From the July 1998 issue of Startups

Saturday and Sunday used to be for rest and relaxation, but for a growing number of entrepreneurs, weekends don't mean downtime. How can you run a weekend business without running yourself ragged?

Jane Deterding and Michael Lamb should know: Every Saturday, they hit their basement office to produce "From The MoneyRoom," a nationally syndicated three-hour radio talk show coaching small and homebased businesses. If you're considering a weekend business, take these tips from the Wichita, Kansas, entrepreneurs:

  • Evaluate your time commitments. Do your kids have soccer practice every Saturday? Is the weekend the only time you can run errands? Make sure you can accommodate all your commitments before you add another one.
  • Be good to yourself. "On Saturday mornings, we allow ourselves an extra hour of sleep, then get up and prep for the show," says Lamb. "After the show, we give ourselves a treat--usually a movie or sporting event, but always something that feels like a reward for a job well done."
  • Get the support of your significant other, spouse or children. Talk honestly about what to expect before you begin.
  • Expect everyone involved to feel some resentment, especially if your business takes up the entire weekend. Focus on the positive. Think and talk about why you're making this sacrifice: the hope that your weekend business will ultimately lead to a more fulfilling life as a full-time entrepreneur.

Lynn H. Colwell is a business writer in Post Falls, Idaho.

A Whole New World

It's easy to see how some businesses can benefit from using e-mail or establishing a Web presence. But how do you know whether going online makes sense? According to some who've done it, it's worth a try.

Jon Wagner's company, Miniatures and More, sells animal-themed gift items such as key chains, pins and figurines. In February 1997, he received a phone call from an ISP inviting him to visit its site. "I checked it out and discovered I could create and operate a site for $100 per year," he says.

The Riverview, Florida, entrepreneur launched his site, AnimalGifts, that same month; since then, his mail order sales have increased by one-third. The success inspired him to create a second business, Pad-Mak-R, which sells notepad-making kits on the Internet. Kits consist of a "press," special glue and backing; users can print pages from the site and make them into personalized pads.

In March, Wagner closed Miniatures and More's retail store and moved the business solely onto the Web (and into his home). "I never thought I'd be shipping to Scotland and Germany," says Wagner, "but through my Web site, I get customers worldwide."

The Envelope, Please

Tired of trekking to the post office? No matter how little mailing you do, you can send packages without ever leaving home.

  • Airborne Express (800-247-2676). Airborne's PACE account offers a discount rate and has no monthly fee or minimum shipping volume. Account use is monitored; as the number of packages sent from your home office increases, your rates go down.
  • FedEx (800-463-3339). For occasional shipments, you can call to schedule next-day pickups or use free FedEx Ship software (available for both Windows and Macintosh at http://www.FedEx.com), which allows you to process shipments without manual paperwork, arrange pickups and track shipment status. You can also arrange for daily scheduled pickups for no extra charge.
  • UPS (800-742-5877). For one-time shipping, you can call to have a package picked up the next business day. Or, for a weekly service charge, you can arrange for daily pickup.

Contact Sources

AnimalGifts, (800) 529-1832, http://www.animalgifts.com

Jane Deterding and Michael Lamb, c/o ProfitTalk Inc., (316) 634-2645, http://www.moneyroom.com