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IconWork Less and Earn More by Joan Sotkin Mary B. is a talented graphic artist. For years, she worked for a large corporation where her work was appreciated. Yet she yearned to be in business for herself. In September, 1995, she took the plunge and opened an independent graphic arts studio. Unlike many new entrepreneurs, Mary had a large enough bank account to survive for six months with a minimum amount of income. She also had many contacts from the corporate world that she could use to establish her customer base. Mary was in great shape to start her own business. Mary knew she was in a good position for success. She was also very conscientious and wanted to make sure that she did everything possible to make her business work. She put in long hours on the phone, going to networking meetings and planning her marketing. She wrote articles for local publications, volunteered her time when she had something to offer, and even appeared as a guest on a local talk show that had a business focus. When she did work for a client, Mary often worked to exhaustion to get the job done as quickly as possible. Mary began to realize that something was out of balance. Her whole life was wrapped around her business, and, although she had created a positive cash flow, she was no where near her earning potential. After a year in business, she was exhausted and constantly worried about where her next client was coming from. What Mary needed was to learn to let go and allow her life to happen -- rather than pushing to make it happen. She also needed to see her work as something she did during the day and not what defined her as a person. Although it was scary at first, Mary learned to set boundaries. She established specific hours that she would work. During the week, she limited herself to eight or nine work-related hours per day. Weekends were for her, not for the business, unless she chose to take a day off during the week. She set aside days that were specifically for her spiritual growth. During these days, business of any sort was entirely off limits.During the hours designated for work, Mary often took people breaks: having lunch with a friend, meeting with another graphic artist, talking to a far-away friend. She learned to have short breaks within her workday when she would focus on something other than her work. Mary also learned to spend 10 to 15 minutes each morning and 20 to 30 minutes every night, sitting quietly and letting her mind slow down. After a few months, she began doing specific meditation techniques. Because Mary had more time for herself, she started exercising regularly and found her energy levels increased rapidly. The big change for Mary was learning to let go in order for her business to take shape by itself. If she really wanted to go to networking meetings to be with other people she did. But she didn't push as hard to get new clients. Whenever she felt the fear of not earning enough coming up, she learned to take deep breaths and not take any overt action. Mary was amazed at the results of her new approach to life. It didn't take long for enjoyable projects to come her way. New clients started coming as a result of referrals rather than her marketing efforts. Within a few months, she was able to vendor out some of the work that came her way so that she could earn more without putting in extra hours. Mary also noticed that her business was moving in a new direction -- one she could not have foreseen if she kept plugging away and doing everything she thought she had to do before. Mary learned to take care of herself and her life became a reflection of that care. The less she pushed to make her business happen, the easier it was for it to support her. Mary's new-found trust in herself and how life works paid off for her. Mary never stopped paying attention to her business. She also had clear income goals and a picture in her mind of what she wanted her life to look like. What she stopped doing was pushing to create what she wanted in the way she thought she had to do it. She let herself believe that she could have what she wanted and let her life take shape. When we aim for a goal, if we don't take pauses in order for the energy of our life to reshape itself, everything we do comes from a previously known point of view. In order for something new to take form, we have to give it time for the energies to gather -- and shape themselves. What we have to do is not do anything and give our creation room to breathe. It may look like goofing off, but there is a lot going on deep within our creative being. Try taking longer pauses in your life. If you find the concept frightening, ask yourself what you are afraid of. Don't let the actions you take come from fear. Let them come from knowing that the action is the right one to take. That knowing can only come from a silent space that you create by not doing. Joan Sotkin is the creator of ProsperityPlace.com , author of "Build Your Money Muscles:9 Simple Exercises for Creating Wealth Prosperity" and "Prosperity Is an Inside Job" and publisher of Prosperity Tips, a free monthly ezine. Visit ProsperityPlace.com .Copyright copy;2003 by Joan Sotkin. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

