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EPnews -- from The Entrepreneurial Parent
a work-family resource for home-based entrepreneurs
Volume 2, Issue 4
January 27, 1999


Do you find EPnews useful?
Please forward to a friend, or recommend it to your favorite Web site or
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For easy reading, simply print out this newsletter.

The Funny Things EP Kids Say & Do!
EP Times -- An Editorial
What's It Worth?
Making Money Matters
We Recommend
Volunteers in Action
What's Happening at EP
New Membership Options

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, Teri Friedman ():
We were on a family vacation this holiday season in Montreal. We went to
see an ice-show, "The Wizard of Oz on Ice." Our 5-year old daughter asked
if the person who plays the Wicked Witch of the West is mean in real life.
I said I suppose not or she wouldn't be in an ice-show. Rebecca pondered
this for a moment and said "You're right. Ice shows are so child-friendly.
If she were really mean, she'd be in an opera."

Ah, the cultural subtleties our kids are already picking up!

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:
with the subject heading "A Funny Thing My EP Kid
Said (or Did)". 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!


"Creating A Business Identity"
© 1999 by Lisa Roberts

For the first time in over five years, I am immersed in one of my all-time
favorite home business projects: designing a business identity. I used to
offer this service to others on a regular basis, back when my home business
involved direct client contact. Typically, a prospective or regular client
would meet with me to describe their entrepreneurial ideas and goals. Often
all they brought with them was a business name. Turning that name into an
"identity" was my job.

A good number of you who are members of EP have "pending" listed as your
business name. To me this implies that you're still exploring your home
business options and have not settled on a type of business, no less a
name, no less a "business identity." Yet focusing on the end result -- the
"face" of your home career -- may help jog some ideas in place for you.
While I no longer offer this service directly to clients, I would be happy
to share some tips that can help you along your work-at-home career path on
your own.

---> START FROM SCRATCH. Just like individuals, businesses have
"identities" -- a name, a look, a direction, a history and a future. In
business terms, they're called a company name, logo, mission statement, bio
and vision statement. When developing a business identity, take five sheets
of blank paper and lay them out on a table, labeling each with the above
five components. If you are design-oriented, pick up the "logo" sheet first
and use it to start sketching out your business idea. Or, if "I want to..."
pops into your mind, then first work on your mission statement -- what your
business can offer unlike any other -- until you have two to three
sentences that are sharp and clear. This entire process can take a work
session of a few hours, or it can go on for days. If possible, leave the
work station out until each sheet is complete.

---> STAY CONSISTENT. Together, the five sheets you worked on in the above
exercise will become the "face" of your business. While each can be used
separately for certain marketing projects, the key to developing a
recognizable company image is to use them together as a unit. Also, stay
uniform and consistent when choosing your colors as well as your words and
graphics. Your company should be identifiable at a glance to your
prospects, your clients, and the business community at large.

---> CONSIDER THE MEDIUM. Consider how your "business identity" will be
used to spread the word about your business to the public. For example,
when deB and I moved The Entrepreneurial Parent to its own domain name and
turned it into an interactive online community this past fall, our
"business identity" was entirely Web-based. There was little need for print
material like brochures, rate sheets, etc. Even our letterhead and business
cards were of little import, since most of our interactions with others
were online. However, presently deB and I are working on developing the
"business identity" for the "National Association of Entrepreneurial
Parents" (NAEP). Since NAEP will extend beyond the Internet community, we
need to develop print communications that are standard in the "real-time"
business arena.

---> TEST MARKET YOUR IDENTITY. Once you have a "look" that you're excited
about, find ways to test the whole concept. First share it with family,
friends and relatives to solicit feedback. Then introduce it to colleagues
and other business contacts. Finally, bring it straight to the market
itself and see how it flies...

