By Cathy Pedigo
I've been a mother and homemaker for over 23 years. I've enjoyed staying home and raising my two children. My husband, Tom had been the sole financial provider for our family until four and a half years ago when he lost his job and our steady income. He didn't want me to have to go outside of our home to find employment and I didn't relish the idea either. After months of him not being able to find other work, we began to frantically consider alternative ways to bring in money.
Tom started developing a passion for reading books about "Home Businesses" and how to start them. One home business that attracted us the most was writing and self-publishing various "how-to" booklets. As he shared the nuggets from these different authors, he began to write a booklet on "How to Win a Pinewood Car Derby", since he was able to speak out of the experience of four years of consistent wins!
As a result of this self-reflection, we both came out with our own individual booklets. This is the KEY to producing moneymaking material - what ideas, experience, and knowledge do you have that others would desperately want to have for themselves?
I'd been having successful garage sales for over 12 years when I decided to write a booklet on: "How to Have Big Money Garage Sales". My friends were astonished and unbelieving when I would tell them how much I had earned for the days of my sale. Some of them begged me to tell them my "secrets" which is what gave me the idea of actually putting them into print. It was from these friends and my husband's prodding that finally got me to put some of my experience into writing as well.
The next big step was figuring out how to publish our booklets and then how to market them. We LIVED in the library, bringing home armloads of books every few days. As a result of all this newfound knowledge, my husband and I have established a successful self-publishing business through the mail. We've used magazine ads, direct mail, and most recently (and most productively), the Internet to make our materials known and available. Our manuals have brought in much needed income over the last four years. Therefore, we plan to keep writing and marketing.
Let me give you some quotes from some of the books we've read, about those who have been successful in self-publishing and have made an impact on us:
- "Nationally, 50% of all books sold are sold through the mail." (Ted Nicolas. How to Publish a Book and Sell a Million Copies.)
- "Enthusiasm is contagious and that is why it is so important to inject it into your material." (Alfred Stern. How Mail Order Fortunes Are Made.)
- "Booklets are often priced higher than factor-made books, but contain information more explicit, timely and precise. Of acute interest to specific readers, booklets deliver value far greater than their cost." (Don Massey. How to Start and Operate a Profitable Homemade Booklet Business.)
- "The best product is between your ears!" (Joe Karbo)
- "A path to mail-order success that many successful operators have used - even starting with nothing but the legendary kitchen table - is to capitalize on your knowledge of, and interest in, one of your hobbies." (Julian Simon. How to Start and Operate a Mail-Order Business)
- "When you reach the point where you think you know something that other people might want to know, or you have gathered hard-to-find information that others might pay to receive, you are read to think about putting this material into written form." (Barbara Brabec. Homemade Money)
- "To succeed in mail order you must continue to offer the right products to the right people at the right prices in the right way at the right times." (Sean Martin. How to Start and Run a Successful Mail Order Business)
As I look back, I'm amazed at how far we've come. It took a lot of studying and long hours, but there is nothing so satisfying as finally seeing the fruit of all our hard work and persistence finally paying off. Best of all, I still get to stay home and be with my kids and make my work hours revolve around my home life, versus having my home life revolve around my work life!
I love computers and throughout these last four years I've learned much to help me in this self-publishing business. Not only do I continue to sell our booklets through the mail, but also I've learned a lot about desktop publishing and have also made money designing ads and flyers for other people. Also, I've learned how to create web pages for our own business and for others, which has brought in extra income. I've learned how to database and keep financial records - I could go on and on. So, if you're a mom that loves learning, and loves computers, and you have an area in your life that you excel at - go for it! Other people might just want to know YOUR secrets!
Cathy Pedigo is a homemaker and President of Winning Edge, a self-publishing business in Colorado Springs.