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Case Study #1 Kids Inspire Mom’s Website Ideas
Patricia Jensen lives in the USA and is mom to three children. Her family has been her inspiration since she first started out on the Internet. Recently, while coping with a serious illness, Patti has found peace and comfort in the creation of her website.Tell us about your website, Patti.(I’ve owned) www.kids-party-paradise.com since February 14, 2004 - almost 2 years.What kind of education and work experience did you have before building your website? I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree from Providence College. My computer-related experience has been learned on the job, by doing. I’ve taken a computer course here or there, but I am mostly self-taught.
My early work experience included several years as a professional in the travel industry, both in marketing tours to the public and as a tour escort to various destinations in the United States and Canada.
More recently, I have been an Administrative Assistant to various high-level business executives and have also worked in a hospital setting as an Admin Assistant to an internationally renowned oncologist (cancer doctor).In between my regular 9 to 5 jobs, I found time to indulge my love of writing as a freelancer for various newspapers and magazines.
When my second child, Tyler, was born (9 years ago), my husband and I decided that it was important for our children to have a full-time mother. I have been a stay-at-home mom ever since.
Tyler was born with clubfoot, a severe defect affecting both his feet. He would require casting from birth and then corrective surgeries at 5 months of age, then more casts. It is a grueling process for both parent and child. We had no family history of clubfoot, and no one who understood what we were going through. To cope better, I learned as much as I could about clubfoot.
When Tyler was two years old, I found an Internet forum for parents of children with clubfoot. It was a wonderful healing experience to speak with other Moms who had been through a similar medical challenge with their children.
To give back to others, I decided to create a website to provide free information, resources, and support to parents of children born with clubfoot. On February 2, 2000, Tyler’s clubfoot site was born. It is called “CLIPS” for “Clubfoot Information and Parental Support”. The CLIPS site was an important first step toward increasing my comfort zone operating in the online world.
My next Internet venture involved net auctions. I began by selling a few items on eBay to clear out my cluttered basement. It was a “kick” and I made some spending money to boot! I was hooked!
My modest eBay sales really ignited the desire to build a successful Internet-based business. I felt I could indulge my love of writing by building the ultimate ever-changing, ever-growing online publication: my own website!What was your motivation for starting an online business?
We had lived on one income and sacrificed for years so I could be home and available to our children. I thought it would be so great to be able to make a contribution to the family finances.
I also wanted to have something I could call my own, something I had created through my own hard work and ingenuity – a creative outlet for my writing. I had also toyed with the idea of having an online business I could manage from home and not have to return to the workforce when my children were of school age.How did you come up with your idea for a website?
The theme for my Kids Party Paradise site came from my desire to write about a topic that would be fun, and by researching its popularity and viability on the web through keyword searches.
Having three children, I knew I would have an almost limitless amount of information on this topic. I also realized that in good times and in bad, and through every season, people throw birthday parties for their kids! There is always a need for new and different party-related ideas.How many hours per week do you work on your site?
This varies according to my other responsibilities as wife and mother. Of course, this is the beauty of having an online business! You can work when it’s convenient for you. I estimate I work an average of 15-20 hrs. per week.How do you make money from your site?
I use Google AdSense which is my best income generator and easiest model to implement. I also have relationships with affiliate merchants through Commission Junction, Linkshare and Clickbank.What is your average monthly income? In October (2005), I earned approximately $800, with traffic and income increasing steadily each month.How long was it before you found success? And please define what “success” means to you. Success to me would be in satisfying my creativity, feeling that I’m offering something of value to others, and realizing financial gains.
My creative side was satisfied at the very start of the SBI! process. I was so thrilled when I hit the “Build” button for my site’s homepage! Also when I added image code and it actually appeared on the page! Wow! I enjoyed designing each page with the ease the SBI! blockbuilder. Little successes built into bigger ones and soon the site was off and running…
In truth, I was such a wreck after I had first purchased SBI!. I really didn’t know if I had what it took to be a web entrepreneur. I spent many hours researching keywords and writing pages with a nagging doubt that I wouldn’t be able to cut it. That feeling drove me onward until things I had found so new and difficult in the beginning became routine and easy. Somewhere along the way, that little devil on my shoulder changed into a cheerleader with great confidence in me and my potential to create something truly valuable for others.
