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Thursday
Sep182014

The Founding Moms Conference

 

Are you going to The Founding Moms Conference? We highly recommend that you do! The Founding Moms is a collective of offline meetups and online resources where mom entrepreneurs exchange, connect and learn from one another. Incredible women living right in your backyard meet up to swap start-up stories, interact with renowned business experts, and build personal and professional connections within the ever-growing network of mom-owned businesses. They’re currently in 43 cities (9 countries!) around the world with 8,000+ members. In 2013, Forbes named them one of the Top 10 Websites for Women Entrepreneurs  and in 2014, its founder Jill Salzman was called a “mommy mogul” by CNNMoney.

If you’re ready to learn from the best — folks like Christie Hefner and Barbara Stanny are speaking — and want to be inspired about building your small business, then head to this link to grab your ticket before they’re sold out!

About us :: The Founding Moms is a collective of offline meetups and online resources where mom entrepreneurs exchange, connect and learn from one another. Incredible women living right in your backyard meet up to swap start-up stories, interact with renowned business experts, and build personal and professional connections within the ever-growing network of mom-owned businesses. They’re currently in 43 cities (9 countries!) around the world with 8,000+ members. In 2013, Forbes named them one of the Top 10 Websites for Women Entrepreneurs  and in 2014, its founder Jill Salzman was called a “mommy mogul” by CNNMoney.

About Jill :: She’s a serial entrepreneur. A mom of 2. An published author. A “do-it evangelist.” An avid tweeter. Co-host of the renowned podcast, Breaking Down Your Business. Star of the new video series Tip Top Tips for Entrepreneurs. And best friends with Stephen Colbert, even if he does not know it yet.  

 

Thursday
Sep182014

WF-3640 All-in-One Printer Great for your Home Office

I was recently asked to review an Epson WorkForce WF-3640, all-in-one printer. The gracious folks at Epson sent me a unit for review. The printer really does everything I want it to; print, copy, scan and fax. It connects to Wi-Fi and is very easy to set up and use.

One of the key features that I was looking for was the ability to easily print from my iPad and iPhone. The WF-3640 does that easily, as well as from my laptop and desktop. The Epson Connect feature basically allows you to print and share from anywhere, which is a definite plus. Here are some other great key features:

Printing

The unit has print speeds of 19 ISO ppm for black and 10 ISO ppm for color. It also automatically prints two-sided to save up to 50 percent of your paper! It also allows you to collate and remove punched holes or shadows.

Capacity

The paper tray holds up to 500 sheets of paper, meaning you have to load it less frequently. And, there is a second rear tray for cardstock, envelopes and labels.

Touch screen

The WF-3640 features a 3.5” color LCD touch screen with gesture navigation, making all of the features on the unit easy to use.

Technology

The unit features PrecisionCore Inkjet technology which is  a new printing technology using a revolutionary high-density print chip which can generate up to 40 million precise dots per second with astonishing accuracy, producing professional quality output at dramatic speeds.

Epson is also environmentally friendly, which I think is really great! According to the Epson website, the WF-3640 is equipped with these ECO features:

  • Uses up to 70% less power than laser printers
  • Save up to 50% on paper with automatic, two-sided printing / copying
  • ENERGY STAR® qualified
  • RoHS compliant
  • Recyclable product
  • Epson America, Inc. is a SmartWaySM Transport Partner

If you are in the market for a new printer, scanner, copier or fax machine for your home office, the WF-3640 is a great option. It’s compact and because of the Wi-Fi connection, you can place it anywhere throughout your home or office. The printing quality is great and it’s easy to set up with your established technology.

The WF-3640 is available online for $149.99 after an instant $50 rebate and qualifies for free ground shipping. The all-in-one printer includes four DURABrite ultra ink cartridges, an instruction manual, CD-ROM for setup and power cord. A USB cable is not included in the packaging, so if you aren’t using the Wi-Fi option you will need one of those.

In addition to the website, you can also find Epson via social media at Facebook.com and on Twitter!

Do you have an all-in-one device in your office? What are the biggest benefits? How does it make your work-life easier? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

*I was supplied with a WF-3640 free of charge in order to write this product review. However, all opinions are my own.


Thursday
Aug142014

Business Besties – Three reasons why you need entrepreneur friends

By Chelsea Duggan

Let’s face it you have a lot of friends. There’s the Mom you watch soccer games with to the Mom from your first playgroup. Great Moms that help get you through each day surround you.  So who is your business Mom? Don’t have one? Here are three reasons why you need entrepreneur friends now.

A great part of having entrepreneur friends is you have someone to commiserate with. Owning a business is a roller coaster and you could use someone to share the great moments but also the tough ones. Soccer game caused you to be late to a client meeting? Your business bestie can remind you that your client will likely understand and that there are other clients who will. Baby spit up on your suit? Laugh it off together and invent a solution to that problem for your next great business.

Another bonus to having entrepreneur pals is the insight you gain when you see firsthand how someone else did it. Patent application looking a little dicey? Your business pal will share their application and walk you through the process. You’ll gain knowledge from their triumphs and mistakes. You can ask questions that might seem intimidating in a large group networking set up. Surround yourself with those you emulate and you’ll find your business woes are fewer and farther between. You’ll also gain the courage to branch out and trial new product lines. Do it together with your business bestie.

