by Lisa M. Roberts
- As the ominous tax season approaches,
many EPs turn toward their books (or in my case,
shoe box), to sum up the previous year's efforts in dollars and
cents. This annual ritual is not only to keep things clean with
Uncle Sam, but to evaluate the year's revenue, expenses, and
in a word, "profit" -- which usually all shows up in
black and white on a single piece of paper called a "Schedule
- For many an EP who toils away day after day in a home office
to keep their professional career afloat while engaging in the
primary work of raising very young children, this can be a depressing
task. But over the years I have found that there are other meanings
to the word "profit" that are not associated with any
monetary value at all.
- In my book, How
to Raise A Family & A Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide
to Home Business, I go into detail about the rewards a home
business brings to one's sense of self, including challenge,
diversity, independence, professional growth, contact with like-minded
professionals and domestic freedom. While there's not enough
room here to cover the topic in full, we can briefly take comfort
by referring to the Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, in which
the FIRST definitions of the word "profit" are:
- 1) proficiency, advancement;
- 2) advantage; gain; benefit.
- With this perspective in mind,
how have YOU profited by working at home in 1999? Before you
answer that question, consider the following:
- Have you picked up any new clients
in the past year? Even if the initial projects with a new client
are small, if you've made a good impression by meeting or exceeding
expectations you've "advanced" your home business a
great deal. It takes time to build a trusting relationship with
a client and hopefully you're both in it for the long haul.
- Have you made a strong connection
with any new EP peers online or in person? Have you met and conversed
with any other new business colleagues or professionals in your
field? How about members of the press or other media? Every new
contact can help you advance your home career in terms of opportunities,
public perception and personal support.
- New Hard
or Soft Skills Developed
- Have you picked up any new computer
skills, sharpened your writing, or taught a class for the first
time during the past year? Here's where the term "proficiency"
comes in, another building block for that high income-generating
home career of your future...
- New Business
- Did you research, launch or
grow your business in the past year? Every day you are self-employed
you are "improving" your entrepreneurial understanding,
knowledgebase and competency -- all factors that are working
together to move you closer and closer to your financial goals.
- Here is where the concept of
"advantage," "gain," and "benefit"
come into play full swing. For those of us with an innate desire
to put family first and career a close second, no further explanation
here is necessary -- just give your loved ones a hug and a smile
and thank them for sharing their days with you!
- In today's society, where the
barometer of success is too often measured by one's annual salary,
the preparation of an EP's "Schedule
C" can be a sobering affair -- and even a point of contention
among family members. But if you can keep your mind and heart
focused on the broader definition of "profit" as you
gather together your business receipts, related utitility bills,
invoices and bank statements, you can retain a sense of pride
in your year's accomplishments -- regardless of what you pencil
in on the bottom line.
- (If you'd like
to share how you have "profited" outside a financial
assessment from working at home in 1999, please write to us at
[email protected]. Let's share. And here's
to a more "profitable" 2000 for all!!)
- Lisa Roberts is the mother of four,
owner of The
Entrepreneurial Parent, LLC and the author of How to Raise A Family &
A Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide to Home Business
(Bookhaven Press, 1997). Copies of her book are available for
purchase at EP