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

March 8, 2000


Do you find EPnews useful?
Please forward to a friend, or recommend it to your favorite Web site or
e-zine. Thanks for your support!

For easy reading, simply print out this newsletter.


The Funny Things EP Kids Say & Do!
EP of the Month
EP Times -- "The Things We Want Most"
Reader Feedback
Making Money Matters -- Your Office Annex
What's Happening at EP
MORE Funny Things EP Kids Say & Do!

Editorial Note: EPnews is distributed the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of every
month. The Entrepreneurial Parent web site is updated on an ongoing basis
throughout each month -- feel free to check in regularly via the What's New
banner on our homepage. Welcome all new subscribers!



Are you a parent who wants to work from home? Or do you want to HELP other
parents work from home? WAHMfest, the work at home moms expo, may be the place for you! This year's off-line event is taking place Saturday, April 8
in Northern Virginia, but we are on-line year 'round! Drop by at to learn how you can stay home or help others who
want to stay home. Subscribe to our ezines, become a sponsor, learn from our
moms who are already living their dreams! Any questions? E-mail
[email protected] or call toll-free 1-877-271-5218



Submitted by EPnews Subscriber and featured MMM survey respondent, Wendy Brown (mailto:[email protected]):

Living and working with a two-year-old can certainly be a challenge,
especially when trying to keep the messes to a minimum. I try not to stress
out too much when it comes to having toys all over the place, but food messes
are a particularly strong pet peeve.

The other day, I was behind schedule with work and trying desperately to
catch up. My daughter poked her head through the kitchen door. "Mom," she
piped. "Come look." I said, "At what?" not missing a keystroke. She replied,
"At the floor." Eyes still glued to the computer screen, I asked, "What's on
the floor?" She said, "Sugar's all over the floor." I exclaimed, "Oh,
Kaya," jumped up from my chair and sprinted into the kitchen, prepared to
clean up some horrible, huge mess she had made. When I got there, 2.2
seconds later, the "sugar all over the floor" was just a few grains. I
quickly swept and went back to work. She came over to me a couple minutes
after I sat back down, kissed me on the arm, looked at me with a smile so
sweet, I swear I got a cavity, and asked, "Are you happy now?"

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:[email protected]. 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!

Jim Wiederhold, Wiederhold & Associates, Inc.

In February we kicked off a monthly feature that highlights the
achievements of one of our newly registered members. Selecting from our new
member forms, we take a look at business names, niche markets, special PR or advertising techniques, innovative products or services, and other types of
unique business practices.

This month we chose Jim Wiederhold, an EP Dad to two children (ages 13 and
17) and owner of Wierhold & Associates, Inc. We love his special niche -- as
a "headhunter" for the healthcare industry -- and the fact that his company
has grown 50% each year since inception. But what we respect most about Jim
is his commitment to children's charities, to which he donates 5% of his
company's annual revenue. He also works in the summer with Camp Sunshine, and he will be in training this month to work with children in Hospice. Now
that's one special EP Dad...

As an advocate of children, Jim is right in tune to our mission of
responsible parenthood here at The Entrepreneurial Parent, and we're very
pleased to have him as a member of our EP Community.

<begin round of applause>

Please welcome Jim by viewing his Profile Page at:

and/or sending him a welcome message at:
mailto:[email protected]

</end round of applause>

To All -- Please Note: We offer our selected EPs a FREE Profile Page at the
EP Showcase and a link from our home page all month, so spread the word among your friends and let's build the EP Community together!


"The Things We Want Most"
© 2000, Lisa M. Roberts

Sometimes my work tires me. Not the professional work -- rarely the
professional -- but the parenting, often the parenting. It's not the
physical work that tires me (the cleaning, the taxi-driving, the cooking),
but the perpetual, daily work of building character in each and every child
under our care. "Focus on one thing at a time." "Keep track of your stuff."
"Sit straight with your feet in front of you." "Use your words, not your
hands." Over and over and over again. It's exhaustive.

Then someone somewhere reaches out to me, or turns my head in a new
direction, and I realize I can do this. We are blessed. The kids are alright,
and there's a much bigger picture than the one of my small home. This time
three separate paths led to the same place in my heart -- the first took the
form of a book, the second a movie, and the third a visit -- and all in the
span of one month.

