Thursday, September 8, 2011

What Home Based Business Should You Start--Consider your Strengths

Both my husband and I are starting home-based businesses. But if we're committing to these things for the long haul, how will we know if this is the right businesses for us?

If you're in the deciding and planning stage of starting your own business, I'd suggest you take your strengths into consideration before deciding on the best business to pursue.

1. Your Intellegences
2. Your Birth Order
3. Your Obsessions
4. Your Skill Sets
5. Your Spouse

1. Your Intelligences. If you are/have been an educator, you would know this terminology as Mulitiple Intellegences or Differentiated Learning.

If you don't know what your intelligences are (or even if you do) the book, The Gift in You, not only contains an extensive quiz to figure out what your dominant intelligences are, but also how your brain uses them to solve problems, and what is blocking you from using your intelligences to their highest capacity. The book is written from a Christian viewpoint, but the information is all presented using scientific material. This book is also for anybody whereas most material on Gardner's Multiple Intelligence Theory is written for the educational professional.

The 7 Intelligences are: Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, Linguistic, Logical/Mathematical, Kinesthetic, Musical, and Visual/Spatial

But don't let the names fool you. You may test as a musical person, but that doesn't necessarily mean you should be an opera singer, it may mean being a public speaker would be something to look into. (The book explains the nuances of the gifts.) If you know what your areas of dominance and weakness are, you can think through your proposed business idea considering your strengths.

For Example: If your dominant intellegence is Kinesthetic (a tactile mover) freelance editing probably won't be something you ought to choose.If you're an Intrapersonal Linguist, mowing lawns shouldn't be your choice. It doesn't mean you can't do these jobs or even do them well, but you're better suited for others, and most likely will enjoy and stick with a business more suited to your talents.

Though I highly recommend the book, this site might give you some idea as to what your intelligence is. (Though they add an 8th category that doesn't match up with the brain science presented by Dr. Leaf.)

2. Birth Order 
Though there are always exceptions, what is typical of your birth order should be contemplated before going into business. I'm firstborn (bossy, organized) and my husband is lastborn (fearless, creative). This definitely shows up in what businesses we are each pursuing.

Also my intelligences coupled with my birth order changes me a bit, too. If I were a last born with my intelligences I'd be different, and I'd have to structure my business accordingly.

(Here's a site to look at on Birth Order to get an idea)

3. Obsessions

Look at what you collect already, what obsession have you kept up with over many years? What do you always gravitate back to? What manuals, television programs, and books do you always make time for?

My husband has a million and a half projects/jobs he wants to do, and he's always collecting stuff in order to do these projects . . . one day--but only one of these obsessions does he keep purchasing for, keeps collecting books for, keeps spending his tiny spare moments of time to work on. This is the obsession he needs to look at making into a business.

4. Skill Sets

What training and schooling have you already had? What jobs have you already held? What life experiences have you had?

Consider both the ones you loved and the ones you hated. What did you like and dislike about each job, what did you excel and fail at in each job. Then try to match yourself with a job that uses the most of your enjoyable, proficient skills, and avoid (or possibly outsource) jobs using your hated, underdeveloped skills.

5. Your spouse's abilities and desires

Consider your spouses intelligences, birth order, dislikes, and skills--but don't volunteer them! If you are married, consider if your spouse could possibly take care of parts of the business that you don't like...BUT make sure they want to!

I'm much more organized and detail oriented, but my husband's initial thought that I could do the books for his company of machine parts that I don't understand did not sound like anything I ever wanted to do. I don't understand mechanics, and I don't ever want to. I am not the person he should rely on for getting the right parts and oils for his mechanic business.If you want to make it a couple's business, don't expect one spouse who seems gifted for the work to help unless they are willing. Otherwise, your business might just cause big problems in your marriage over the years.

If your spouse is unwilling or unable to help, can you do this alone? Might you have to hire or outsource parts of your business to someone more capable than yourself? Maybe you could tweak your business idea to avoid areas that you may not want to or can't deal with expertly.

Finally, don't look at just one area or you could be in trouble. As for me, many people think I take really good photographs, people even ask me to take their photos, but because of my weak visual/spacial intelligence, my lack of obsession/drive, my birth order, and type of interpersonal intelligence I possess, I know that despite having a good eye, a photography business wouldn't be the wisest choice of business for me despite believing I could make money with it if I wanted to. My photography will remain a hobby that simply saves me from having to hire a photographer for my family--unless, of course, I ever want to be in any photos. :)

Are you considering starting a business? Have you considered the 5 things above and found the unique business suited for your strengths and avoiding your weaknesses? Have you tried a business and failed at it because you hadn't taken one of the above into consideration?


  1. Thanks Melissa! You offer some excellent advice about starting your home business.

  2. In my book, Hired@Home, I also recommend answering the following questions to help you decide what work from home would work for you:
    What did you enjoy doing before marriage or children? What do you do in your spare time? What do you get compliments on from others? What do you long to do in your free time? What clubs or organizations do you belong to? Where do you volunteer? What books do you like to read or sections of a bookstore do you browse? Which of your interests dovetail with current job trends? Answering those questions, coupled with Melissa's suggestions, should help you decide what business or work would suit you best.

  3. Really good, well thought out article, Melissa. I'm sure many moms will find it helpful. Good recommendations on books to read before making a choice on starting your home business too. It's interesting that birth order has importance. I'm also a firstborn, and those firstborn traits came out when I was in business--especially being organized and detail oriented.
    And, Sarah, your pointed questions will do even more to help with decisions as to what work or business would be the most suitable.