• Teleworking Here To Stay?

    March 13, 2013 - Leave a Comment

    A recent article in PCWorld highlights global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas' report on working situations.

    The article states, "In the United States, some 3.1 million people—not including the self-employed or unpaid volunteers—considered home to be their primary place of work in 2011, Challenger noted, citing data from the Telework Research Network. That figure is up 73 percent since 2005, but it's still just 2.5 percent of U.S. nonfarm payrolls."

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  • Happy Labor Day and a New Industrial Revolution

    September 2, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    It's only hours from Labor Day weekend and many are packing or finishing up their work "to do" list before beginning their long holiday weekend. Hopefully these next few days will be a small respite from the economy, hurricanes, power outages and the upcoming anniversary of 9/11.

    The History Channel reports that, Labor Day was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. Labor Day is an annual celebration of workers and their achievements and originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages.  As much as the American worker is struggling now, I don't think too many of us would want to turn back the clocks to 1894.

    I read an article this morning from The Atlantic about a new industrial revolution called the Freelance Surge. The article was written by by Sara Harowitz, the founder of Freelancers Union, a nonprofit organization representing the interests and concerns of the independent workforce. I found this article especially interesting when I realized that I am part of the Freelance Surge.

    Here's a small excerpt from the article and to read the entire article go to:

    The Freelance Surge Is the Industrial Revolution of Our Time

    By Sara Horowitz

    It's been called the Gig Economy, Freelance Nation, the Rise of the Creative Class, and the e-conomy, with the "e" standing for electronic, entrepreneurial, or perhaps eclectic. Everywhere we look, we can see the U.S. workforce undergoing a massive change. No longer do we work at the same company for 25 years, waiting for the gold watch, expecting the benefits and security that come with full-time employment. We're no longer simply lawyers, or photographers, or writers. Instead, we're part-time lawyers-cum- amateur photographers who write on the side.

    Today, careers consist of piecing together various types of work, juggling multiple clients, learning to be marketing and accounting experts, and creating offices in bedrooms/coffee shops/coworking spaces. Independent workers abound. We call them freelancers, contractors, sole proprietors, consultants, temps, and the self-employed.

    And, perhaps most surprisingly, many of them love it.

    This transition is nothing less than a revolution. We haven't seen a shift in the workforce this significant in almost 100 years when we transitioned from an agricultural to an industrial economy.

    If you are also part of the Freelance Surge, please tell us a little bit about your experience.  Do you love it? Do you have a home office or do you work out of a coffee shop? How many different jobs are you combining to create your Freelance Surge career?  It's a different world for sure, wonder what the workforce will look like in another 100 years.

    For full excerpt, visit:

  • PC World Shows You How to Work Outdoors

    July 12, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    While the Georgia heat has us all indoors, some of you may be looking for ways to take your work outside.

    PC World gives you some good tips on making the most of workout outdoors including boosting your signal with zBoost.

    How to Work Outdoors

    By Christopher NullPCWorld

    How to Work OutdoorsLaptops, tablets, and smartphones are supposed to make us mobile: Freed of cumbersome desktop technology, we can work anywhere we want. Why, then, don't you see legions of people at parks, beaches, or even sidewalk cafes typing away on their laptops? Mainly because they simply can't see their screens.

    It doesn't have to be this way. A little planning and know-how can get you ahead of the game when it comes to using your gadgetry outside. Whether you're reading ebooks on your iPhone or sneaking in a few work emails while the kids build a sand castle, here's how best to set yourself up to work alongside Mother Nature.

    Fall Into Shadow

    When working outdoors, shade is your friend. In fact, if you haven't prepared in advance for your outdoor adventure, it's pretty much all you've got. Your only hope to see anything on most LCD screens is to find some shade and dig deep into it.

    HoodmanThis portable, folding hood provides instant, deep shade.Anything can be used as shade in a pinch, from the obvious tree, umbrella, or side of a building to less evident objects, like a cast-off pizza box folded into a tent or, in a pinch, your own head. For head-shading, resist the urge to hold your laptop or mobile phone between you and the sun, thinking you'll block out the light like an eclipse: That simply won't work. Switch it around and put your head between the sun and the screen, so the shadow of your noggin falls on the display. This won't provide much shade, but, for limited use and with small screens like your phone, it will work well enough to at least read text.