The book, The Things I Want Most: The Extraordinary Story of a Boy's Journey
to a Family of His Own
, by Richard F. Miniter is the portrait of two
Entrepreneurial Parents who, after raising six children, decided to give
their parenting skills one last and fierce test by opening their hearts,
their family and their home to a young boy named "Mike." Mike, living
in the limbo land of foster care, was profoundly emotionally disturbed from a
tortured and unspoken past. Yet he was able to express a simple wish in a
language that the heart of every parent can understand. At the height of
self-awareness he had once scribbled on a piece of paper:

The Things I Want Most:

A family
A fishing pole
A family

And because of this articulation, he found one. Chronicling the relentless
year Mike's wish came true, his father writes about parenthood in a language
most all of us can understand. For instance, early in the book he offers us
an indelible image of fatherhood when he sees the silhoutte of his youngest
biological son, Liam:

"The sun had been setting west over Shawangunk, and just a few shafts of
light remained. One of them reached arrow straight from the top of the
mountain ten miles away and lit up a spot in the meadow about three hundred
yards away. I said to Liam quickly, 'Can you run out and catch that before it
goes?' The boy ran down the hill in the darkness, through the swampy brush,
along the deer run, and far out into the field. In the instant that the light
disappeared I saw him there, a far-off tiny figure jumping around with his
arms raised, twinkling golden in the rushing darkness. The stars were out
when he came back. 'Liam,' I said, 'to me you'll always be the last light in
the meadow.'"

When Mike moves in and starts sharing a room with Liam we begin to understand the enormity of this family's mission, but are replenished by the humor of the author. Liam reports to his father:

"Dad, this kid is nuts. He was upstairs arranging his pillows on his bed.
First he put one pillow on top of the other, and then he switched them. They
he switched them again and then again. He kept doing that for about ten
minutes before he made moaning sounds and started to pull his hair."
(The Dad
shrugs, and then says...) "Everybody gets a little tense at pillow-arrangement time."

But it's when Mike wreaks havoc in reaction to the commonplace routines of
childhood the rest of us take for granted that I, as a reader, felt the
greatest impact. His parents' search for simple truths helped me re-evaluate
my own parenting style and perspective:

"Sue, remember all those 'activity resources' the children's home was so
proud of? They had a pool for the children, crafts, art class, puzzles,
games, TV time, baseball, basketball, a little natural history museum, a
library; they took them fishing, tubing, hiking, had a computer room with
games...Well I remember being terribly impressed, even overawed. But when you think about it, you have to concede that few families on earth can come close to that ideal. In a real family there's one or two or three things, and a kid spends most of his time on one of them...At some point in (Mike's) life, pride and self-confidence have to come to him, and they must come from his
own lonely effort in some activity."

How did this remarkable book find its way into my POB? A few months ago I
went in search of a slippery statistic: how many entrepreneurial parents
there are in the U.S. I found an article published by Reader's Digest (April,
1999) entitled "Entrepreneurial Parents Profit from More Time with the Kids;
Family Values Driving New Work-at-Home Boom" and decided to contact the
author, Rich Minitir (!), to see if he turned this number up in his research.
Although we spoke at length about entrepreneurial parents, we of course did
not go into our life stories. But when I found his father's in The
Entrepreneurial Parent mail, I felt a strong bond. Even my 12-year old
daughter felt a connection -- she read the book before me and said, "I know I
don't really know Mike, but in a strange way I feel now that I do..."

Then not too long ago I took my daughter to see "The Cider House Rules," a
film adaptation of John Irving's novel of the same title. Up for Best Picture
of the Year, it's a heartwarming tale of an orphanage in Maine, St. Cloud,
that existed long before the present-day foster care system came to be. While
primarily the coming-of-age story of the eldest orphan, Homer Wells, the more
impressing character depictions (for me) were the many younger children who
were growing up at St. Cloud. They grow, learn and dream under the
affectionate care of the resident doctor, Wilbur Larch, who acts as their
surrogate foster parent. As the children wait, yearning and hungering to be
adopted by a "real" family, Homer learns something the others don't
understand yet. These children already have a family -- each other.

The last piece of this puzzle came last week, when I had the opportunity to
see first-hand what a surrogate family staffed by paid professionals might be
like. My sister, Dr. Joann Galley, is a resident psychologist at the New York
Foundling Hospital in New York City, an establishment that cares for very
sick and/or severely disabled children. Some of the children are there for
only rehabilitative purposes, but many more stay for years, sometimes even
for the duration of their entire but short lifetime. Joann has worked in the
hospital for four years, and throughout has shared many heartwarming stories
about "her 163 children" with me. But it was only last Friday that I found
the courage to visit her and "her children," and only at the request of a
friend of mine who had an interest in volunteering at that particular
hospital. I guess I was afraid I'd be so moved to tears at the sight of these
poor children, that they'd see the pity in my eyes and feel even more
vulnerable than they were. I just didn't know what to expect.

