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EPnews -- from The Entrepreneurial Parent
a work-family resource for home-based entrepreneurs
Volume 1, Issue 4
November 11, 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
Volunteers in Action

Please take some time today to remember the veterans in your life. Pick up
the phone, send an electronic card, pay a visit, say a prayer, or go to a
memorial site. Before rushing to the mall for the latest holiday sale,
remember that someone special. You'll be glad you did! :-)


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, Shannen Markus, mother of two boys:
My five-year old son started pre-school when he was three years old. I was
concerned about his adjustment period and asked details about his day every
night. The end of the first week I asked my typical "How was your day
today?" questions and he replied with, "Well, this boy was being mean to me
but I wanted to play the same game as everybody else so I stayed. The mean
boy told me to mind my own business." I then asked my son what he said to
the boy, and he replied "I told him that I don't *have* a business!" I just
laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. I told him he said the right thing!

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:
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" @


"EPs and the Holiday Season: A Day at the Beach?"
© 1998 by Lisa Roberts

OK, OK, Halloween is over. Everyone else on the block has their scarecrows,
skeletons, pumpkin faces, ghosts and various Halloween what-not all put
back in boxes and up in their attics. Ours, of course, are still greeting
passers-by. So what else is new? We're the last to put our holiday
trimmings up and the last to pull them down. It's a given every year.

This is because the holiday season always feels like the surge of an ocean
wave to me -- I'm never quite ready for it, but once I'm "in" I manage to
go with the flow. And have fun. The kids, of course, push me right
in...ready or not. They're bringing home seasonal school projects way
before I've even taken a look at the calendar to see what holiday falls on
what day this year. They're planning costumes, Thanksgiving desserts, wish
lists and loud noise-making devices while I stand by our kitchen window,
fixated at the summer toys still laying in the backyard. (Did summer really
come and go? Any chance I can get it back?)

Naturally, this time of year is also the peak business season for most
entrepreneurial parents. Whether you sell products or services, it's likely
your workload is growing more and more demanding. That's because most
consumers have their credit cards and checkbooks on-the-ready for holiday
purchases -- whether it be gift-buying, house-decorating or menu-planning.
If you're selling products, orders are on the rise, leading to an increase
in order processing, fulfillment and invoicing. And if your clientele are
fellow business owners, they are feeling cramped for time just like you,
and are ready to outsource whatever they can. If you're selling a service,
being at the right place at the right time will yield unexpected accounts,
and this time of year the right place is nearly everywhere your clients
are...and the right time is now!

So it's not at all unusual to find yourself, as an EP, pondering how you're
going to spruce up your living room for holiday company at the same time
your home office turns into a veritable disaster area. If that's where
you're at, take heart. There *are* practical ways you can reconcile your
work and family life during the holiday season. Here are a few tips in a

. . . S I M P L I F Y . . .

Simplifying during the holidays can be an especially hard task for EPs
because they value both their family life and professional life so highly.
It's difficult to think about shaving off a few holiday traditions and not
being such a perfectionist about certain business tasks just when you feel
the pull to shift into high gear for both. But if you want to live to see
the New Year with a smile on your face, it's wise to cut back anyway. First
think about where and what and how, then *do* it. For instance, if you're
hosting Thanksgiving Dinner, do you really need to have a pumpkin, pecan
AND apple pie for dessert? If you send free newsletters to your customers
or clients every month, do they *have* to be as content-impressive as
during other months
(after all, who has the time to read now anyway)? And so on.

. . . D E L E G A T E . . .

Like in Thanksgiving pies to your guests. (OK, I admit...I'm hosting
Thanksgiving Dinner this year and have pies on the brain.) And be sure to
pass on household cleaning chores to all family members, since it's not
just you alone who may be hosting company but your whole family. Also,
don't be shy about outsourcing the following: business tasks like
bookkeeping, data entry, copywriting and troubleshooting; parent tasks like
homework checking to older siblings and caregiving to childcare providers;
and finally, homeowner tasks like fall trimming and leaf raking.

. . . M O V E O N . . .

This one is for me (anyone else out there with black bat silhouettes still
in the window??). It's time to take down the Halloween decorations and move
on to Thanskgiving preparations. I've already taken the first step by
saying "begone!" to all that Halloween candy. With four children, we have
four times more candy than we need in this house!! The other day I asked my
kids to pick out 10 of their favorite candies each from their respective
plastic pumpkins, and then think about donating the rest to the children in
hospitals who didn't get a chance to trick or treat. Each of them went for
the idea surprisingly well! My mother has the bag of treasures under lock
and key in her house, and will make the phone calls of inquiry. Once all
traces of this year's Halloween are safely in our memories and nowhere
else, we can await the next wave of holiday activity with fresh thoughts.

