May 7, 2010Flamingo World
Connie Berg made a million dollars last year with her website,
. Her husband manages a bakery part-time and they have three kids. A 20 year-old stepson, a 13 year old daughter and a son, 6. Her interview for stay-at-home parents is both inspirational and informative. Connie Berg is living proof that you can get started with next to nothing. In her case she was depressed and hopeless when she stumbled across a goldmine on the Internet.
As a stay at home mom what inspired you to start your own home business?
CONNIE BERG: Our house burned down Mother#146;s Day, 1997. The day of the fire my husband was away visiting his 16 year old son at a drug rehabilitation treatment center. Meanwhile, my daughter was spending the night at her friend#146;s house and my son and I were home alone. After the fire, it was a very stressful time for us, my son was very clingy and I was seeing a doctor for depression. I started using my computer to search for jokes, to cheer myself up and to help me manage my stress. I had a program that came with my computer called Front Page Express so I used this to teach myself to make my own web page for my jokes and started sharing it with friends. I quickly discovered you could shop on-line and there were ads saying you can make money on the Internet. KB Kids was the first company that said "sign up for our affiliate program" #151;so I added their link to my web page of jokes. Here#146;s how it works, if people bought something on my website I would get a 10% commission. But there were stores that offered ten bucks worth of free stuff for first time buyers so this attracted my friends and relatives to my web site. It was unbelievable#151;the UPS man was coming to my house everyday delivering free stuff. Once my friends and relatives started shopping on my web site, it went really quickly from a joke page to a shopping website#151; I was having fun trying to see how much stuff I could get without spending money. So basically I started the business by accident and that was back in October, 1998. I love to shop, it#146;s a hobby of mine so I just kept adding more and more stores to my web page and every time someone buys a product I get a commission check.
How did your site grow in popularity from friends and family to a million dollar business?
CONNIE BERG: All my friends and relatives told their friends and relatives and by June 1999 my web site traffic went way up, so I started a mailing list and I began sending everyone the special discounts every week, and the rest is history.
Did it take a lot of money to start the business?
CONNIE: It cost nearly nothing to start. I use a really cheap computer from Sears, I don#146;t have expensive equipment. I know people think you have to have really expensive equipment but you really don#146;t have to. I#146;ve used the same computer since September, 1997. Monthly I pay $114 for my DSL line and $24.95 a month to have the site hosted.
How did you come up with the name Flamingo World?
CONNIE: When I was in high school I had a tank top with flamingos on it and they called me Flamingo Girl. When I started with the jokes I decided to call it Flamingo Girl#146;s home page and then when I switched to shopping I changed it to
What was life like before you stumbled across your little goldmine?
CONNIE: Before I started
, my husband was making less than forty thousand a year. After the fire we were getting food from the food bank to make ends meet. We lost everything and had no money, but since I have been making money I#146;ve paid it all back to the people who helped us.
How long have you been a stay-at-home mom?
CONNIE: I#146;ve always been a stay-at-home mom, the few times I#146;ve worked it was to help my husband out at his job. He was a manager at a bakery#151;and he worked 60-80 hours a week, sometimes he even had 2 jobs. We were committed to doing whatever it took for me to stay home and raise the kids. All he had to do was work and I handled everything else.
How has your life changed with your success?
CONNIE: My husband works 4 days a week and he#146;s cut his hours to 32 hours a week. Now that he#146;s off 3 days a week we#146;re both stay-at-home parents. I guess I made it up to him for working so hard all those years. He can semi-retire a little earlier. It#146;s funny because when I first started looking for jokes and shopping deals on the Internet he was getting mad because I was spending so much time on the computer. Then when the checks started pouring in he wasn#146;t mad because he saw I wasn#146;t just wasting time on the computer. Last year I made a million dollars with
What advice do you have for stay at home moms and dads who want to make money on the Internet?
CONNIE: Find something you like to do and research similar businesses on the Internet who are doing the same thing. Even if you like collecting things like matchbox cars you can start your own website. If you find something that really interests you or you have a hobbie, there#146;s a way to make money on the Internet for you. The affiliate programs help you link to companies that can pay you for having them link to your website.
For me it started out as something I did as a hobby and to take my mind off of my problems. I started having a lot of fun and I got really lucky when I found something I really liked doing and could make money at it too. The checks are sent quarterly from all the links I signed up for. I use companies like
. They have an assortment of catergories to select items from for your website. People enjoy websites that give them information too.
Are there any books you can recommend people read to start a business on the Internet?
CONNIE: I really haven#146;t had time to do any research or read books. Whatever you need to learn you can learn for free on-line through sites like Linkshare.com. They give you pointers and they#146;re all tried and true.
Why did you design a plain website without lots of graphics?
CONNIE: If I tried to make my site look too professional it would be a turn off to the people who rely on me for shopping deals and freebies. I#146;m just their friend Connie and I have about15,000 people who visit my website and receive my newsletter.
What do you do in your sparetime?
CONNIE: I like to shop but I feel funny going to thrift shops but I do because I#146;m addicted to saving money. Who knows how much longer I#146;m going to do this. It is important to me to help others and to give back to the community. I bought school supplies for all the needy children and I donate money to several charities#151;so I don#146;t feel guilty for getting assistance when we had that awful fire in our house. It#146;s a fun life now, it#146;s really nice to take care of my parents#151;they live on social security and my mom#146;s medication eats up all her money. So now I can yell at her about her health because I#146;m paying for it. The bottom line is that If you#146;re really depressed#151;things can get better.
Connie Berg enjoys married life, raising her children and working from home. Her highly successful website
has given Connie and her family the income and flexibility to live a wonderful life.
Posted by Staff at 1:42 AM