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Wed Jan 18, 2017
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Source: sbranson, ASEP



Many military spouses have found self-employment in a home-based business to be a good solution to the challenge of frequent moves. In the past, military spouses living in private housing could operate a home-based business, but if they lived in military housing, they were specifically prohibited from conducting any commercial activates by some of the Services. New DoD guidance has changed this situation and commands have been directed to foster and encourage private commercial activities in military housing.

It is important to follow your local housing authority's local policy and guidance. Here are links to the specific policies directives for each service branch:

Army - Family Member Employment From Government Housing
Navy - Family Member Employment For Government Quarters
Air Force - Commercial Activities From Family Housing
Marine Corps - Family Member Employment from Government Quarters
Here are some examples of accepted home-based businesses you can operate:
* Child Care (Properly Licensed and Certified)
* Bookkeeping
* Graphics
* Sewing
* Color Consulting
* Lessons: Art, Music, Dance, Sewing, Crafts, Needlework
* Toy Sales
* Food Preparation: Catering, Cakes, Specialty Foods
* Writing
* Word Processing

Is a Home-Based Business the Choice for You?

A home-based business could be just what you are looking for. working from your home is well-suited to the military life style. It can provide flexibility, independence and when the transfer orders come -- portability. The latest DoD guidance greatly reduces the obstacles to running your home-based business while living in military housing.

Asking yourself some questions will help you to decide if a home-based business is a good choice for you.

* Am I self-starter?
* Can I make decisions?
* Can I take responsibility and follow through?
* Am I a good organizer?
* Am I a good worker?
* Can I get along with most people?
* Can I separate my home and work environments?

What Kind of Business is Best for You?

Home-based business can be anything from child care to word processing. There are excellent resources available to answer all of your question from how to get started to paying taxes; but, before you get the right answers you have to ask the right questions.

1. What are your goals: money, personal satisfaction, experience, contact with    
2. other people, fun, or availability to your family?
3. What are your special talents and abilities?
4. Do you want to sell your own product or service, or someone else’s?
5. How much demand is there for your product or service?
6. What can your afford to invest?
7. How much time can you give to your business without compromising the 
8. quality of your family life?
9. What are you permitted to do within your installation’s regulations and local
10. zoning and licensing requirements?
11. How much space is available to make your product or provide our service?
12. How will you advertise and sell your product or service?
13. How portable is your business?

Some of these questions only you can answer, while some can be answered only by your installation and local government agencies.

Once you have decided on your home-based business, the next step is to contact your installation’s commanding officer or housing office for assistance in complying with the Service's regulations and the specific requirements of your installation.

Your installation’s legal assistance office is a good source of general information, especially about liability and taxes. However, legal assistance officers are not authorized to provide specific detailed assistance for private commercial enterprises.

To find out what your state and local requirements are, look in the blue pages of your telephone book for state, city and county headings. There will be listings for business licenses, taxes and zoning offices.


By now many questions have been asked and answered except for the all-important one: how do you make your home-based business happen? There are many resources available to you. A good place to start is to send for STARTING AND MANAGING A BUSINESS FROM YOUR HOME, available for $1.75 from Department 146R, Consumer Information Center, Pueblo, CO 81009.

Contact the family member employment assistance program at your Army Community Services, Navy Family Services Center or Air Force Family Support Center.

Your installation or public library lists references in the card catalog under such heading as Business, Home-Based Businesses, Self-employed, and Small business-Management. BOOKS IN PRINT lists all books in print by subject, author, year and title, and gives all information necessary to order books. THE READER'S GUIDE TO PERIODICAL LITERATURE and BUSINESS INDEX can help identify articles on the subject of home-based businesses. The reference librarian can help you widen your search and direct you to any computerized information that would be helpful.

Public schools and local community colleges offer courses and workshops in setting up businesses. The Cooperative Extension Service, located in every county, has excellent resources available for the home-based worker. They can be found in the blue under your county heading.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) can help the home-based business owner in several ways. They publish a free DIRECTORY OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PUBLICATIONS (SBA 115A) available from the U.S. Small Business Administration, P.O. Box 15434, Fort Worth TX 76119. They operate a toll-free answer line to respond to your questions: l 800-368-5855. (Inquiries from outside the United States should be sent to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Women's Business Ownership, 1441 L. St., N.W. Washington, DC 20416. The SBA has regional offices throughout the country that conduct classes relating to small business development. Regional offices are listed in the blue pages under United States Government.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is an essential contact to make in establishing a home-based business, The SOLE PROPRIETOR'S KIT, is free of charge and contains both information and the necessary tax forms (available by phone at 1-800 424-1040, or by mail from EADC, P.O. Box 27322, Richmond, VA 23261). The GUIDE TO FREE TAX SERVICES, lists other IRS services (available from the Publications Order Branch, Stop SSOP, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402). The IRS has regional offices listed in the blue pages under United States Government. 

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