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EPnews -- from The Entrepreneurial Parent
a work-family resource for home-based entrepreneurs

December 15, 1999


Do you find EPnews useful?
Please forward to a friend, or recommend it to your favorite Web site or
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For easy reading, simply print out this newsletter.


The Funny Things EP Kids Say & Do!
EP Times -- "2000, The Year (The Century) of the EP"
Making Money Matters
What's Happening at EP
EP Expert Q&As
Member-to-Member Q&As
We Recommend
ka-Ching/Oxygen Media Spotlight

Editorial Note: EPnews will be moving back to a twice-monthly schedule in
January, 2000, this time spreading these long issues out instead of
doubling them up. It will be distributed via a new mailing list service on
the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of every month. The Entrepreneurial Parent web
site is updated (with new content, profiles, Q&As, etc.) on an ongoing
basis throughout each month. Don't forget to check in regularly via the
What's New banner on our homepage (!



Freelancer? Consultant? Get Help Getting Gigs! Join today and take
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Submitted by EP Forum Moderator, Jeralynn Burke
(mailto:). Jeralynn's 4-year old has been putting a
smile on our faces for awhile now -- here's her chance to put one on yours:

My 4-year old daughter was watching something on television where they were
singing "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow." She proceeded to walk around the
house singing, "Ali's A Jolly Good Freezo." I tried to tell her what the
correct words were (mistake), and she simply replied, "But Mom, I like it
better this way."

Why work at home? So you can hear the funny things your EP Kids say
throughout the day. Share with the EP Community something your child said
or did recently that made you smirk, giggle, or LOL. Send your submission
via e-mail to:. And if you need a stockpile of smiles
to get you through your EP day, pick up your own heartwarming copy of Grace
Housholder's "The Funny Things Kids Say": On those
stressed-out EP days, you'll be glad you did!


"2000...The Year (The Century) of the EP"
© 1999, Lisa M. Roberts

2000. I love it. It's simple, clean, to the point. Fresh, young,
rejuvenating. 2000. Never again in our lifetime will a year sound so
unstained, so flawless. Coming a breath after 1999 -- a year heavy with age
and history -- 2000 has the ring of inception to it. Maybe it's just the
parent in me that sees it this way, but I don't know. 2001 already has a
blemish at the end, you see it? 2000 is a newborn.

As parents, we all know what it's like to welcome a newborn into our lives.
Each of us remembers being immersed in preparations beforehand -- the
mental, emotional, physical -- only to be knocked into a spiritual
awakening beyond expectation and description in the moments shortly
following. The birth of life, the birth of time *for* that life --
intertwined seamlessly and never repeated in quite the same way again. Now,
with our children here beside us, we are poised for yet another miraculous
moment. If we squeeze the hands of our children when the clock strikes
twelve, will we each experience a spiritual awakening like no other? And
what will it be like to welcome in the new millennium with the generation
that's going to see -- and pull -- the first century through?

On another level, we are all entrepreneurs, and we face this third
millennium with minds and imaginations that never stop dreaming up new
possibilities. Like fireworks our thoughts pop with hope, noise and color,
unexpected splendor spotted with disappointing duds. We poke and prod our
inner selves, track and cater to our clients and customers, sustain and
nudge our contacts and colleagues. We work no more or less than any other
employed parent, but as swiftly as we answer email or set up a doctor's
appointment we have also trained ourselves to brainstorm innovative
solutions to our work-family problems. Between our children and our
problem-solving skills...and our unity as a community...we bring much to
the millennium table.

2000. What will it bring to *us* -- to our families, our businesses?

I'll take a stab at crystal gazing. (Why not toss my hat into the whirlpool
of prophesy too, everyone else is doing it!) I was a newborn in 1961 (60
would have been better -- no blemish), so I personally am seeing the new
millennium in from the vantage point of middle age (give or take a decade).
I have witnessed the last forty years of this century and have every hope
of being around for the first forty years of the next one. So what do I
forsee the year 2000 will bring us?

More members of the EP Community, of course.

