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EPnews -- from The Entrepreneurial Parent
a work-family resource for home-based entrepreneurs
Volume 1, Issue 3
October 28, 1998


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For easy reading, simply print out this newsletter.

The Funny Things EP Kids Say!
EP Times -- An Editorial
Making Money Matters
What's It Worth?
EP Member Profile
We Recommend
What's Happening at EP
Do you enjoy your issues of EPnews? Forward a copy to a friend...and help us
build the EP Community!

Note to New Subscribers: EPnews is published and distributed on the second
and fourth Wednesday of every month. The Entrepreneurial Parent at is updated every weekend; look for new content on


Submitted by EPnews subscriber, Patse Hemsley:

My daughter had always been rather possessive of me and my time when she was a
toddler. At one of my "art lunches" (gatherings of true friends and potential
clients at our house which usually starts late morning and goes on to late
afternoon), I met a girl who was later to become a mentor, a friend, partner
and soulmate.

My daughter noticed this special buzz between us and came to sit with us.
Well, we talked and ate and drank and exchanged ideas well into the
night...until everyone else had gone home. We were so absorbed in our chat
we'd quite forgotten this three-year old sitting there, obviously intrigued
enough to keep quiet for so long. Little did I know she was simply watching
and taking in everything that was going on.

We suddenly noticed the quiet and my daughter (finding a gap in our
conversation) asked my new-found friend with "concern" in her voice, "Haven't
you got a home to go to?...Does this mean you are coming to live with us??"

This same "old spirit" (as I now call her) continued to speak her mind as she
grew older. I remember more recently I had been waiting for the outcome of a
major (for me) presentation for a commissioned job. True to character, I
gathered everyone else in the household and willed them to be as expectant as
I was. Well my seven year old (at the time) wasn't having any of this "shared
emotion." After days of talking and thinking about nothing else, she finally
had to say her peace. We were baking and she quietly said, "You're not the
only artist in the world you know!" To which I replied, "Well, to Daddy I am."

With a giggle she had to have the last word, "Well what does he know!"

If you'd like to share something your child said that made you smirk,
giggle, or LOL, you can send your submission via e-mail to:
[email protected] with the subject heading "A Funny Thing My EP Kid
Want a few more chuckles? Visit Grace Housholder's Funny Things Kids Say
project at, or pick up your own heartwarming,
coffee table copy of one of her books, "The Funny Things Kids Say, Vols.
1-3" @


"Entrepreneurial Lessons from a Piano Teacher"
© 1998 by Lisa Roberts

My children's piano teacher strikes me as an exceptionally warm human being.
Her dark brown eyes immediately radiate peace, joy and compassion, and she is
quick to smile with a sincerity that is rare.

Last week, however, my kids and I were in her hot seat. We were squirming
around her kitchen table, apologizing and making promises to do better. Her

"Inconsistency!" she declared. "Sometimes you two come here and shine. Other
times, like today, you come and can barely play a single note!" She turned to
my 11-year old daughter. "Now if you didn't study algebra, would you pass your
math test?" Then to my 8-year old son. "If you didn't play catch with your
brother after school, would you be a useful player on the ball field?" To
both: "You must practice *every day* if you want to play piano!"

Sometimes I feel inconsistency is my middle name, so my posture fell along
with my kids that afternoon. It was, after all, my responsibility as a parent
paying for weekly piano lessons to make sure the kids were practicing every
day. And now I worried, with such a scolding, that they would protest ever
having to show up there again.

Ye of little faith. What didn't occur to me at the time is that we were
dealing with one sharp entrepreneur! Carolina Sanchez*, a home-based business
owner after my own heart, knew what she was doing. She was expressing her
expections of her clients -- building a business relationship based on honest
communication -- in a language that made sense to them. In their previous
weekly half-hour lessons, she had *paid attention* to them -- learned what
made each tick, what each felt passionate about. My daughter loved math; my
son loved baseball. In the awkwardness of the moment when she expressed her
disappointment, they still felt understood by her. And, sure enough, no sooner
had the front door slammed behind them when they came home then they
immediately sat down on the piano bench to go over their individual lessons.

