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Entries in Business Advice (20)

Tuesday
Oct192010

Achieving $uccess:: Lyss Stern

Lyss Stern, Founder & CEO of Divalysscious Moms.Meet Lyss Stern, founder and CEO of Divalysscious Moms.

Market Mommy:: When and why did you found your business? 

Lyss:: Founded in 2004, I wanted to bridge the gap between my pre-baby lifestyle and newly bestowed motherhood after the birth of my first son, Jackson.  Rather than give up my beloved stilettos for strollers, I decided to embrace them both.  My company’s name came from combining delicious–a friend’s word describing my work–with Lyss, and a pinch of “diva” thrown in for good measure.  And voila!  Divalysscious was born, celebrating moms that are strong, sexy, confident and (dare we say it!) even more fabulous post-baby.  I feel that stilettos, sippy cups, strollers and Starbucks all go hand-in-hand with this uber-cool, modern group of diva moms.

Market Mommy::  How long did it take before you felt successful?

Lyss:: I knew I was "successful" after I published my first book, “If You Give a Mom a Martini... 100 Ways to take 10 Blissful Minutes for Yourself” (Random House) and became the Editor In Chief of Observer Playground,  the new parenting publication for NYC moms.  However... I think I will feel most successful when we sell my TV show that we are currently pitching to the networks!

Market Mommy:: How do you define success?

Lyss:: When my children are happy, and healthy that is my definition of success!

Market Mommy:: How do you balance parenting with running your business?

Lyss:: I am frequently asked how I balance motherhood and owning/operating my own business.  While every successful mother and business owner has her own recipe with ingredients that work for her as an individual, some tips that I like to give other mothers that are in similar situations are the “Divalysscious Tips”, and the ingredients that work for my “Mommy Entrepreneur Recipe.”

Here are my “Divalysscious Tips on How to be a Mommy and an Entrepreneur” -

1. Your Children Come First. That means that any email and phone call can and will come after the children are happy and settled in. With today's technology, it seems that everything is urgent; however your child's well being comes first and your children need to feel secure.

2. Prioritize. Make sure that your work can be done early in the morning before the children wake up.  Yes, that means sometimes waking up at 4:30am to finish work… of course you will need a large cup of coffee!

3. Have a routine.  Having breakfast with the children and taking my older son to school in the morning are crucial aspects of my daily life.  Dinner, bath time, and bedtime are also extremely important for my children and for me.  I try my best to put down the blackberry, and eat with the children, bathe them, read to them, and spend quality time with them before bed. After my boys are sleeping, I know that I can go back on the computer to finish up my work.

4.  Have a “Mommy Time Out”.   Moms who run their own businesses also need to take a few minutes out of their busy day for themselves.  I have a strong philosophy that if mom isn't happy, then the children won't be happy.  Take ten minutes to meditate, get a quick ten minute back massage at the local nail salon, flip through a magazine, or even make a phone call to a friend, completely unrelated to work, just to say hi.  I believe that taking this time for yourself is critical.

5.  Delegate.  Always remember that being a mom and a business owner gives you the right to delegate the work, which means surrounding yourself with a great supportive team comprised of positive people who have high energy.  Make sure these are people that you can trust, and people that can help you.  My husband is my biggest supporter, at times he has to help with the children because I might need to be at a meeting, have to work late, etc... I know that I can count on my husband and vice versa for him, as he too has a high demanding job.  Delegate the errands with your family and care givers, and do not be afraid to ask for help!  It's always better to ask, than to be completely overwhelmed.

Market Mommy:: When did you break the six-figure threshold?

Lyss:: In year three of my business.

Market Mommy:: What business strategies contributed to your success?

Lyss:: For me, being the best mom I can be turned out to be the job of my dreams.  My success comes from my passion.  I always say that Divalysscious Moms is my third child!  I am growing my business and my brand, all the while doing something that is fun, hard work and completely satisfying.

Market Mommy:: What specific marketing efforts really paid off for you?