Like a day at the beach, by the end of this holiday season there's a good
chance you'll be exhausted -- yet feel healthy, alive and invigorated too!
Here's to a New Year's Day that will find each of us out cold on the living
room sofa...and wearing smiles during our hard-earned rest.
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: . We'll be glad
to help you out if we can!


Q. I have questions about receiving clients at my home. We are presently
renting our home, and it is not in the condition we would like it to be. Do
you have any suggestions or resources that can help me make a shabby
basement into an inviting office for my clients to visit? Remember we are it needs to be inexpensive.

Second, is it okay if the office space/basement is also a den area? Or
should I separate the two?

Do you suggest I make these office arrangements before my clientele grows?
At this time it is beginning to trickle, and I am faithfully expecting the
trickle to flow freely soon.

"The Write Way Business Services" and "Mother Knows Best"

A. Dear Tia,

Congratulations on a busy, growing business! Keep up your enthusiasm, and
don't let a dreary basement drag you down! Here are some solutions for you.

I know of a couple who work at home together and used to meet clients in
parking lots rather than invite them to their home office! Their solution
was to renovate half of their basement, but let me warn you -- it's a long
and time-consuming process which costs lots of money. So if I were you, I
wouldn't renovate any room in a rental apartment.

You don't always have to meet your clients in your home. There are lots of
inexpensive, professional options:

--> If you feel comfortable, and you feel you have the type of clients that
would feel just as comfortable -- why not meet in your dining room or
living room?

--> Meet outside the home in the lobby of a local hotel. Lots of hotels
today are set up for such meetings. Buy your client a cup of coffee in a
most professional atmosphere. Or, go have "tea" there in the late
afternoon. When I worked as an editor on a magazine, lots of home-based
publicists took me to tea at a local hotel. It was comfortable, civilized
and professional. I never thought twice about it, and always looked forward
to doing it.

--> One home-based worker I know does this: he asks the local hotel manager
if there is a meeting room free for one hour, and if there is, could he
rent it. He's usually successful and the managers usually let him use the
room for free if he buys a pot of coffee or such.

--> Find a Kinko's near you -- they have meeting rooms.

--> Your local library has conference rooms for free!

--> Find an "executive suite" (listed under office space rentals or
"executive suites" in your phone book) -- they rent office space by the
hour, and it may fit into your budget depending on where you live. It
doesn't hurt to call for rates -- lots of home-based businesses use this
type of office an hour at a time.

--> I don't know if you are renting in a condo area, but if you are,
perhaps there's a meeting room your condo "rents" out to people that live
in the area.

To further answer your second question -- sure it's okay to use your den as
a home office. But what do you use your den for? Do you have kids that will
use the den when you need to work? If so, it may not be the best solution.
If you can use the den when kids are at school and turn the den over to
them after school, great. You will need to somehow "train" anyone who uses
the den to keep their hands off of your home office equipment and papers.
Every family has different ways of handling this. Some people put screens
up around their workspace when they aren't using it which signals to others
to stay away. Others have computer armoires that they close when they
aren't working (again, an expensive solution). Others just verbally train
family members to be considerate of that corner of the den where the home
office is located. It can be done!

My best wishes to you for your ongoing success!

Marilyn Zelinsky, author of "Practical Home Office Solutions" and "New
Workplaces for New Workstyles" -- both available at the EP Bookstore,


Oops! We ran out of survey responses for this issue. Catch us next time! :-)


"Ways to Save with Credit or Cash"
by deB Sechrist

Thinking of buying that big family gift, or a computer for the kids so you
don't have to share? EP member Arlene Jacobs (our selected "Member Profile"
-- see below!) shares some ways to use credit carefully and wisely so you
can make that big purchase without paying high interest rates.

"I bought my computer on credit -- with no interest for 6 months. I figured
out how much I would need to pay each month if I were to pay it off
completely in that 6-month time period, and instead of making payments to
the credit card company I've been putting the difference in a savings
account (and getting interest on it!), waiting for the 6 months to expire.
Then I plan to send in the balance on the computer and have it paid off
interest free.

"You can find these no interest for XX days or XX months for lots of
things, including furniture (popular big purchase items during the holiday
season). I do this for car repairs too, where I don't have the cash to pay
for those unexpected breakdowns.

"We have one credit card which pays cash back at the end of the year and we
really, really try not to keep a balance on it. We have a Visa cash-card
which withdraws directly from our checking account for places that don't
take personal checks."

Arlene's suggestions are excellent if you use credit, but if you prefer to
pay cash for what you buy, consider some easy incentives for the whole
family to save towards that big purchase or gift-buying seasons.

---> Decorate a shoebox with wrapping paper for that event or holiday, cut
a small hole in the top, and make a weekly ritual for each person to
deposit their share for that week. When the event arrives, *unwrap* your
money and make the buying a special event in itself.

