Start-Ups and Balance

A year ago, Laura Deutsch, a 33-year-old New York teacher, was home on maternity leave after the birth of her first child when an idea for a new business came to her. These days, her company, Baby Bites NYC, runs 25 events a month for new and expectant moms. Her business has been featured on The Today Show, Montel Williams and in Newsweek.

"My business has completely changed my life," Deutsch explains. "Owning a business that helps women make the transition to motherhood is a thrill. But there is no longer a clear division between work and the rest of my life. I have to make myself stop work at some point each day or I would keep working and working, and I make it a point to have quality time with my family each night."

"Balance" between kids, work, household chores and family time is hard enough even when both parents have stable, predictable work schedules. But what happens when one parent makes a job change to start a new business? According to the Small Business Administration, between 500,000 and 600,000 start-ups get going each year, there are 25.8 million "small" businesses in the United States, and 71 percent of self-employed U.S. workers are married.

Starting a business is many people's dream. But I can only imagine the havoc wreaked at home.

Sunday's Washington Post included The Art of the Successful Franchise filled with tips from a former teacher, like Laura Deutsch, who launched a business focused on meeting the needs of moms and children. In Start-Ups and Spouses (subscription or fee required), The Wall Street Journal offers some excellent practical advice:

* Make a plan and talk it over
* Set limits on financial and time investments
* Line up other sources of income in case of emergencies
* Don't bring a spouse on board immediately
* Take turns being the entrepreneur (so you're not both starting-up at the same time -- but make sure both partners get a turn pursuing their dream)

Have you -- or your spouse -- started a business? Tell us about the successes and mistakes and what you learned from them. Would you do it again? Can balance and starting a business go together? Are there ways to find more balance when you are self-employed?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  May 2, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Conflicts
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Comments

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First

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 7:25 AM

Second Again, Dammit

Posted by: Jack Bauer | May 2, 2007 7:40 AM

I will be here by 10 o'clock!

Posted by: The Shark | May 2, 2007 7:42 AM

We have talked about starting on own business, but that's all. My brother- and sister-in-law both have their own businesses. It does provide a bit more flexibility for him, though it appears to be more limited as to how frequently he can "flex". My sister-in-law's schedule is very flexible -- to an extent. She's a massage therapist and so can arrange appointments around known needs, but if there's a sick child, it's a bit of a dance.

I admire people who start their own businesses. If anyone knows of a website or resource that lists mom-owned businesses, I would like to know about it.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 2, 2007 7:43 AM

Some of you all remember my story-- being a stay at home mom, then being the working parent with my husband being the stay-at-home dad. For the last half year or so, we have both been working-- my husband at a startup with no pay and LONG hours (60-70 hours per week, sometimes more). It has been a huge shock to our previously balanced life.

His startup is promising, in a good field and with a good patent, and it looks like they will get funding in the near future. If that happens I will be taking leave from my job to take care of my little ones again.

This is not how we envisioned balance for our family but it is what we need to do right now.

Posted by: Neighbor | May 2, 2007 8:04 AM

I don't have a small-business nor have I ever had one (unless you call cutting the grass for some neighbors when I was young a small business) but the advice above includes "Set limits on financial and time investments"

Um, if you are the business and you need to work, if you don't the business fails. I would think having a small-business means less flexibility. At my job, if I'm not here, somebody else can do the work. If I own my own business, if I'm not there much of the work (I assume) can't get done.

Posted by: Father of 2 | May 2, 2007 8:12 AM

A topic that hits close to home! Thanks, Leslie!

Starting your own business can ABSOLUTELY provide more balance. I started mine when my daughter was 6 months old and grew it to multi-millions in revenues over 10 years (and added another child to the mix). My husband joined me about 2 years into it. Although we employed a nanny in the early days, we were working from home and able to spend more time with them than if we had been working for someone else. Between the two of us, we worked it so one of us was home with the kids when they got off the school bus as they got older.

Don't get me wrong - I have never worked harder in my life. Just like parenting, it is the toughest job you'll ever love. There were some tough times and working with my husband produced some bumps in the road. We came out of it closer than ever with a deep respect for each other's abilities.

My kids have learned from it, too. They have traveled with me and heard me talk about business issues such as why I had to fire someone. My 12 year old knows what profit is (and why it is important!). By integrating my life and my work, they have a much better perspective on life in general.

I found owning a business while raising my children so empowering I wrote a book on it to help others realize the same thing. It is coming out this June by Wiley & Sons but I won't mention the name of it here so as not to be commercial. After selling my business in 2005, I found my new passion in life inspiring others into entrepreneurship. Like with children, I forgot the pain of startup so I'm doing it again and starting a new business!

Posted by: ParentPreneur | May 2, 2007 8:15 AM

"I found owning a business while raising my children so empowering I wrote a book on it to help others realize the same thing."

Here's her book:

The ParentPreneur Edge: What Parenting Teaches About Building a Successful Business (Hardcover)
by Julie Lenzer Kirk

http://www.amazon.com/ParentPreneur-Edge-Parenting-Building-Successful/dp/047011987X?tag=dogpile-20

Posted by: Scooter | May 2, 2007 8:22 AM

WorkingMomX: There are 10.6M companies owned 50% or more by women and the number of women-owned companies are growing at a rate more than double any other category. Join us!

There are a lot of websites that list mom-based businesses. Do a google search on "entrepreneur mom", mom business owners or "wahm". Even though I don't consider myself a mompreneur, one of my favs is www.mompreneursonline.com. I write a column for Working Mother Magazine for Mom Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneur Magazine even has a mompreneur section on their website.

Posted by: ParentPreneur | May 2, 2007 8:23 AM

My brother's marriage is failing right now, and part of the challenge (I think) has been that several times they have tried to start a business. My brother has had a reliable job with good benefits for 6-7 years now, but an early business failure they tried together took a toll. Then a couple of years ago, my sister-in-law went into business with her best friend. It was bad news... It lost lots of money initially and ultimately led sister-in-law to bankruptcy. My brother ended up pushing her to withdraw when the losses started to harm their ability to make house payments. She resented this, and it hurt relationships all around.

I think it is possible to combine family and business, but I like the advice about negotiating time and money up front. As the uncle to some wonderful kids, I am pretty angry about the financial impact this took on the family.

Posted by: Jon | May 2, 2007 8:25 AM

Thanks, Scooter, for the book mention. :-)

Father of 2: The idea is to build a business that is bigger than just you so you DON'T have to be there. Make money out of other people's time and money. Passive income. Yes, it is hard work, but SO worth it.

Posted by: ParentPreneur | May 2, 2007 8:26 AM

I've thought about it, a LOT, because I don't think my husband will be happy until he's running his own show. I've even gone through our family, and identified who would serve the major roles (hubby would be great COO, BIL would make a killer CFO, plenty of lawyers in the family, etc.).

But I don't see it as something that would provide more balance. My husband is in a very high-tech, capital-intensive field, so for him, a "start-up" would be on the order of $100MM financing, with all of the immediate pressures to produce. It's just not a business that you can run out of your home in between looking after the kids. Plus then I'd be the sole support of the family until his business became profitable -- so at least in the short term, I'd have LESS time at home than I do now.

So for us, a start-up would be simply to provide my husband with more career satisfaction, not to provide more family time or balance. And since we pretty much like the lives we have, it seems pretty unlikely we'll take the risk. At least until he gets so fed up he chucks his current job. :-)

Posted by: Laura | May 2, 2007 8:32 AM

Jon - starting a business is hard. Having the right idea and having it all come together isn't easy. The key is to really find something that people need and are willing to pay for. The bigger the problem you are solving with your business, the better your chances of survival.

A lot of people rush into business without researching their idea first. Not to say that is what your brother and SIL did, but I've found that those who go out and look for help do much better than those that go it alone.

Posted by: ParentPreneur | May 2, 2007 8:32 AM

Laura - You're right - not all businesses lend themselves to balance. My business was in the high-tech field (we developed software for manufacturers) but we were able to get our customers to finance our development rather than going to outside investors. It was in the millions, but not $100M. Sometimes the earliest years of start-up are not in balance, but looking at it over time it becomes more so.

Posted by: ParentPreneur | May 2, 2007 8:42 AM

No question- running your own business takes a special kind of person and IT IS NOT ME!

Done with this blog for the day.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 8:47 AM

Laura-my dh was about to chuck it all-he was all set to-w me being the sole breadwinner, and he had been putting together several business ideas. He had an interview and several months later they called him in for a second. But he was all set to quit his job, there was no pressure for the interview (it was the only one he had, he wasn't even sending out his resume or doing anything but setting out to tun his own businesses). Then he ended up getting this fab job and he thought it sounded great, with a big raise, great benefits and he decided to take it (I didn't pressure him to-he wanted to). So he is still focused on starting his own thing and working on several projects, and we'll see what happens.
I bet he'll be fed up enough at some point to walk out but he's not there at this point. If he got a nice promotion and raise he might stay who knows?

Posted by: atlmom | May 2, 2007 9:33 AM

I work from home and find balance harder to acheive sometimes than either my friends who are full time SAHM or those who work in an office. I am not a full mompreneur, but a mini-one, but it is still hard to juggle work, computer time, baby time, housework time, cooking time husband time and me time. I sometimes think that if I were to have an office to go to, I cold at lest ignore the laundry for a few hours and have a reason that I didn't get everything done - because I was at work. Being "at work' at home doesn't constitute the same kind of excuse. At least not in husband's eyes.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 9:40 AM

I started my own business last year (married, childless). I develop and/or repair web sites for small business and offer higher-end consulting skills for larger business (no takers on those yet).

I did this for several reasons:

1) we transferred out to a medium-sized Midwest town with my husband's company. The only job they thought to offer me (despite my 10+ years in the IT industry) was Office Manager. *snort* There's not a whole lot else for me here.

2) I keep engineering myself out of a job or do contract work anyway. When your successfully perform your job of ensuring a web site is stable, easy to use and easy to maintain, it's hard to justify keeping you on overhead if there's not another project waiting.

3) My husband's job entails regular (sometimes frequent) travel. One of us needs to be flexible if/when we have kids. (Given the choice, he'd actually rather be flexible and I travel, but that's not how it worked out.)

4) I found out I have Diabetes about two years ago. Doing fine and almost in a pre-diabetic state these days (SO close), but only because I actually take care of myself now. I don't pull the 60-70 work weeks anymore.

