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EPnews -- from The Entrepreneurial Parent
a work-family resource for home-based entrepreneurs
Volume 3, Issue 3
May 12, 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.


For EPs, the Web is Working. Thanks to the Internet, many thousands of
parents are operating successful, satisfying businesses without compromising
their family life. In fact, the climate for starting a successful home-based
business has never been so favorable. The Internet is helping entrepreneurs
indirectly, as well, by creating exciting new ways to purchase essential
services. Take health insurance, for example. Remember when you needed to be
part of some huge organization to get affordable group rates? Well, EPs no
longer face such barriers. Thanks to a company called, you can
get web-direct group rates, and buy your health insurance online! eliminates the bureaucracy (and the costly agent,s
commissions) and passes the savings on to savvy EPs. Go to, spend 30 seconds to get a free ClickQuote, and
then apply online. And make sure to tell them you read about it in EPnews!

The Funny Things EP Kids Say & Do!
EP Times -- An Editorial
What's It Worth?
Making Money Matters
We Recommend
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, Cindy (mailto: [email protected]):

My 6 year old son had just received a magic wand. He waved it over my head
and said, "Abra-cadabra, make my Mom pretty." Taken back by his "wish," I
was just about ready to reply when he said, "Awesome Mom, it worked!!!!"

Now how can I argue with that?


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!


"Separation Relief"
© 1999 by Lisa Roberts

It's "Birthday Week" at the Roberts Household and I am presently immersed
in milestones. My oldest child, Jessica, is turning twelve this coming
weekend and my oldest son, William, just turned nine this past weekend.
Along with my daughter's birthday I am reminded that it has been twelve
years since I've been working at home. And since two out of four kid-made
Mother's Day cards on Sunday featured drawings of a computer and keyboard,
I'm also reminded that everything I do and say in my children's sight is
being examined, processed and ultimately judged by each and every one of
them. (That's a lot of pressure for one parent to take, wouldn't you say?)

Another milestone this week involves an unusual field trip my daughter is
on. Her entire Middle School sixth grade class left for upstate New York
early Monday morning to experience "Nature's Classroom"...until Friday! For
an entire week, she will be learning about nature through hands-on
experiences in the lovely Adirondaks. Since my husband and I have never
sent her away to sleepover camp, this is a turning point for all of us.

To make the separation anxiety sharper, all parents are instructed not to
telephone their children unless there's an emergency. While we understand
this is to keep the phone lines clear and distractions/interruptions down
to a minimum, it did make the "Have a wonderful time -- don't worry about
anything" harder to get out before she boarded the school bus.

But as always, there's a window of opportunity every time we're thrust
outside our personal comfort zones. For Jessica, the opportunity is to
learn about the great outdoors at the same time she begins to explore the
world outside her parents' perspective. For five days, she will have no
parental commentary on *anything* she experiences, nor will she internalize
anything she witnesses from her parents' role modeling. This extended break
from her parents' physical presence right before she turns twelve years old
may turn her "separation anxiety" into some much-needed "separation relief."

In the meantime, I still personally feel like I'm under the microscope with
the remaining children at home. My son William's Mother's Day card is a
case in point. In it, he features a picture of a big heart and a small
head, and writes:

"Dear Mom,

Remember what you told me.
No matter how big your brain is,
your heart has to be bigger.
Happy mother's day.
I hope you have a good one.
I love you.


P.S. SQUIRTLE!!!!!!!!!!!!"

(FYI, William is a "Pokemon" fan whose favorite super-monster is a
character called "Squirtle." If any of you happen to have a son under 10
years old, you probably know what I'm talking about! "Squirtle" has grown
to become my son's "Happy Thought." For instance, he asked the baker to
draw one on his b-day cake, and whenever he wants a hug from me, that's
been the "password" of late...)

