A Home-Based Career to Fit Your Style
Bijouterie Jewelry (a funky little divisions of Joe Mama Productions)
by Ann Diaz
A new pair of designer eyeglasses, and nothing fashionable to keep me from losing them... what's a girl to do? I remember seeing a bead store downtown, and decided to stop in that very day. The owner of 4th Street Bead in Loveland, CO, Debbie Dzuris was very helpful. I told her what I was looking for and that I had absolutely no experience with creating jewelry. From there I learned about different beads, tools, and techniques, right there in the store.
I've always had a love for art. I love to go to art shows, collect art, wear art, and surround myself with artistic things. But I've never really been able to draw or paint or create many artistic things. Learning about different beads provided me with the outlet that I needed. Beads themselves, you see, are works of art. The type that appeal to me are called "trade beads" which have been traded among different cultures for a century or more. By finding a style of beads that excited me, I was able to create my own works of art and create a business that I love. My "studio" is part of our family room, so I can design jewelry with my husband and son close at hand.
I received many compliments on that first eyeglass chain. With my entrepreneurial spirit, I could not just say "thank you" and be on my merry way. I had to make more and sell them. I started by sharing a table with a friend at a book fair - book readers tend to wear glasses and often like to wear them around their necks. Then, I brought some in to optical centers and sold them wholesale. Next, I checked into an artist's co-op store. I learned that they jury artists in - i.e., their board votes on your work and decides if you can become a participating artist. I was told they liked my work, and wanted to see more than just eyeglass chains. From there, I ventured into earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and anklets. My advice to budding artists/craftsperson entrepreneurs is to first find something that excites you. You might stumble upon interesting things in a variety of ways: craft stores, magazines, art fairs,... One great idea is to pick up catalogs that list classes at local colleges and recreation centers. By looking through the class offerings, you might find something that intrigues you (ie, faux painting, calligraphy...). And, not only will you have your idea, but you will also have a way to learn it! Don't expect to learn everything about the craft AND the business overnight.
Take classes, subscribe to craft magazines, talk to lots of people. Once you have found a niche (and a product that objective people - ie, not your friends and relatives) show genuine interest in, you will need to make decisions about how you want to sell you wares. Examine trade shows, selling on consignment, selling wholesale, and creating your own customer base and direct marketing to them. You'll soon find that when you get more people involved, the more it will cost you for that "middleman" service. At this point, if you haven't done so already, you will want to apply for your resale license. This will give you the ability to buy your supplies wholesale, saving you money on your hard costs. It will also keep you right with Uncle Sam, as you'll need to collect and pay taxes on what you sell. I always recommend a visit with your local Small Business Development Center, if there is one in your area (call the Chamber and ask). They will give you FREE advice and connect you with the right people to get your business going. They are government-funded, and their purpose is to make sure small business people have the resources they need to be successful. Make a list of questions you have about things like: legal, taxes, accounting, marketing, etc. This will help you avoid costly mistakes.
With thanks to Debbie Dzuris and others like her that gave of their time and talents to help me along, I would like to "pay it forward" with mentoring to aspiring work-at-home parents. You can reach me at
. If I can answer your questions, I'll be happy to do so!
Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com
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Work At Home Business: College Funding and Financial Aid Counseling Practice
Lori A. Warren is on her way to making over $70,000 this year with her college funding and financial aid consulting practice. Her husband, Wayne, works full time for an office services company, but plans to retire in 2002. Lori#146;s life took a dramatic turn in 1999 when her mother died and Lori was involved in a head on car crash. Between 1999 and 2000 Lori thought that she would have to close her financial planning practice and seek a full-time job working for someone else just to pay her exorbitant medical bills. She was first approached about the business when her mother was dying. She put the material by her bedside to read later and each time she went to clean her bedroom she would pick up the material with the intention of throwing it away. Every time, a small voice would tell her to keep it. Finally in June 2000, Lori forced herself to read the material and it changed her life! Depending upon how often you want to work you could turn this into a full-time company from your own home or maybe only help a few students each year and have a supplemental income. You can help students reach their goal to find the right college and help them through the financial aid jungle.
Here are ten simple steps Lori took to launch her highly successful business#151;and you can too.