I do know that if we have kids, I WILL be getting child care. If you think you can be a full-time Mom and a full-time business owner/operator then you shouldn't be doing this (advice I've gotten from other home-based-business Moms). Because you can't focus well on either when you try to do both.

I would say that whatever business you set up, you need to make rules, for yourself and your family.

For example, I try and keep most of my work to T/W/Th and only work the other days if I'm exceptionally busy or a client has an emergency posting/fix they need performed. My days in the middle of the week might be a bit longer, but it leaves me the other days to get stuff done.

My husband has to respect my workspace. We converted our dining room into an office, and he thought it was no big deal to breeze in and out and try and chat with me while I was working. If I tried to do that with him, he'd kill me because I was ruining his concentration! So I put some panels up over the open doorway and told him he has to respect the "door". When it's closed, I'm busy. He moped at first, but now he realizes I'm done faster if he's not hovering.

Single-owner LLC is great. You (or your accountant) fill out a form at tax time figuring out your extra income (or loss) - you don't have to file like a full corporation. And you won't screw up your own credit if the business goes bad.

Other than that, there's a nice little book by Elizabeth Fischer called "Mistakes I made My First 5 Years in Business (And How You Can Avoid Them)". Title of the book says it all.

http://www.amazon.com/Mistakes-First-Years-Business-Avoid/dp/0972125515

Gotta boogie today. Have a good thread!

Posted by: Chasmosaur | May 2, 2007 9:41 AM

I accepted a job with a start up about 12 years ago (pre-kids). I worked for a family member and it almost wrecked my marriage. Working for someone who is financing their venture through credit card debt (done more often than you would think)is a nightmare. Eventually, they stopped making payroll, (although their "enterntainment") budget was still lively. I'll never put myself in that position again.

Posted by: HappyMom | May 2, 2007 9:53 AM

The only job they thought to offer me (despite my 10+ years in the IT industry) was Office Manager. *snort*

That is a rude comment.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 10:03 AM

**yesterday's topic**

Megan's neighbor: sorry if I read your post incorrectly. I just find it interesting when people quote those stats about how so many divorces end up being about money. It is blatantly untrue. It is due to couples being uncommunicative, not listening to each other, lying, deceit. You name it, people do it *with money* but that's only the symptom, not the actual reason.

Posted by: atlmom | May 2, 2007 10:06 AM

I am trying to start a small business by owning a home and renting it, but alas some floor tiles have asbestos and I can't in good conscience rent the place out until I cover them- slowing me down several months while I try to build up the money to sink into that project. I'll let you know how we are doing in another year. LOL. We will someday retire to this home, so on the bright side I don't feel like I am losing any money I sink into it to fix it up... well, at least not most of the time. ;-) It's an added burden, but we are treading water and slowly but surely making progress- and there is satisfaction to be had at every milestone.

Posted by: Chris | May 2, 2007 10:10 AM

altmom

"I just find it interesting when people quote those stats about how so many divorces end up being about money. It is blatantly untrue."

And your source is?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 10:14 AM

"The only job they thought to offer me (despite my 10+ years in the IT industry) was Office Manager. *snort*"

What's wrong with being an office manager?

Posted by: huh? | May 2, 2007 10:14 AM

huh?, Didn't you get the memo? Yeah, ummm, we're putting the new covers on the TPS reports. I'll make sure you get a copy of that memo.

I think that about sums it up. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 2, 2007 10:21 AM

I'd love to start my own business, and the primary obstacle to doing that is affordable health insurance.

With a chronic illness (rheumatoid arthritis), I cannot get decent health care coverage outside of working for a big company with great benefits. (Fortunately, I have such a job.)

Even group policies through my professional organizations exempt coverage for this illness. With appropriate medication, the illness is totally under control. Some of my co-workers don't even know I have it. If I can't pay for the medicine to keep this disease under control, I will become disabled.

The articles about how wonderful and empowering self-employment is never seem to discuss health care coverage, a key aspect of balance - especially for those with kids.

Posted by: bdnc | May 2, 2007 10:22 AM

"Starting your own business can ABSOLUTELY provide more balance. I started mine when my daughter was 6 months old and grew it to multi-millions in revenues over 10 years (and added another child to the mix). My husband joined me about 2 years into it. Although we employed a nanny in the early days, . . . ."

A voice of reality here: thirty percent of franchises fail and the failure rate for new non-franchised businesses is substantially higher. As Father of 2 said above, starting a new business for the vast majority of mortals (for those of us not in the nanny set) involves making a commitment to invest as many man-hours as you can stay awake each day in order to move the business from red to black as soon as possible. Otherwise, you will run out of cash and have to close down.

If you already have the resources to employ a nanny, then you can afford to lose your initial investment or afford to have the transition from red to black take 48 months instead of 30 - 36. Good for you. For the rest of us plebeians, I cannot imagine doing this while also wanting to spend maximum potential time with my young children. You'll never see them if this business is actually something you need to support your family.

General rule, understanding that your mileage may vary: self-employment is not for the faint of heart, the strapped for cash, or those seeking balance.

Posted by: You've got to be kidding | May 2, 2007 10:26 AM

My husband and I would love to start our own business, but we're not sure if there is a demand in our area for what we do. We are also worried about the start-up cash and having to buy our own health insurance. We have lots of great ideas, but we're pretty much paralyzed by fear.

Posted by: Meesh | May 2, 2007 10:29 AM

The only job they thought to offer me (despite my 10+ years in the IT industry) was Office Manager. *snort*

That is a rude comment.

Posted by: | May 2, 2007 10:03 AM

_________________________________

She's very impressed with her own talents, and thinks that being an office manager is beneath her. Not only rude, but snotty.

Posted by: Yuck | May 2, 2007 10:29 AM

In terms of balance, I'm pretty sure that if we started that business, we would do it 24/7 and it would run our lives. We're just that way about work. But we don't have kids, so at least we'd only be ignoring the dogs!

Posted by: Meesh | May 2, 2007 10:32 AM

My source? Just observation-what I mentioned above. Lying about money is not about money it is about lying -in a marriage, where you're supposed to be able to trust each other. Same goes for hifing money, hiding purchases, atm withdrawals, etc. It is a symptom-lying being deceitful, hiding stuff, etc. It shows a person's values. And it indicates more than about money.

Posted by: atlmom | May 2, 2007 10:33 AM

My husband started-up a business. It's been very successful and has allowed him more flexibility.

But that was almost 20 years ago. The first years were not "in-balance". He worked, quite happily, like a dog for years. Anybody who remembers that our "take your kid to work day" activities happened in the Red Carpet Club of an airport will know that.

There is a big difference between an home-base business that provides a second income and a start-up business that provides a primary income. To support your family entirely on a personal business you need to be ready to commit in a major way. The stakes are high.

Anybody who isn't working 60-80 hours a week in the beginning isn't playing the game for real.

Like the "working at home" myth, I feel the notion that a parent can "have it all" by running their own business is crazy. The rewards can be huge, but there will be times when you come out of your workspace, read the kids a story, turn right around and work some more.

I would encourage anyone who wants to start a business to do so. But I'd caution that if you expect to support your family on it you should be prepared to buckle down in the beginning, realizing that someday you'll have more freedom but that in the beginning you will be working harder than you ever imagined -- most likely loving every minute of it.

That in itself is something good for your kids to see and know.

Posted by: Roseg | May 2, 2007 10:38 AM

About the Office Manager snark, the woman has over 10 years of IT experience! It has nothing to do with her field! I would be offended at that job offer too. It's like offering someone with 5 years of experience an entry-level job.

I'm sure all of you could pick a job that you wouldn't dream of taking. Lots of casting the first stone here.

Posted by: Meesh | May 2, 2007 10:38 AM

Absolutely nothing wrong with being an office manager -- it is important work and everybody feels the pain when it isn't done by someone who is skilled, motivated, and on top of things. But it also isn't an appropriate job to offer to someone whose job history clearly indicates they're an IT person. That offer was the insulting part, not the comment.

Posted by: Northern Girl | May 2, 2007 10:42 AM

Meesh-you *could* keep your current jobs (or only one) and keep going -there are plenty of hours in a day and you don't have kids. Of course, you'd have to devote every waking hour to it, so you'd give up a bunch. It's just I'd that what u want to do.

Posted by: atlmom | May 2, 2007 10:44 AM

Actually if I was an office manager I would be offended too. After all what does IT experience have to do with running an office. Most office managers (at least the good ones) have spent time as admin assts, etc and have on the job training or have some other kind of business training.

The way I interperruted the company's thinking was "office manager = woman's profession. This is a woman so she can be an office manager." Insults all around

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | May 2, 2007 10:48 AM

Off Topic Newsflash:

Public Dog Washes were just installed at Kansas City Airport. Now you can bathe your pooch before/after flights! This is a great public service for pet-owners. They even provide a rack of fancy towels. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 2, 2007 10:48 AM

"Insults all around."

Well, as long as everyone is equally offended... YAY!

Posted by: Chris | May 2, 2007 10:50 AM

Here's a recent news article about four sisters in the Pittsburgh area who started their own personal shopping service.
* * * * * * * * * * *

Stylish quartet: Four sisters offer a shopping-fashion advice service
Monday, April 09, 2007
By Marylynne Pitz, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

...Meet the Style Sisters, four women who stand ready to shop for anyone -- prom-bound teenagers, overwhelmed brides, frenetic securities traders, pregnant women, sales reps who spend half their year on the road and older folks who can't brave the mall or the weather.

"We can shop on a dime," said Elizabeth Casey, 37, of Ben Avon. But the quartet also can handle the client who says, "I don't want to look like everybody else. Go and get it and get it right."

Their collective riff on dressing with panache is comparable to Eddie Van Halen's energetic guitar solos and draws enthusiastic praise from clients. On two days of every week, each one of them engages in retail reconnaissance, visiting boutiques or malls to scope out the latest arrivals and bargains.

Regular research is crucial.

"You have to know the forecast for the next season. What are the new hip accessories and staples? You're watching for overlap..."

See rest of article at:
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07099/776319-314.stm

Posted by: In da 'Burgh | May 2, 2007 10:52 AM

My father started his own business when I was five--he was a real estate agent who opened his own office--and he worked like crazy for years and years. Yes, he had flexibility to not schedule appointments when we had little league games or whatever, but at the same time he worked every Saturday my entire life. And my mom had little flexibility because she had the steady income and health coverage, so she couldn't really cut back or change jobs.

