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The pros and cons of home-based businesses
Want to be your own boss? First consider all the angles.

By Kim McGrigg, MMI Community Manager

If you are seeking to balance career and family, looking for flexibility and increased freedom, or are looking to take advantage of new opportunities to increase income, a home-based business may be right for you. Entrepreneurs enjoy independence, but that freedom comes at a price. If you are interested in self-employment but are unsure about whether it is for you, start by carefully weighing the pros and cons of starting a home-based business.

PRO: You are your own boss. When you are calling the shots, your business can be structured around your passions. You choose the work, the clients, and the hours. You alone are responsible for the success of your business, and that is the best motivation.

CON: You are also your own accountant, marketer, tech support, customer service representative, and janitor. Running your own home-based business is a lot of responsibility. The job encompasses more than just doing work you love; at times you will also have to do support work to make your business successful.

PRO: Balanced career and family life. Working from home allows you to spend more time with your family. Setting your own hours and vacation time allows you to fit your family’s schedules together seamlessly.

CON: The scale can easily tip toward home responsibilities. Working from home can be a distraction, especially if you have young children or have a difficult time ignoring home-related chores and errands. Setting up a distraction-free work area and allotting a certain amount of time per day to focus on your work can help increase productivity.

PRO: Increased tax benefit and write-offs. If you have an area of your home dedicated solely to your business, you may be able to take a home office tax deduction. Other expenses can also be deducted as well, just be sure that you are able to justify the expense as the cost of doing business.

CON: No health insurance benefits unless you pay out of pocket. Paying for private insurance is expensive, but may be worth the hefty price tag in case of a medical emergency.

PRO: Your office is down the hall and you can work in your pajamas. No commute and no required office wardrobe are two of the money-saving perks of working at home.

CON: You may miss the interaction with coworkers. If having a sounding board for your ideas is important to you, consider joining a networking group or professional association so you can interact with others in your field.

PRO: Increased income potential. Owning your own business allows for far greater earning and growth potential. Plus, all your hard work and determination directly benefit you.

CON: No set income. While there is the potential for greater income, there is also a possibility that you will have some periods where the work and the money dry up. Having an emergency savings account can be a great relief during times when you are not earning any income.

Remember, however, that starting a home-based business is not the right choice for everyone. Carefully weigh your options before you decide to take on this challenge. Remember, having a strong financial support system such as adequate savings and a spouse or partner with a steady stream of income can help make starting your own business a smoother process.

For more information, including a free downloadable eBook, visit the Earn More section of


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Top five reasons to have less debt


Happiness. Freedom. More money. Need we go on ...

Money problems involve more than just money. Debt and financial troubles impact lives in many other ways. For example, financial problems lead to lower productivity at work, and are one of the top reasons couples fight. Research also suggests that debt – specifically the stress it causes – has a significant impact on a person’s physical health.

Paying off debt is a long and tough process. But the result is worth the effort – greater peace, happiness, and a sense of overall balance in your life. It is beneficial to remind yourself often of what it will be like when you achieve your goal of getting rid of unwanted debt. Here are five top reasons to have less debt:

1. Less Hassle

For every debt you get rid of, you rid yourself of a monthly statement to open and review, a bill payment to schedule and make, and an online account to log into and check. Less debt means less to do. We'd all rather spend our time doing things we enjoy versus sorting through another debt payment each month.

2. An Improved Credit Score

Your credit score affects things like insurance premiums and your ability to find a job. So having a high credit score can be very important to your overall financial success. By reducing your debt, you improve your balance to available credit ratio, one of the key factors that affect your credit score.

3. Less Worry When Things Turn Bad

It's never a good time for an expensive medical issue or a job loss. But a hard time can turn really hard when you've got a lot of debt to worry about too. Getting rid of your unwanted debt will give you one less thing to worry about, if and when things go wrong.

4. It Just Feels Great Not to Owe Anyone

You've probably paid off a debt before. Remember that feeling? Imagine if you could experience that same feeling for all your unwanted debts. That huge burden lifted would feel great!

5. More Money for Other Goals

Finally, imagine all the other things you could be doing with the money you're using to pay debts right now. Here are a few ideas: funding your retirement, saving for a down payment on a new home, saving for a child's college education, giving more money to charity, saving for a great family vacation. Having less money going towards old debts means you can have more money going towards the things you want – the things that matter the most.

Again, remember to stop every now and then on your journey to a debt-free life and think about the benefits. While debt repayment won't guarantee happiness, it clearly has the potential to benefit both your physical and emotional health.

MMI Debt Management Plan Client Corner
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About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling, and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan, and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
866.530.9869 or visit

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