We should let home-based businesses thrive

As Mississippi continues to grapple with a declining population, the state needs to continue to look at the overall business environment and what is helping or hurting economic growth and job creation. Forcing Mississippians to look elsewhere for better opportunities.

One of the brightest areas for potential is home-based businesses. We know that entrepreneurship began to climb at the beginning of the pandemic. But as technology has progressed over the past two-plus decades, the trend toward home-based businesses is not new. There are roughly 15 million home-based businesses in the United States, which makes up about half of all small businesses. Sixty-nine percent of startups are home-based, and 58 percent are women-owned.

And the benefits of a home-based business are great. This allows entrepreneurs to follow their dream, with a particular benefit for groups like stay-at-home moms, as evidenced by the number of businesses run by women. One of the major considerations of running a home-based business is the ability to balance work and family responsibilities, increasing quality of life. And, naturally, there is a lower cost associated with running a business from your house.

Some of the largest and most consequential companies in the world, including Amazon, Disney, and Apple began as home-based businesses.

What barriers do those who want to start a home-based business face?

Well, that depends on where you live. Municipalities across Mississippi have a variety of regulations that home-based businesses must face. And chances are they are different in the town next to you, creating uniformity problems.

Existing regulations that limit home-based businesses include limitations on the percentage of square footage in your house that can be dedicated to your business, what kind of equipment you can have, or who can work in your house. Meaning some places only allow family members to work with you. So working with your aunt is okay, but not your best friend. Your friend can be at your house any time of day, but if you start calling clients, you are breaking the law.

House Bill 917, sponsored by Rep. Jansen Owen, would create statewide regulations for home-based businesses that prevent localities from enforcing these kinds of regulations. This doesn’t mean there would be no regulations, or suddenly, a junkyard would be your next-door neighbor. Limits on noise, signage, or excessive parking would continue to be viable.

This bill just removes the irrelevant regulations that do nothing but limit economic growth in Mississippi.