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EPnews -- from The Entrepreneurial Parent
a work-family resource for home-based entrepreneurs

November 17, 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.


The Funny Things EP Kids Say & Do!
EP Times -- "Who's Got Time to Give Thanks?"
What's It Worth? -- "An Attitude of Gratitude"
Making Money Matters -- Catering to Computers
What's Happening at EP
Member-to-Member Q&As
EP Expert Q&As
We Recommend
ka-Ching/Oxygen Media Spotlight

Editorial Note: We made a mistake in our last issue!! Our featured NAEP
member, Saba Kennedy-Washington, submitted a heartwarming new profile page but we posted the wrong URL. So sorry Saba!! Please help us apologize by
visiting her profile today ;-). It's REALLY at:

And it's wonderful! Take a look!



Freelancer? Consultant? Get Help Getting Gigs! Join today and take
part in a vibrant community of independent professionals like you. Our free
job-matching service will make it easy to find high-paying gigs. Join to win
a FREE Aeron chair, or a $2,500 home-office shopping spree!



Submitted by EPnews Subscriber Gretchen Malik
(mailto:[email protected]), EP to 4, soon to be 5!

On Being Six (by a six-year old)

One afternoon, it was raining and cold. I met my youngest son (6) and
youngest daughter (9) at the school bus stop in my car thinking they would
like a ride to our house instead of walking. Once back home, I helped them
remove their wet rain slickers and clothes while enticing them with the hot
chocolate I'd make when they were all ready. My six-year old went upstairs
and returned wearing his favorite pajamas and took a seat in the living room
to watch Power Rangers. My daughter followed suit. After a few minutes I
brought both of them steaming cups of hot chocolate and pieces of fruit.

As I returned to the kitchen to make my own cup of hot chocolate, I heard my
son say to his older sister, "Now this is the life of a six-year-old. Warm
jammies, hot chocolate, and pears. Nothing could be better than this!"

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!


"Who's Got Time to Give Thanks?"
© 1999, Lisa M. Roberts

Thanksgiving is next week and to be honest, gratitude is farthest from my
mind. Instead of preparing for the holiday by revisiting history with my
children, counting my blessings, and shopping for ingredients to make
homemade pies, I am feeling squeezed by looming deadlines all around me. And
the forces at play are naturally working against every work goal I make. It's
EP life, yes, and it's the holiday season, yes, but it's stop and go so much
so that I'm feeling car sickness at my desk! Is it just me? I wonder!

Someone somewhere should re-schedule American Education Week. A calendar jam-packed with classroom visit expectations was sent home last weekend. The principal says, "The number of diverse events is intended to simplify your life, not add stress," but the teacher says, "PLEASE have SOMEONE come in so your child is not all alone on this important day." Meanwhile my husband has been home with the flu for two days and has taken over our home office. His work commands two lines -- one to log on to his system at work and the other to conduct conference meetings at the same time. My hands are tied. It's very LOUD in the office. The laptop is broke. I'm writing this editorial with...and it does feel unnatural...a pen and lined the
kitchen...with every door possible between here and there shut!

Once again, my own work agenda is pushed to the backburner. Is this fair?
Well, yes. To put it bluntly, my husband's job pays the mortgage and mine
doesn't. Who could argue with that? And if he's sick, he's sick, what can I
do? Insist he head out anyway and catch pneumonia? And of course I'm happy to be there for my kids, attending class events vital to their sense of self --
it's why I chose the EP life in the first place!

Still, sometimes I feel like all forces are bent on foiling my professional
goals. I really can't put the blame on family members -- they're just living
day-to-day like the rest of us. Yet something, or someone, somewhere, is
teasing me. Must be. Get this -- last week I practically jumped through hoops
to have ONE day completely clear of domestic responsibilities. I drove 3 1/2
hours round trip to have my preschooler spend a few days at my mom's. The
next morning, I arranged for my two boys to have after-school activities,
and asked my daughter to stay at the library after school until I picked her
up. My hope beyond all hope? To have a 9-5 work home. Wanna hear
what happened? Guess. OK, I'll tell you. A phone call by noon from the school
nurse. Pop. Pop. Pop. One more big bubble burst.

I know my family is on my side. My son, home sick on that 9-5 wannabe day,
took a long quiet nap when he came home. My husband is at this moment --
after finally getting off his 3-hour conference call -- arranging to install
a third phone line. My daughter waltzed in from middle school 20 minutes ago
and all I had to say was, "Honey, Thomas is in the playroom, can you
please...?" and was greeted with a smile and a "Sure, Mom."

