On a Shoestring

The Kids and Seniors Markets

Some of the fastest-growing businesses with the lowest overhead are devoted to easing the burdens of parenthood. Busy parents rely on entrepreneurs to help them do everything from decorating the nursery to shuttling the kids to soccer practice. And mothers are turning to experts to help them learn about the basics, such as caring for newborns or getting back into shape after the birth.

"The whole country is more child-focused," says Jennifer Basye, author of 101 Extra-Income Opportunities for Women (Prima Publishing). "It's a fabulous field."

At the same time, baby boomers-those born between 1946 and 1964-can't stop the march of time and will soon constitute the largest generation of seniors in history.

Understanding seniors' desire to leave something to their families, personal historians are creating a new but growing industry, unearthing stories clients can pass on to heirs.

Some personal historians work in video, producing everything from raw tape of interviews with elderly family members to full documentaries with voice-overs, music, graphics and on-location shots of old homes and businesses. They can charge anywhere from $5,000 for bound memoirs to more than $60,000 for full-length video documentaries.

For example, 53-year-old Margaret DeAngelis, a retired language-arts teacher, runs Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based The Story Stream, a homebased business that conducts workshops and provides writing and editing services to people interested in preserving their life stories.

"I pull things out of the corner of their mind," says DeAngelis. "I help them figure out where the story is."

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This article was originally published in the August 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: On a Shoestring.

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