IconBusiness on a Shoestring By Kelley Watt I run my own business and what I love about it is that it didn#146;t cost any money to start, I set my own schedule around my family and it pays well. This business allows you to make money by charging whatever fee you feel is appropriate for your time and research. And, it is both fulfilling andfun.. I do textbook reviews and speak to community groups and organizations about the content of the books their children are using. You#146;d be surprised at thenumber of errors and important facts missing. The textbooks I am referring to are the one's provided by your public schools to teach your children. I began this business quite by accident in the winter of 1991. I went to pick up my elementary school aged son and arrived a little early. I noticedin the hallway a stack of books and thought it was a book fair. So I began looking through them and then noticed that they were all math books. Tomake a long story short, the principal of the school approached me and told me that I was not allowed to look at the books (which were positioned outside the school cafeteria in the hallway). I asked why, what were they and he replied "They are books up for adoption by the school district. Mathbooks.#148; He left, and my curiosity got the best of me so I started reading them again. He came over and told me he would call the police if I did not stop looking at the books. Being threatened for arrest for looking at a bookthat my son would be using the following year really got my attention. I knew something was wrong with this picture so to speak. That incident was the beginning of my journey. I started going to the school district and asking to look at textbooks. I was particularly interested in seeing what reading books were being used. The school administrative services office gave me a stack of books to read which were currently being read by first graders (I figured I#146;d start off with first grade and go up from there) and was shockedat what I found. The constant theme was to reward the characters in the stories for disobeying authority, whether it be; parent, grandparent, teacher, etc. After reading the first grade texts (the children would go through 5 books in the course of the year) I was fascinated with what I was discovering and wanted to tell other parents. It didn't take long for me to become known as the local "expert" and was soon being called to speak aroundtown followed by national requests. It's been very rewarding because it alerted me to, if nothing else, the need to remove my children from public education and enroll them in a private school (one that did not receivestate or federal money). I have met people from around the country who have the same passion and interest as I do. Speaking fees range from $25.00 to $250 an hour, plus travel expenses, depending on the size of the crowd and who issponsoring my speaking engagement. Even if you do it as supplemental incomeit really adds up and since very few people in the US are doing textbook reviews you will definitely get speaking engagements. There was a group outof Longview, Texas called "The Gablers" who were the first group to do textbook reviews. You can send off for their reviews for a minimum fee and speak directly from that if that suits you better. For example, go to your school and ask for a geography book then write to the Gablers and see ifthey have done a review on that particular book, if they have, read it and speak out publicly. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

IconWriting Your Own Ticket By Leanne Ely There are plenty of women all over the country who would love to say, "I ama stay-at-home mom." Reality on the other hand, and the unpaid stack ofbills that greet the family each and every month, may not always give allwomen this opportunity. But that doesn't mean that's that--there are otherways to walk around that obstacle. Working from home could be the answer you're looking for. Working from homecan mean just about anything--from selling vitamins from a catalogue, ordoing medical transcribing, or doing something a little more unusual like Idid. Let me first say that my story is quite different and not the "norm". Andwhile you may look at what I do as being unattainable, the point is in thestory--not what I do. There is a good lesson to be learned no matter whatyour goals are. All my adult life, I've been into food. I cooked in a restaurant, started myown catering company and taught cooking classes. In the fight to keep mylittle ones healthy, I became a nutritionist. Finally, I wrote a book twoyears ago called Healthy Foods that got picked up by a small publisher. Iworked like a dog to get that book to take off and it finally did. Dr. Lauraeven featured it as a Book of the Week. Still, I wasn't bringing home the bacon as much as I wanted or needed to. SoI started teaching classes at the local junior college and sold my books tomy students in my classes and got paid for teaching, too. I wrote articlesfor various publications and got paid for my efforts. I wormed my way into afood writing job for a newspaper and got my own column. I kept writing, keptgetting paid--a little here, a little there, it all added up and helped. Aday didn't go by where I wasn't looking for other avenues to publish mywork. One of my projects was (and still is) a free ezine called Healthy-Foods: join-healthy-foods@ds.xc.org . People write me regularly telling mehow much they love my recipes and tips. I also write for FlyLady giving FlyLady's ladies recipes and tips in my Foodfor Thought column. One day, Marla Cilley, the FlyLady asked me to give theladies on her list a