Lyss:: I call it ‘Word of Mom;’ one mom telling another mom about how fabulous Divalysscious Moms is.  My database started off with six moms and now has over 200,000 of NYC's most influential women and moms!  It’s important to stay focused and do a great job, and word will spread naturally.  I regularly tap into this network for inspiration on new event ideas, and use real-life issues, thoughts and concerns to develop meaningful events that will actually make a difference in these women’s lives! 

Market Mommy:: What advice do you have for moms who are just starting out on their entrepreneur adventure?

Lyss:: The best advice I give moms that are starting out their business, is follow your dreams and passions and try to answer a ‘need’ that you recognize in this world.  For me, I recognized that moms in New York City wanted to stay chic and continue to network with each other in fun, fabulous ways.  I came up with something to answer that need!  You have to "go for it" and surround yourself with positive, trustworthy people.

Lyss can be found online at Diva Moms, Observer Playground, Facebook and her book can be found here.

 

This post is part of a new series on Market Mommy, Achieving $uccess. These posts detail the journey these mom entrepreneurs have taken to reach sales of six figures and beyond. How do they balance it all? What strategies have worked for them? What advice do they have for you, the new mom entrepreneur? Follow our blog for many more Achieving $uccess stories in the near future.

 

Friday
Oct152010

Achieving $uccess:: Danielle Eason

Even Madonna's children wear Myself Belts!Meet Danielle Eason, founder of Myself Belts.

Market Mommy:: When and why did you found your business?           

Danielle:: September 2004; I saw a void in the marketplace.  Realization came while my nephew was potty-training and we couldn’t find a belt he could use independently.

Market Mommy:: How long did it take before you felt successful?

Danielle:: 9 months

Market Mommy:: How do you define success?

Danielle:: Stores were ordering, people were buying online and we got into Parenting Magazine!

Market Mommy:: How do you balance parenting with running your business?

Danielle:: We work around our kids schedules.  We work for small chunks of time throughout the day and evening.  Somehow it works!

Market Mommy:: When did you break the six-figure threshold?

Danielle:: 2006

Market Mommy:: What business strategies contributed to your success? 

Danielle:: Expanding our sizing; advertising to get the brand out there and in the eyes of the general public, not just stores; went to a variety of tradeshows.  Most importantly we were not afraid to ask for help!! We knew we were not experts in everything, so we happily seek out business advice to help with our decision making.

Market Mommy:: What specific marketing efforts really paid off for you?

Danielle:: Paid ads in Parents magazine and celebrity gifting.

Market Mommy:: What advice do you have for moms who are just starting out on their entrepreneur adventure?

Danielle:: If you have a great idea/product due to a void in the marketplace – go for it!  If you are in need of the item, others are too!  Ask for lots of advice.  Patent your product!

You can find Danielle on Myself Belts’ website and on their Facebook page! AND, you can save 10% in October with coupon code Market!

 

This post is part of a new series on Market Mommy, Achieving $uccess. These posts detail the journey these mom entrepreneurs have taken to reach sales of six figures and beyond. How do they balance it all? What strategies have worked for them? What advice do they have for you, the new mom entrepreneur? Follow our blog for many more Achieving $uccess stories in the near future.

Tuesday
Oct122010

Why Jenny Finke {Handle Your Own PR} Advertised on HARO

Jenny Finke, HandleYourOwnPR.comHave you thought about advertising on HARO? Help a Reporter Out offers somewhat expensive ad space. However, the daily e-mails reach more than 134,000 inboxes. That is a lot of reach. Depending on your product, or service, this can be a lucrative audience for you.

Jenny Finke of Red Jeweled Media and Handle Your Own PR recently took the leap and placed an ad on HARO. Her reasoning was solid. I wanted to ask her about her thought process and see how it panned out. Her experience teaches many valuable lessons, not just about advertising on HARO, but advertising to grow your business in general.

Market Mommy:: Why did you want to advertise on HARO?

Jenny:: HARO offers the opportunity to truly get in front of the people I'm trying to reach. Thousands of independent PR people and bootstrapping entrepreneurs are reading HARO every day.

Market Mommy:: What made you decide to take the leap and do it, despite the cost?