William's card struck me as poignant for a number of reasons. First off, he
clearly processed the message I was trying to get across after the
Littleton, Colorado tragedy -- that a bright brain with a dim heart was a
dangerous combination. Like Hitler, Scrooge and the Grinch Who Stole
Christmas, the students who planned that massacre lost their hearts in
pursuit of their "master minds"...and William, who happens to have a bright
mind (and thankfully a bright heart!) himself, must be heeding my words.

Secondly, the rest of the card sends me the message that in his eyes, my
work is full of love and "happy thoughts." The cover of the card has a
clip-art picture of a computer system, with the character of "Squirtle"
hand-drawn on the monitor screen, and the words "Happy/Squirtle/Mother's
Day!" typed underneath. There's a cable drawn in marker from the computer
on the outside of the card to a hand-drawn printer on the inside of the
card. Inside, the words "The Magical Printer" is scrawled in blue marker
above the printer, which is surrounded by three page printouts -- two of
bright red hearts and one of a blue-green "Squirtle."

While I am not schooled in analyzing children's drawings, I can't help but
open this card and hear the words "I'm watching you!" written all over it,
and the message "I'm OK, You're OK" shining through too. Between the
integration of love and work on the one side, and the large heart
overriding the small brain on the other side, he sees what I do (work at
home) and hears what I say (about current events) and repeats after me. He
"gets it" least for now.

It's "Birthday Week" at the Roberts Household and I am presently immersed
in heavy thoughts. (I guess that's why they're called mile*stones*?) I know
I should "lighten up" -- especially with all this fresh Spring air around
me -- but that microscope lense feels awfully heavy and frankly too close
for comfort. But what can I do? I also know without a doubt that
"separation relief" is around the corner for all of us, and when it comes I
am certain it will come too soon.

Lisa Roberts is the mother of four, Web Producer 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


"Expert Repair"
by deB Sechrist

When you have a repair project that you're just not sure you can do
yourself, a cost-effective way to find out is to schedule an estimate from
a reputable repair company. As one subscriber, a single mother from
Raleigh, NC, writes:

"I have gotten an estimate, found out that it was too high, and they've
been gracious enough to tell me exactly how to do it myself.... I thought
I had a big roof leak/problem but it turned out it involved only one
shingle in an accessible spot ... the roofer said, 'If we do it, we have to
send 2 people and we charge a minimum of $200 no matter how small the job
is.' Then he said he thought I could do it and he told me what to buy."

Most companies will come and give an estimate for about $20 to $40 and many
will give their expert opinion on your options. Ask them to show and
explain what the cause of the failure is and how they would fix it, what
the cost of the parts and labor separately will be and what tools you would
need to fix it yourself, or why you may not be able to do it yourself.

After the estimate, if you feel it would be appropriate to have the
professional do the work, our reader advises:

"I watch closely when I do need to call in a professional (to learn how to
do it and pick up general tips-deB). I also ask the person how I can save
money and still have him/her do the job. One of the biggest parts of a bill
is simply the trip out to your house. You can save money by "saving up"
little problems/improvements etc. when possible. I called a plumber for a
stopped-up toilet that the plunger couldn't handle, knew there was a
minimum, so asked him to adjust a couple other small things at no extra

"An easy way to save is to buy the replacement materials yourself and have
them ready when the fix-it person comes. Can't resist adding my
learn-the-hard-way tale from 15 years ago ... when I was new at home-owning
and lived in south Florida, an electrician said, oh so kindly, 'Would you
like me to swing by and pick up a ceiling fan from Home Depot?' and I
thought, Great! One less hassle for me! But he charged me his regular
electrician's rate for the travel time, stand-in-line time, etc."

