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EPnews -- from The Entrepreneurial Parent
a work-family resource for home-based entrepreneurs
Volume 3, Issue 4
May 26, 1999


Do you find EPnews useful?
Please forward to a friend, or recommend it to your favorite Web site or
e-zine. Thanks for your support!

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 Home Office Clean-Up Event
EP Times -- An Editorial
What's It Worth?
Making Money Matters
We Recommend
What's Happening at EP (Summer publishing schedule)

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 EP Volunteer, Jeralynn Burke ([email protected]):

My four year old daughter loves the Land Before Time movies. Recently, I
was planting a rose bush under her watchful eye and told her to watch out
for the thorns, they could hurt her. Several days later I was in the yard,
smelling the roses, when she came up to me and said "Mom, where are the
three horns?"

(FYI, in Land Before Time movies, "horns" are a type of dinosaur!)


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!


It's here.... our first "EP Event".... the day all EP's are sent to their
rooms to clean-up their acts ;-) This issue has been completely dedicated
to organizing your home office, and we'd like to kick it off with a poem
written especially for EP by EPnews Subscriber, Karen DeLuca Katchmeric
([email protected]):


My desk is a mess,
I cannot find a thing,
Elbows deep in piles,
Can't reach the phone when it rings.

File cabinets bulging,
With what I do not know,
No system of organization,
Just piles, high and low.

Searching for something takes,
Forever and a day,
I really need to change,
But I can't throw anything away.

Everything has a place,
I just do not know where,
I bump into clutter,
Just getting up from my chair.

I'm a messaholic,
But I really need to be neat,
Can anybody help me,
Accomplish such a feat?

We hope the answer to your question is Yes, Karen! We'll do our best :-) ...

Now that the day is here for all of us to take a serious look at what's
piled up on our desks over this past school year and start getting a handle
on the transition into the summer months ahead, we'll get right to it.

WHAT's ON YOUR TO-DO LIST TODAY? EP suggests the following:

1. Take a snapshot of your Home Office before you touch a thing!! (Details
follow -- look for "Photo Contest").

2. Checklist: Debbie Williams, a professional organizer, owner of "Let's
Get It Together" (, and coordinator of this event,
put together an excellent Checklist for you to monitor your progress today
and motivate you for continued success in eliminating clutter on an ongoing
basis. To print it out to use as today's guidelines, go to:

3. Email Chain: If you signed up for the Email Chain, which was created to
serve as a friendly colleague support system, please DON'T FORGET to send
your email to your select EP today (preferably this morning!).

4. Essay Contest: We have extended the deadline for the Essay Contest to
mark this event. Essays entitled "Why My Office Needs A Makeover" can
qualify you to win a FREE PERSONAL CONSULT (4 email consultations -- valued
at $70) with Debbie Williams, as well as a copy of her booklet, "Office
Organizing 101" (a $5.50 value). Send essay in an email to
[email protected] with the subject heading "EP Essay Contest" --
deadline June 16, 1999

5. Photo Contest: Submit before and after pictures of your home office --
the EP who worked the hardest <g!> on "EP Office Clean-Up Day" will win a
free product at the EP Member Store. Join the fun and get your "I'm an
Entrepreneurial Parent!" T-shirt, Tote Bag or book while you're at it ;-)
Send photos via email ([email protected]) or postal mail to: The
Entrepreneurial Parent, PO Box 320722, Fairfield, CT 06432. Deadline: June
16, 1999

6. If you have more to do today than you want to think about, just print
this newsletter out and read it TOMORROW <g>!

7. For Further Information about ongoing organizational support, contact:

Debbie Williams
Let's Get it Together
P.O. Box 590860
Houston, TX 77259
(281) 286-9512
[email protected]

Or visit the EP Home Office Clean-Up Project, at:


In keeping with our theme this week of Home Office Organization, I've
skipped the editorial this time around and instead am pointing you towards
a relevant excerpt from my book. Go to:

Hope it helps! ;-)

