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EPnews -- from The Entrepreneurial Parent
a work-family resource for home-based entrepreneurs
Volume 2, Issue 2
December 16, 1998


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The Funny Things EP Kids Say!
EP Times -- An Editorial
What's It Worth?
Making Money Matters
We Recommend
Barter Exchange
What's Happening at EP
Volunteers in Action

Note to New Subscribers: EPnews is published and distributed on the second
and fourth Wednesday of every month
-- except during this holiday season (our
schedule for this month is Dec. 2 & 16).The Entrepreneurial Parent at is updated every weekend; look for new content on


See this week's Q&A for an EP Kid chuckle. Then share with your fellow
community members something your child said recently that made you smirk,
giggle, or LOL. Send your submission via e-mail to: with
the subject heading "A Funny Thing My EP Kid Said." A laugh a day works


"A Year to End"
© 1998 by Lisa Roberts

It's hard to believe that this is the last column I will write with the
copyright 1998. Without hesitation, I eagerly count the days for this year to
end. I face the New Year utterly stunned by the joys and sorrows that my
family and I have experienced in the last 365 days. Like no other in my
thirty-eight years, this one was filled with more sorrow than joy, and the
life passage I was called to experience has frankly left me numb.

My father, whose innate ability to tap into the power of his heart over the
pull of personal ambition to influence others and to lead a remarkably
rewarding life, passed away this past summer. He was taken from us by a rare
form of cancer called "malignant mesothelioma." His illness was caused by
exposure to asbestos thirty to forty years ago when he was a construction
worker trying to make ends meet for his young family.

So while August 17, 1998 will go down in history as the night President
Clinton blundered his speech to the American people, it will go down in my
family history as the eve of my father's burial. And as the Clinton
crisis escalates in the outward circles of my world, the loss of my father
resonates in the inner circles of my heart. In truth, my husband and I lost
two fathers this year. Tomorrow (December 17) is the anniversary of the death
of my father-in-law. Together we end 1998 numb.

What has pulled me forward, day in and day out, over the past 365 tumultuous
days? The essence of EP life -- my children, my work. The this and that of
caretaking, the welcome distraction of a business start-up. While on the
surface I see it all as a diversion to my loss -- managing the noise level of
four kids, sifting through email, spreading bread slices evenly with mustard
-- I'm aware that on a deeper level I'm pouring my father's spirit into all
that I do. My father led a fully-engaged life at every turn, and when he was
most worried, he was also most active. He faced combat in the Korean War, a
house fire, a mid-life job layoff, and the life-threatening illness of my
sister, all with a proactive demeanor. And while I cannot even scratch the
surface of the strength of his character, I can acknowledge a little of the
this, a little of the that, that I have picked up from him.

My father was an "EP" only once, in between jobs. He didn't take to it
well, couldn't live with an inconsistent paycheck. So after twentysomething
years in construction, when his union went on strike and
he was in his mid-forties, he applied for a job in the school district as a
custodian. I remember him sitting at the kitchen table, studying math books so
he could receive the high school equivalency certificate he needed to work for
the schools. When he passed the test, he framed the certificate and hung it on
the wall, later to be joined by my sister's college, law and doctorate
degrees, my brother's college & law degrees, and my own college degree. This
was his way. Whether he was working on building Kennedy Airport or the grounds
of the World's Fair, or whether he was sweeping the hallways where children
trampled through during the day, he did his best and was truly grateful for
the opportunity. He took pride in whatever he worked on, and took interest in
whatever we were doing as well.

