Live in So. California? Looking For That Perfect Part-time Job? Here's An Idea.
I quit my #147;job#148; last December and am finally home for my kids. I started my business from scratch (and a lot of #147;scratching#148; along the way) about two years ago, sowing the seeds that would turn it into a way for me to #147;come home#148;. I still go out into the field, but I can make my own schedule and still be home when the kids get home from school. The response to the service my company provides has been terrific. I believe that the Lord has blessed my endeavors, as new clients continue to contact me. My business is:
I send #147;secret shoppers#148; into stores, restaurants and other businesses to evaluate customer service, product quality and other key focus points. I have a variety of clients from Ventura County down to the California/Baja border and I need help!
I NEED PART TIME SHOPPERS! This job is terrific for your listeners because they can work as much or as little as THEY CHOOSE. They can take their kids with them to the shops AND they get paid to do so.
I would appreciate so much your telling your listeners about this great opportunity.
God bless you and the work you do.
Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.
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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.
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ABCs for the Work at Home Mom - Part 2
By Jill Hart
Work-at-home moms face many different challenges. From learning to accept help when needed, to building confidence in ourselves, to remembering the reasons why we chose to work from home. Below is the second in the series of tips to help work-at-home moms in the simplest of ways - the ABC's.
N = No - Work at Home Moms need to be able to say "No" when the situation calls for it. Don't be afraid to stand up for your business or to choose NOT to work with a customer who is more trouble than it's worth.
O = Office - As Work at Home Moms, we usually put ourselves last on the list. However, when we're in business it's important to have some room (even a corner) that is set aside strictly for business.
P = Priorities - It's hard to keep your priorities straight when raising a family and building a business. Take some time each week/month to sit down and evaluate your priorities and cut out things in your schedule that don't fit in.
Q = Quiet Time - It may seem impossible to find a time to sit, relax and be quiet when you have so many demands on your time. However, it's more important than ever that you take a little time for yourself to rejuvenate and renew when you grow weary.
R = Respect - Like the golden rule says, it's important to treat others as we'd like to be treated. This is so true for work at home moms - we must show the utmost in professionalism and treat even the most difficult clients with respect.
S = Significant Other - As work at home moms it's easy to get wrapped up with our business, our kids, ourselves. Don't forget to take the time to appreciate your husbands!
T = Time - As work-home-moms time is the ultimate enemy. :) Learn to prioritize and delegate whenever possible. Take time out for your kids each day - you'll be glad you did!
U = Unique - Your business needs to be unique to stand out from the crowd. Even if your product isn't unique you can always find a unique way to approach marketing, customer service, etc. Get creative and stand out from the rest!
V = Vision - It's so important to have a clear vision of where you want your business to go. Sit down and make a list of where you'd like to be in 5 years, in 10 years, etc. Without goals you won't get anywhere.
W = Wisdom - It's important to seek wisdom when running your own business. You won't always know the answer, so you need to find others that you trust that you can turn to when these things arise.
X = eXcitement - Celebrate each success! Keep yourself motivated and excited about your business. Try to share your business with someone new each day. Just telling someone about what you do can bring back that "spark" of excitement about your career!
Y = Yes - Yes! You CAN do it! Each of us started with a dream, a vision and the faith that we could make it happen. It takes hard work, determination and a "Yes!" attitude, but it CAN be done!
Z = Zoo - Yes, life as a work at home mom really is a zoo, but it's worth it! Being at home to see your child's first step, hear their first word - it just doesn't get better than that.
Working from home can be difficult, but it is well worth the effort. By keeping things in perspective we can reduce the stress that we put on ourselves. Remember these ABC's and you'll go far in your work-at-home career.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Jill Hart is the founder of Christian Work at Home Moms,
. Hart is also the co-author of the upcoming book, Home Based Blessings, due out in November 2006 for Christian moms who want to work at home. Hart and her husband, Allen of CWAHD.com (Christian Work at Home Dads) reside in Nebraska with their two children.
Permission Granted for use on Dr.Laura.com
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EXAMINING ONE FAMILY'S STAY-AT-HOME BUDGET
By Cheryl Gochnauer
Recently, I received the following e-mail: "Have you considered sharing your'stay-at-home mom's tight budget' with your readers? I would be veryinterested in reading it."
There are lots of practical steps a family can take to bring their financesunder control and unlock the door to Mom coming home. I'll be happy to letyou peek at my own budget, to get some insight on living frugally. You maysay, "Gee, that's a lot of work for such little return...", but keepreading. Consistent cost-cutting over the broad scope of your finances canreap significant rewards.
The secret to pruning your budget is mastering the ability to separate wantsfrom needs. Got your highlighter handy? All right...on your mark...getset...SAVE!
We sold our financed vehicles and bought two reliable older cars for cash.Even with the occasional breakdown, the overall cost is still less than amonthly payment. Because our cars aren't mortgaged, we carry only liabilityinsurance, which slashes premium costs.
