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Have You Ever Wished You Could Build a Family Business? Audrey Kerwood Shares How She and Her Mom Do Business Together. Hint: Could It Be As Easy As Playing a Game?

Have You Ever Wished You Could Build a Family Business? Audrey Kerwood Shares How She and Her Mom Do Business Together. Hint: Could It Be As Easy As Playing a Game?

Many of you have told us you’d like to make some money, perhaps even start a business that would get you out of the financial mess the recent recession has caused.  Your concerns, of course, are that you don’t know whether or not you have any marketable skills.  As a coach whose expertise is in helping people find a way to do what you love and make money in the process, I often spend a fair amount of time helping my  clients identify their skillsets…

In today’s post, I have asked Audrey Kerwood to tell her story of how she’s making a good living running four eCommerce stores. That is, she sells stuff online. Best of all, she does this with the assistance of her mother and her sister. And, the businesses don’t require her to stock an inventory, or manage a warehouse…

Curious? Here’s Audrey to tell her story:

My name is Audrey Kerwood and I run four eCommerce stores.

I sell a broad gamut of products from replica armor to European wall hangings. I spend most of my time working on refining and growing my business. I am able to do this because my mom and my sister manage almost everything that requires daily attention in my stores. But more importantly, I’m convinced that sharing my business with my family has helped me develop a fuller relationship with my mom and sister.

Audrey Kerwood's mom Ginger Let me tell you about my mom, Ginger:

  • If you had told her a year ago that she would become a regular blogger, my mom would have laughed in disbelief.
  • Now, she chuckles as she gets more and more followers.
  • She’s thrilled that folks want to learn from her.
  • She has knowledge she took for granted and now that raw knowledge is making me money.

Ginger says she’s amazed that people read her blogs. I keep telling her that what she writes about is what people are searching to find – stuff like how to clean a tapestry wall hanging for instance.

  • The win/win is that my mom knows how to clean just about anything that needs cleaning.
  • My customers need to know how to clean the European wall tapestries I sell them.
  • In fact, many others who own wall tapestries need this information too.
  • The cool part is that everyone searching for how to clean their wall tapestry is a target customer of mine, so I make money when my mom blogs about the care of her own wall tapestries.

How do I make money off my mom?

Well, to begin with, I pay her. My mom and my sister are independent contractors I hire to run the day-to-day customer interface with my customers.

It started out with me doing everything. Then my stores got big enough where I couldn’t do everything myself. I had to begin dividing up roles and responsibilities in my business. This happened far faster than I imagined. Within three months I had replaced what I was making at my last job.

  • If you’re like most Boomers, you probably would like to have a way to make money with your daughter or son the way I make money with my mom. Maybe you reverse the roles and you run the store and they work on your business. I can’t tell you who should focus on what or divide up tasks for you that will be based on individual strengths and desires, what I can show you is exactly what needs to get done to make money together, giving you income-generating power for your future retirement.
  • If you want to change your lifestyle and go into business for yourself – and do it fast, I can give you everything you need to know to open an online store. But I want to be clear that fast means 90-days, not overnight. I also want to be clear that most people only work an hour a day, five days a week. This means you can have a store up and profitable in 120-days.
  • This isn’t you selling your stuff on eBay. This is using drop shippers  or wholesalers – first one, then more than one. I can teach you how to find a profitable niche you love, then vet the category for a reliable supply of vendors because you don’t want to build a business around a single supply source, that’s too close to Multi-Level-Marketing for my comfort. I wanted my own business, where I own my whole business. Getting tied to a single supplier removes some of the freedom factor in working for yourself.
  • I love having my mom in my life as much as she is. I get to spend more time with her because we work together. That doesn’t work for some. If you don’t have a smooth relationship, this may be disastrous. For us it works smoothly and consistently. And what I’ve learned over my life from my mom is immeasurable. She’s helped many people in many different ways.

Ginger, a beautiful married woman in her 60s, is a blogger by day, nanny by afternoon and a handful for my dad at night. They play Beatle’s RockBand competitively and my mom usually wins.

Is Ginger worried about her financial future?

Who doesn’t want to recapture the money you lost in the stock market over the last two years, right? But that hasn’t stopped Ginger from continuing to enjoy life. Despite the economy, she is still known for:

  • Spoiling her grandchildren with gifts whenever she sees them
  • Always having the house she wants – she recently replaced her couch and overstuffed chair with something new she liked better
  • Living in a fabulous home with a pool and a huge yard for family events
  • Driving the car of her choice, and
  • Taking her grandchildren for grandparents weekend each year

How Can She Do It?

She plans out her time and her money. She’s always made good use of her time and her money. She isn’t doing me any favors by working for me – I pay her well. And, I’m not doing any favors to her by hiring her. I make money from what she does for me; I know she treats my customers like they are hers and that’s comforting to me. I love having my mom as part of my business.

