After a year of research, planning, preparation, crafting and good old-fashioned hard work, Rebecca Cousins officially opened Freckles Crafts for business in March.

Freckles Crafts specializes in unique, convenient, educational and fun craft kits for kids ages three and older.  All of their crafts are uniquely designed, hand packaged and created with the parent and child in mind. “With Freckles Craft Kits there is no more feeling overwhelmed with having to come up with craft ideas, go to the store (often with kids in tow) locate the craft materials, and get home just to realize you forgot something to complete the project,” said Cousins. Each craft kit comes with everything you need to complete the craft including simple, detailed instructions.

Cousins said that she struggles with some of the same things that many other work-at-home-moms do.

“Working from home is wonderful because it allows me the freedom to be with my children and be a daily presence in their lives.  On the other hand, when you work from home it can be difficult to separate work time and family time.  I have had to learn to set boundaries for myself so that I am not constantly tending to my business,” she said.

She said in order to maintain balance, she often wakes up early to answer e-mails and check for orders that need processed. Then, at night when the kids are in bed she assembles craft kits while spending time with her husband. “When it comes to housework, I am very fortunate that my husband takes a very active role in keeping up with the daily chores,” she said. 

“The biggest lesson I have learned from running a home based business is that I have to let some things go.  My house may not be the cleanest and I may not always be able to volunteer for every PTA event, but by keeping my focus on my family and our goals everything else just seems to fall into place,” said Cousins.

Like many mom business owners, Cousins feels that you should be passionate about your business. “Running your own business is very rewarding but also a lot of work.  When you have a passion for what you do, the long hours required to run your own business will seem less like work and be more enjoyable,” she said.

She also said that it helps to have a great support system of family, friends and business mentors.  “I am so fortunate to have a great support system of family and friends who are always willing to listen to my ideas and offer advice or resources to help me achieve my goals. Having a cheering section can really get you though those tough days when you begin to wonder what you have gotten yourself into!” Cousins concluded.

In addition to the main website, Freckles Crafts can be found on Twitter and Facebook!

It’s Friday, so I thought I’d do something a little out of the ordinary and fun today. I’m posting a recipe to use when marketing your business. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we just had a recipe to follow word by word during this journey of entrepreneurship? I think so.

I have to admit, I am not all-knowing, and this recipe will probably leave something to be desired. However, it is a lighthearted way to end the week :o) I look forward to your comments, what would you add or change?

Ingredients

1 cup Persistence

1 cup Creativity

½ cup Research

½ cup Knowledge

¼ cup Personality

¼ cup Money

1 tsp. Humor

1 enormous chunk of time

Directions

  1. Start by dividing the Research into your enormous chunk of time; this will yield Knowledge.
  2. Keep Persistence and Creativity close by your side, sprinkling in throughout.
  3. When mixing it all together becomes tough, add in your Personality. It will help soften the task!
  4. Don’t forget to add the Money; it will help raise an otherwise flat outcome.
  5. Add Humor as needed.  {Note: Humor can be substituted with a shot of tequila or a glass of white wine.}
  6. Be sure to monitor the results so that you can alter the recipe as needed!

 Have a great weekend, everyone!

Who am I kidding, this post isn’t going to be ‘wordless’. My baby oldest son {age 4 1/2} got on the school bus this morning for his very first, first day of school.

Wow. Pre-school. Where is the heck did the last five years go? I better watch what I say, next week it will be a driver’s license and FAFSA.

I must say, though, he made me extremely proud this morning. He is a little bashful and can be a bit timid, but this morning he was a totallly different kid. He was SO excited. He literally bounced out of bed {without me waking him} and went full-speed the entire morning. He even RAN to the bus.

So as I sobbed blinked back the tears, he waved like crazy and rode off on that big bus. His little head barely reached the window and I saw him stretch to look out as they drove off.

I’m sure he’s having a fantastic day and I can’t wait to hear ALL about it!   

 

Sometimes, the line between competitor and partner can be blurred. New business owners tend to feel like they are running a marathon, alone. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can form partnerships, collaborations, alliances and make your race more like a relay.