By securing a no-fee mortgage refinance, our monthly house payment dropped20 percent, with no out-of-pocket expenses. All it cost us was time - a fewphone calls to go through the application process, then a short drive to themortgage company to sign the papers.
A home equity loan paid off all credit cards and installment loans andfinanced some remodeling. Interest is tax-deductible, we pay one billinstead of four, and I'm enjoying a new home office...all for $70 less amonth than we were paying before.
We raised deductibles on policies, after shopping around to secure thelowest price on life, homeowners and car insurance. We chose comprehensivemedical plans that limit out-of-pocket expenses and allow us to pay a flatrate per office visit.
Jealously guarding my at-home status, I resist paying full price foranything. I stick to that conviction while watching for coupons and weeklysales, taking stores up on their price-matching offers. Carrying threedifferent ad flyers into a local department store, I save gas as I do all myshopping in one spot.
There is usually a 30-day price guarantee, too. After making your purchase,watch advertisements over the next month. If the item you bought goes onsale, you can visit the service desk with your proof of purchase and get acash refund for the difference.
I don't go to the mall, unless I'm carrying a sale flyer which places itemswithin my limited budget. When buying big ticket items from commissionedsalespeople, be prepared to negotiate. You probably already know you canhaggle over cars, but what about furniture? Or appliances? Anywherethere's a commission to be made, there's a salesperson who has a vestedinterest in selling you something. Be wise as a serpent, gentle as a dove -and demand the best deal available.
When shopping for groceries, make a detailed list before you leave the houseand stick to it. Take coupons for items you've selected, and patronizesupermarkets that give you double and triple their face value. Invest in afreezer and stock up on "loss leaders", the low-priced teaser items storesuse to lure you.
Many clothes marked "dry clean only" can be handwashed in gentle soap fordelicates. But a sure way of saving money is avoiding buying "dry cleanonly" clothes in the first place.
Speaking of buying clothes, don't overlook those neighborhood garage sales,especially the ones held in more upscale areas of town. Kids grow out ofclothes so quickly, these sales can be a blessing. Often, gently-worn jeansand dresses are found for pennies. You can garner some cash and free upspace by cleaning out closets and basements for your own sale.
Our credit union offers no-cost checking. By purchasing checks through themail, I pay a third of what banks are charging. For that inevitable loan,I've found credit unions consistently charge lower rates than banks, sothey've got my business when it comes time to buy a big-ticket item.
We paid off, then canceled, all our credit cards except one. This majorcredit card carries a low fixed rate, with no annual fee. We try to use ourcard only to the extent that we can pay it off each month, avoiding debt andinterest charges. If you have an excellent credit history, request theannual fee be waived. There's a good possibility they'll agree, sincecompetition for trustworthy credit customers is fierce.
The first time I stroked out opening an outrageously high electric bill, Icalled the utility company and learned about level payment plans. Now wepay a predetermined amount each month, protected from burdensome chargesgenerated by July's heat or January's freezing temperatures.
Take advantage of buy-in-bulk opportunities on everything from frozen foodsto Internet access service. Send e-mail messages to on-line friends andassociates instead of calling long distance or using snail mail. I don'tput a stamp on any mail I can deliver myself.
Fill out and mail those rebate forms. I've received a computer modem, 200diskettes, extra memory and a software upgrade for free, just because I tookthe time to fill out the proper paperwork.
Often, I'll come out ahead when using a combination of coupons and mail-inrebates. For instance, a shampoo was on sale for $2.50. I used a 50 centcoupon, and the store doubled it. My cost for the shampoo was now $1.50. Itook two minutes to fill out the $2.00 mail-in rebate attached to thebottle. Even after the cost of a 34-cent stamp, I had a free bottle ofshampoo and 16 cents to the good.
I don't pay for baby-sitting when I can trade with a friend. A filmfanatic, I've been known to trade typing services for show tickets. But Ionly go see movies I'm dying to see. All others, I rent on video whenspecials are running: 2-for-1 Mondays, etc.
Whether minding our manners at a sit-down restaurant or pigging out at thelocal buffet, my family uses newspaper coupons and Gold C or Entertainmentcoupon books. Sometimes it's cheaper to eat out than cook at home,especially when you visit an establishment where kids eat free.
Penny-pinching aside, there are some things you just gotta have. Aftertrying to live without it for six months, our family decided satellite TVwas a necessity. So, we'll cut somewhere else.
Instead of taking a daily newspaper, I buy the Sunday edition, which usuallypays for itself because of the coupons inside. I don't purchase books ormagazines I can check out of the library, unless I can use the informationin them on an on-going basis.
Networking is important. Find out whose brother-in-law works on homecomputers... whose friend knows lawns...whose sister holds a once-a-yearprimo garage sale with upper-class outfits going for a pittance.