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." To purchase your copy, go to:


"Taking the Challenge"
by deB Sechrist

When Lisa announced the EP Home Office Clean-Up Day, I took one look around
my surroundings and decided there was NO WAY I could participate. My home
office is part of my garage, and it is the dumping ground for our
already-small house. It has a carpeted floor, the washer and dryer, shelves
on all walls, two desks, and a disconnected garage door opener apparatus
overhead. But everything that needs a temporary place is stored here along
with many things that already "belong" in a garage, and in an office. When
I read the details about the contests, I had just cleared a path from the
door to my desk chair, and laughed at the possibility that I'd ever be able
to clean this mess up.

But I love a challenge, and as the days passed I decided I would
participate, but would have to start a bit earlier. This kind of mess
doesn't get fixed in just a day, so my plan is to be able to finish the
project on the actual Clean-Up Day. One other factor is that it can't cost
any additional money -- it's just not in the budget right now, so I need to
improvise with what I already have here. I took some "before" photos
(, and although I cringe
to have them up there for anyone to see because it is such a mess, if they
will inspire you to participate then it will be worth it! :-)

I did buy a few more bankers boxes and magazine holders, but I still didn't
actually spend money since I unearthed an unused bicycle tire pump that
wasn't just the right item for us to use, and returned it to the store: I
was able to find the receipt since I had finally filed all the receipts
from the past month. I also saved money by finding lots of stray office
supplies and hardware that I would have had to buy if I hadn't found them
in this organizing blitz. I even found a few dollars in change and a book I
had "lost."

The reality is that when I'm finished, there will still be some stacks of
boxes here and there: I'm refinishing my kitchen so everything that was on
the countertops is in boxes in one corner of the garage, the cupboard doors
are stacked behind a filing cabinet, yet another pile of boxes are filled
with hand-me-downs to a single mother who isn't quite ready to receive them
yet. But the boxes are clearly marked, I know what's in them, I know where
everything else went. It's a great feeling!

Watch for my "after" photos on Thursday, 5/27 (at the URL above). I'm
feeling much more productive in my clean garage/office. For me, taking the
time for the EP Home Office Clean-Up Day has been well worth the effort!
Feel like taking the challenge? Don't forget to send your before and after
photos or your essays to EP...and good luck!

deB Sechrist is the mother of three, Webmanager 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 Amy Knapp
of Calendar Systems, U.S.A. shares her marketing tips with us. Amy is the
creator of "The Family Organizer," a desk calendar designed to organize
your family life. You can reach Amy at [email protected], Ph:
616-375-7250, Fax: 616-375-3930. Amy is also a new member of the National
Association of Entrepeneurial Parents (NAEP) -- look for her profile page
at the EP Showcase soon! (For more info on NAEP, go to:

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

Calendar Systems, U.S.A. is a small publisher that specializes in
functional calendars. The Family Organizer is a unique calendar which sets
time management strategies used in business into a format design for the
home. Being a publisher entails much more that just printing a book.
Bidding out the project and selecting a printer was the easy part. I also
had to establish distribution channels in both the book and gift markets,
and develop a marketing plan to sell the calendars once they are on the
store shelves.

2. Briefly describe the product you are selling, and how you came up with
the idea.

The Family Organizer is a spiral-bound desk calendar. Each week includes
appointment scheduling, to do list, perforated grocery list, menu planning
and personal journaling/goal tracking. In the back of the calendar are two
pages of color-coded stickers to help identify birthdays, school events,
car maintenance and bill payments. I developed this layout when I became a
stay at home mom. I needed a calendar to coordinate my new

3. How much do you plan to sell it for, and how did you come up with that

The calendar will retail for $15.95. This price was set after determining
the cost to produce the calendar at various quantities. Once this base
cost was set, I had to determine the industry's standard mark up. These two
elements combined with market research to determine competitors pricing
produced the final price.