I've always been baffled by ParentPreneur's posts because owning and running a business requires a variety of skills and passions that most of us just don't have, many jobs/careers that people enjoy don't translate well to being a self-owned business, and start-ups suck up all your time which is counterproductive if the goal is to have more balance. Glad it worked for her, but I don't think it's the right model or simple solution for most of us.

Posted by: Arlmom | May 2, 2007 10:54 AM

What's wrong with being an office manager?

Money. And prestige.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 10:56 AM

Arlmom

"I've always been baffled by ParentPreneur's posts because owning and running a business requires a variety of skills and passions that most of us just don't have, many jobs/careers that people enjoy don't translate well to being a self-owned business, and start-ups suck up all your time which is counterproductive if the goal is to have more balance."

Agree. Yet she somehow managed to drum up a book deal. The publisher must think there is a market for her book, and who knows? Some people are dumber than a tree stump.

Posted by: Lucky | May 2, 2007 10:59 AM

"1) we transferred out to a medium-sized Midwest town with my husband's company. The only job they thought to offer me (despite my 10+ years in the IT industry) was Office Manager. *snort* There's not a whole lot else for me here."

Well, it was her husband's company that offered her the job. They wanted her husband, not necessarily her. I think that it is pretty nice that they offered her anything. Maybe that's all they had available.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 11:00 AM

This is a unique topic. Nice to see something other than "mommy wars" approached. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that after the few who HAVE considered opening their own businesses have shared their thoughts, this blog will devolve into discussions about toilet paper, thongs, and the ganging up on one individual who says something inflammatory and continues to defend him/herself after being shown what a dolt he/she is.

Oh, please, let it be me... (kidding)

Sorry I don't have anything constructive to add! This topic is not one I have or ever would consider for myself. I hope the discussion is beneficial to those who have, though!

Posted by: Mona | May 2, 2007 11:03 AM

Addendum: I visited the Baby Bites website, and I'm scratching my head. What exactly does this woman do? It looks like a convention for moms. Is that right?

Posted by: Mona | May 2, 2007 11:06 AM

Mona

Baby Bites helps women with waay too much money and free time spend money and waste time.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 11:10 AM

A quick glance at salary.com shows that the range for an office manager in D.C. is $41,000-77,000. Obviously not everyone would start at $77,000.

An Applications Engineer III (I just picked a title) ranges from $69,100 - 96,800.

Yeah, I'd be insulted too.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 11:11 AM

The job wasn't in DC.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 11:12 AM

Testing: Is anyone else having difficulty in posting a message right now?

Posted by: catlady | May 2, 2007 11:22 AM

Altmom, that's very good advice. However, we're bound by our jobs not to engage in any other paid work outside of our jobs. Silly, I know, but there are confidentiality issues. Keeping our business on the DL would make it hard to drum up clients.

We would have the time, but then we'd be "living to work" instead of "working to live," meaning that we'd never take vacations or see relatives. Which is exactly why we work--we need the money to travel. So there is no easy answer.

Posted by: Meesh | May 2, 2007 11:28 AM

My father had his own business for almost all of my childhood (i.e., from age 5 on). And I will say - yes - it added TONS of balance to our household. He was home every night for dinner (mom was a SAHM) and he took off all summer for us to spend at our cabin. He has a very high degree in a very specialized field and was able to utilize his skills into a fairly successful (as in profitable, but by no means lucrative) business.

One important fact that I should add though is that he was independently wealthy, so his business success wasn't tied to his ability to provide food and shelter for his family.

Only later in life did I realize how lucky I was to have had the childhood I did. (Lesson here for us all - even with two parents around all the time - my pre-teen and teenage years were disastrous.)

But I don't think we could have had that lifestyle without my father being independently wealthy. He would have had to spend A LOT more time working to make ends meet, because I'm pretty sure his company wasn't always in the black.

Having your own business can be absolutely great for your family, but it CAN add a lot of stress and a serious backup plan and lump of cash (savings/inheritance/whatever) is crucial.

Posted by: londonmom | May 2, 2007 11:29 AM

How do franchises work? Do you still need a bunch of capital up front?

Anyone have experience with owning restaurants or delis?

Posted by: Meesh | May 2, 2007 11:34 AM

Catlady, maybe you should stop trying to post "profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material."

;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 2, 2007 11:36 AM

"...because owning and running a business requires a variety of skills and passions that most of us just don't have, many jobs/careers that people enjoy don't translate well to being a self-owned business, and start-ups suck up all your time which is counterproductive if the goal is to have more balance. Glad it worked for her, but I don't think it's the right model or simple solution for most of us."

I never said it was simple and it is true, you have to have passion. You would be surprised, however, what passions HAVE translated into successful businesses. I never viewed my business as 'sucking up my time' because I was passionate about it. But passion isn't enough.

Most people don't realize that help is there if they want it, if owning a business is something they want to do. Everyone is not cut out for it, but I don't agree that it is 'most of us'. Small business is what fuels the economy in this country.

Posted by: ParentPreneur | May 2, 2007 11:37 AM

Oh, Chris, you're such a wag ;-)

Posted by: catlady | May 2, 2007 11:38 AM

Off-Topic Alert

"My source? Just observation-what I mentioned above. Lying about money is not about money it is about lying -in a marriage, where you're supposed to be able to trust each other. Same goes for hifing money, hiding purchases, atm withdrawals, etc. It is a symptom-lying being deceitful, hiding stuff, etc. It shows a person's values. And it indicates more than about money.

Posted by: atlmom | May 2, 2007 10:33 AM

atlmom,

Yes, there are liars and liars lie about everything, including but not limited to money and financial expenditures. I respectfully disagree thought that lying is the fundamental problem for the majority of couples with money disputes, at least from what I've seen and read. The scenario I most often see and hear about it, which admittedly is not a valid sample, is a desire to avoid conflict and search for balance.

Many people don't want to spend what little relaxed time they have with their spouses - someone they love -- discussing, discussing and discussing money issues, or any other issue involving conflict. They are working. They are raising kids. They want to keep their marriage together. The top marriage killer (IMHO) is to have all your conversations with your spouse by about -- the kids, the bills, the long-term financial issues (we should be saving more for retirement, for college, whatever), jobs, tasks, home repairs. At a certain point, couples need to get back to talking about the things they used to talk about before all the responsibilities of life beat them down -- music, travel, politics or news (if that floats your boat), hopes, dreams, basketball (ok, that's just us, LOL). If that means deferring topics on financial/ money issues 'til another day, so be it. Deferral turns into "I just won't bring this up tonight, because then we will go down that road of having the same argument we always have . . ." The next step in the conflict avoidance two-step is the ATM machine / leave those shoes in the trunk approach.

I suggest that there often is more going on between couples than the most sinister interpretation: lying. Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 2, 2007 11:40 AM

Catlady

Believe me, if you don't clean up your pottymouth, you'll have difficulty posting.

Posted by: Top Cat | May 2, 2007 11:40 AM

Meesh, I looked into a pizza franchise and they pretty much wanted it to run your life, not to mention nearly a million dollars. Needless to say, that business venture will be on hold until the prize patrol comes nocking on my door... At which point I wouldn't "need" the money a franchise would give me... it would be more of a fun thing than anything else.

Posted by: Chris | May 2, 2007 11:41 AM

I'm considering starting my own business, I have a couple great ideas that are really market niche. However, as a single mother to 2 small kids, I just realistically don't think I could start one at this time in my life without a reliable, energetic parnter - either at home or in the business.

The business I'm thinking of is not some small in-house, "let me make some jewlerly while my child is at the chichi daycare", it is one that would require 60-70 hours per week, minimum with little down time. It's a field I love and think I would thrive in, but heck, I'm not going to get in over my head as there's no way my life would be balanced.

Ah well, sigh, maybe when my kids head off to college!

Posted by: Single Mom in Bethesda | May 2, 2007 11:43 AM

Testing, again.

Posted by: catlady | May 2, 2007 11:45 AM

Meesh: I never said it was easy-certainly it is not. Even my dh, who has the backup-ie I am working to pay bills and for insurance and he had the opportunity to quit and start his own business-i told him he had a year to make minimal amt of money. And he is still debating. It is tough to have to rely on only yourself. But then I'm also sure that it can be exhilerating. And I know he can do it. So even with lots in place it is still scary for dh to take the leap.

Posted by: atlmom | May 2, 2007 11:45 AM

You've got to be kidding
"If you already have the resources to employ a nanny, then you can afford to lose your initial investment or afford to have the transition from red to black take 48 months instead of 30 - 36. "

I started out providing computer services and was able to make enough money to pay my nanny. When you have more than one child, a nanny can become more cost effective than day care outside the home.

We went without eating out and expensive vacations for a long time to make it work. We also saved our money and didn't have tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt before I started my businesss.

You can make a choice...figure out how to make it work (if you really want to) or decide it isn't for you. My point is, for people that want to start a business but look for balance, it is possible.

Posted by: ParentPreneur | May 2, 2007 11:46 AM

To Mona: Lawyers can wind up being self-employed. E.g., our lawyer began his career as an in-house attorney for one of the largest employers in the region.

After several years of being paid handsomely to quash (or settle, with confidentiality agreements, when the plaintiff had a slam-dunk case) lawsuits from justly-aggrieved present and past employees, he started to feel like such a prostitute that he and his lawyer-wife decided to open their own mom-and-pop practice.

And due to his years of expertise with the intricacies of his large former employer, he was immediately able to start attracting clients aggrieved by said large employer.

So, Mona, never say never: You might someday wind up with your own law practice.

Posted by: catlady | May 2, 2007 11:46 AM

How do franchises work? Do you still need a bunch of capital up front?

Anyone have experience with owning restaurants or delis?

Posted by: Meesh | May 2, 2007 11:34 AM

Meesh, I'm a franchise lawyer, among other components of my practice. The amount of the initial franchise fee, as well as the money you need to invest to get up and running, varies WIDELY from business to business. It's all there in the potential franchise's Franchise Offering Circular if you want to read it. What most of them have in common is that YOU have to be the primary onsite manager. From a start-up perspective, you wouldn't want to create a huge payroll burden initially, but consider the hours a restaurant is open and imagine what that means for the franchisee.

