Gas prices just keep going up. This has been going on for a while, but now many areas are breaking $4 a gallon – easily. It’s not a comfortable situation if you have a long commute.
And this is one of the most obvious ways that working outside the home has become more expensive. Many other prices have gone up as well.
I’ve come to realize that more and more people are getting serious about working at home, at least some of the time. They may only be able to telecommute a day or two a week, but the savings are obvious.
The challenge can be getting an employer to agree to let you telecommute. It’s not impossible if your job is suited to telecommuting, and many employers are feeling enough of a pinch from gas prices themselves that they may be more reasonable about it now than in the past.
This is why many others are looking at home business as an option. Most can be worked as you continue with your day job, so that you aren’t starting with no income whatsoever. You can find out if the business is going to be for you.
Starting a home business isn’t something you should do lightly. You should research your options and get several ideas for what you want to do. Then you can figure out which you want to focus on first.
Just one. You shouldn’t try to run multiple businesses right at the start. While there is something to be said for diversifying your income sources, if you try to do that right at the start you risk failing at them all. Learn how to run one business before you try to run several.
The beauty of it is that so many businesses can be run primarily online or entirely online. Even if you’re freelancing and taking on clients you can often do all meetings through email, IM or even VOIP. You may rarely need to meet with someone face to face.
That saves a lot of gas. Not to mention the other expenses.
If you want to consider this option, there are some things you will want to consider first to get a solid look at what you will be saving. It’s not just the gas money, after all.
You’ll cut back on dry cleaning bills, most likely. Most people who work at home don’t dress up for it. Some do feel more comfortable that way. Will you?
Similarly, you’ll probably spend less on your professional wardrobe.
Daycare may or may not be needed. This depends on the age of your children and how willing they will really be to let you work the hours you need. Not every parent who works at home keeps the kids there too.
You’ll probably eat out less. My lunch is often the previous night’s leftovers. Much cheaper than eating out. And of course there are many other fixings so that I can have a good lunch any day.
You can estimate these factors to figure out how much your home business needs to be reliably earning before you can quit your job. For most people this takes a while, and you should expect that. But you can also figure out if there’s a lower income level at which you can switch to a pure home business model.
And of course, figure out what you are willing to spend on a home business. It’s easy to underestimate what a business, particularly an online business, will cost you. Online businesses are relatively cheap to start, and you can start free if you really want to, but it’s often better to spend some money to get things moving a little faster. This means you need to know how much you are willing to risk and how much you will reinvest as you start earning.
If you can come up with ways to use less gas, the continuing rise in gas prices will still hurt, but you can limit its impact. How and where you work are potentially great places to cut back on your gas usage.