What I found moved me not to tears but to joy. Joann took us on a tour of
four floors, showing us the recreational room, the library, the classrooms,
and all the other wonderful physical resources available to these children --
much like Minitir talks about in the above clip. But to me more remarkable
than all that was how well-staffed the hospital was, how strong the bonds
between the children and the staff seemed to be, and how important
communication was among all. These caregivers were not harried and worn, as I
imagined, but energetic and cheerful. I noticed this in the little things --
the smile on the face of a nurse that was carried down the entire length of
the hall and was given to her by a teen-age patient. Three girls playing in
the gym -- one with a severe heart condition, another paralyzed from the
waist down, and another who breathed through the tube in her throat -- who
spoke to each other with the ease, familiarity and affection of sisters. The
boy lying still in a stretcher who asked me a question as I passed that I
couldn't understand. He tried and tried to articulate and finally I made out
the words. He was calling for his favorite nurse, not from pain but just to
talk, and when I repeated her name, "Mary Lou," his entire body resonated
with happiness.

I left my sister, and the movie house, and closed the pages of "The Things I
Want Most," with many questions. How can I communicate to my children how
much I love them, how blessed they are, how much I hope they can reach out
and touch others as they grow in ways I know I cannot? How many foster care
parents like the Minintirs could there really be, when it takes true angels
on earth to endure what they did? Is the present-day foster care system a
failed ideology in practice, with more children in need of a home than there
are extraordinarily resolute foster parents available to take them in?
Wouldn't children whose parents are no longer physically or emotionally
"there" for them, and who are labeled "difficult" and therefore not strong
candidates for adoption, be better off in a less-taxing system than the
drastically overworked foster care one? Wouldn't they at least be able to
build family bonds with each other if they lived in the stable home
environment of an orphanage?

In the end, I believe what Mike wants is what we all want -- people who love
us, things we like to do, people who love us. The children at the New York
Foundling Hospital had people who loved sister being one. They
had personal goals that were not unlike those of a more able-bodied child,
and they strove to achieve them with a combination of self-determination and
the patient help of others who truly cared about them. Most poignantly, the
boy who wouldn't give up on communicating with me spoke for us all when he
finally did. I will never forget his face, and the feeling expressed in it,
the feeling of being "heard" and understood. I have seen that expression
before -- in the faces of my children, my husband, my sister -- and have felt
such exhilaration myself. Ah, yes, you heard me, you know me, you love who I
am. Finally. Like Mike, it's what we want most.

To read more about "The Things I Want Most," go to:

To read Rich Minitir's Reader's Digest article about EPs, go to: and search for "Entrepreneurial Parents Profit"

If you'd like to share how YOU have been inspired to continue your parenting
work, please write to us at mailto:[email protected]. Let's share!


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" (Bookhaven Press, 1997). Copies of
her book are available for purchase at: and
through Amazon, at:


I just read Lisa Roberts' article, "Beyond Schedule C":

My schedule C bottom line is nothing to write home about. I make enough to
pay the bills and keep the business afloat. It was refreshing to read an
article that talked about the intangible profits of working from home. Thank
you very much. You made me remember why I'm doing this.

Dianna Huff, Amesbury, MA
DH Communications, Inc.
Marketing Writing for High-Tech & Industrial Companies
e-mail: [email protected]

Profits from 1999 -- The average administrative assistant in my area is paid
an annual salary of around $28,000 per year. I made $15,000 last year from
my virtual office service, and I only worked 25 hours per week. My financial
gain was substantial, when one considers the savings in job-related costs.
But in addition to the monetary gain, I learned a great deal about running a
business last year.