menu for the week with a bunch of crockpot recipes. Ithought throwing a grocery list in there would make it even better and I wasright. It was a huge hit, but it was also a LOT of work. The ladies clamoredfor more. One day my husband said to me, "Why don't you just CHARGE for it?"That resonated in my brain, and Menu-Mailer wasborn. The lesson here is one of perseverance. When you hang tough doing what it isyou love to do, using your God-given talents and abilities, and believing inyourself, miracles happen. For me, it's been an adventure and I've beenblessed to be able to write my own ticket. But the only reason that is so isbecause I worked very hard and pulled out the paper and the pen and wrote itmyself. You can write your own ticket, too. Make an assessment--figure out what itis YOU want to do, what your natural abilities and gifts are and startbuilding goals from there. Then don't back down! Stay dedicated to yourcause and keep your eye on the prize. It's worth the fight! Leanne Ely is the host of the radio show, Heart of a Woman. She is also theeditor of Menu-Mailer , the answer to that perplexing question, "What's forDinner?" and the author of the upcoming book,Menu-Mailer by the Book (Ballantine, 2003) as well as Healthy Foods(Champion Press, 2001) and The Frantic Family Cookbook (Champion Press,2002). Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

IconThe Millionaire Pattern How many times will you spend money today? Maybe 4-5? How many times will you save money today? Millionaires view expenditures differently than others do. They treat every dollar as a money seed. They know a dollar a day can grow into a million dollars. And they don#146;t just get a discount. They take the money saved and put into something that will create more income for them in the future. Want to reduce your expenditures? Make a plan for what you will spend for at least the next 90 days. Then, every week and at the beginning of every month, review your actual expenditures against your plan. Make adjustments as needed. On a daily basis, invest an extra minute#151;a Millionaire Minute, in each money transaction. Look at a couple of options. Don#146;t buy the first one, unless you just know in your gut, that#146;s the one. Ask for a discount, even if the store or seller isn#146;t offering one. All they can do is say no. Your exercise today is to note each time you spend money. At the end of the day, write in your journal how much you saved from today#146;s transactions. Then, make a conscious decision, #147;What will I do with those savings?#148; If it#146;s useful to you, do this daily until you have established the Millionaire Pattern. Copyright copy;2002 Millionaire Eagles. All rights reserved.Contact Robert G. Allen at boballen@robertallen.com or visit his website at www.robertallen.com for more information. Permission granted for this article for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

IconWhat If You Could Duplicate Yourself? Debra Cohen www.homeownersreferral.com Imagine yourself as the owner of a thriving home based business. Your phone is ringing off the hook and there is a much greater demand for your product or service than you had anticipated. Soon, there are not enough hours in the day to complete all of the work and your business is taking valuable time away from your family (which was one of the reasons you decided to work from home in the first place!). It is a nice problem to have but what do you do? Many home based business owners are faced with that exact problem. While it's thrilling to see your business succeed, it's sometimes impossible to keep up the pace when you're the only employee. Ultimately, the quality of your service or product may suffer not to mention the toll that a home based business can take on your family life. The solution isn't to work harder; it's to 'duplicate yourself' so that other people can be trained to work like you. Convert your existing business into an easy to follow, step-by-step procedure manual. By systemizing the way that you work and documenting your business procedures, you can then market your business as a turnkey system for others to follow. And, with other satellite businesses like yours in place, you'll be able to refer work to them as opposed to trying to manage it all on your own. Six years ago, I launched a contractor referral business and within six months, had more clients than I could handle. If I continued to try to satisfy the workload, the quality of my service would have suffered, not to mention, my family life. I realized that not only was there a universal demand for my business service but other entrepreneurs were interested in a referral business concept so I decided to document my system so that others could duplicate this type of service in their area. If you think that there is a market for your business concept, the first step is to test the market. For instance, assuming that your business will appeal to other stay-at-home moms, conduct an informal market survey online and/or in local papers or magazines which are well read by other moms. You can run a short ad promoting your business opportunity and gauge the response. If there's an interest be sure to keep the names of those who contact you for future reference (of course!). Once you're confident that there's a demand for your business model it's time to start systemizing your business and documenting each step in detail. Take note of your day-to-day