Mom Carey Grund launched Smilegram Paper last November. The online shop offers fun and unique stationery products for children.

According to Grund, she balances family and business by creating happiness in her home. “Happy kids equal a happy Mom,” she said. She also said that she tries to manage her time effectively by choosing to tackle one task at a time. “When I combine work time and kid time I am not good at either.  I have learned to have fun time, play time, elementary school homework time, pre-school craft time and when all that is done it’s get down to business time.  Sometimes that means really late nights but it’s all worth it!” she said.

Grund said that believing in yourself is key for mom entrepreneurs to be successful. “All the days you think you CAN’T look in the mirror, smile, and say yes I CAN!  The power of a smile is what I live by every day,” she said.

There are some fun and exciting things currently happening at Smilegram Paper. You can currently save 20 percent on any order with code 20smiles! Also, this week she is having a fun contest where you can win some free product. Simply visit Smilegram Paper’s webpage and pick your favorite design. Then, go to their Facebook page, like it, and comment on the giveaway post to vote for your favorite. Next week, she’ll pick one lucky commenter to win their favorite design.

In addition to the main website and Facebook, Smilegram Paper also has a blog!

This week, our February Favs were delivered to inboxes. In case you missed it, these ladies were included:

Heather Lopez Enterprises 
 
While Heather Lopez Enterprises is a strong believer in empowering you to do things for yourself, they understand that sometimes you don’t have the time to manage your own social media, nor the money to pay a staff member or assistant. That’s why they offer affordable options for building up your social media presence.
 
Their Social Media Management Specialists (SMMS) undergo intensive training to ensure that they will represent your brand effectively through personal interaction.
 
For $300/mo, you can have your own personal SMMS help you grow your Twitter, Facebook, and more! Click if you NEED social media management services.
 
http://heatherlopezenterprises.com

Playtime Vacations
 
Have you been thinking about taking
·    a  Disney Vacation?
·    a cruise to one of the Islands or Alaska?
·    a guided European tour?
·    or a long romantic weekend?
 
Count on Playtime Vacations to give you the expertise, professionalism and the best deal. 
Our services are always free and we keep our eyes open for any discounts, even after you have booked your vacation. 
 
Get your free quote today by visiting our website, or by calling: 603.275.2350. You can also e-mail Kristin directly, here.
 
It’s time to Get Out and Play!
 
www.playtimevacations.net

**This is a paid advertisement. Each business featured in this e-mail paid a sponsorship fee to be included.**

LaTersa Blakely opened Baby Diaper Cakes and Beyond by LaTersa last year. Her online shop offers baby shower diaper cakes, baby shower favors, bridal shower towel cakes and gift baskets. In addition, she also offers consultations for planning a baby shower and diaper delivery services.

As a new business owner, Blakely relies heavily on her to-do list. “I refer to it every day. Without it my world would be in turmoil,” she said. She also noted that as hard as she tries to stick to her list, she also has to leave room for surprises and emergencies.

When giving advice to other mom entrepreneurs, she encourages them to keep God first. “Also, organize a business plan so that you will have some sort of direction as to where you are headed,” she said. And, of course, she said to “make time for family because family is important.”

Blakely is offering 10 percent discount to new customers! Simply enter the coupon code NEW at checkout!

In addition to the main website, Baby Diaper Cakes and Beyond by LaTersa can be found on Facebook, Twitter and their blog!

Hate cold calling? I don’t blame you, most of us do, yet it’s something that the majority of us have done at one point or another. You have a new business and you’re in desperate need of some clients and customers; what are some things you can try besides cold calling?

Direct Mail:: Rather than spending your time knocking on doors, send potential customers a pressure-free advertisement. Of course, do your research first and target your mailing audience! Send them a coupon, an invitation, something that will get them to take action. Make sure your piece is attractive, easy to read and of value to them. Then, if you don’t get any response, you have a conversation starter if you decide to call on them. “I’m just following up on the flyer you should have received in the mail last week about our buy one get one special …..”

Where can you find your type of customer? Trying to start a business relationship is not much different than trying to establish a personal one. You want to meet people who fit into your target market. If you’re selling baby products you don’t want to be spending your time at the local senior citizens facility. However, you may want to visit the local daycares with free samples and promotional materials.

Media Relations:: Being part of a feature news story is free. You can’t beat that price. In order to get media attention you need to fine tune your public relations skills. Establish a strong contact list and form relationships with them. Write strong pitches and press releases. Give them something to write about! Things like hosting an event or donating to a local charity are great reasons for the media to write about you and your company!

Display:: By participating in already established events, you can take advantage of the already captive audience. Purchasing space at trade shows and expos can be great exposure for your products. Do your research first and select events that pertain to your niche. Be chatty and talk with as many potential customers as you can. Be sure to offer brochures or giveaways that they can walk away with. Also, don’t forget to talk with other vendors, you don’t want to miss an opportunity for excellent networking!

Network:: Network, network, network. Always network. It doesn’t matter if you’re at the local farmer’s market or the monthly meeting of your town’s Chamber of Commerce, be ready to talk about your business. You never know when the opportunity may strike. You can make plenty of opportunities for yourself by joining groups and community committees.

Don’t these things sound a whole lot better than cold calling?

Rebecca Rabson is the mom behind SmartSeat Chair Protectors by pb&j Discoveries. The company began selling the waterproof, stain resistant and machine washable cover for upholstered dining room and kitchen chairs in August 2010.

The covers protect like a vinyl seat cover, but are made from a soft and comfortable fabric. According to Rabson, the SmartSeat has a tailored and attractive fit that makes it the perfect way to discreetly protect your chairs from stains and spills. 