Yes, to your second question.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 2, 2007 11:47 AM

Think of Tom & Lynette Scavo on Desperate Housewives. It's exaggerated, but also more than a few grains of truth.

Posted by: Re restaurants | May 2, 2007 11:48 AM

Megan's neighbor: you're completely correct. I didn't say that lying was the only thing, it is just my observation , as it is yours, that people avoid or argue or whatever about money, but it is not neccesarily really about money-there is usually a larger issue-thats all I meant.

Posted by: atlmom | May 2, 2007 11:54 AM

So, Mona, never say never: You might someday wind up with your own law practice.

Posted by: catlady | May 2, 2007 11:46 AM

maybe, but hanging out one's shingle is much more consistent with a litigation practice than an IP practice. The trend (or landslide, if you will) is for the smaller (less than 60 person) IP practices to merge with large firms because they can't be profitable and compete for the sort of IP clients that pay the bills.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 2, 2007 11:54 AM

MN, Of course you're right, IP is an entirely different field. Unless, of course, Mona catches the litigation "bug" while in law school and decides to change specialties ;-)

Posted by: catlady | May 2, 2007 11:58 AM

catlady, mona might well end up with a career as a stand-up comic based on the ability she shows here, LOL.

Posted by: MN | May 2, 2007 12:05 PM

MN, And we can be her agents!

Posted by: catlady | May 2, 2007 12:07 PM

who'd have thought this topic would even make it 'til noon?

Next .. . .

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 12:09 PM


"who'd have thought this topic would even make it 'til noon?

Next .. . ."

It didn't. It died almost at birth.........

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 12:23 PM

So, really, unless you're into computers, you're going to have a heck of a time with a start-up. It's low overhead/easy to do out of your home and can be done any time in 24 hours.

My husband is part time with a physical therapy practice and part time a wellness trainer, which is his business. It's much "harder" than IT, as it requires his presence at respectable hours. It sure does pay better than PT, though, and the hours are as flexible as he wants. He's paid about 1/6 of his worth after insurance reimbursements and overhead costs with the PT practice. His boss is leaving the practice, a small cog in a big corporate enterprise, because he's starting his own business, where he doesn't have to send his profits up to pay middle management to tell him to use fewer paper towels. Seriously, this is the best middle management could come up with to up profits in one of the most profitable cogs in this machine. Someone tell me how corporations are different than the mafia, other than the killing, of course. Or maybe not...

Posted by: atb | May 2, 2007 12:24 PM

MN, catlady, I heart you guys. That was hilarious. As far as whether I could explore going into business for myself, it has less to do with my future profession than my personality. MN is of course right about IP lawyers typically not going into business for themselves, but even if I did get into litigation, family law, or something that could translate into self-employment, I know myself. I am not a self-starter. I get my motivation from competition and one-upmanship. I get a lot more done in a competitive environment. These are not exactly desirable traits in a human being, but they are what they are, and I know this, and intend to use them for career success. I will embark on some lone-wolf work throughout my career, but that will be pro-bono advocacy stuff that will enrich my quality of life, not my career path.

I did have a brief stint as a self-employed person, selling insurance to small-business owners. I hated it. I don't know which was worse for me, being self-employed or sales. I'm not good at either.

Posted by: Mona | May 2, 2007 12:25 PM

There are a number of women in my neighborhood who "own their own businesses." In each case, it consists of one of those cheezy scams where you get invited to some party and end up getting pressured to buy high-priced trinkets.

I read somewhere that the average person whose business is in-home sales parties actually earns about 200/month. And most people quit after a short time. And many end up in debt.

I guess there must be serious women (and men) out there who own serious businesses -- but I wonder if "I have my own company" is the year 2000 equivalent of what "I'm in consulting" was for the 1990's. The women I know who tell you "I have my own company" seem to be saying it because I guess it sounds better than "I'm unemployed/I shop a lot while my husband's at work" or some other variation. In most of those happy little profiles in working mother magazine and the like, if you dig a little more deeply, you find that Susie the professional organizer or Betty the professional shopper actually makes about 5-6000/yr. They might have their own business but most of them are not actually self-supporting.

Posted by: just wondering | May 2, 2007 12:28 PM

Mona- I hear you, but I think of it differently. I like to be second. (I can't write #2 because I'm too immature and it makes me giggle.) I like to have someone whose tail I stay on. It pushes us both forward. I sometimes get off track if I lead. Does that make sense?

Posted by: atb | May 2, 2007 12:30 PM

Mona, I don't think our lawyer ever intended to be self-employed. It's just that he got so disgusted with his in-house gig, and had managed to save up enough that he could afford to hang out his own shingle -- sort of biting the hand that had fed him so sumptuously for so long.

Posted by: catlady | May 2, 2007 12:36 PM

In theory, Baby Bites sounds fun. In reality, I bet it's a nightmare of competitive parenting. They have a huge and probably very useful nanny list, though.

Posted by: atb | May 2, 2007 12:36 PM

Mona, I am completely with you. I also very much appreciate having wiser and more experienced heads to turn to for "consulting" advice and am keenly aware of what I don't know. I'm also too social to enjoy being self-employed, and during the next downturn, I don't want to have to choose between paying the light bill at my office and purchasing winter coats for my kids.

just wondering, that was a little demeaning, but spot-on, LOL. IMHO, "I'm consulting" continues to translate into "I want to sound professional, but I work about 7 hours a month, at best". It's a favorite in RTP / Cary, NC. It is most often uttered by a former IT professional mom who opted to stay home with the kids but, for one reason or another, doesn't want to admit that she's plain ol' unemployed.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 2, 2007 12:38 PM

Mona

"I get my motivation from competition and one-upmanship."

You'll fit right in with the SAHMs!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 12:40 PM

I read somewhere that the average person whose business is in-home sales parties actually earns about 200/month. And most people quit after a short time. And many end up in debt.
---------
I started a quote un-quote ebay company and after 6 months I made approximately $1000 in profit- lets say $4000 in sales. Maybe spent 100 hours doing it, so it came to $10 per hour. I still want to sell things on ebay, but really, the profit margins my friends and I were seeing were under 10%.

A friend of mine did Tupperware with two transvestite actors who made the whole thing a big ironic party- she said in profit she made about $50k profit, but worked 2 days a week on it- but we're talking serious effort to throw major events as far away as Las Vegas and not merely having people at your house and making snacks. Most people I know who do Pampered Chef or Usborne or other mommy MLMs make $1000 or less in a year.

Lastly, I know a guy in Texas who taught me how to flip houses during the real estate boom. He showed me one house that broke down like this:

1. bought for $125k, got a loan for $200k
2. Spent $50k repairing it, approx 3 hours a day of his own time every day for two months
3. Sold the house so that after:Sale price, payoff of loan and all contractors, realtor commission and taxes, his profit came to $17,000. Now the first thing he told me was he bought a house for $125k and sold a house for $250k. But the PROFIT from the sale was $17k, NOT $125k.

So when anyone tells you about their ebay sales, such a number is meaningless. Anything with good profitability has serious competition. Nothing has both good profitability and little effort.

Posted by: DCer | May 2, 2007 12:41 PM

DCer |

"Nothing has both good profitability and little effort."

Except those who marry money. Yippee!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 12:43 PM

$17K for 2 months work works out to over $100K a year. Not bad.

Posted by: To DCer | May 2, 2007 12:46 PM

if you dig a little more deeply, you find that Susie the professional organizer or Betty the professional shopper actually makes about 5-6000/yr. They might have their own business but most of them are not actually self-supporting.

Well, if they're clearing 5-6K/year I would guess this may help out with the family finances a bit. And if they're happy (as in the unit, not just the individuals), then I don't see how it's harmful.

But yeah, a start-up with the intenion of being capable of supporting someone (or more than one someone) needs more than a good heart, willing hands and an idea.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 12:46 PM

Just wondering - I HATE those mommy businesses. I refuse to support any of them. They make me crazy with the dumb "parties".

Posted by: moxiemom | May 2, 2007 12:49 PM

to To DCer, consider that this was one transaction and there was no guarantee he'd make $17K. He might have made $4K. He might have had to carry the house longer and pay additional property taxes on it.

The other thing you learn from house-flippers is that they tell you about their most profitable transaction -- not the other 6 transactions that came before and after. They're not making $100K a year, they are making $42K with a he**uva lot of risk and potential for loss.

Ask questions: being self-employed adds a whole new level of risk to your life that you don't have when you make a salary or are hourly for a predictable number of hours. If you NEED the money to pay bills, be aware that self-employment carries no guarantees until you build the business and establish a reliable revenue stream. A reliable revenue stream is one that has survived at least one real economic downturn.

Posted by: MN | May 2, 2007 12:50 PM

OK, house flipping. My husband and I can only afford crap houses, which we slowly fix through the years. We sold our first house for 30% more than we bought it, but 10% of that was what we put in. We're in the second house now. I know how much it costs to do virtually everything ourselves. I watch those flipping shows, and I think their "costs" are supplies only, not labor. They really makes me mad because they are so misleading. You cannot put hardwoods down, put AC in, paint, put new windows in, landscape, and redo a kitchen and 2 baths for $50K, unless you do it ALL yourself. Stupid TV.

Posted by: DCer | May 2, 2007 12:50 PM

to To DCer, consider that this was one transaction and there was no guarantee he'd make $17K. He might have made $4K. He might have had to carry the house longer and pay additional property taxes on it.

--------

We are in agreement, where I come from $17k from a house sale isn't a great profit. You could equal that money waitering weekends.

Posted by: DCer | May 2, 2007 12:54 PM

Can't wait for tomorrow's topic. This is starting to feel like the longest day of my life.........zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 12:57 PM

"Mona

"I get my motivation from competition and one-upmanship."

You'll fit right in with the SAHMs!

Posted by: | May 2, 2007 12:40 PM"

Take that back! You were supposed to say, "Mona, you're going to be a great lawyer!"

I'm glad to see others agree with me about the mommy businesses. I know women who do the Avon thing and the Home Interiors thing, and they basically get paid in products. It seems like a total rip-off, or more hobby than business. The "Baby Bites" thing was beyond my realm of comprehension, though. Maybe it's because I'm not a mother, but it seems to me like a sorority for SAHMs. Who wants to pay for their friends?

Posted by: Mona | May 2, 2007 12:59 PM

atb, I can understand where you're coming from. I'm not a natural born leader, but I like taking the reins once in awhile. I can definitely see your point of view, though.