This isn't wishful thinking. The fact is that this turn of the century --
just like the last one -- is riding on the wave of burgeoning scientific
advances, with technology that is having a direct and profound impact on
our everyday lives. One hundred years ago it was the Industrial Revolution
that changed our daily routine by diluting our natural family ties (for the
first time in history, dads and more recently moms had to leave home for
long workdays), and then providing us with vehicles (cars, mass transit) to
get to that work. On the dawn of this new century, the Information/Internet
Age is again changing our lives but this time by bringing those "estranged"
family members back home to work (and even taking away much of our need for
all those vehicles!).

So I predict that in the next forty years there will be more
entrepreneurial parents than there are any other kind. And in the history
of humanity, the 20th century will be just a blip of time when families
were estranged from each other in their daily lives. A blip that never
happened before and never will be repeated again.

Without question, together the EP Community is writing history. Michele
Broad (), one of our NAEP members, put it succinctly in
our discussion group recently. She wrote:

"I've been a bit busy lately and haven't participated much in our
discussions, but I wanted you to know that I read all the email and am so
glad you all are out there. You help keep me focused in a positive
direction and are a constant reminder that I am not alone. I wish that I
could meet each of you and express my thanks and tell you all what an honor
it is to be a part of such a wonderful group of caring individuals. From my
house to yours, may each and every one of you have a wonderful and safe
holiday season. May our force as EP's ring even stronger in the new
millennium and may our bond as emailer's continue!"

Yes, may our force as Entrepreneurial Parents resonate ever
stronger...towards the golden age of 3000.

Lisa Roberts is the mother of four, Web Producer of The Entrepreneurial
Parent , LLC and the author of "How to Raise A Family & A Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide to Home Business." Copies of her book are available for purchase at: and through Amazon, at:


WIW will be back in January.

deB Sechrist is the mother of three, Webmanager of The Entrepreneurial
Parent, LLC and owner of deBweB, a web design business. Find out more about deB


Being available to your kids and managing a career under one roof sounds to
many like the best of both worlds, but without pulling in some kind of income what's all the effort for? Making Money Matters! Let's hear how YOU earn your keep as an EP. This month we're out of space to run this column, but feel free to use the survey below to send in your submission. Please keep in mind that this column is here to spark marketing ideas for the already-established EP, not a venue to recruit aspiring EPs into a businessopportunity, so no MLM or packaged business opportunity submissions please. Just copy, hitreply, and fill out the survey below, or
mailto: with the subject heading "MMM Survey." Thank

1. In a 2-3 sentence statement, explain what your home business is about,
including your target market and "mission statement."

2. What are the most popular products and/or services you sell? How much do
you sell them for (or what's your hourly rate), and how did you find the
right price/fee schedule for them?

3. What are *your* favorite products and/or services? Why do you like to
sell them?

4. Tell us a bit about your marketing campaign. When did you start noticing
your first sales (after which marketing technique), what marketing efforts
have you noticed yield the greatest results, and how do you make your first
contact and subsequent sales (via online, phone, fax, mail, face-to-face)?

5. Any additional comments are welcome.


At the end of 1999, we want to share with you our latest statistics on the
EP Community. As of this date, we have 2,500 newsletter subscribers, 941
registered members, and about 9-10,000 visitors per month. FYI, the
breakdown of our registered members by home business type follows:

59.8% are service-oriented
52.6% are freelancers
21.3% are product-oriented
18.7% are aspiring EPs
17.8% formed companies
10.7% sell manufactured goods (are MLM consultants)
10.6% sell original products

This statistic surprised us a bit -- 60% of you sell a service! We wonder
if this is in keeping with the entire work-at-home community. As soon as we
find out, we'll share that with you ;-)!

Here's what else is happening:

1.) EP Gift Basket Contest!

Our December EP Contest is doing fantastic. Many thanks go to Pam Sabedra
of Keystone Connect <> who not only warmly
held our hand during the process of planning the contest <g>, but also
rolled up her sleeves during the launch and got us registered at the top
contest sites on the Web. The Submission Forms are rolling in daily --
thanks Pam! And welcome to all our new ezine subscribers -- hope you'll
stick with us!

