It is 2010 and I’m pretty sure every American woman is familiar with society’s plan for us to ‘have it all.’ Like me, many of you have probably been struggling to achieve this balance of perfection in your life for quite some time. I was recently asked to review the book “The Working Woman’s GPS: When the Plan to Have it All Has Led You Astray” by JJ DiGeronimo. The book resonated with me immediately.

DiGeronimo uses her book to walk the reader through a process that examines her life and allows her to refocus it based on its contents and her true desires.  She acknowledges that culture, society, the women’s movement and our families have all led us to believe that we can have it all; husband, family, children, career, financial freedom, friends, hobbies, philanthropy and time for community service. Can we have it all? Can we have it all and truly be at peace with ourselves?

She has us start by taking inventories of our lives. By making lists of the people, energies, assets, resources, dreams and desires in our life and how each make us feel, DiGeronimo helps the reader prioritize and recognize feelings we otherwise may have overlooked.

Through this process it becomes obvious that some things {or people} may need readjusted when it comes to priority on our to-do list. The recurring theme of the book is how to untangle all of our life’s many threads. Raising a family, having a career, pursuing our dreams can all be very overwhelming and the day-to-day can be very harried. But, believe it or not, there is a way to achieve our goals in a peaceful way. DiGeronimo teaches us how to utilize the people in our lives, our assets and resources to achieve what it is that we truly desire.

This can’t happen overnight, and DiGeronimo encourages taking several days, if not more, with each inventory. It takes time to examine our life, surroundings and commitments in depth. I have started the inventory process and would encourage other women to do the same! The Working Woman’s GPS can be purchased here.

* Disclaimer: I received a free book in order to write this review but it in no way affected my opinion.

 

The head-mom at Mommy Couture Designs is Carla Dickinson. She launched the upscale baby and children’s boutique in June of 2008. The boutique offers luxury products for both mother and child.

According to Dickinson, the products are all unique and are created by artisan moms and well-known designers to reflect the latest trends. “Every item is handpicked to offer you quality, comfort and style,” she said. She added that it’s easy to find just the right item to compliment you and your child at Mommy Couture Designs. “Our mission is to provide everyone with the most rewarding online shopping experience ever.”

When asked how she balances business with family, Dickinson was quick to say that family always comes first. “I have been a stay-at-home-mom for 14 years and being available for my kids was always important to me,” she said. “Being your own boss definitely has its perks. I can work around my family schedule while still being there for them and that is what I love the most!”

To be a successful mom entrepreneur, Dickinson said you need to work smarter rather than harder. “I’m not saying that you don’t’ have to work hard to be successful, but don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

Market Mommy readers can save 10% by using coupon code SAVE10. And, Mommy Couture Designs offers free shipping on all orders over $100.

Find them online, on Facebook and on Twitter!

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Google the phrase ‘directory of mom owned businesses.’ Go ahead; try it!  I’m proud to say that one of the first organic links that appears {below the advertisements} is a link for Market Mommy. I have worked extremely hard since our site’s launch in June of 2009 {and before} to improve the SEO. This is significant and important to you for two reasons.

Exposure. If someone Google’s to find a directory of mom-owned businesses, chances are they are going to click on the top links that appear. That is great news for you if you are listed in our directory. The chances that your link will be found via a Google search are higher than it would be if you’re listed in many other directories. Personally, I think mom business owners that don’t list themselves in our directory are crazy. After all, it is completely free! And, the upgraded image ads that appear on the main page directory are as low as $10 a month. {ask us how!}

SEO for YOU. Part of the way that you build strong SEO is by having other strong page ranked sites link back to you. Being listed in our directory is one great way to do that. We have a Google Page Rank of 3, which is pretty decent for a site of our kind. Having your link on our website is a benefit to you and will help Google index you higher. Again, it’s free to be in our directory and our low-cost advertising options would just be an added boost to your SEO.

SEO is important for a variety of reasons. It obviously will increase visibility of your company if you’re easily found by the search engines. It also builds credibility when you’re indexed high. In addition to listing your business in our free directory, and others like it, there are many easy and cheap things you can do to increase your SEO.

Our marketing consultation is a great way to learn more about SEO and we have one of the lowest hourly fees around. Just $25 will get you an hour of great one-on-one coaching! I think that’s a definite bargain considering I just Googled the phrase ‘marketing consultation for mom owned businesses’ and links to Market Mommy appeared three times on the first page alone. I’m pretty confident that our SEO efforts are paying off, let us help you too!

