Work from home job? Business? How do you decide?

It’s a big decision to stay home with your family, rather than continue in a traditional job outside the home. There are many choices you must make if you decide to work from home, and many pitfalls to avoid.

The first things to look at are your skills and interests. Working from home is in some ways more difficult than working outside the home (but more fun, since you don’t have to leave your children), so do what you love if at all possible.

Next, decide if you are interested in a job or a business. You will need to consider the hours you want to work as well. Many jobs need you during traditional business hours; others allow you to work your own. Likewise, many home businesses need regular hours, others, such as party plans, require a great deal of evening and weekend work.

Consider how much money you can invest. If you want a work at home job, you should not have to pay to get the job itself, but some do have other investments required. For example, in addition to running my website, I do medical transcription. This required that I get appropriate reference books, and I rent a Dictaphone from my employer. Do not pay to get the job under any circumstance. Just remember that you wouldn’t pay for a traditional outside the home job. Businesses, on the other hand, often require some sort of investment, depending on the kind of business. Some may even have monthly costs, such as for websites or supplies. Know what you can afford.

Think about how much interaction with other people you want. If you’re not interested in telling everyone you meet about what you do, a business may not be for you, particularly if you have to sell things in person.

Take a look around your home and figure out what you can use for office space. You will need a place you can keep all your business supplies and work in relative peace. Remember, if you take a job taking calls, most employers require that you not have children yelling in the background. Even if you can have your kids around, you will get more done in a peaceful environment.

Become familiar with the various resources to determine if an opportunity is legitimate. Some good ones are


Find out if you need to take any special classes for your job. Once again using medical transcription as an example, I had to study for months in order to be qualified for this job. Good medical transcription courses can run from several hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Talk to your family about your plans. Make sure you will have their support. A lack of support is an easy way to fail.

IIf you choose a business, you will have to decide whether to  strike out on your own or join an existing one. There are many excellent opportunities either way. You can join a party plan and have regular time away from your family, which many work from home parents need or sell products or services online.

Be aware of any legal issues facing your home job or business. Some cities still do not allow home businesses, and you may have to ask for a variance. Many will require some sort of license, depending on the kind of business you are starting. Check with your local city hall.

Whatever you decide to do in the end, whether work a home job or business, make sure to network with other work at home parents. They will understand the issues you are dealing with even if what they are doing is different.

About the author: Stephanie Foster is the owner of Home with the Kids, a resource that knows that there’s more to staying home with your family than just business. From money saving tips to parenting and marriage tips, to work at home jobs and businesses, you can get information and support here. You can visit the site at

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