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IconHave 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...' Check out www.scopists.com . 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: paula414@cox-internet.com Sincerely, Paula Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

IconAt-Home-Parents in Dr. Laura Perspective The Dr. Laura Perspective now has a section devoted to the needs and interests of parents who wish to be at home while their children are at home. This month#146;s column features Pamela Tripaldi, whose business, #147;You Can Make It#148; has enabled hundreds of people to begin earning extra income by offering sewing lessons. #147;You Can Make It#148; supplies 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 program includes complete lesson plans, advertising materials, marketing tips, and other sewing teachers to network with. If you would like to learn more about You Can Make It, go to www.youcanmakeit.com or call them toll-free at (888) LRN-2-SEW. More >>

IconMaster the Pitfalls of Your Home Business Christine Kloser www.newentrepreneurs.com Ok, you made the choice to leave the SAFE job and venture out on your own. Now what? You know your experience or product and understand the inner workings of your industry. The product or service is ready and you have spent time on your materials, brochures and website. You are ready for business#133;Monday comes and you are staring at the phone waiting for customers#133;this is the place that most at-home and small businesses fall short#133;MARKETING! Isn#146;t it funny that we spend all the time in preparation of who we are, what our product will provide but not who is the customer and where do I find them? What are the different cost-effective channels of marketing? What#146;s the best use of my resources? What are ways to reach my target market with a message that will generate sales? Don#146;t use demographics and agency research#133;you know who your buyer is, and only you understand the habits and day to day patterns. Industry related websites are usually good resources. We now have this amazing tool called the Internet. Find ways to use the Internet as a cost-effective means to reach your target market. Identify the problem that you are a solution for; let websites and the media know that you have a solution of value for their readers and you#146;d like to submit an article (or would they write about you?). Articles and PR are THE most cost-effective adverting a small business can use to get great exposure. Be willing to be creative and to think outside the box. Attend seminars where you can network with people like you who have relationships that could be valuable. Get out of the house or office and find new customers, business will not come to you until you get the word out there#151;and don#146;t be afraid to ask people who have used your service or product for referrals. Christine Kloser, founder of the Network for Empowering Women, educates, inspires and empowers women entrepreneurs to start and expand their business and turn their dreams into reality! NEW is one of the fastest growing organizations of its kind and the only one that dedicates itself to helping women make money AND MAKE A DIFERENCE. Christine can be reached at ck@newentrepreneurs.com or by calling (310) 745-0794. Get her FREE newsletter, or find an upcoming workshop or teleseminar at www.newentrepreneurs.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

IconWhen Buying A Franchise Look For The "Dirty Lowdown" By Cliff Ennico #147;About two weeks ago, we got the approval paperwork for a real estate franchise. My partner and I are now finding out that the franchise we bought has a bad name around town, and it is hampering our development. We had no idea of the bad reputation of this franchise, and also that they had problems in the past in our area. This is looming over everything we try to do. We want out, but we paid a $15,000 franchise fee and we want to get it back. Is this possible? We initially asked to cancel, but were talked back into it.#148; You really have to do your homework before you buy a franchise. Once upon a time, companies didn#146;t franchise their operations until they had dozens of outlets going in different parts of the country, so you knew you were buying a #147;sure thing#148;. With franchising so popular now, fueled by middle-aged downsized executives looking to buy themselves a job, more and more franchises are being launched before they have had the chance to test and prove their business model. The result often is a lot of unhappy franchisees. While franchises are required to deliver a Uniform Franchise Offering Circular to prospective franchisees disclosing certain facts about the franchise and its business, they are not required to disclose any information about their reputation. This is something you have to do yourself. Remember Ennico#146;s Rule: when buying a franchise, gossip, hearsay and innuendo is far more important than hard data. Some of the best information you can learn about a franchise will come from sources that will not want to be quoted. You should talk to as many franchisees as possible and ask them if they were happy with their decision. In my experience, it#146;s hard for people to hide it when they#146;re really unhappy #150; be sure to watch their facial expressions and listen to the #147;music#148; in their voices as well as what they tell you. You should also ask the franchise for a list of ex-franchisees (the franchise is required by law to disclose this to you), and talk to all of them. You should also visit 2 or 3 franchisees in person and spend the day looking at what actually happens in their business. But what about a franchise#146;s reputation? There is absolutely no excuse for not #147;Googling#148; the franchise and finding out what people are saying about it on the Web. The process takes about five minutes. As for local reputation, call the local Better Business Bureau. Visit the nearest library and chat up the librarians when they#146;re not busy #150; they tend to know a lot that goes on in their community. And if they don#146;t, ask the old men sitting in the magazine section (in most libraries, there are always old men sitting in the magazine section). Of course, it#146;s too late for you to do that now that you#146;ve forked over the money. Most franchises will not give you your money back under any circumstances, and this is usually stated very clearly in the franchise agreement. The concept is that the franchise incurred significant expense by training you in the franchised business, as well as an #147;opportunity cost#148; by turning away other prospective franchisees once you signed on board. In practice, however, many franchises will give you at least some of your money back if you yell and scream loudly enough. This is because they are concerned you will complain to other franchisees about how unfairly you were treated, and the franchise will want to keep #147;peace in the family#148;. Keep in mind, though, that if the franchise does refund your money, you will have to sign a noncompete agreement saying you will not engage in the same business as the franchise for a number of years. By claiming a refund you may be locking yourself out of the real estate business entirely. Make sure it#146;s worth the tradeoff. Given the #147;hard sell#148; this franchise apparently gave you, I wouldn#146;t expect them to be very flexible. You have clearly been too gentle in negotiating with these sleazeballs, and you now have an uphill fight ahead of you. If you#146;re not comfortable playing hardball at this point, hire an attorney to act as your #147;bad cop#148;. A couple of nasty letters threatening litigation should get these guys to the bargaining table. Cliff Ennico ( cennico@legalcareer.com ) 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 www.creators.com . COPYRIGHT 2004 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

