Business

Comforts of home business

For Robin Wade, morning traffic in Columbus is not an issue. That's because she doesn't commute to work.

Robin Wade and her husband, Steve, are franchise owners of home-based business TSS Photography of Columbus, a photography company that specializes in youth sports, school and event photography.

Homemaker, wife and mother Robin Wade — who is at the helm of the business, for the most part — is one of the millions of people who choose to work from the comfort of their own home.

According to a 2004 Bureau of Labor Statistics study, about 4.6 million people have a home-based business, or one that is run from the home and no other location.

For Robin Wade, she said owning a home-based business has given her independence and the ability to work on her own schedule.

Husband Steve Wade is an engineer at Precision Components International and joins his wife to help with the business after his 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. workday ends.

"Working from home gives you the freedom to do things you need to do at home as well as get your work done," Steve Wade said.

It has also allowed the couple to devote more time to their 9-year-old son, Bryce.

"It allows him to stay here during the summer," Steve Wade said. "During the school year, it allows Robin the time to pick him up from school. She doesn't have to leave a job and we don't have to be put him in day care or after school care."

Challenges

Prior to starting the business, the Wades had to purchase computers and professional photography equipment.

But there is more to working at home than setting up an office.

The Wades go on site to take photos, mostly of youth sports teams, which Robin Wade said is the easy part.

Once they get home, they have to handle data entry for every player's child's order, which sometimes has the couple up until 11 p.m.

Steve Wade admits that sometimes separating work and home life sometimes can be difficult.

"You never leave the office. We get phone calls up until 9:30 at night," said Steve Wade, who also mostly works with his wife in the evening and on weekends. "You're always at work."

The couple also had to work through the legalities of being a home-based business.

"It's really just like any other business," Steve Wade said. "We have to pay the sales tax, we have a license for the business and we're also incorporated, so we had to go through all that."

Robin Wade said they sought help from their accountant.

"We learned a lot along the way," Steve Wade added. "There was a lot to learn."

Starting out

Robin and Steve Wade had been interested in photography for "a few years" before they took on the franchise.

Robin had worked in the commercial fleet leasing industry, as well as in a medical office environment.

Both parents also had been involved in son Bryce's Little League games throughout.

As a sports parent who spent time at games talking to other parents, Robin Wade realized a photographer is what the youth sports community needed.

She researched the franchise online, and the couple opened their business in August 2006.

"This just really took off," she said. "I just didn't realize how much time it would take and how much it would take off."

The couple has taken pictures shot photos for various local youth teams, including Columbus Youth Soccer and Ladonia Little League. They've also done portrait photos for a few small schools and day cares.

For now, the couple is sticking to youth sports photos. Robin Wade said they may take on more school picture work in the future.

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