In fact, working with family members to build something together is one of the best perks you’ll experience when you decide to go into business for yourself. And one I never anticipated when I first got started.

Here’s what makes this workable:

  • My mom knows exactly what she does for me, so there is never a time when she is wondering how to make herself useful
  • Ginger started simple by answering my customer service line. It worked because it was something I desperately needed help with, and something that was easy to learn, because our policies make it easy to say yes to our customers
  • My business is a premium price business with free shipping and we honor our return policies so most customer service callers are happy people who are grateful for courteous help
  • As my mom got comfortable with each new task, I asked her to try something new, like email customer service.
  • Six-months later my mom was blogging and had followers.

If you asked Ginger a year ago she wouldn’t have been able to see herself as a blogger with followers, but she loves it. Now, she’s warmed by how many folks want to learn from her. The knowledge she has is now making me money. Thank you mom. Remind me to give you a bonus 😉

So: Can You Do It?

OK, it’s Anne again. Audrey’s story has inspired so many people, she and a friend Ben Mack, decided to put together a game to help others learn all the terminology needed to run a drop-ship based estore themselves.  Ben is a marketing genius, so I can promise you the game is freaking fun. Something you can play with friends, your kids, or even your grandkids, to learn how to make money with an eCommerce store.

Ben and Audrey call their new game eStoreOpoly,  and they’re just launching it online now. Just when you’d decided you need to change your lifestyle. How convenient, right?

According to Audrey and Ben, there have never been so many GREAT options available for becoming a successful online merchant as there are today. And it’s never been EASIER for you to become a full-fledged ecommerce business owner than it is right now.

But at the same time, there is so much to get confused over. After all, there’s a whole new lingo to learn — and then you have to do stuff like:

  • Setting up shopping carts
  • Finding good merchant account providers,
  • Sourcing quality wholesalers and product suppliers,
  • Identifying the best and most convenient shipping and fulfillment vendors…

Which is a problem in itself. I know all about that. I’ve had clients literally spend over a year simply building their websites and taking photos of their products.

Which just goes to show you  – too much of a GOOD thing can be a problem!

There are SO many choices… SO many possibilities to take into consideration… it can be really tough making sense of it all.

Audrey and Ben want you to succeed in building your own ecommece store – in 90 days or so.

They don’t think it’s an overnight process, but they also know it’s easy to fall into “Analysis Paralysis” without even realizing it!

Audrey says that’s the 2nd most common issue folks write to her about.

So: If you’re feeling frustrated or intimidated about getting your online store up and running…

…you are NOT alone!

But why exhaust yourself  and spend thousands like my friend did just trying to figure out build his ecommerce store?  Hey, you need to start making money faster than that!!

Let Audrey and Ben show you how to get your ecommerce store up and running in 90 days with their great new game – eStoreOpoly.

Until now, building a business was NEVER this fun!! And even better, here’s a chance for you to not only make some money, but share the business you develop with your family, and suddenly you have a great way to leave a legacy, too!

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Real Boomer Women Not Offended By Media Uproar Over “Putting Lipstick on a Pig.” But Isn’t It True You’d Rather Spend Your Time “Wearing” Lipstick and Riding Your “Hog?”

September 12, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Politics, Travel & Leisure

Lipstick and a HOG

OK, You Asked to Get to the Bottom of This Latest Campaign Silliness So You Can Move On. Here You Go:

According to “Media Matters for Media,” a Web-based, not-for-profit research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media, here’s what really brought about the US presidential campaign’s latest dither, the outrageous “putting lipstick on a pig” brouhaha:

  • First “The Boston Globe reported that former acting Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift “led the Republican charge” that Sen. Barack Obama’s “lipstick” comment regarding Sen. John McCain’s policies was ‘an echo of [Gov. Sarah] Palin’s joke during her convention speech.’
  • “But Swift did more than charge that Obama’s statement was “an echo” of Palin’s joke; she actually accused Obama of calling Palin a pig.
  • She “directed media traffic” by opining that, “It was a comment that obviously people in the audience and the press interpreted to be directed at Governor Palin. I interpreted it that way. I found it offensive.”
  • “Then the next day, during an interview with MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell, Swift backtracked from that accusation.
  • Unfortunatley for you who don’t have time to waste on trivialities, “The Globe reported neither the direct accusation nor the backtrack.” And the story grew huge, as the campaign and the media once again attempted to create inflammatory news rather than report truth.
  • In the interest of truth: Swift is a national member of the McCain campaign’s recently announced “Palin Truth Squad” – set up to counter attacks on Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
  • No wonder the Public Relations Society of America issued a media advisory, calling on both the McCain and Obama campaigns to commit to the highest standards of ethical practice in every facet of their campaign communications.

It was sort of like watching an episode of Seinfeld, much ado about “nothing”…  Except that the McCain machine engineered the media,  to make you think you were watching breaking news instead of wasting your time over “nothing.” Don’t you hate finding out you’ve been manipulated?