IconWelcome to Stay-At-Home on DrLaura.com The most frequently asked question on my radio show is "How can I become a stay at home mom?" So, in response to everyone who wants to know the steps to take to stay home or for parents who need moral support, tips or advice, we are debuting a new section on my website, devoted to YOU and your needs. You'll find success stories from parents who are committed to staying at home and making it work-- they'll tell you in their own words how they did it. You can also get ideas and information on how to make money at home to supplement the family income, as well as seminars, associations and more! I promise you, you'll want to keep visiting my website for new tips and to read about people like Lisa Barnes, who started Baby Bee, Inc. Lisa found a way to stay at home and to help less fortunate children at the same time. There are only two types of mothers. The ones who happily stay at home and the ones who wish they could. Will Rogers once said, "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." I hope my website will be the vehicle to help you take charge of your life. So if you stay at home or just dream about being home with your little bunchkins take a look at the entire Stay-At-Home section on my website. -- Dr. Laura More >>

IconSUMMERTIME BLUES By Cheryl Gochnauer We just came through tax time, but there's another financial hurdle rightover the horizon for working parents of elementary students: summer break.For most families, daycare costs will skyrocket once the kids need care 10to 12 hours a day, instead of simply before and after school. This monetaryreality can trigger depression in those moms who don't want to work outsidethe home, anyway. I spent six years as a working mother who wanted to be home with mychildren. Like so many of my peers, I figured that since we were barelymaking it on two incomes, we'd go under if I quit my job. However, anunanticipated conflict between a sick child and a big project at work forcedme to take a serious look at our financial situation. Could we afford forme to become a stay-at-home mom? I was as surprised as anyone when I realized that, after subtracting all thecosts associated with my job (childcare, transportation expenses, eatingout, business clothing, taxes, etc.), I was only clearing $39 a week. Thecalculations I used included daycare charges for my first grader (before andafter school) and my 2-year-old (all day). During the summer, I actuallywasn't making any money at all, since that $39 a week was easily erased byincreased daycare costs for my older child. Was I nuts? No. I didn't know I was working for free from June toSeptember, because I'd never done the math. If you've been consideringbecoming an at-home parent but think it will never work financially, Iencourage you to learn from my mistake. Check your own figures now . Beyond the actual dollars and cents, be sure to take into account theemotional cost of allowing someone else to care for your babies when youwant to do that yourself. Also, if you're one of the ladies with latchkeychildren who gets nervous between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., you're going to have anextremely difficult time leaving your older kids alone all day for nearly 3months. So be sensitive to your feelings and to those of your children. My becoming an at-home parent relieved so many pressures in the Gochnauerhousehold, not the least of which was worrying about what to do with thekids over the summer, and how to pay for it. Although I am the first toadmit that this lifestyle is not for everyone, it has been a great move forus. Before you start singing the Summertime Blues, look at all your options, andsee if, as was true in my case, there is a Plan B that will work better foryour family. Comments? Write Cheryl@homebodies.org or visit her website at www.homebodies.org . Copyright 2001 Homebodies.Org , LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

