Squidoo: How to Use It to Promote Your Business

I’ve been using Squidoo for years, but early on, I didn’t see the potential in it and really did very little with it. These days, I know better and the site has become one of my main methods of promotion. One of my lenses that was built over two years ago and has barely been touched since, brings in over 100 visitors a week to my main blog. That might not be a lot, but it does add up!

Why should you consider using Squidoo to promote your business? Well, there are a few great reasons, the first of which is that it is completely free . . . in fact you can actually earn money from them. For today’s purposes, however, we’re going to be looking at the promo value.

Squidoo is also very well liked by Google, so pages or “lenses” as they are called, are ranked quickly and quite high. That means great backlinks, as well as more traffic. Squidoo lenses are excellent sources of high quality traffic . . . people come across them while looking for information and click through the links to your business website.

Getting Started

Signing up for Squidoo is very simple. You’ll be prompted to set up your first lens immediately. Make sure to use top keywords in your title and URL and to select the “Do my own thing” option when setting it up. This will send you to a lens that has just an intro box or module.

To set up your lens, you can add modules, of which there are hundreds. Don’t get too fancy though! Just an intro module, a couple of text modules and a guestbook are fine for your first lens. You can tweak later.

Fill in the intro module first. This should just be an introduction to your business or the topic you’re writing about. Keep it short, about 100-150 words and keep in mind that the first couple of sentences are what will appear in search engines.

Write two short articles, about 200 words long, using your keyword. This is actually something that can be easily outsourced. Add these to your text modules and include a photo. You can use HTML within the text to create links to your site. If you aren’t sure how to do this, the code is easily found online. You can also link your photos to a site, which is an excellent method of boosting traffic.

Now, you can publish your lens and you have gone public.

Now What?

Once your lens is out there, it can take up to a week or so to get ranked on Google. You can speed things up by creating some publicity around the lens. Now that you’re a lensmaster, for example, you can go visit other lenses and leave notes.

When you leave a comment, your username is automatically linked to your lensmaster profile. Anyone can click through and find your lenses, so make sure your comments are eye catching and interesting enough to entice someone to click.

You should also start building more lenses! Link them to each other using the Featured Lenses module and build yourself a nice network of mini sites which will all help bring in traffic to your main business site.

Just a warning though . . . Squidoo is addictive. Once you start building lenses, you’ll probably find that you can’t stop!

Genesis Davies is a freelance writer and work at home mom of two. She blogs about Squidoo and everything else related to having a home business at At Home Mom Blog.

Stay Inspired

I recently came across this quote from Oprah and it has become one of my favorites – “Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.”

In early 2008, a year after launching Ficklets, I experienced a life changing, tragic event. My older sister and mentor, battling cancer at the time, came to live with me while she underwent a second round of chemotherapy.

Unmarried with no children, she relied heavily on siblings to help care for her. I soon discovered after a couple weeks that caring for her required around the clock care. To do this I decided to take hiatus from building the business to devote all my time and energy on her. The next several months became the most challenging and difficult times in my life, and put me on a path of spiritual journey and self-discovery.

Unfortunately, my sister lost her battle with cancer several months later. I was devastated, felt the deepest sadness and was immensely discouraged and unmotivated about business. Having lost the momentum, I questioned if I could continue building Ficklets.

With much surprise, just when I thought I was letting go of the dream, we received a couple of online orders and an uplifting email from a potential customer expressing excitement at her discovery of Ficklets. This was enough to reignite the dream, enthusiasm and belief to forge ahead with Ficklets.

Since then I have become an avid “inspirational seeker” and have made it a ritual to read positive, life affirming writings, surround myself with uplifting people and learn from heart-centered entrepreneurs.

These are just a couple of my favorite sites and people I follow that I turn to for those nuggets of inspiration:

http://www.daymondjohns.com/ – blog
• Kim Lavine on twitter – @MommyMillionair
• Shara Lawerence-Weiss on twitter – @MommyPerks

I dedicate this post to my sister Annie, my first female role model and mentor. She was intelligent, generous, kind and a girly-girl at heart (she loved high heels and large dangle earrings). She instilled in me I was beautiful and can do anything.

I miss her desperately, but grateful, honored and humbled she asked me to care for her on her last days here on earth. The journey taught me so much, but the life lesson that lives strong in my heart and mind – support, serve and love.

Ros Guerrero is the founder and inventor of Ficklets, eyewear charm huggers.