procedures, billing, customer service policy, advertising and promotion, public relations campaign as well as any insurance and licensing issues pertaining to your business. You should even tape record conversations with customers and suppliers so that you can document them in easy to follow dialogues for others to use as a guide. Imagine your reader to be a first time business owner with no previous experience and it's your job to teach them everything about your business from how to set up a home office to how to complete a cash flow statement. After documenting your procedures, select someone who isn't acquainted with your business to read through your manual. Your familiarity with your business may have caused you to overlook aspects of running it that need to be explained more clearly to a layperson. You can hire a business consultant to help you with the process or look into free business resources such as SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) or a local SBDC (Small Business Development Center). That person can also help you determine how to creatively package and set a price for your business product based on earning potential not to mention the quality of your materials. Finally, when your business manual is edited, bound and ready for sale, it's time to start promoting it to your target audience. Begin with the list of names you put together in step one and then expand to other media which are well read by aspiring entrepreneurs looking for a home based business. Duplicating yourself, and ultimately your business, will not only allow you to divest yourself of the work you're unable to handle but it will also help expand the profit center of your business. Best of all, it will enable you to share your home business success with other aspiring entrepreneurs. Debra Cohen is President of Home Remedies of NY, Inc.--a Homeowner Referral Network (HRN) which has served more than 500 residents of Nassau County, New York. Ms. Cohen is also author of a business manual entitled The Complete Guide To Owning And Operating A Successful Homeowner Referral Network , which is sold individually or as part of an HRN Business Package. To date, Ms. Cohen has assisted more than 225 other entrepreneurs launch successful HRN's all over the globe. For more information about starting an HRN in your area, visit the HRN website at www.homeownersreferral.com or contact Ms. Cohen directly at (516) 374-8504. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

IconHome Office Management for Parents: 7 Tips for Managing Your Time copyright 2002, Debbie Williams As a home business owner you can budget your finances, create whiz-bang proposals, and effectively maintain a client list. But when it comes to working with unauthorized personnel, those under twenty and less than five feet tall, your mind draws a blank. The thought of your three-year-old picking up the phone and sharing her philosophy of life gives you the shudders, and you're not quite sure how to balance family time with productive work time. Use these 7 tips for managing your time, and effectively limit interruptions from your own residential staff. Set office hours and stick to them. Post this list on your frige or bulletin board where your family can see it, and remind yourself to close up shop at the appointed hour. Being accessible 24/7 is not the road to success if you are spreading yourself so thin that your family barely recognizes you and your phone rings around the clock. Focus on work during office hours, and then transition into parent and spouse mode at the end of your day. Performing a simple ritual such as closing your office door, straightening your desk, or making tomorrow's to do list will help you move from worker to parent in a simple but effective way, even if your commute home is just down the stairs or across the kitchen. Close the door and walk away, or put up a decorative folding screen to block the view of works in progress. If you walk by your home office or desk piled high with reports, it's hard to focus on what your family needs from you. Although many of us can and do multi-task quite well, it's fairly impossible to concentrate on everything equally well -- something you hear and respond to will suffer in the process. Mentally hang a CLOSED sign on your office door, and resist the urge to reopen for "just one more thing". Your family will thank you for it! Establish boundaries: create a "do not touch" pile or "do not enter" zone in your work area. Determine how much input you need from the members of your family when it comes to work, and let them know what you expect from them. If you allow your four-year-old daughter to color at your desk so you can keep her nearby, then don't be surprised when she colors your sales report or presentation handouts. Consider making a niche or small desk for her to use as her own office, complete with office supplies. Be sure to instruct her in the use of your office, such as what is usable and what is not allowed so that there are no future misunderstandings. If you do not want anyone in your work area under any circumstances, then tell your family your wishes up front. Don't wait until there is a disaster to notify them of the rules. One of my clients made her rules crystal clear by hanging a construction paper sign on her door: Stop Sign meant do not come in under any circumstances (work in progress). A yellow Smiley face meant come on in and keep me company- let's work