STEP ONE #150; Identify the value your business, service or product offers
Most parents don#146;t realize that 90% of financial aid comes from our tax dollars! Parents don#146;t get the aid they should and they lose aid because they don#146;t understand the rules, forms, or how much the school is really willing to give #145;their#146; child. As I said in my guest essay for October in the Dr. Laura Perspective Magazine, you must understand the rules and follow them to the letter or you will loose money your child is entitled to. Each year 97% of the parents of college bound students loose between $3,000 - $24,0000 in aid they could have qualified for. Parents invest an initial fee and annual renewal fees for my services. I help students get the most financial aid possible and help their parents pay as little out of their pocket as possible.
STEP TWO #150; If at first you don#146;t succeed, try again
I thought I had a brilliant idea when I bought a mailing list of all the juniors and seniors in my area. After mailing hundreds of postcard that offered a free report on how to beat the high cost of college I quickly discovered that this wasn#146;t working. It didn#146;t take me long to come up with a new plan-- holding free financial aid workshops for parents.
STEP THREE #150; Freebies and give-aways attract customers to your business
My free seminar is designed to teach parents what they really need to know about college financial aid. The workshops are held at local schools or nearby public libraries. My flyers ask participants to reserve their seats in advance. I contact them and confirm and I#146;ll add their name to my database. I also have local television stations and newspapers include the workshop in their community calendar. Usually 15 #150; 25 sets of parents come to each seminar. At the end of the seminar I collect evaluations from those parents wanting a free consultation. Typically, 100% of my attendees want to take advantage of this freebie. I have a 75 #150; 80% success rate with parents who actually keep their initial appointment. I charge $695 to work with them the first year. That#146;s $7,654 from one workshop a month if 11 people sign up. I usually run two workshops a month. Also, my parents refer their friends and relatives to me.
STEP FOUR #150; Look professional
You don#146;t need an office but you will need a computer (or access to one) but it doesn#146;t have to be top of the line. Business cards and letterhead are a must in creating a professional bussiness image parents and schools can trust.
STEP FIVE #150; Don't break the bank
There are several books you will need to purchase which will cost about $200.00. After reading the books you#146;ll need a presentation to show your parents. My biggest expense is sending mailers to my parents. I usually send out 500 #150; 600 invitations to each workshop. When I add the cost for paper, envelopes, mailing labels and postage it comes to roughly $220.00 per workshop. However, using email can cut down on time and money. You need to plan on spending from $1,550 - $2,500 to get started but you won#146;t have to have the money all at one time.
STEP SIX #150; Provide an easy to follow plan for your clients
I work one-on-one with parents and provide a College Planning Calendar and a Checklist that#146;s updated monthly so they know what#146;s been done and what to do next. It takes 12 months for a high school senior to get into college. During that time, I do the research, paperwork, and phone calls that are required to get each student the most financial aid possible. I offer reminders and advice on admissions, but it is up to the parents and the student to complete the admissions paperwork.
STEP SEVEN #150; Find a mentor
For people who want to start a financial aid company like mine you can contact me. However, for other types of businesses, there are successful business people willing to help you. When approaching a potential mentor let them know what your goals are and how much of their time you will need. This way they#146;ll know in advance if they can provide the help and support you#146;re looking for.
STEP EIGHT #150; Look for multiple streams of income
Writing a short book that offers benefits to your customer is a great way to build your business. Though you may not make a lot of money on the book, it#146;s a terrific marketing tool and may help you get publicity on local TV and radio shows. My first book was #147;How To Give Your Child a 4-Year College Education Without Going Broke!#148; My husband and I are working on a second book that's more detailed. This book will be a valuable resource for parents and financial aid advisors. It maps out a game plan of what parents and schools need to do for students from 12 through 19 years old.
STEP NINE #150; Make sure your 'at-home' business creates value for you and your family
We#146;re having a ball. My family takes a week long vacation 4-times a year. I only work the days I want and the hours that are convenient for us. My office is usually open Monday through Thursday and Friday is by appointment only. However, from May to September we are closed on Fridays. This way my family and my staff#146;s family can enjoy 3-day weekends all summer long. We plan to have my husband retire and work at home by spring of next year. My kids are happier now that mom and dad make it to all their activities. All in all, this business has brought us closer as a family. I would be remiss if I didn#146;t mention how fulfilling it is to watch my students attend the college they had their hearts set on. Moms and dads hug me with tears in their eyes because I#146;ve helped send their children to college.