Posted by: Mona | May 2, 2007 1:01 PM

woo hoo...MN, there is a lot of truth in what you say regarding what to sound professional. I'm still chuckling.

Seriously, I decided to look at that work at home site recommended earlier this morning by parentpreneur and I'm really confused. Why do these opportunities all sound like scams? Is there really anything work at home legitimate? I need a change and out of the rat race. Do I have to go franchise and work out of the home? No problems with that..of course.

Posted by: dotted | May 2, 2007 1:02 PM

Leslie,

Interesting topic. Though I'm not the entrepreneur type myself, I'm always interested in how others' work choices affect their work-family balance, in how they run their lives.

I'm also interested in another aspect, also present but glossed over in the example mom entrepreneur you mentioned. I'm very interested in the experiences of people who use their work or volunteer identities to shift the work-life balance for the rest of us: to offer us options that support and enhance our choices in managing family/work balance. For example, HR managers/entrepreneurs who develop and implement viable and well-utilized flextime/ telecommute/ parttime options, or paused-tenure clock options, or on-ramp/off-ramp/sustained employability options; volunteers/paid workers/entrepreneurs who develop and run high-quality aftercare programs, where none was in place before; entrepreneurs/ volunteer organizations who provide kid enrichment activities, for those avenues of personal development unexplored in formal school, and how they differentially meet the needs of SAH versus WOH parents while running a sustainable enterprise; private schools/preschools and how they target and meet the needs of SAH versus WOH parents; originators of high quality summer/spring-break camps and daycamps to fill in school-year childcare coverage gaps, again how they meet SAH and WOH needs while running sustainable programs; family-friendly vacation/resort providers, etc. My interest is both in highlighting the positive service such folks provide us, in building up infrastructure that makes life work for today's families, and in offering positive case studies, or how-to's/ pitfalls/ guidance, enabling others to take some of these success stories and propagate them, to enhance options for their own lives while building more responsive infrastructure for work-life balance for more of us. I'm also interested in how to support these pioneers whenever I can; in my individual life I try to support them by word of mouth attracting other parents to good programs/providers, but it would be nice to have broader impact, to reward good corporate/charitable citizens whose efforts I become aware of.

As long as I'm mentioning these long-harbored topics I'd love to see this blog address, I'll mention some others. 1), it might be nice if you'd designate, say 1 Friday a month, as brainstorming /sharing ideas about good blog topics day. Then those of us with ideas might be more forthcoming, more often . . . I think it does help to get topical ideas coming from as broad a cross-section of folks as possible, from different job paths as well as life stages/experiences; the more possibilities and contexts we see, the more options spring to mind in managing our own work-life balance. 2) Some life-stage issues that usually strike earlier than parenting that would be interesting: relocation/ two-body/ trailing-or-unwilling-to-trail spouse problems; how spouses make work-life compromises to stay physically living in the same location (or not - there are long-distance commuter marriages, either short- or long- term, in many fields, as I mentioned before in my field of academic science, it is quite rare for coupled folks to reach the tenure-track stage without at least one year of separation, to work in postdocs in far-separated locations); how companies/the military have adapted to such two-body issues in transferring/deploying/supporting their employees (someone mentioned, I think, that IBM typically has far-flung work groups in multiple locations who teleconference frequently; I'm wondering if this a response of the frequent-job-transfer culture - they used to call IBM "I've been moved" - to the deeper rootedness/reluctance-to-move of two-working-spouse families); job-sharing; the role of changing nepotism rules in obstructing/supporting work-life balance (in the bad old days, nepotism rules that forbade a university department hiring close relatives actively eliminated employment options for many women scientists, as their spouse was often at their only possible employer in town), etc.

Ok, that's it for this long-brewing brain dump, I'm glad you're here to run this blog as it explores some deeply salient interests I don't have time to deeply investigate myself,

Posted by: KB | May 2, 2007 1:04 PM

Mona - that Baby Bites thing sounds about as appealing as a colonoscopy without the drugs to dull your senses. Then again, I'm a practical (shop at Target, few "good" outfits from Nordstrom) suburban PA mom. NYC is a whole different ball of wax whether you are a mom or not. You literally could not pay me to live there.

Posted by: moxiemom | May 2, 2007 1:06 PM

I know several people who have their own businesses - two run in-home day care. The money is ok once they factor in the saved daycare exp for their own kids and all the write-offs they get for being home-based. The motivation is being with their kids, not necessarily the love of other people's children :).

Two people started home-cleaning businesses and went belly-up. Another started a restaurant in a mountain town. They opened at the start of a 5-year no snow, no business period. Belly-up again.

Another person shops discount bulk and resells on ebay. does Ok, but nowhere near what the professionals on the blog would make. Another opened a flower shop and went out of business in less than two years.

One apparent success among people I know is a husband/wife home repair/handyman business with one paid employee beside the couple. Of course, I don't know everything - they could be in hock up to their eyeballs :).

I know a few others who have their own businesses (craft fair type sales) to supplement other income, but not enough to be self-supporting.

For everyone who thinks so highly of being self-employed, (parentpreneur?) - how about some suggestions for types of businesses to get into. I don't have a particular passion for anything other than lying in the hammock with a good book, so ideas would be helpful.

Posted by: xyz | May 2, 2007 1:07 PM

Who wants to pay for their friends?

Posted by: Mona | May 2, 2007 12:59 PM

Some of call it therapy!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 2, 2007 1:07 PM

"There are a number of women in my neighborhood who "own their own businesses.""

I understand that when starting a new business, a person has 3 years to claim a profit and can write off expenses as a loss on their tax forms.

So, if I can write off the phone, DSL, the new computer, 10% mortgage as office space, maybe even the addition to the kitchen where, just as Leslie does, put the laptop, include the beer I drink as an office expense, and write off the car mileage as my wife drives to her sils 60 miles away several times a month along with all other party expenses...

Maybe I could go on vacation next year.

OK, so then I would be ripping off the government, but it seems to me that everybody else is doing just that, and I'm beginning to feel left out.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 2, 2007 1:07 PM

Damn it--

Some of us call it therapy!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 1:08 PM

Off topic, but gotta share. My 4 year old daughter is having some Skittles which she insists on calling S&Ms. Can't wait for that to be taken out of context at the Montessori school!

Posted by: moxiemom | May 2, 2007 1:08 PM

I don't have a particular passion for anything other than lying in the hammock with a good book, . . . .

Posted by: xyz | May 2, 2007 01:07 PM

You may have already won . . . post of the day, LOL.

Posted by: MN | May 2, 2007 1:11 PM

moxiemom


"NYC is a whole different ball of wax whether you are a mom or not. You literally could not pay me to live there."


And no one in NYC would pay you to live there!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 1:14 PM

And no one in NYC would pay you to live there!


Posted by: | May 2, 2007 01:14 PM


Their loss.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 1:20 PM

My partner started his business in college, when we had been together for about a year. Five years later, he is out of college and working a part-time job while devoting the rest of his work day to his business. Let me tell you: we don't have kids yet, but I have been looking for resources that address spouses and start-ups.. THANK YOU Leslie, for this blog entry!

It took my partner nearly losing me and suffering from a serious mental health problem for him to realize that he needed to rethink the way he approached his business to find a balance between work and play. I have found in my experience working with (and dating!) small business owners, that it often takes a certain personality-type to turn a "wouldn't it be cool if..." dream into the reality of a start-up.

Here's my question: how does a young (read: broke!) couple handle finances when one is making a fair amount of money and the other is scraping by while starting up a business? Aside from bill paying, what about savings for a home, children, etc??

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 1:21 PM

I never seriously considered being self-employed. I wouldn't mind being my own boss, but I don't think I want to deal with keeping the books, tax implications, providing your own health/dental/life insurance, losing company 401(K) plan, marketing, bringing in clients, etc.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 1:21 PM

This topic has run out of steam.....next topic!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 1:31 PM

"There are a number of women in my neighborhood who "own their own businesses.""

I understand that when starting a new business, a person has 3 years to claim a profit and can write off expenses as a loss on their tax forms.

So, if I can write off the phone, DSL, the new computer, 10% mortgage as office space, maybe even the addition to the kitchen where, just as Leslie does, put the laptop, include the beer I drink as an office expense, and write off the car mileage as my wife drives to her sils 60 miles away several times a month along with all other party expenses...

Maybe I could go on vacation next year.

OK, so then I would be ripping off the government, but it seems to me that everybody else is doing just that, and I'm beginning to feel left out.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 2, 2007 01:07 PM

Father of 4 and others,

My unasked for advice is to do two things before getting all excited about deducting home office expenses:

First, READ (really read them in all their boring glory) all the rules and regs of taking a home office deduction before you assume you'll be able to deduct things like 20% of your heating bill because your "office" occupies your entire basement, or your home computer that you use for a variety of purposes in addition to your business. Hint: you generally can't.

Second, beware that, unless things have changed in the last 2 years in IRS-land, the home office deduction is the most common trigger for an audit. If you are fudging on home-office and customarily fudge on other deductions as well, you may have inadvertently traipsed into IRS Audit Hell - a land in which I do no want to visit you.

Summary: Make sure you qualify to take the home office deduction, and that you understand in real dollars what that deduction will mean for you before you do something you may regret, LOL.

Posted by: MN | May 2, 2007 1:32 PM

Following up on some other posts, I think were are talking about two fundamentally different types of businesses here. There's the "turn your hobby into a paying business and maybe supplement your income a little" approach. This is what I see mostly as the "mom" businesses -- used to be tupperware and Avon/Mary Kay, now is whatever those other "parties" are, selling things on e-bay or at crafts fairs, etc. I think the four sisters shopping service falls into this category. These can be great businesses, and can provide plenty of free time -- but the flip side is, you need to plan on it being more of an excuse to get paid for something you enjoy, and less as a primary source of income.

The other option is a more traditional business -- opening up a store, buying a franchise, manufacturing a product. And if you're going to go the traditional business route, you need to treat it as a real business -- have financing, have a business plan, hire an accountant, do market research, and plan on devoting 60-80 hrs/week to it to get going.

I think the problems people seem to run into are when they mix the two. You may make TONS of money selling Mary Kay -- some women do. But the vast majority don't, and those who do bust their butts to do it. So if you go into any of these network marketing things expecting to earn six figures working 10-20 hrs/week, you're bound to be disappointed.