You may also find an entrepreneur friend who can serve as a mentor. It’s great to learn from a pro and be part of a community. Look at groups like the Founding Moms to find that special someone. The great part about working with a mentor is that you’ll gain leadership skills and attributes that you will use when you become the mentor for someone else. Pass along the love and you’ll find it comes back to you in wonderful ways.

Entrepreneur pals in the form of a mentor, seeing the big picture through another pro’s eyes, and simply having business besties to commiserate with will change the day-to-day for you. Your business will grow, as will your friendships. What’s not to love about sharing a knowing smile with another great Mom?

Chelsea Duggan:: An entrepreneur, parent and advocate for early childhood development through creative education, Chelsea Duggan is the Founder and Director of Milestar Babies. This innovative online resource enables busy parents to have an influential impact on newborn children, up to three years in age. Chelsea's background in education - a passion she shares with her two children, so they themselves can enjoy a lifelong interest in learning - is at the center of Milestar Babies. That commitment to excellence starts with shared moments and teacher-designed lessons, which parents can further customize, so children can discover, synthesize and pursue their own discoveries. Chelsea believes that every child is an amazing individual, who deserves to learn at his or her own pace. This kid-tested, parent-approved philosophy is Chelsea's distinctive concept, complemented by the convenience of the Internet and her dynamic site. A graduate of Northwestern and a member of the Chicago Women Entrepreneurs Network, Chelsea welcomes the opportunity to interact with parents and children throughout the nation and the world.

Tuesday
Jul292014

Save 20% at Squirrel Cheeks Now!

Squirrel Cheeks is an online boutique featuring clothing and accessories! Use code WS to save 20% now!

Shopping!

Whether you are shopping for your own children, or for a gift, Squirrel Cheeks is a great place to stop! They offer unique items for all of the girly girls in your life! They offer lace and satin rompers, boutique outfits, dresses, bloomers, leg warmers, bows and flower headbands. Plus, much more, like unique Frozen dresses for your aspiring princess!! Shipping is just $2, plus 10% of your order. Orders over $200 receive free shipping!  

Rewards! 

Customers love the Reward Points! You will accumulate 1 point for every dollar you spend. When you get to 100, you can redeem them for a $5 Gift Certificate to use for anything on the site. Make sure you create an account first to earn points and that you are logged into your account for every purchase.  

Wholesale!

Squirrel Cheeks caters to wholesalers! You can get an awesome return on purchases you make for your own boutique! Squirrel Cheeks offers free drop shipping and an automatic 20% discount on all of your orders! Plus, there is no minimum order. So, order as little or as much as you like at one time! Orders over $200 receive free shipping automatically!   

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Friday
Jul252014

Four Ways to Expand Your Brand Presence

By Monika Labbé

When first starting out in your business your focus was probably on getting the word out about what it is that you sell or what service you provide. But once you become more established, it becomes harder and harder to stay one step ahead of your competition. That’s where it’s best to expand your product offerings. Launching a new product or service can be time consuming and might have hidden costs that you did not anticipate. It’s important to create awareness and promote a products benefits without breaking the bank.

1.Reduce your financial risk by using the existing brand name to enhance your client’s perception. It’s important to already have an established presence with your brand or service, otherwise you could potentially risk your brand image with something new.

2.Extending your brand is a great tool for increasing not only your income, but awareness about your company as a whole. You could tie in additional products or services to causes that are meaningful to you and or community events that are happening around your neighborhood. Keep it simple and make sure you tie it back to your core mission. Make sure whatever you are adding is a nice benefit to clients, but not too far removed from your actual core business.

3. Make sure your website is collecting key information about your clients when they are visiting your site. It’s important that the things you collect are not just demographics but things that are relevant to specific business goals. You need to improve your market based on the information you collect and be able to speak specifically to the interests of potential clients. By finding out specific needs of your clients you can conduct deeper and more targeted research that would be more timely and relevant.

4. Partner with someone who offers a service or product that compliments yours. In my industry of photography I often partner with wedding vendors for that segment of my business. If you are offering a product think outside the box of who might be interested in wanting to partner with you, where does your product naturally fit? For example if my product is a toothbrush, naturally toothpaste goes with it, but so does mouthwash, floss, maybe even teeth whitener. Who could use the toothbrush? The dentist’s office obviously, but how about using it to clean hard to reach places, or for polishing small surfaces. It’s taking the thought process one step further than the obvious and asking, what can this tool actually do if I have never used it before?

By recognizing where the market is heading, anticipating the needs of your clients, and stretching yourself in your thinking you will be able to develop complementary services that will effectively extend your reach.

Having been a professional photographer for over 13 years, I feel very blessed to have been published in numerous books, magazines, and websites. For me, seeing how my photos touch others, whether they bring a smile, a chuckle, or a tear, is what I consider truly priceless. I welcome the opportunity to bring that to you and your family. For more information regarding photography services, please contact me through my website,or email me directly. ~ Monika Labbé, Visual Storyteller