Don't pay someone else to do something you can do yourself. Use the morerelaxed time schedule of an at-home mom to expand your horizons in ways thatwill benefit your family. Learn to maintain your automobiles, do your owntaxes, perform your own repairs. Wear out your library card, checking out"how-to" books.
By applying thrifty principles liberally, you'll be surprised how muchyou'll save. Then, when it comes time to splurge on something that's justpure fun, you won't feel guilty -- it'll be your reward for being such agood steward of your finances.
, or visit her website at
. Her book, "
So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom
," isavailable through
Dr. Laura#146;s Reading Corner
. Copyright2001 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.)
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The Four Basic Home-Based Businesses
by Lisa M. Roberts
Today there are literally thousands of independent careers that can be developed in the home. With so many Home-Based Businesses (HBBs) in operation right now and more surfacing every day, there are plenty to choose from and plenty more to mix and match to make yours original.
To help you sort out your options, here's a break-down of the four basic types of HBBs. Use the following categorizations to start clearing a path to your home career goals.
The Basic Four HBBs (Home Based Businesses)A HBB sells either products or services. Of the product-based HBBs, you can sell manufactured goods or hand-made goods. Of the service-based HBBs, you can sell hard skills or soft skills. Combinations involving all four types certainly exist, but for the sake of clarity we'll take a close look at each separately.
Also for clarity's sake we'll apply the "HBB Formula for Success" to sample HBBs of each category. This concept takes the basic product or service, adds a target market (specific client or customer), and a niche (a specialty) to come up with a specific HBB. Use such a formula to get to the root of your own idea, and then consider branching out as your home career develops.
(1) Selling Hard-Skill Services
Hard skills are practical skills, skills that have a tangible end result. Any skill that involves the operation of things (appliances, computers, what-have-you) and data (factual information) usually fall into this category.
Because today's computer and communications technology have created so many new "hard skills" -- many of which are in high demand -- this is where much of the excitement is stirring among the work-at-home community. HBB owners in this category are breaking all kinds of boundaries -- geographical (they can work anywhere, anytime), personality (many have temperaments outside the traditional entrepreneurial type) and professional (many come from the corporate world and are headed back...often worth more than when they left!).
But in all the excitement let's not forget the more standard hard skills with a rich history in the HBB workforce that are still in great demand today. These include such work-at-home professionals as accountants, bookkeepers, typists, translators and copywriters, as well as independent contract workers such as plumbers, electricians, handymen, landscapers and roofers.
Basic Product/Service + Target Market + Niche = HBB Owner
Programming + Children + Games = Software Game Developer
Programming + Parents + Games = Educational Software Game Developer (!)
Indexing + University Presses + Accounting = Accounting Textbook Indexer
Web Design + Seniors + Families = Family Tree/Family Historian Web Site Developer
Desktop Publisher + Non-Profit Organizations + Annual Conventions = Convention Brochure Producer
(2) Selling Soft-Skill Services
Soft skills are interpersonal and critical thinking skills, skills that "reach out and touch someone" or involve analysis of the "big picture." Any type of teaching, counseling, consulting, managing or communicating fall into this category, and HBBs of this type primarily involve interaction with people or information (that gets delivered to people).
Again, technology has boosted the possibilities in this home-based arena too. For instance, while before a SAHM licensed math teacher might have run a private local tutoring service out of a separate wing of her home, now she may be able to extend her services to the entire online community through "classes" or "lessons" delivered electronically. Plus new home businesses are emerging that strictly serve the online community, such as PR agents who focus solely on getting web sites media attention.
Basic Service + Target Market + Niche = HBB Owner
Financial Consulting + New Parents + College = College Fund Financial Advisor
Publishing + Vegetarians + Newsletters = Vegetarian Newsletter Publisher
Musician + Children + Piano = Piano Teacher
Writing + CEOs + Corporate Events = Executive Speech Writer
Event Planner + Brides + Modest Budgets = Creative Wedding Planner
Interior Design + Christians + Christmas = Christmas Tree Decorator
(3) Selling Manufactured Products
Manufactured products are mostly goods that are produced outside the home. They can be sold via mail order, telemarketing, retail stores, special distribution programs and direct sales. The most popular type of business in this category are what are known as Multi-Level Marketing ventures (MLMs), aka Direct Sales, Network Marketing or "Party" businesses.
It#146;s important to keep in mind that even with reputable MLMs -- those that ask for a modest investment or "membership fee" and offer strong support to their consultants -- it still takes an ambitious, hard-working, enthusiastic entrepreneur who is 100% committed to the product line to make it all worthwhile. A cheery personality also goes a long way in the "party" businesses that sell products mostly through local neighborhood parties hosted by friends and relatives of the HBB owner. Also needed are strong salesmanship, self-motivation and public speaking skills. This, naturally, is the minority of the overall workforce, so step slowly if you're moving in this direction!
