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Entries in Networking (13)


Turning Networking Nightmares Into Sweet Dreams

By Jennifer Covello

If you’re a small business owner, you’ve likely been to a networking event or two with the hopes of engaging a new client or perhaps meeting a mentor to coach you through your latest business challenge.

Whether you do it face-to-face or online, expanding your circle of peeps is in my opinion, the single best way to grow your business.  It goes back to the old Faberge® Organics shampoo commercial that many of you reading this are probably too young to remember.  The premise of the commercial is that the consumer loved the product so much, that she told two friends and they told friends and so on and so on until wads of people were using this fabulous shampoo.

This is similar to how networking works. You meet one new person who loves what you do. They tell a friend who tells another friend and so on and so on. It’s magic! Well, sort of.

Why? Because if you don’t get someone to love what you make or do in the first few minutes of meeting them, no one is telling anyone anything. There will be no “so on’s” in your business but rather “so long!”

How do you get someone to take interest in the single most important thing in your life – your business? Here are some rules of thumb that have worked for me. 

1. Please, please, please don’t give someone a dried up, boring, over-rehearsed elevator pitch. We all know that having an elevator pitch is important and it is. Unless it’s a bad one.  A bad elevator pitch will kill you faster than a can of Raid® in a roach hotel!

While you do want to be able to describe your business so your listener understands what you do, no one wants to hear about every single product or service you have nor how many awards you have won (unless they are Oscar’s or Grammy’s). People want to know how you can help them solve their problems. That’s it. What’s In It For Me? WIIFM. Remember this acronym in everything you do for your business and you will never fail.

Every one of your potential clients is asking this – What’s In It For Me if I buy your coaching services or hire you to decorate my office or manage my finances? If you are not able to articulate e how you can solve a future client’s problem in the first few minutes, then head to the buffet table and take advantage of the free food because you’re wasting your time.

Take some time to think about your business and how it helps people. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you buy from you? Write down 3-5 short sentences about what you can do for them that makes their lives easier or less stressful. Try it out at your next event and see what the reaction is.

2. Please, please, please don’t keep trying to convince someone to meet with you when they’ve already said they are not interested. Yes it’s true that sometimes an initial reaction can be one of disinterest until you probe a little further but if someone says they hate to cook and eat out every night, don’t try to persuade them to buy your new cookbook. It ain’t gonna happen.

Can you turn some of these nay-sayers around SOMEtimes? Yes. I’ve seen this happen.  Let’s stick with our cookbook example. You wrote a cookbook because YOU love to cook and wanted to share your recipes with the world. Not everyone loves to cook. In fact, some people (like me) hate it.  What I want is someone to cook FOR me. Is it possible that instead of buying your cookbook, they can buy your meals that you’ve prepared, delivered right to their door? Sure! Fabulous idea.

My point is – don’t get stuck on selling only one thing. The people you are meeting are a hot bed of market research. If they’re not interested in what you’re selling, find out what they are interested in and then go home and figure out a way to deliver it.

3. Please, please, please don’t take everyone’s business cards home and enter them into your newsletter distribution list. This is a BIG no-no! Just because someone gave you their card does not equate to them agreeing to receive daily tips on how to cook vegan. You’re overstepping and worse? You’ve likely pushed them over the line and they will never do business with you.

Then how am I supposed to grow my list and work on the “so on’s and so on’s”? You ask permission, that’s how. You can either do it during the event or by sending them a nice ‘Thank You’ email the following day inviting them to join your list.

BUT…don’t simply ask them to join your list to get your monthly newsletter. YAWN. (What was the acronym I told you to remember earlier in this post? Hey – no scrolling up – I see you peeking!)

WIIFM . Tell them WHY they should sign up for your list. Tell them how your newsletter or tips or e-book is going to solve their problem.  Make it worth their while. People are busy. No one has time to read anything anymore, let alone a newsletter on a product or service for which they are not interested.

I know these few tips seem simple but what I have learned is that the best way to grow your business is through the KISS principle. Keep It Simple Silly. Put any one of these tips into practice and watch your business grow and so on and so on and so on.

Jennifer Covello  is The Purposeful Parent, an award-winning author, blogger, creator of Frittabello baby gifts and mother of two children. With her unique perspective on parenting coupled with her sense of humor and vast experience, Jennifer is able to relate to a variety of women and the daily challenges they face as a mom and business owner. Jennifer has been featured on both radio and TV programs for her insights about her journey from corporate “cubicle dweller” to “mompreneur” providing helpful tips and inspiration to moms and dads alike. Most recently she was on Better Connecticut Weekend Edition where she provided tips on overcoming SuperMom Syndrome. Jennifer is a native of Long Island, New York and had a corporate career in IT and Marketing. She holds a B.S. degree in Management Information Systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Marketing Management from Pace University, New York.


Networking like a Stalker

By Chelsea Duggan


You’ve just dropped serious cash on attending a trade show or networking event. There are some great keynotes, breakout sessions, and a chance to ask your questions to your biggest crush. So how do you prepare? First, do your homework – make a breakdown of what activities you want to take part in and who is running them. Taking a moment to plan where you need to be and when will make it much easier to make time for that necessary third cup of coffee and even more necessary bathroom break.

Second, do some research on the presenters. With a simple Google search you can find out more about who they are. You’re looking for three key points that you might be able to relate to them on. Look for the people who are doing what you want to do. They might be a successful author and you can check out their most recent book. You might also make note of current passion projects, general location like NYC, and be sure to read a few recent blog posts so you know what they’re currently interested in. The necessity behind this information is so that you have a basic understanding of where someone is coming from and so that you can have several points to connect on. For example, when you walk up to someone and introduce yourself at the conference you can begin talking about how you enjoyed his or her blog post on stalking versus networking.

