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EPnews -- from The Entrepreneurial Parent
a work-family resource for home-based entrepreneurs
Volume 2, Issue 5
February 10, 1999


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The Funny Things EP Kids Say & Do!
A Promotional Opportunity for EPs
EP Times -- An Editorial
What's It Worth?
Making Money Matters
We Recommend
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, Jeralynn Burke ([email protected]):
My husband sometimes travels for his job. He had to go on a trip to Atlanta
and my three year old daughter asked me where Daddy was. I told her that he
had to go to Georgia to do some work.

My daughter paused for a moment and then asked (in the most serious tone of
voice!), "Like Georgia the Jungle?"

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:
[email protected] 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!


Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneurial Soul is currently in production, and
they are seeking stories from entrepreneurs! They are looking for true
stories, 1200 words or less, that describe entrepreneurial challenges and
triumphs in the legendary, uplifting, Chicken Soup for the Soul style. They
will also award a $1,500 cash prize for the most compelling story
submitted. The winning story will be selected by the authors at time of
publication. Stories may be submitted online at, or you can request information via e-mail,
mailto:[email protected]. Deadline for stories is March 15, EPs -- start writing!


"Taking Time to Relax...and Sing"
© 1999 by Lisa Roberts

Friday night at the Roberts household is "Take Time to Relax" night. With
weekends being just as busy as weekdays for us, if we don't make relaxation
mandatory at least once a week it just won't happen.

I first got my inspiration for Friday nights from a little book I bought
for my daughter long ago, called (naturally) "Take Time to Relax" by Nancy
Carlson. It's about two parents and their daughter who are busy every day,
every night, weekday-in and weekend-out. Their "enriching" lives include
cooking, aerobic, tennis, swimming, computer classes and more, in addition
to their career and academic obligations. Saturdays are filled with chores
from dawn to dusk and by Sundays they are all pooped out to move.

It isn't until this family is snowed in -- and absolutely can't go anywhere
-- that they "take time to relax," enjoying each other's company...plain
and simple. The book served as a warning to me not to sign my kids (or
myself) up for too many activities, less we grow apart rather than together
as the years pass by.

EPs in particular need to be cautious about warding off activity overload.
Because we work at home and are physically on the homefront, the temptation
to volunteer for our children's school events is strong. While it's great
to take advantage of our physical locale by attending daytime school events
(such as plays, concerts, holiday parties, etc.), we should be careful not
to lead up too many of them if the time commitment will compete with our
income-producing activities.

For myself, I have taken the year off from all volunteer commitments for
the first time in ten years. Even so, my kids are as busy as ever (even
AFTER dropping Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts from their schedules). My
daughter (age11) attends religious class, piano and basketball, plus she's
involved (by choice) in community service, sign language and a math team.
My son (age 8), has religious class, piano and basketball, plus "Odyssey of
the Mind." Between these after-school activities, homework, dinner and
bedtime rituals, we have a no-TV, no-computer-games during weekdays house
rule to keep them focused.

Which brings me back to our Friday "Take Time to Relax" tradition of a
video, pizza and no-shower-tonight policy. By week's end the kids are more
than ready to veg out in front of the TV screen, and lately I've hit on a
treasure trove of entertainment I'd like to share. Old movie musicals.
Nothing beats clean, simple fun (OK, I admit, my husband purposely doesn't
come home from work until the closing credits of the so-called "family"
movie, but the rest of us consider it fun!). To top it all off, Saturday
morning chores now have a new sound that will be eternally etched on our
collective family memory. I mean, which one of us will ever forget:

"Mess maker, mess maker, make me a mess!" (from Fiddler on the Roof's
"Matchmaker", sung by the older kids to their little brother Thomas); or

"If you want your Tinky Winky, Dipsy, La-La and Po...just leave everything
to me!" (from Hello Dolly's opening song, with "TeleTubby" names stuck in
to fill the can't-understand-what-she's-saying void); and

"What's playing at Rox City? I'll tell you what's playing at Rox City! A
guy meets a doll and trips on his shoes, that's what's playing at Rox
City!" (from Guys & Dolls signature song, another improvisational version);

"Melissa....I just met a girl named Melissa..." (from West Side Story's
"Maria," the day after my oldest son met the new girl down the block...)

This week, try a musical on your kids for size. See how it fits. After all,
with such entertaining musical interpretations that could last for months,
filling the house with cheer and chuckle, what more can you ask from a
Friday night?

