The growing trend of corporate employees and the private sector salaried class quitting their regular jobs in pursuance of entrepreneurial aspiration is not at all a recent phenomenon. But, recently in the new normal-post pandemic, opportunities in the digital economy and expanding global market making more people opt for home-based business (HBB) opportunities.
Often these are small businesses and don’t require a significant initial financial or capital outlay. Home-based enterprises and cottage industries have multiple advantages. It helps the owners lead a quality life and they get more time to spend with their families. Work-life balance is much better than in a corporate job or as an industrial worker. In the post-pandemic, the trend of corporate employees quitting and joining the bandwagon of entrepreneurship reflects new opportunities as well as the proliferation of enabling digital infrastructure that facilitates businesses. If freedom, entrepreneurship, creativity and better work-life balance, are what one looks for, home-based enterprises are to be pursued.
Post-pandemic: great rethink & HBBs
Lockdowns, during the Covid peak, made people ponder over the deeper purposes of life. Spending several months indoors and living on the basic minimum and limited essential supplies worked as a transformative phase for many executives according to a report by the Enterprise Institute. “Why not continue spending more time with the family and lead a quality life” which is a changed perception and contributed to the spurt of HBB activity’. At the rural community level, there was an exodus back to villages by industrial workers leading to attempts to rebuild once closed-down cottage-based production units.
Digitalisation and ICT tools are favourable for HBB entrepreneurs
Today, several tools and applications enable an entrepreneur to do most of the essential functions of a business without engaging additional staff. An entrepreneur can perform most alone with little dependency on others from networking, and digital marketing to financial & accounting with the help of easier tools and applications, if one has basic skills and exposure to digital technologies. All these aspects make it easier to start a business from one’s residence itself and pursue a deep passion!
Home-based businesses & cottage industries
Home enterprises more often fall under the category of micro or small enterprises. A vast majority of them employ lesser than 5 people or fewer. In most cases, however, family members too are involved in that case with little involvement in recruiting.
Many home businesses are service providers. They cater to the local needs of a community. Cottage industries focus on the production of labour-intensive traditional products with traditional tools. Traditional cottage-based handloom weavers and potters operating from home are examples of home-based industries, which are into the production of goods that are needed for local communities. However, today such labour-intensive handicrafts and handloom products attract shoppers in developed markets owing to their green & sustainability aspects. Weaving, pottery, handicrafts and wood furniture makers are all cases of production units based out of residential units in rural & agrarian communities.
Digital technologies and HBBs
Home-based businesses include food-baking-meal services, photographers & video shooters, day-care centres, nurseries, interior designers, wedding planners etc. There are other kinds of IT-enabled businesses that cater to a broad global audience. Delivery of knowledge-information-data-related products which are delivered via ICT-digital platforms is an example. Online tutors, academic consultants, trainers, digital marketers, web designers, content marketers, financial accountants, bloggers, real estate consultancies, insurance agencies, and financial planners, are examples.
Post Pandemic: revival of cottage sector on the rural side
In the post-pandemic new normal days, there is a revival of cottage industries. Cottage industries existed from time immemorial. In the pre-industrial phase of economic development, such production units were the foundation of economic life and manufacturing ecosystems. cottage units range from garment sewing & stitching units, textiles, and shoemaking to carpentry or metal works by blacksmiths & goldsmiths.
Industrial workers, who returned to their villages during the pandemic, most times, stayed back and revived their traditional arts and handicraft cottage businesses. Governments in developing nations encourage the revival of such arts and crafts. These specialized labour-intensive products have the potential to earn good money in developed urban markets. Cottage industries that produce handcrafted products include anything from clothing items to crafts to decorative home furnishings.
Why are more people shifting to home-based businesses?
Several factors are driving this trend. Lack of a regular stable salaried job could be one reason besides other factors. Corporate-employed women often opt for a home-based business that gives them significant freedom and flexibility to manage child-rearing. They find it convenient to balance their career with household chores. Home-business entrepreneurs can earn the same income or more than their corporate jobs with the luxury of spending time with the family.
The future outlook for home-based enterprises looks promising. More and more people seem to favour independent ventures over full-time corporate sector jobs. The new normal has created a mindset that seeks opportunities where people can live in the surroundings of a community where they feel at home. There is a definite rethink over the future shape of communities, which is indeed a more decentralized economic structure where home-based businesses, cottage industries and micro & small ventures play a more crucial role. More people quitting their regular jobs, remote working and enabling digital technologies together make home-based enterprises coming up more rapidly than ever. Major business stakeholders in the emerging economy in the new normal can be home-based businesses, cottage industries and small enterprises.