It’s time to redefine “work from home business”

Recently I signed up for a cloud platform so I could easily share my webinars with clients and, upon reading the guidelines, I was a little bemused to read this:

 

“You may not upload videos pertaining to multi-level marketing (MLM), get-rich-quick schemes, cash gifting, work-from-home businesses, or any other dubious money-making ventures.”

 

Okay, I really get that this is not aimed at legitimate businesses but why is it “work from home businesses” warrant inclusion in this list at all? One would think that the rest of the list covers the scammy ventures.

 

One thing I’ve noticed since starting up my business is that the older paradigm where professionals tried to hide the fact they worked from home through virtual offices and 1800 numbers is shifting.

 

A huge sign of this shift is the grassroots “work at home” or “solopreneur” movement. There are whole communities forming around the “work at home” identity with representation from all industry sectors and all levels of operation.

 

My recent blog post Are WAHMs on the bottom rung of the business world on StartupSmart evoked some passionate reactions from the “work at home” community movement.

 

On the one hand, solo home-based business owners were applauding me for recognising them and, on the other hand, I was being chastised by business people who were highly entrenched in “corporate” culture.

 

That latter reaction was a little unexpected, but it confirmed my view that “work at home” is still considered a dirty word.

 

The thing is – and this is the thing that corporates (or people who feel they need to look and act like corporates) don’t get – the reason why solo entrepreneurs and business owners identify with “work at home” communities is that they don’t feel supported or even inspired by those who hold the view that success means becoming a corporate carbon copy.

 

The rise of “mumpreneur” and solo business communities is a natural reaction to the old corporate paradigm. And they’re only going to get bigger.

 

According to Inc.com, most recent census data shows a 25% increase in the number of entrepreneurs who operate home-based businesses. (That was way back in 2005. Imagine what those figures would be now!)

 

The fact is when you’re an entrepreneur or solo business owner operating in such a tough economic climate, it makes sense to work from home where your overheads are lower.

 

That’s not to say there aren’t challenges, but with start-ups and solo businesses on the rise, it’s time we redefined “work from home” to reflect what it truly means and do away with the derogatory slurs.

 

When you hear the phrase “work from home”, what does it mean to you?

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