    Get Shade Anywhere

    If working outside is going to be a regular thing for you, you might consider investing in a portable shade device that you can take with you as part of your travel kit. A company calledHoodman offers two clever covers that hook over your laptop's screen, shading it on all sides from sunlight while still giving you access to the keyboard. It looks a little strange--but no stranger than you will look working on your computer on the beach--and it works quite well. Best of all, the soft-sided shade collapses flat and stores easily in the included carrying case. Versions for Macs or PCs are available, both $40.

    Outdoor Out the Gate

    Fujitsu Stylistic Q550The field of outdoor-ready laptops is small, but it includes this Fujitsu Stylistic Q550 tablet.If you're a true outdoorsman, you may want to consider one of the small number of laptops that are available with so-called "indoor/outdoor" displays, designed for visibility inside or outside. When shopping, look for "I/O," "Outdoor View," or "Enhanced Outdoor" as part of the screen specs, or just ask--sometimes this key feature can be omitted completely from a list of a computer's specs.

    This technology has been especially popular with older-style tablet PCs as well as a few newer slate tablets. Some current devices that include the technology are the Fujitsu Stylistic Q550, the HP EliteBook 2760p, and most of the Panasonic Toughbookline.

    Compare and Contrast

    Using a high-contrast color scheme will improve your outdoor viewing experience, no matter how much shade you have, by turning your working experience into a black-and-white one that scrubs out many of the shades of gray (and splashes of color) to which office users are accustomed. The result is a stripped-down computing experience, but one that will make outdoor viewing considerably easier.

    Set contrast options in Windows 7.Windows’ high contrast themes aren’t the prettiest on the block, but they make outdoor operating easier.In Windows 7, open the Personalization Control Panel and scroll down a bit below the Aero Themes. You'll see the Basic and High Contrast Themes listed here. Experiment with the four high-contrast options to find the one that works the best for you--though adjusting to a white-on-black color scheme can be jarring and will take some acclimation time.

    Your LCD brightness should generally be set to the maximum available (though this will put more strain on your battery), and you might also consider increasing the text size by using the "Larger - 150%" setting on the home screen of the Display Control panel, to make things even easier to read.

    Get E-Inked

    Got a lot of reading to do but don't want to put it on paper? Electronic ink devices like Amazon's Kindle are perfect for this kind of work, since the reflective screen is designed to work without backlighting. The result: Text on a Kindle looks even better under bright light than in the dark.

    The newest Kindle can accept a wide variety of file formats, including Word, PDF, RTF, HTML, plain text, and various image formats for display on the device. Simply email the documents as attachments to the address noted on your Kindle's Settings page under "Device Email." Amazon offers copious additional details on the ins and outs of sending personal documents to your Kindle at this link. But remember that older Kindle models have different supported formats.

    Surf's Up, Sand's Out

    If your outdoor working adventure is taking you somewhere more exotic than the backyard, be sure to prepare for those twin menaces of all electronic devices, water and sand. Water is well understood as an electronic hazard, but sand can quickly brick anything with moving parts: A single grain of the stuff can kill your digital camera's zoom mechanism or prevent the shutter from opening and closing, not to mention scratching the screen of your tablet or laptop.

    Waterproof iPad case from TrendyDigitalBag your laptop, tablet, or cell phone with an instant waterproofing system like this one from Trendy Digital.Protection from the elements can be as simple as keeping your gadgets in a sealed Ziploc bag when they aren't in use, or as complicated as investing in a custom, ruggedized, waterproof case. A wide variety of cases for all manner of devices are available. You can check out brands like OtterBoxXGear, andTrendyDigital to get started.

    Now About That Web Connection...

    Seeing your screen is one thing. Getting online is another. In parks, on beaches, and even in backyards, getting a Wi-Fi or cellular signal can be a challenge. Short of petitioning your carrier to erect a cell phone tower closer to the waterfront, these tricks can increase your chances of getting a wireless signal from a remote location.

    Wi-Fi: If you're simply working in the backyard and are trying to access the Wi-Fi signal inside your house, you can accomplish this in a few ways. You can extend the signal outdoors by relocating your router near that side of the house or add a repeater to extend the signal outdoors. Aftermarket antennas can also be used with some routers to increase their signal strength, hopefully letting you reach your hammock in the gazebo with a Wi-Fi signal. If changing your router setup doesn't work, you can invest in a new Wi-Fi card for your laptop with an external, high-gain antenna, increasing your available range.