together. Create phone rules such as: no talking allowed, use an inside voice, or whisper when mom or dad is on the phone, screen calls during melt downs or family time, do not allow children or unauthorized persons to answer your business line or only with instruction. Early in my business as a professional organizer, I instructed my husband and my young son to whisper while I was on the phone. Not only does this prevent unwanted background noises during a business call, but it also teaches them to respect your privacy when talking with a client. And since I work from home and often choose to answer my phone near them, I am respecting their need to carry on a conversation. Screening your phone calls during temper tantrums (and we're talking about your kids here, not you!) helps you focus on home matters when they need to be a top priority-- don't worry about the caller; if it's important, he'll call back or leave a message. Use caller i.d. to your advantage-- I have a unit on every phone in my house. Unless you have older children or phone savvy spouses, I recommend that you don't allow anyone else to answer your business line. Even if your family member answers professionally, you may not be ready to speak with a potential client or answer an important question at the moment, and don't need to put them on the spot as a gatekeeper. When you're elbow deep in diaper changes or mediating a fight among siblings, the last thing you need is to switch gears and speak to someone wanting to sponsor your sales conference! Choose wisely. Assemble a quiet Activity Box during special times such as phone calls, writing time, or during times when you need to really focus on your work. If your children are infants are toddlers, stash toys in a milk crate or wicker basket and pull these out before returning phone calls or sitting down to balance your checkbook. Preschoolers love looking at books or creating masterpieces with markers, and these should be used only during special times. Older children might enjoy watching a video or working with modeling clay, and that usually provides you with 15 minutes or so of uninterrupted time (if you're lucky). If all else fails, just tell your little Junior Partner that Daddy needs a few minutes to finish working on a very important project, then set the kitchen timer and place it in view but well out of reach. When the timer rings, the coast is clear and it's time for some family time with Dad. Use Kid Multiplication when all else fails: give them 10 and get back 20. It's amazing how perceptive our sons and daughters can be when it comes to sensing stress. Quite often, children are like barometers, and taking a break when they suggest it is just what the stress doctor ordered. If none of your tricks work, then it's time to just set the work aside, take a short break, and read a story or work a puzzle. Tell a joke, have a snack, or plan a slumber party. Your child will let you know when he's had enough, and before long will be back at building towers and fighting aliens. After a short kid-break, you'll be rested and ready to get back to work for a few more minutes. I've seen this magically happen time and time again, both with the clients I work with and in my own home. I guess it's fair to say that if you just can't beat them, join them. Work WITH not AGAINST your kids' schedule by utilizing naptimes or when they are in school. This is probably the best advice I can give to anyone working from home, especially if you are just launching your home business. Trying to force your family's schedule to fit into your mold creates tension and upheaval. If your children are young, work when they are napping or after they go to sleep at night. As they grow older, you can do a little work when they are having a snack at the table or in their highchair. Then when the kids arrive home from school or your spouse walks in from a busy day at the office, it's time to take a break and become the best mom or dad you can possibly be. In Summary When the kids are awake needing your attention and affection, it's time to evaluate your priorities and determine how much you will be available to cater to their needs and desires. This is something that every parent has to figure out for himself-- there is no magic formula. But I do know that eventually you will figure out the right balance for you and your family. You can choose the easy route, by keeping the lines of communication open and reassessing the rules on a regular basis, or take the bumpy road and work around the clock making your family resent you and your business. But the journey can be rewarding and filled with wonderful adventures- happy motoring to you!Debbie Williams is an author, speaker and organizing strategist who offers toolsand training to help you put your house in order. Learn more at www.organizedtimes.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