Jenny:: I didn't see it as a cost. It was an investment to build my brand and grow awareness for HandleYourOwnPR.com. So many start-ups fear investing in themselves and their businesses. Fear doesn't grow a company. It takes guts, courage and commitment to grow a company and a brand, especially a start-up. I'll need to invest a lot more in my business if I want it to succeed.

Market Mommy:: Would you say HARO hits your target market, why?

Jenny:: Absolutely!  It got me in front of independent PR people and bootstrapping entrepreneurs - the two types of audiences who could most benefit from the PR products and services offered by HandleYourOwnPR.com. It can take hours and hours of your time to build a media list - we do it for you in a few seconds! Essentially, HandleYourOwnPR.com helps entrepreneurs solve a time-consuming age-old problem in a matter of minutes!

Market Mommy:: What results did you see from the ad?

Jenny:: I had 1,400 visitors to my site in one day - and then many visitors in the following days. I got quite a few new people who registered for my site. When you register for HandleYourOwnPR.com, you get a free eBook, "How to Make the Most of Your Media Lists."  These new registrants are people I can communicate with for a long time through my newsletter (my newsletter rocks, btw, I offer all sorts of free PR tips and gets lots of great feedback on it!).  I also got quite a few sales in the days following my HARO ad - just about enough to cover my investment - and then whatever awareness it brought me for future customers will be pure bonus.

Market Mommy:: Why would you {or not} recommend advertising on HARO to other mom entrepreneurs?

Jenny:: It truly depends on your business and if this is the right readership/audience for you. Remember, there are no quick fixes and I've heard of very few overnight successes. Advertising and PR are not one-off activities. It takes commitment and courage. No matter how great your product or service is, if no one knows about it, it's nothing. Have a plan in place and be willing to invest in things that make sense for your business. I'm now figuring out a way to advertise in HARO more regularly now that I got my feet wet and like the results it accomplished for my business.

Friday
Oct082010

Achieving $uccess:: Sari Crevin

Sari Crevin, founder of BooginHead LLC.Meet Sari Crevin; the founder of BooginHead LLC.

Market Mommy:: When and why did you found your business?

Sari:: In 2005, I created the very first prototype of SippiGrip. I was becoming frustrated when my then 1-year-old son, Jake, would throw his sippy cup to the floor from his high chair, stroller and car seat. I was constantly picking up the cups that were either getting dirty or getting lost. I looked everywhere for something that would fit my needs and there were a few competitors on the market at that point.  Each one had some major flaw that I felt rendered the product useless by my standards. Necessity really was the mother of invention and the SippiGrip was born. 

In early 2007, I realized this venture wasn’t just hobby and decided to put my efforts into launching a serious business to sell the SippiGrip. I formed BooginHead LLC and the PaciGrip followed shortly after. Now, the SippiGrip, along with other BooginHead products PaciGrip and SplatMat and the newest products, PaciPouch and PaciBed, have been purchased by thousands of parents everywhere from the large retailers such as Babies “R” Us and Baby Depot to smaller high end boutique stores like Kitson in Los Angeles, on-line and even internationally. My products are affordable and functional, yet fashionable enough for every kind of customer. 

Market Mommy:: How long did it take before you felt successful?

Sari:: There are different levels of “success.”  When Target first invited me into their Parent Invented program in 2008, and I knew I’d be on their store shelves, I felt a first taste of “success.” With each significant growth marker (a new buyer makes an order, another international market opens up, a sales milestone is reached or surpassed) I feel “successful.” 

Market Mommy:: How do you define success?

Sari:: I honestly don’t know if there is or will be a single defining moment that I can equate with “success.”  Certainly positive feedback, good reviews and continuing growth in sales equates with the traditional definition of success.  I hope to continue inventing and sharing useful products with parents for years to come, therefore, I’d like to think that success is an on-going, never fully attained status! 

Market Mommy:: How do you balance parenting with running your business?

Sari:: My biggest balancing tool is adhering to a “no work zone” between the hours of 5 and 7:30 p.m. This is when the four of us, my husband, our two young sons and I, spend time together eating dinner and playing without any interruptions – no phones, TV, work, etc. Having that structure in place, so that you know you are carving out time for your family and for yourself, is very, very important.