Check your neighborhood coupon mailer or yellow pages coupons for free
estimates or new customer discounts on repair work around the house. Write
down your questions and note price quotes given so that you can make an
informed decisions about your options when professional help is needed.

deBorah Sechrist is the mother of three, Webmanager of The Entrepreneurial
Parent and owner of deBweB, a web design business. Find out more about deB


Oops! We ran out of survey responses for this issue. This is where we
highlight a particular home business or freelancer and discuss how that
business makes its money. This column gives aspiring EPs a handle on what
it takes to bring in an income at home, and provides a springboard of ideas
for them to start brainstorming. It also gives the profiled EP a chance to
deliver their "sales pitch" to over 1,400 prospects (our subscribers) at

Let's take this opportunity to reach our mutual goals together. If you'd
like to help us out and spread the word about what you do at the same time,
please return the survey below promptly (just copy & hit return, answer the
questions, and write in the subject heading "Making Money Matters"). Also,
please note that the survey is geared to solo entrepreneurs, not MLM or
network marketers. We thank you in advance for your cooperation and support!

mailto:[email protected]

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

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?

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

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, face-to-face)?

5. Any additional comments are welcome.

Thank you for your contribution to EP!


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!

From our EP Part-Time Career Expert:

Q. I am currently a manager of sales representatives for a global consumer
goods company. I am thinking of resigning after 9 years with this company.
My skills and experience lie in motivating, managing and dealing with
people. I am looking to explore a consulting business to run from my home
so I can spend some more time with my 2 pre-schoolers. Where do I start in
deciding where to apply these skills? I have a university degree in
business as well.

A. Having the ability to manage and motivate people is a valuable skill set
with many applications in the business world. Most businesses have needs
for top flight managers who know how to keep their workers happy and
productive. Working as a consultant to help companies train their managers
on effective management, communication and motivation skills may be a good
outlet for your talents.

The first issue you want to address is to define your service. Ask
yourself, "what specific knowledge do I have that companies want and are
willing to pay for?" The easiest way to find an answer to this question may
be to analyze the needs of your current employer. Perhaps they have a
business problem that you are uniquely qualified to handle and could
address on a freelance basis. After all, they know the quality of your work
and may be happy to hire you as a contractor, rather than lose you entirely.

Likewise, a competitor may be interested in having you as a consultant
because you possess a unique understanding of the needs of their industry.
It will be much easier to move into the consulting world if you stay within
your area of expertise and experience.

It takes time and patience to build a succesful consulting practice.
However, this may work to your advantage, because it will afford you time
to spend with your children while they are in the pre-school years.
Hopefully, by the time they are in elementary school, you will have a more
established work routine to your day.

There are several excellent resources available to help you with the
logistics of establishing your new venture. "How to Start a Service
Business" by Ben Chant and Melissa Morgan, "The McGraw-Hill Guide to
Starting Your Own Business: A Step-by-Step Blueprint for the First-Time
Entrepreneur" by Stephen C. Harper and "Start and Run A Profitable
Consulting Business: A Step-by-Step Business Plan" by Douglas A. Gray. All
of these books are available through the EP Bookstore at

I hope this helps!
Nancy Collamer

Nancy Collamer is President of Collamer Career Counseling, a home-based
career consulting firm that specializes in counseling stay-at-home moms
looking to re-enter the workforce and full-time working moms looking to
start their own businesses. To learn more about Nancy and/or inquire about
her career counseling services, go to; to
ask her a single question, go to


Job Options,, the next generation in employment
sites, pioneered online employment services in 1991. As the Internet's top
site for job listings, career tools and HR resources, JobOptions features
many positions that represent the growing popularity of contracting and
other types of self-employment. Go to:

and look at the Job Category pull-down menu. "Consulting" is one of the
options. Also check out the "Working Parents" page in Career Tools. Email:
[email protected] or call (800) 682-2901.

From Maureen Callahan of JobOptions: "It is becoming less popular to choose
and stick with one company throughout a professional's career, and
particularly the under 40 workforce is turning to the flexibility of
contract positions and consulting work, in multiple industries. I applaud
EP and what it represents!"