STEP TEN #150; Help others in your community
As a way of giving back to my community, I do pro-bono work for our local CASA volunteers with the children who are in the foster care system. Most of them didn#146;t realize the government would pay their way to attend college. This might be the only way these kids can get off the welfare rolls. I go to sleep at night knowing that I change lives EVERYDAY!
Lori Warren is owner of Smith-Warren Financial Services. Her website is,
. Please feel free to contact her at:
Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com
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The Just. . . #147;In case#148; EMERGENCY I.D
Working out of my home has been a part of my life for the past 25 years, starting when my daughters were ages two and five. I#146;m a cartoon illustrator, and I started out by writing and illustrating a little animated #147;Flip #145;n Giggle#148; picture book, What Pet Will I Get? After its publication I was actively involved in its marketing, but gradually slowed down to spend more quality time with my family. After a couple of years I started a little business, Madcap Creations where I created products that complemented my humorous cartoon style. I loved being my own boss, in complete control of my work, and I was excited by the challenges, but after nine years I decided to go the more conservative route and work freelance. I spent the next seven years taking on assignments from various companies #151; doing humorous illustrations for their lines of stationery, book marks, note pads, greeting cards and children#146;s magazines.
Then one day in 1997 my older daughter Jeana came to me with a story that changed my direction once again! Her boyfriend (now husband) had been baby-sitting his infant nephew when the baby fell, hitting his head. Concerned that the child might have a concussion, he searched frantically for the parents#146; emergency notes, but for several stressful minutes could find nothing. Finally he found a piece of paper wedged way in the bottom of the diaper bag containing the doctor#146;s name and number #151; so crumpled and worn it could barely be read.
This experience made it clear that there was a serious need for a more organized and reliable way to leave a child#146;s emergency information. Something, that in this hectic world, the parent wouldn#146;t have to think twice about #151;readily available not only at home, but in the car, on an outing, or with a sitter or family member- while staying completely intact. Because the name of my company, Madcap Creations, didn#146;t fit for such a serious product, I started a new company and named it Wee Five Designs. Jeana and I spent months doing research on the design, and making numerous, sometimes expensive changes here and there as we went along. We started out naming the product The All About Me Emergency I.D., but a year later changed it to its present name, the Just. . . #147;in case#148; Emergency I.D.
Upon deciding on the make-up of the final product, there were many things to consider. In order for it to be easily accessible, it needed to attach right onto a diaper bag, backpack, car seat, stroller, etc. #151; much like a luggage tag. We wanted it to be simple and affordable, since many parents would need them for more than one child -and we wanted it to be of top quality, so we chose the materials carefully from various wholesale manufacturers. To add to the convenience, we had the cards pre-printed with spaces for the most necessary emergency data, including the doctor, hospital, and emergency contact names and numbers, medication requirements, allergies, medical insurance information, the child#146;s blood type, and more. This way the parent could just fill in the blanks, eliminating any guesswork about what info#146; to write down. Then we thought of another note parents typically leave for sitters, an Authorization Form, to give consent for emergency treatment in the parents#146; absence; so we included this on the bottom of the cards#151; with a place for the child#146;s photo on the back. Once the cards were complete, we needed to come up with the packaging #151; another big hurdle, but with more research, my illustration background, and a great computer system we were soon ready with a prototype.
In developing a product, there#146;s a ton of research to be done: Is there a real need for the product? What#146;s the competition? How much money will be needed to get it off the ground? Is the product name already in use? How should it be marketed? - to name just a few. The first thing that we needed to find out was not only how parents felt about the Just . . .#148;in case#148; Emergency I.D., but the feedback from those in rescue-type jobs. So we developed survey sheets and, accompanied by a protoype, took them to over 100 parents, teachers, doctors, paramedics and firemen for their review.
The response was fantastic; giving us the inspiration and information we needed to pursue our commitment to the product. Paramedics stressed to us time and again how crucial it is for a child to have identification with him or her that#146;s easy to find - not only for identification and contact purposes, but to make emergency medical technicians aware of any allergies before administering medication. They also stressed how critical it is to know if the child has any preexisting medical problems in case he or she is already taking a medication that might complicate treatment. According to the survey results, our Just. . . #147;in case#148; Emergency I.D. was right on target.
