By Diane Martin
From the isolation of being a new mother looking for some down to earth information I could use in my parenting role "Between Moms" the newsletter was born. In 1995 I began this newsletter for mothers of infants and preschool aged children. 'Between Moms' facilitates the sharing of creative ideas, solutions to problems and other innovations mothers develop as they raise a young family. Beginning a newsletter from your home can have many rewards. Particularly is you choose a theme that you find interesting and motivating. I hope the following tips will help you to begin your own newsletter.
Establish a Topic....
Choose an area that you are very interested in, and preferably a topic where there is limited competition. Look for an area that is in need of a networking device and where your potential customers are hungry for information.
Establish Your Role...
You can choose to offer information to your subscribers or act as a facilitator of information. With Between Moms the content is written by the members. I facilitate the sharing by gathering 'mom tested' ideas through a questionnaire the members fill out, and then producing the newsletter with that information.
Choose a Name...
There is a lot of marketing value in a name. Choose one carefully. Keep it easy to remember and to pronounce. Register your name as a trade mark to protect your ownership.
Before I jumped full bore into Between Moms I did a market survey by sending a preliminary questionnaire to a number of mothers. I was looking for confirmation that the newsletter was wanted and what type of information the moms were looking for.
Don't worry about starting small with your distribution. My first issue of Between Moms went to seven members. Now it is distributed across Canada and the US. Starting at a manageable pace allows your experience to grow with your readers.
Put together a press package and send to the various media and interest groups in your area. Include some biography information on yourself and your reason for undertaking the project. Be creative and fresh with the information you are sharing with the media.
Don't underestimate the power of word of mouth. It will be a big boom for your newsletter.
Be certain to look at all possible use and miss use of the information you are providing in your newsletter. I had a waiver of liability drafted by a lawyer. Don't assume that people will interpret your content in the same way, or that their level of judgment is the same as yours.
Establishing an Image...
Consistent image use helps to establish your professionalism and market recognition. Use of the same colors and format are very important. Choose a paper stock for the newsletter, your business cards, and letterhead that match. Develop a logo or select a type style you will use consistently.
Desk Top Publishing...
It makes the most economical sense to do your own layout and design. I highly recommend Microsoft Publisher for newsletter work. It is user friendly for the beginner and as you develop experience it is very flexible. I have created 3 color separations using that software.
There are three possible sources of income when producing a newsletter. The first is through your subscription fees. Membership fees must be kept in line with other similar products on the market.
The second is through the sale of advertising space. When selling advertising you will need a sufficient distribution of material to make it a viable promotional vehicle for companies. One way to accomplish this is to distribute your newsletter as a free product to thousands of consumers and then rely on advertising to cover costs.
The third potential source of income is through a business partnership with a major corporation. A partnership is an exchange agreement where exclusive advertising and a high profile relationship with your newsletter is given in exchange for a fee.
by Mary Ellen Goodwin
I am a stay-at-home mom with two children. I have a son, age 12 and a daughter, age 10. I worked outside the home for years until I realized my children were suffering because of it. My husband and I both felt that they needed me to be here when they got home from school. I can take them to their after school activities, help them with homework, and just be there to talk about their day! It is so important for kids to know you are there for them.
I had been trying to think of something that I could do at home to bring in extra income. I wanted it to be something that I enjoy. I feel that is the most important aspect in finding a home business. It has to be something you feel passionate about! I also wanted it to involve a service that other busy moms like myself would need.
I have always enjoyed cooking and collecting recipes. What could I do with that? I knew moms everywhere were always getting asked the age old question......"Hey Mom! What's For Dinner?". So I started a recipe newsletter for busy moms! I feature 5 recipes in each issue. It's like a mini cookbook! I give you new ideas for "dinner", and I save you the trouble of looking up recipes in your cookbooks or on the internet. The recipes are quick and easy. They are not difficult to make and they don't involve a lot of ingredients. This is definitely a service for the "busy mom of the 90's"!
Families today are different than they used to be. Studies have shown that families could benefit greatly by sitting down together and having "dinner". I feel that my newsletter could help families grow closer together. I hope that families will discover each other again over the "dinner" table.
I started my newsletter locally and then decided to try it out on the internet. It is slow going, but I feel that all the hard work will pay off in the end. I have found that the hardest part of a home business is getting the word out. But nobody said it was going to be easy!
My advice to anyone starting a home business is get a good idea, find something that you enjoy, and stick with it! Don't give up!
