When Jennifer Hernandez created Bliss in a Basket last year, she was simply looking to turn a hobby into an enterprise. In so doing, Hernandez became one of a growing number relying on self-started home businesses to fill the gap where traditional jobs dont.
Drawing on her creativity and desire to bring beauty to others, Hernandezs business specializes in gift baskets for all occasions, from birthday and anniversaries to business-to-business gifts and bereavement baskets.
Ive done baskets for a long time on my own, then last fall I decided to try and make a business out of it and bring in more income, said Hernandez, who still works a job outside the home. I felt like it was something I was good at and I could share with other people. Instead of just a hobby it turned into something more.
With a wide range of options for customers, Hernandez has seen her business flourish in the past eight months and hopes it will one day be a full-time pursuit.
Hernandez is not the only one in Montezuma County to recognize the potential of earning an income from home. From construction companies to cosmetics consultants, more and more individuals are taking their interests and ability to the business world.
There are nearly 250 home-based businesses in Montezuma County, according to estimates from the Cortez Area Chamber of Commerce. A rough economic climate and poor job market have created an incubator of sorts for cottage industries to thrive in.
We are really seeing growth in that sector, said chamber of commerce Director Dena Guttridge. I think we are probably going to see even more of this type of thing. Right now the buzz word really is entrepreneur and everybody is looking toward that.
Guttridge said advancements in technology have provided the boost many needed to consider working from home.
Technology has really provided a lot of opportunities for people, she said. Take the new fiber-optic project that is coming in. That is really going to enable people to work from their homes and do business all over the world.
Home business are appealing because they often allow people to utilize skills that might not be useful in the workforce.
(Hernandez) is a great example, Guttridge said. She is so artistic and creative, and you wont find a whole lot of Main Street businesses that could use that.
Along with providing a boon to the individual business owners, home businesses also bring much-needed income into the county, Guttridge said.
Though Montezuma County has not tended to draw large, industrial-type businesses, the county is in a prime position to allow for growth through cottage industries.
Im really promoting the entrepreneurial spirit, Guttridge said. We need to promote these resource to bring money into the community. People arent putting all their eggs in one basket anymore. They arent hoping for a big factory to move into the area. They would rather see home-based businesses contributing to the economy and community and not changing who we are.
Hernandez said there are a number of pros and cons to starting a home-based business.
I think the most difficult thing is marketing, she said. You have to really focus on that and make sure your name is out there. That is really important. But it is so great to be able to control the pace of your business. Being able to start small and then build is a real benefit, also.
For small businesses struggling to know where to start, it comes to networking and marketing. Guttridge said the chamber is a good place to begin.
If you dont have a storefront, you are really able to use chamber activities as a source of networking possibilities, she said. You can build up your contacts and have a lot of opportunities to meet other business owners. We also offer a lot of workshops for business owners to help them build skills, like computers and bookkeeping.
Hernandez, who is a member of the chamber, said creativity, marketing and attention to detail are all necessary for building a successful home business.
You have to learn to be more creative and put out a good product, she said. Ideally we would all love to do what we love, and sometimes you can find a way to do it.
For more information about Bliss in a Basket, contact Hernandez at 769-4894.
On the Net: Bliss in a Basket, www.facebook.com/pages/Bliss-in-a-Basket-LLC?161029800599535; Cortez Chamber of Commerce, www.cortezchamber.com.
Reach Kimberly Benedict at email@example.com.