As parents, we are still stunned and appalled by the recent tragedy at
Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. The issues involved (gun
control, violence in entertainment/media, breakdown of family values) are
already starting to fade away from national attention. Therefore WE HIGHLY
RECOMMEND that you stay involved by visiting and participating in the
following Internet Campaigns for parents against violence:

National PTA / Violence Kids Crisis / What You Can Do --

"Gun Safety First" Campaign, brought to you by --

Taking just the first step -- visiting the above URLs -- may help you feel
just a little more empowered as a parent than you do right now...



Believe it or not, the "EP Home Office Clean-Up Day" is upon us -- mark
your calendars for Wednesday, May 26, 1999 if you haven't done so already!
For those just joining us, the original idea was that if one morning a
month all members of the EP Community would commit to cleaning up their
home offices in one full swoop, then it wouldn't be such a chore for each
of us to tackle the job individually. A "thumbs up" vote came in, and
Debbie Williams of "Let's Get It Together" (
volunteered to spearhead our very first "EP Event."

If you'd like to participate, here are the activities:

1. Essay Contest -- Write an essay entitled "Why My Office Needs A
Makeover" and you may win a FREE CONSULT (email consult on the topic of
your choice) with Professional Organizer Debbie Williams, as well as a copy
of her booklet, "Office Organizing 101." The winning entry will be chosen
by select members of our "EP Expert" panel. Deadline for submissions is
Mon., May 17, 1999 (mailto:[email protected] with the subject heading
"EP Essay Contest"), so get started if you're interested! BTW, all essay
submissions will be considered for publication at the EP site, unless
otherwise requested.

2. Photo Contest -- Take a before & after picture of your home office and
select members of our "EP Expert" panel will choose the EP who worked the
hardest on "EP Office Clean-Up Day" ;-)! The winning entry will receive a
free product at the EP Member Store (go to: to see). Deadline for photo submission
is June 9, 1999, and all photos will be posted with EP Member info on a
special page at our Web site (unless otherwise requested), so this is a
great way to pique some interest in your business as well.

3. Email and/or Phone Chain -- Let's remind and encourage each other to get
through our cleaning day by setting up an email and/or phone chain. For all
those interested, hit "reply" to this newsletter or send a message to
"[email protected]," and we'll put you on our Email/Phone Chain list
(indicate whether you'd like to be on the email or phone chain). A few days
before the "big day," you'll get the name of a fellow EP to contact, and
we'll pass your name on to someone else as well. This is a fun way to
"reach out and touch someone" while motivating each other to tackle the job
of all jobs...filing/sorting/cleaning/etc.

4. Office Clean-Up Checklist -- We'll put a special page up at EP that will
include a "Clean-Up Checklist" to help you organize your clean-up day!!

If you have any questions about any of the above, feel free to ask. Thanks
to all those interested and if you, like me, are typing amongst a sea of
papers...don't worry -- the day of relief is on its way soon!


Lisa and deB are thrilled to welcome yet another new EP Volunteer who will
be spearheading our online marketing campaign. SANDRA LINVILLE-THOMAS is
our new "Promotions Director" who has a freelance writing business of her
own, and will be seeking reciprocal link exchanges for EP among the most
reputable business and parenting Web resources on the Internet today. Let's
wish Sandra much success with her new project, because her good fortune
will benefit us all!

Meanwhile, EP Volunteer Jeralyn Burke has officially opened the EP Forums
-- a discussion list and a bulletin board for the EP Community to exchange
business resources (not business opportunities!) as well as personal
support, information, ideas, and any other thoughts that are on your mind.
She's anxious to get the discussions on both forums going, so please visit to join in as soon as you get a chance!

BTW, if you're a registered Associate Member at EP (by filling out the form
at, you will be recieving your personal
invitiation to join the EP mailing list some day soon, if you haven't


Now there's an easy way to find the articles and information you want
quickly with our new Search Engine. Brought to you by our host Affinity,
the Webinator spider has indexed our site and is ready for action. EP
Search offers several custom search features and can be found at

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


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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