Or, alternatively, I've seen people try to open a traditional business, but treat it like a hobby -- they don't do any research (their operating philosophy seems to be "since I like it, everyone will"), don't figure out realistic costs or financing options, don't try to get any real business experience, have no sense of how long it will take to turn a profit, have no contingency plan in the meantime, etc. I once saw a flower shop open and close within 6 weeks. And all I could think was, how in the world do you get to the point of actually renting space and buying equipment without having the cash to survive even 3 months?

Of course, there are a few people, like ParentPreneur, who have the intelligence and savvy to identify a real market need, figure out how to serve that need, and turn it into a multi-million-dollar business. But I bet you anything she started slowly and did her homework, and worked her butt off at first to build it -- something that most people who think, "oh, I'll just sign up to sell X in my spare time" don't do. You don't get something for nothing.

Posted by: Laura | May 2, 2007 1:38 PM

Father of 4

"OK, so then I would be ripping off the government, but it seems to me that everybody else is doing just that, and I'm beginning to feel left out."

If you develop a moral code, you won't worry about feeling left out!

How about minding your own business?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 1:38 PM

S&Ms: reminds me of a story my GF told me about her daughter. In honor of Guess How Much I Love You, their 4yo daughter began saying, "Daddy, I love you all the way to Uranus." That's good stuff.

Posted by: atb | May 2, 2007 1:40 PM

"Daddy, I love you all the way to Uranus." That's good stuff.

LOL - I still chuckle when saying Uranus.

Posted by: moxiemom | May 2, 2007 1:42 PM

"Daddy, I love you all the way to Uranus." That's good stuff."

Yeah, it's been good stuff for centuries...

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 1:43 PM

DH opened a franchise last year. It required a lot of up-front money (he got an SBA loan) plus personal assets (we luckily did not have to open our 401k accounts, but they were counted as part of our personal assets).

He opened his restaurant right after I had a baby (our son was about 6 months old). For about 6-8 months, I really never saw him. Today, it's been just over a year. He's home most afternoons (hired a daytime manager) and only works an occasional evening. Sundays are closed during the summer (this restaurant is slow in summer, busy in fall, winter timeframe).

He's profitable now, but the profits are small. Once he pays off his business loan (oh, only about 9 more years), it will be much more profitable. But we are living ok. While it was depressing and awful for most of last year, plus we struggled to pay our bills (and just now have paid off a personal loan to my dad and are working on a credit card loan) it's now pretty much ok. Things seem better and more relaxed for him -- he's gained experience and learned how to do things more efficiently.

His biggest problem is people -- the restaurant business is notorious for having some real loser employees. It's a constant struggle and the thing he hates most about his business: hiring, training, and firing, a cycle that goes on and on.

Posted by: Rebecca | May 2, 2007 1:51 PM

Off topic, but gotta share. My 4 year old daughter is having some Skittles which she insists on calling S&Ms. Can't wait for that to be taken out of context at the Montessori school!

Posted by: moxiemom | May 2, 2007 01:08 PM

moxiemom - this has got to be one of your best. *cleaning up desk*

Posted by: MN | May 2, 2007 1:53 PM

Just wondering - I HATE those mommy businesses. I refuse to support any of them. They make me crazy with the dumb "parties".

Posted by: moxiemom | May 2, 2007 12:49 PM

Moxie - I am currently being stalked by a Mary Kay consultant. I ran into her at the mall - I thought she was the daughter of my mother's friend because she looks exactly like her - I realized my mistake too late. I keep ignoring her phone calls (thankfully she has my cell number) but she wants me to go to Regional Mary Kay shows with her. I need to call her to tell her to back off otherwise I don't think she will ever stop calling.

I agree on the tortuous parties too - I haven't gone to one in years. I will look at the catalogs if a friend is having a catalog party.

Posted by: cmac | May 2, 2007 1:59 PM

OK, it looks like the shark has been jumped so without any more delay:

The Cultural Tidbit of the Day
(Astronomy Division)

This month for the U.S. marks a month when a Blue Moon will occur. The common definition of a blue moon is the second full moon in the same month. The first full moon is today and the blue moon will occur on May 31. For other parts of the world, the blue moon will occur in June and July. A blue moon occurs every 2 1/2 years on the average.

Posted by: Fred | May 2, 2007 1:59 PM

Dotted: check out momcorps.com (I'm not affiliated w them). If it doesn't exist where you are you could start the same business.

Posted by: atlmom | May 2, 2007 2:00 PM

"Off topic, but gotta share. My 4 year old daughter is having some Skittles which she insists on calling S&Ms. Can't wait for that to be taken out of context at the Montessori school!

Posted by: moxiemom | May 2, 2007 01:08 PM

moxiemom - this has got to be one of your best. *cleaning up desk*"

Nooo, it has to be one of the worst in the world.

"Can't wait for that to be taken out of context at the Montessori school!

Why, so you have something to post here?
Gawd, no wonder men cheat.

Does this woman have any kind of life besides her kids? The only moxie she has is thinking that intelligent life would be interested in her fluff!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 2:02 PM

AMEN! on the hating pampered chef/tupperware/etc. parties.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 2:02 PM

Hey, Fred, Which recording of "Blue Moon is your favorite? The doo-wop version, or a more sentimental rendition?

Posted by: catlady | May 2, 2007 2:03 PM

Gawd, no wonder men cheat.

Does this woman have any kind of life besides her kids? The only moxie she has is thinking that intelligent life would be interested in her fluff!!!

Posted by: | May 2, 2007 02:02 PM

she has a life beyond posting hate on a blog. that puts her head and shoulders above the woman in your mirror.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 2:04 PM

Meet 2:02, the humor-challenged.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 2:05 PM

We get it almost every night
and when that moon gets big and bright
it's supernatural delight
everybody was dancin' in the moonlight


Everybody here is outta' sight
they don't bark and don't bite
they keep things loose, they keep things alight
everybody was dancin' in the moonlight

Dancin' in the moonlight
everybody feelin' warm, and right
it's such a fine and natural sight
everybody's dancin' in the moonlight

We like our fun and we never fight
you can't dance and stay uptight
it's supernatural delight
everybody was dancin' in the moonlight

Posted by: put on those dancin' shoes | May 2, 2007 2:08 PM

I ran a business writing for about a decade. I was married at the time, but had no kids. I don't see how anyone would start a business with kids (small kids, anyway) unless their spouse could take over most of the care.

Things I learned:
- set aside money for the taxes
- you'll work a ton for several years. Not only would I have been a bad mom during this period, I wasn't the most dedicated wife, either. (This isn't why I am no longer married--we actually kept it together quite well.)
- you'll need to front expenses for travel, equipment, and so forth
- it's much easier if you have a spouse with a job that can help support you.
- the lower your initial investment, the better. Not everyone can do this, but I was able to get away with capital investments in the 5K-10K range (probably 20K over time) because most of my value was in my work, not my equipment.
- beg everything you can.
- market yourself and keep your prices high.

It worked--all that work turned into a steady six-figure income that I eventually turned into a regular job because I no longer had the energy to keep up freelancing. Freelancing also means that you can change your job as you like--just look for different kinds of work. But it was a great deal of work and I don't think I could have pulled it off without my spouse's income. My first year's plan was to gross (not net) only $25K. Hard to live on that solo. And the double tax burden and no benefits hurts.

Posted by: 10+ years experience | May 2, 2007 2:10 PM

FOUR GREAT THINGS ABOUT Baby Bites NYC:

1) YOU CAN BRING YOUR BABY
2) YOU CAN DRINK ALCOHOL
3) YOU GET TO HEAR GOOD PARENTING ADVICE (FROM THE EXPERT SPEAKER AND THE OTHER MOMS)
4) YOU DON'T HAVE TO BUY ANYTHING

WISH THIS HAD EXISTED WHEN I WAS A NEW MOM IN NYC...

Posted by: Leslie | May 2, 2007 2:16 PM

I have to say Leslie that all sound great, but most of it is during the day.

Moxiemom I think you have plenty of moxie.

Posted by: scarry | May 2, 2007 2:18 PM

Moxiemom I think you have plenty of moxie.

Posted by: scarry

I don't share!

Posted by: Patrick Dempsey | May 2, 2007 2:22 PM

There's an image: scads of drunk, blonde, spoiled women with french manicures driving or swerving home from these lunch time events and the best part -- their innocent infants are passengers in the cars.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 2:24 PM

doo-wop and thank "put on those dancin' shoes" for the King Harvest song. It was one I had not recalled since I have been thinking about the full moons since Saturday.

My fav coming up next!

Posted by: Fred | May 2, 2007 2:26 PM

Patrick Dempsey

ha, Patrick, I geuss it will just be the battle of the Irish for moxiemom's affection. I have a feeling you will win because I am no where as pretty as you. :)

Posted by: scarry | May 2, 2007 2:29 PM

Well, it's a marvelous night for a Moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
'Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I'm trying to please to the calling
Of your heart-strings that play soft and low
And all the night's magic seems to whisper and hush
And all the soft moonlight seems to shine in your blush
CHORUS:
Can I just have one a' more Moondance with you, my love
Can I just make some more romance with a-you, my love

Well, I wanna make love to you tonight
I can't wait 'til the morning has come
And I know that the time is just right
And straight into my arms you will run
And when you come my heart will be waiting
To make sure that you're never alone
There and then all my dreams will come true, dear
There and then I will make you my own
And every time I touch you, you just tremble inside
And I know how much you want me that you can't hide

CHORUS

One more Moondance with you in the moonlight
On a magic night
La, la, la, la in the moonlight
On a magic night
Can't I just have one more dance with you my love

Posted by: it doesn't get any better than this | May 2, 2007 2:30 PM

In the heart of the night
In the cool southern rain
There's a full moon in sight
Shinin' down on the Pontchartrain
And the river she rises
Just like she used to do
She's so full of surprises
She reminds me of you

refrain:

In the heart of the night
In the heart of the night
In the heart of the night
Oh, down in New Orleans

There's a nightbird singing
Right on through till the dawn
And the streets are still ringing
With people carrying on
It's been so long waiting
Just to be here again
Anticipating
All the time I could spend

refrain

And I trust in your love
Never fallin' down
And I trust in your love
Just like I do in this town
Oh, never fallin' down
Oh, never fallin' down


In the heart of the night
In the cool fallin' rain
There's a full moon in sight
Shinin' down on the Pontchartrain
And the river she rises
Just like she used to do
She's so full of surprises (oh mama)
She reminds me of you (right here)

refrain

And I'm so glad to be back in New Orleans
Please don't wake me, don't shake me
If it's only, if it's only just a dream
Cause it's the only place that I can face
It makes me feel so right
Below that Dixie moon and lovin' you
In the heart of the night

Posted by: Fred | May 2, 2007 2:30 PM

"There's an image: scads of drunk, blonde, spoiled women with french manicures driving or swerving home from these lunch time events and the best part -- their innocent infants are passengers in the cars."