Other women in business don’t always have to be a competitor that you need to keep at a distance; they can also be your partner. I encourage entrepreneurs on a regular basis to form partnerships and work with others. It can be very beneficial in several ways.

Partnerships are one of the founding principles of Market Mommy. They allow you to expand your services, your knowledge base and in turn, what you have to offer your customers and clients.

Sometimes, partnerships can be elaborate and detailed. You may actually want to go into business with someone or combine your product lines. This can be very positive, if you find the right business and the right business owner. It may very well make sense.

Or, partnerships can be informal and less structured. Some business owners work together to include coupons for other mom-owned businesses when they ship an order. A lot of cross promotion is done for fellow entrepreneurs via link exchanges and social media.

Of course, as in any business, there will be those who you are in direct competition with. My advice is to look at the competition as an opportunity for you to learn and grow. Many of us have a competitive spirit, and that’s healthy. Use it to become creative, try new things and expand your horizons.

There are several possibilities when you are looking to form partnerships with other business owners. As you are researching and learning about your market, don’t assume everyone is a competitor. Look a little deeper or you may miss an excellent opportunity for collaboration.

Check out some of the awesome mom-owned sites that we are currently partnering with at Market Mommy:: Christian Moms Business Resource, Funky Finds, Lower Mainland Children’s Directory, Our Milk Money, CWAHM, Chic Galleria, Moms Zone, Living My MoMent, The Work at Home Woman, Mommy Perks, Baby Swags, Apriori Beauty, Always B Designs, Travel with the Magic and Promoting Mompreneurs. I encourage you to visit our partners; they all have something wonderful to offer their fellow mom entrepreneurs!

If you’re interested in partnering with Market Mommy to increase your exposure, visit our partnership page for more information, or send me an e-mail!

Heather Lopez is one BUSY mom entrepreneur! She has no less than five major business projects in the works right now! She created Happy and Healthy Mom in August of 2009, officially launched it in October of the same year and has since continued creating concepts for successful businesses.

Lopez said that she tries to work when her kids are sleeping, napping or busy. “I am amazed at my own capability to manage everything while still taking care of their needs,” she said. Lopez also offers encouragement to other mom business owners to stick with it. “Don’t give up as it can take three years or more to make a business work,” she said.

Happy and Healthy Mom provides an online magazine, a social network, and live mommy expos for pregnant and new moms, focused on the woman behind the baby. We make it easy for them to pamper themselves for a change, as we feature articles on their health, nutrition, fitness, and happiness, as well as product reviews and giveaways.  Happy and Healthy Mom is on Twitter & Facebook.

Become Better Brands offers a support network for small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to build their brands. We feature a fr33 membership level, a fr33 business listing, and a fr33 newsletter. We also have a premium membership, premium brand building services, and a branding boot camp program. Everything is designed to help the members grow their brand quicker, more effectively, and without spending a fortune to do it. Become Better Brands is on Twitter & Facebook.

The Super Mom Entrepreneur Conference & Expo is a conference for mom entrepreneurs taking place in NYC on  October 30. It boasts an incredible line-up of speakers, an expo with mom2mom and b2b vendors, and excellent networking opportunities for an affordable price. Use the code “mmdawn” to get $50 off! The Super Mom Entrepreneur Conference is on Twitter & Facebook.

The Bloggin’ Mamas Conference & Cruise is a conference for mom bloggers (or those wishing to learn more about blogging) taking place April 29, 2011 – My 2, 2011 from Miami to the Bahamas via Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. This is an awesome opportunity to attend a blogging conference, take a Caribbean cruise, and have tons of fun, all rolled into one excellent price. You can even bring your family. We also offer a payment plan that skips the month of December for the holidays. Market Mommy will have a discount code for you to save $50 on registration. Bloggin’ Mamas is on Twitter & Facebook.

