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Feb, 04 2012

Head a business from home

Are you are a working woman and the odd hours at work make you miss the warmth of your home? Are you mulling to quit your job and contemplating work from home? If yes, then it is time you convert your home into an office through these fab five options.

TODAY, starting and running a business doesn't mean staying away from home for long hours. There are numerous opportunities available to start up a business from your home. And if the thought of running a business from your home is giving you those initial jitters, then worry not, as there are several instances of women, who have emerged successful in their endeavour to be home-based entrepreneurs. Besides, there are a plethora of businesses that can be operated from the cosy confines of your home. Some of the best opportunities include women insurance advisors, early education for children, gift wrapping, direct selling as well as services.

Early education for children

It is not without meaning that we say that the hands that rock the cradle, rules the world. Education has always been a favourable domain for women to have a work from home start-up. Several home-based businesses like day care centres, crèches, pre-schools and even sports activity centres can be operated from a home.

There are hundreds of brands that cater to women entrepreneurs and offer home-based opportunities to them as a franchisee. Shemrock Pre-Schools, Kinderdance and SportyBeans to name a few have been offering such options.

Commenting on the prospects of Kinderdance, Kirthana Ramarapu, Executive Director, said, “The best part about holding a Kinderdance franchise is that you can start from your home or garage. We do not require a huge space, thereby, directly reducing our overheads on infrastructures and real-estate. We have a start-up kit that we have priced at a very nominal price, giving the new franchisee to focus on marketing and building the concept within their territory.”

Amol Arora, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, SHEMROCK & SHEMFORD Group of Schools elucidates, “Women entrepreneurs are the best inputs for our brand SHEMROCK. As it is a pre-school chain and involves kids, women are the appropriate match for leading our franchises. Ours is a women-oriented background and education industry serves the best career option for them because of easy work timings and listed holidays as per their children's holidays.” Karan Sareen, Director-Projects, SportyBeans, says, “Women entrepreneurs can work from their home/ neighbourhood spaces and since it is mainly an after-school activity, they can devote enough time to their homes as well. It is also a low investment, high return opportunity.”

Direct selling

With the onset of multi-level-marketing, women entrepreneurs across India seem to be writing their own fairytale success stories. Brands like Tupperware, Modicare, Avon, Oriflame to name a few have opened up avenues for women to operate from the confines of their home and rake up steep revenues. This segment has seen a rapid influx of women in the recent years, as virtually there is zero initial investment, flexible timings and can be operated as a part-time business. Asha Gupta, Managing Director, Tupperware India, avers, “Tupperware gives an opportunity to women entrepreneurs to mould their living out of their own comfort zone and thus is a lucrative vista for their economic empowerment. Being a part of the global Tupperware team, the person gets to own a business, set their own preferred work schedules, earn extra income and have a wide circle of influence while operating out of the comforts of their own domain.” Manisha Amol, Vice President (Marketing), Modicare, says, “There is no specific requirement of any level of qualification; it can be started by anyone above the age of 18 years. There is no criteria for full-time and part-time, how much one wants to earn depends on the amount of time he/she wants to put into it. Anyone can start this business and enroll for it by paying a small amount of Rs 399 only, in return of which one gets the entire start-up kit required for this business.”

Services

Even though the services segment has been considered a male bastion for several years, but the steady inflow of women is changing equations. Women are now expanding their horizon via services like water purification, refilling and corporate gifting. And taking up a franchise in this segment entails starting up from the home with a modest amount of investment with flair in sales and marketing. The services segment means maximum returns with minimum costs and investments. Anil Kumar Gupta, Managing Director, Sparket Marketing Pvt. Ltd details out, “For metro cities, the franchisee fee is Rs 5 lakh and for non-metro cities Rs 2 lakh, which one can earn back with bonuses by selling exclusive right of the city at exit time. The business needs a table space, cupboard area for keeping samples and is a full-time business. Knowledge of any two spoken languages will suffice.” Incidentally, Sparket has three franchisees successfully operating from their homes at Mumbai, New Delhi and Kochi. The services sector offers several exciting opportunities for women to venture out in a small way, gradually build the business and in the process learn while steadily building up confidence.

Insurance advisors

If you are looking for cash from the comfort of your home, all you need to do is sharpen your networking skills and gear up to don the role of an insurance advisor. With the insurance sector in India witnessing a heavy influx in the number of women as advisors, insurance firms are strapping up to offer the most lucrative opportunity to women to cash in on the success. Prominent insurance firms like Future Generali, Bharti AXA, Max New York Life, LIC, ICICI Lombard have been dishing out attractive prospects for women to tap in the segment. Industry experts believe the insurance sector works out very well for a woman entrepreneur, as it is not only economically attractive but also does not require any start-up capital. Commenting on the expanding scope for women in the insurance sector, Arnab Mallik, Chief Marketing Officer, Future Generali India Life Insurance Co. Ltd, elucidates, “The scope for insurance in the country is wide enough to establish a stable business. Certain factors, like growing urban population and its per capita income, rising per capita disposable income, aging population, increasing healthcare expenditure, are expected to drive the industry growth. In addition, life insurance being an emotional sale, women have traditionally done well in this profession.”

Talking about the parameters required for a woman to start up their profession as an insurance agent, Mullick states, “Insurance agency is actually best suited for somebody who doesn't want to get into a full-time job / business, be it house wives or retired professionals. It's one business, where you will do well, even if you don't spend full time. If you are well networked, social in nature and people see you as a trustworthy person, you will do well. And we would also equip you with all the essential training, sales material and tools to help you succeed in the business.”

Gift wrapping industry

If wrapping gifts made you happy, then here is the sector that will fetch you that extra revenue. The gift wrapping segment is already on a roll and hundreds of women entrepreneurs are counting on returns from the confines of their home. This segment is un-wrapping several prospects for women apart from working from home and running a full-fledged business. These include freelancing or working as full-time gift wrapping professionals with confectioners, sweet shops, chocolatiers, invitation card design companies, event planners. One can also tie-up with export houses, corporate firms and multi-national companies having packaging departments. Shalini Beriwal, Proprietor of Magnificence's Academy of Packaging Professionals (MAPP), elaborates on the parameters for women who want to start their gift wrapping business from their homes, “The person need not be academically brilliant. A person who plans to become a professional packaging expert does not require high investment. It can be a part-time or full-time profession. One can start as an order-based enterprise only, in which case, only one room is needed. This room will serve both as a display area and a meeting area.”

Home-made success

Armed with virtually low investment and no barriers over time, home based businesses are turning to be the choice of a majority of women. From zero investments in the insurance sector, to a modest Rs 399 in direct selling, the count can go up to a whopping eight lakh if one wants to kick start her home based business! With opportunities galore through the above mentioned categories, home based businesses can surely turn a new leaf in your life as an entrepreneur. So if you are thinking to start your own business, do it now!

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