    WWAN: Again, if you're near home and outdoor cellular signal strength (either for voice or data usage) is no good, you can use a femtocell to boost the signal. Verizon's Wireless Network Extender and AT&T's MicroCell attach to your home broadband connection and act as a sort of mini tower. Femtocell range is typically under 150 feet, so locate the unit near the backyard.

    zBoostzBoost signal-boosting device.

    However, if you're in a public place and need a better signal, a few hacks can boost the number of bars you get on certain phones by one or two, although few of the hacks are very pretty. The website Wisebread experimented with an admittedly ugly wire-and-cans trick and claimed a three-bar improvement in a cellular signal. Rick Broida has some additional tips on the subject, including a discussion of zBoost, which is a more appropriate range-boosting solution for newer phones, MiFi units, and mobile hotspots--all of which increasingly lack the external antenna connector required for tricks like the cantenna described above.

    Don't Forget the Juice

    As a final consideration, remember that working outdoors usually means being disconnected from the grid, and since upping the contrast and other tweaks can drain your battery faster, you may find your laptop fading before your sunscreen does.

    The solution is simple, if on the expensive side: Upgrade to an extended-cell battery, using a "battery slice," which is a flat battery that locks onto the bottom of a laptop--or simply carry spare batteries with you to get considerably more running time when you're working remotely. For smaller devices such as cameras or dedicated voice recorders, rechargeable batteries generally provide more bang for the buck.

    More esoteric power solutions--like solar recharging systems--won't offer much help. Most of them just don't have the power required to provide much of a boost to anything beyond a cell phone or camera--and even then, their internal batteries will need to be charged before you head out.

    However, before draining your gadgets out in the wild, you can follow some proven tips to helpboost the battery life of your laptop and smartphone.

    Related Articles

    What gear and tricks do you use to work outside of the office? Please share your tips in the comments below. For more advice, see the following articles.

  • INC. Magazine: The World's Coolest Home Offices

    May 13, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    Creative Geometry
    Could you work in a stucco-and-wood-frame garage? Working a muted color palette and a floor plan that engages in some creative geometry, architect Philip Tusa transformed this storage area in upstate New York into a sophisticated library and home office.


    Bookshelves to Die For
    Vertical bookshelves line the walls, and a diagonal staircase leads to a horizontal catwalk overhead. A white translucent pleated shade controls solar glare for the large work surface. The Hudson River Studio was built with a number of recycled materials.
    A Treehouse for One
    What nature lover (or child-at-heart entrepreneur) wouldn't want to set up a home office in a treehouse? Sure, this elevated lair in Los Angeles is tiny—170 square feet in all—but it's efficiently designed, and the deep-oiled cedar siding and mahogany windows are lovely.


    Playful Yet Professional
    Rockefeller Partners Architects, Christopher Kempel, Rocky Rockefeller, and Brian Pera designed the Banyon Drive Treehouse, which sits 12-feet above the ground. And as for the tree, it is a sturdy pine.
    Playing the Angles
    Utilizing the foundation and walls from an existing sunroom, this budget-minded Nashville home office rises on angle-bracket shapes. Translucent siding floods the space with warm light during the day, and transmits passive heating while maintaining privacy.
    Bright Lights, Little Office
     In designing the Elkins Studio—part of a larger renovation project to the adjacent home—the architect, Ryan Thewes, was careful to create a design that would stand out, while also fitting comfortably in to the surrounding residential neighborhood.
  • Mashable: 5 Simple Web Apps For Saving Time at Work

    April 15, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

    Much has been made of some excellent mobile and tablet apps that let users stay productive on the go. But let’s face it — the majority of your work is still done at your desk, and much of it, perhaps, in a web browser.

    And despite all your settings, apps and software, there are always those little pain points that cost you time and productivity. They’re not major issues, but little tasks that could be quicker and easier.

    Enter the humble web apps that, while overshadowed a bit by the smartphone revolution, are still the bread and butter bookmarks of daily workplace productivity.

    We’ve highlighted five free online tools that are simple, clean, and built to knock out those cumbersome work tasks, no downloads required.

    Got a few bookmarks that you can’t get through the work day without? Share the wealth in the comments.

    1. Zamzar


    There are few things more frustrating than receiving an important file that you can’t open. Zamzar is an online tool that can convert a wide range of file formats. Simply upload the file, choose the output format, enter an email address, and you’ll get a new version in your inbox.

