Saturday, March 30, 2013

Becoming independent

I was recently reading an author's idea of freedom and security in the work environment.  You must run your own business in order to achieve this.  There is no denying in this day and age, we may have to change direction in our careers.  We cannot depend on American business to employ us, offer us any health plans or any decent retirement plans in our lifetime anymore.  The answer?  Starting a business of your 

Too many people will say: "It takes scads of money to start a business, it takes too much time and I doubt I'm any good at running a business."  STOP!  You absolutely can start a business, yes it takes scads of work, but it just may not take scads of money.

One of the happiest times of my life was when I was running my own business.  I would work 12 hour days, but because I was doing something I liked, those 12 hours seemed like less time than the 8 hours I would do for someone else.  Why was it more fun and less tiring?  Well I could run the business as I saw fit.  I called the shots and made the executive decisions.  When you work for someone else, well, you are making them rich.  When you work for yourself, that's your money walking through that door, not for someone else.  All the money is yours to use as you see fit, to pay your salary, buy goods and to make your business thrive.

What were the businesses I ran?

Elder care consulting:  Yes, everyone likes to think they are a consultant.  But in this case you truly are.  What did I do?  I would visit nursing homes and assisted living facilities for families.  In our mobile society, sometimes Mom and Dad do not want to move to a state or city close to their adult kids.  The adults kids do not always have the time to find the right place or the right services for their elderly parents.  That's where I came in.  I would ask questions about what Mom or Dad liked to do, how they were living right now and did my best to match their preferences with the proper services or facility.
I had a great time.  I met some wonderful people and when I sent out fliers to nursing homes, assisted living places and home health care, I got calls from them offering me tours and many times lunch to meet the residents and ask the people living there what they liked or didn't like about the place.  
You don't know much about the aging population?  Well find out, do some research, visit senior centers, leave cards and fliers in any place seniors congregate.  Leave fliers at the public library and many times nursing homes and home health agencies will allow you to leave fliers and pamphlets.

I would get written permission to attend care plan meetings and would do phone conferences with loved ones to keep them abreast of what their parents needed and how they were doing. 

Beautician: I rented a chair in a salon and after paying my monthly rent, the rest of the money coming through the door was my profit.  Beauty has become a huge industry these days.  No matter how bad the economy gets, people, men and women, and kids too, want to look nice.  I checked out the competition around me and for a short time, I offered haircuts at half the price as the other salons.  I had patrons lined out the door, but I made money and had a great time doing so.
Not a hairdresser you say.  Well a good course consists of 1,000 hours in many states, which really isn't that long.  Check your state for requirements............they vary.

Housekeeping:  Even in a bad economy, there are people with money, working, and a need for having their house cleaned.  I did this one for several years and enjoyed it very much.  This is something where the equipment consists of a vacuum, maybe a steam cleaner and cleaning products.  Very low start costs with this one.

Home health aide:  Many seniors want to age in place, or at home.  They may need just a little assistance with daily chores to be able to stay home.  Maybe help dressing, doing dishes, dressing and running errands.  Most 'agencies' charge at least, $75 an hour.  You can under cut those expensive agencies by a certain amount and still get a good salary.  When I did this, I got so many calls I had to turn down people, not enough hours in the day.  This can be done in a big city or small town.  You might want to obtain insurance but you can get quotes from many agencies about cost, they vary.  You may get large enough to hire help and start your own agency eventually.

Shopping and errands:  This one is big with bachelors.  You can offer cooking, making meals, freezing them for the week ahead, shop, run errands, cleaning, even dropping off and picking up clothes at the dry cleaners.  This also has a low start up cost.  

These are just a few of the services you can offer.  But you could quite possibly earn a great living.  Remember, the sky's the limit when you run your own business.  You can be in charge of your own destiny.