Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Coming Home

I started blogging - right here - in December 2005*. I started my blog as a way to discuss and share my experiences as a home-based entrepreneur, WAHM (work-at-home Mom) and SAHM (stay-at-home Mom), because I believed then (as now) that the best way to fight low-wages and dead-end jobs was to promote working from home as an alternative to those soul-sucking jobs.

There was a time when working from home was the norm and other types of jobs were the exception. The at-home business dynamic changed in the early part of the 20th Century, and we all thought that our ticket to the good life lay in the ability to get a "good job." What we're discovering, however, is that the harder we work for someone else, the richer that someone else gets, and the more we end up struggling just to enjoy our lives.

We're fed the lies that a "good job" equals "the good life", and we toil away at these corporate jobs, hour-after-hour, day-after-day, year-after-year, until we reach the pot-o'-gold called retirement, and then, we wait to die.

The idea of being self-employed, especially now that the "affordable" health care tax has passed, is pretty terrifying, but also it feels like an unattainable possibility for most people, and I think that's because there's a mistaken belief that working from home means doing administrative work or making crafts to sell at Fairs or on eBay, Etsy or Zibbet, and I think too many people feel unqualified to do those jobs, or simply can not see how that job would make them enough money to support their lifestyle.

The reality is that there is no job, except, perhaps, mining for raw materials, that can't be home-based.

My butcher works from home. His "shop" is in an outbuilding next door to his house. His son, who lives across the street, works with him, and when they're particularly busy, like during the summer chicken harvest, I've seen his wife, and assorted other young relatives helping out. It's truly a home-based, family enterprise - the kind of work/life environment that made this country the Land of Opportunity.

My mid-wife worked from home. She had an office in the loft area over her attached barn/garage. She had everything in her office that can be found in a standard OB/GYN office, except the I'm-a-god ... er, Doctor mentality. Since the birth was going to take place in my home, there was no need for her to have rooms for me to recuperate following the birth of my child.

I have several friends who are photographers, and none of them have a photography studio. The benefit of using a home-based photographer, over going to a studio, is that the photographer is willing to go on location, for about the same price as the photographer with the studio. Having done both studio sessions and on-site sessions, I have to say that I much prefer the latter. There are so many more opportunities for creativity, and frankly, the pictures were a lot better, and captured the essence of my family in a way that a blank background can not. Plus, the price was a much better deal ;).

Our music teacher also works from home. He didn't always, but through a series of events, eventually moved his teaching to his home studio. It's worked out for his students, and it's worked out for him. In fact, I'd say that we get a higher level of music training from his home studio, because he's able to have all of his equipment - some of which couldn't travel with him when he taught elsewhere.

On a country road, not far from my house is a cute little home-based used book "store", and I put store in quotes, because it's not really a store. Essentially, it's a storage shed with books. Books are $1 for hardcovers and $0.50 for paperbacks. There's a money box (and a security camera), but there's no cashier. Customers pull up, browse books, calculate what they owe, and drop the money in the box. I guess they've done okay - at least well enough to keep the used book shed up and running for the last decade. They probably don't earn a large income, but it's probably enough. If it weren't, they wouldn't keep doing it.

The possibilities are endless, and the only barrier is a willingness to step outside that box and imagine.

If you could do your dream job, what would it be?

What's stopping you from doing it?

*In 2009, I archived my blog on my local computer and deleted my old posts, starting over again a few weeks later, which is why my oldest post is in 2009, rather than 2005, when the blog was actually started.


  1. When I was in college I started my first blog...2001...before the September 11th attacks. I kept that blog for over 2 years, and then deleted it before I got my first job. I wish that I had thought to back it up at the time.

    I agree that the best place for people to work is in the home. I feel like when you are at home you can be more motivated because you are often working for yourself instead of someone else. My husband had been working from home for a few years, telecommuting for a company out of state. He needed more people contact, so now he is working for a local company, but I definitely miss him being at home, and so do my kids.

    I wish that all of our communities could be small, local communities where everyone has a specific purpose and feels as though they belong, while also being able to provide everything that we need in the community.

  2. I love the work from home idea. We almost have it. Our shop is only 2km from home and we all work together, hubby and our 2 son's. I love it. We share the work and the chores at home, they all cook great meals.

  3. I plan to work from home, or at least my own premises, one day. A few years ago the thought would have terrified me, now the thought of working under someone else for the rest of my days terrifies me! Thought provoking post, thank you.