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EPnews -- from The Entrepreneurial Parent
a work-family resource for home-based entrepreneurs
Volume 2, Issue 7
March 10, 1999


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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.


As every EP knows, starting your own business means plenty of sleepless
nights! When you're not obsessing about clients and deadlines, you're
worrying about things like...the cost of your health insurance. Well, now
there's great news for EPs still struggling with those high COBRA premiums
(or, even worse, with no health insurance at all): Now you can get
affordable, quality health insurance at group rates, even if your business
only consists of you and Rags, the cocker spaniel! Even better, you can
apply online -- at, America's premier, on-line health
insurance Web site. offers you an affordable Web-based
alternative to having no insurance or high-priced individual health
insurance. So, if you like the idea of health insurance without the
insurance agent, visit and get a free quick-quote! Go to, and tell them EP sent you.

The Funny Things EP Kids Say & Do!
EP Times -- An Editorial
What's It Worth?
Making Money Matters
We Recommend
EPs Respond
What's Happening at EP

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, Kathy Sutherland-Erwin (mailto:
[email protected]
I was sitting at my computer, holding my three-year old daughter Rosie in
my lap. She had been up all night with a 102 degree fever and had been
lethargic most of the day. As we were sitting there, I felt her forehead
and sighed with relief as I told her, "I think your fever has broke." She
looked up at me and said, in a tone filled with sincerity, "Mommy, it isn't
broken, it's fixed now."

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!


"Organizing Your Home Office"
© 1999 by Lisa Roberts

As I spend this morning gathering material together for this issue of
EPnews (and wondering what I'm going to write about this week), I have been
engaged in a battle of sorts. My whole body has been involved in the
struggle -- my feet are kicking things, my fists are crumbling things, my
arms are shoving things, my waist keeps bending over, my legs keep pushing
my chair backward to re-strategize, and my face periodically contorts in
little fits of anger, frustration, impatience and infinite procastination.
What's all the fuss been about? You guessed it -- my waste basket is
overflowing and paper keeps leaping out, attacking both my feet and my

I know all I have to do is find a huge bag that could fit this unwieldy
mass of POB junk mail, pre-school crayon doodles, printer casualties, and
used email print-outs and toss it all in the recycling pile in the garage,
but the morning goes by and it just doesn't happen. Meanwhile, as I kick
around the used paper under my desk, there's more denial going on in plain
view. While I do keep a handy accordian folder on EP on top of my desk
(with files like: EP Expert Questions, EP Idea Folder, EP Contacts, EP
Links, EP Volunteers, etc.), I am crowded by five stacks of paper as I type
that yet need to be processed.

In striking contrast, behind me is my husband's side of the office, neat as
a pin. Granted I don't know what his desk in "corporate America" looks
like, but my guess is it *doesn't* look like mine!

Luckily, life has a way of working with you sometimes. The moment I
realized that this was the topic I wanted to cover in this week's "EP
Times" was the moment I remembered that one of our original EPs, Debbie
Williams of "Let's Get It Together," is being featured in our "We
Recommend" column this issue. Debbie specializes in offering home
organizing and time management skills for busy parents and is sponsoring
her first ever Online Organizing Expo in less than two weeks away.

Debbie was happy to come to my aid -- and any other disorganized
procastrinators like me who are determined to avoid, tackle and finally
beat office clutter once and for all. Her advice follows:

To keep your home office clutter free, provide a dedicated place for

--> Store hanging folders in file cabinets or in portable crates under the
--> Purchase stackable bins for processing paperwork.
--> Purchase a drawer divider for stationery and desk supplies.
--> Utilize a master calendar or wipe off board for coordinating special
--> Clip or scan articles, and file in a folder for reading at a later date.
--> Maintain a workable follow up system with an index card file or
accordion file. The dividers are numbered 1-30, and documents (or note
cards) are filed on the appropriate day of the month for future action.

Now that you've set up your personal space, take just a few minutes a day
to preserve it:

--> Write your "to do list" for tomorrow.
--> Straighten your desk before you leave the office.
--> Purge your files on a consistent basis.
--> Begin each day with a clear desk and a clear mind, and find renewed
fervor in the work that brought you here in the first place.

If you, like me, feel like you've been in the boxing ring with the paper
opponent one round too often, try following the above tips. And some time
soon, let's think about scheduling a monthly "EP Office Clean-up Day" --
one morning a month that all members of the EP Community commit to cleaning
up their home office. We can form an email and/or phone chain to send each
other encouraging messages, put up a special Web page with an office
clean-up checklist, and hold a "Before and After" home office photo contest
(winner gets a free product at the EP Member Store).

What do you say? Should we host an "EP Office Clean-up Day"? Mailto:
[email protected] with your vote...!