4. Tell us a bit about your marketing campaign. Have you started
pre-selling your product, and if so, how? What marketing efforts do you
believe will yield the greatest results, and how do you plan to make your
first contact and subsequent sales (via online, phone, fax, mail,

My past experience in advertising and promotion has really paid off. For me
learning the distribution channels was the most difficult. Before The
Family Organizer even hits the shelf of a single book or gift store, over
500 review copies will be sent to parenting and child-related magazines.
Our website will provide access to an ordering link as well as an
interactive format where families can share time/home management tips.
Press Releases will be distributed to newspapers in major metropolitan
areas. Having an aggressive marketing plan has really helped me get into
bookstores and thus increase my sales. I have found that it is not the
stores' responsibility to sell the book (calendar) to the public, this task
lies with the publisher. They are hesitant to purchase books with no
marketing support in fear that they will occupy valuable space and not
produce the revenues. This first year, I expect that the majority of the
sales will come either directly or indirectly from the Internet. My goal
for this year is to sell enough calendars to break even on the project,
anything more will be frosting on the cake.

5. Any additional comments are welcome.

I think that having a realistic goal is very important. Don't be greedy
when setting your goal. Greed tends to lead to unwise business decisions.


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. From EPnews Subscriber, [email protected]:

Oh this clean up day is such a good idea!!!! I have mountains of papers
that need processing/filing!! Along with clean up tips, it would be great
that day to post some *motivational* info for those of us who get
discouraged. My biggest obstacles are: paralysis when an item can be
logically filed in more than one way (i.e. car insurance papers in the
"Car" or "Insurance" or "Business Expenses" file?) and the vicious circle
of when I need info or space or some resource to complete a task that is
not available until I do another task, ad infinitum...

Thanks for initiating this clean up day -- I'm looking forward to it.

A. Here are a few tips to help your day go smoothly:

1. Before you begin, take a deep breath, drink a tall glass of water, and
put on some music to help you relax. This may ward off some of that
"paralysis" as you face your worse clutter hurdles. Then take some time to
think through and plan your filing system and prioritize your "To Do" list.
If you're concerned that some of your paperwork will get "lost" in your
filing system, make a list of where you filed those questionable documents
and keep the list in a front drawer of your filing cabinet. Also, be
specific when prioritizing your "To Do" list...take into account every
action that each task entails, and set realistic time goals.

2. Break down a big project into small manageable tasks (i.e. desk drawers
rather than the entire office, email paper files rather than all
business-related filing.) This allows for all those inevitable

3. Designate 10-15 minutes every day for a large project (i.e. creating a
new filing system). So many of us try to put this off until we have a whole
day or entire weekend to complete it, which we all know will never happen!
It'll be done before you know it if you just do a little bit each day.

4. Sort before you even start organizing. Paper Piles (magazines,
newsletters, bills, business cards, etc.) and Clutter (clothes, shoes,
magazines, books, knick-knacks, videos, craft supplies, etc.) can all be
sorted into categories and placed in large tubs or cardboard boxes to be
dealt with later. Be sure to start your sorting with TRASH so you can
takethat box out first. One down, a few more to go!

From our EP Home Office Design Expert:

Q. Marilyn,

I would like to turn a spare bedroom that is used rarely for guests into an
office. Do you know of any designs that have a pull down bed (Murphy Bed)
for the occasional guest, but can be put away when not used to make room
for a work station? Thank you for your time,

Mike and Dianne Dyer
Laguna Niguel, CA

A. Dear Mike and Dianne,

More than half of all homeowners with home offices use a spare bedroom, so
you are not alone. The challenge is in fitting everything into one room!
You've hit on a good idea: the Murphy bed. I've located one place in
California that may be able to help you out: Room Maker Wallbeds &
Cabinets, 949-588-1585, in Lake Forest, CA. Also, The Murphy Bed Company
may be able to lead you to a dealer closer to your home. Call them at
800-845-2337 or visit their Web site:

Another idea is to contact a furniture company called Sligh. Their
specialty is in helping home office users just like you. They once had a
product that was a desk with a bed inside of it! It was quite clever, but
has been discontinued. Their phone number is 616-392-7101; ask for a dealer
of Sligh Furniture in your area.