If you do think you have the personality and drive for this type of home career, I have known a few local work@home moms who are very happy with the following Direct Sale companies:
Mary Kay Cosmetics
(4) Selling Handmade Products
A business that sells handmade products is a labor of love. For men and women with talented hands, the love for the work itself carries this type of business to success. It takes craftsmanship, self-discipline, and a special rapport between the business owner and her customers for these HBBs to thrive.
Selling handmade goods is like gift-giving year-round -- tenderly creating a product, wrapping it up and offering it to customers who to some degree share the same passion. This is the "American Classic" version of working from home, and is as popular today as it has ever been.Consider this classic the thread that weaves HBBs throughout the ages!
Basic Product/Service + Target Market + Niche = HBB Owner
Crafts + Home Owners + Holidays = Year-round Holiday Wreath Maker
Tayloring + Children + Halloween = Children's Costume Maker
Painting + Proud Parents + Graduation Ceremonies = Graduation Portrait Artist
Woodwork + Pet Owner + Pet = Bird or Doghouse Carpenter
Jeweler + Teens + Hair = Teen Hair Fashion Jeweler
Needlework + BB Owners + Quilts = BB Quilt Maker
Once you settle on the specific product line or service of your HBB, you are ready to start preparing for its debut. Remember that selecting your home-based career is a time to not only evaluate your most marketable skills, but to reflect on the contribution you always wanted to make on your local community and perhaps on society at large. Throughout your professional development, keep your personal mission in the back of your mind and weave it through the information you process on your way to an independent vocation. It will give your home career heart and your bank account soul!
Excerpted from "
How to Raise A Family A Career Under One Roof: A Parent's Guide to Home Business
" by Lisa M. Roberts. Permission granted for use on drlaura.com. Lisa, the mother of four, is a freelance journalist, publisher of
, and co-author with Paul Sarah Edwards of the forthcoming book, "The Entrepreneurial Parent: How to Earn Your Living at Home Still Enjoy Your Family, Your Work Your Life" (Putnam/Tarcher, 2002).Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.
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The Graduation Speech Your Kids Will Never Hear
By Cliff Ennico
Members of the Class of 2004:
I was sorry to hear that the children#146;s TV show host who was to have been your commencement speaker today had to bow out at the last minute. I was delighted, however, when the Trustees called me about an hour ago and asked me to fill in.
While I know some of you already have jobs and some (OK most of you) do not, I know that all of you are wondering today what your lives are going to be like.
There are two things you need to know about your future. First, whatever dreams you hope to fulfill in your lives, you won#146;t be able to do them until you are making a living. Your first priority is to achieve financial security, and it may well take you the next 50 years to achieve it.
If you thought that was bad, here#146;s the second thing. It has never been a more challenging time to make a living in America.
Many of your parents worked for large corporations, but you cannot count on them any longer to provide you with a lifetime living. Today#146;s computer technology has eliminated the need for large corporate staffs. Our global economy often forces corporations to hire people overseas who can work for a fraction of the salaries and benefits their American competitors need. If only Americans can do the job, many companies prefer to hire them as independent contractors who will not receive benefits, health insurance or other employee #147;perks#148;. And in today#146;s volatile economy even the most #147;employee friendly#148; company can be taken over by a competitor, lose a key product due to obsolescence, or fail due to poor management.
The Government won#146;t be there to bail you out. Social Security, Medicare and other government programs that helped your parents either won#146;t be there when you are ready for them, or they will be so scaled back that only the most poverty-stricken Americans will qualify for them. Hopefully that won#146;t include any of you.
And you won#146;t be able to fall back upon blue-collar or service jobs, because you will be competing with a massive wave of new immigrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America who are only too willing, for a lot less money, to take the jobs we educated Americans are too proud to do.
Make no mistake -- when it comes to earning a living, sooner or later you will be on your own. My prediction #150; no, my guarantee #150; is that at some point (maybe next year, maybe when you turn 50) all of you will find yourself in a situation, at least temporarily, where you must rely on your own efforts to generate the income you need. You will do this by owning and running your own business.
My advice to all of you is to begin preparing for that day now. Start developing hobbies and other interests that you can turn into profit making businesses someday. Start reading and learning now about how successful businesses are run. Look for opportunities to start a business, and don#146;t wait until the #147;time is right#148; before you launch. The sooner you get started, the sooner you will be able to support yourself without having to rely on anyone else for your income. And then you can get on with the fun stuff you#146;ve always wanted to do.
Now for the good news . . . you#146;re gonna have a blast! Unlike your parents, who often had no choice but to slave away in a boring, repetitive job, you have the power to take control of your own destiny. Yes, it takes a lot of courage. Yes, there will be some sleepless nights. But I have worked with over 10,000 people who have done it and succeeded, and believe me, a lot of them weren#146;t as smart as you.