Another thank-you goes to Elice Durham who, when asked "If you could poll
EPs w/ one question, what would it be??" came up with the winning poll
question: "What was the key catalyst that gave you the courage and ability
to start your own home business?" This question is proving to be an
excellent market research tool for EP -- we are learning SO MUCH about why
and how EPs make the leap into self-employment. While the contest isn't
over yet, it looks like we'll have some surprising statistics to share with
you come January. So stay tuned!

Meanwhile, for YOUR chance to win an EP Gift Basket -- filled with $100
worth of donated prizes from EPs that YOU select -- go to the following
URL. As an EPnews Subscriber, you're automatically eligible to enter!

2.) EP Gift Shop

Our new EP Gift Shop is up and running, so if you're looking for a
specialty item for that hard-to-buy-for person on yourholiday list, shop at
the "Mom and Pop Gift Shop for the New Millennium!" Here you'll find
original wares from traditional, one-of-a-kind handcrafted goods to
sophisticated, one-of-a-kind, high-tech products -- all made and/or
designed by Entrepreneurial Parents. Support your fellow EPs and spice up
your holiday gift list with unique items that are rare to find!

FYI, inclusion in the EP Gift Shop is FREE to NAEP members, so if you've
been thinking about joining the National Association of Entrepreneurial
Parents (NAEP) at the annual rate of $45.00, this is a good time to do it.

To learn more about all of the NAEP membership benefits, go directly to:

And to shop at the EP Gift Shop, go to:

3.) NAEP Chapter Guidelines

Anne Wenzel Ramstetter of Econosystems is just about to wrap up her first
draft of the Chapter Guidelines for our National Association of
Entrepreneurial Parents (NAEP). She's looking for input for the section on
benefits of being a Chapter Leader. If you're a NAEP member, please let her
know what would make this leadership role worthwhile to you (just hit reply
to this email). And if you're not yet a member but are interested in
meeting regularly with local EPs, consider joining NAEP before the new
millennium so you can lead one of the founding chapters! Just go to:
<<>> to learn more.

4.) Feedback on our New Logo

Pete Siler of Fathers First ( says:

"Well, I for one think the new logo is AWESOME....I felt so welcome....keep
up the good work!"


Have a question? Our EP Expert Panel is available to all EPnews Subscribers.
Visit them at <>. If your question isn't
already answered on our site, then send it in to:
.They'll be glad to help you out if they can!

Q. Dear Terri,

My wife and I have a four-month-old baby. We're both teachers. Recently, we
went back to work. You can imagine how difficult it's been leaving our
little girl every day. During my wife's pregnancy, we "invented" and
devised many conveniences for pregnant parents that are not currently on
the market. We've summized that we could possibly start an online line of
products. Customers could place orders via the Internet, and my wife could
stay home with our baby to run the business.

Here's our question: we've made copious notes and know how the products
will look and work, but how do we get from the "idea stage" to actual
inventory? Who do we go to to get prototypes made? Who do we approach to
get our productmass produced? How do we go about this cautiously and
safely, so as not to lose our shirts and to know who is reputable? We've
got the ideas, the creativity, and the energy. We just don't know where to
go now.

Please help. Our daughter is aging by the second. Thanks.

-Leon and Mary Lewandowski

A: Leon and Mary, congratulations on the birth of two babies -- your lovely
daughter, and this business idea! Both will take a lot of your attention in
the coming months.

First, let me give a disclaimer that your question is much too complex to
answer in simple terms. There are so many variables. For example: Will you
design the products and have them manufactured elsewhere, or construct
them yourself? Will you sell direct or wholesale them through other
companies? Do any of your items have unique designs or mechanisms that
should be patented or trademarked? These are all important issues.

Instead, let me direct you to some resources to begin your homework. First,
get clear on what you want your business to be. Make a detailed list of
your skills and experience, and where you'll need some help. Take into
account things such as new product development, marketing, sales, finances,
management, and technology.