At his funeral, a former union co-worker and dear friend of his came up to me.
"You know, your father was always so proud of you kids," Joe told me. I did
know, but I eagerly listened for a story to remind me. "I remember sometimes
we'd be finishing up a job for the day, and we'd be heading down the street to
catch the train, when your father would stop and tell me to hold up. He'd find
these old used book stores, and he'd start rummaging through the piles of used
books. I'd say, 'Phil, what are you doing? We gotta catch a train!' and he'd
say, 'Wait -- hold on -- my kids would love this one,' and he'd come out of
that store with an armful of old books. Him with his pudgy hands and all gruff
from head to toe from a day's work." Joe chuckled. "I was embarrased to walk
with him, looking like that. Didn't want the other guys to see us with those

Joe didn't look embarrased when he told me that story. Rather, his face was
beaming with pride, remembering his old friend and his thoughtful ways. And I
remembered all those books, filling basement and bungalow shelves. I passed
the story on to my brother and sister that night, and the next day my brother
showed up at the funeral home with a book-imprinted tie. While books put my
father to sleep, they put my brother and sister through law school. As for me,
my father knew to skip the end product and just hand me the typewriters. By
then he had left construction for the school district, and was always coming
home with their newest and latest broken down typewriters. He'd fix and shine
them up, call me downstairs, and present my new companion of sorts. I used to
think he shared my interest in typewriters, but now I know he just liked to
watch the sparkle in my eyes.

No one knew better than my father how I have always turned to my writing to
process my feelings. But in the short four months since he was last with us, I
have barely been able to express one word about my loss. When he first fell
ill this summer and I'd visit him in the hospital, he'd ask me, "What are you
writing about?" and then his eyes would drift away, as if he couldn't bear to
hear my answer. "I'm dry, Daddy," I remember saying. "Can't squeeze a word
out." As the summer and his illness progressed, and I finally did bring myself
to write him a letter, he broke down before even opening the envelope. Neither
my father nor I ever took well to separation.

Yesterday I brought my youngest to my mother's house at her request, so she
could watch him for a few days. While there I explained to her my continued
inability to work through my feelings the way I have all my life, and the
angst I felt about it. Through our shared tears, she said, "Lisa, don't force
yourself to do what your heart is not ready for."

Those are words I so needed to hear, for this is all the essay I can squeeze
out right now. So to the one on this mailing list whose wisdom and love
sustains me, and whose tattered heart I long to comfort, I want to say thank
you, Mom. Once again I leave your home feeling understood. And to any others
on this list who are grieving over the loss of a loved one this holiday
season, I want to say skip the tree, the parties, the noisemakers, or whatever
else feels too much to bear. Don't force yourself to do anything your heart is
not ready for.

Lisa Roberts is the mother of four, Co-Founder of The Entrepreneurial
Parent and the author of "How to Raise A Family & A Career Under One Roof:
A Parent's Guide to Home Business." For more info on her book, go to

"Frugal Resolutions"
by deB Sechrist

With the new year just around the corner, you might be considering some
resolutions to make your money go farther in the coming year. Even though I'm
a reasonably frugal person, I find that I need to resolve to be more vigilant
and consistent to maximize the value of my income. And I'd like to find ways
to involve the family so that my efforts aren't wasted or merely offset by the
overspending of other family members.

Being frugal starts with the right mindset: one of self-challenge and
competition, not of denying pleasures or foregoing luxury. If you start off
thinking that you need to tighten the belts this year, that there will have to
be an end to certain indulgences, or that you will have to somewhere do
without, you may be setting yourself up for failure. You'll find yourself
resenting the need to be frugal, subconciously spending more than you should
on little things to compensate for your perceived loss of pleasure. If you
decide to give up an enjoyable family dinner out once a month for example, you
might find yourself spending a little more on treats at the grocery store or
opting for fast food more often because you have denied yourself that special
meal out, and you'll end up spending as much or more on those impulse treats.

On the other hand, if you start off by challenging yourself to find more
creative ways to save and budget your money, you might find real motivation in
that challenge. By involving your family in the challenge, you gain
cooperation and innovation with their participation, particularly if you can
find ways to reward their efforts. And by joining a support group of others
who have similar goals (online support groups are great because no one has to
chip in for refreshments for the meetings!), you might find the friendly
competition to be an excellent motivator.

