Whether you’re a Generation Y entrepreneur with big ideas or a baby boomer looking for a career change rather than retirement, starting up your own business from home can be as rewarding as it is challenging.
For 53-year-old Susan Triggs, dropping out of corporate life two years ago to pursue her love of photography on a full-time basis was a no-brainer.
After more than 20 years working as a courseware designer for education institutions, Triggs swapped suits and daily commutes for a view of the world through her camera lens.
Working from a small home studio in Geelong, Triggs says while she may be earning less now than during her corporate career, she couldn’t be happier with the trade-offs and being in control of her own income.
“You can’t put a price on convenience and quality-of-life issues and working from home means I have the flexibility to take care of family responsibilities,” she explains. “I have a 16-year-old son and elderly parents, so I’m able to balance all those things with my work. It has put me back in control of my life.”
Triggs says for those planning to start a home business, it’s important to get expert tax advice so your talents and business aren’t undermined by poor administration and ignorance of tax obligations and concessions.
“It’s important to talk with your accountant and get advice on properly setting up your records. I worked out what income I needed to earn and tried to translate that into how many photos I needed to produce each day,” Triggs says. “In the first six months, I worked really hard doing at least 10 hours a day, six days a week.”
Marvin Osifo, a 24-year-old Sydneysider, is also no stranger to hard work.
Having migrated along with his parents and older brother from Nigeria when he was nine, Osifo later studied marketing and business at TAFE while working in retail and fashion, where he noticed the lack of opportunities for young, emerging Australian designers to promote their talents.
Jumping in to fill this gap, Osifo founded and is director of Face Fashion, an 18-month-old home-based business that scored a coup four months after launching when Osifo’s dogged determination finally convinced Microsoft to come aboard as a principal sponsor.
After months of rejection, the business, which organises and promotes fashion events for promising designers, began to attract more sponsorship deals as well as local labels keen to showcase their creations.
To date, more than 35 up-and-comers have been featured at four Face Fashion events.
But it’s not all glamour, Osifo says.
“The recession is making it harder for designers and young business operators and it’s hard to break into the fashion industry anyway. I was getting a lot of ‘nos’ from people so you really have to be passionate and persevere,” he advises. “If you get rejected, keep going and ask others until you get a ‘yes’ and, eventually, there’s always a ‘yes’.”