And the breastfeeding mothers are smoking up a storm in the cars because NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN A CHILD except that little second hand smoke and booze in the boob never hurt anybody.....

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 2:31 PM

I'm being followed by a moonshadow.

moonshadow, moonshadow.

And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough, lose my land, Oh if
I ever lose my hands, Oh if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough,
lose my land I won't have to work no more. . .

Posted by: sing along in your cube or shut the door to the office | May 2, 2007 2:31 PM

Cat Stevens supported the radical Islam fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Boycott Cat Stevens.

Posted by: Re Moon Shadow | May 2, 2007 2:35 PM

they are not breastfeeding.

the breastfeeders don't drink while BFing. They are relentlessly without humor for however long they breastfeed before they can look their other breastfeeding friends in the eye and say, "I've weaned Montague Charles III," without being treated as though they are single-handedly responsible for the downfall of Western Civilization.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 2:35 PM

Cat Stevens supported the radical Islam fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Boycott Cat Stevens.

Posted by: Re Moon Shadow | May 2, 2007 02:35 PM

Most of us aren't so self-important that we think what we hum is a political statement.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 2:36 PM

thanks to the people who are posting advice to families with start-up businesses. this is the most relevant blog post i've read in a while, and i appreciate those who are keeping up the discussion. keep the advice coming!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 2:40 PM

Most of us aren't so self-important that we think what we hum is a political statement.

Posted by: | May 2, 2007 02:36 PM


That's right, we wouldn't care if some Moslem wack-job murdered one of the world's great writers, in part because some of his reward might be paid by the rich singer whose tune we hum. Maybe it wouldn't bother your conscience to hum a tune by a Nazi-symp or a Klansman, or to buy their CDs.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 2:41 PM

2:41 is likely to die of an early heart attack under the strain of her uber-pompousness.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 2:47 PM

"they are not breastfeeding.

the breastfeeders don't drink while BFing. They are relentlessly without humor for however long they breastfeed before they can look their other breastfeeding friends in the eye and say, "I've weaned Montague Charles III," without being treated as though they are single-handedly responsible for the downfall of Western Civilization."

I stand corrected and quite amused.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 2:47 PM

That's right, we wouldn't care if some Moslem wack-job murdered one of the world's great writers, in part because some of his reward might be paid by the rich singer whose tune we hum. Maybe it wouldn't bother your conscience to hum a tune by a Nazi-symp or a Klansman, or to buy their CDs.


Start up company: humm the right song.com.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 2:49 PM

"I HATE those mommy businesses. I refuse to support any of them."
Agreed

I have about 10 friends who make and sell their own jewlery...I guess at about 200% mark-up. I would go broke if I bought one piece of jewlery from only 1 of them each month. And I don't need jewlery! It's money better spent on diapers, child care, books, etc.. I wish they would hock their goods on another group of people other than other mothers!

Posted by: FVA mom | May 2, 2007 2:51 PM

"the breastfeeders don't drink while BFing"

Do they permit secondhand smoke near their precious darlings? There seem to be a lot of smokers in this bunch.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 2:52 PM

"It's money better spent on diapers, child care, books, etc.."

They better be cloth diapers or you'll get in trouble with the Planet Police!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 2:55 PM

"the breastfeeders don't drink while BFing"

Really. I see them lighting up in bars all the time.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 2:57 PM

That's right, we wouldn't care if some Moslem wack-job murdered one of the world's great writers, in part because some of his reward might be paid by the rich singer whose tune we hum. Maybe it wouldn't bother your conscience to hum a tune by a Nazi-symp or a Klansman, or to buy their CDs.

Posted by: | May 2, 2007 02:41 PM


The personal IS political.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 2:59 PM

I most defeinitely drank while nursing.

In nyc most of those moms are taking cabs back to their apts, they aren't driving.

Posted by: atlmom | May 2, 2007 3:02 PM

"the breastfeeders don't drink while BFing"

Really. I see them lighting up in bars all the time.

Posted by: | May 2, 2007 02:57 PM

for logic's sake, what does "lighting up" have to do with whether they are drinking alcoholic beverages? and how do you know these women are breastfeeding? Is the infant latched on? are there handwritten signs taped to their backs: "I am one of the good, the brave, the breastfeeders!"

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 3:04 PM

The personal IS political.

Posted by: | May 2, 2007 02:59 PM

not if you've been reading the blog the last two days.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 3:05 PM

Gawd, no wonder men cheat.

Does this woman have any kind of life besides her kids? The only moxie she has is thinking that intelligent life would be interested in her fluff!!!

Posted by: | May 2, 2007 02:02 PM

I take deep offense at your statement. I DO have more in my life than my kids, I also happen to have a long standing, well documented, red hot affair with Patrick Dempsey going on. I'm so sorry if levity is troubling to you.

Posted by: moxiemom | May 2, 2007 3:06 PM

The words "all the time" should've been a troll-warning. Ignore him.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 3:06 PM

The personal IS political.

Posted by: | May 2, 2007 02:59 PM

not if you've been reading the blog the last two days.

Posted by: | May 2, 2007 03:05 PM


WTF?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 3:08 PM

Don't worry about that little troll, darlin'. I'll simply slice him up, a la McDreamy for you!

But I'm still waiting for your super-8 debut!

Posted by: Patrick | May 2, 2007 3:10 PM

Out of curiosity I checked out the Baby Bites website.

I was astonished at the locations of the events listed - the Reebok sports club in Manhattan, for example, used to require a $50,000 initiation fee (probably more these days) and lord knows how much per month in dues (waived for people like Madonna and well known models etc.)

Posted by: drmommy | May 2, 2007 3:10 PM

"I wish they would hock their goods on another group of people other than other mothers!"

They do, trust me. Oh, they do.

Posted by: Mona | May 2, 2007 3:11 PM

Two questions: do you guys all know each other and what do you all do for a living that you have time to post comments on this blog until 2:22 PM? : )

Posted by: Gabby | May 2, 2007 3:23 PM

to clueless 3:08, a partial review:

I think Bennett is much more indignant and self-righteous than the moms I meet in everyday life. I get the impression that us "younger" moms (late 20's, early 30's) aren't as concerned about this topic these days. Most of us realize that the choices we make are personal and it's stupid to make judgments about someone's family situation. I think Bennett needs to start thinking outside her box and learn that what a woman needs and desires can vary, not just among women but also during a woman's life. So yes, I think authors and the media make this topic a bigger deal than it needs to be...or maybe it's just a big deal to a select audience of mothers.
Posted by: | April 30, 2007 08:31 AM

Infantilizing adults (who need "rescue"!!) because they've made a quite common and personal decision based on their own needs, financial situation and relationship (things unknown to you or Bennetts) is the height of arrogance. Shame on her and shame on you.
Posted by: Fran | April 30, 2007 09:09 AM

Like so many "wars," this one seems to be fed almost exclusively by people who see life through ideological lenses. There's an intellectual strain that developed in the 20th century that is well summed up by the phrase "everything is political." In that view, what I choose to buy is a political statement, the clothes I wear are a political statement, where I live is a political statement - and all the choices I make in my personal life become statement about gender politics.
Don't misunderstand me - it is important to make prudent, responsible choices, and to care about the effect your choices have on the people in your life. But there's a difference between thinking about practical consequences for your family, and intentionally making a "statement."
If you read the posts on this blog carefully, the ones that are most heated tend to come from people who are focused on what their choices "say," the "statement" they make, the "cause" of this or that group of people, a "movement" or one or more words ending in "ism" - rather than on specific needs of a child, spouse, or themselves.
I'm increasingly convinced that there's nothing sadder than seeing people purely through political or ideological eyes - I can't imagine being married to someone who couldn't step outside that and view me as a friend and lover. Politics is important, and ideology can be important - but they can blind us if that's all we ever look at.
Fortunately, most men and women are more concerned about building good lives for themselves and their families than they are about fighting ideological battles. That's why, while you can find plenty of writers to maintain a war of words, most women have no interest in signing up for either side.
Posted by: Demos | April 30, 2007 09:13 AM

This is a very good example of what I meant about people viewing things through ideological or political lenses. 2:36 PM is essentially saying that what most of us consider very personal decisions are fair game for others to discuss and evaluate - not for how much sense they make in your family's particular situation - but based on how they line up with up with some sort of desired public policy.
That's crazy - we should judge public policy based on how well it works in the lives of individual people, rather than judging people's personal lives based on whether or not they advance some sort of ideology or public policy position.
Posted by: Demos | April 30, 2007 02:52 PM

I stand by my opinion that if a woman wants to go to school and chooses to stay home afterwards to take care of her children that is her choice. I don't think her personal choice affects you or me. I mean I don't know about you, but I have student loans that I have to pay whether I work or not. Like I posted earlier, the collective good of feminism has to get in line behind my family.
Posted by: scarry | April 30, 2007 03:46
PM

I also don't think their opting out has impacted my work life. There are plenty of working mothers in my office, and my office has adjusted very well to this reality. Do I think it's financially dumb to be a SAHM? Not necessarily. It depends on the situation of each woman. I know plenty of people who work who make equally dumb financial decisions and live completely beyond their means and on the brink of bankruptcy in the event of a layoff or other job loss.
Posted by: | April 30, 2007 03:46 PM

The point of working, for most of us, is to make a living. It's to make money to pay the mortgage or rent, to feed our families and so forth. It's not to advance any particular social cause. Our families are more important than vague social causes, at least for most people. Actual human beings come before any political agenda. The idea that anybody is obligated to work for pay to make some strangers happy, or obligated to not work for pay to make some different strangers happy, is ludicrious.
Posted by: | April 30, 2007 06:20 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 3:23 PM

Two questions: do you guys all know each other and what do you all do for a living that you have time to post comments on this blog until 2:22 PM? : )

Posted by: Gabby | May 2, 2007 03:23 PM

WTF??

