There Must Be a Better Way
by Kevin Holton
Married a few years ago and now with a two-year-old son, I'm
finding an ever-increasing desire to spend more time at home.
However, the needs of a growing family mean it's time to put
my nose to the business grindstone. I often wonder, could there
be one solution to satisfy these seemingly different desires and
My wife, Laurie, and I have worked very hard to position ourselves
for a good lifestyle. I'm a chiropractor and Laurie just became
an R.N. Our problem is time. Like most parents, we contend with the childhood traumas, both logistically and emotionally. How many mornings
have I had to leave Kevin with family or friends and either sneak
out while he was distracted, leaving him to wonder where his daddy
went, or leave with him crying for me, arms outstretched. It
was at those times that I first dared to listen to a little voice
inside. Almost like the genie in Aladdin's lamp, it asked, "If
you could live your dreams, would you be going to the office now
or staying at home?" Then another question: "Life
passes quickly. Will you start creating the life of your dreams
or will your dream still be inside when the story ends?"
Now don't get me wrong. You certainly can't stay home all the
time. You need recreation and exercise. You also need some time
alone. And you definitely need an income. But do I have to leave
my family every day until I'm sixty-five to provide for them?
I can shop by television, send
a letter over the phone and virtually live my life by computer.
So why must I leave my home to make money?
Like many fathers and husbands, I have often pondered how I might
provide a substantial income for my family while maintaining a
schedule with great time flexibility. In these changing times
some men have answered that question by simply choosing to leave
their jobs to stay at home with their children. That creates
two problems for me.
Will one income offer the financial future we want? Our answer
is a resounding no! Considering the need for me to be the "breadwinner"
(or at least a financial participant), would I be satisfied if
I were not adding to our bottom line? Again, that's a no for
That leads to another thought: would it be possible for me to
work at home and develop a substantial income? I started doing
some research. Success magazine, Fortune and others told me home-based
business isn't only possible, it's the wave of the future and
now is the perfect time. This definitely required a long hard
What values would I want a home-based business to offer? What
would I look for? Ideally it would offer part-time with flexible
hours, unlimited financial return, no major start-up costs, low
overhead and no risk.
I found that the current business trends turn all these ideals
into realities. In fact, I have met people capitalizing on this
trend as they create the family life of their dreams. Interestingly
enough, with further investigation, I found people creating financial
freedom while enjoying plenty of free time, all out of the comfort
of their homes. These people are living my dreams.
I didn't have the business background to know where to begin
and I certainly didn't have the capital to fund a major venture.
So I spoke to successful entrepreneurs and leaders of organizations
including those that participate in home-based industries. I
read business prospectuses and reviewed publications that tracked
business trends. Together, they suggested the following as criteria
for starting a home-based business:
After considerable study, my decision was made. During the past
several months I've been spending a few hours each week building
my in-home business. I haven't compromised my practice and I
started without capital risk. With profits on the rise, I'm now
planning to list my practice for sale. I'm going home to my family
and to financial security because that's where I chose to be.
- Understand business trends and how distribution is changing,
i.e., downsizing in corporate America, catalogue shopping, television
and computer shopping, franchising, network marketing. Read!
Books like "Wave 3" by Richard Poe of Success Magazine
outline the changes in business as we enter the distribution age.
- Get into an industry that is expanding. The fastest growing
market in the world is health and fitness, with a $20-billion
jump last year alone. This explosive growth is expected to continue
through the nineties.
- Don't go it alone. Associate with a group that specializes
in home industries. If you are going to align with an existing
company, be sure to look at their track record.
- Examine the products. In a retail market, products should
be of the highest quality and highly consumable for ongoing residual
income. The target market for the products should be a large
one, e.g. baby boomers.
- Take a long look at the compensation plan. The bottom
line in business is your ability to make a substantial income
as you render quality service.
I can't tell you being your own boss is easy. It just isn't
that way. It takes a lot of discipline, motivation, dedication
and especially persistence. Calvin Coolidge said, "Nothing
in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not,
nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius
will not, unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will
not, the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and
dedication alone are omnipotent."
It isn't easy but it is rewarding. It is hard work, but it's
also a great deal of fun. It is definitely exciting. It can
be a wonderful family experience.
Twenty-first century America shouldn't find us working the best years
of our lives and then looking to social security for our survival.
Opportunity is available if we're willing to go for it. You
can have the time-freedom with financial independence.
I wonder about making changes in my life. What will it get me?
What will I miss if I don't take the chance? My answer comes
quickly, wrapped up in a big smile on the excited little boy that
just jumped into my arms. For me, it just makes sense to go for
those changes that will bring me closer to a dream as beautiful
This article originally appeared in Full-Time Dads, and is copyright 1995-1996 by Full-Time Dads. No reprint or other use of this article is allowed without express written consent of the author and Full-Time Dads.