Don#146;t fall into the trap, as many of your parents did, of thinking that your career has to be #147;only one thing#148;. Some of my most successful clients do a number of different things #150; they have a day job, they do some part-time consulting, they write books, they teach evening classes at a local college, they buy and sell stuff on eBay, they sell home-made wood carvings at crafts fairs, they own apartment buildings. Yes, it sometimes gets a little crazy, but it all adds up to a living, and if any one of those things doesn#146;t pan out, they#146;ve got the rest to fall back on. Diversification is a good thing for careers as well as investment portfolios.
Also, don#146;t fall into the trap of thinking you must #147;make use of your education#148; when planning your career. Some of the most successful people in America today are college dropouts. In the business world, a lot of A students end up working for people who were C students in school. A business need not be intellectually stimulating, or require a knowledge of calculus, to be wildly successful.
So by all means reach for the stars and follow your passions (this is a graduation speech, after all). Without guts and determination, you will have trouble earning a living in this new, tough business world, even if you#146;re as smart as Einstein. May you succeed beyond your wildest dreams, and may you never run out of money. Thank you.
Cliff Ennico (
) is a syndicated columnist, author and host of the PBS television series 'Money Hunt'. This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state. To find out more about Cliff Ennico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit our Web page at
. COPYRIGHT 2004 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com
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Making MoneyHow To Run A Yard Sale
Dear Dollar Stretcher,
How about an article on "How To Run A Yard Sale"?
My pleasure! Yard sales, or in some parts of the country 'tag' or 'garage' sales, can be a lot of fun whether you're the buyer or the seller. But, a successful sale is more than taking stuff out of your garage and putting up a few signs.
There's been a lot written about yard sales. But in all the articles I've seen, none have tried to apply techniques that are used by retailers to make the most of every sales opportunity. Let's see if we can't take some ideas from the big stores and use them in our simple yard sale.
The first thing that any serious retailer does is to try to understand their customer. They'll do focus groups and surveys to find out what the customer wants. For you it's much easier. Just think like a yard sale shopper!
Start by remembering the signs that you've seen when you've been yard saling. Ever stop for the ones that were written in crayon and couldn't be read? Me either. And there's no excuse for a bad sign. All it really needs to say is "Yard Sale" and your address in big block letters. You can use a computer or draw the letters free hand. Just make sure they can be easily read.
Make the sign overly large. Get something that's 18" x 24" or larger. If you can't find cardboard, go to a home center and buy a 4' x 8' sheet of drywall. You can cut it with a razor knife into whatever size and shape you want. For less than $5 you can have a whole bunch of big signs. And draw attention to the sign. Helium filled balloons or bright colors on the sign will attract drivers' eyes.
Next you'll want to consider the different types of shoppers. They have different styles. Take the young mother shopping for children's clothes. She might have her children with her. That can be a distraction. But if you put kids' toys next to kids' clothes, the little ones will play while mom shops. And it's likely that the kids will ask mom to buy a toy, too!
Just like your grocery store puts the milk in the farthest corner, you can take things like children's clothes and put them in the back. That's because your most likely buyer is determined to find bargains.
Another type of shopper is looking for collectibles and antiques. Not serious Louis XIV antiques, but rather the kind of thing that hasn't fit in your decor for 15 years but is becoming trendy again. These are people who 'see the possibilities' when looking at an item. They tend to be creative and you'll do better if you can help them trigger their imagination. Sometimes just mentioning that an item reminds you of your grandmother's house during the 60's will be enough to get them going. And remember that you won't get antique prices here. People are looking for bargains, not museum pieces. You can place collectibles towards the back of your store. For collectors half the fun is in the search.
Men are a totally different type of yard sale shopper. Even when they're just browsing, they'll shop with a goal in mind. And they want to shop quickly. If you'll be offering tools or building supplies put them up front where they'll be easily seen. And have an extension cord available if anything is electric powered. Items must be marked. Many guys won't even take the time to ask a price.
How you display items can also work to your advantage. Try to put the most valuable items on tables so that they can be more easily seen. Toys, on the other hand, should be on the ground where kids can pick them up and get attached to them. Use removable stickers to clearly mark prices.
We can also learn some pricing tips from the big retailers. Be creative with pricing. Things like "buy one, get one free" can work for you, too. Don't be afraid to mark things down as the sale progresses. Or announce a 'blue light special' to the next person who buys a particular type of item. Don't hesitate to do something unusual. Informing your next customer that they're the 25th shopper and entitled to a 25% discount will get a conversation started and could lead to a sale. If nothing else, you'll have more fun. Pricing items for a garage sale is almost an artform. It's hard to say what an item is really worth. Leave room so that you can come down 25% to 50% and still make what you want from an item. Try to think what type of buyer would be interested and how much they'd be willing to pay.
