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IconExploring Working At Home Homebodies By Cheryl Gochnauer email: Cheryl@homebodies.org copy; 2000 As you might imagine, it's a rare day when I don't receive an e-mail regarding work-at-home prospects. Although stay-at-home parents are generally well-versed in stretching their dollars, sometimes it's helpful to examine options for generating extra cash while still focusing on family. A cardinal rule when seeking work-at-home prospects - NEVER pay anybody to give you a job. If someone promises to send you a list of money-making strategies "for only $10!", RUN. All you'll get is a letter advising placing the same sort of ad YOU fell for, along with a disconnected contact number. There are several legitimate companies, including respected firms like Mary Kay, and Discovery Toys, which require an initial investment to cover start-up costs. Be careful to realistically consider the potential buyers in your life and purchase only what you're sure you'll be able to sell. Otherwise, you'll end up with more than your share of great makeup, fun toys, snazzy kitchen utensils - and pressing inventory bills. I've found the most promising work-at-home leads usually emerge through networking with people you already know personally (friends/family/neighbors), socially (pastors/teachers/fellow volunteers) and professionally (business clubs/organizations/past co-workers). Best place to start - your former employer. Maybe your boss turned you down flat a couple of years ago, when you first offered to work from home. Even if you've already quit your job to become an at-home parent, consider putting together a proposal and asking again. In case you hadn't noticed, we're in the midst of a cultural revolution. The proliferation of home office equipment has split the marketplace wide open, dramatically multiplying the number of companies which allow employees to telecommute. Your boss might surprise you with a change of heart, welcoming help from an already-trained employee. Or try approaching different companies in your same field, linking up with a more family-friendly business. For instance, just because your former boss wouldn't hire you as a freelancer doesn't mean his competitors won't. Outsourcing is a profitable way of taking care of overflow work. Offer the skills needed, and you become a valuable commodity. Having a speedy computer, second phone line, fax machine and Internet access place you in the running for many work-at-home jobs. Take time to determine your strengths, then start pitching yourself to companies that can use your expertise. Don't forget to use the Web, exploring opportunities available online. To get you started, you might like to check out these websites for more info on working from home: Work-at-Home Moms Moms Network Cheryl and the rest of her Homebuddies like hanging out at the Homebodies message boards, talking about kids, finances and the at-home lifestyle. Join the discussions by visiting www.homebodies.org , and clicking on "Forums". Want to read more by Cheryl? Stop by her page at Homebodies www.homebodies.org/cheryl.htm where you can read her columns and get info on her at-home parenting books. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, Conscience, Character-Courage-Conscience, Values
IconWhatever Happened To The Welcome Wagon? By Debra Cohen My mother once told me a story about a group of women in our hometown whoused to ring the bell of new homeowners to deliver a welcome package ofproducts and flyers from local merchants as a way of introducing newcomersto their community they were called the Welcome Wagon. When my husband andI moved into our first home 6 years ago, I was five months pregnant andworking 50 hours per week. I longed for someone to knock on my door andoffer to help me find the best dry cleaner, restaurants and electricians inmy neighborhood. I was curious about what happened to the Welcome Wagon concept and realizedthat changes in our society precipitated its demise. For one, manyhouseholds are dual income and generally there isn't anyone home during thedaytime hours. I was also told, that many women who stayed at home duringthe day, were actually afraid of opening their door to a stranger. Andfinally, with our newfound distrust of unfamiliar mail and packages(especially here in NY) I have a feeling that most wouldn't even bring thepackage into their home. However, the need for the Welcome Wagon still exists and an ideal way tofill that niche is through a referral service business. I've seen referralnetworks set up successfully in hundreds of different communities across theUS (and even internationally) because they satisfy a universal need. Newhomeowners and even those who have lived in their community for severalyears are always interested in finding the best service providers in theirarea. Whether looking for a seamstress, a home improvement contractor or atutor for your child, a personal referral from someone who has taken thetime to do the necessary research is valued more than an ad in the YellowPages. Another appealing aspect to referral services is that they save time. Mosthomeowners are too busy handling the day-to-day aspects of work, family,bills, etc. to take on another time-consuming task. In order to feelconfident in hiring a service professional, homeowners need to verify theircredentials, check references and most importantly, feel satisfied withtheir personal integrity. A referral service not only takes on theseresponsibilities for homeowners but it can serve as a personal conciergeservice that assists in booking appointments and tracking customersatisfaction. For those who are searching for a unique business to run from home referralservices have emerged as a popular home based business for a variety ofreasons: They require low overhead. As opposed to a business where you needto stock and sell merchandise, referral services sell information. Theprimary expense associated with operating this type of business is inpromotion such as direct mail and advertising. Because a referral serviceoperates on a local basis, promotional campaign costs are minimal and bestof all; a great deal of business is generated through word of mouth. A referral service can be customized to suit your interests. If youenjoy renovating your home or have experience in that area, you can create ahome improvement referral service. If your background is in education,create a home tutoring referral service. There is also a niche for partyplanning referral services where homeowners can find entertainers, caterers,wait staff, etc. A referral service can be operated on a part time basis and, inlarge part, by telephone. If you're a stay at home parent, this is a veryattractive quality. While the Welcome Wagon as we once knew it may no longer exist, the need forthe services it used to provide to homeowners in communities across thecountry is still in demand. A referral service is an ideal way to fill thatniche while reaping the benefits of a rewarding and profitable home basedbusiness. Debra Cohen is President of Home Remedies of NY, Inc.--a Homeowner ReferralNetwork (HRN). Ms. Cohen is the author of a business manual entitled The CompleteGuide To Owning And Operating A Successful Homeowner Referral Network. For more information about starting an HRN in your area, visit the HRN website at www.homeownersreferral.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