 

By Heather Lopez

When moms get together, there is a natural occurrence of bragging about their kids. If you sat quietly observing, you might notice that they slip into one-upping each other. You know you’ve heard it before, “Oh, your Johnny was walking at nine months. My Bobby was walking at seven months.” It’s part showing off, part insecurity, part discovery of what is “normal,” and almost inherently delves back into natural selection and survival of the fittest.

Well, I have noticed that this display of braggadocio takes place amongst mom business owners as well. It is as if their business represents their baby and they must one-up each other even when they are in completely different fields. Heck, I have been totally guilty of this at times. Sometimes we are so proud of our own accomplishments, that we fail to recognize or acknowledge others for theirs. When you shut out the voices of others, you might miss out on how those people might be able to help improve an aspect of your business where you lack experience or expertise.

This leads me into talking about a different type of “upping.” But in this kind, you are not one-upping others. In fact, you are deliberately placing yourself around people YOU can not one-up. Let me tell you a quick story: I was in the pet store the other day waiting to buy crickets for my lizard and there were two girls there trying to buy a baby turtle. The store clerk explained to them that if they bought the smaller tank, the turtle would take longer to grow. But if they bought the larger tank, the turtle would grow much more rapidly. The point: If you give yourself more room to grow, you will grow much more rapidly than those who are closed in and sticking with only others they can one-up.

The way you grow is by surrounding yourself with others who make you stretch out and make you want to reach farther. It’s what I like to call “Upping The Bar.” It’s the point you reach when you see others in the large tank and realize that you have been dwelling in a small tank, and you need to get into the big tank. And to go one step further, you get to the point where you realize that everyone in the big tank has their own special talents and abilities, and that they might play a role in helping you in different areas you lack. It’s not one-upping, but raising the bar so you can learn to fill in the space. As my coach and the Bible say, “Iron Sharpens Iron.”

If you are ready to climb into the big tank, then I recommend joining a mastermind, business support group, meet-up group, or membership site that includes people who are already experiencing the kind of success you seek. The people who benefit most from these groups are the ones with the least experience or expertise, so you should make sure you don’t feel the urge to one-up everyone in the group. If you still do, you might need a bigger tank…..

Heather Lopez is a 30 something, Christian, married mom to two toddlers. Heather empowers moms to create their own financial freedom through business or blogging, so that they may enjoy their time with their children, family, friends, husbands/ partners, and themselves. Heather specializes in social media, marketing, branding, pr, and promotional events. You can find her at Heather Lopez Enterprises.

Ten years ago, Mary Murphy started Hooray for Books, Inc. The company offers enrichment classes, camps and birthday parties for kids ages 1 -10. The events teach kids how to read, with a side of cooking. The unique combination has proven to be successful, and now has franchised.

Murphy, who has five kids of her own, admits that in some ways she has given up on finding balance between work and family. “I work nocturnally from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.,” she said. “Honestly, it’s guilt free time and uninterrupted too!”

A long-time businesswoman, Murphy encourages other mom entrepreneurs to ask for help. “Don’t reinvent a wheel that’s already been built,” she said. “Women in general are so great about helping others, just ask!”

Murphy is currently looking for women to open franchises and get in on the ground floor of her mom-friendly business.  If you mention this post, you can save $1,000 off of the franchise fees.

In addition to the Hooray for Books, Inc. website, visit Facebook and follow them on Twitter for more information!



By Mindee Doney

We can all agree that one of the best gifts we receive as busy Moms in business is an empathetic shoulder to cry on every once in a while. A cyber hug of comfort from a “been-there-done-that” mom.  It usually includes a good laugh at everything we go through trying to keep our smiles on while we maneuver family chaos, work screw-ups and life’s curveballs.

I sat down recently and noodled over some of the many moments I have laughed about with my working mom friends.  Below is the list I came up with.  These are real moments I have experienced or another mom entrepreneur has shared with me. They are things that let us know we are never alone on this road less traveled. I triple dog dare you not to find something that rings a bell for you and pretty please pass it on to the next mom who needs it!

Enjoy and be well!

“You know you are a mom entrepreneur when…

… your kitchen counter doubles as your R&D department.”

… your laptop is never on your lap because a toddler always is”

… you convinced your mom that Sponge Bob is teaching your kids about marine life.”

… you set up a reward chart with stars and smiley faces to motivate your sales team.”

… you have continuous nightmares about getting a call to be on Regis and Kelly the same day as your daughter’s dance recital.”