Having a successful yard sale is no accident. It does take some work. In fact, unless you have enough items so that you can reasonably expect to make a couple of hundred dollars, it might be wise to take the better items to a consignment shop and give the rest to charity for the tax deduction. But if you don't mind a little effort, a yard sale can make you a few bucks and provide some fun at the same time. I've read that many big retailers started with just a few items. Who knows, you might be the next J.C. Penney!
Gary Foreman is a former Purchasing Manager and Certified Financial Planner. He currently edits The Dollar Stretcher website
. It contains the web's largest collect of free articles to save you time and money. There's even a free weekly email newsletter. Visit and save some money today!
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SEW proud to be Her "Kids#146; Mom"
by Pamela Tripaldi
Pamela Tripaldi is the founder of "You Can Make It." Hundreds of parents have begun to earn money from home by teaching sewing, using lesson plans and instructional videos from "You Can Make It." When reflecting on her priorities in life, Pamela says, "My children are gifts that God has given me. My first obligation is to nurture those gifts. The second gift that I got was sewing. I am very lucky to be able to work with all the gifts that I was given, and to help other people achieve that dream also."
Starting "You Can Make It"
When my first daughter was born in 1987 I became a stay-at-home mom. My second daughter came in 1989. After many years of being home with my girls, I felt the need for a creative outlet. I wanted to do something, but didn#146;t want to work full-time. Having been involved with sewing since my teen years, I decided in 1992 to approach my local fabric store and ask if I could offer sewing lessons. The classes were very successful. I am fortunate to have a supportive husband who stayed at home in the evening to watch the girls when I was starting the business. (Spending time with the kids while the wife launches a business from home is a bonus for fathers, in my opinion.)
After offering sewing lessons locally I realized that teaching others to sew is something that other people could do. I decided to write out my seven-level sewing curriculum and offer it to others, so they could do what I did. After two years of writing into the wee hours of the morning -- days were too much fun to give up -- my lesson plan was complete. I started marketing it nationally in 1994. This was the beginning of my company, "You Can Make It."
Making it Work
Along with the curriculum, I have produced a series of sewing videos. The videos follow the same seven- level curriculum as the teaching manuals. Producing the "You Can Make It" videos has been a seven-year project for my company and my family. My girls have been in each video and my husband will be in Level Seven. With the help of a teacher, or just by watching the videos, anyone can learn to sew.
Although I no longer have time to offer sewing lessons personally, my business keeps me very busy. We have over 300 teachers using our curriculum. Most of them are in the United States, but we also have affiliates in China, Canada and other countries. My office is in my home, and I employ local high-school students to help me after school so I can shuffle my kids (now 13 and 12) around. Occasionally it is still necessary to work late at night, because I#146;ve taken time to see a school play or spend the day with my girls. I am truly blessed to have had the support of my family, and, all the while, being available to my family when they need me.
We now have experienced sewing teachers all over the world, sharing their talents and the skills they#146;ve learned. My dream of teaching others to sew, while keeping my family as my first priority, has come true.
How How Others Can "Make It" Too
"You Can Make It" is structured so that people can earn extra income by using our program to help them offer sewing lessons. We supply everything that an experienced seamstress needs to teach. There is a one-time purchase price for the program, with no franchise, monthly or student fees. The teacher#146;s initial cost is minimal. He/she needs two or three sewing machines, which we recommend they borrow from friends until their income is sufficient to purchase their own. Teachers pay a small yearly fee to continue to receive student referrals, our newsletter with pattern suggestions and all updates to our program.
"You Can Make It" teachers can offer lessons at a local fabric store, community center, church, or in their own homes. Some of our teachers offer free classes at shelters for abused women, in jails or in other community service settings. Our curriculum includes commercially available patterns, so there is no need to keep returning to us to buy supplies.
We#146;ve made it easy to start earning money by offering complete lesson plans, advertising materials, marketing tips, and other sewing teachers to network with. We even have a free referral service. When potential students contact us, we refer them to a "You Can Make It" teacher near them.
Sewing is becoming popular again, and many more adults than children wish to learn to sew. In addition to being a wonderful hobby, sewing can be a means for anyone to become financially independent. With the skill of sewing, the prospects are wide open in home decorating, alterations, dressmaking, and dress designing and other services. All are excellent avenues for providing income while allowing one to structure a life around family. If you would like to learn more about You Can Make It, visit us on the web at:
or call us toll-free at (888) LRN-2-SEW.
You can purchase
"You Can Make It" sewing videos
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ON-LINE RESOURCES FOR STAY-AT-HOME PARENTS
1) At-Home Mothers
The National Association of At-Home Mothers offers complete support for theat-home motherhood lifestyle, including a quarterly magazine called At-HomeMother, as well as numerous other member benefits. NAAHM is "committed tofinding solutions to all of your at-home mothering concerns". Membership is$18 per year. You can get more information by writing the NationalAssociation of At-Home Mothers, 406 E. Buchanan Ave., Fairfield, IA 52556,or by e-mail:
. Also take a look at theircomprehensive website, which offers free information, sample articles andInfo Guides, a bookstore of publications chosen specifically for at-homemothers, and much more.