Now, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, and don’t really know the long political history of the infamous “putting lipstick on a pig” phrase, you can refer to our own glossary definition of putting lipstick on a pig, which reports that it is a “term used by many, generally in reference to someone who may be trying to make something or someone look appealing or attractive when it quite clearly will not work, or will only deceive the dumbest of people.”

And of course, Boomer voters are not dumb, so in the end, the effort didn’t work any better than the earlier and equally ill-conceived “Obama is a Muslim” plan….

But to finally put this story to rest, let’s remember what Barack Obama told David Letterman:
If I had meant my “lipstick on a pig” remarks about Sarah Palin, she’d actually be the lipstick… not the pig.”

Have You, Like Other Boomers, Had Enough with the Spin, Fluff, Innuendo, Incomplete Information, Character Assassination, Unchallenged Reporting of Falsehoods – And Outright Lies That This Presidential Campaign Has Become?

Likely you have. After all, since McCain announced Palin as his running mate, we’ve been subjected to all kinds of silly and sexist media posturing:

  • First there was the obvious spin: “Women want to be her and men want to mate with her,” opined Donny Deutsch on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street”
  • While in an interview with Newsweek, Harvard Business School’s John Quelch said that he thinks of Barack Obama as a new Prius and John McCain as an “old Ford F-150.” Then told Ad Age That McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin was a “good brand extension,” likening it to “putting a red Chevy Camaro in the garage next to his truck.”
  • And later in that same Ad Age article, Bill Hillsman, Chief Creative Officer at Minneapolis’ North Woods Advertising agency said, “Palin for VP may be the best news for the snowmobile industry in the past five years,” adding that her presence on the ticket may induce the “boys with toys” market segment – those independent male voters, outdoorsman who are fishers, campers, hunters and who own 4WD trucks, ATV’s, boats, jet skis, etc., to vote Republican
  • And just before the “lipstick” got smeared, you started reading about Sarah Palin as a fashion statement, with discusisons of her red shoes and frameless eyeglasses, not to mention all the other “news” relating to her fishing, hunting and parenting skills.
  • Yet for weeks, no “solid meat” — Not much real substance had emerged about Palin’s political viewpoints.

Instead of All These References in Terms of “Boys and Their Toys,” Perhaps it is Time to Consider How the “Boomer Girls with Toys” will Respond?

You know: The real-life Boomer women who’d rather wear lipstick and ride hogs than concern themselves with lipsticked pigs. As in women owners of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. What? You didn’t know one in every ten Harley owners is a woman? The company certainly does. That’s why:

  • Their website has a special women riders section, and why the various H.O.G. (Harley Owner Group) clubs offer special events for women, as well.
  • One of the big events at this year’s huge Harley-Davidson’s huge 105th Anniversary Celebration was a women’s ride, in which 300 women grabbed the throttle and paraded through the streets.
  • And why one of the riders, Wisconsin State Senator Mary Lazich, commented, “There’s nothing more relaxing, and nothing more fun than riding; and riding with women.”

 

Shattering More Stereotypes

You’ve no doubt come to understand that today’s Harley owner is more likely to be a surgeon, a Web site developer or advertising agency art director than a rebel without a cause.

Likely you’ve seen enough Harley riders out enjoying weekend getaways at antique stores and resorts to realize that the typical Harley owner is a married, 44-year-old college graduate with a household income of $70,000.

But perhaps you hadn’t realized how many Harley owners are women.

Regardless, everyone knows Harley-Davidson stands for no-nonsense, for “macho.” It’s as much a part of the world’s image of America as Levi’s, McDonald’s or Coca-Cola. After all, a Harley-Davidson is more than just a motorcycle. It’s:

  • An Obsession
  • Something to Believe in
  • An exhilerating way to Escapethe trivialities of mundane life

Here are some interesting resources about women who own and ride Harleys:

It is fitting that Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Harley Davidson’s huge 105th Anniversary Celebration took place August 27th -30th, this year: Sandwiched, timewise, right in between the Denver hosted Democratic National Convention (August 25th-28th) and the RNC party in Minneapolis, which took place September 1st through 4th.

Maybe the candidates should have spent more time in Milwaukee? After all, Wisconsin is going to be a highly contested state….

Meanwhile, in order to regain your sanity, Boomer Lifestyle suggests that Boomer Women ignore the meaningless soundbites from both campaigns and the media:  Instead, brighten up your lips and go out and enjoy the fall colors — on a HOG, if you’ve got one.

Maybe if women voters ignore them long enough, the campaigns will return to discussions about issues of substance by the time the autumn leaves have fallen.

After all, the fall leaf shows won’t keep, but after the leaves fall, there will still be plenty of time for political debate before the November election.

Ride On, Ladies!