Building loyalty with a clientele is tricky but imperative business for most
entrepreneurs. While the teacher/student relationship is certainly not the
norm for the vast majority of business owners, a lesson for all can still be
learned from the above example. *Listening* to your clients -- learning who
they are, what they're about, where they want to go -- is the first critical
gesture you can make at initial visitation with a new client. And with every
interaction after that, *listening* becomes the foundation upon which you
build a solid relationship. If a client feels truly understood by you, they
are likely to remain loyal beyond expectation.

Another effective tool Ms. Sanchez uses to build client loyalty is creating
client-to-client camaraderie. In addition to encouraging small talk between
clients in between one lesson to the next, this Friday she's throwing her
first annual Halloween Party for all her students. She challenges each to
"Bring the weirdest gourd you can find!" on the invitation -- a mission that
my kids have spent the last two weeks embracing. Creating a social gathering
of your clientele is a remarkable way to cement evolving business
relationships. It's fun, creative and memorable. Plus it makes each guest --
each client -- feel special.

One final note on the sharp entrepreneurial instincts of my favorite local
work-at-home pro. My family met Carolina Sanchez when she first moved into
town, shortly after we did, about two years ago. She was the Music Director of
our church, and during one crowded mass we enjoyed listening to her play up
close on the balcony. How did we know she also taught piano lessons? By the
handwritten scrap paper she taped onto a far wall, with the words "Piano
Lessons" boldly marked. Not only did she use her community connections to
spread the word about the availability of her home business, but her work --
the music she played -- was on display at the very site of her advertising!
It's like posting a sign on a well-manicured lawn that says "Harry's Lawn
Services," or dropping a business card in each child's goody bag that says,
"Jenny's Party Planning." It's advertising that strikes when the iron is hot.

Ms. Sanchez is an example of an entrepreneur who doesn't use the "hard sell"
approach typically attributed to successful business owners. She is
resourceful without being aggressive, honest without being disrespectful, fun-
loving without being irresponsible. By using her personality to connect with
her clients, and her skills to help them reach their goals, she encourages
them to come back week after week, year after year. She works with who she is
to create a thriving part-time home business...and so can you!

*Her name is changed here for privacy purposes.
Want to learn more about balancing the EP life? Pick up a copy of Lisa's
book, "How to Raise A Family & A Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide to
Home Business" (Bookhaven Press, 1997)! Order online @, or call toll-free: 1-800-782-7424.

Have a question? It may already be answered in 1 of the 16 EP Expert Q&A
pages now up and running! Check them out at (follow the "Q&A" links). If your question
isn't answered there, then send it to: [email protected]. We'll be glad
to help you out if we can!


Q: I am a work outside mom (33 yrs old). I have one child (6) and one
stepdaughter (11). For the past month or so, or at least when I purchased my
new computer and started surfing the web, I have been seeking a way that I can
stay at home w/ my children but yet contribute to the household finances. At
this point I am trying to decide if we can afford for me to quit my job and
maintain our budget. I am planning on searching more sties and links to look
for more answers.

I just hope there is something out there for me to do to help support my
family by working at home, so that I can spend more time with my family. The
stress of working outside the home is making a monster of me, and the constant
rushing after work hours (supper, baths, homework, etc...), is creating an
unhealthy homelife.

At this point, I admire all those who manage a family, marriage and a career
from home!!! I just hope I can find a way to be a part of that type of group.
Do you have any advice you can send my way?

Take care and God Bless you and your family and all your efforts to help those
like me!

Donna Gorenflo

A: Dear Donna,

I sense your strong motivation, which is a powerful ingredient as you plow
through the necessary steps to transition to an at-home career. As you are
researching at-home career possibilities while continuing your outside work,
you may want to "practice" living on only your husband's income for a few
months to see if leaving your outside job is financially feasible in the near
future. This will likely involve developing a stricter household budget while
cutting discretionary spending. Savings can usually be found in the eating
out, wardrobe and recreation categories, among others.