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

"Loyalty Doesn't Pay"
by deB Sechrist

Couponing is a major savings trend these days, and I'll be the first to
admit that there are many who do it much better than I, paying only pennies
for cartloads of groceries, traveling the world on mileage points and
discount coupons. But there are many potholes on the coupon path, many of
them subtly reinforced by the advertiser's subliminal messages. The
Internet has brought even more opportunity for those messages to be
accepted and to entice brand loyalty.

Brand loyalty is one of the pitfalls of couponing. Once you get hooked on a
particular brand, you'll probably notice that the coupon supplies start
trickling, or the values start sliding. The manufacturer hopes that you'll
continue to prefer that brand and will buy that item even if you don't have
a coupon, even if it's a lower value coupon, or even if you have to buy
more than one. The grocery stores reinforce this by offering double and
triple low value coupons, and these days they electronically tailor their
prices to the average shopping cart so they don't lose the difference.

So the obvious solution is not to be brand loyal, right? Yes, but then
you're just playing the game with several manufacturers instead of just the
one. With some products, it's probably better to just try to play the game
well -- watch for sales, use your coupons in conjunction with sales, trade
coupons with others, get coupons online, even buy coupons. But there are
some products you can go the next step further and just stop buying them

Look around your home at the everyday products you've been using for years.
With many, chances are you can make your own for much less. I mentioned a
few of them in the last issue: using ammonia instead of the brand name
window cleaner, dishwashing liquid for hand soap, etc. In personal care,
you can substitute corn starch for body powder or baby powder -- buy one
container with your coupon, then recycle it each time you refill it. Make
the baby wipes with dishwashing liquid and paper towels -- buy one
container of the brand name with a coupon and reuse it over and over again
with your homemade refills.

Do you use an after-bath oil/lotion? Figure out how much you pay for each
bottle (let's say $3), then multiply that by 10 ($30). Then subtract
$2. This is how much I pay for a bottle of mineral oil and using a few
drops of my favorite cologne. Recycle an old shampoo bottle, pour in 1/4
inch of oil, fill with water and add a few drops of the fragrance, shake
well, and you have a bottle of after-bath oil. Savings = $28 and eight
less containers used.

A drop of tea tree oil in a cup of water makes a very effective mouthwash,
as does hydrogen peroxide. If you just can't stand the taste, rinse with
either of these products first, then follow with a rinse of your favorite
mouthwash, diluted 1 part to 4 parts water; it will last 4 times longer.
Petroleum jelly applied to dry, rough feet and covered with cotton socks
while sleeping costs much less than the expensive moisturizers and works
just as well to soften feet. A drop or two of mineral oil can add another
two weeks of use to a mascara that seems empty.

Just read the labels and think about what substitutions and stretchers you
can use on the products you buy continuously. What seems like just pennies
here and there can add up tremendously over years of use. So, even though
that 75-cents-off coupon seems like a bargain, or the store will triple
that 20-cents-off to total 60 cents off, sometimes it's worth it to pass it

Happy cautious couponing!

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 Terri
Bradbury of "Personally Yours - Cards by Terri" (offering one-of-a-kind
handcrafted greeting cards for all occasions) shares her marketing tips
with us. You can reach Terri at [email protected] or [email protected], or
at her Web site,

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

My home-based business is offering people an alternative to 'store-bought'
greeting cards by offering handcrafted, from the heart, greeting cards. My
target market is people who want unique greeting cards that are a special
statement to the recipients of their choice. My mission is to provide the
highest quality handcrafted greeting cards possible and to make sure each
and every customer is completely satisfied with their choices!

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?

The most popular are the greeting cards, but the calendar tracking and
reminder services seem to be catching on and more people are expressing
interest in them. The cards sell for $3.00 - $5.00 and price is determined
by the products used and length of time it takes to craft them. Finding the
"right" fee for each card was tricky. I figured out what each one cost to
produce, added a bit for my time, and then took a survey among lots of
family and friends. They were an enormous help and greatly influenced what
the final cost would be!

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

Oh, my favorite are most definitely the greeting cards! Each one is like
one of my "babies" and I love to create them! There's nothing like getting
those creative juices flowing to come up with new designs! Choosing the
right images, colors and embellishments is the challenge that keeps me
going! I love it!

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,

Well, I really don't have much of a marketing campaign as yet. I'm just
starting out and trying to involve myself with reputable online
organizations geared toward women in business and homebred businesses. I
want to promote other people with homebred businesses and hope they will in
turn do the same for me. I do feel the best form of advertisement is word
of mouth, so I'm hoping satisfied customers will be spreading the word.

5. Any additional comments are welcome.

I appreciate the opportunity The Entrepreneurial Parent is offering and
look forward to working hand-in-hand with all members to ensure prosperous
businesses. :-)

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!

