Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Visit with the Dabbling Mum

Today is my son's wedding, so I'm scurrying about like a mad woman. Instead of a writer's prompt, today I'm taking the opportunity to share a mini interview with Alyice Edrich, a successful writer and stay at home mom. I've received her newsletter for years and wanted to take this opportunity to share a bit of her expertise with my readers.

Donna: What amount do you think is realistic for a first year income of a stay at home mom initiating a freelance writer/editing business?

Alyice: That truly depends on the mom’s “get up and go.” It’s really hard juggling mom duties with working out of the home. There isn’t a boss keeping you on your toes and most deadlines are self-perceived deadlines or deadlines given to the writer from a client that he/she usually never sees.

If mom has never been published before, she’ll need to learn the ropes of the industry and fine-tune her writing skills. If the mom has been published in the past, and knows the industry ropes, she’ll have an easier time jumping in and making an immediate dent in her annual goal.

I have a colleague, Shirley Jump, who wrote for both business clients and magazines. Today she is an award-winning romance author. When I first began my writing career, I told her how frustrated I was with the way magazines work: query, wait forever to get a response, get rejected, send out another query, finally get an acceptance, wait weeks (sometimes months) to get your piece published, and only then do you receive a check from that publication. I knew there had to be another way and I was determined to find it. She told me to join the local chamber of commerce, introduce myself, and start working on business materials. She said, “businesses are my bread and butter money.” What wonderful advice for anyone starting out as a freelance writer.

She gave me a wonderful article to share with women starting their freelance careers. It’s a blueprint to help women earn $1,000 per month from their writing. You can read it

You don’t have to stick to writing magazine articles or articles for trade publications. There are so many ways you can use your writing talents.

Donna: Do you schedule your work time/family time?

Alyice: I am a big “scheduler” but over the years I have learned to tone down quit a bit. Sometimes, things that are scheduled get cancelled and if you schedule too many things you can feel so overwhelmed with your “to do list” that nothing gets accomplished.

On my desk, I have a large calendar. When open flat, it shows me a week at a glance, with each date having time slots from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. I use this calendar for both my business and home life. I schedule in doctor’s appointments, school functions, business meetings, business deadlines, personal deadlines, and I even pencil in “wish I could do” things like attending the theatre (penciling those in allows me to erase if I can’t afford them or something else comes up).

When my children were younger, I worked around them. As they got older, I could tell them, “this is mommy’s work time” and ask that they play quietly until I was done or watch a video in their bedrooms. Now that my children are both of school age, I try to do my work when they’re at school. Sometimes, I can’t complete everything so I’ll work when they get home from school, too. (Which is more than I care to like since I am a bit of a work-a-holic.)

Donna: How do you measure the effectiveness of your marketing?

Alyice: I am terrible about measuring the effectiveness of my marketing tactics, and even worse at measuring the effectiveness of any ads I place.

Some businesses use special extensions on their phone numbers, special toll free numbers, special post office boxes, or special landing pages to measure the success of specific marketing and advertising tactics.

When working with online media, you can measure the effectiveness through your stats counter. The key is to get a stats counter that counts more than the last 100 entries (which most free stats counters do).

A good article to read on this topic is:

Making Marketing Measure Up

You can visit Alyice Edrich at Dabbling Mum Press ( to order a work-at-home e-book, or visit her online publication for BUSY parents at Dabbling Mum (

Catch up with Alyice by making another stop on her blog tour… here

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