Mary Ellen Goodwi
I am a stay at home Mom out of choice. I have always believed that Moms should be home with their children if at all possible. Fortunately I was able to quit my job when we were blessed with the adoption of our first child. And being a Mommy was and is great!
We homeschool our children so time is a premium. As they grow older, I find more time on my hands and more of a need to bring in a little extra income. And, I wanted a job that would allow me to "give back" something.
Thinking a lot about what I could do, and still stay at home, consumed me. I wanted something that would make an impact, help others and be fulfilling for me, as well as bring in some money. Not too much to ask, right? Hehe
When we got online a few years ago, I was fascinated with the whole concept. It intrigued and spoke to the creative side of me how each and every place I went online was a page SOMEONE had created! The more I surfed, the more I was mesmerized. I started dabbling in creating a web page, had LOTS of trouble, needed lots of help but then finally mastered it!
It took hours and hours, days and days to learn it all, but I'm determined!
I mastered it quite well, in fact and then thought, "Hey, I could make MONEY at this!" I contacted several businesses in our area and asked if I could create a web site for them. Initially I told them "I'll do the work, if you don't like what you see, then fine, I'll take the page down, end of story. If you like what you see, then you "buy" the site, fair enough?" They jumped on it! And Designs By Hailey was born!
Pretty soon I was turning down requests and working way more hours than I wanted to be and talked to a couple of friends telling them that they could do this, too! They did!
Web creation is a lot of fun, but it was not where my heart was really at. I still felt like I wanted to do something "closer to home". I've always heard that if you're going to write a book, write about what you know best. I asked myself, what do I know best? Homeschooling! No expert, but in the trenches for 10 years now! What could I do utilizing the knowledge I've acquired over the past 10 years? You have to understand that we went though lots of changes as we traveled our homeschooling journey, so the knowledge I had accrued included lots of interesting side tours!
Then it hit me. Why not make a newsletter for folks who were or wanted to be teaching the way we did? What we do is called unschooling. It's a philosophy. Anyway, we love it and I could actually produce a newsletter to help others!
My only problem was the actual nuts and bolts of producing a newsletter. I had tons of information, but putting it all together. hmmm. Way different from a web page!
I took a quarter of classes to learn to use Publisher 98, which I intended to use to create the newsletter. I learned so much and had so much fun! I'm still learning!
But now I had my basics down, ready to begin my new adventure! I needed an "audience" now, for this wonderful new newsletter! I put my ad in the local homeschooling newsletter, that go out to their members, and I placed some ads on the web as well I also keep it in my signature file on my e-mail so anyone who wishes to may send for a sample copy. It's slow going, but we'll get there!
Funschool Newsletter is, of course, the newsletter. But it's much more than that.
I've taught my children for 10 years now, since out oldest was 8 and we removed him from private school. He had learning disabilities and we had to learn to deal with these and educate him in the best possible way, with the least possible stress-to us ALL!
I had to learn to be very creative to teach him. I had to learn a whole new way of approaching things, looking at things, and doing things! So now, in the newsletter, I simply write from the heart. What I know best. I DO know homeschooling.
The newsletter has all kinds of ideas, suggestions on how to teach subjects, places to go, things to see, experiments, humor, games to make, games to buy, using the real world instead of textbooks. I get to tell people things that have worked for us, hopefully helping them, maybe keeping them from making a few of the same mistakes I did! My family is very supportive. The children have lots of ideas too, because homeschooling is a family affair. I use their ideas, too. The kids are great about the time I need for "working" although they don't take it serious quite yet. Juggling it all is still quite a feat, and I'm not sure we'll ever "arrive" but we get things done.
I call my company Designs By Hailey, of which Funschool Newsletter is a subsidiary, and have just acquired my domain by the same name. We've not yet put the newsletter online, but this is in the works. Comes in handy, knowing web design! Domain came with e-mails, too!
Having your own business is rewarding and comforting. Knowing you CAN DO IT is pretty neat too!
Just jump in with both feet and try!
Tired of the same old same old in teaching your children? Don't have time to search for fresh ideas? Just want a change in pace? Send for a sample copy of the Funschool Newsletter! It's jammed packed with pages of ideas, games, mini units, advice, lots of stuff you never thought of! TONS of fun, for school, the way school SHOULD be! You'll be glad you did! If you'd like a sample copy, send $1 to:
P O Box 2000
Bow, Washington 98232