Recently we received the following note from one of our original aspiring
EPs, Evelyn Bourne, who has been dreaming for over a year of resigning from
her 9-5 job to work at home so she can spend more time with her children.
Evelyn is a single parent, and ever since we received her request the issue
of health insurance has been on our minds...

"Dear Lisa and deB,

I thoroughly enjoyed this issue. I am writing because I have a question.
Would y'all do a story about how EP's deal with health insurance coverage?
I am in the process of doing some research into replacing the health
benefits I get at my current job when I 'go home' and become an EP. It
would be helpful to get some recommendations and find how other EP's handle
this issue.

Please keep up the excellent work. Each issue of EPnews inspires me and
spurs me onward towards my goal of becoming a real EP.

Be blessed,
Evelyn Bourne"

We are thrilled to now recommend to Evelyn " and to the entire EP Community
" @ <<>>. offers
affordable, accessible and comprehensive health insurance for consultants,
small business owners, entrepreneurs and other self-employed professionals.
Their Web site (both on AOL and the Internet) offers sample profiles and
advice to help you choose the Plan that fits your family's needs, and their
easy-to-use "ClickQuote" form will create a personalized price quote for
you in a matter of seconds.

You may have noticed banner ads for on America Online or at you'll see them at The Entrepreneurial Parent (!), starting on
Monday, 3/15/99. If you are researching your health insurance options as
you make the entrepreneurial leap, be sure to click on their banner at EP
next week to see if they have the health insurance plan that you've been
looking for " and at the group rate you can afford.

Don't let the fear of losing employee-based medical coverage stop you from
your dreams of becoming an independent entrepreneur. Check out, now sponsoring EP!

Organize Online in '99! Come to the First Annual Online Organizing Expo on
March 22-29, 1999 @ <<>>. Celebrate Clutter
Awareness Week by attending this free Virtual Conference to end the clutter
in your life! At the Organizing Expo you can:

---> Learn practical solutions to organize your home, live with ADD, manage
stress, organize your office, create a home office, and balance work and
---> Chat with the professionals in the chatroom about your biggest
organizing challenge.
---> Learn valuable tips on organization from experts through informative
---> Enter drawings for a chance to win over 20 organizing products!

This expo is FREE of charge. Visit any of the above features as often as
you like during the week-long event...and bring a guest! Let's shoot for a
large showing of EPs to support Debbie and her innovative promotional
efforts. See you all at the Expo!

For more information about Debbie and "Let's Get It Together," visit her
Profile Page at <<>>.

Now that we have our first advertiser on board, we are looking toward the
future of EP with ever-more enthusiasm. Plans in the works include
producing more original and fresh content for parents and entrepreneurs, a
promotional push to build the EP Community larger and stronger for
networking purposes, developing strong alliances with other career resources both online and
off, and expanding NAEP membership benefits to include a special storefront
at EP to sell original products made by members (original products only,
not manufactured product lines). We are working on that business model at
present and, as always, will keep you posted on our progress.

Thank you all for your continued and enthusiastic support of EP " whether
you realize it or not, together we are paving an alternative career path
that is wide in scope, abundant in course, leads to welcome detours, and is
getting noticed! This is a collective accomplishment, existing not only
because we as EPs are choosing it, but because our children, our spouses,
our clients, our customers, our advertisers, our vendors, our supplemental
childcare providers, our extended family members and so many others are
supporting us. Today let's take a moment to thank whoever's involved in our
EP life, and tomorrow let's discuss other ways to band together to make
sure that the path we're paving becomes well-trodden by the time our
children come of age ;-)

Have an opinion or idea? Let's hear it -- mailto: [email protected]. We
look forward to hearing what you have to say!


What's New at EP? A lot! Stop by today to discover the following:

EP Stress Management Center @
Are you looking to loosen up, unwind and relax? We've developed the EP
Stress Management Center to help you do just that. Visit whenever you're
feeling stressed you'll find:

---> A monthly column by EP Volunteer, Desiree Scales of Bella Web Design
---> "How I Simplified My Life by Becoming an EP" (A series of stories by 9
of our EPnews Subscribers)
---> Our favorite "Stress Management" Links

EP Resource Centers @ <<>>
The EP Resource Centers are a new and evolving feature of The
Entrepreneurial Parent " where members of the EP Community share their
knowledge, expertise, interests and talents for the benefit of all. Check
back often to read new columns and discover new information centers.

"Your Business" Article @ <<>>
Learn how to "Move Your Existing Business to the Country" from Lisa Rogak,
author of The Complete Country Business Guide: Everything You Need to Know
to Become a Rural Entrepreneur.


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]
Unsubscribe: [email protected]
List owner: [email protected]

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