Knowledge from the Gutters

If someone told you your kids could get their knowledge from the gutters, would you believe it? If you’ve ever wondered how to spark more excitement for reading in your children, then rain gutters may be just what you’re looking for.

As a Homeschool mom of six, one of my greatest desires is that my children develop a love for reading. I could spend all my free time getting lost in books. Our home is overflowing with books, and bookshelves are sprinkled throughout its rooms. But honestly, my boys would rather be hunting for critters, fishing, dirtbike riding, skateboarding, building and constructing, or doing just about anything other than sitting still. Our daughter loves books, but is still too young to read on her own.

One of the best additions we made to our home this year is using rain gutters as book displays. They allow us to display the books so that the covers are facing us instead of being stuffed tightly together on the shelves. The books look like they’re just begging to be read and the kids are drawn to them like magnets!

We are blessed to have a spacious basement and were able to run the gutters the full length of the wall in our Homeschool room. You don’t need a lot of wall space to do this though, and the materials are very inexpensive. They can be purchased at any Lowe’s, Home Depot or other home improvement store and only require a few brackets and screws to hang them. Even a one foot section near a cozy chair in your child’s room could do wonders.

I’ve found this to be a great way to increase literacy. The possibilities are endless. Let me know if you decide to use these. I’d love to see your finished project.

Lisa Wible is a Homeschool mom of 10 years, residing on an old country road in DE with her husband, Michael, and their 6 wonderful blessings, Noah 15, Jacob 13, Josiah 11, Joshua 10, Seth 8, & Emily 2 ¾. She is also a Dental Hygienist with a B.S. in microbiology and immunology, but retired from her lucrative career just before her 1st baby was born and branched into the fields of midwifery & homeopathy. She continued pursuing her passion for holistic wellness by conducting Wellness Seminars for many years. She was also blessed with five of her own wonderful homebirths, three of them being completely planned unassisted waterbirths. As an entrepreneur, she has successfully worked from home in the relationship marketing industry for the past 12 years. When people ask her what she does she tells them she gets to stay home and raise her future leaders, and give out joy and blessings everyday! Through her business, Bless Others With Cards, she helps busy business executives and professionals leverage communication strategies that enable them to build deeper, more effective relationships to stay top of mind with their clients and customers and increase referrals. She loves helping other moms work from home and efficiently stay in touch with family, friends, and colleagues too. Visit Lisa at Lisa Wible.com or her family blog, Raising Future Leaders.

Keeping your child occupied in the kitchen!

While you are trying to pull together a meal for your family at the end of a long day, do you have young child or children clinging to your leg? Is that child or children chanting, “Eat time! Eat time!” I have such a child at my house. A solution I have found that keeps my two year old JDaniel entertained is to give him his own cooking project. He is given a plastic tub or stew pot with about two inches of water with a dash of liquid dish soap. When he starts stirring, whisking, and cooking in the water bubbles form and that is fun the fun really starts to boil.

JDaniel has a drawer in the kitchen where I keep his cooking tools. He is able to help himself to the tools he would like to cook with each night. I have displayed JDaniel’s tool drawer below. You could use whatever you like. His drawer has some cookie cutters, a spoon, measuring cups and spoons, a nose aspirator (It makes great bubbles.), a whisk, and salad claws.

This activity is also a great way to have your child clean their hands. We pull out this activity out after we paint. It cleans the paint right off.

Deirdre Smith is JDaniel4’s Mom, the forty five year old mom of a two year old son named Joseph Daniel the fourth. After teaching for twenty years, she met and married Joseph Daniel the third and moved from Northern Virginia to a suburb of Greenville, South Carolina. Last summer she decide to take what had been a blog that would have an few chatty posts about learning to be a mom posted on it every now and see what would happen with more time and focus.

Transformers “more than meets the eye”

Are you a transformer? Are you more than meets the eye? Are you projecting an image that speaks volume? What is you MPS (Most Profitable Skill)?

Marketing is all about getting remembered. Whether it is through direct mail, cold calls, website, blogs, email campaigns or word of mouth, the only point of successful marketing is getting remembered so people will want your service or products. Since you are a solopreneur you have to the PR representative, sales person and sole advertiser. Never let a good marketing opportunity pass you by. As James Malinchak would say ABM (Always Be Marketing).

1. Get on the Web
Search for your target market online using online forums and communities such as ning.com, meetup.com or igroops.com, sign up and begin posting content, no salesy language just content. Get to know your audience.