However you decide to motivate yourself, you'll need to begin the year with a
few basic necessary actions:

---> Plan a budget for the year, usually in a monthly format. Start with fixed
costs, be sure to include a savings plan no matter how meager, and include a
modest budget for life's little pleasures.

---> Organize your files so that you can find everything easily and can file
new items quickly. I use the same file folders from year to year and just
change recycled envelopes. At the end of the year I remove that year's
envelope, file it with the tax documents and start a new envelope.

---> Commit to spending a few minutes each day or an hour or two each week to
budget upkeep. Try to enter your checks into your financial software the same
time you write them (if you pay bills online you've eliminated a step). Record
and file receipts regularly, so they don't pile up and become a time consuming
chore. Balance your checkbook as soon as you receive your bank statement. Pay
your bills on time to avoid late charges.

---> Share your budget goals with your entire family. Awareness and
involvement by family members will help control costs, especially on non-
essential items. Teach your kids to become smart consumers and dedicated
savers: praise their efforts to boost motivation. If more income is needed,
encourage entrepreneurial kids to find ways to earn their own pocket money.

Resolve to be flexible! Even the best-laid plans will encounter a glitch now
and then. The trick is to not let it throw you or cause you to give up in
despair. Just take a deep breath and revise your budget, take on temporary
extra work, or delay a planned purchase. If you look at problems as
opportunities to prove your abilities, you'll be much more likely to succeed!

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

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 Lynne K. Hansen-
Salak of Salak Woods Publishing shares her marketing tips with us. You can
reach Lynne at , 88 Hillside Avenue, Berkeley Heights,
NH 07922, Tel/Fax: 908-665-9681.

If you'd like to share your money-making tips with the EP Community, email
"" w/ the Subject: "Making $$," and we'll send you our

1. What is your home business?

"Salak Woods Publishing" was established earlier this year. My primary focus
is desktop publishing, enhanced word processing, and graphic presentations for
small to mid-sized local businesses. My goal is to prepare clear, concise and
attractive documents that will enable my clients to increase their business.

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?

At the moment, since my track record is rather short, I've mostly had success
getting assignments from Graphic Design shops (who function primarily on Mac)
to create PowerPoint presentations for their clients who operate in an IBM
environment (as I do). Regarding fees, I've been quite generous (stupid)
starting out, only charging $20 per hour. However, after much research (books,
magazines, competitors, and the Intenet) my pricing structure is now as
follows (with some flexibility): DTP--$35/hour, WP--$25/hour, and graphic

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

My favorite"products" are preparing PowerPoint presentations which allows me
more freedom to use color. My other favorite is producing complex PageMaker
documents which incorporate text, charts & graphs, tables, photos, etc. The
more challenging the better! and the best payback is seeing the the look of
amazement in my clients faces -- some people just can't believe what can be

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)?

Salak Woods' current marketing campaign has consisted of obtaining prospective
clients from the local Yellow Pages (graphic designers, architects, various
types of consulting firms, local branches of larger corporations, etc.),
calling to get a specific name of who I should direct my services brochure to,
and then doing a mailing consisting of an introductory letter, brochure and
business card. My response rate has been in the 2-3% range. I will follow up
3-4 weeks later with another letter of postcard, possibly adding a discount
coupon. I am also preparing a classified ad for our local paper (there's only
one other person who advertises and her ad is there every week; it must be
working) and, I will be in the 1999 local Yellow Pages under several headings
(DTP, Graphic Services, and WP).

My first client was my former employer for whom I'd previously prepared all of
their marketing materials, reports, presentations, etc. My next source of
clients and "hot" prospects have come through my direct mail efforts. Seven to
ten days after a very targeted mailing goes out (to maybe 20-25 prospects), I
will receive 2-3 calls requesting either more info on my services or, even
better, to schedule a face-to-face meeting. At all first meetings I present a
portfolio of my work.

