Over the last 5 years, more people have been looking for ways to have better balance in their lives; family, friends, money, travel, fun and spirituality. People are seeking life balance after years of imbalance, working 14 hour days and spending their time commuting to jobs they no longer enjoy. I know, I was! Here in Silicon Valley we have super commuters who will travel 1 - 2 hours each way! Are you always the lucky one who wasn't laid off - now getting the job of two? I was fortunate that my three kids were not being raised by strangers but many have chosen to buy the new boat or car instead of keeping one parent at home.

The answer to the dilemma of how to enjoy my family, handle personal obligations and other personal interests and pursuits came from a direction I didn't expect or want to go. It is funny how life challenges us. I was in my fifth successful startup working 14 hour days. Why my fifth? I loved all the excitement, growth, challenges and more importantly, the people. I wanted to see them successful. Along the way I found myself with three super fantastic kids! I loved being with them, teaching them, playing with them and watching them grow. Unfortunately the two, family and my job, didn't work together all the time. The directors of the company were expecting more not less and didn't understand why I had other obligations. I started to climb down the corporate ladder to find that it created more questions about me and my loyalties. Why wasn't he working as hard as he always had? Is he working for someone else?

I took a walk down to the book store below my office and found a book by Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad/Poor Dad) and read it sitting in the chair having coffee. At first I thought it was all about Real Estate. Since I read his first book, I purchased his second called Cash Flow Quadrant. I was excited to read someone who thought like the people around me yet was able to put it in such simple terms. When I shared it with my wife, we weren't prepared for what Robert suggested - a business, a B business. What is a B business? I had done startups and been an entrepreneur all my life. Build them and sell them. But now I wanted to produce another income that enabled me to enjoy a life, have freedom and have fun with my friends and family. I retired once and who wants to go places and have fun by yourself?

So what business? My wife and I sat down, made our list and then set out to find the next BIG thing ....using Roberts concepts. Well, all our research pointed to running a profitable home-based business, and the first place to start is an MLM. DOOR CLOSED. Not interested! I know and had heard about those things.

More research, more fact finding, more reading and it directed me to the same place - home-based business (MLM). DOOR CLOSED. Not interested.

I found out that almost 13 million people are self-employed and working at home and that number is growing exponentially. With the instability in
job security caused by the expanding global economy, people are finding that being self-sufficient and self-reliant is the only way to accomplish the level of financial security and freedom they desire. People were realizing there is more to life than punching a clock and were seeking a life that is fulfilling and rewarding. The advancement of technology was assisting in the growth of home-based businesses, enabling people to easily and cost effectively communicate globally. With VOIP and the advancements in high-speed internet and cellular telephone technology, people were able to connect across borders efficiently, making the world a huge marketplace. Businesses that are as complex as international trade could be easily handled from a laptop any where in the world.

Like me, many were looking. Researching and getting lots of noise and finding it difficult to find a real solution – MY Solution.

Well, after more research and people (very respected) prospecting me for their home businesses, suggesting I would be perfect, I cracked the door. One of my mentors told me to always watch for trends by looking for them in three's. It has always served me well. If this one wasn't a trend I soon was going to get the 2x4 across the forehead so I would get it. Just because I had a thought of what it was, I had better dig in to find out if there really was some thing behind a home business and the beginning of a new trend.

I started to look for the right home based business as a platform for me to learn as an incubator so that I could get balance back into my life and still do what I love to do - build businesses and help others become successful!

What I found was that a home-based business was a way to produce a supplemental income. In reality, home based businesses have the potential to produce executive level incomes without the stress, headaches of traditional business, or high start-up fees that traditional businesses or franchises require. Operating a home-based business offers low start-up costs, the ability to be within your own environment, ultimate flexibility and no or low overhead. In addition, there are numerous tax incentives, no commuting and the personal fulfillment of knowing you are in control of your life and your destiny. You can run your business while you're enjoying time traveling, the local environment or hanging out with your children. The concept of home-based business has appealed to many, providing millions of people the ability to create a life of their own design and enjoy a fulfilling life of financial freedom and personal balance. The business attracted a few super people who had great integrity and morals.

What I also found was what I thought and was afraid of - untrained people who didn't treat it as a business, "get em" mentality, lack of leadership, people more concerned about themselves then helping others, ego's, greed, groups not telling you what they do or sell, business owners selling the business rather then the product and so many other issues.

I spent five years in businesses and researching over 4,000 home based opportunities that range from multi-level marketing businesses, affiliate marketing, outsourcing, party plan businesses and direct sales opportunities, to find a good match. There is a great variety of legitimate opportunities that provide people with everything they require to establish and grow a successful and profitable business. They are just hard to find.

Then the light bulb went on and it made sense.

Early in the process I had taken a piece of paper and written down my skill set - just as I had done in building our startups that were eventually sold to Motorola, VeriSign or went public. When you are building a company for success, you take inventory of your skills then go find others to partner with that have the skills you don't and share the success.

The next step is to find something you are passionate about. Not for the money but because you care or have an interest to change or help.

What if I used the same pattern in this business that I had done in those? Why wouldn't I? Dah!

Before starting a business, be sure to evaluate the following aspects to ensure the business model will meet your goals:

• Skill set assessment and possible skill meshing with others
• Business model and structure assessment - what are the trends telling you?
• What is the risk - reward assessment?
• What marketing system provided (if applicable)
• Income potential and how you receive your income (check, direct from customers, from company, etc.)
• Type of income (Residual, hourly, passive)
• Time required to produce the income
• Flexibility in the business model
• Growth potentials - global or local?
• Products or services and the demand for them
• Stability of the marketplace (i.e.: real estate, health, temporary trend, competition, etc)
• Ease of start-up, experience or know-how required
• Availability of training, assistance and leadership
• History of success with existing members, affiliates, etc.
• Stability and leadership of the parent company
• International viability
• Cost of start-up
• Cost of overhead

With a little due diligence, a desire to create your life by your design, a willingness to learn, and an entrepreneurial spirit, you can find the right opportunity for you and enjoy a lifestyle that is financially rewarding and fulfilling working from the comfort of your
own home just as we did. We found our passion and want you to find yours - what ever it may be. Our success is now focused on Personal Franchise opportunities allowing you to have balance in your life by using strategies we have used in other successful business -

- The Power of Three, Building Partnerships
- Start slow by learning by doing
- Find Your Passion

Wishing you the best in your success!

Author's Bio: 

He's been called "Mr. Solutions" and a "Visionary" by many of his friends and peers. A person who believes you can’t teach what you haven't done, Andrew Van Valer combines solid business skills with novel insights that often shake up the conventional way of thinking. He has the ability to take the complex and somehow make it simple to understand.

At a very young age, Andrew started his own business – based on a solid work ethic acquired from his parents. He was on the startup team of four disruptive technology companies purchased by Motorola, VeriSign or have gone public. . He held a number of positions in operations, strategic planning, finance and marketing. He has set up and managed businesses in five countries, and has been learning continuously about trends, real estate, investing, business models and, more importantly, patterns of success.

His latest ventures are all focused on the fastest growing Industry, Personal Franchising, showing people how to use a great tool to their benefit.

Cash Flow Potentials

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He gets enjoyment from coaching others on life skills – money management, debt elimination, the creation of multiple pipelines of income and, most importantly, discovering someone’s passion and purpose in life.