2) Caring at Home
Caring at Home is a non-profit organization operated by work at home momswho would like to make a difference in the lives of the nation's childrenand the people that care for them. They want to create a link among allpeople who share the same concern and help them reach the ears ofgovernmental decision-makers. Their motto: Together we can make adifference!
3) Cheapskate Monthly
Author Mary Hunt's Cheapskate Monthly is a 12-page newsletter published 12times a year and delivered either to your mailbox or via the Internet.Cheapskate Monthly's purpose is (1) to empower and educate those that areliving financially responsible lives to become even more effective moneymanagers, and (2) to help those who are struggling to live within theirmeans find practical and realistic solutions to their financial problems, toget out of debt and begin living joyfully beneath their means. Bothversions of Cheapskate Monthly are filled with tips, humor and greatinformation to help you stretch those dollars till they scream! Tosubscribe to Cheapskate Monthly, send a check or money order for $18.00 toCheapskate Monthly, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723-8135. For moreinformation, call (562) 630-6474.
4) Cyber Working Moms
Cyber Working Moms site was built to encourage working women who chose to stay at home with their children, by providing helpful information, encouragement, tips on how to make things easier and secondly for support and advice from other "work at home moms."
5) Daddy's Home
An on-line resource for primary caregiver fathers.
6) The Dollar Stretcher
The Dollar Stretcher is dedicated to "living better...for less" and featuresways to help you stretch your day and your budget. The website includes alibrary with over 3,000 free articles covering everything from babies tovacations. There are also three free electronic newsletters, as well as amonthly print newsletter that is available by paid subscription. The site'seditor, Gary Foreman, is a former Certified Financial Planner and purchasingmanager. If you want to save money, this is the place to start.
7) Frugal Moms
Practical advice and ideas on how to save money, make the most of yourincome and still enjoy life around you. Topics include anything with afrugal slant: cooking, cleaning, decorating, crafts, help for beginners,gardening, humor and more. Discussion lists, newsletters and weekly articleson saving, scrimping and clipping. Where is YOUR money going?
8) Hearts at Home
Founded by Jill Savage in 1993, Hearts at Home offers a variety of resourcesand events to assist women in their job as wife and mother. Resourcesinclude the Hearts at Home magazine, the Hearts at Home devotional, and theHearts at Home website. Additionally, Hearts at Home conferences make agreat getaway for individuals, moms' groups, or that special friend, sister,or sister-in-law. Regional conferences attended by over 10,000 women eachyear provide a unique, affordable and highly encouraging weekend for thewoman who takes the profession of motherhood seriously. Contact: Hearts atHome, 900 W. College Avenue, Normal, Illinois 61761. Phone: (309) 888-MOMS.
9) Home-Based Working Moms
This is a professional association and an online community of parents whowork at home and those who would like to. HBWM members receive a monthly(print) newsletter, free advertising options, Hire-A-Mom directory listing,national publicity opportunities, e-mail discussion list, private messageboards, support, networking, information, more! Home-Based Working Moms,PO Box 500164, Austin, TX 78750. Phone: (512) 266-0900
Author and speaker Cheryl Gochnauer's aim is to empower and encourageat-home parents and working mothers who are considering the at-homelifestyle by providing practical financial, emotional and career-planningadvice. Her website features columnists, resources and message boards whereyou can interact in a safe environment with likeminded parents around theworld. Read how she cut $1000 from her family's monthly budget:
11) Main Street Moms
Main Street Moms is the online magazine for modern mothers with traditionalvalues. You will find articles on parenting, marriage, family budgeting,craft ideas, spiritual growth, family life, and more. You will also findlively discussion boards, free newsletters, and monthly contests. Foundedin 1998,
has developed into a community of at-home momswho network their ideas, joys, and frustrations. Money is tight for all ofus, but through sharing ideas, we help each other get through the toughtimes so that we can fully put our children first.
12) Miserly Moms
Miserly Moms is a multi-faceted organization founded by Jonni McCoy in 1992.Jonni's goal is to help people (especially moms) get the tools that theirfamilies need to save money and spend more time together. Jonni writes booksand articles, teaches workshops, runs discussion groups, and does radio andtelevision appearances, all for the purpose of educating people on how toshop more wisely to stretch their dollar.
13) Mommies on the Web
A site offering not only parenting information and articles, but alsosupport and friendship to all moms. Join the online community to meet andinteract with other mothers. Enjoy planned chats, special events, recipeexchanges, and many mailing lists. Or shop in the MomVentures mallfeaturing services and products offered by work at home moms.