Non-monetary Profits in 1999. Things I've learned:

a.. Web Design - I designed and published four sites in 1999 using
FrontPage 98. I learned how to create a site (one of which has over 250
pages. I learned how to publish that site to a host server. I learned how
to make changes and updates to the page. I learned how to download the
entire site so that I had a copy on my hard drive. Of all of the things that
I learned from my business in 1999, I believe this will be the most
profitable for me in the future, because not only did I publish web sites for
my client, but I also published a site of my own. I learned how to read and
write HTML. I learned how to write the JavaScript for a drop down menu. I
learned how to submit web sites to search engines. I learned how to write
meta tags for web sites. I learned where to find affiliate programs so that
my sites would have paying advertisers. -- All for FREE, and all from the
comfort of my home.
b.. Marketing Techniques for Corporate America
c.. Managing Business Finances
d.. Filing Corporation paperwork
e.. Internet research
f.. Effective e-mail correspondence techniques
g.. Preparing advanced slide show presentations using Power Point
h.. Creating Business Brochures in PowerPoint
i.. Creating address labels using MS Access

I've done so many things this past year that I had never done before, and
I've learned so much, that in reading over the above list, it sounds like the
course requirements for a degree in Administrative Assistance. I also joined
the Society for Human Resource Management, which gave me a great deal of
information about the world of Human Resources. Since I operate a virtual
office service, the information I get from my membership in SHRM is
invaluable for marketing my business to companies in my area.

Finally, the most important thing I've learned is how to balance my job and
my family. I've learned not only to be a success in my career, but I'm a
pretty darn good Mom, too. :-)

Wendy Brown

Please Note: to learn more about Wendy's home biz, keep on reading!


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. (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 business opportunity, so no MLM or
packaged business opportunity submissions please.) To take our survey,
mailto:[email protected] with the subject heading "MMM Survey." We look forward to hearing more about you!

This month Wendy Brown, Owner of Your Office Annex -- a virtual office
service, and -- a poetry web site, shares her marketing
tips with us. Wendy is an EP to a 2-year old daughter, and her contact info

Wendy Brown
Your Office Annex /
URL: and
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 207-934-5182
Fax: 207-934-6207
Address: 1 Arnold Road, Old Orchard Beach, ME 04064

1. Please explain what your home business is about, including your target
market and "mission statement."

My primary business is Your Office Annex, a virtual office service. I
thought at first that my market would be small companies who needed
secretarial services, but I have realized over the past two years that my
best market is larger companies, specifically the HR departments. Typically,
there is one administrative assistant in the HR department, and that
individual is in charge of several projects. Being able to outsource some of
the work to me enables that person to focus on other areas. My company
slogan is "Administrative Task? Just Ask."

My secondary project, which is funded entirely by what I earn as an office
assistant, is is a poetry web site,
designed with the intention of providing a place for students and amateur
poets to showcase their work. As a former educator, I know the value of
feedback, and so by providing this outlet for their creativity, my hope is
that I might encourage more students to explore writing poetry.

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?

Your Office Annex offers a full range of office services, and I have done
everything from typing a student's term paper to web site design. My basic
rate is based on 60 wpm/$15.00 per hour. I determined my rates by
calculating what I wanted to earn a year, and by weighing that amount against
the local economy. That is, I had to determine what I thought local
businesses would be willing to pay. My fees are flexible, however, and I
will reduce my rates when offered a long term contract or a really big
project. For example, right now, I am contracted for 25 hours a week, every
week, for an unspecified amount of time. I am paid $10.00 an hour. Two
years ago, I was offered a data base project by a local Fortune 500 company.
Rather than pay me an hourly rate, they negotiated a flat rate contract. is a free, online, publishing service. I recently started
offering merchandise for sale on the web site, but haven't yet had any orders.

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

My favorite project is Working on the site has been a
challenge for me, because ultimately I want the site to pay for itself, and
to date it hasn't even come close. But because it has been so financially
unsuccessful, I keep looking for new ways to make it work. When I started
the site, I tried to find local sponsors/advertisers. While everyone loved
the idea, no one was willing to support it. Next, I found affiliate programs
that paid by the click or by the lead. To date, I have earned about $30.00.
My next venture is to publish an anthology of my 1999 poets. I am also
offering tee-shirts and mugs for sale on the site, have posted a request for
sponsors ($25 for an advertisement and a tee-shirt), and I am still an
affiliate of several e-commerce sites. I figure, if I keep looking hard
enough, I will eventually find the magic formula. In the meantime, the site
has been a tremendous success in that 60 young poets found me last year, with
almost no advertising. The Internet is truly an amazing vehicle, and I'm
just happy that I get to be in the driver's seat occasionally.

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)?