Next, surf the Web for some information. If you're going to be looking for
companies to manufacture your designs, check out the Thomas Register
( This site is the online companion to the
venerable red hardbound books that are found in nearly every public
library, and lists more than 150,000 manufacturing companies in the U.S.
and Canada. Using this site's search engine, you can find companies who
make thousands of different products. This may be the source for raw
materials for your items, or you may find a company who will manufacture
goods to your specifications.

While on the Web, do some hunting and see what your competition may be, and
track down stores who might be good customers if you decide to sell your
products wholesale.

For issues on patents and trademarks, visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark
Office site (, where you'll find details on steps to take to
protect the intellectual property of your designs and inventions.

If you're interested in starting your own online business, check out (, a do-it-yourself Web service where you
can set up a complete ebusiness for free. I'm working as the Small Business
Advocate for this young Internet company, and it's very exciting to see the
professional-looking sites that thousands of small businesses have set up
for free on their service. (And yes, it really is for free. If you want to
accept credit cards, they'll take you through the process and get you
accepted by a bank that will charge a small monthly fee. But the service, including hosting your site, is absolutely free.)

Finally, for guidance on getting your business up and running, visit the
SCORE Web site (, where you can sign up for free email
business counseling from an experienced business owner. SCORE, the Service
Corps of Retired Executives, is a program partner of the U.S. Small
Business Administration, and offers email business counseling in more than
500 different categories. Chances are, there's a SCORE volunteer with a
background in developing products similar to what you want to do. Good luck!

Terri Lonier is our EP Business Start-up Expert and creator of the
award-winning Working Solo product line, offering independent entrepreneurs
comprehensive information and resources. Learn more about Terri at
<> or at her site


Sometimes fellow members are the best "experts," especially when it comes
to the EP life. Last month our EP Forum Moderator, Jeralynn Burke (see
Funny Things column above), sent a "Help!" plea regarding her 2-year old
son. Many of you sent in some terrific tips, and Jeralynn thanks you!
Here's the Member-to-Member Q&A:

Q. Help! I'm at my wit's end with my two year old son. He is constantly
getting into one thing or another and I'm at a point where I think that I'm
going to start bouncing off the walls. It amazes me how quickly he can get
into so many things. There are times when I simply have to try to get some
work done and I find that I have to keep stopping to tend to whatever he's
doing at that moment. That 20 minute task ends up taking two hours and that
throws everything else off. I'm finding myself very frustrated, and realize
that this will pass but for now I could use some support, guidance, or
suggestions. Typically, I would just stop and play but in those instances
when this is not an option I don't know what to do.

Jeralynn Burke
EP Forum Moderator whose "balance" is off

A-1. Hi Jerilynn, I too have a beautiful 2 year old who gets into water,
markers etc. you name it. My suggestion is based on what I've already tried
and has worked. The other day I bought a huge bucket of markers at BJ's.
They come in all colors and sizes. I told the two younger girls (2 and 6)
that they had to clean up before they could use these things. It worked
and they were occupied for over an hour drawing with the markers. The only
drawback was I ran out of paper for them to draw on. Perhaps a large roll
of white shelf paper would be enough (LOL). Also I would suggest putting
together a special 'work' kit for your little one to use ONLY when you are
working. It could be anything from special coloring books to a legal pad
with letters written across the top for him/her to copy. My little 2 year
old is already trying to copy letters. I've had to do this as I homeschool
and it's hard to keep them occupied when they are in competition for
attention. Good luck and God bless, Elise C. Dunham

A-2. Hi Jeralynn, here's my 2 cents:

Based on my own experiences (3 kids, home-based parent/worker for many
years), frankly, I didn't find it possible to do work and care for my
2-year-old at the same time. I too only got *very* frustrated. :) So I
had to regroup and try some new things. For example:

- Working only when my wife was home (she worked outside of the home at the
time). A two-year-old is an absolute wizard at noticing when a parent is
not paying attention to him/her (you know, like when you're trying to make
a phone call), so I found that one parent had to be "present" with the kids
(and more than just physically present). This meant I worked a lot of
evenings and after-midnights, but at least I had some peace to concentrate
and get things done so that the next day I *could* be 100% present with the
kids and not be thinking about all the work that I "should" be doing.
- Working during naps
- Hiring a mom's helper to come in for a couple of hours (it's amazing how
much energy some 12-13 year olds have....enough to keep a 2-year-old
actively engaged for an hour or two)

So I guess, for me, it came down to rearranging my time so that I could
build in some "alone time" for work-related tasks (alone time for keeping
my sanity is another story). Also, remember that in parenting: nothing
lasts forever. Before you know it, your son will be 3 years old, 4 years
old and maybe going to a preschool or getting involved in a gymnastics
class or whatever. Then you'll have more time to get work done, and may
even find yourself thinking back wistfully to those days when he was two,
running around driving you happened to me. :)

good luck....pete siler

A-3. Hi,

I am an EP with a two year old daughter so I can relate to your challenges
trying to balance meeting a deadline with your son's needs, Jeralynn.

The nature of two year olds seems to be that they are into one thing or
another and wanting someone to join in with them. I think my daughter
feels my tension if I am wanting to get away, and redoubles her efforts to
get my attention.

Apart from those rare days when my daughter is happily playing
independently, I have two backups. The first is an interesting video. I
always feel a little guilty using a video to babysit but remind myself that
it's fine to do so occasionally to achieve something important. One time
that the video option worked which particularly stands out is a day I had a
sudden opportunity to describe my business on a nationwide radio program.
Of course a toddler trying to join in the phone call would not have been a
good move, but thanks to Winnie the Pooh it all went off fine!

The second option is to invite a teenager friend over to keep her company.
I find this best for a project which is longer than the length of a video!
Having a friend to visit is a treat to my daughter so everyone is happy.

Some days though I find there are no solutions and I either burn the
midnight oil, or simply give myself permission to let the deadline go and
try again tomorrow.

All the best Jeralynn.


A-4. Dear Jeralynn,

Sorry to dissapoint you but there are no magical ways to handle a two year
old who is dying for your attention. Having gone through this six times I
can testify that "the terrible twos" is not just a saying! They are not old
enough to concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes, yet they
need lots of stimulation as they are ready to absorb language, cognitive
and motor skills.Their curiosity fuels this learning process but can also
get them into a lot of trouble if you don't keep an eye on them all the

I suggest teenage babysitters or family members who could take him for
walks or to the park or other fun, energy-releasing activities.

Good Luck!


WE RECOMMEND -- a free, public service site that provides info on
school/organization closings nationwide
The Daily Drill -- free online web calendar, daily planner & organizer
Internet Radio -- directory of radio stations webcasting on the Internet
Dr. Paula -- pediatric advice
eWork Exchange (TM) -- connects people and projects online
ChicWit -- a listserv of Chicago Women in Technology
mailto:c or email w/ questions: l


Column: Lisa's column at Oxygen Media's business & finance site,, is well underway. It's called "Homeward Bound" and runs
Friday afternoons and throughout every weekend. The latest columns are

"Living with a Laptop" (why & how to purchase one)
"Holiday Party for One?" (the holiday party blues for the independent

And in December, catch:
"Preparing Your Home Office for the Holidays"
"Take Control of the Holiday Season"
"Home Office Resolutions for 2000"



The Entrepreneurial Parent, LLC is not engaged in rendering legal or
financial advice. If expert assistance is required, the services of a
licensed professional should be sought.

This newsletter may be redistributed freely via the Internet. Re-publishing
of separate articles for your print publication needs approval first; write
to: for permission.

© 2000, The Entrepreneurial Parent, LLC
Editor: Lisa M. Roberts
EP Webmaster: Deborah Sechrist
POB 320722, Fairfield, CT 06432;
Ph:/Fax: (203) 371-6212, Email:

Community email addresses:
List owner:

Shortcut URL to this page:


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