Our next step was to get the word out. We hired a photographer and created a sell sheet with photos and a description of our product, developed a press kit, put up a website, got a toll free number, opened a merchant credit card account, and hired a public relations person to make phone calls to the editors of several parenting magazines. I followed up by sending them our press kit- accompanied by more follow-up calls. This gave us a terrific boost, as it resulted in several wonderful write-ups in some national parenting magazines which directed the readers to our website.
At first, orders were just trickling in, but once the write-up in BabyTalk magazine came out, the pace changed and the orders came flooding in! Thank goodness we were prepared with the different mail order material we would need - but what surprised me was the incredible amount of time and steps it takes to get the orders filled! If not for the help of a close friend and my family it would have been quite an overwhelming challenge. Now, months later the orders are still coming in, but we#146;re preparing to focus on other markets with a brand new brochure and a detailed marketing plan.
Just recently Jeana#146;s become a mom #151; making me a very happy stay-at-home working grandma! Looking back on my years as a mom working from my home I see so many advantages. It#146;s allowed me to be completely involved with my kids while pursuing the work that I love. If they needed to talk I was only a room away. If they were in sports, I could leave my work in a heartbeat to watch them play. If I needed to have conferences with their teachers there was never a problem #147;getting off work#148;, and when school was out I knew what they were up to because I was usually home to greet them. If I wasn#146;t, my mother would be, as she was just two minutes away. Last, but not least, I think it#146;s been good for my kids to see me pursuing my ambitions firsthand. I#146;ve always told them they can do anything they put their minds to, as long as they work hard and don#146;t give up. They know I mean it, because they#146;ve witnessed all the ups and downs that I#146;ve had to go through with my businesses #151; which leads me to another key player in my life as a work-at-home mom #151; my always supportive husband! Without his understanding, encouragement, and sincere interest in what I#146;m doing, many of my goals could not have been met.
As for my daughter, Jeana, since she#146;s had Caiden she#146;s chosen not to work outside the home. Instead, she works with me on this product as much as she can, while not missing a beat with her son. I#146;m not only grateful I could be home for my own children while they were growing up, but now I can be here for my precious grandson, and any future grandchildren, as well.
To see the Just. . . #147;in case#148; EMERGENCY I.D. visit our website at
. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each I.D. kit will go to the
Dr. Laura Foundation
to help abused and neglected children.Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com
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The Gifted Baby
By Lou Eftimoff
One of my favorite sayings is #147;It#146;s a dog eat dog world and I'm wearing milkbone underwear#148;. I have often felt that way, trying to be a mother, wife, entrepreneur, dog owner, friend, sister, businesswoman #150; you name it. But the more challenges I face, the more gumption I seem to find!
The Gifted Baby website,
opened in April, 2001. The concept however,started on a cocktail napkin a few months after my first child was born in October of 1999. The main principle is practical baskets.
The idea, like so many other great ideas, came from a necessity in my life. Home from the hospital, I was excited to begin my new life as a #147;mom#148;. I had done my research and felt prepared to take care of this child. But I soon panicked, realizing I was without some very important baby items. I had received many wonderful gifts from my shower, but none of the daily tools that I needed now.
I rushed to the store and filled the cart with bottles, nipples, onesies, burp cloths, baby wash, pacifiers, pajamas, crib pad, clippers and socks. I wondered why the baby baskets that I had received didn't contain many of these items. They only had a few #147;no-name#148; things and I didn't have much use for another picture frame and teddy bear. Plus I couldn't fit yet another useless basket on top of my refrigerator.
Thus, The Gifted Baby was created. Name brand products in functional containers. My #147;baby baskets#148; are actually in sensible containers, such as Rubbermaid bowls, IRIS plastic mesh baskets, storage boxes, Samsonite diaper bags and a Century baby bathtub. There are 14 theme gifts with all the necessities parents and babies need Plus, all the products are from trusted makers such as Gerber, Playtex, The First Years, Sassy, Safety 1stand more.
The idea may sound simple, but organizing the company and creating the website was much more difficult. I think the hardest part was trying to do everything during my kids' naptime and after 9:00pm. My advice to those wanting to start a business is not to give into frustration, especially when time and energy are the cause. It will happen, just not over night. After all it took nine months to make a baby!
