- Biography -
BARBARA BRABEC has been self-employed at home for most of her adult life. Her writing and publishing career began in 1971 when she and her husband Harry launched a quarterly magazine. Artisan Crafts thrived until a long recession brought that venture to a close in 1976. Then motivated to become a professional writer, she quickly achieved success as a freelance writer, magazine columnist, and publisher of home-business newsletters, with national visibility as an industry leader that attracted the attention of trade book publishers.
Between 1979 and 2006, she published six trade books, most of which enjoyed revised editions. Two of those books—Creative Cash and Homemade Money—were decades-long best sellers and classics in their individual fields. But all good things eventually come to an end. All these business-related books are long out of date, essentially out of print, and thus no longer recommended for purchase.
When widowed in 2005 after nearly 44 years of marriage to Harry and many years of leadership in the home business and crafts industries, she reinvented herself as a writer, editor, independent publisher, and author’s consultant. After writing and publishing two biographical memoirs in 2010 and 2017 and teaching a series of life-writing workshops in 2018, she decided to focus on writing only about LIFE and all the surprises, challenges, opportunities, and adventures it holds for each and everyone who is striving to live life fully, joyfully, and abundantly.
Of herself she says, "I'm just a writer who has always written about what she knows, and a teacher who has learned that the best lessons are those taught by example. Perhaps the most important lesson here is the need keep revising one’s life and business plans as one ages and the world around us keeps changing.”
Related Article: “The Need for Change as You and Your Business Grow Older.”
• Secretary/Office Manager in Chicago’s Loop, 1955-1966
• Barbara Brabec, Marimbist and Entertainer. 1956-1961
• Magazine and Newsletter Editor and Co-publisher, 1971-1996
>> Artisan Crafts, quarterly magazine, 1971-1976
>> CraftSpirit ’76, a three-issue, award-winning Bicentennial periodical
>> Sharing Barbara’s Mail, bimonthly newsletter, 1981-1983
>> The National Home Business Report, quarterly newsletter, 1984-1993
>> The Self-Employment Survival Letter, bimonthly business management and marketing newsletter for homebased professionals, 1994-1996
• Freelance Writer, 1979–2000. Articles sold to Changing Times, Craft Supply Magazine, Profitable Craft Merchandising, OMNI Magazine, Bottom Line, and Homebased Business
• Magazine Columnist, 1979–2000
>> Crafts magazine, 1979–2000. Monthly “Selling What You Make” column, later named “Profits”
>> Crafts ‘n Things magazine, 1998-1999. Bimonthly “Making Memories” column. (See some projects from that column in ARTICLES/Creative Endeavors category.)
>> The Crafts Report, 1999. Monthly “Business Wise” column
• Speaker and Home Business Educator throughout the U.S. and Canada,1981–1996
• Series Editor for Prima Publishing's line of For Fun & Profit™ books, 1999–2000
• Featured Content Provider and Personality on IdeaForest/Joanne.com, 2000–2001
• Designed and managed domain at BarbaraBrabec.com, 2000-2021. Started manuscript editing service, 2004–2019.
Television & Radio Appearances
• CNBC-TV “Money Talk”
• Financial News Network: “Americans Creating Tomorrow” series of six half-hour programs
• ABC-TV’s Home Show—as an author and leading home-business expert for their week-long "Homemade Money" segment
• The Carol Duvall Show on Home & Garden Television Network (two guest spots)
• Crafts with Emilie (Chicago TV38)
Plus dozens of other TV and radio interviews and features in business and consumer magazines.
Featured in leading magazines, including: Family Circle, Woman's World, Woman, Working Woman, Mature Outlook, Consumer's Digest, AT&T Home-Office Resources, Country Handcrafts, Income Opportunities, Parade, Nation's Business, Changing Times, INC Office Guide, Entrepreneur, Daily Herald, Time, and The Washington Post.
BARBARA WAS MARRIED for nearly 44 years to Harry Brabec, who died in 2005 at the age of 77. He left a legacy of original humor she documented throughout their life together, incorporating some of it into nearly every chapter of her biographical memoir about him, The Drummer Drives! Everybody Else Rides.
Harry assisted her in her business for many years and always kept her laughing. Of himself, he once said, “He was always difficult, but he never was a bore.”
Her widow's tribute to him was originally published on several pages of her website in 2005; now available as an illustrated PDF document titled Remembering Harry Brabec.
for Writers and Authors
See the "Wall of Bengal Tiger Cross-Stitch Embroideries (PDF) that took Barbara thousands of hours to stitch over a period of several years (Other creative projects appear in the Creative Endeavors articles department.)
Some of Barbara's life experiences and lessons learned will be found in Barbara-Personal ARTICLES.
in Several Books
• Getting it All Together-At-Home Handbook by Jean Ray Laury
• The Best of Both Worlds by Joan Wester Anderson
• Working at Home: Is It For You? by William Atkinson
• You Can Make It Without a College Degree by Roberta Roesch
• Playing Hardball with Soft Skills by Steven J. Bennett
Contributed chapters to The Complete Guide to Writing Nonfiction (American Society of Journalists and Authors), and For All the Write Reasons by P. C. Gallagher.