You might find Quicken Deluxe 98 useful for its handy budgeting tools
features. You'll find some helpful family budgeting resources at, and ongoing money management features
at and

As you do your cost-cutting, use your current job income to pay off any
consumer debt you might have and to save up for your start-up business costs.
Remember, in terms of income and profits, a new business is often
characterized by lean months (or years) in the early stages, so you want to
have a financial cushion to keep you going through to the growing and thriving
stages of your at-home enterprise.

Many mothers I've worked with have found relief in the work/family time
conflict by successfully negotiating a flexible work arrangement at their
current job. Such an arrangement allows for a steady income as you plan for
your transition to at-home career status.

Developing a solid plan and written proposal to "pitch" to your boss is the
first step to securing the new work arrangement, whether it be a shortened
work day, shortened work week or telecommuting. Since your children are in
school, a shortened work day of say, six hours a day, may help tame the
"monster" that rears its head due to rushing, stress and fatigue. With more
"breathing space" between work and home responsibilities, you can enjoy more
time with your family during the dinner and evening hours, plus carve out more
time and energy to research, plan -- and even start -- your new career working
at home.

Once you and your husband agree that your finances and your business plan are
well in place, you can be confident that the time for leaving your outside job
and completing the transition to an at-home career will have arrived.

Best wishes,
Pat Katepoo
Work Options Inc
47-370 Mawaena Street
Kaneohe, HI 96744-4721
Ph: 1-800-279-FLEX (toll-free in the USA)
Ph: 1-808-531-9939 (outside the USA)
Email: [email protected]


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! This week Barbara Thomas of
The Professional Pen shares her marketing tips with us (you can reach Barbara
at [email protected]). If you'd like to share your money-making tips with the
EP Community, email "[email protected]" w/ the Subject: "Making $$," and
we'll send you our survey.


1. What is your home business?

The Professional Pen provides quality marketing and writing services to small
businesses, home-based businesses, and private-practice professionals at
affordable rates.

2. What are the most popular services (or products) you sell? Do you charge by
the hour or by the project, and how did you find the right fee schedule?

Brochures and press releases are the most popular products. I generally charge
by the hour, but several times a year I run specials, which are priced as a
project. Finding the right fee schedule was really a matter of trial and
error. I surveyed other businesses to get a "going rate", added to that amount
to reflect my personalized services, subtracted from that amount to reflect my
lower overhead. Sometimes I underpriced a project, and swallowed the loss,
sometimes I overestimated a project, and lost the client to a lower-priced

3. What are *your* favorite services (or products)? Why do you like to sell

I enjoy designing flyers and brochures, since I get to use the CorelDRAW!
program, which is great fun. When a client gives me free rein, I get to
explore my creativity, and produce some really outstanding pieces.

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 sale (via online, phone, fax, mail, face-to-face?).

Word-of-mouth has been the most effective in terms of getting paying clients.
My web-site garners a lot of "look-see" traffic, but few visitors go on to
become clients. I send a letter and brochure to every person that applies for
a business license in my community, which gets me a lot of calls for free
advice! Since I service clients throughout the country, I usually meet them
via mail, e-mail or phone first. If I see a new business opening however, I
always pop in to leave a card and brochure (which are always in my car). I
have recently begun to target private-practice professionals (mediators,
therapists, counselors, etc.) and have attended conferences to introduce my
services. It's too soon to tell how this is working.

5. Any additional comments are welcome.

I just want to urge parents not to give up. You probably won't see a profit
for a year or two, and it will be frustrating. Just hang in there!


"Making the Holidays More Affordable"
by deB Sechrist

As the last leaves fall from the trees our thoughts turn to the upcoming
holiday season. It's easy to get caught up in the spending flurry, charging
that one perfect gift for our kids, getting just a little something for just
about everyone we know, splurging a bit on that last minute shopping trip just
to get it done. But most of us are on budgets too tight to allow indulgences,
and a little planning using today's technology can help.

If you're a seasoned pro at cutting costs, you might already know the usual
tips for keeping holiday spending under control: set budgets and stick to
them, leave the charge cards at home, make gifts instead of buying them, wrap
gifts in the Sunday comics or use the inside of paper grocery bags stamped
with sponge or cut vegetable prints.