14) Mommy Savers
This website is for thrifty moms who want the best for their families butdon't want to spend an arm and a leg to get it. The decision to be astay-at-home mom is one of the most difficult many new or prospectiveparents face. The main reason many parents feel it is not possible isfinancial. How can a couple with two wage-earners get by on one salary whileadding another member to the family? It certainly is not easy. While everyfamily is different, they all have one thing in common: nobody takes hometheir entire salary. That is where the cost of work comes in. To read therest of the article, go to
15) MOMS Clubs International
MOMS Clubs are exclusively for at-home mothers, no matter how old theirchildren are. Founded in California in 1983, they now have over 1,250chapters with more than 63,000 members across the United States. MOMS Clubsmeet during the day, and children are welcome.
16) Moms Promoting Moms
Ann Diaz of Joe Mama Productions in Littleton, Colorado, has a great idea:She provides a business opportunity for parents who want to work from home -and the opportunity involves having that parent create opportunities forother parents who want to work from home. It's a real win-win. Says Ann, "Iam in the business of helping other work-at-home moms to be more successful,by presenting them to their local communities as a group, giving them aunique co-op type of marketing venue. I do this by publishing a bookletcalled Moms Inc.: Business Directory of Work-at-Home Moms T."
For a modest upfront fee, Ann provides essential materials, businessguidebook and marketing support that a person needs in order to create adirectory in her own city. "One of the great features of this businessopportunity is that your out-of-pocket expenses are very low. "When I wasdoing my first directory, I started from scratch and with no workingcapital. I didn't go to the printer until I had generated enoughadvertising income to pay for it. That way, there was no risk. If Ifailed, I would have simply returned everyone's checks. Fortunately, ittook off!"
Interested in creating a Moms Inc. directory for your city? For informationabout becoming a licensed publisher of Moms Inc.: Business Directory ofWork-at-Home Moms in your local area, or to find out if there's a Directorycoming soon to your area, contact Ann Diaz at (970) 593-0604; or e-mail:
. You can also visit her web-site at
17) Mothers More
Mothers More is an international not-for-profit organization supportingsequencing women - mothers who have altered their career paths in order tocare for their children at home. The organization addresses women'spersonal needs and interests during their active parenting years, promotesrecognition and respect for sequencing women, and respects the right ofevery mother to choose if and how she will combine parenting and paidemployment. Mothers More also acts as an advocate for public andemployment policies that accommodate sequencing. Visit their
orcall (800) 223-9399 to find a chapter close to you.
18) Mothers at Home
Mothers At Home is the first and largest national non-profit organizationdedicated to the support and encouragement of at-home parenting. Founded in1984, Mothers At Home publishes an award-winning monthly journal, WelcomeHome, as well as books and information on at-home parenting issues. MothersAt Home serves as an advocate on behalf of at-home parents through mediainterviews, public policy analysis, and presentations to parenting groups.For more information visit our website, e-mail us at:
, call(800) 783-4666 for a free information packet, or write Mothers At Home,9493-C Silver King Ct., Fairfax, VA 22031.
19) Stay At-Home Dads
The Slowlane web site is a friendly online environment to help support,advocate and inform dads, with particular attention given to stay-at-homedads (SAHD). The site is a comprehensive collection of resources includingthose that handle the common issues like starting a playgroup with otherdads and running a home business as well as the tough issues (divorce,death, custody, etc.), so a dad who needs specific information will easily beable to find a resource to fit his personal search criteria.
20) Work-at-Home Moms
The Online Magazine for Work-at-Home Moms (
). This site ispacked with useful information about succeeding in the work-at-home mom(WAHM) arena. Excellent links and resources, plus a smattering of cartoonsand light commentary, make this an excellent resource for current WAHM's orWAHM wanna-be's.
21) Working From Home
Paul and Sarah Edwards, authors of this month's Perspective Guest Essay,have been trailblazing the topic of working from home for over 20 years.Their books on working from home are essential resources. Their web site at
also contains a wealth of ideas and advicefor those of you who want to take control of your lives and realize yourdreams.
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Have You Thought About Scoping to Make Money?
'...A scopist works with a court reporter and will use whatever resources are provided, as well as any they have at their disposal, to produce a clean transcript for the court reporter...'
. They have information about what scoping is and they also have a place that you can register your name as a scoper or proofreader.
Proofing is a good thing to do if you don't want to invest the money in the software needed to scope. Proofing for court reporters is a little different than proofing for, say, a book editor or some other profession. However, most court reporters would be more than willing to give feed back on how things should be done. In fact, when I have someone come to me who is interested in proofing I kind of give them an overview of what I'm looking for. Basically what I tell them is that I really need them to concentrate on the words -- sometimes, though, what they're reading contains wrong words -- and I can deal with the punctuation, et cetera.
If you would like more information regarding this, please email me:
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