Like most moms who work from home, Rabson said she feels it is a luxury to set her own schedule. “I do my best to work when the boys are at school and to be a mom when they are home.  That plan doesn’t always work out though,” she admits.

“I’ve learned to cut myself some slack and I try not dwell on the days when things are hectic and I wish that there were two of me.  Instead, I focus on being grateful for the amazing blessings that I’ve been given — two healthy, happy and energetic boys and a business that I love!”

When talking to other aspiring mom entrepreneurs, Rabson encourages them to just get going. “There are always reasons why you shouldn’t pursue your own business,” she said. “Focus on the reasons why you should!  And take steps, even if they are small one, to make it happen.”

Rabson has kindly offered Market Mommy readers free shipping on any SmartSeat Chair Protector orders until the end of March! Simply enter the discount code “marketmommy” at checkout.

In addition to the company’s main website, SmartSeat Chair Protectors can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

Your contact list is a critical tool in your marketing arsenal. Are you using it and growing it to the best of your ability? Maybe not.

There are some obvious ways to grow your contact list. Add every customer you serve, put a sign up on your home page, have a giveaway, etc.

But there are some more creative things you can do, too. You want to cultivate and engage your list, so be sure to always include valuable content when you do make a connection with them. If you provide valuable articles or tips repeatedly, chances are your open rates will be higher. It also increases the chances that people will forward your valuable information to others who may in turn sign up for your newsletter. Be sure to include links so your e-mails can easily be shared and others can quickly sign up.

Who doesn’t like a deal? Even if a special promotion isn’t the reason for your e-mail, it’s always a good idea to include a coupon on a regular basis. Something as simple as free shipping makes your readers feel as though they’re always getting something. And, even if they don’t use it all the time it will most likely keep them from removing themselves from your list.

Social media is another great way to expand your contact list. You’ve probably established numerous fans on Facebook or followers on Twitter who aren’t necessarily on your newsletter list. Use social media to put out teasers about the great things subscribers get. Or, use it to directly ask for new subscribers. This is more effective right before a mailing when they know they’ll be getting something very soon.

Lastly, make sure you find a good balance of how often to contact your list. Depending on what you’re offering, once a week might be good or it may be overkill. Surely don’t send something just to send it. Make sure it’s valuable to your readers.

Keep in mind, although it’s good to grow your contact list, quantity is not always more important than quality. You want to make sure you are interacting and corresponding with people who are genuinely interested in your business and who represent potential customers. As always, be sure to avoid anything that resembles spam!

If you’re not on our mailing list, you can sign up here or to the right. 😉 Our monthly newsletter includes features on mom-owned businesses, special promotions, marketing tips and much more!

 

If you are interested in learning about eight legitimate ways that you can make money working from home, you may want to attend the Work-at-Home Career Summit on Feb. 19.

The virtual event is being held at noon eastern time and will walk through eight proven work-at-home opportunities. The speaker line-up includes eight professionals who are already working and earning money in these fields today.

The free event is being hosted by American Writers and Artists, Inc., a company that has been in the work-at-home industry for more than 14 years. The Work-at-Home Career Summit will show you the opportunities available and let you know how to get started.

To sign up for free, simply click here.

Bola Ajumobi is the mom behind SlimyBookworm.com which officially launched in October of last year. Her online shop offers a time-tested way to engage and stimulate the imagination of kids; books.

“I carry vetted books for kids ages 0-12 in variety of formats, board books, cloth books and bath books are available for the little ones. I carry parenting books as well as toys based on popular children’s books characters,” Ajumobi said.

Relatively new to the entrepreneurship world, she said that balancing her business and family is still a work in progress. In addition to doing a lot of work while everyone else in her house is asleep, she also said she never wastes a wait time. “If I’m in line at the post office or at the doctor’s office, I am going through my emails, Twitter and Facebook accounts.”

Ajumobi has quickly learned that starting and growing a business takes a log of energy. Her advice to other mom entrepreneurs just starting out; perseverance. “Overnight success is usually a myth,” she said. “Do something daily however small towards growing your business.”

There are a lot of exciting plans for SlimyBookworm.com, Ajumobi said. “Coming soon is a birthday club where people can register with the dates of their kids or grandkids birth date and get a special irresistible discount for use in the birthday month.”

She is currently offering special discounts to Market Mommy readers! Promo code TOBI3 gets you $5 off any order, promo code SLIMY2 gets you 15% off any order and enjoy free shipping on orders over $45.

In addition to the main SlimyBookworm.com website, they can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and their blog.

 

I was recently contacted by the folks at Nfini.com about a new product they are carrying. Sigvaris compression socks are perfect for those achy and tired pregnancy legs. Since I wasn’t far enough along in my pregnancy to give them a try, I gave the free sample to a friend.

“They are great,” she said. She also noted that she wished she would have had a pair during her first pregnancy when she was even more swollen.

According to the product information, the cotton maternity socks are for expecting mothers who are experiencing symptoms of swollen ankles, tired achy legs or varicose veins. They are made from 66 percent cotton, 26 percent nylon and 8 percent spandex.

According to the Sigvaris website, “the graduated compression of SIGVARIS socks and stockings act as a layer of muscle by gently squeezing the stretched vein walls together, allowing the valves to close. The cavity of the vein is reduced, thereby restoring blood flow to a normal state and aiding overall circulation.” It goes on to state that clinical studies prove that graduated compression stockings are beneficial and should be a mainstay in relieving symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency during pregnancy and the post partum period. “Wearing compression socks and stockings keeps your legs healthy during pregnancy and helps to prevent varicose and spider veins.”

To learn more about how to care for your legs during pregnancy and after, visit Baby Your Legs! To purchase the maternity cotton socks, visit N-fini.com.