    Converting text documents may not seem like an incalculable feat, but Zamzar can translate many audio and video formats as well. Handy!



    Email attachments can be cumbersome, especially with larger files. If you’re looking for a dead-simple way to share in the cloud (especially if you’re still lamenting the death of, give a go.

    Two clicks will upload your images, docs, zip files, etc. and generate a tidy link that you can ping over to your coworkers. They can view certain files in their browser or download whatever they need from the package. storage is temporary (unless you create an account), so use it for quick transfers, not cloud archiving.

    3. Ninite


    Setting up a new PC is a surefire way to kill your day. Connecting the cables and transferring your data is only half the battle. Then you need to hunt down all the apps you use regularly.

    Ninite streamlines the process. Check off all the browsers, readers and media players you need on your new machine and download them all in one shot via an automated installer. Best of all, Ninite eliminates the extra “junk” (toolbars, add-ons) that sometimes come packaged with common applications.

    4. CopyPasteCharacter


    If you work on any legal, scientific, or multi-lingual documents throughout the day, you may have a need to add certain symbols to the text that are not immediately available on your keyboard.

    You could go into the special characters map in your word processor, or if you’re feeling particularly nerdy, memorize the Alt key codes that you need.

    But better yet, why not throw open a browser tab with and snag your symbols with one click? You can even copy the HTML values if you’re working in code.

    5. LucidChart


    Need a visual aide to get your point across? PowerPoint has its flaws, and Photoshop requires some requisite skills even if you’re just doing the basics.

    LucidChart, on the other hand, is a drag-and-drop way to create impressive flowcharts and diagrams right in your browser. Pop your shapes onto the graph, pull down some arrows, add descriptions, colors and titles, and you’ve got a professional diagram you’d be proud to show clients.

    A free LucidChart account allows two people to collaborate on a document, 25 MB of online storage, and a maximum of 60 objects per document. Inexpensive paid options offer more collaborative and storage features.

    There’s also a handy Chrome browser app.

  • Mashable: Is Working From Home Becoming the Norm? [SURVEY]

    April 11, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    Working from home is becoming more common, more accepted by managers and more sought-after by employees than ever before, according to a survey conducted by Skype, one of the bastions of telecommuting technology.

    As someone who regularly works from home, I find this trend hardly surprising. But it’s not just bloggers, startup types and technophiles who are making pajamas the new “business casual.” Even seasoned executive types (like my own father, for example) are logging in remotely these days.

    The proliferation of online collaboration tools is one indicator that “WFH” (that’s short for “working from home,” my dad tells me) culture is blossoming. In fact, Skype and tools like it have pretty much made the necessity of a 9-to-5 physical presence behind a cubicle-bound desk obsolete.

    And video capabilities are a large part of those tools. Video conferencing and desktop video are two communication technologies Skype expects to see increase in usage most over a two-year period, followed by VoIP, room-based video, mobile phones and instant messaging.

    Given the widening availability, affordability and understanding of technologies such as VoIP and video, the time is right for remote working and working from home. According to Skype’s survey, which includes responses from 1,000 professionals at about 500 businesses of all sizes, flexibility on in-office presence is, indeed, becoming the norm.

    Around 62% of the companies surveyed already allow employees to work remotely. Of these companies, 34% of their workforce occasionally works remotely, and of that 34%, WFH-enabled employees say they spend around 40% of their work hours at home.

    Naturally, employees at WFH-friendly companies listed this area of flexibility high in their criteria for job satisfaction. But employers seemed to be fans of the WFH lifestyle, too. Of the respondents who were decision-makers and managers, 75% said working from home was becoming more acceptable, and 56% said workers-from-home were more productive.

    Take a look at Skype’s full report, and in the comments, let us know what your WFH options are like. Are you a couch-bound working warrior? Or are you fairly chained to your desk at the office?

    image courtesy of iStockphoto, Mari

    See the full article:

  • Wi-Ex Expands its Commercial, Corporate and Machine-to-Machine Solutions

    March 28, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    New zBoost Blog Provides Resource on Mobile Trends,
    Teleworking and zBoost's Business-Centric Solutions

    Wi-Ex showcased its commercial, corporate and machine-to-machine solutions  at CTIA Wireless in booth # 3059.  zBoost also launched its news zBoost Business Blog, "zBoost: Increasing Signal, Increasing Business."   The zBoost Business Blog ( will provide a resource for businesses and today's mobile workforce to stay up-to-date on mobile trends, teleworking and zBoost's business-centric solutions.

