Work at home entrepreneurs, administration professionals, tradespeople and franchise owners are celebrating their achievements and highlighting their contribution to the global economy during the inaugural International Work At Home Person Week (iWAHP), February 5 to 11, 2012.
Organised by Support a WAHP, an Australian-based international online community of more than 10,150 home based businesses, iWAHP Week is aimed at drawing attention to the contribution home based businesses make to the economy and local communities.
"Approximately 68 percent of Australian and 66 percent of US small businesses are home based and yet there is very little recognition and support for people who work from home. Isolation is a big factor for people who work from home as is the need to set clear boundaries between work-time and family-time," said Support a WAHP Director, Cas McCullough.
Author and entrepreneur McCullough who runs a successful local business in Brisbane credits the global financial collapse in 2008 and the rise of social media for the boom in the "work at home" phenomenon.
"There's a real movement at work here. People in the "work at home" community enjoy buying products and using services provided by other home based operators. Tough economic times combined with the social media phenomenon have birthed a community that values supporting the small operator so they can put food on the table or pay for their kids' school books.
"For many, greater environmental awareness is a factor also. A growing number of people go out of their way to buy local and handmade. The vast majority of the businesses in our community are creative entrepreneurs who want to support other creative entrepreneurs," said McCullough.
"While many of these businesses make only a few thousand a year, some of the businesses in our community make in excess of $100,000 a year or considerably more. Many businesses outsource work to virtual assistants and marketing professionals too so the contribution of home based operators to the economy should not be underestimated," said McCullough.
The majority of home based businesses are owned and operated by women (ABS, 2005).
Isolation is one of the biggest issues for work at home people.
Micro businesses run by women have outstripped growth in every other sector in the US (American Express Open Forum)
Despite their numbers, home based operators get a raw deal when it comes to industry and government support.