- EPnews -- from The Entrepreneurial
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
- 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
is updated every weekend; look for new content on
THE FUNNY THINGS EP KIDS SAY!
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
giggle, or LOL. Send your submission via e-mail to: [email protected]
the subject heading "A Funny Thing My EP Kid Said."
A laugh a day works
-- AN EDITORIAL
"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
family and I have experienced in the last 365 days. Like no other
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
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
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
-- I'm aware that on a deeper level I'm pouring my father's spirit
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
sister, all with a proactive demeanor. And while I cannot even
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
degrees, my brother's college & law degrees, and my own college
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
trampled through during the day, he did his best and was truly
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
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!'
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.
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.
then he had left construction for the school district, and was
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
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
inability to work through my feelings the way I have all my life,
angst I felt about it. Through our shared tears, she said, "Lisa,
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
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
season, I want to say skip the tree, the parties, the noisemakers,
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
without, you may be setting yourself up for failure. You'll find
resenting the need to be frugal, subconciously spending more
than you should
on little things to compensate for your perceived loss of pleasure.
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
opting for fast food more often because you have denied yourself
meal out, and you'll end up spending as much or more on those
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
that challenge. By involving your family in the challenge, you
cooperation and innovation with their participation, particularly
if you can
find ways to reward their efforts. And by joining a support group
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
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
change recycled envelopes. At the end of the year I remove that
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
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
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
essential items. Teach your kids to become smart consumers and
savers: praise their efforts to boost motivation. If more income
encourage entrepreneurial kids to find ways to earn their own
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
extra work, or delay a planned purchase. If you look at problems
opportunities to prove your abilities, you'll be much more likely
deBorah Sechrist is the mother of three, Co-Founder of The Entrepreneurial
Parent and owner of deBweB, a web design business. Find out more
MAKING MONEY MATTERS
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
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 [email protected],
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
small to mid-sized local businesses. My goal is to prepare clear,
attractive documents that will enable my clients to increase
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
At the moment, since my track
record is rather short, I've mostly had success
getting assignments from Graphic Design shops (who function primarily
to create PowerPoint presentations for their clients who operate
in an IBM
environment (as I do). Regarding fees, I've been quite generous
starting out, only charging $20 per hour. However, after much
magazines, competitors, and the Intenet) my pricing structure
is now as
follows (with some flexibility): DTP--$35/hour, WP--$25/hour,
3. What are *your* favorite services
(or products)? Why do you like to sell
are preparing PowerPoint presentations which allows me
more freedom to use color. My other favorite is producing complex
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
have you noticed yield the greatest results, and how do you make
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,
types of consulting firms, local branches of larger corporations,
calling to get a specific name of who I should direct my services
and then doing a mailing consisting of an introductory letter,
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
coupon. I am also preparing a classified ad for our local paper
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
(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
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
will receive 2-3 calls requesting either more info on my services
better, to schedule a face-to-face meeting. At all first meetings
I present a
portfolio of my work.
5. Any additional comments are
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: [email protected].
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
a deadline is and take too much time to spend out of the office.
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.
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
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
frustration. "But Dad," he protested, "aren't
you pretty high up in your
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 @ www.guestfinder.com
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
every topic there is to talk about.
WHAT'S HAPPENING AT EP
We are thrilled to announce that
The Entrepreneurial Parent will be featured
in a PBS program in January called Computer Chronicles. Computer
aired in 300 stations around the world, and in over 80% of U.S.
What's even more exciting is that they asked to interview one
*members.* So Cheryl Sandberg of Sandberg Business Developments
(a Web design
home business @ www.sbdcalif.com),
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
filmed. Let's wish Cheryl much luck (and a little time to calm
this week as the filming takes place. We'll keep you posted when
the show will
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
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
free to write David directly at "[email protected]"
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 "[email protected]"
with the subject "EP
Barter Exchange," and we'll consider it for publication
in our next issue.
VOLUNTEERS IN ACTION:
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,
please contact Desiree directly at: [email protected].
also read about how Desiree became an EP by reading her essay
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
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
to: [email protected] for permission.
© 2000, The Entrepreneurial
Editor: Lisa M. Roberts
EP Webmaster: Deborah Sechrist
POB 320722, Fairfield, CT 06432; http://en-parent.com
Ph:/Fax: (203) 371-6212, Email: [email protected]
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