    The zBoost line allows users to take full advantage of data, voice and Internet services on their iPhones, BlackBerry, DROID, connected devices, smartphones and other mobile devices including 3G high-speed data and video, instant messaging, pictures and more - at home, in their personal workspace or in a corporate office, both in the U.S. and abroad.

    According to IDC Technology Spotlight From Consumer-Centric to Business Essential: Extending Smartphone and Mobile Broadband Device Service into the Workplace, IDC #1073, January, 2011, "Used for years to improve sub-par cell service in homes, signal-boosting technology has come of age to provide increased signal strength throughout a business facility."

    "The expansion of our corporate, machine-to-machine and commercial solutions, are in direct response to our customers and the changes in the industry," said Lloyd R. Meese, CEO of Wi-Ex.  "The rapid adoption of smartphones including iPhones and BlackBerry, tablets and other connected devices has caused a shift in the way businesses operate.  From M2M applications to large commercial complexes to the rising number of teleworkers, the zBoost line provides a business-centric solution for improving poor in-door cell phone coverage."  

    The "zBoost: Increasing Signal, Increasing Business" Blog will focus on providing insight into the role of cell phones in today's business environment.  With increases in gas prices and the flexibility smartphones provide corporate America, the zBoost Business Blog will feature a monthly Teleworking Tuesdays and provide tips, testimonials and insight for teleworkers. In addition, the blog will provide a resource for the latest mobile trends and information on zBoost products and solutions.

  • Another great zBoost SOHO Review!

    March 9, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    Review: Wi-Ex zBoost SOHO-YX545 Signal Booster

    One of the cooler, more useful things we ran into at MacWorld last month was a cell signal booster from a company called Wi-Ex. The zBoost SOHO-YX545 is one of three different options the company has to choose from for home and office usage. Other products the company offers can be used for travel and international use. This isn’t the hardest review we’ve ever had to do. Set-up is easy, the product does as advertised, and for most people, the results are enough to justify the price tag.

    About The zBoost YX545

    The zBoost SOHO was designed for the home or small office consumers who may have signal issues where they reside. The zBoost extends cell zones for multiple users with devices that operate on a 800 and 1900 MHz frequency, but will not work for those using Nextel/iDEN, 4G, or 2100MHz networks. With the zBoost, you’ll give yourself the ability to increase your indoor signal coverage by up to 3,000 sq ft. The main objective of the SOHO is to decrease the amount of dropped or missed calls and increase the power and speed voice and data transmission. This unit retails for $399 and can be purchased directly through WiEx. The company also has other home models available for $299 and $249, which will cover a lesser area.

    Set Up

    As I mentioned above, initial set-up of the zBoost is painfully easy. There’s no programming or any obscene technical knowledge needed. Instead, all you’ve got to do is travel around your home or office, find the strongest signal point, and place the signal antenna there. You can place the signal antenna indoors or outdoors and the package comes with a mounting kit, so you will be able to screw in the antenna to the side of your home, windowsill, or wall. After placing the antenna in the strongest signal location, all that remains is powering on the signal booster it self. Of course, you want to position the booster in an area relatively close to where you’ve been experiencing signal trouble, so Wi-Ex has provided with a very long, 50-ft coaxial cable.

    The Results

    We’ve been using the zBoost in my home for just about two weeks now. In my home, we have a plethora of service providers, so this was set to be a pretty in-depth testing phase from the very beginning. Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T all reside in my home and all three providers network frequencies are compatible with the zBoost. Prior to installation, signal strength and penetration hadn’t really been a problem, but there were a certain few dead zones around the house. In the kitchen, in the basement, and in some areas upstairs, we’d notice a signal drop-off. Drop calls were never a huge issue, but sometimes, call quality suffered because of the lack of signal.

    I was personally most excited to see how signal strength, call quality, and data transfer speeds would improve when in the basement of our home. After all, we do have a massive 1080P TV set down there, so I’d like to think that I spend a good amount of my time there. On average, we saw an increase of one or two signal bars in almost every area of the house. The zBoost was extremely beneficial to the basement in particular. Data speeds didn’t increase dramatically, but call quality went from poor to almost outstanding. In areas of our kitchen where we experienced complete dead zones, we were able to stand for minutes without dropping calls. A steady 4-to-5 bars is now the norm in our house, instead of the 1-to-2 bars we would experience in a few areas.

