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Thursday
Feb152018

For No Reason – A Picture Book about Bullying  

Written by Kathleen Gauer, illustrated by Sari Richter

Jamie Higgins has a problem.  The new boy in her class, Brad Lugsley keeps picking on her…FOR NO REASON!

Can Jamie solve this problem without getting into trouble?  And will she make a new friend in the process?

In this animated, heart-warming story, Jamie Higgins comes up with a clever way to deal with a classroom bully without being mean.     Included at the back of the book is a What Do You Think? page with educational activities to engage young readers.  A great resource for discussions on classroom bullying and choosing kindness!  

Ask for For No Reason (or Kathleen’s first book, High in the Sky) at your local library or order your own signed copies from Amazon.ca or https://www.skippingstonepress.net where you can download free colouring pages and easy instructions to make a no-bullying poster.

Visit Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKYbKgJ8ZM4 to watch the book’s trailer!  Retail price:   $13.95 CAN. 

#classroombullying #choosekindness #picturebook

Tuesday
Feb132018

How To Ensure Your Family’s Well-Being And Future Security

As a mom entrepreneur, not only do you want to build a successful business, you also want to ensure your family's well-being, see their needs catered for, and their future secured. Your family, just like your business, has goals.  And just like your business goals, your family’s  needs and activities incur costs, requiring significant financial resources to fund them, if they are to be achieved. 

Are your family’s finances under control and well managed?  To do so, you should use financial tools, be aware of relevant information, resources and where to get help when needed. 

Family Budget

A budget is a financial plan and should enable you to plan the use of all your family’s incomings, such as earnings from businesses and investments, and income from employment; and your outgoings, ideally for each month. Your outgoings should include all expenses for basic needs (food, clothing, and shelter) and discretionary spending (such as family entertainment).

Preparing the budget is good but sticking to the budget is all the more important, and will help your family to achieve its goals. You should use the budget to track your spending and have a better understanding of  where to cut back.  The budget also helps with your family’s savings goals by identifying any unspent amount at the end of each month.  Alternatively, it can identify where there is not enough money to cover all the expenses, and enable the family to plan well and make decisions on how they will be covered, such as the decision to use credit.

Family debts and credit rating

Credits, such as personal loans and credit cards can be used for specific purchases that help and ensure the family’s well-being, and in emergencies.   However, the decision to use credit should be made wisely; and it should be managed effectively to avoid building up huge debts.  If not managed well, debt can affect your family negatively, instead of helping to improve the family’s way of life. Making timely repayment is crucial, and ensures you have a good credit rating, which is good for securing new or increased credit.

Many families bury their head in the sand when they have debt problems and bad credit.  This should not be the case as there are services that offer help.  If you and your family are affected, you can act to improve your debt situation. You can also take steps to improve your credit rating, so act now and start your family’s journey towards a better future.

Planning for Your Family’s Future

In addition to planning to meet your family’s current needs, you should plan for the family’s future financial security.  Save money to build an emergency fund. You should also make other important decisions such as investment, insurance and life policies.

Wherever your family is financially, you can set goals and budget accordingly to achieve them.  If you are in debt, get help, and have debt reduction goals.  Otherwise, start working towards your spending cut back and saving goals to secure your family a good financial life and future.

Tuesday
Jan162018

Attention Moms: You Need a Vacation, Too!

Vacation. Oh, don't you love the sound of that word? Vacation is a time when you can get away from your work life and even your personal life to take a moment for yourself. It's the time for you to kick back and relax while the rest of the world goes on.

While vacations may seem like something everyone might want now and again, people aren't always taking the time off. According to Nooga.com, a recently released survey shows that 35% of employees aren't taking their vacation time before the end of the year. The survey worked with 2,700 people from 27 U.S. cities and asked them what they planned to do with their time off. While 35% said they aren't using it at all, 43% of people said that they are just saving the time for bigger vacations.

While it may seem like workers are the only ones who are making a sacrifice when they don't take a vacation, that's far from the truth. The economy suffers as well. According to U.S. News, unused vacation time in 2016 cost the economy $236 billion.

Many of the workers out there not taking vacation time are also full-time mothers. Even though it may seem hard for a mom to take a vacation from her professional and parenting jobs, moms deserve time to kick back and relax. Now, this isn't referring to the time when the kids are asleep and you get to enjoy a good book before bed. A mom vacation is referring to a time fully away from children, with or without a significant other.

There are so many benefits of a "mommy vacation." These benefits include regaining patience that might have been lost in the parenting lifestyle, remembering who you are other than just a mom, and for spending time with your significant other. In fact, 42% of travelers say they feel more romantic on vacation.

There's a chance that as a mother, you may be thinking you already have things at home that help you relax. Some of these things may include music, wine, or even a hot tub, of which there are more than 7.3 million in operation in the United States to choose from! But there is still more out there that you can use to help you take a break from "mommy world."