Eventually, as your kids get older and that late night feeding is gone, you'll see the light at the end of the tunnel. Time spent with my children is priceless and has given me so many memories.
The biggest adjustment on my family, as many stay-at-home parents can relate, was the change in income. My husband has taken on the burden of all of our expenses. But we've found ways to cut back.
At this point, marketing and promoting my site is my main goal. I was able to use my savings to start my business but made the mistake of leaving very little money for #147;advertising#148;. I'm doing my best to join organizations, attend luncheons, do #147;craft fairs#148;, fax flyers, mail letters, email friends and relatives, and list my site on various search engines. I've had the fortune to #147;piggyback#148; onto my husbands work phone line, answering machine, fax, and copier. He also works out of the house so that has been a great help with my business expenses.
Although I was thrilled to become a stay-at-home mom, I knew I would have to adapt. I thought I was giving up my career and secluding myself in the house. As I look at my life now, I#146;ve simply chosen a different career. And I#146;m far from becoming a hermit. In fact, I enjoy finding new things to do outside my home, whether it#146;s work related or not. My previous work experience in public relations, special events, and fundraising has helped give me the knowledge to plunge forward with this company. But the truth is, I had never even created a basket before! Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?
Lou Eftimoff runs the Gifted Baby right from her house and is a mother of two, and they're trying for her third. Her website is
Permission Granted For Use On DrLaura.com.
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What does it mean to be a One Minute Millionaire?
One minute. Sixty seconds. You can accomplish an enormous amount in a minute#151;even become a millionaire. There are several special types of millionaire minutes#133;
The Millionaire Decision.
Everywhere you look, growing numbers of people are enjoying incredible banquets of prosperity#151;while most of the rest settle for the crumbs that fall from the table. The journey to financial freedom starts the MINUTE you decide that you were destined for prosperity not scarcity#151;for abundance not lack. Isn#146;t there a part of you that has always known this? Can you see yourself living a bounteous life#151;a life of #147;more than enough?#148;
It only takes a MINUTE to decide. Decide now. There, doesn#146;t that feel better?
The Millionaire Pattern.
How many times will you spend money today? Three? Four? Five times? Rich people look at these money transactions differently than poor people. Millionaires have a special pattern#151;a unique way they spend money. During each money transaction, they invest an extra minute. It is this extra minute that makes them rich. That#146;s why we call it the Millionaire Minute. Would you invest an extra minute during each of your money transactions today if you knew it could make you a millionaire?
The Millionaire Technique.
The entire process of becoming a millionaire can be broken down into bite-sized, one-minute techniques. In our new book, we will teach you over a hundred of them. Yes, you can become a millionaire one minute at a time.
The Millionaire Moment
There is a moment in every millionaire#146;s career when everything hangs in the balance#151;when the temptation exists to turn back. For many, this moment occurs after a devastating defeat or extraordinary failure. Will you be ready for your millionaire moment?
When it happens, take a minute. Draw a deep break. Make another step forward.
The Millionaire Threshold.
All great contests come down to the final minute#151;the last step you take as you cross the finish line#151;the final dollar that puts you over the top.
Won#146;t that minute be exciting?
Mr. Allen#146;s wealth building techniques can be done from the comfort and privacy of your home. In this special new monthly column, he will introduce developing the most critical element, the millionaire mindset, along with specific how-to#146;s so you can stay at home while you generate cash and build a lifetime of wealth for you and your family.
ROBERT G. ALLEN has taught wealth-building techniques to tens of thousands worldwide. Thousands of millionaires, representing billions in wealth, attribute their success to his teachings. A popular guest on radio and television shows including
Larry King Live
Good Morning America,
he was also featured in The
Wall Street Journal,
Barron#146;s, Parade, People,
He is the bestselling author of
Nothing Down, Creating Wealth, Multiple Streams of Income, and Multiple Streams of Internet Income.
With Mark Victor Hansen, author of the
Chicken Soup for the Soul series
, he is co-authoring
One Minute Millionaire
, scheduled for publication September 2002.
Contact Robert G. Allen at
or visit his website at
Permission granted for this excerpt from the forthcoming blockbuster, The One Minute Millionaire with Mark Victor Hansen, for use on DrLaura.com.
