From the December 1999 issue of Startups

You'd think that with all their newfound personal and professional freedom, homebased entrepreneurs might be more optimistic than office dwellers. Not so, according to a recent survey on small businesses. Some 65 percent of homebased business owners were optimistic about the economy vs. 74 percent of their nonhomebased counterparts, according to the 18th annual Dun & Bradstreet Small-Business Survey. Similarly, some 57 percent and 55 percent of homebased business owners anticipated revenue and profits, respectively, to grow in the future, compared to some 72 percent and 67 percent of nonhomebased business owners. The firm interviewed 649 owners and key decision-makers of companies with one to 100 employees in February 1999.

Such results are surprising, says Gloria Donaldson, principal and president of The Reed Organization, a corporate management psychology firm based in Oak Park, Illinois. Homebased business owners are typically a contented and empowered lot, especially during the "honeymoon" period of the first 12 to 24 months after launching their enterprise, Donaldson reasons. Once they get over the isolation and loss of camaraderie and kinship of the traditional workplace, at-home workers--including entrepreneurs and teleworkers--often find balance and satisfaction working from home. "For the most part, they're very happy," she says.

Still, Donaldson understands the sense of anxiety. She points out that, whereas corporate employees don't have to worry about new business development or other corporate machinations, there's more chances for something to go wrong in a homebased business, where there's no cushion." But Donaldson still believes at-home entrepreneurs are, by nature, familiar with taking chances--and possess the optimism required to win. "They're confident," she says, "that they can and will succeed."

Contact Sources

Dun & Bradstreet: dibernardon@dnb.com, www.dnb.com


Jeff Zbar is a homebased writer, speaker and author of Home Office Know-How (Upstart Publishing).