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For women fed up with trying to balance family needs and job demands, it's the wave of the present--with a strong whiff of the past: starting a ""micro business"" like, say, baking or teaching music, interior design or crafts. (""If you have a spare room, you may consider becoming a tourist home or bed and breakfast facility."") Gillis, a professional writer and enthusiastic cook with experience along these lines, properly notes that the working world hasn't changed to accommodate mothers, and the 1980s emphasis on longer hours and greater productivity (along with a de-emphasis on affirmative action) puts them at a further disadvantage. Meanwhile they're not available to their children--a loss on both sides. The eye-catching consequence: ""almost six times as many women as men are starting their own business."" Gillis' text is not a substitute for a small-business manual, especially as regards money-matters; but she is attuned to her intended, cottage-industry audience. You can establish a service, she observes (and her examples illustrate), with almost no capital; you can get a bank loan, using your car or house as collateral. Sensibly, she advises developing a business plan first in every instance. ""You must have a high level of self-discipline""--but ""owning a business has many parallels with mothering."" You'll have to assess your time carefully; you may be able to capitalize on your social contacts; there may be a network of entrepreneurial mothers you can join. Your children--a major focus--will benefit from pitching in. Learning the zoning laws, and other regulations--which are flouted, which observed--may call for unaccustomed shrewdness. So may dealing with suppliers, who have little use for ""micro"" businesses. (Gillis' example of faking-out a supplier is one of the book's most concretely instructive bits.) Some realistic encouragement, some feasible suggestions--with little of the backyard-kiln romanticism of the goodbye-to-9-to-5 books of just a few years back.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1983
Publisher: Rawson/Scribners