July 07, 2011
In today's times, self-employment and the home-based medical billing business appears to be the saving grace of those raising families or those looking for a new direction in their careers. The big question is - are you the type of person who has what it takes to work from home?
Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself and be honest with your answers. It's not good enough to be a great biller with a fantastic work ethic and great idea on how to run your business; you have to have some other skills as well. So start by asking yourself the following:
Can you be a self-starter? This is a tough question as most people think that they can be but it means that you will be the one who is accountable for completing the tasks - not anyone else. There's no reporting to someone else. The common misconception about a home-based business owner is that they can work sporadically and never get out of their pj's. Now this may be true on some cases but the majority of successful home-based business owners complete many more hours than they ever did at their 9 to 5 job. It is up to you.
Can you work alone? Working free from the distractions of fellow chatty workmates may seem incredibly freeing at the beginning, but if you are a people-person and need that interaction on a daily basis then you may feel quite isolated working alone. You can always join your local chamber and attend networking events etc., but you will really need to weigh up the daily factor of being solo.
How are you financially? It is a sad fact that many of the home-based businesses start today because of a lay-off, downsizing or having to come out of retirement due to financial reasons. Obviously by having a home-based business you can avoid one of the traditional start-up costs associated with a business but there will still be others such as equipment, software, letterheads, website, taxes, etc. Can you still remain with your head above water until you develop a positive income stream? Write a business plan that takes budget into account (amongst other of course!) to help you make the best decision for you.
How is the space in your home? Do you plan on having clients or vendors come to your home office? Is this allowed in your neighborhood? Do you have a dedicated work area for you and possibly future employees? Have you thought about specific work hours and the ability to handle distractions such as children or pets? The ability to draw the line between home life and work life separates successful home-based business owners. Consider insurance, zoning and where applicable, HOA rules.
How are your juggling skills? No, you will not be joining a circus but you will be expected to juggle many responsibilities as a small business owner and some of these may not highlight your strongest skills. On top of your everyday business operations you will also likely be responsible for the billing, accounting, marketing and customer service. If you are not comfortable assuming these roles then you will need to factor in the costs associated with outsourcing these responsibilities.
What's your back-up plan? Most home-based business owners launch and grow their businesses while still maintaining a normal job. This helps to provide a safety net with a steady income, health insurance etc., until you can provide it for yourself. Think about having a contingency plan in place as a just in case and do your homework before committing yourself wholeheartedly.
Now, obviously these are not the only questions to ask yourself but they're a good start. Successful business ownership is not for the faint of heart nor the unorganized but it can provide a sense of accomplishment that is unrivalled.