IconKids Entrepreneurs Running the Family Homeschooling Biz By Rebekah Callihan, 20 years old Looking back over the past year and nine months, the events I#146;ve had the opportunity to be involved in are starting to fit like pieces of a puzzle in a way I#146;ve never experienced before. An entrepreneur was never something I saw myself becoming. Sure, I guess selling rabbits with a big sign on the side of the road outside of our house would be considered a (very) small business. Beyond this, however, starting and building a business was not on the top of my #147;to do#148; list. My older brother, Jeremiah, younger sister, Katie, and I have been involved since the beginning in the production of the book written by our parents ( The Guidance Manual for the Christian Homeschool: A Parent#146;s Guide to Preparing Home School Students for College or Career , Career Press, 2000-2002). As the publisher#146;s deadline got closer, Mom and Dad didn#146;t feel they#146;d ever be able to finish the book with all the daily chores of life they normally took on. After a brief family meeting, Jeremiah, Katie and I each assigned ourselves to take over the cooking, cleaning the house, and home schooling our two younger brothers, Josiah and Wesley. Even though our names aren#146;t on the cover of the published book, Mom often reminds us of the contribution we gave to make it come together. Early in the spring of 2001, my parents were getting ready to make their rounds as second-year authors and speakers to the home schooling community. It was time to think over the different products they would provide for the homeschool market. They always prefer to make available as many of the different curricula and reference materials they themselves have come to rely on from their experience as home schooling parents. However, this year they realized that they were just not in a place to fund the distribution of all their favorite resources. While discussing the different options for the upcoming events we#145;d be attending, it came up that Jeremiah, Katie, and I, through working at our local Christian bookstore, probably had more extra money to invest into the business than Mom and Dad did at the moment. As the discussion deepened and thoughts churned, the idea surfaced that we could invest in the family business ourselves. Mom and Dad offered a proposal to us for buying the book distribution portion of the business. We would take over all the sales and bills for the rest of the homeschool conventions that we#146;d be traveling to over the Spring/Summer season. Once we had a break in all the travel, we would evaluate and see how to continue. Since Mom and Dad were already booked to be speakers at each of the conventions we#146;d be attending, we had free marketing right off the bat. It was at this point that my eyes began to open to see the chain of events that came together to provide for this opportunity. Jeremiah, at this time, was finishing up his freshman year at college as a business major. For him, building a business would be an excellent experience, and for us, having him with some business knowledge would offer insight in different areas of the pursuit. Katie and I were working full time at our local Christian bookstore (Jeremiah was also working weekends there). And though it was very fulfilling to be serving the Christian community through my job, it wasn#146;t always as enjoyable as I had expected. Now, however, the numerous hours I had spent at Sacred Melody Bookstore began to have a clear purpose in my life. Working full time at the store was the provision for the capital that opened the door to this opportunity. But not only that, the experience and knowledge in areas of product information, marketing schemes, customer service and accounting responsibilities (that a business in book sales cannot survive without), was provided to each of us through this period. I would have the chance to use what I#146;d learned recently at the store, be traveling with my family (giving me the chance to build my relationships with them), and offer resources and insight to home schoolers in many different areas across North America. Now, I must confess, this new pursuit was definitely not without distraction and discouragement. Trials came up for me personally with work schedules, other commitments, fear of failure, etc. I know Katie and Jeremiah also had similar doubts of ever succeeding, but I believe by pressing through these roadblocks we all defined our faith and developed our determination. Though discouragement arose, I never failed to see that this was a true vision that would lead to prosperity. Our convention season has quieted down, and we are at the moment on a break from the road. The options for continuing keep pouring in however. The business is growing, and provides for my family and me in many ways. Yes, I am talking monetarily, but I consider myself to have gained an abundance of riches from the blessing we#146;ve been able to give to and receive from others. ### Bio: Rebekah Callihan is the daughter of David and Laurie Callihan, authors of The Guidance Manual for the Christian Homeschool: A Parent#146;s Guide to Preparing Home School Students for College or Career , and the Christian Homeschool Student Planner and Parent#146;s Guide . She is one of five siblings, Katie, 18; Jeremiah, 21; Josiah, 17; and Wesley, 15. Rebekah graduated from home school in 2000, and all five kids were homeschooled from birth. They, however, did attend a private Christian school for a couple of years where Laurie served as one of their teachers. Rebekah is now a junior nursing student at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY. Though not official, her love for children has led her to focus on the area of pediatric nursing. Rebekah hopes to one day be able to serve in the mission field as a nurse. The Callihan#146;s homeschooling resources are found at www.davidandlaurie.com ; the Callihan children#146;s business arm of David and Laurie#146;s homeschooling business