?

How do you even begin to choose from all the boggling business options open to you?

I have a good friend who decided to retrain as a Reflexologist. She loved having reflexology treatments and was really interested in it. She was a bit scared of the study, but she knuckled down to it and did really well. She treated me several times while she was studying, in her garage transformed into a beautiful studio, and I have to admit she has a talent for it.

Yet one year later she isn’t working as a Reflexologist. “I couldn’t stand the silence” she said. I’ve always worked in loud bustling environments and I realise that I love the social buzz. A series of one to one contacts with people who didn’t really want to talk while they were having their treatments was doing my head in”

I’ve often thought that a beauty therapist’s job with the silence, the calm and the wonderful smells would suit me down to the ground – just goes to show that we’re all different.

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The point I’m trying to make is you have to pick a home business which suits your personality. A job is different – you can do it with no personal investment from 9 to 5 and go home each night and leave it behind. But a home business soon becomes one of the family – you are going to think about it all the time, care for it, nurture it, and hopefully help it grow alongside your children. So you absolutely must make a choice that suits you and also your family.

The best business ideas come from a passion of the owner. If you can make money from your hobby, talent or existing skill that you enjoy then you stand a chance of loving your part time business, which will certainly help towards success.

If like me you don’t have that big idea or passion then you have to look a bit harder to find something that will suit. In my case I had to try out various different businesses, learning more about myself on the way, until I hit upon a combination of things that suit my home and family set up. I find that mine evelves every couple of years, as the children reach new stages, and personally I am happy with that flexibility although I know it would freak some people out.

Brainstorming Home Business Ideas

If you are still at the stage of planning what business to buy or set up, ask yourself the following (and any other questions you can think of):

  • Do I like working indoors or outdoors?
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  • Do I like working by myself or in a team of people?
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  • Do I like set, regular times of work, or a flexible schedule?
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  • Am I comfortable doing face to face sales or presentations?
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  • How many hours do I want to work – am I happy to work evenings or weekends?
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  • Who is going to look after my children while I work? This may impact the times you are available to work, or maybe you will look for the kind of job/business where you can work with the children around you.
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  • Am I self motivated – will I still keep going and working when there is nobody around me and no boss to tell me what to do? If you are in any doubt about this answer then you have to ask yourself wheterh working alone is really for you
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Will you enjoy working alone at home? Photo by Shutterstock

Write down the answers to these questions and any other ideas you have about how, when, where and with whom you would like to work. Then when you are weighing up new businesses you can compare their requirements against this list and see whether or not the business suits your temperament.

The most successful businesses are those where the owner is fully invested in the business and loves every minute of it.  the best businesses don’t feel like work – you are merely spending all day doing something that you really love. Work out what that means to you and you are well on your way to a perfect business.

This blog first appeared in Motivating Mum.