2. Be the expert
Find a niche in your general area and specialize in it. Remember you are not what you put on your business card or brochure. You are the skill set you offer your clients. You are an expert in what you do, so let’s define the skill and promote it like crazy.

These are two steps that you can take to begin the “transformer” process and open the doors to allow the rest of the online world know you are everywhere.

Lucinda Cross is the Lucinda Cross is a speaker and author and founder of Corporate Mom Dropouts, blog, radio show and book.

Welcome to the New Parent Society

This is an exciting time. Don’t believe me? Look around at all the possibilities that have been presenting themselves on a daily basis. Often its easy to confuse change with fear- but you won’t do that, because you are not the same as you once were. Becoming a parent has transformed you into something else. You are not afraid to take risks, not afraid to fail, not afraid of what people will think of you. You are a parent now, and the bottom line on what is ultimately important has become much more simple.

You aren’t the only thing that has changed about the world. Parents everywhere are “born” each day. Like you, they learn that they are capable of a selfless and raw love multiplied by what was ever comprehended in the past. They are realizing the true priority of their lives. For the first time, parent everywhere are resolving to create their own rules, not give the best of themselves to a cold corporation incapable of loyalty.
Out of this trend has emerged the birth of millions of new businesses. But don’t let that number scare you. If you are one of the millions that have started working for yourself in the last three years, you probably already know that you are only able to handle a certain workload, so there is no reason for you to feel competitive. There is plenty to go around. In fact, the explosion of small business brings with it even more good news.

A brand new society…built with new rules, principles and standards…has become the real competition for corporate America. Now that we are our own bosses, parents have a created a new business society that works to enhance our family’s lifestyles, not detract from them.
So what are these new rules?

The basic principle is this: Family first. Business second. As parents, it’s a creed that all of us appreciate and none of us will dispute. To get more specific, this means that we will never again apologize for our children. If you’ve scheduled a conference call at a time other than when the kids are napping or at school, you are going to have to accept that there will be interruptions without apology. Where else would you get away with saying, “I won’t get to that until later. My son has a t-ball game”? Not only is this behavior acceptable, it is well respected.

In the new parent society, bartering is accepted and encouraged. How else are we expected to survive when our income is less than our outcome? We can barter just about everything, and that is because as a nation who is used to being over indulged, we sure do have a lot of stuff. We can swap clothes books, toys, even food. I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine. I’ll wash your car if you unclog my sink. A couple of loads of laundry for a mowed lawn. A night of babysitting for a piano lesson. The possibilities are endless.

Everybody does their part, and don’t look now, but we are surviving the big bad recession together. It’s all part of how this new society is rebuilding itself, and the social order of our culture. The world, just like us when we eat too much fast food, needed a good cleanse. Simplifying isn’t always an easy process, but once you de-clutter, decontaminate and de-burden, you’ll appreciate the luxury of less is more.

You can’t have a rainbow without first having a storm. Welcome to the new parent society. Aren’t the colors beautiful in here?

Ally Loprete is a stay-at-home mother of two boys, a former television, theatre and film actress, singer, performer, storyteller, and teacher. A true parent enthusiast, Ally founded OurMilkMoney.com, an online business directory that lists only self-employed parents and encourages us to utilize our power as consumer to make purchases from one another. Ally is the host of This Little Parent Stayed Home, a live weekly radio show, dedicated to supporting parents who wish to leave their corporate day jobs and find an alternative way to earn a supplemental family income, affording more opportunities for parents to stay at home with their children. Ally’s passion to help others transition from full time working parent to successful entrepreneur has grown from her own experiences. She has declared that she will BRING HOME 1 MILLION PARENTS, and is determined to help other’s deal with the sometimes overwhelming prospect of starting a new business while still running a household, and is resolute about creating a haven in which we can continue to thrive and support each other in our personal journeys.

My site and blog are obviously mom-centric. Most of my readers are female and most of my readers have children. But, I bet a lot of us can say that we wouldn’t be where we are without our fathers and the fathers of our children. I’m lucky enough to have been surrounded by great fathers in my life; my own dad, my grandpas and now my husband and his dad.

My Dad
My dad has always been my biggest cheerleader. My dad is the one who always said “you can do and be anything you want to be.” As a child that was very encouraging. And, since it was told to me, I’ve never thought any different. I can be anything I want to be. Any goal I’ve ever set, any venture I’ve ever tackled, any idea I’ve ever had has been attainable in the eyes of my dad. At times I’m pretty sure he has more confidence in me than I do.