is Home Education Learning Products and Services (H.E.L.P.S.) , a name that the children themselves thought up. When the opportunity arose for Jeremiah, Rebekah, and me to buy my parents business, I was, at first, purely skeptical. Was I really prepared to sustain another project, another responsibility, another risk at this point in my life? In the days following, I met with my siblings, and we estimated the ramifications. All things considered, the positives exceeded the negatives. Even if we lost all material assets the very idea of being of service to our parents was incentive to press forward. As we proceeded, my doubts were proven deficient. Through this adventure I was able to spend simple valuable moments conversing #147;business#148; matters with my siblings and working out "glitches" with my parents. -- By Katie Callihan, 18 years old My parents had to have faith that homeschooling was how God wanted them to educate their children, and that He would help them in the process. They had to have courage to go against the norm of society by not sending their children to the normal institutional schools. They also had to have a vision. We have been struggling to start our family business for the last seven years. We would have quit six years ago had it not been for that vision and the faith and courage that go with it. We are now being given an opportunity to take ownership of the sacrifices our parents have made for us. We children have been given the awesome opportunity to exercise that same faith, courage, and vision as we work with the homeschooling community. -- By Jeremiah Callihan, 21 years old More >>

IconFreelance Writing 101 by Leslie Godwin, MFCC www.LeslieGodwin.com Would you love to earn a living as a writer, but don't know how to take the first steps toward getting paid to write? Do you see yourself typing away at the kitchen table after your kids are off to school writing something that engages your imagination and lets you touch others with your stories? Many of us who enjoy writing have at one time or another fantasized aboutgetting published. But most people who write for the love of it never getpaid for their efforts. And in many cases, it's not due to a lack oftalent. There are two main reasons that many good writers don't get paid to write.The first is they don't understand the business side of writing. The other is they get discouraged by the first few rejection letters, and give up before they sell their first article or book. So how can an amateur writer overcome these obstacles and make the leap tobeing a published writer? The Business of Writing It's a Catch-22, explains Susan Carrier, a freelance writer for more than a decade. You can't get published until you get published. So anything you can do to get published is a good place to get started. One place to start might be pitching one or more topics of local interest to the editor of your community newspaper. Susan didn't have any writing credits when she decided to quit the job she'd held as a marketing manager for Pacific Bell for a dozen years to become a full-time mom. When her daughter was four years-old, she wanted to work part-time from home and thought that freelance writing might be the perfect solution, since it would provide a lot of flexibility, didn't require a capital investment, and she thought it would be more personally satisfying than some of the other business ideas she'd considered. Plus, Susan didn't have to replace an existing income right away, since she had been a full-time mom and wife for the last four years."I had sent out dozens of query letters the first year I decided to become a freelance writer, and the only response I got were rejections. I thought, what if I write a whole essay? That way the editor can see more of my work. So I wrote 'Grandmother's Garden,' a story about how I recreated my grandmother's garden in my backyard. I sent it to the Los Angeles Times with a picture of my daughter in the garden and the editor loved it." Now that she was published, Susan a had a copy of the article, or clip, to include with future query letters. Clips prove that an editor thought her writing was good enough to publish and this makes her less of a risk to other editors considering her work. Write What You Know for a Publication You Know Your niche can be an area of professional experience. If you are abookkeeper, you might write a series of money management articles for yourlocal newspaper. If you don't have a professional background, considerwriting about an experience that others would find interesting or helpful. A woman I met in a writing class was working on a book about her experience as a young German girl living through WWII. She described bombing raids that caused her family to evacuate their Berlin apartment, as well as her confusion caused by praying during the war as a child for the Germans to win, only to find out later about Nazi atrocities which made her thankful her country was defeated. She had a compelling story and told it in a suspenseful way. What experiences have you had that would touch others? What publicationsfit your idea for an article? Or would you like to write a book about your area of expertise? Susan decided early on that she wanted to write for Sunset magazine. She had read Sunset for years, and was very familiar with the tone of the magazine and the kind of articles they published. If you want to increase your chances of getting published, take