Third, after you’ve compiled your data, consider three questions that you would ask each person if you had the opportunity. Expect that you will only be able to ask one question. I run a shifting list of questions so that if I’m able to get an answer from one person, than I shift the list of questions so that I’m not asking the next person the same exact question. This way I can gather the greatest amount of information in the shortest amount of time. Plus, at a busy conference it can be impossible to speak to everyone on your list but it may be possible to find all the information you’re after.

Fourth and final, print out your list so that you have it in front of you at all times. This is crucial for remembering to stay on task, taking advantage of all breaks for getting your networking done and not forgetting whom you are talking to in a sea of new friendly faces.

Networking at a conference can seem overwhelming especially if you’re going it solo. Through doing your homework and stealthily going after your goal of information gathering you can walk away feeling like a superwoman of success.

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.


Collaboration = Marketing

Do you collaborate? I’m sure you do, maybe even in more ways than you think. Collaboration and joint ventures are very effective marketing tools and they can be very low-cost or even free.

First and foremost collaborating gives you a reason to network. Step outside of your office, or comfort zone and meet new people. What are the businesses in your area up to? How are they expanding and improving? What new initiatives are happening around you?

If you’re online based, you can do this too. Attend online meet-ups and gatherings, converse via social media. Seeking collaboration forces you to expand your circle of associates. This is always a good thing. Chances are you’ll meet people that you can easily work with and some that aren’t a good fit. That’s ok; the relationship building is still very beneficial.

Another benefit of collaboration is that it often introduces you to a new market. For instance, an online bow boutique in our area recently partnered with an area salon and dance studio to carry their products. This immediately increases her local exposure. And, it introduces her products to those who may not frequent social media, or be too young to do so. It also will increase her sales because now she is more available to impulse buyers who want cash and carry items.

Collaboration is also a way to improve your reputation. Even if you are known to be a stellar business woman, this can still be beneficial. What is better than one stellar business women but two of them! When you seek out potential partners, keep this in mind. Be picky and search for businesses that hold them to the same high standards that you do.

When you are entertaining partnership ideas, be sure to think outside of the box. How can you be more creative? How can you maximize the benefits? What can you do to make your arrangement more unique and appealing? Think about these questions as they relate to you, your potential partner and your customers.

Small businesses generally have small marketing budgets. It is great when they can work together and get more for their money. When two businesses work to get the word out, exposure automatically doubles. However, as with any agreement, always proceed with caution and follow your gut instinct. If you don’t feel as though it is really a good fit, don’t pursue it. And, it is always advisable to get all agreements in writing.

Happy partnering! Feel free to share some of your creative partnership ideas in the comments!


Touchpoint:: A Conference for Women Entrepreneurs

I’m excited to share with you some amazing events for women entrepreneurs.  Startup Princess is taking their premier event for women entrepreneurs to 3 cities this year!  Startup Princess is a national organization for women entrepreneurs.  It’s a place where women connect and share resources online and through events.

The event is called Touchpoint - A Conference for Women Entrepreneurs.  Each year Startup Princess holds this conference in Salt Lake City.  They're traveling to Portland, OR and Orange County, CA over the next six weeks.  It’s a one day event to help women entrepreneurs activate their dreams and energize their business.  The agenda includes amazing speakers, networking opportunities, lunch and they tout that you’ll leave with practical ideas on business development, marketing and strategy that you can easily implement in your business when you get home.

If you want to attend in Portland or Orange County, they have created a discount code just for Market Mommy readers!  Use code: marketmommy for $25 off the all ready low-cost, $79 ticket.

Also, if you are interested in promoting your business or selling your products at these events, you can receive a discount on an exhibitor table when you mention "Market Mommy".  Contact Michelle for details!

They are still holding their premier event for women entrepreneurs in September this event will be a 2 day event.

I'm a fan of Startup Princess so I encourage you to make plans to attend at least one of their events in the coming weeks and months where you will connect with other fantastic, inspiring and aspiring women entrepreneurs.  Check out the agenda, speakers and register by going here: http://www.startupprincess.com/touchpoint/

And, don't forget to use code marketmommy for $25 off!


Are You Serious About Writing a Book? Authorize Yourself!

Have you ever thought about writing a book? If you've thought about it, but haven't had the opportunity, now is the time!

"Authorize Yourself" with your own B.E.D. (Brand it, Expose it and Design it) Time Story is a 6 week book writing intensive action shop. This is for those who have a book in them and ready to get it out. Ready to become the authority, ready to be the expert, ready to step into their greatness.

In this 6 week book writing intensive workshop you will learn:

  • How to turn your passion, expertise and industry know-how into a book.
  • How to bust through procrastination and distractions to write your book.
  • How to market your book to establish you as an industry expert.
  • How to turn your book into a business.
  • How to use your book to monetize relationships and create joint ventures.
  • How to come up with a winning title that speaks volumes.
  • How to turn your book concept from a Good Idea into a God idea!

In this 6 week book writing intensive,  you will have access to top notch publishers, editors, distributors and book writing experts to assist you  in getting " your book done" using the (B.E.D. Time Story) techniques that will attract media attention and clients.  Here's the program breakdown: (Be prepared to write your book by simply spending three hours a week for six weeks.)

This awesome program is hosted by celebrity mom entrepreneur Lucinda Cross, from Corporate Mom Dropouts. She has partnered with several well-known and best-selling authors and business experts. This intensive writing course will be well-worth the low $297 cost, I'm sure! And, as an added bonus you can sign up and make payments on the fee.

Find out more information, and sign up now so you don't miss the into bonus call on August 24!