My dad and I are a lot alike. We’re dreamers by nature. We’re creative, adventurous and inventive. We’re not necessarily detailed but rather fly by the seat of our pants type people. I like that about us. I make myself write lists to keep on track, but otherwise I like to see just see where the day takes me.

I look like my dad and my kids look like me. Everyone asks my little boy where he gets his red hair. Papa.

No matter what, I know that I have my dad’s unconditional love and support. And, I know that my happiness is of true importance to him. I value that and truly appreciate that about him. I hope he knows that it goes both ways.

I love you, Dad! Happy Father’s Day!

My Husband
Every woman needs a great support system, and mine starts with my husband. My life truly could not function without him. I feel as though we are partners in the true since of the word and I would not want it any other way.

He is an awesome husband and an awesome father. I really couldn’t ask for better. He spends quality time with the kids and never complains about helping out around the house. He works hard to provide for his family. He is honest. He cares for me and knows how to make me feel loved. He is truly my closest friend.

And, he puts up with a lot! Sometimes I’m crabby {I know I’m not alone ladies}. Sometimes I nag. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I’m rude. Sometimes I work too much. Sometimes I’m late {ok, I’m late a lot}. Usually, he doesn’t let it bother him. He’s accepting of me, even with my faults, and loves me unconditionally.

Without him I would not have this wonderful life, two beautiful children or even Market Mommy. I am beyond appreciative of him. I will love him today, tomorrow and always!

Happy Father’s Day, I love you Craig!

Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten!

Practice will make for a great first day of school:

Visit Now
Visit your school during spring or summer session and visit the Kindergarten classrooms and teachers with your child to build relationships at school before school starts in fall.

Share Stories
Play on the playground along with your child and share your memories from Kindergarten. Did you play on similar monkey bars or slide? Did you drop your tray during lunch? Share those stories and memories with your child to build relatable moments.

Be Involved – Stop, Drop & Listen
The easiest way to be involved parent is to STOP, DROP & LISTEN to your child everyday. Ask open ended questions to get your child to share daily. These conversations build strong communication skills, vocabulary and will set the foundation for strong child/parent relationships. Sadly, Kindergarten teachers share the heart-broken facts that many kids come to school without the ability to hold a conversation and can only answer in a “yes” or “no” manner. Holding daily conversations with your child will only contribute to future success.

Build a strong network at home and school
The key to a child’s success in school is directly related to parental involvement in school and extracurricular activities. I believe that it is the job of the parent to build a network of support for their kids at home and school. If you want your child to have friends at school, help them build a network. Start networking at the park, zoo, church, library, school events, community activities, PTA and school board meetings as a family to help build a base of friends for the entire family.

Make what they will need to know fun
• Let’s count how many blue cars we see on the way to the grocery store or how many bubbles we can blow, working on counting skills.
• Let’s name colors and shapes in our world while driving or exploring inside our house, working on colors and shapes.
• Let’s scramble all the alphabet letters and numbers 0-10 inside a hat and name them as we pull them out, working on knowing our alphabet and numbers.
• Let’s sort the coins by penny, nickel, dime and quarter, working on knowing our coins and counting objects to 10 or how many we have of each coin.
• Let’s see how far we can count to 100 together while we are waiting for the tub to fill up, working on counting to 100.

Skills that will be required to be mastered in Kindergarten
• Counting objects to 30.
• Count to 100.
• Basic shapes, colors and coins.
• Identify the alphabet out of order.
• Identify the numbers out of order to 30.

2010 Copyright by Stacey Kannenberg, Cedar Valley Publishing, AWARD-WINNING Author & Publisher of Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten! Let’s Get Ready For First Grade! & iA Prepararse Para Kindergarten! http://www.cedarvalleypublishing.com/

Update Your Growing Child’s Room With Style

Kids grow up fast, and their tastes change just as quickly. Designing a kid’s room can be hard. One day they might like horses, the next princesses. The one sure thing with kids is that they’ll change, and they’ll want their room to change with them.

That’s where Casart Coverings comes in. Our coverings are easy to put up, movable and removable. All with no leftover mess on the walls, making it easy for a busy mom to keep up with their kid’s preferences. Choose from decorative finishes, patterns, and borders that are customizable for you, and leave room for last-minute changes.