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

"My Thrifty Valentine"
by deB Sechrist

I love Valentine's Day. It's a great opportunity to see how cheaply I can
express my affections! <g> Seriously, it's pretty easy to go overboard and
spend away -- the retailers count on getting at least a card sale out of
every one of us. And those heart-shaped boxes are hard to resist. But if
you're on a tight budget, it's best to ignore the ads and give something
from the heart without draining the wallet. Here are some ideas to help
inspire an inexpensive but romantic Valentine:

---> Make your own cards: on the computer, with construction paper, or by
recycling old cards on a poster.
---> Send a virtual card from one of the many online greeting services
---> Make a love coupon book offering hugs, back rubs, kisses, or do a
chore that the recipient usually does.
---> Make a special dinner and serve it by candelight.
---> Lead your valentine on a note chase: leave little notes around that
lead them all over the house to find you at the end with a kiss, a hug or ?
(use your imagination!).
---> Write a love letter expressing your affection, liberally spray with
cologne and send it to them thru the mail.
---> Bake a heart cake (one square pan, one circle pan -- cut the circle in
half and place beside the top two sides of the square when set on the
platter like a diamond).
---> Trade off babysitting with another family so both couples have a few
hours alone.

Cards, candy and jewelry are all very nice, but the most romantic gesture
is the gift of your time. This year, Valentine's Day is on a Sunday, so
turn off the computer, close the office door and spend time with your loved
ones. Whether you watch a movie, take a walk, go out to dinner or just read
the Sunday paper together, you can find ways to enjoy the time and let your
family know that they all have a special place in your heart.

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 Joi M.
Lasnick of My ParenTime shares her marketing tips with us. You can reach
Joi at [email protected], or on the Web at

1. In a 2-3 sentence statement, explain what your home business is about,
including your target market and "mission statement."

I am the owner/administrator of My ParenTime, an Internet Web site at that aims to inform, educate and entertain its
Internet community. Our mission is to inform Internet visitors about
anything and everything! Our theme is mainly about parenting, but we
include information for everyone.

2. What are the most popular products and/or services you sell? How much
do you sell them for (or what's your hourly rate), and how did you find the
right price/fee schedule for them?

I have gathered many products and services for My ParenTime during its
existence. All of them were found through Internet searching. The most
popular service we offer is our free Internet greeting cards. From our site
you can send a greeting card to anyone who has an email address. Greeting
cards are a great service to offer Internet visitors...and it's a great way
to keep them coming back! We also offer other free services, among them a
college information area and a listing of free catalogs to order. We are
affiliated with many stores, but I'd have to say that eToys (toys) and (books & music) are the most popular. My ParenTime does not sell
its own products, and does not make its own prices. We get commissions on
select services used (free and fee-based services), and products that are
purchased through our affiliated stores.

3. What are *your* favorite products and/or services? Why do you like to
sell them?

My personal favorite service is the greeting cards (they're a great way to
brighten someone's day!). My other favorite service is provided by, where you can find out so much if you're looking for car
information. You can compare prices and styles of cars, safety information
and order new car brochures...all at your fingertips! A favorite product
that we sell is magazines. We offer a wide variety of titles, and deals of
up to 80% off retail prices!

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 sales (via online, phone, fax, mail,

I usually contact others via email, since this is the easiest way for me.
My first job is taking care of my 3 yr old daughter, so I usually do most
of my work late at night after everyone's bedtime. People usually hear
about My ParenTime through word-of-mouth and from other websites. I spend a
lot of time emailing others to visit My ParenTime, and I find that this
type of direct contact works for me. I noticed my first sales after my Web
site became listed among other popular sites. The more visitors that visit,
the more chance there is that someone will either buy something or make use
of one of our services (from which some of those I make a commission on). I
also join any partner program that I think My ParenTime's visitors would
enjoy or be able to make use of. I send out a monthly update list that
informs my subscribers of the latest updates at My ParenTime (new sites
listed, new services & products, new articles & polls, etc.). Keeping my
site updated for visitors lets them know in a way that I care about them,
which keeps them wanting to come back again and again.

5. Any additional comments are welcome.

I think the most important tip for someone starting their own business is
that persistence pays off. Write out a plan, stick with it, and don't let
anything or anyone tell you it isn't good enough. It also helps if you like
what you're doing. It's hard enough to work at a business that you like,
but if you don't like what you're doing, it's much easier to become

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 have an idea for a part-time business at home. I would like to employ
independent contractors, specifically moms at home, to assist busy working
mothers have it all (with a little help of course). I already have a craft
business that is under the name of Marketplace Promotions. I chose this
name so that it could possibly cover a few ideas that I might have. I hope
this is legal. Anyway, I would like to call this personal service to
working mothers "MOM", meaning "Moms on the Move." The personal services
would include: 1) Kid transport; 2) Meal preparing; 3) House cleaning; 4)
Elderly services; 5) Personal Shopper; 6) Laundry services 7) Party
Catering Services; and 8) New Mothers services. I would like to know how to
begin this venture. I believe this is a good idea but am in desperate need
of guidance. Please HELP!!!!