So I started this editorial under complete durress and am ending it in total
harmony. Gratitude is tip-toeing in closer and closer to my mind and heart.
Like a lullaby, like a fairy spell, that someone, something, somewhere is
lulling me to acceptance and peace. OK, the message is received. Keep the
faith. Hold on. The holidays are family wants me to succeed...and
this editorial is, despite forces to be, done. Maybe there's time to give
thanks after all.

Lisa Roberts is the mother of four, Web Producer of The Entrepreneurial
Parent , LLC and the author of "How to Raise A Family & A Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide to Home Business." Copies of her book are available for purchase at: and through Amazon, at:


"An Attitude of Gratitude"
© 1999, by deB Sechrist

This can be a rough time of year, especially for EP's struggling to make ends
meet. Anticipating the holidays with trepidation, hoping to meet the
expectations of our children, our families, friends, communities, and even
ourselves. Wondering how to make it all happen, without overspending our
financial or emotional budgets.

"Cheer up!" my grandfather used to say, "Things might be worse tomorrow!" It
seems pessimistic, but it was his way of saying to just accept your situation
and enjoy what you have. If you're not happy with your situation, then
redefine your goals, measure your progress and feel good about how far you've
come. Be optimistic about what's ahead, he'd say, but be sure to enjoy life
today, as it is, and be thankful for what you have.

Help your kids reshape their expectations to a more realistic level so you
won't be tempted to overspend. Encourage them to make gifts and cards to
give to family and friends. Work with them to clean out cupboards and
closets to gather community donations. Teach them about what the holidays mean to you. Participate in community events so they learn about what the holidays mean to others. Remember that modeling your attitude of gratitude will help them when they encounter peers who don't share their circumstances.

Decide your limits and be assertive if you feel a need to alter a
tradition, stick to a budget, or scale back your celebrations. If you're
feeling anxious, try keeping a gratitude journal, or spending a few minutes
each day meditating or exercising; or doing something just for you. And
never underestimate the restorative healing powers of taking a little time
off to spend an afternoon working on a holiday project with your kids. ;-)

deB Sechrist is the mother of three, Webmanager of The Entrepreneurial
Parent, LLC 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! Let's hear how YOU earn your keep as an EP -- mailto:[email protected] with the subject heading "MMM Survey," and we'll discover how making money matters to you!

This month EPnews Subscriber, Erin Staeck of Catering to Computers, shares
her money-making marketing tips with us. You can contact her at:

Erin Staeck
Catering To Computers
P. O. Box 1312
Hayward, WI 54843
Ph: 715-634-0044
Email: [email protected]

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

Catering To Computers provides quality web site design and comprehensive
computer related business consulting. Our motto is "Services always exceed
Customer expectations and Customer requirements," and our mission is to
increase our clients' potential, productivity, and profits by helping them
apply tomorrow's technology to today's business needs!

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?

Because of the current needs in my rural location, web site design,
development, and maintenance are the most popular services. Some clients
have shown extreme interest in learning how to maintain their own web site,
which I provide training for by utilizing inexpensive, non-WYSIWYG web
development tools. Non-ecommerce sites start at $250.00
for design and implementation and my hourly rate is currently at $35.00,
which is average or below average for our economic location.

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

I enjoy web site design, especially custom graphics design. I would like to
expand my skillset in this area, through new projects, training seminars, and
the use of new and innovative tools. I also like training, because I try to
put high level technology into layman's terms so the "unknown" world of
computing and the Internet can become easily "known" and done so in a
comfortable, "try it, it won't break" environment. I like to sell these
services because I feel that most businesses do not use their computer to
even 1/4 of its potential, mostly because the users are afraid, or have not
been given proper training or the time to learn. Many adults are still
deathly afraid of their systems, and are very resistant to change. I would
like to change that.

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)?

Originally, my business plan included steps of local advertising, which as
most well know, was more expensive than I had anticipated. I spent several
hundred dollars on a "coupon" type brochure that went out in a mailing to
some 6,000 postal addresses. Unfortunately, I received only one call, and no
$$$ business. Currently all my new business is from referrals, or "word of
mouth." I live in a small town, and I know and have completed projects for
several prominent residents who have been very generous in "spreading the
word." Also, I am donating my services in exchange for an underwriting spot
on a local public radio station -- I'll let you know how that turns out. My
web site has generated one repeat customer, from a distant state; it was my
prompt response to an email that allowed me to build rapport with the owner
and I've received several call backs (or should that be email backs?).