---> Instead of cash allowances, give the kids vouchers or receipts for
whatever percent of their money goes to a savings box or even a savings
account where it can draw interest. Many banks offer a free savings account
for minors to checking account customers. Just be sure to put that money in
yourself, because it does add up quickly and if you skip it might be
difficult to pay back all at once.

---> Institute a penalties jar that family members will have to contribute
set amounts to if they skip a household chore or some other minor
infraction of household rules. Use the money saved in the jar for a family
outing or shared purchase. Keep the amount small, like a quarter for teens
and adults and a nickel or penny for smaller children, so that it doesn't
hurt too much to pay the jar or create negative feelings towards the end

---> Produce your coupons after paying for your groceries and receive the
cash back (ask first if your store will do this, most will). Then
immediately put that money aside and plan to spend it on a non-essential
bill, such as the cable TV or ISP, or a credit card purchase. If you're not
making enough to cover that bill, challenge yourself and your family to
increase the couponing efforts with that bill amount as your goal.

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


Selected straight from our "EP Showcase." If you'd like to purchase your
own EP Profile Page and spread the word about your home career on our web
site and in EPnews, read how to do so at:

EP: Arlene E. Jacobs, Mom to 2 children, ages 2 & 4
Freelance Writer, mostly for Parenting Magazines
Advertising Salesperson, for a local parenting publication, selling
advertising space to local businesses
Avon Representative, selling Avon products to family & friends
HOME CAREER DEFINING MOMENT: When I knew that I could make enough money to
buy my new computer!
EP ADVICE: Remember your priorities. Sometimes I find myself getting upset
with the children for interrupting my "work" and I have to remind myself
that the reason I'm working at home is to be with my children! Also,
remember that working at home is work! If you don't put in the effort, you
won't get the results. You need to be very organized and self-disciplined.
It's very easy to wake up in the morning and decide to lounge around
instead of making those phone calls.
Arlene E. Jacobs
713 Sir Michael Drive
Montgomery, AL 36109-4413
Phone: (334) 270-4038
Fax: (334) 396-6759
To learn more about what Arlene has to say, visit her full profile at:


DigitalWork @

DigitalWork is the Internet's premier, one-stop business center designed
specifically to help small businesses operate and grow more effectively.
Through partnerships with leading business service providers, DigitalWork
develops and delivers online tools that help small business managers
complete a broad range of their most common business tasks from beginning
to end. These tasks range from marketing their business and finding
employees to researching sales prospects and managing cash flow.
DigitalWork currently has more than two dozen business service and channel


The EP Community is growing steadily, with new subscribers and new members
signing up daily. All continue to be served by our EP Expert panel, whose
professionally-written Q&As are truly a unique and useful resource here at
EP. What's on our "Wish List"? We *would* like to see more volunteers "step
up to bat" and become active members. (See "Volunteers in Action" below for

A few days ago we were able to share some publicity leads with all our
EPnews subscribers. Good luck to the many of you who responded! While there
are no guarantees that your stories will be selected, if you fit the
profile it's always worth the time to give it a shot. If you do get an
interview, please let us know so we can share the good news!

Finally, "behind the scenes" here we are working on bringing a new "EP
Coach" on board who specializes in parent-child communication, on building
a stronger "Dad" voice to our EP Community, and on developing a fun and
exciting new product line specifically for Entreprenerial Parents. While
progress is ever- slow when "family comes first and career second" -- as is
always the case with Lisa and deB -- we *are* moving forward so stay with

Meanwhile, what's new at the EP web site?

For Your Business:

Medical Transcription Central @ (see
below for details!)
Globalize Your Business @

For Your Family:

Practical Wisdom for Single Parents, Part II: Raising Your Village @
Home Office: The Childcare Solution? @

New EP Expert Q&As:

Our EP Relationship Expert, Azriela Jaffe, has a new Q&A page up @:

Our EP Home Office Design Expert, Marilyn Zelinsky, has a new Q&A page up @:

Our EP Homeschooling Expert, Joe Spataro, has a new Q&A page up @:

Our EP Recordkeeping/Tax Expert, Jan Zobel, has a new Q&A page up @

You'll also find new Q&As, on the subjects of business start-up, career
counseling, work-family transitions, low-cost marketing, web site development
and general parenting issues, at:

Thanks to all of you who are sending in those questions! You are keeping
our Experts busy and adding value to The Entrepreneurial Parent at the same


As mentioned in Issue #2, Lizette Williams, an EPnews Subscriber, has been
collecting information on the Medical Transcription field. She submitted
her findings recently and we now have an "Medical Transcription Center"
mini-site! If you are exploring this work option, check it out at: Many thanks to Liz, who was so
encouraged by her findings that she has decided to move forward with her MT
training. We wish her much success!!


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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