NOTE: As EPnews Subscribers, you are all invited to help deB and I with
that last benchmark -- testing the market. Please take a few moments to
fill out our NAEP survey @ <<>> and
click on the text links above the title to get a feel for the direction
we're going in. While we are already accepting NAEP Charter Membership, the
Association is scheduled to roll out formally this spring so there's still
time to make changes. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Also, if you have a "business identity" you would like to test out with the
EP Community, write to us and we'll include the info in our next issue.

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

"Teaching our Kids How to Handle Money"
by deB Sechrist

A while back we mentioned that it makes sense to involve the entire family
in living a frugal lifestyle. Many parents find it difficult to talk with
their children about money, and many children grow up not knowing how to
manage their money efficiently when they get out on their own. Fortunately,
the Internet is a great place to earn! Here is a list of websites that
teach kids how to handle money, compiled and described by EP Karen
Katchmeric ().

http:.// - Test entrepreneurial skills by operating a lemonade
stand or other business. - Run a trading company from space
and learn concepts such as supply and demand. - Stock market simulation including
a stock investing primer. - Stock market game lets young people invest
$100,000 virtual dollars and win prizes. - Investing primers, trivia and memory games. - Consumer education for teens - designed by
high school students. - Money related kid's software programs (and a
whole lot more) - Each Spring, a savings poster,
essay and video contest, with winners receiving up to $1000 in savings
bonds (Merril Lynch Family Saving Center) - The Hollywood Stock Exchange - a stock market
simulation (not just for kids!)

We recommend surfing with your kids to find the best site appropriate to
their age. You might find that many can fill in the gaps in your own
money-handling education, I know I did! Thanks for the list, Karen!

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 we have a special "guest" interview for this column with an "EP
Granddad." Nick Giorgis is a retired science teacher and the developer of
an educational product for kids called "NerdKards." Nick is an innovative
and enthusiastic marketer who has great fun trying to spread the word about
his product. His marketing experiences may give you some perspective on

The other day, Nick sent Lisa a message saying, "Help Me Get on the David
Letterman Show!" His idea was to ask kids, parents and grandparents across
the country who want to see the "Smartening Up of America" (instead of the
"dumbing down") to send in a postcard marked "America Needs NerdKards!" to
The Late Show. If any of you want to have some fun and help out this "EP
Granddad" in the process -- here's your chance! Send your postcard to:

The Late Show
with Dave Letterman
1697 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

Maybe if they receive enough cards.....?
1. What was your first home business experience?

My first attempt to start a business from my home was in 1986 when I
invented a gadget to measure acceleration in a high school physics class.
With the help of a former student, I took an HP ink jet cartridge and
modified the electronics so that a drop of ink would eject every 100th of a
second and attached it to a toy car so that the cartridge would leave a
trail of ink drops on scrap paper on the floor. Each drop of ink was
"exactly" .01 sec apart. The students could measure that trail of ink drops
and calculate the acceleration of the toy car. It could also measure the
acceleration due to gravity of freely falling objects on a ticker tape
moving at right angles to the accelerating object. For that I was awarded
Patent # 4,761,658 and I called it "IJIT", an acronym for: Ink Jet
Impactless Timer and the start of my company, IJIT.

I quickly discovered that the cost of the patent was about $3,000 and the
start up costs brought it to a sum of $20,000. I advertised in Physics
Magazine, went to conventions, rented tables to "show my device," etc. All
in all it took me 5 years to get my investment back. This device gave way
to the computer and if anyone wants to buy my patent rights they are
welcome to make an offer!

2. What is your present home business, and how did the idea evolve?

I taught physics for 34 years at Staples HS in Westport, CT and retired in
1992 to become an educational consultant for Wesleyan U in Middletown. As
part of my duties I visited over 12 H.S.s all over the state and observed
students trading cards, not only sports cards but serial killer cards as
well! I decided that there had to be an *educational* card featuring
scientists and mathemeticians with valid biographical information so that
students could learn.

I spent the next three years developing a set of "Science and Math Kards"
(sold by the IJIT company since I already had a CT State ID Number on file.)

3. 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 your orders come in?