5. Any additional comments are welcome.

I think it is a shame that Corporate America has yet to realize that all
their great talent has left the cubicle and are sitting at home filling the
roll of Entrepreneurial Parents! They have yet to realize that very cost
effective contracts with people like us would allow them to not only gain the
hardest working employees they ever had, but also provide lucrative
opportunites for EP's and at the same time help in securing the world's
future by allow us to participate in the upbringing of our children, make a
decent living, and be productive members of society. I don't know about the
rest of you, but I don't miss being a zombie on the highway, driving in stop
and go traffic, racing to get to the daycare on time, and scurrying to figure
out how to get groceries before the baby goes balistic!? I very much enjoy
looking up from my computer monitor, outside the large bay window over my
desk, to view the glorious white oak trees in my forest of 40 acres while my
daughters laugh in the hammock or ride their bicycles, or run back from the
woods with a treasured basket full of black raspberries they picked on the
walking trail. Now that's life!!


Wow, so much, where to start??

1.) New EP Gift Shop!

Are you looking for a specialty item for that hard-to-buy-for person on your
holiday list? Shop at the brand new EP Gift Shop -- the "Mom and Pop Gift
Shop for the New Millennium!" Here you'll find original wares from
traditional, one-of-a-kind handcrafted goods to sophisticated, one-of-a-kind,
high-tech products -- all made and/or designed by Entrepreneurial Parents.
Support your fellow EPs and spice up your holiday gift list with unique items
that are rare to find!

To take a look at our EP Gift Shop (in development), go to:

If you're an EP who sells original wares, the EP Gift Shop is a terrific deal
for your advertising dollars. Designed to highlight those EP's who create and
sell original and unique products, crafts, jewelry or artwork, it will be
officially launched through our media list and registered in over 400 search
engines on December 1. If you're working with an advertising budget that's on
par with your children's allowance, then don't pass this offer up! :-)

Inclusion in the EP Gift Shop is FREE to NAEP members, so if you've been
thinking about joining the National Association of Entrepreneurial Parents
(NAEP) at the annual rate of $45.00, this is a good time to do it. The cost
for non-members to reserve a "booth" at the EP Gift Shop is a low $25.00 per

To learn more about all of the NAEP membership benefits, go directly to:

And to sign up at the EP Gift Store as a non-member, go to:


2.) New contest!

The folks on our EP Discussion Group are on a roll... They have decided to
join forces and donate an EP Gift Basket filled with their own products and
service coupons as a giveaway for the next EP Contest we hold! Want to know
how much they've donated so far? The Gift Basket is presently valued at
$414.50! That's a nice prize, wouldn't you say?

We think it would be fun -- and offer our contributing EPs more exposure --
if we run a contest every month, with each Gift Basket valued at $100. We can
either use these ongoing contests as an e-zine subscriber or EP membership
drive, or ask participants to fill out a short survey, or perhaps simply a
poll. Any and all suggestions are welcome (hit reply and send in your
thoughts!). If you could poll EPs w/ one question, what would it be??

We'd like to kick off the contests alongside the EP Gift Shop on December 1.
Jeralynn Burke, our EP Forum Moderator, is collecting donation information so
if you'd like to get involved, please contact her directly at: [email protected]


3.) New NAEP Chapter Guidelines!

Anne Ramstetter Wenzel of Econosystems is working hard behind the scenes here
on researching and writing the Chapter Guidelines for our National
Association. If you're a NAEP member, get ready to hear about its
availability shortly after the New Year. If you're not yet a member and are
interested in meeting regularly with local EPs, consider joining NAEP before
the new millennium so you can lead one of the founding chapters! Again, go
to: to learn more.


4.) New sponsor!

We're thrilled to welcome a new 3-month sponsor of The Entrepreneurial Parent
--! is where corporate emigrants and other professional
freelancers/independent contract workers are congregating to find new
projects and get supported through vital contacts and fresh content.

Did you know that EP turns down advertising dollars every week from
work-at-home "business opportunity" companies? While we recognize that many
are legitimate, we feel strongly that the best shot EPs have at a
long-lasting home career begins not by buying into someone else's business
plan, but by doing the self-assessment needed in any job/career search. And
so we are very pleased to introduce you to, a company that seems to
share our belief system!

Again, take the link and see for yourself:


5.) New Logo!

What do you think of our new logo (found on our home page)?? We want to make
sure our members realize both Dads and Moms have equal footing in our goals
and vision. We'd love to hear what you think - if you have any comments, hit
reply with your feedback!


6.) New Legal Entity!