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The Loneliness of the Home-based Business Person
If you are in business for yourself and working from home, you are likely to get lonely sometimes. You have no office cohorts, no company cafeteria, no water-cooler or lunchroom to hang out in and chat with folks to ease a stressful day. The evil temptations arise then: somehow the refrigerator door opens of its own accord and ice cream jumps out into your bowl as if by magic. The television or radio clicks on (by itself) and that talk show is just so interesting today, and look! It#146;s about people in home-based businesses, too, so you convince yourself it#146;s work-related. Or you get lost in research, i.e., surfing the web#133;ahhh, and where did the day go? I#146;ve been so busy! (How come I didn#146;t make any money?)
The answer to this problem is to join a networking group. Otherwise known as #147;relationship marketing#148;, networking at its best is fun, meeting good friends over a good meal and referring business to each other wherever possible. It is a support group of like-minded business people who cheer each other on to ever-greater successes. When everyone in the group is focused on finding referrals for everyone else in the group, the result is lots of business for everyone! And when you know you#146;re going to have your networking get-together sometime soon, it#146;s easier to stay focused on your work.
I#146;ve been a member of a networking group for seventeen years. (It#146;s very funny when I#146;m at a meeting and mention this fact#151;someone always comes over to me, wide-eyed and asks, #147;So is it working for you?#148; Duh.)
The simple fact is networking works if you work it. You can#146;t just go to one meeting every other month, give three people your business card, and wait for the phone to ring. If you#146;re in business for yourself, you have to make the phone ring in other people#146;s offices. The best way to make a networking group work for you is to remember these three simple principles:
Visibility: You#146;ve got to make a commitment of time and energy#151;pick a group, a regular meeting schedule, and show up consistently. People begin to develop trust in you when you are a regular attendee of a meeting. It takes some time for this to happen, so don#146;t quit before you#146;ve given it a full year of consistent effort. When people just show up a few times and then stop coming, I refer to them as #147;smash grabbers#148; like the burglars who smash a window, grab all they can in a few short minutes, and then disappear. I want to do business with people I#146;m going to see again next Tuesday.
Credibility: Do a good job, honestly and with integrity. Be professional, always return phone calls, be on time, keep your word. If you can, join a committee, work on the board of directors, become an officer. That will increase your visibility and at the same time people will see you are a contributor to the success of the organization (not only am I going to see you next Tuesday, but I#146;m going to see you being a
#151;bigtime credibility.) Look for the opportunity to refer business to as many other people in the group as possible. Call people and ask them what kind of clients are they looking for? What goes around comes around#151;if someone were referring a lot of business your way, wouldn#146;t you be on the lookout to return the favor as soon as possible?
Likeability: People do business with people they like. Not everyone in every group is going to be your best friend, but you can reach out, shake someone#146;s hand, and smile. Remember this is your opportunity to greet old friends and meet new ones. The temptation will be strong to find a few buddies and sit with them every meeting. Don#146;t do it! Pretend you are the hostess of the meeting and welcome the newcomer into your group. Do some positive affirmations and talk yourself up into good, friendly energy. Leave your complaints at home. Then I#146;ll look forward to seeing you on Tuesday!
If you follow these instructions, you#146;ll have so many new friendships, clients, and referrals, you won#146;t remember what loneliness was like. And there#146;s a side benefit#151;you#146;ll make a lot of money, too. Just remember it#146;s not net-sit, it#146;s not net-eat#151;it#146;s net-
So, what are you doing next Tuesday?
Chellie Campbell is the author of #147;The Wealthy Spirit: Daily Affirmations for Financial Stress Reduction". She created and teaches the Financial Stress Reductionreg; Workshops on which her book is based in the Los Angeles area and gives programs throughout the country. Her free e-newsletter is available at
. Permission granted for use on Dr.Laura.com.
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Homepublishing Made Easy
By Tom Kelly Dodd
Necessity is the mother of invention and the need to eat was our necessity.
With our last few dollars, no experience, and no equipment my husband and I began a publishing business, TableTop Tidbits News. That was seven years ago. Today our paper is in six cities, the papers content is generic and can work in any town.
Now we want to expand and help others do the same. After a corporate disaster, my husband took off on a cross-country bicycle trip. He came home with the idea that we could make money by publishing a paper for restaurants.