IconScam Alert By Cheryl Demas We've all seen the ads that claim to be hiring home workers. Beware, many of them are scams. Here are some warning signals that will help you weed out the scams from the legitimate jobs. They ask for money. They may claim that you need to send money to "show you are serious" or "to cover our costs." This is a giant read flag! Don't do it! You should never have to pay someone to work for them. Getting hired to do a job is different from starting a home business. You may have to pay for a starter kit when you begin many direct sales businesses, but they should be very clear about exactly what is in your kit: what you're getting for you money. Ads that emphasize WORK AT HOME but are vague about the actual work you will be doing are another danger area. They may say that you will be selling "reports" or typing "orders," but again, they are vague regarding the actual products or services. Ads for assemblers. You will have to pay to get your supplies (first red flag), but here's the big catch. In assembly scams, the company has to approve the work you do. They might approve your first or second batches, but after you purchase a large amount of supplies, your work will be rejected because it's "full of flaws," and you will be stuck with your expensive supplies. Ads for envelope stuffers. Just don't do it. Think about it. Why would anyone pay $2 to $3 to someone simply to put paper in an envelope and apply a stamp? They won't. Most often, after you pay for your supplies, you will be instructed to place ads recruiting others to stuff envelopes. The envelopes you will be stuffing will be the letters you send out trying to sell others on the same scam you just fell for. The ads claim that "No experience is necessary" and "Make easy $$$$." Of course there are jobs that offer on-the-job training, but the majority of employers prefer someone with skills and experience. If they lead their ad with these come-ons, watch out. It's another warning signal. Excerpted from " The Work-at-Home Mom's Guide to Home Business " by Cheryl Demas. Permission granted for use on drlaura.com.Cheryl lives in California with her husband and two daughters. She is the publisher of WAHM.com -- the online magazine for work-at-home moms. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