WAHM Kiddie Swap is a site that was just launched in a BETA state. It is set-up to be a National Work At Home Mom Babysitting Co-op site that allows you to create a co-op group for your area and find mom matches to trade babysitting, so that you can have a day or two a week to focus on your business and a day or two to spend time with your kids, who will now have some playmates. Plus, you save money because you aren’t paying a sitter or daycare. Membership and group creation are free. The network will be ad-supported, so ads can go on the main page, as well as on individual group pages, which allows for local sponsorships.

Our August Favs e-mail went out this week. {These are sponsored, dedicated e-mails meaning businesses pay for inclusion.} Each month, we highlight up to four of our favorite mom-owned businesses and send it out to our mailing list. For more information on cost, see our Advertising Page for details. We’d love to feature your business in September!

Baby Gift Room

Baby Gift Room offers a variety of unique and personalized gifts for mom and baby!

 

 

 

Bless Others with Cards

SendOutCards allows you to easily create highly personalized REAL cards featuring YOU, your logos, products, or services.

 

 

 

Coastal CPR & First Aid

Coastal CPR & First Aid has a newly expanded online store of First Aid and CPR supplies featuring the easy access pouch system First Aid Kits from Genuine First Aid.

 

 

Print Art Kids

We all treasure our children’s artwork. PrintArtKids makes it easy to share these ‘masterpieces’ with family and friends!

 

 

 

 

As any parent of 2+ children will testify, no two children are identical in nature or character. One of my good friends, while growing up, had eight siblings. Every single child was different, unique and had his/her own idiosyncrasies. The family laughed often, though, and I always found that appealing.

Parenting can be stressful and scary – especially for newbies. It doesn’t need to be, though. Every big decision we make in life comes with challenges and varying degrees of frustration:

  • What job to choose…or quit?
  • What house to buy…or sell?
  • What car to purchase…or lease?
  • Where to go on vacation…or not go?
  • What business to start…or to sell?

Parenting is no different. Will we be serious? Smart? Bossy? Easy going? Middle ground?

How about FUN?

Can parenting also be FUN?

Why not, right? According to studies, the happiest people on the planet tend to be those who live in lower stress environments (on islands or in smaller towns, etc). They have fewer cars, fewer corporate jobs (if any), fewer heart attacks, fewer worries and typically…more children. They also seem to laugh more.

Philosophers have long discussed the meaning of happiness, how to attain that and the value that laughter ads to our lives. Children, in my opinion, are born ready to laugh. They want to have fun, giggle, chuckle, belly laugh and find the smallest (and smelliest) of things hilarious.

Most of them, by nature, don’t care if there are toys lying around or fingerprints on the TV set. They don’t usually mind if the dishes are un-done or if the laundry is piled up. They don’t care if the bank account is low or if the gas has run out in the car. These things matter to parents and might even stress us out but for our kids – being able to enjoy life’s moments is what matters most.

Bank account low? That’s okay. It happens to all of us. Get dressed up in costumes and walk through the neighborhood on a scavenger hunt. You’ll forget all about the bank account and the kids will forever remember the fun you had. The neighbors will enjoy it, too, yes.

No gas in the car? Okay. Find what you can in the cupboard or fridge and create a living room picnic. Pull out some board games or card games and enjoy each other’s company right there at home.

No diapers left? This stinks. Diaper banks and pregnancy centers will oftentimes give them to you for free. Laugh it off. Does it suck to have to humble yourself and ask for a handout? Sure. But laugh about it. Most folks, unless born to wealth, experience hardships at one time or another. “Someday we’ll laugh hard about how we had to wrap her butt in paper towels and duct tape for one night!” That’s darn funny – even if it does suck to run out of diapers.

Every situation can have a funny side, if we look for it. Our kids are young for such a short time and I promise you – they will not remember the difficult moments if you, yourself, learn to laugh things off.

They’ll always remember the laughter and FUN, though. That will become a staple in the feeding of their memory. To the betterment of their  health…and yours.