After "testing the waters" of the EP concept AND our partnership, Lisa & deB
have decided to take the plunge and make The Entrepreneurial Parent a
multi-member Limited Liability Company (LLC). It was actually rather
painless, really! We both feel re-committed to serving the EP Community and
are looking forward to riding the EP wave with all of you into the 21st
Century. Thank you for all your support, and please, any time, let us know
what we can do for you.


Let's try something new this month, see how it flies. Sometimes fellow
members are the best "experts," especially when it comes to the EP life.
Yesterday our valiant EP Forum Moderator, Jeralynn Burke, sent a "Help!" plea
to the EP Discussion Group (at and we thought we could share it
with all of you as well. If you have some tips for her, please hit reply to
this message and send them in! We'll forward them to her plus publish the
collection of tips either on our Web site or in the next issue of EPnews.
Let's give Jeralynn a hand -- she deserves it!

Q. Help! I'm at my wit's end with my two year old son. He is constantly
getting into one thing or another and I'm at a point where I think that I'm
going to start bouncing off the walls. It amazes me how quickly he can get
into so many things. There are times when I simply have to try to get some
work done and I find that I have to keep stopping to tend to whatever he's
doing at that moment. That 20 minute task ends up taking two hours and that
throws everything else off. I'm finding myself very frustrated, and realize
that this will pass but for now I could use some support, guidance, or
suggestions. Typically, I would just stop and play but in those instances
when this is not an option I don't know what to do.

Jeralynn Burke
EP Forum Moderator whose "balance" is off


Q. We are interested in starting a small grocery shopping/delivery service in
our area (Columbia, SC), but would first like to find out if enough interest
is there. I have called a few marketing firms to find out how much a
telephone survey would be, and costs range much more than I imagined --
$5,000 to $10,000!

The same people tell me it would be about the same cost to develop an
Internet survey. I was wondering if it is possible to create a web site on my
own, with a one page questionnaire, and see how many 'hits' I receive? Do you
think this makes sense?

Thank you for your advice!

A. Hi Mark. There are two things to consider here:

1. An Internet survey is a brilliant idea. Just put up a page with the
questions, give people a reason to answer them, and let the automation do the
rest. Your survey will be quick, easy, painless, and virtually free.

2. Surveys rarely give you the truth of a situation. People will usually say
one thing on a survey, but do another in real life. In other words, if you
ask someone if they will shop at a new store, they may say yes just to appear
open-minded or to please you. But open the new store and ask them to go
there, and now you're asking them to make a decision with their hard-earned
money. That's a VERY different matter!

Bottomline: I say if you see a need, fill it -- regardless of what any survey
says. But if you need reassurance that you are on the right track, an
Internet survey is a cost-effective way to give you some peace of mind before
you jump into anything. As usual, trust your gut and think positive.

Hope this helps,
Joe "Mr. Fire!" Vitale - Author of way too many books to list here. So go
see his truly amazing giant website at Email:
[email protected] * Ph: (281) 999-1110 * FAX: (281) 999-1313 NEW -"The Power of
Outrageous Marketing!" from Nightingale-Conant!


Do A Project
Fun Careers


Column: My column at Oxygen Media's business & finance site,, has officially launched ;-). It's called "Homeward Bound"
and this month the topics include setting up your first home office,
conducting market research as a "free agent," and handling the isolation of
working at home. It runs every Friday and over the weekends. Be sure to catch
this week's column on the why, how, when and where of finding a home business attorney -- featuring a sidebar story of our very own NAEP member, Barb Roeder of BarbWired, LLC! (Note the LLC on her business YOU have one?? Inspired by researching this column, we made sure we obtained one
ourselves!) This Friday, go to:

Weekly Chats: Feel like email-conversing in real time? Join me (Lisa) on
Thursdays, 1-2 p.m., at the ka-ching chat room. I'm hanging there every week
& would love to hear from you! Bring your lunch this Thursday and go to:

Promo Opps (upcoming Oxygen columns): Anyone have tips on how to handle the Corporate Christmas Party blues when you work at home? How do YOU let loose and celebrate the holiday season when you're self-employed? Also, let's hear your plans on how you're going to pull away from the computer, your clients and the phones to take a REAL holiday vacation with your family. What preparations will you make (i.e. turning off your cell phone, writing an
auto-reply for your e-mail, etc.) to accomplish the feat? If you'd like to
contribute to the "Homeward Bound" column and discussion, please email me at: [email protected] Selected contributions will be featured in
Dec. I look forward to hearing from you! Thanks ;-)


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:
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List owner: [email protected]

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