Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Is Home Business Worth it?

Strictly speaking, home business is worth it in one situation only - when it brings money. More often than not it doesn't, and what is worse, it costs much more than it brings. Only this morning I have read a story from a Catholic forum where the husband was complaining that his wife went into debt to sponsor her online shop.

That reminds me that I Love Lucy episode in which she and Ethel start a home business selling mayonaise (at least, I think it was mayonaise) which takes all of their time and in the end, they lose money on every jar they sell.

It's not that I think it's wrong to try and sell things online or to be profit-minded. However, before trying to set up an Etsy shop or a home business of any kind, the wise thing to do is to figure out whether it is cost effective. Generally, one doesn't become rich with selling hand-knitted sweaters or socks or some such thing. The price of quality yarn is high on its own, and the amount of time invested is considerable, while the returns if you are trying to sell, are low.

For instance, in a knitting magazine I usually read, some lady figured out that if she asked 6 euro per hour, a sweater which she made would cost more than 300 euros. It's simply not realistic to expect that people will pay such a price. It's one thing to view knitting as a relaxing hobby, and quite the other to try and become one woman factory.

I believe that having a home business nowadays is a sort of a fad. Since housewives are treated with contempt, it's often a nice way for the lady of the house to say: "You see, I'm really a business woman, not some dumb homemaker like the neighbour next door."

While the profits of such an enterprise are often rather low or non-existent, it often tends to be very time consuming, so that the woman will have to neglect some of her housekeeping duties. The irony of it all is that she would probably save more money if she invested this time into learning about  budgeting and searching for bargains in the shops.

Finally, a woman is not a machine, and she needs to have some time for herself to unwind and relax, she should not feel the pressure to spend every free minute of her day trying to earn money, especially if her husband earns a decent income. Home businesses are overrated.


  1. I have been enjoying your blog, having come over from Home Living. This is a great post!

    1. I'm glad you like my blog! You can come over whenever you will:)

  2. Very good points here. I have the advantage of having a mother who didn't try to earn a living at home. She had hobbies and once in awhile people would ask her to make something for them and they would pay her. These days if you make anything, someone says "You could go into business". Everything a homemaker does is considered a marketable thing. It can be a terrible temptation to sell things because on the surface it looks quick and easy. Then it starts to demand more time and rather than being a pleasure, it becomes a burden

  3. Sometimes I'm in a waiting room listening for my number to be called I'll knit or do some other hand work and someone will say 'Oh, that's so pretty, you should sell that on etsy'. I remember a time when people would comment 'What a nice thing you're making' and leave it at that or start a conversation about mothers, hobbies and family or such things. But these days it's 'Oh you should sell that'. It's tiresome. If your good at something why does everyone think you want to sell it? Acquaintances often times start talking to me about going into business with them and cannot understand why I have no interest in 'making use' of my talents.

    Not everything is for sale. The best of what I have to offer is for my family so they can have beautiful, well made, custom things. The word heirloom comes to mind.

    Glad to be in the company of others that esteem a homemaker's time and the value she brings to the home. That value is priceless.