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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 needs?

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 me.

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 look.

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:

  • 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.
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.

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 as that.

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.


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