IconSafety Home Address PVC address posts Steve and Jeanie Bosman www.safetyhomeaddress.com Safety Home Address is a home-based business started by Steve and Jeanie Bosman. They make products for convenient address identification, which supports Emergency - 911 responders. Safety Home Address products encourage rural residents to "Sign-up For Safety" making 911 responses easier. If you called 911, could they find you?Their main product, "The Guide Post" is 30" tall, 2.5 " square PVC post. The address markers have 3" reflective white numbers on two sides facing traffic. The American tribute address post adds stars and stripes and is called "Flag Post." As well as being an address post it is an icon expressing how the American flag, America and 911 responders have become so synonymous. More >>

IconKits n' Kaboodle Animal Herb Pillows Amy Ryan www.warmwhiskers.com Kits n' Kaboodle was founded by Amy Ryan who made the decision to leave the corporate world after giving birth to her children. Warm Whiskers is the company's first product line. They are heatable stuffed animals filled with buckwheat and lavender. The original designs are sewn in China but filled and finished locally by Pride Industries, a facility employing people with disabilities in Auburn, California. Amy loves not only being at home with her kids, but also working with the employees of Pride, because the products they create make people feel good. More >>

IconDaddy's Tools of the Trade Baby Changing Tool Belt for Daddy Leanne Stevenson www.bestbabyshower.com Bestbabyshower.com is owned and operated by Leanne Stevenson, a work-at-home mom. The company was started in 1998 with the product, "Daddy's Tools of the Trade" There is always the dilemma of what to get daddy for a baby shower. Worry no more... Tools of the Trade diaper changing tool belt is the ideal gift which is practical, tasteful, and useful, yet will add that touch of humor. Your new diaper changing tool belt comes stuffed with the following items: diapers, diaper cream, diaper wipes, disposable changing pad, diaper pins, hand sanitizer, cotton balls, cotton swabs goggles, nose clip and gloves There is even a bonus toy to distract the baby while Daddy is changing the diaper. All of these are conveniently located in one manly location. With this gift, Daddy will have NO excuse not to change the diapers! More >>

IconDoll's Fashions Doll Clothes Made From Your Kids' Outgrown Outfits Maria Duarte www.dollsfashions.com Doll's Fashions was started by Maria Duarte who's been a professional seamstress for over twenty years. She specializes in handmade clothing to fit 18" dolls (such as the American Girl Dolls). You send her your favorite outfit and she'll make a dress for your doll from your favorite outfit. Her most popular outfits are private-school uniforms, Holy Communion dresses and Girl-Scout uniforms. Can't bare growing out of that favorite dress? Don't worry, Maria will replicate that dress, and it will be preserved as doll clothes-forever! More >>

IconCap n' Go Kid's Hats Alicia Gray www.capngo.com Cap n' Go was founded by Alicia Gray. After her daughter was born, almost eight years ago, she desperately wanted to work at home. One fateful day, Alicia and her daughter were out doing errands. Her daughter was wearing a homemade hat. Everywhere they went people commented on the cute hat! From that, a business idea was born. She began making children's hats and selling them at local craft fairs. The response was tremendous. In 1996, pregnant with her second child, Alicia business suffered a setback when most of her house burned down and all inventory was lost. It took a year to recover from the devastation of the fire, but she pressed on and continued to create unique and original hats. All of these hats are extremely functional and many of the styles are reversible, have snap-on earmuffs and interchangeable bows. More >>

IconCuddle Baby Baby Diaper Covers Rebecca Clark www.cuddlebaby.com Cuddle Baby began in 1997 by Rebecca and Michelle who wanted to stay at home with their children. All of the products are designed and manufactured at home. Cuddle Baby features custom nursing and breastfeeding clothing, diaper covers in hundreds of fabric selections, toys accessories and much more. More >>

IconBlissful Blankets for babies, children, and adults! Camille www.blissfulblankets.com Blissful Blankets blends simple design with high-tech fibers to create blankets that are soft, durable and useful all year long. The blankets are good for camping, road trips, vegetating in front of the TV or sitting on the porch on a summer evening. Blissful blankets offers foot cozy blankets, throws, travel blankets and much more. More >>

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