IconSo You Want To Work At Home? Here's How To Convince Your Boss by Karen Millard Assuming your employer doesn't have a telework policy already in place, you'll need a plan of action. Despite its growing popularity with employees, many managers are still suspicious of the concept. The trick to getting the go-ahead to work at home is to present a compelling proposal that looks at the arrangement through the managers' eyes. What risks does telework present to the organization? What might the benefits be? And what makes you the perfect candidate? Risk #1: Will you deliver? The number one concern for most managers is: how do I know you'll work as hard at home as you would in the office? Won't you be distracted by the:(check as many as apply) soaps, fridge, laundry, neighbors, children? In your proposal, you'll need to demonstrate that you have the personality and work ethic of a successful teleworker. You must be able to answer 'yes' to the following: Are you well-organized? Are you disciplined and self-motivated? Do you consistently meet your goals? Are you proficient in information and communication technology (ITC)? Do you have great time-management and communication skills? Do you have a strong performance record? Do you have a supportive family? Do you have an area in your home that can be converted to office space? Have you made arrangements for childcare? Or are your children old enough to be self-sufficient? In addition, you'll need to answer 'no' to these: Do you need a lot of social interaction? Are you easily distracted? Do you need a lot of supervision? Risk #2: What will it cost? Telework depends on technology. A computer, printer, separate phone and fax lines, pager, cell phone. If you don't already have what you need, your employer should provide it. If you already own it, say so. Just be sure it's up-to-date and reliable. There are other costs too, such as long-distance phone calls that may have to be covered. Risk #3: How will I reach you? How will important clients get in touch? "Hello! You've reached the voice mailbox of... I'm teleworking today. Please leave a message and I'll call you back." What? After you've prepared the spaghetti sauce? Your boss needs to know you can be contacted at all times, especially if your work involves any kind of customer service. Explain that you'll have your calls forwarded to your home office and that you'll pick up. Make arrangements to check in with the office as frequently as your boss requires. You can suggest regular project updates by phone, fax or email; or a brief telephone check-in at the start and end of every work day. Whatever you agree on, make sure your boss knows you'll be as available at home as you were at the office. Now The Benefits. Benefit #1: Telework reduces absenteeism. In a study released in 1999, the International Telework Association and Council (I.T.A.C) concluded that healthy employees often miss work due to family and personal obligations that can only be met during the business day. Teleworkers are still able to get some work done, even on days when they have appointments to attend. Employers can save 63% of the cost of absenteeism per teleworking employee, or $2086 per employee per year. Benefit #2: Telework increases productivity.The I.T.A.C study reported an average productivity increase of 22% per day worked at home. Other studies show equally positive results: American Express teleworkers produce 43% more business than on-site workers; Compaq reported productivity increases ranging from 15 - 45%; JDEdwards teleworkers are 20 - 25% more productive than JDEdwards office workers and ATT teleworkers work five more hours at home than ATT office workers. Benefit #3: Telework increases employee retention. A key concept of telework is the ability to better balance work and family life. It's an option more and more employees are demanding. A telework arrangement allows the organization to increase employee satisfaction, morale and productivity. The I.T.A.C survey concluded that for every teleworker retained by the organization, the employer avoids a cost of replacing that employee of $7920 per worker. Benefit #4: Telework saves money. Lots of it. There are other cost savings too. Make sure your boss knows about them. Telework, according to PC Magazine, can cut corporate real estate costs by 25 - 90%. IBM US reportedly cut their costs by 40 - 60% and ATT has saved approximately $550 million since 1991 by eliminating or consolidating office space no longer needed. The Proposal. Now that you understand and can address your manager's concerns, you're well on your way to crafting a convincing proposal. Start by briefly reviewing the reasons you want to work at home. Concentrate on quality of life issues, and productivity. Although most mothers cite the ability to care for their children at home as a reason for wanting to telework, it's not one that's likely to win much approval from your boss. Spend more time outlining how your working at home can benefit the organization. Will your productivity increase? Will you free up office space? Can you work when others may not be able to? Make a case for yourself. Just as you would in a resume, stress the character traits, skills and accomplishments that make you the perfect candidate for telework. Next, address the logistics. Explain where and when you'll work. How many days a week? Whether you envision a return to the office at some point, or whether you see this as a more permanent arrangement. Suggest a schedule for checking in and provide your pager numbers, phone and fax numbers and email addresses. Show how you plan to remain a part of the team. Will you attend weekly meetings, for instance? Or will you offer to help out on-site during emergencies? Outline the equipment you already have, and anything else you may need to do your job efficiently. Explain that any costs will be more than offset by the savings. Try and quantify the work you do. How many hours do your projects take you to complete on-site? How many sales calls do you make or receive at the office? Using this information, offer your employer a list of reasonable work at home goals that can be used to evaluate the success of the arrangement. The Escape Hatch. Finally, if your boss still isn't comfortable with the idea, suggest a trial run. When Marie-France Revelin began working at home, it was on a part-time, trial basis, even though her job involved promoting telework within her own organization. An escape hatch also allows you a gracious way out if you decide you miss the social interaction of the office, or you find you're unable to separate work from family time. The Last Word... is "telework." The trend began with employees wishing to avoid a long commute and free up more time for personal pursuits. Consequently, the term used to describe it was "telecommute." Some experts think that part of the reason telecommuting has been slow to catch on with employers is that the term itself emphasized the personal benefits, rather than the benefits to the organization. Perhaps because it implies the accomplishment of business objectives, "telework" is the term to use today. Where "telecommuting" was about avoidance, "teleworking" is about accomplishment. Show your boss you're serious, use the right expression, and your dream of working at home will become a reality. Teleworking Resources: WAHM.com Jobs Page New teleworking jobs are added every day. Plus links to job search sites where you can search for jobs requiring your specific skills. www.telecommute.org Internet home of the International Telework Association and Council. (I.T.A.C) Use the pop-up list to navigate the site. Lots of great links and checklists. www.ivc.ca One of the most informative and comprehensive telework sites on the Internet. Articles and advice for teleworkers, telemanagers and wanna-be's. Well-designed and easy to navigate. www.joannepratt.com Joanne H. Pratt is the author of the I.T.A.C's 1999 telework survey. Her website is packed with information and advice, ranging from how to know if you'd make a good teleworker, to how to maintain a professional image when you work at home. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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