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 3:25 PM

Thanks Patrick. By the way - you were awesome last night on my DVR! I'm going to try to hit the gym really hard (you know between trips to the manicurist and Starbucks) before I make my debut. I'll do a test screening with market segment one (moxiedad) and if there are no adverse affects, then you are next on the distribution.

BTW - on topic. Everyone I know who has their own business has a life completely out of balance. They literally are always working is my experience.

Posted by: moxiemom | May 2, 2007 3:25 PM

Gabby, It's blog like any other. the Internet is available 24/7. what's your point?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 3:26 PM

I agree, moxiemom, with the exception of the independently wealthy. As an earlier poster commented, e.g., if the business doesn't support the family, I don't see that all-encompassing behavior.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 2, 2007 3:27 PM

"Two questions: do you guys all know each other "

In person? Shudders

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 3:28 PM

I promise, I'm not trying to be rude. Everyone on this blog seems like they know each other really well ... like you guys are all good friends. And you all comment a lot. Do you all know each other outside of this blog?

Posted by: Gabby | May 2, 2007 3:30 PM

Gabby - no - just after weeks and months of posting and discussing issues we "virtually" know each other. Its kinda creepy if you really think about it. Stick around, post some comments, take some abuse (some likely warranted - some not) and you too can be a member of this motley, not even remotely exclusive, crew!

Posted by: moxiemom | May 2, 2007 3:34 PM

I promise, I'm not trying to be rude. Everyone on this blog seems like they know each other really well ... like you guys are all good friends. And you all comment a lot. Do you all know each other outside of this blog?

Only through email or a few phone conversations.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 3:34 PM

Gabby

"Do you all know each other outside of this blog?"

I don't. Never been invited to Leslie's million dollar house.

Posted by: Born Free | May 2, 2007 3:35 PM

3:34 - applicable to only a small few, I imagine. Most who post are unknown to anyone beyond what is here.

check out the other Post blogs and you'll see some, but not all of the same names.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 3:36 PM

"Good friends"

Hardly. Someone said my "religion is stupid"

There is some cyber feudin' and there are some cyber lovefests.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 3:39 PM

LOL. Thanks for the info Moxiemom. After reading your comments today, I was staring to think I was the only person on this blog that didn't know everyone else. You guys are darn entertaining : )

Posted by: Gabby | May 2, 2007 3:39 PM

To Gabby: Moxiemom hit the nail on the head when she wrote "after weeks and months of posting and discussing issues we "virtually" know each other. Its kinda creepy if you really think about it. Stick around, post some comments, take some abuse (some likely warranted - some not) and you too can be a member of this motley, not even remotely exclusive, crew!"

Nothing exclusive here, besides being able to write one's ideas reasonably clearly and, ideally, briefly. And Moxiemom has admirably established our credo: "Setting the bar lower for others"!

Anyone's most welcome to join us here, as long as they're not a troll (anonymous snarker), or too long-winded or elitist.

Posted by: catlady | May 2, 2007 3:44 PM

Moxiemom: my bil never worked for anyone else-he graduated with a comp sci degree and started his own thing. When he met my sister he cut back slightly. He has had people working for him off and on but mainly doesn't like to be a boss. Anyway, when they had kids he quit working every weekend at the office and quit working so much. It was defeinitely an all encompassing thing for him for a while-before my sister before kids, when he could work 24/7. He doesn't have to work all the time now and he doesn't. It's good for them cause my sister woh and he is the more flexible one.

Posted by: atlmom | May 2, 2007 3:45 PM

"check out the other Post blogs and you'll see some, but not all of the same names."

Warning - the Achenblog has the most pompous windbags in cyberspace. Don't know how these big yawns managed to find each other. Goes to show, water seeks its own level.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 3:45 PM

Yes, Gabby come join the gab fest. Sometimes the regulars disagree, but the next day we start chatting again. The same can not be said for "some" of the anons.

Posted by: scarry | May 2, 2007 3:47 PM

"The same can not be said for "some" of the anons. "

Like me.

Posted by: gutless coward | May 2, 2007 3:48 PM

did foamgnome get a new job? she's been surprisingly absent lately.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 3:51 PM

Gabby, It's always fun whenever "Chris" posts one of his parody poems -- he has a real gift! Chris? Chris? (Hint)

Posted by: catlady | May 2, 2007 3:53 PM

In the DC metro area I see a lot of senior gov't people and congressional staffers going into business for themselves offering strategic advice and selling their access. I think it's a great opportunity for balancing, provided that you have good contacts and can find clients. First, very little start up costs; second, you are selling your brain and your knowledge, which is always with you; third, you can use your brain pretty much anytime, while sitting at your kids soccer practice, for instance. I know a couple of women who are very successful at this. They go downtown for meetings when their kids are in school, but they do all their thinking and writing from home. The greatest challenge I see in this business is to secure a steady flow of clients.

Posted by: fedmom | May 2, 2007 4:01 PM

The greatest challenge I see in this business is to secure a steady flow of clients.

Posted by: fedmom | May 2, 2007 04:01 PM

so true - and that's quite a challenge when you think about it. It's fine to be self-employed, but where are the clients going to come from that will pay you for your services? Many gifted individuals lack a talent for developing clients.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 4:08 PM

Who made you in charge of the rules?

Posted by: to catlady | May 2, 2007 4:08 PM

I was merely summarizing accepted (and acceptable) established practices, not creating them.

Posted by: catlady | May 2, 2007 4:11 PM

Gabby, 4:08 is a good example of the high troll factor, otherwise known as persons whose only joy in life appears to be slamming strangers on a blog -- what a bleak existence.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 4:11 PM

Regarding the rules, did not Legal Eagle post the rules a few weeks back?

Gabby, if you ever need to know anything about breastfeeding, I am your man!

Posted by: Fred | May 2, 2007 4:20 PM

That will scare her, Fred.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 4:22 PM

Gabby, if you ever need to know anything about breastfeeding, I am your man!

There's an image!

(My eyes! My EYES! Aaaahhhh!)

;-)

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 2, 2007 4:24 PM

Oh, Maryland Mother, you make me laugh out loud ;-)))))

Posted by: catlady | May 2, 2007 4:29 PM

Ok, maybe I should restate,

If you need some culture on this blog, see Fred's Cultural Tidbit of the Day.

If you need a laugh, Chris is usually good for one.

If you need to know anything about breastfeeding, I am your man.

(damn, I said it again!)

Posted by: Fred | May 2, 2007 4:32 PM

You ppl are too quick. I have nothing to say. Of course, I'm saying something anyway. Whatcha gonna do.

Posted by: atlmom | May 2, 2007 4:43 PM

"If you need a laugh, Chris is usually good for one."

so are Mona and Maryland Mother.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2, 2007 4:57 PM

Ooops - just came back from an all-day thing and read the flak...

I'll clarify here. I don't mean to disparage Office Managers. Been there, done that, TOUGH job. Herding cats to the nth degree. I was an Office Manager for two years myself after I destroyed my joints doing paleo and tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my life going forward.

A good Office Manager is a godsend. Everything is where you want it when you need it and they keep the office rolling. It's a valuable job that requires a lot of fast thinking, kick-@ss organizational skills, vast wells of patience and huge amounts of flexibility (and a glass of wine when you get home...)

But Meesh and Northern Girl had my vibe. It was the fact that no one bothered to ask about my employment history before they offered me a job. (And the salary they offered was an insult to all Office Managers and Administrative staff on the planet.)

That just seemed so random and weird, yet par for the course for my husband's company (even the employees admit their HR Department is a pain in the butt and very Dogbert-like).

So I repeat - Office Managers (and all good Admin staff for that matter), valuable. SO valuable. As in the company-would-fall-apart without them valuable.

The *snort* was *fully* for my husband's company.

Many apologies for anyone I offended. Not intended that way - I just had to road-trip today and my mind was not fully on the posting.

Speaking of which, I must get to cleaning now, and I hand out a virtual Mint Julep and a few Famous Dave's ribs to whoever so needs them as I prepare for Kentucky Derby party....

Posted by: Chasmosaur | May 2, 2007 5:09 PM

Gabby,
Agree to disagree is the way it works alot of the time.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 2, 2007 5:12 PM

Speaking of which, I must get to cleaning now, and I hand out a virtual Mint Julep and a few Famous Dave's ribs to whoever so needs them as I prepare for Kentucky Derby party....

Posted by: Chasmosaur | May 2, 2007 05:09 PM

Chasmosaur, You are a virtual Goddess. *calls out to friends - hey, dinner's on Chasmosaur!! wait 'til you see the menu*

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 2, 2007 5:13 PM

Chasmosaur - got any cornbread to go with those ribs?

Posted by: moxiemom | May 2, 2007 5:50 PM

to moxiemom:

:) unfortunately not.

I do however have Honey Baked Ham, several large sandwiches, crab/brie dip, 4 Derby Pies (Pecan pies with chocolate), lemon poppy cookies and grapes.

Gotta balance out those Juleps, or I'll be pouring my neighbors home...

Posted by: Chasmosaur | May 2, 2007 6:45 PM

And what time does the party start? Nothing for the Queen? She will be at the Derby.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 2, 2007 7:48 PM

She gets the one good Julep cup....

Posted by: Chasmosaur | May 2, 2007 7:57 PM

I saw on the news that she likes a gentle handshake.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 2, 2007 8:43 PM

I'm at work (rather late for me) and a friend emailed me this web link. I've been surfing through Mom Confessions for 15 minutes now. It's like a train wreck. I can't look away!! Leslie, somehow this might be worthy of a blog. The secret lives of moms or something . . .

http://www.truemomconfessions.com/

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 2, 2007 8:51 PM

I could have written this one--but I didn't.

Ugh, I am so sick of the fact that my husband won't follow through on anything. He'll whine about things like not exercising or sleeping too late or playing too much on the computer or eating out too much, make a bunch of plans about how he's going to fix it, does it for two or three days and then . . . nothing. I can poke, prod, support or ignore it, doesn't matter. Nothing can get this man to follow through. In the meantime, I'm taking care of the house, the kid, the pets, the extended family, the friends and me. Pal, I don't have time to be looking after your lazy ass and getting you up for work. Grow up and take some responsibility, Mr. Almost Forty. I am not your mom!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 4, 2007 1:45 PM

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