5. Any additional comments are welcome.

In December 1997 I gave up the rat-race of full-time working mother and, with
the unwavering support of both my husband and son, I began what I think I've
been preparing for my entire life.


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 can't seem to get myself out of the "office." The work is never done and
it's always right here so I figure I should be working. My 6 year old daughter
is the reason I took a leap and began working from home but she never gets any
time with me. Part of the problem is that I sometimes don't realize how close
a deadline is and take too much time to spend out of the office. Another is
that I have to do more than usual to prove to the bosses that working at home
doesn't mean I'm loafing around in my slippers, even though I took a 30%
paycut to do it. Finally, I'm an organizational freak and if the house or the
office is in disarray I clean first, then work.

My daughter is great and doesn't cause any problems. She takes it better than
she should that I work an average of 14 hours a day at least 2 wks out of the
month. Please HELP!

A. You have to face the fact that there will always be more work to do. But
you won't always have a precious child at your side. You say your daughter is
"great" and "doesn't cause any problems." Because of her easy disposition may
I suggest you try setting up a work station for her in your office. It doesn't
work with all kids (it only worked with one of my four children) but when it
does work, it's delightful. She can do homework, read, pretend to type (or
really type) at your side.

Because you like to be organized, I would also suggest making a daily work
schedule that includes specific time to be with your daughter. If this time is
written into your schedule, you won't feel "guilty" about spending it with
her. After all, it's in the schedule...

Also, if you have a positive attitude about what a blessing it is to be able
to work at home, your day will go more smoothly. Think of all the things you
*don't* have to deal with -- commuting, expensive work clothes, sitting in a
cubicle, office politics...That reminds me of one of my favorite "Funny Kid"

At the dinner table Don was letting off some steam that had built up from the
day's office politics. His 9-year-old son was surprised by his father's
frustration. "But Dad," he protested, "aren't you pretty high up in your
company's anarchy?"

Grace Housholder

Grace Housholder is an award-winning columnist and the author of "The Funny
Things Kids Say" (Vols. 1-3). For a pile of smiles, pick up your own
heartwarming copy of Grace's coffee table books @ On those cloudy, stressed-out days
you'll be glad you did!


Guest Finder @

If you're writing an article about your business or field and need experts to
interview, this is a handy directory of hundreds of them, covering just about
every topic there is to talk about.


We are thrilled to announce that The Entrepreneurial Parent will be featured
in a PBS program in January called Computer Chronicles. Computer Chronicles is
aired in 300 stations around the world, and in over 80% of U.S. households.
What's even more exciting is that they asked to interview one of our
*members.* So Cheryl Sandberg of Sandberg Business Developments (a Web design
home business @, who lives in the Bay area where the filming
will take place, will be the feature "EP." Cheryl happened to respond to our
Call for Volunteers in the last EPnews issue -- little did she know what she
was getting into :-)! Now she will welcome a camera crew into her home where
she, her two small children (ages 6 and 2), and her home office will be
filmed. Let's wish Cheryl much luck (and a little time to calm her nerves!)
this week as the filming takes place. We'll keep you posted when the show will
be aired.


David Drucker of Father's World ( is looking to barter
services with a Public Relations specialist. Father's World has PR writers who
compose press releases for them, but they need someone who can handle getting
the releases sent out to the right places, plus some other misc. PR work. In
exchange, David can offer his web design services. If you are interested, feel
free to write David directly at "" with the heading
"EP Barter Exchange."

If anyone else on this list would like to put out a call to barter specific
projects or tasks, write to "" with the subject "EP
Barter Exchange," and we'll consider it for publication in our next issue.


Desiree Scales of Bella Web Design ( has volunteered to
develop a mini-site for EP on the subject of stress-management. If you'd like
to pitch in (have useful tips, an opinion, ideas on what to include, etc.),
please contact Desiree directly at: . You can
also read about how Desiree became an EP by reading her essay at: <>. Thank you, Desiree, for your valuable
contribution to The Entrepreneurial Parent!


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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