I went to San Francisco to a Science Teachers Convention, set up a booth,
spent $3,000 and sold about $250 worth. Went to a similar convention in
Reno the following month and spent $1,800 and sold $150 worth! I was
quickly going down the "Black Hole" of the entrepreneurial self-marketing

I did my own marketing research by "hanging out" at local fast food
resturants and discovered that grandparents liked the Kards. So I bought an
ad with Modern Maturity Magazine, 20 million circulation for a one-time
insertion ad the size of a credit card (2" x 3"), for a price of $10,000
cash six months in advance...I plunged and took a bath! (I received 4
orders -- so much for paid advertising.)

Then one day a reporter and photographer from New Haven Register ran a
story on their front page. Nerdkards was coined and the story hit the AP
wire services and the resulting publicity spread across the USA via radio,
TV and print. I am on my second printing and re-cooped my $45,000

5. Any additional comments are welcome.

If you want to produce a product, you are on your own. I tried to get 60
Fortune 500 companies to buy my Kards and use them as a promotion. FORGET
IT! They will not take you on unless you are already successful. You have
to manufacture it yourself and multiply your cost by 4 in order to compete.
K- Mart wants a UPC code on my Kards and a $2.5,000,000 liability policy,
paid for by ME! (UPC code will cost $1300.)

The media by way of feature stories is the way to go. If you can get a
feature writer to tell your story you can get a lot of mileage.

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. Dear Jodie:

I was reading through your profile on the EP Showcase and was extremely
impressed with the comments under the phrase "degree." I feel that I have
the hardest, most rewarding job in the world, being a full-time mom to my 2
month old son. Through my current search to find my niche in the career
world, I have come to the realization that the two degrees I hold, an A.S.
in Early Childhood Ed., and a B.S. in Psychology, have only provided me
with a broad range of abilities. The skills and knowledge I am receiving as
a mom are far more educational. My struggle now is on how to help my family
grow financially, without disrupting the foundation we are building. My
interests and talents are only as limited as I allow them to be. If you
have any suggestions for a work at home business, please take a moment to
respond. I greatly appreciate your time. Thank You.

A. Thanks for the belief in children. You are providing a wonderful
opportunity to your family by giving your personal time and concern to
them. I really think many readers will appreciate your question and SOLID
beliefs. We all want to be successful and make worthwhile contributions to
our family as well as our careers. Many times we feel staying at home isn't
enough, but believe me, it is! With your son being so young you may be
limited for a while, but if you're lucky and he's a good sleeper, you may
have time to get more done than you think. Here are some ideas for new EPs:

1. Tutoring. Parents pay good money for this. Reading and math are still
the best areas to go with. You set the age limit you'll accept, but many
adults pay to increase their skills as well.

2. Clipping Pets and/or Pet Setting. Yes, it can get messy but people are
prepared to pay as much as $35.00 each pet to get them clipped and bathed
by a caring individual. Also, if you kept 1 or 2 pets for a week at a time,
you could charge as much as $20 per pet per day (think a "B&B for Pets"!).

4. Child Care or Nanny Position. With your degrees in early childhood AND
psychology, you can charge a premium as a childcare provider, whether by
getting a license for an in-home facility or as a daytime nanny for another

6. In Home Typing Service. Lots of professionals need extra hands in the
typing end of their business. Going prices for your expertise are quite
high. You may have to do a little cold calling, but you'll get used to it!

7. Create A Need. The next time you're at a doctor's office -- or anywhere
-- and you see something that could become better (and you can do it at
home -- or take the baby with you) -- talk to them about it. For example,
one time my dentist couldn't find my chart, so I asked him how they keep
the folders filed. When he told me just alphabetically, I asked if he would
like me to take the folders home on the weekend and color code them by
applying color labels to each folder by zip code. He liked the idea and
asked for other suggestions as well. Create a need!