notes as you brainstorm so you'll have more than one idea to follow up with if you get a rejection at first. Persistence Pays Off "I got a form rejection letter the first time I sent them a query. The next one resulted in a more personalized rejection letter. By the third or fourth pitch, I was getting hand-written notes saying we're not doing this now, but keep trying. I didn't wait long after getting a rejection letter before I sent my next pitch." Most novice writers think that better writers are going to beat them out for the next writing job. Actually, the writer with the smallest ego and the most persistence is most likely to win that job. Yes, you have to have writing skills. It's also important to hone your skills by taking classes, getting lots of feedback, and simply writing. But the good writer who keeps sending out query letters will get more jobs than the great writer who doesn't. Karen E. Klein, freelance writer for the Los Angeles Times ,businessweek.com, and both Newsday and newsday.com, started freelancewriting 15 years ago. She typed up articles on her DOS-based computerbefore modems and cell phones existed so she could stay home with her newbaby. Karen's advice to new writers is to... be persistent. Keeppitching. Rejections don't mean your writing stinks. It's critical not to take rejections personally. You might have simply pitched something that publication ran three months ago. Karen recommends reading a publication for six months to really get to know it. Karen advises, "If you're unknown, go to the front of the magazine andnotice the brief blurbs. They're about 150 to 300 words. Come up with anidea for one of those short pieces. In some magazines, there are pieceslike that in the back, too." A magazine I've been studying, Family Circle , has short pieces in the front called Circle This. And the last page is an essay called Full Circle. I can see they use freelancers because each article includes a brief bio of the author in italics. RESOURCES FOR FREELANCE WRITERS San Marino Public Library www.Sanmarinopl.org offers free access to the archives of the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor. Writers Market Lists contacts for many publications, as well as informationabout whether they use freelance writers, if new writers should submitqueries, and other helpful tips. IWOSC Provides service and support for professional, self-employed writersand those wishing to become freelance writers. The Web site has anexcellent reference list of resources for writers: www.iwosc.org Writers Guild of America A national organization for writers: www.wga.org Writers Weekly www.writersweekly.com Karen Klein's website www.kareneklein.com Take the First Step You may need to keep your day job a while, or if you're a stay-at-home mom, you may need to be frugal a little longer. In either case, commit tospending a certain amount of time, like an hour three times a week, writing drafts and doing research. Join, or start, a writer's group. Take a writing class. Then, focus on one or two publications, get to know themwell, and keep generating ideas that you consistently form into queryletters. You'll eventually be in the right place at the right time. Andonce you have one clip, you'll have credibility that will help you in yournext pitch. Leslie Godwin, MFCC, is a Career Life-Transition Coach specializing inhelping people put their families, faith, and principles first when makingcareer and life choices. Leslie is the author of the new book, "From Burned Out to Fired Up: A Woman's Guide to Rekindling the Passion and Meaning in Work and Life" published by Health Communications, Inc.. For more information, go to www.LeslieGodwin.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

Icon22 Ways to Earn an Extra Million By Robert G. Allen Mark Victor Hansen S Invest $1 a day at 5% for 100 years. T Invest $1 a day at 10% for 56 years. O Invest 1$ a day at 15% for 40 years. C Invest $1 a day at 20% for 32 years. K Invest $10 a day (about $300 per month) at 20% for 20 years. S Invest about $850 a month at 20% for 10 years. P Flip one house a year for 35K Profit and invest the money at 20% for 10 years. R Buy and rent out ONE house a year for 15 years. (Assuming 15-year mtg. 5% Apprec.) O Buy and rent out TEN houses in one year and hold for ten years. (15-year mtg. 5% app.) P Buy one million-dollar apartment building a year for 7 to ten years. E Flip one million-dollar property a year for $200,000 profit for 5 years in a row. R Buy 5 million-dollar apartment buildings and hold for 2-3 years. T Buy one 5 million-dollar building and hold for 2-3 years. Y Buy one very large building and flip it for a million dollars in one year. B Market a widget and net $100,000 a year for ten years. U Market a widget and net $200,000 a year for 5 years. S Market a widget and net $500,000 a year for 2 years. I Market one million widgets for $1 profit. N Market 100,000 widgets for a 10$ profit. E Market 10,000 widgets for $100 profit. S Market 1,000 widgets for $1,000 profit. S Market 100 widgets for $10,000 profit. copy; 2001 Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen. Contact Robert G. Allen at boballen@robertallen.com or visit his website at www.robertallen.com . Permission granted for this excerpt from the forthcoming blockbuster, The One Minute Millionaire with Mark Victor Hansen, for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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