Market Mommy:: When did you break the six-figure threshold?

Sari:: This past spring, April 2010, I surpassed the first $1million in sales mark.  We are actually on track to hit $1.2million in sales for 2010 alone, too!

Market Mommy:: What business strategies contributed to your success?

Sari:: Early on I decided that for as long as I could, I would grow my business organically and reinvest the profits I made back into the business to help it grow. I realized that by hiring consultants that are experts in their field(s) to take over different aspects of the business, I was able to create a team that was invested in being successful without taking on the overhead of full time employees. Such people include a supply chain consultant, PR, financial analyst and designer.

Market Mommy:: What specific marketing efforts really paid off for you?

Sari:: I used my built-in community and connections, from local mom groups, playground regulars and family and friends.  I went to them for honest feedback on my products – doing this, you know you’ll be marketing and speaking to the right audience and you are engaging them from the get-go.  Also, right after launching the SippiGrip, I took a leap of faith and signed on to be a vendor at The ABC Kids Expo Show in Las Vegas. My booth was embarrassingly simple and my product samples were barely completed. It was there, however, that I was approached by Target to be in their 2008 Parent Invented Products Program and truly what launched me into the legitimate world of parenting products... the rest is history!

Market Mommy:: What advice do you have for moms who are just starting out on their entrepreneur adventure?

Sari:: Do your research and listen! Whether from others who have found success before and/or from your own mistakes, reviewing, evaluating and changing are the best preparations you can make.   Also, be prepared for the initial financial outlay; I never anticipated the depth of the investment needed to start up my company and do everything the right way. There comes a point where one really has to ask them self, “is this a hobby or a business?”  Make sure you really are prepared financially, at least to the best of your research, knowledge and advice.  Also, utilize the Internet! There are a plethora of discussion groups available now for working moms, mom-inventors and other mompreneurs and they are full of smart and savvy women with great experience.  Lastly, the sooner you realize that you can’t do everything yourself, the better!  This includes details like filing trademarks or patent applications. It will cost you much more in the long run, literally and figuratively, if you don't do it right the first time.

Sari can be found on her website and in addition, she has a Facebook page and is on Twitter and LinkedIn.

This post is part of a new series on Market Mommy, Achieving $uccess. These posts detail the journey these mom entrepreneurs have taken to reach sales of six figures and beyond. How do they balance it all? What strategies have worked for them? What advice do they have for you, the new mom entrepreneur? Follow our blog for many more Achieving $uccess stories in the near future.

Monday
Aug022010

Mommy Monday:: Kids Personalized Music

Victoria Blackney is the mom and grandma behind Kids Personalized Music. In the summer of 2007, she was searching for a business opportunity and coincidentally came across music that sang a child’s name in every song at a festival in south Florida.

“Needless to say, I was sold mentally and walked away with six of the full-length cds that mentioned my grandchildren’s names up to 98 times throughout,” said Blackney. “At that moment, I knew this was what I was looking for. Three years later, here I am providing the same inspirational, educational, and positive messages for kids and adults of all ages!”

Kids Personalized Music features 36 cds in categories such as; Lullaby, Birthday, Playtime, Adventure, Faith Based, Play by Play Sports, Spanish,  Motivational and Holiday. They also now offer personalized Disney cds that include; Elmo, Princess Tea Party, Wiggles, Veggie Tales, Mickey and Minnie. The company has an extensive database which also features personalized videos and photo videos.

Blackney is happily married to her husband of 30 years and they have four adult children and six grandchildren. In addition to running her business, she enjoys gardening, reading and spending time with her grandchildren.

“I set my morning hours to business planning, scheduling show bookings, marketing, customer orders, correspondence and any necessary follow-up is generally done in the evening hours,” she said. Like all business owners, she has had to find out what specifically works for her and her business.

According to Blackney, it’s important to love what you do and be consistent. “There are many times that you will feel discouraged, just keep at it,” she said. She also emphasized the importance of marketing. “Use your business cards everywhere you go, they are a great marketing tool and very inexpensive.”

Kids Personalized Music is located in Temple, Georgia. In addition to their website, they can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

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