    The Bottom Line

    The WiEx zBoost SOHO has been great for us. A few of us in the house rely heavily on our cell phones for business related communications, so the ability to extend our Cell Zone to places where we weren’t able to hold a signal before is extremely beneficial. The zBoost is a great product for consumers who live under trees and have signal issues, or live on a city street where signal doesn’t penetrate as well as it does in the suburbs. The $399 price tag may be a little bit steep for those who aren’t experiencing that many issues. However, as I mentioned above, there are a couple of alternatives at much cheaper price points that could be beneficial to those not willing to spend the $399 on the SOHO.

    Overall, I’m extremely pleased with the zBoost and what it’s done for our home and would almost certainly invest in any new products WiEx has to release in the future.

  • CNN Money: "Gas prices: 'Most expensive February ever'"

    March 2, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    As gas prices soar, zBoost Keeps Teleworkers Connected - No More Dropped Calls or Slow Data!

    Teleworking has become an even more logical choice for companies, employees and communities with the recent increase in gas prices. Cell phones are essential communication tools for teleworkers and when they don't get signal, it makes work even more work.

    CNN Money reported that "The national average price for a gallon of regular gas rose 5.9 cents to $3.287, motorist group AAA said Friday. That marks the third day in a row that prices have risen, and brings the national average to the highest level since October 2008."

    To read the full article, click here.

  • 11 Businesses You Can Start in Your Pajamas in 2011

    February 25, 2011 - Leave a Comment

    When Dennis Anderson was asked if he considered himself more of an
    artist or an entrepreneur, he thought for a moment and replied, “Well,
    somewhere in between. I like creating things.” Anderson has achieved what so many Americans crave: he has turned his craft—organic soap making, or saponification—into a profitable business from his home. Anderson Soap Company launched in 2007 in his California apartment,
    and has since moved into a rented house in Portland, Oregon, where he
    lives with his fiancée and children. Anderson, who started out as an
    accounting major in college, fell in love with soap making after
    taking a chemistry course that taught him the process. He has sold
    soaps to buyers in all 50 states and distributes internationally to
    Malaysia, Singapore, France, and Sweden.

    The children’s clothing industry is a multi-billion dollar market, and
    a recent surge of interest for specialized kid's gear has given companies like Monkey Toes, a Colorado-based venture run by Jenny Ford, a niche in this burgeoning market. Monkey Toes is a line of animal and insect-themed footwear for children. Ford started the company in 2002 after drawing designs on her daughter’s shoes. “I thought, ‘Oh, that’s cute,’” Ford recalls. “I fell in love with it.” She chose to keep her business at home to be able to spend more time with her two young daughters, but lack of an office hasn’t stymied the growth of the brand. Ford currently distributes in stores all over the world, and recently signed a new distribution deal that will take the product into the hands of 100 representatives around the country.

    Kene Turner understands the value of building a better business. After
    all, that's his job. The mission of EpiLife is to help organizations
    achieve social responsibility by implementing special project-based initiatives within their communities. Before launching EpiLife, Kene worked for the YMCA of New York, where he taught youth entrepreneurial programs. EpiLife is based out of Turner's home in New York City, and represents his desire to give back to the community that helped him in his own childhood. “When I was a teen I lost my mom to cancer,” he
    says. “I never knew my father. I was a child in transition. I had
    family, but not much. The ones that really helped me were members of
    the community...and it was that message that I want to implement into
    a venture or business.”

    Ann Whitley Wood is an attorney-turned-entrepreneur who saw a market for designer goods and collectibles on eBay nearly 10 years ago. In
    what started out as a hobby, Wood now manages over 350 listings on eBay through her store Willow-Wear, and works with about 40 clients on any given day from her home in Texas. In 2010, Wood sold over 1,100 items for about $450,000—making her one of eBay’s true “powersellers.”
    Though she does not keep inventory in her house, working from home has
    been an integral part of her business. “I had to be able to sell on
    eBay from home, in between taking care of my children and managing the
    rest of life,” Wood says. To be successful as an eBay entrepreneur,
    Wood says you must have an acute understanding of your product, as
    well as your competition.