The easiest thing to do, however, is to buy an open up sofa for a guest
bedroom/home office. That way, you can fit a sofa and a desk/chair into the
space. When you are working in the home office, you will have a lovely
executive-style couch on which to sit and work or read. This option may
take up the least amount of space, believe it or not, because a Murphy Bed
requires a whole wall, plus, the bed is housed in a deep cabinet.

If you are intent on getting a Murphy bed, the best thing to do is find
someone who can come out to your home and measure whether or not one will
fit into the room.

Good luck!
Marilyn Zelinsky

Marilyn Zelinsky is the author of "Practical Home Office Solutions" and
"New Workplaces for New Workstyles" (both available at the EP Bookstore, To learn more about Marilyn and/or to
ask her a single question, go to


Let's Get It Together -- a site produced by professional organizer, Debbie

EZ Pocket -- a wonderful alternative to planners: -- Discount Storage and Organization Products:

Boston Business Journal, article, "Out from Under" (Nov. 11, 19996) --



Our EP Volunteers are doing great!! Sandra Linville-Thomas, our Promotions
Director, has been making some interesting contacts with related Web
Producers; Jeralynn Burke, our Discussion Forum Monitor, has been doing a
superb job managing the new EP listserv (which now has over 40
subscribers!); and Sue Piller, our Membership Development Leader, is about
to roll out her personal welcome letter to new members and also has plans
in the works of a membership drive for NAEP.

Meanwhile, some interesting issues have popped up on our discussion
listserv. Here's one we thought we'd share because it's on the pertinent
subject of "Summer Camps." If anyone has a suggestion for Barb, please
email her directly and cc: "[email protected]" so we can share it with
all! Thanks!

Please note: if you'd like to subscribe to our discussion list, go to:

From: Barb Roeder <[email protected]>

Hi everyone,

Thought I'd see if anyone else is going through the same conundrum I am. My
kids are school age, as of this past year, so I've had the luxury of five
days to devote to my business over the past year. In the EP spirit of
"family first," I'm very torn between keeping up with my work and spending
some extra time with them this summer.

I know I don't want to put them in a 9-4 day camp 5 days a week, at least
not every week. Some half day options are really only 9-11 or 12, not a
good chunk of time to get much done, visit clients, etc.

I finally found one day camp option that is willing to take them from 9-1
and I get to choose how many and what days they go. Extended hours are also
available. Ideal, from my standpoint, but my son was less than impressed
when we visited today, and it's really a pre-school type facility, so I'm
worried my daughter, who's 8, will be bored.

What's a good EP to do? I'm thinking there may be a market for a new
business here! Seriously, I saw a deep dip in my business last fall and
attributed it to the very laid back summer hours I had. Any ideas on what
else to do are welcome.

Barb Roeder
Multimedia Technology Consultant

-^--^-BarbWired-^--^-On the cutting edge of digital video technology-^--^-


In the spirit of "spring cleaning" our home offices and organizing our
workloads, Lisa and deB have decided to "lighten up" this summer in
anticipation of the very subject Barb brings up -- that all of our kids
will be home from school. So instead of publishing EPnews twice a month,
we'll be publishing it once a month -- June 23, July 14 and August 25.

We will continue to update the EP Web site weekly, answer Q&As, monitor the
discussion forums, welcome and process new members, and forward media
leads/promo opportunities to all subscribers as they come in. If we have
the time & the inclination perhaps we'll also send an "EPnews Flash" now
and again, but can't guarantee that (!).

Our regular publishing schedule for EPnews will begin again on Wednesday,
September 8.

Until then, we hope all of you enjoy the onslaught of end-of-year school
events and festivities, a family vacation (or two!) to fill a photo album,
and at least a few lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer....Enjoy!


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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