How about your holiday card list? So many people are "connected" now that you
could send a virtual card (from any of several free sites on the web) or make
a holiday greeting page for your website. Send the URL to all your friends who
can view it, and only send actual cards or holiday newsletters to those who
don't yet have an Internet connection. This is also a great free way to
network with your online clients and friends. (NOTE: don't send gif or jpg
files attached to email unless you know the recipient's ISP and email program
will accept them without problems -- just send the URL to be viewed).

Families can cut costs by drawing names instead of buying for each individual
family member, or giving one gift for the entire family instead of
individuals. Baked goodies, homemade fudge and decorated cookies send a loving
message at minimal cost -- plan a weekend for the family to make or decorate
the containers, the next weekend for treat preparation and packing. This works
well for homemade cards and gifts too -- tailor the activity to your
children's ages and have a great time creating a special gift for everyone on
your list. Or use your computer to make holiday cards, calendar gifts,
stationery sets and other paper gifts.

Boost your business to supplement the holiday budget by offering seasonal
products, holiday discounts or gift certificates. Use your holiday greeting to
announce these offers and send it out by early December. If time's too tight,
send your message later in the month and offer a New Year special instead. If
you do send out printed greetings to clients, consider using a postcard
format-postage is only 20 cents versus the 32 cents for a traditional card.

deBorah Sechrist is the mother of three, Co-Founder of The Entrepreneurial
Parent and owner of deBweB, a web design business. Find out more about deB


October is National UNICEF month. This is the time of year when children
across the United States and Canada help other children all over the world by
joining UNICEF's "Trick or Treat for UNICEF" campaign. For the second
consecutive year, UNICEF has developed an online counterpart to the campaign


In UNICEF's special Halloween Fun section, children and grown-ups alike can
participate in plenty of Halloween fun and mischief while learning more about
UNICEF and its life-saving programs. Last year more than 100,000 visitors had
a *frightfully* good time while UNICEF raised awareness of its programs. This
year visitors can:

--> send festive online "treats" to friends: online coloring books, puzzles,
downloadable wallpaper and cute animations of pumpkins and ghosts;

--> surprise friends with a devious online "trick:" alarm them (temporarily)
with a melting computer screen, or stump them with a tricky riddle;

--> order UNICEF collection carton and educational materials online for the
classroom or neighborhood;

--> download a brand new special-edition screensaver. Also at this site - - visitors from around the world can make
contributions online to support UNICEF, with proceeds going directly to
community-based services in primary health care, basic education, and safe
water and sanitation.

By making National UNICEF month part of Halloween fun, visitors will be
supporting UNICEF's life-saving projects in more than 160 countries.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!
Support UNICEF: <>
UNICEF Tricks & Treats: <>


EP will be featured at DigitalWork's Editor's Corner all of next week, at (check it out!). Also, if you live in the South Florida
area, you can tune in to the "Joyce Hoffman Show" on WFTL-AM on Nov. 4th
during the noon hour, when Lisa will be discussing "Entrepreneurial Parents"
with Joyce. And finally, The Entrepreneurial Parent will be featured in
Healthfile, a syndicated monthly newspaper insert promoting physical and
psychological well-being, presently scheduled in February.

Publicity for EPs is good news for all because the larger our EP Community
grows, the more resources will be available to all of us. You can help by
sharing Lisa's contact info ([email protected]) and deB's contact info
([email protected]) with any of your local or national media contacts who
cover business and/or parenting issues. Thanks always for your support!

Meanwhile, at the EP Site you'll find:

New Info to Go! articles at:

Startling True Confessions of a Single Mother,
Before Taking That Road...Stop, Look and Listen (on Divorce),
Home Office -- The Childcare Solution?,

New Expert Q&As Available at:

Part-Time Career Q&As,
Low-Cost Marketing Q&As,
Childcare Q&As,
Copy/Cyberwriting Q&As,


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:
Subscribe: [email protected]
Unsubscribe: [email protected]
List owner: [email protected]

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