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05/07/2010
IconBorman Designs Personalized Baby Towels With Hoods Kelsi Borman www.kelsibormandesigns.com Kelsi Borman Designs began out of necessity in late spring of 2001. In looking over her budget, one of the many things she found was that quite a bit of money was being spent on baby gifts. Kelsi wanted to continue being able to give gifts, so she decided that the best alternative was to design and make hooded baby towels. Kelsi's friends then began asking her to make towels for them to give as gifts! What started as a way to save money was quickly turning into a profitable business. So, with the encouragement of her husband Dan, Kelsi Borman Designs was born. Kelsi loves designing and making monogrammed towels and other accessories because it gives her ample opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom. Kelsi Borman Designs is a creative and profitable at-home business. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconGreg's Custom Bunk Beds Gregory Gatons www.gregscustombunkbedsandplaylofts.50megs.com Greg's Custom Bunk Beds was born after Greg and his wife were looking for a bunk bed as their youngest daughter was quickly out growing her crib. They looked around and could not find a good quality bunk bed for a reasonable price. So they did what any good parent would do, build and design their own. Friends and family saw the bunk bed and said that Greg should sell them so, Greg's Custom Bunk Bed's and play Lofts was born. Greg is a Navy veteran and protected our country's freedom during the Gulf War. Greg is a stay at home dad who works hard to support his family. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconBest Products Inc. - Fido Rido (dog seat for car) Christine Best Wright Best Products Inc. 877-709-2154 www.fidorido.com The idea for the "Fido Rido" all began with a puppy who wanted to run around the car and look out the windows. The Fido Rido is a rectangular-shaped container made of durable plastic. A vinyl-covered foam block fills the container for "boosting" small pets to window level. A fleece cover wraps snugly around the container for easy cleaning. The Fido Rido is held in place with the car's seat belt. The pet is restrained by attaching nylon straps to a harness that comes with the Fido Rido. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconBaby Bee Incorporated Beautiful Blankets Lisa Barnes www.babybeeinc.com Lisa Barnes founded Baby Bee, Inc after a baby shower given for her daughter. She received some really unique and beautiful handmade flannel baby blankets from a friend. They were so incredibly soft and cozy and the fact that they were handmade made them even more special. Lisa was inspired to design her own blankets. Baby Bee, Inc. donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each blanket and/or donates blankets to various charities benefiting children including the Dr. Laura Schlessinger Foundation . More >>

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05/07/2010
IconMusical Spanish Publishing Music At Home by Stacey Tipton Musical Spanish is a project I've been working on for nearly 5 years. It all began with an idea I had one day while finishing up my M.A. in Latin American studies. It seemed so simple to find some songs and use them as the basis for a language teaching book and CD. Surely a publishing company would see the potential in such a project! The next few years turned into an exercise in tenacity, as one big company after another expressed enthusiasm in the project, only to find a reason not to commit in the end. I suppose it was ambitious to assume that I could overcome the hurdles of music licensing or the inherent aversion to new and risky products that most publishing companies have, but I knew the idea was good. So I kept sending out demo chapters and proposals. After 3 years of rejection letters and near misses, I eventually found a small publishing house that was willing to publish the project, but we couldn't agree on the budget. The publisher suggested I consider applying for venture capital in order to fund the book and music development properly. Then it dawned on me: why should I go to the trouble of getting venture capital, only to allow this guy the control and majority of the profits for all of my hard work? I was fortunate enough to secure private funding from family members, and my little company was born. During the past year the majority of my book and CD sales have come through the internet-a wonderful tool enabling me to reach customers all over the globe. Learning how to build the website was as easy as learning to use a word processing program. Being my own webmaster also allows me to make changes and additions regularly, keeping the website current and as attractive as possible. My website is a far cry from first site I created a year ago! Aside from good design and content, the most important ongoing job has been promotion. This includes finding as many sites as possible to link to my own site, getting listed in all of the major directories, and optimizing my web pages so that they rank at the top of a web search for anything related to Spanish or Spanish teaching tools. It has been a lot of hard work, but it has definitely paid off. I get nearly 30,000 unique visitors a month, and receive many emails each week from users who have enjoyed the site. This has helped sales and also the word of mouth campaign about my teaching program and my website. The great thing about working at home is that you can set your own schedule, and you get to be your own boss. I love feeling that I am in control of my own destiny-if I work hard, I will make this business a success! A few years back when I was a struggling writer, I had lunch with a fellow aspiring writer who had written several fiction books but was afraid to submit them to publishers. He asked me "aren't you afraid of failing?" I said "No way! I'm not afraid of failure, because I am the one who decides when this thing has failed. And I'll never accept failure as an option." Well, working for yourself, you get a chance to really test that theory#133;.there are days when a consistent paycheck would seem like a Godsend. But since YOU are the one who decides just how hard you're willing to work, which options you are willing to pursue, how creative you are willing to be to help promote your business, success is up to you. When I look back on the 5 years I've spent working on Musical Spanish, the most important thing I have learned is that hard work, research, flexibility, and tenacity (with a little bit of stubbornness thrown in!) can overcome just about any obstacle. Written by Stacey Tipton, author of Musical Spanish, learn through pop music! (The Musical Linguist, LC) Stacey has her own small business in Miami Beach, FL. She is a former teacher and holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University. Visit Musical Spanish online at www.musicalspanish.com . Permission Granted For Use On DrLaura.com. Stacey Tipton The Musical Linguist mlinguist@aol.com www.musicalspanish.com Revolutionizing Language Learning! More >>

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05/07/2010
IconA 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 joemamapro@aol.com . If I can answer your questions, I'll be happy to do so! Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconWork 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, www.getcollegeaid.com . Please feel free to contact her at: mny_mtrs@yahoo.com Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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