My first sales for Your Office Annex came through word-of-mouth
recommendations from friends/family members, but there weren't a great deal
of those. I tried mass mailings, cold calling, and newspaper advertisements,
but none of them were at all successful. In fact, I didn't get one client
from any of those methods. My only success, in fact the one that yielded my
current client, came from answering Want Ads. I decided that the best way
for me to find potential clients was to contact companies who advertised a
need for the kind of services I offered. So, I started sending a marketing
letter and my resume to employers who needed data entry clerks,
administrative assistants, secretaries, and typists. I answered ads whether
or not they stated "Work-at-home," but was careful not to apply for jobs that
sounded like they had to be done on-site. After a few months of that kind of
marketing, I answered an advertisement for a data entry clerk. The employer
was really looking to hire someone to work from his office, but my commitment
to my "business" impressed him, and he hired me to work out of my home. The
things that sold him on hiring me were: I brought my daughter to the
interview, and I gave him a business card. The fact that I was a struggling
entrepreneur, and I was committed to finding work despite having a young
child, really impressed him.

5. Any additional comments are welcome.

Before my daughter was born, my husband and I had already made the decision
that one of us was going to stay home with our unborn child, and because we
also decided that we wanted to breast-feed, the one to stay home would be me.
When we decided to become parents, it was with the understanding that we
would be parents, and everything else would be secondary. It hasn't always
been easy to do. Being a Stay-at-Home mom was far more difficult for me than
being a Work-at-Home mom. In fact, while my decision to work from home was,
in part, motivated by the money issue, I have put so much into it because I
just like working. But my first priority is my family, and I wouldn't think
twice about leaving my business if it conflicted with my ability to satisfy
my family's needs.

I love what I do, and I cannot imagine working anywhere else, at this point.
In fact, I can see myself in ten years as the Chief Editor of the Publishing Company. The only difference will be that I
won't hear that cherubic little voice calling, "Mom" every ten minutes
(because she'll be in school). But I think I'll really miss hearing
"...twinkle twinkle little star, like a diamond in the sky..." as my
background music.



Chat: EPs are starting to gather on Monday nights (10:00 p.m. EST) over at
the Lounge. Please join us next week!

Discussion Group: Spring fever has hit the list. Join our daily discussion --
sign up at:

Message Boards: Have a question or comment you'd like to share with fellow
EPs? Head over to our message boards at:

Have a question for Lisa? Ask her directly at:


EP Expert Q&As

**Planning a complete re-design for your spare bedroom home office? You're in
luck -- our EP Home Office Design Expert, Marilyn Zelinsky, has researched
and come up with some excellent suggestions for your design and furniture
shopping needs. Go to:

**Expecting to move into a new home this year but are itching to start your
business NOW?
**Is there a way to buy and sell products WITHOUT registering for a resale

Terri Lonier, our EP Busines Start-Up Expert, has some sound advice re: the
above questions for you at:

And because of Terri's increasingly busy schedule, these will be her last
Q&As for EP. While we are sad to see her go, we are very grateful for her
generous contribution to our community. Her Q&A page is full of friendly,
useful advice for those just starting out, so please make sure you refer back
to it whenever a new business start-up question pops up. She just might have
answered it already!

Stress Management Article:

Stablize Stress by Donald Wetmore

Your Business Article:

Business Plans Most Common Mistakes, by Daniel M. McGilvery


Lisa's column at Oxygen's business & finance site,, runs
Friday afternoons and throughout every weekend at:

The latest "Homeward Bound" columns, found at, are:

"The Home Business Workforce" -- recommended reading for all!!
"Take Five: The Home Office Alternative to Coffee Breaks" -- featuring quotes
and web links of EPnews Subscribers!
"Dressing for Success at Home" -- i.e., leave the sweats at the gym...
"Friends, Family, Countrymen...Go Away!" -- how to tactfully turn away
surprise company when you're working

Also, any time you'd like to ask Lisa a question directly, stop by her
message boards at:

Or stop in for her weekly chat, Monday nights at 10:00 p.m. EST, at:

All EPs are welcome!!


Let's close up this e-zine with another LOL!

Submitted by EPnews Subscriber Cynthia Ho (mailto:c[email protected]):

The kindergarten my 4 year old daughter, Joanna, goes to is teaching them
about the four seasons of the year. Joanna learns that in Autumn, leaves turn
yellow and falls down from the trees and when Spring comes, green leaves
comes out from them.

One day in early Spring while we were in a hurry walking to visit my
husband's grandma, Joanna suddenly stopped, looked up to a very tall bare
tree and asked. "Mom, will there be someone climbing up a long ladder to
stick green leaves up the tree in Spring?"

In the following weekend, me, my husband and Joanna roamed the nearby parks for half a day to see the new green shoots coming out from the stems. Joanna
called them "baby leaves."


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: [email protected] 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: [email protected]

Community email addresses:
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