Good luck and remember, don't be afraid to ask for what you want. They can
only say "No," but who knows...they may say "Yes!" :-)
Jodie Lynn is the author of "Mommy - CEO (Constantly Evaluation Others): 5
Golden Rules," and the nationally syndicated "Parent to Parent" columnist.
To learn more about Jodie's work or to ask him a question, go to
<<>>, and to visit the
above-referenced EP Showcase profile, visit:

For Parenting:

The Single Parent's Resource Guide @
<<>>, a collection of resources,
tips, articles and references on surviving as a single working mom or dad.

For Business:

SmallBiz Search @ <<>>, a search site
specifically designed to produce results that are related to the business


With the high response to Carolyn Campbell's call for "simplifying your
life" stories two weeks ago, we are pleased to announce that we have a new
"Stress Management" columnist for EP!

Desiree Scales of Bella Web Design ( is
presently developing a "Stress Management Center" for Entrepreneurial
Parents, and will be writing a monthly column for this new mini-site. In
the meantime, her first column is available in our Info to Go! division @
<<>>. If you have topic
suggestions for Desiree or would like to contact her for another reason,
write: "".

Having trouble balancing work and childcare under one roof? Check out "Home
Office Harmony" in the February issue of Family PC Magazine (available in
print at your local Barnes & Noble, or go to Lisa
was consulted for the article, and the excerpt "Childproofing Your Home
Office" from her book, "How to Raise A Family & A Career Under One Roof" is
featured in a side bar...check it out!

AN UPDATE: In the last issue of EPnews, we mentioned that we were taking in
between 162,000 and 240,000 page views (over a million "hits") per
month...upon further analysis of our stats, it turns out that this was only
the case for the first 2 of the 4 months we've been at Come
November, our stats took a nosedive to 35,200 hits and in December, 59,300.
While we thought this might be attributed to the problems our Web hosting
company admitted to having with their stats program, we recently installed
a visitors counter that confirms about the same rate.

So... what happened?? Could be it's true what they all say about submitting
your URL to the major search engines every couple of months. Still, this
doesn't seem like a realistic maintenance plan in the long run. For those
of you who have Internet-based businesses...stay tuned. We'll be keeping
you posted on our Web marketing progress and hope you will share your tips
and experience with us too.

Meanwhile, has anyone caught The Entrepreneurial Parent and Cheryl Sandberg
on Computer Chronicles this week yet? If so, how did it go?? Let us know
your reaction at: ""

Go to: <<>> to check Station
Listings in your state for exact day and time. The show airs this week
January 25 - 31.


The vote is in! Many thanks to those of you who sent in your input on
naming our new association and coming up with its logo. "NEPA" received
the most votes and, because we wanted to continue putting the
emphasis on "EP", we switched it to "NAEP." So the "National Association of
Entrepreneurial Parents" is it! And deB has developed a classic,
smart-looking logo to go with it (view it at our site).

Special thanks go to Joi M. Lasnick of ParenTime (, who
came up with some wonderful NAEP logo designs at the request of our EP
membership. deB got to use her designs as a springboard to develop the
present version. To view Joi's work, go to: Thank you Joi!


Get in as an EPnews Charter Member of NAEP and you'll receive a 25%
discount off membership dues! That's just $33.75 for the first year, or $45
for a 2-year membership. (Orders must come in before May 1, 1999 to get the
discount, and you must already be an EPnews subscriber BEFORE ordering your
NAEP Charter Membership. Just add the line "I am an EPnews Subscriber"
under the question "What would you like EP to offer, both online and off"
on the application form <<>>, so we can
apply the discount when we process your order. Only those orders that
follow the above instructions will receive the EPnews Subscriber Discount

We are so sure that membership in the National Association of
Entrepreneurial Parents will meet (and hopefully exceed!) your needs that
we are even offering a 30-day money-back guarantee on your membership dues.
You have nothing to lose, so join today! Go to:

Meanwhile....whether you plan to join immediately or not, voice your
opinion @ <<>> today. And to learn more
about what NAEP has to offer you, go to: <<>>


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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