The financial success came between 6 months to one year after beginning my site, when my site traffic had built sufficiently to realize some Google AdSense and affiliate income.What convinced you to purchase SBI!?
I saw so many others who had great looking and interesting sites that they apparently loved creating at www.results.sitesell.com. I also emailed some actual SBIers and asked how satisfied they were with the product. Every single one was positive and enthusiastic about it.
In addition, the SBI! site-building plan just made perfect sense to me. I came to a point when I could no longer rationalize or support in my own mind NOT giving my dream of having my own online business a chance.How does your significant other support you in your ventures? My husband supported my decision because he could see how passionate I was about having my own online business site.
Yet he did not believe this could ever be “more than a hobby” for me. When my party site began to generate significant income, his opinion changed. Now he is talking about starting up his own SBI! site!
My husband supports me mostly by listening to my plans for expanding my site and making it better. He sometimes offers advice and I sometimes take it. Since he has been in sales for many years, he keeps me focused on monetizing my site in new ways.Do you have advice to offer other WAHMs on eliciting support from their significant others?
My advice to other WAHMs in a similar position would be to formulate a sensible site plan and JUST DO IT! You may not have the full support of your “significant other” until they can see the proof in the pudding. Why wonder if you could have been a success at an exciting Internet venture, when it is truly within your grasp with SBI!?Are your children involved with your website?
My kids love the idea that I own a party website. They are my “partners” in the business as they often provide me with ideas I use on the site. For example, they might bring me an idea for a new party game because they have played it in school. Of course, I also get inspiration just by doing crafts and activities or making costumes or cakes for my kids too. I often use pictures of my kids during these fun times to illustrate new ideas on the site.
My daughter Elizabeth is 12 years old and I can imagine her managing her own website within 2-3 years. It would be so easy to get her started with the experience I have now. What a great way to get a head start on college expenses!If you could go back, what would you do differently with your website(s)? I don’t have any regrets about how I’ve built my website. I had a vision for my site at the beginning, and for the most part it has evolved according to my plan.
It’s all been a really positive learning experience. There are things I like better than others about site-building, like writing articles over building links, but at the end of the day I’m usually pleased with the results.Patti, how do you “do it all”? It’s sometimes difficult for me to keep all the balls in the air. Life with a young family is a balancing act with daily challenges.
I’ve always been a pretty organized person so I tend to write lists of things I need to do and prioritize them. I also keep a dry erase calendar on the fridge with family activities, so we all know what we have to do and when. Pretty basic stuff, but it works for me.While driving in the car or waiting in the doctor’s office, instead of listening to music or reading, I brainstorm about what I’d like to do next on the site.
This is the first year that all three of my children are in school for a full day, so I use that time to work on my website. That way, I can concentrate on helping them with their homework or other issues when they come home.Do you have more pearls of wisdom to share with other mothers?
Six months ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Throughout my treatment, I have continued to build my website with even more intensity. At times, I was ill from chemotherapy and spent hours writing pages to distract me from the nausea.
It was a lifesaver in a way because it kept me focused on a constructive goal, instead of on my illness. In the process, Kids Party Paradise became a work of the heart of which I am truly proud. I am still undergoing radiation therapy and looking forward to a long life with my family.
As you can imagine, this experience has made me so thankful that I didn’t wait to grab onto my dream! If you have an idea which excites you, chances are there are many others out there who are excited by it too. Don’t let naysayers discourage your dream!
Be passionate about your topic, and be willing to put in significant hours (at least in the first year) to make it happen. You must believe that no one and nothing will get in your way of becoming a successful Internet entrepreneur!
When you get stuck, make use of the SBI! forums. Tap into this great community of web enthusiasts, just waiting to assist you. I have been the beneficiary of their goodwill and considerable knowledge on many occasions! Give back when you are able and perpetuate the powerful dynamic of “paying it forward” which makes the SBI! forums such a great resource.I wish all who read this may have as much fun and satisfaction as I have had in building my website.