A. Dear Entrepreneurial Colleague:

Congratulations! You have enough good ideas here for eight different

Your task now is to narrow down your ideas to the top two. You'll need to
determine which of your ideas comes with strong, built-in customer demand,
and then analyze this potential market for its size and ability to buy,
among other things. Because as you are probably aware " just because you
have a good idea, doesn't mean you have a business".

Conduct market research, perhaps forming a focus group of local moms, to
find out which services they'd be most interested in. Find out too whether
these would be services associated with newborn care, or with children in
the Pre-K to 6th grade, for example. Faced with several strong
possibilities, you can then choose the one that most appeals to you, or
that most closely complements your skills and interests.

Then figure out where people would be most likely to hear about the
service: a grocery store, the hospital, a PTA newsletter? Start with
inexpensive marketing first, rather than advertising in the local paper or
Yellow Pages.Let word-of-mouth and community marketing tactics work for you
during your start-up phase.

Starting a business is challenging enough; adding employees into the mix at
the starting gate can make it difficult to focus your energies where
they're most needed. Before you think seriously about hiring, you may want
to think about starting your business as a solo enterprise, or with a
partner, laying the groundwork, then adding contract or part-time help as
your business grows.

Line up your support team now. Interview prospective bookkeepers, attorneys
and so forth now. (For example: child and elderly transport may involve
liability exposure, and the need for insurance.) Then when you need those
services, you'll know where to turn.

You will also want to make sure you've done your business-planning
homework. There are any number of good books and audio programs on the
market today designed to help you navigate the finer points of planning and
launching a new venture.

And last but not least, make sure you avail yourself of the excellent help
available to you through the US government and its small business programs.
Get familiar with the US Small Business Administration; they offer a
toll-free Answer Desk number (800 U ASK SBA), free and low cost booklets
that address all manner of business start-up questions, and a terrific web
site that is a must-see for all solo entrepreneurs at

You will also want to get acquainted with SCORE, the Service Corp of
Retired Executives, a program partner with the SBA. They offer free small
business counseling services, among other things, both online and at
offices throughout the US. Call 800 634-0245 or visit

We hope these suggestions will help you in your planning and lead you to
some top-notch resources. We wish you much success with your new business!

Terri Lonier
Terri Lonier is the creator of the award-winning Working Solo product line,
offering independent entrepreneurs comprehensive information and resources
through books, audio tapes and workshops. To learn more about Terri's work,
go to; to ask her a question, go to <<http://en-

For Dads:

A brand new site at ...For Dads who are looking for
something to do with their kids online; or who want to help their kids
learn; or who are new Dads or are expecting to be new Dads; or who are
looking for a place where they can feel good about being Dads; or who are
looking for some tips, tools and tricks to help them be better Dads; or who
could use a little bit of inspiration or motivation; or who would like to
make their time more productive so that they have more time to be active

For Moms:

WAHMfest ' are the details:

WAHMfest' is a free, day-long event which will bring moms face-to-face with
business opportunities and helpful business resources all in one location
to network, learn and grow. It will take place Saturday, March 13, at the
Hiddenbrook Homeowners Clubhouse in Herndon, Virginia, from 11 a.m. to 5
p.m. We believe that the role of "mother" is the proudest occupation in the
world. However, we also understand, from experience, that moms often need
something "for themselves" -- and many have a desire to feel that they are
contributing materially to their family's well-being. WAHMfest is
dedicated to helping moms stay at home with their children and still be
able to fulfill their own needs, as well.

If you are interested in participating in WAHMfest, feel free to visit our
website at, e-mail [email protected] or call (703)
742-6694 for more information.

You asked for it -- now it's here! Check out the new EP members by Business
Category list at Networking has never
been easier!

For those of you who get ZDTV on your cable channel, you might have caught
Lisa Roberts today (Wed., 2/10/99, 7:10 p.m. PST) on their "Call for Help"
show. With a nifty new Netcam camera installed in her PC, she was able to
be interviewed live by just talking straight into her computer screen! If
you missed it, you can catch the substance of the show by visiting:


The National Association of Entrepreneurial Parents (NAEP), a "real-time"
community and career resource for the 15-million strong who are pursuing
home- based careers while raising their growing families, is now accepting
Charter Memberships. Recently Lisa received the following e-mail message
from an EPnews Subscriber who joined:

"Just wanted to let you know that I have just submitted my application to
become a NAEP Charter Member so that you can be on the look out for it and
apply the discount. The EP newsletter has been the highlight of my e-mail,
which usually contains quite a bit of useless garbage. It's nice to get
something that I enjoy, benefits me and my new business, and almost always
gets at least one smile or chuckle from me. I believe in you and EP and
feel very strongly that you and deB are providing a very much needed avenue
for all EPs. Keep up the good work!" -- Jeralynn Burke ([email protected])

Thank you for your support, Jeralynn, and welcome aboard! (Look for
Jeralynn and her partner's new Member Profile Page at the EP Showcase this
coming Monday!)


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: [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]
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List owner: [email protected]

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