 

Shara Lawrence-Weiss has a background in early childhood, education, nanny work, marketing, freelance and special needs. She’s worked with children for 23+ years. She has three children of her own and is married to her best friend and biggest fan – Rick. They ditched the city for a small town in the Pines where “everybody knows your name.” Shara has a heart for parents, children, mompreneurs and young mothers (she was a young mother herself). She now owns/runs the following websites and businesses: Mommy Perks, Kids Perks, Personal Child Stories and Early Childhood News & Resources. Her husband is the owner of Design Media Pros. Together they work from home, sitting about 10 feet apart. Thank God they get along quite well – otherwise this situation would not be good. They are actively involved in local charity work assisting mothers, children and seniors.

This giveaway has officially closed. Congratulations to Amanda! Random.org chose comment #4 as the winner!

The moms at PakNak recently sent me a couple of their cute products to check out. I was immediately impressed, so I graciously agreed to post a review and giveaway here at Market Mommy.

According to their website: “Our Naks are 3D, rubbery, interchangeable and are super easy to attach to surfaces (with no work or hassle for mom and dad).  We knew self-adhesive, flexible, weatherproof designs were crucial to making Naks work.”

I received Mona and Ted the Head in the mail. And, they look great on my kids’ backpack. Don’t they? I was very impressed from the start. The products had great packaging and came with easy to read instructions.

They were simple to open, peel and place on the bag. No problems with sticking, they stayed right in place. One cool feature is that they are interchangeable. An adhesive side sticks to your item and then the Velcro side attaches to your PakNak. One day your daughter could coordinate her outfit with Pinky, the next with Powder.

You can use PakNaks to personalize almost anything, backpacks, lunch boxes, room décor, laptop bags and on and on. They are much more than a sticker and much more practical than embroidery.

Overall, I was very pleased with the PakNaks I received in the mail. And, my kids thought they were ‘super cool’ too!

Buy it!

It’s back to school time and these PakNaks would be a great, affordable addition to your child’s back to school supplies! Spruce up last year’s backpack! You can save 20% on your order when you enter PAK20 at checkout!

Win it!

I am thrilled that the moms at PakNak have agreed to give one lucky Market Mommy reader 3 Naks in your choice of designs. {Be sure to check out their holiday options!}

The Rules

Simply visit PakNak and comment here with your favorite design! Comments will close on August 24 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Earn extra entries by doing any of the following {please leave a new comment for each!}:

• Follow @MarketMommy on Twitter
• Sign up for our RSS feed
• Sign up for our free monthly marketing e-newsletter
• Blog about this giveaway {include a link in your comment, please}
• Tweet about this giveaway!

You can tweet about this giveaway once a day until the 24th to earn extra entries, simply leave a comment each day that you do! All comments will close on August 24, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

  

In celebration of our 500th ‘like’ on Facebook, we are running some advertising specials for the next three days only!

Our web button advertising puts your 125×125 button on ALL pages of Market Mommy for only $50/month. This is great exposure for your business! I have 3 spots available. The first to respond gets a spot for $25! The second person, $35 and the third, $45. Contact me ASAP for an invoice, these spots will go fast!

We are also prepping for our August Newsletter. We have two {100×100 pixel} button spots available here. We are discounting these spots from $25 down to $15!!

And, last but not least, it’s almost time for our August Favs e-mail. This dedicated e-mail goes out to our entire mailing list and features up to four of our favorite mom owned businesses. One image and up to 100 words of text is included. Typically, the cost is $20, but you can save $10 for August only!!

Hurry! All these spots are limited and will go fast! Contact me asap for an invoice!

Talecia Wright is the mommy behind Cutely Tots, a unique, one of a kind, children’s inspired online gift boutique that features Slippie Slippers for babies and toddlers. She launched her business in 2008.

For Wright, she said she finds balance in several different ways. “I had to set myself on a schedule, I involve my family in the business and I take time to have family time,” she said.

When asked what advice she has for mom entrepreneurs, Wright said, “Remember to never give up. I want all mom entrepreneurs to hold on to their dreams and make them happen regardless of the obstacles you may cross.”

In addition to their website, Cutely Tots can also be found on Facebook and on Twitter. You can also e-mail them here.