Everyone likes their room to be a little bit special, and kids are no exception. That’s why we have our t3 line: tots, tweens and teens. These are a collection of borders and wall-art in kid-friendly designs. There are balloons, butterflies, knights and princesses. They give a kid’s room that special touch of customization you can’t easily find or do on your own. It’s like having a hand-painted mural on the wall for a fraction of the cost of being painted on site that you’ll never have to worry about painting over because it is removable. Use our coverings for an exciting accent wall and save both money and time. Just remove or change it out when you grow tired of the décor. No worries at all, with no mess or damage to your walls. You can even match to paint colors and customize sizes as well as upload your own photos.

Everyone reaches that age eventually when princesses and balloons no longer fit on the walls, but with removable coverings you can be prepared. Casart offers various colors of wall finishes, and some specialized architectural elements for an added air of sophistication. Every young teenager likes to feel grown up, and what better way to let them then to customize their walls and furniture, without having to worry about them changing their minds all the time.

Kids know when they’ve outgrown their room décor, and with Casart Coverings you can keep up with their taste without a lot of work, and without breaking the bank With the t3 line you can take a room from toddler through elementary school and beyond, and keep both kids and mommy happy.

~ The casart crew!
Including help from our summer intern, Christine Haley!

Casart™ coverings began in the summer of 2008 as a product line of printed decorative finishes and murals from the artwork of C. Ashley Spencer with support from her partners, Lindsey Wood (sister/Denver), and Lorre Lei Jackson (mother/New Orleans). We are a family-run and female-owned business. We offer hand painted decorative finishes and murals reproduced onto wall coverings that are repositionable, reusable, and removable. Revolutionizing the concept of traditional wallpaper. Hand painted decorative finishes, murals, patterns, and unique photos, all customizable. Pictured at right are Casart founders C. Ashley Spencer, Lorre Lei Jackson and Lindsey A. Wood.

Slipcovers for your walls (casartblog) = http://www.casartcoverings.com/casartblog/
Twitter = http://twitter.com/casartcoverings
Facebook = http://www.facebook.com/casartcoverings
Linkedin = http://www.linkedin.com/companies/casart-coverings-llc

School is out, and the search for child care is on!

The challenge most parents face is finding quality care for your child that fits within your budget. Here are some cost-effective child care options that won’t break the bank.

Hire a Nanny or Babysitter

Nannies are no longer exclusive to the wealthy. If you have two children in full time daycare you can afford a nanny, and sites like Nannies4Hire cut out the high-priced fee of nanny agency. Whether you need a full time nanny or part time babysitter, trusted online sources provide a massive database of local care providers at your fingertips. You can find candidates quickly based on your personal requirements and budget.

It Takes a Village

There are likely multiple families in your neighborhood with young children. Get with these other parents and arrange shared childcare, in which two or more households take turns attending to the children. Parents might need to take time off work during their turn, but it should be minimal as other households are rotating turns as well.

Go Back to College

College students on summer break are ideal candidates for child care. They can be recruited through the on-campus career centers or through a parent network in your community. Many will be looking for jobs as resume builders, so their pay expectations might be lower for that purpose, and their schedules are typically very flexible during the summer months.

It’s all Relative

Enlisting the help of a relative this summer can be a win-win for everyone. Whether it is a teenage cousin or beloved grandma, your children can enjoy some quality bonding time. Your relative may not accept payment, but you should certainly offer. Treat him/her as you would a hired care provider: Negotiate pay, respect their schedule, keep lines of communication open, and be direct in your expectations.

Summer School

It’s true that kids deserve a break from the intense learning schedules of the school year, but there is no reason the learning must stop completely. Half-day summer school can be a great option to keep your child mentally engaged. Summer schools may be available through your child’s regular school, an alternative school, civic organizations, or churches.

Summer Day Camp

Affordable day camps can range in activities from sports and science to fine arts. Local options might include science museums, arts centers, YMCA/YWCA, Boys & Girls Club, city parks & recreation, and nearby colleges where the Early Education students can gain experience working with children.


City recreational departments often offer a volunteer program for kids 13 and over. Volunteer opportunities can include office work, recreational centers, aquatics, senior citizens, and children’s summer programs. These volunteer programs are a unique way for kids to explore career opportunities, give back to the community, and receive school credit.

You might find that a combination of these options is most efficient and cost-effective. Take your time in selecting the option(s) that works best for your family and budget. Enjoy your summer!

Candi Wingate, President