Neither of us had any journalism, advertising, or publishing know how. We definitely needed to find a business that did not require capital to start. We did some cut and paste and developed a prototype of our paper. We then took the prototype around and got support from the restaurants. We were off.
At first it was a lot of work, selling ads, writing stories, getting cartoons and trivia. The longer we did it the easier it became. Today we have professional writers helping and advertisers are calling us. We even have a waiting list for ad spaces. Best of all we have a good deal of free time as well. Tom and I are certain that by syndicating the paper it will be a perfect stay-at-home business for parents. When the kids are in school a Mom or dad can put their education, computer and personal skills into a career that generates substantial supplemental income. If Mom and dad want to make a team of it, Table Top Tidbits News can be a family's entire income and all done from home.
The paper is successfully syndicated in two states, Price, Utah and Colorado Springs, Colorado. The local publishers pay a fee for special software, training, printing and the exclusive territory. The money from the ads they sell is theirs to keep.
When we were raising our three children, I was lucky enough to be a stay-at-home Mom. It saddens me to see so many of our little ones being raised by day care centers today. Hopefully Table Top will be an avenue for more Moms and/or Dads to spend more time with their children.
If this sounds like something that would appeal to Dr. Laura listener and they would like to know the nitty gritty details they should look at our website
or e-mail us at
We hope to have several more local publishers going this year.
Tom Kelly Dodd, Loma, Colorado
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THE NEW CONTACT SPORT
By Cheryl Gochnauer
It's fundraising time at my 8th grader's school. Competition is fierce forbuyers of magazine subscriptions, which translate into prizes for the kids.Heaven help any adult with a checkbook! Fortunately, the yearly promotiononly lasts a couple of weeks, then it'll be safe to sit on our front porchesagain.
Just as teens are driven to achieve with their fundraising programs, parentswith in-home businesses are motivated to succeed. Without that income, manyat-home parents would have to go back to work.
It's no secret that the bulk of work-at-home opportunities involve selling.Cosmetics, children's toys, kitchen gadgets, household cleaners - theconscientious work-at-home parent has a wide variety of legitimate productsto pitch. The wrinkle is in finding prospective customers in a legitimateway.
"One of the moms from my son's preschool called to set up a play date at herhouse," says Linda. "I've been struggling to make new friends, and wasfeeling so isolated. I was looking forward to visiting and talking withher.
"In between conversation about the kids, she began telling me about thebusiness she and her husband started a couple of months ago - they offerfinancial services - it's a big company - etc., etc., etc.
"So the real reason for the visit wasn't the play date, I guess," Lindafrowned. "I don't even have any money to invest!"
Linda ended up disappointed, and I suspect the other woman was, too.
Presentation is everything, and deceit will kill the deal every time. Sowhat are some steps work-at-home salespeople can take to keep theirpotential customers happy?
Don't disguise a sales pitch as a social event.
Choose appropriate settings. For instance, most people attend church toworship, not shop.
Know your customer. Financially-challenged at-home moms should not betrying to sell expensive gadgets to other financially-challenged at-homemoms.
Make your presentation as low-key as possible, allowing people tocontact you if they're interested. No response means no. Following up isoverrated, and often resented.
Support other work-at-home parents by occasionally purchasing theirproducts or services.
Resist turning every conversation into a sales pitch. "Did Johnny leavehis backpack at your house?" "Yes, he did, right here next to my catalogs.I'll just slip one into his backpack and drop it by personally. Is 3 p.m.good for you?"
Don't spam in cyberspace or in person. Today, I've received 15 emails,2 phone calls, 6 pieces of mail and 1 knock at the door - all from people Idon't know, pitching me products I never asked for. Can you guess howlikely I am to buy their stuff?
Once a prospect agrees to hear your presentation, value their time. Forexample, Debi was too rushed to listen to a salesperson on the phone, so sheasked him to email the info. He did, then called to make sure she hadreceived the email and to explain it. Click!
Don't ask questions with an ulterior motive. Build relationships, notdatabases.
Only represent products you enjoy yourself. That way, you're sharing ablessing, not simply selling something. When you encounter customers whoenjoy the product, too, it's a win-win situation.
. Or visit her website at
where you can read a sample chapter of her book, "So YouWant to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom" (InterVarsity Press). Copyright2001 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.)
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