    Wedding dresses are bought (one hopes) only once, making them one of
    the most expensive purchases in a woman's life. So Emily Newman
    thought, why not buy second-hand? “I saw a need where women my age were dealing with a lot of the same things,” says Newman, the founder of the Once Wed, an online wedding community, based in Atlanta. “They didn’t have a huge budget, but they still wanted to wear a beautiful
    dress.” So Newman and her husband, who works in online advertising,
    teamed up to launch Once Wed, a site for brides-to-be. The site has
    grown from a used dress listing service to the be-all resource for
    brides, similar to Once Wed puts together inspiration
    guides and a popular blog, which helps drives traffic to the site.

    NetFoliage is a web development company that creates web sites for
    small businesses, entrepreneurs, and artists. It’s also one of a
    growing number of web development companies that specialize in building e-commerce sites and online stores for social networking sites like Facebook. Nizam, who is originally from Istanbul, has been
    based out of his Brooklyn apartment since he launched the company in
    2007—and plans to stay in his home, too. “Honestly, it didn’t even
    occur to me to rent an office,” he says. “I didn’t have the time or
    the need to think about. I would never do it—it’s becoming a
    lifestyle. I can go on vacation without worrying about anything. I
    turn off my phone and the business is closed.”

    You don't need to attend a BlogHer Convention to realize that "mommy
    bloggers" are a force to be reckoned with. Michelle Mitton was one of
    the first "mommy bloggers" to make a name for herself and her blog Scribbit, almost six years ago. In 2008, she was selected by The Wall Street Journal as one of the top ten blogs about motherhood, and her
    site attracts nearly 60,000 page views every month and 2,300 daily
    subscribers. Mitton publishes recipes, household tips, product
    reviews, and has even written a book about blogging, all from her home
    in Alaska. “With so many blogs out there, you have to be the ‘purple
    cow' as Seth Godin talks about. I try to diversify my topics a bit—I
    even have a few men [readers].”

    Chris McCann (pictured) and Brendan McManus launched
    as a resource for entrepreneurs looking to get involved in their
    community and connected with other entrepreneurs. The site has seen remarkable growth; in just a little over a year, the site has grown to 100,000 subscribers and has spread to over 50 cities. And though the content reaches people all over the world, McCann and McManus rarely have to leave their house in Palo Alto, California. “When you’re on a shoestring budget, and if the deciding factor is to spend money to get
    the office or spend money and do the marketing and get the product out
    there, do all that stuff first,” says McCann. “An office should not be
    high on your lists of priorities.”

    Ann Gaffigan felt that there needed to be more mainstream media
    coverage of women’s sports. So, about two years ago, she teamed up
    with two co-founders to launch, an online network that has become one of the most thorough purveyors of women’s sports news. “We didn’t research the market for this,” Gaffigan says from her home in Kansas. “It just came from our belief that something like this really needed to happen, and we want the next generation to see positive female role models.” There are over 100 websites that link to, and about 70 bloggers on the site. While the
    site's traffic varies depending on the season, the site swells when
    national competitions are brought to the spotlight. During the
    Vancouver Olympics, for example, the site had over a million visitors.

    Who said custom designed shirts had to be expensive? Blank Label is a
    Boston-based start-up that allows users to design custom dress shirts,
    choosing the fabric, pattern, buttons, and size, for a modest price
    under $100, depending on the extras. Blank Label was created by Danny Wong (center) and three co-founders (and classmates) in the summer of 2009. After a brief period of incubation by their college, Babson, the
    team chose not to take on an office lease. “It worked better for us,”
    says Wong. “We didn’t want to pay for office space.” The founders
    lived together in Shanghai for several months, developing
    relationships with suppliers and working out of their living room. At
    one point, they were operating with members based from home in three
    different time zones around the world, but Wong says it’s never been a

    Stacy Blackman knows what it takes to get into one of the nation’s top
    MBA programs. Blackman, a who received her own MBA at the Kellogg
    Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, turned her passion for helping students gain admission into MBA programs into her full-time job after years working in private equity. “When I first started my business, I wasn’t trying to start a business; I was just doing something I really enjoyed.” Now, Stacy Blackman Consulting has turned into one of the premier MBA international consulting firms, with clients and consultants based all over the world. Blackman has
    even graced the cover of Fortune, and published a book titled The MBA
    Application Roadmap.

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