One of the challenges one may find when they take a break from their children is they might find themselves feeling guilty. But, before you start to feel bad about spending money and taking time for yourself, don't. It's perfectly okay to want to get away for a little while, and it'll help you with your sanity. A Mother Far From Home says that the time away from your little ones can actually help in the long run. The time off will help you be more prepared and more alert than you were before you left. Your vacation, whether it's for 48-hours or four days, will only help you come back stronger than you were before.

Your career and duties as a full time mom are just as important, if not moreso, than any other profession. All of those little things piling up on one person can feel like the weight of the whole world. With that being said, you deserve time to relax and rejuvenate.

So where are you going to go this year?

Thursday
Jan112018

How To Effectively Market Your Business With Promotional Items

While crafting your marketing plan for 2018, you might be looking for more creative ways to promote your brand. In addition to social media and other more traditional marketing methods, there are seemingly endless ways to inexpensively create brand recognition. And this includes promotional products, opening all sorts of creative avenues.

"The promotional items that you choose are limited only by your own creativity," according to the staff at AllBusiness. "They can range from market-proven goods -- such as calendars, coffee mugs, and baseball caps -- to innovative items like candy and nuts, stadium blankets, toy cars and trucks, and first aid kits. Whatever items you pick, all should bear your logo and contact information."

But selecting these items is not enough. You must then learn to use them effectively. To really advance your promotional items, consider the following tips.

  • Have a clear purpose.
    Enter your promotional product marketing strategy with a goal and have this guide you. Perhaps you simply want to create brand recognition, or you might want to encourage people to actually contact you. Design the items accordingly with this in mind.

  • Choose practical items.
    About 53% of people own a promotional item that they use at least once per week. By choosing items like bags, pens, electronics, and mugs, you can give your customers a clear reason to use the items. Then others will see them using it, increasing brand exposure.

  • Consider style in your design. Even if your logo is not the most wearable design, find ways to integrate it in a stylistic way. This could mean putting the logo on a small portion of a shirt rather than the entire front. You may also want to play with logo color to change up your design options.

  • Get creative on social media.
    About 93% of marketers use social media for business, but you can use it more creatively to promote your branded items. Giveaways, contests, and sponsored ads can be great ways to get your items out there. In addition to giving products away in person, you can boost the strategy's effectiveness through online resources.

  • Only buy what you need.
    Remember that many items will age out eventually, so you don't want to buy too many of a certain product. Only buy what you realistically will need and remember that you can always buy more later. By doing so, you can efficiently conserve resources.

While designing and selecting your promotional products, remember to have fun with it. This is an exciting opportunity to promote your business, so make the most of it. Your customers' enthusiasm might just follow.

Thursday
Jan112018

How Are Companies Changing Their Social Media Marketing Tactics in 2018?

Marketing methods have significantly changed over the past few years. Due to the increasing use of technology, companies have had to change their communication tactics and find new ways to reach young consumers.

Many of today's marketing strategies utilize social media platforms. In order for businesses to keep up with competitors in this hyper competitive space, they should consider these trends that experts expect to dominate the world of social media marketing in 2018.

Rather than pictures, more and more companies are focusing their marketing strategies around video content. Marketers have found video to be a more engaging platform than pictures or texts. However, it's important for videos to show the product or service in use in order to actively engage consumers.

In addition to videos, more companies are utilizing live content platforms. Live content is a great way to get followers excited and engaged with the brand. Using live content can consist of demonstrating products, announcing events, or simply saying hello to followers.

If companies haven't already invested in mobile ready content, they will soon. With younger generations being true digital natives, any company that doesn't switch to mobile-friendly content is quickly going to be left behind in the marketplace. In web design, mobile-friendly sites depend on what's called responsive web design, which has fundamentally changed the way your favorite websites are created.

The same shift is happening on social media sites, which increasingly take a mobile-first approach to content creation and design. Today, 52% of internet users say they will think less of a company with a bad mobile website, and mobile friendly content is now considered a given in the social media world. That's why experts also predict that more companies will hire employees to focus solely on content creation for mobile users.

With the amount of time young consumers spend consuming photos, videos, memes, and gifs online, companies must ensure they post content that is created for specific platforms. In order to do that, companies have to hire experts in content-creation to manage all of the social media content. Hiring in-house talent for social media marketing is something more companies are investing in.

In order to engage followers, companies are also beginning to leverage user-generated content. By asking followers to submit pictures, posts, or videos and then uploading them to their page, companies will be able to better interact with customers.

Along with more user-generated content, companies are always expected to increase their use of influencers on social media. Brand partnerships allow companies to reach new users and can often be a cost-effective marketing tool.

With digital material often being skimmed by viewers in 15 seconds, or less, it's becoming more difficult for companies to attract the attention of consumers online. And with younger generations knowing no time without smartphones, businesses need to step up their online activity in order to effectively engage young consumers.