… you hope leftover pizza and brownie crumbs will convince the Fed Ex driver to wait around while you finish packing your last minute orders.”

… you finally know the difference between pinot noir and pinot gris.”

… you recently Googled “legal age to leave my child alone.”

… you last broke a sweat setting up for a tradeshow.”

… you used honey, a whisk and a box of Kix to entertain your kids during a conference call last week.”

… you didn’t hesitate to do your last TV interview with a Dora the Explorer band aid on your finger.”

… you have considered sending your kids door to door in their soccer uniforms to raise money to fund your next PO.”

… you bribed your teenager with $20 and a ride to the mall just to keep her off your computer.”

… you broke two or more child labor laws this week.”

… you lose your purse, wallet, husband, wedding ring, kids and/or cell phone for 24 hours at least once a month.”

… you offered your sons teacher free shipping on any order over $100 if she would change your parent-teacher conference time.”

… you’re more likely to remember your business cards than your toothbrush on a trip.”

And my favorite…..

You know you are a mom entrepreneur when your business and your family can easily survive for two weeks on the contents of your minivan.” 

Here is a recent shot of mine…..

 

This is part of our series from our Expert Blogger Panel. Mama Mindee can be found at Get Your Own Juice Box.

Rock Star Moms was founded in 2005. Andrea Zarchin and Marlene Perez bought the business in 2005 and have since grown it.

According to Zarchin, Rock Star Moms offers rock & roll inspired maternity wear and other unique designs for the hip mom-to-be. “In addition to our rock & roll collection, we offer a line of super soft maternity tees, with the “Floating Baby” as our biggest seller,” said Zarchin. “A whimsical take on baby in-utero, our Floating Baby© line is edgy but fun.”

To balance business with family, the pair has a simple solution. “We have a schedule and stick to it!” said Zarchin.

They also encourage other mom entrepreneurs to do your homework and have a plan. “It doesn’t necessarily need to be a formal business plan, but know where you want to go and have steps in place so that you can get there.”

Rock Star Moms has generously offered a 20% off coupon code to Market Mommy readers. Simply enter mm20 at checkout.

In addition to their main website, Rock Star Moms can be found on Facebook and YouTube.

 

Amber Davis is a mom of four plus an experienced representative for both Longaberger and Thirty One gifts. See why she does what she does and how she makes it all work here!

How long have you been in direct sales?

Amber:: I love direct sales! I have been in direct sales for 16 years! The opportunity to be in control of my own income, hours and family time is priceless! The harder you work the more you make!
 
What do you sell?

Amber:: I sell Thirty One gifts and Longaberger. I started with Longaberger in 1995 and continue with the company. However, I also started with a new company, Thirty One gifts in September 2010 and my business has been growing like crazy! As of October 1, I have promoted to director with the company.

What made you decide to take on a second company?
 
Amber:: First, let me say my passion for the Longaberger family and company continues. I have a great history with Longaberger but when the economy took a nose dive so did my business. Living in a cornfield it’s very hard to meet new people and when your selling a high quality, high priced item in an area where there is a huge unemployment rate it becomes difficult to say the least. Most of my team quit and most of my customers either have enough baskets or cannot afford to add more. I was ready to quit direct sales and return to work in the business field when I found out I was expecting baby #4 (6 years after baby #3 and at the age of 37)! Then, I was at a friend’s Thirty One party and found that I loved the company story. The fact that the company is Christian based and that the products are very functional while being at a price point most middle class moms (working at home or outside the home) can afford was appealing to me. I decided to give it a try! Adding a second direct sales business to my plate was a perfect fit! I can continue to work from home and be the mom I want to be! It’s no different than being a nurse who works at two hospitals!

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

Amber:: The connections and friendships you make in any direct sales business is amazing! There is a ‘sisterhood’ of women from all across America that you get to know! The support is amazing!

Why do you think direct selling is a valid career option for moms?

Amber:: You schedule your working hours around your family and their schedule! You can earn as much as you want! The sky is the limit! It works for college students, stay at home moms, career moms or even empty nest moms!

Why do you feel you’ve been successful? 

Amber:: I want people to enjoy not regret their purchase with me. I don’t want guests to feel obligated or pressured into making a purchase. Frankly, I tell people that at my shows. I ask..”what do you want to use this for?” If they don’t know I suggest they not purchase. There is nothing I hate more than a customer coming to a show five months later and saying “Oh…..I have that but I have never used it, it’s still in the package!” We all work hard for our money and if you cannot find a function for a product then you should save your money! I was trained by the best mentors in direct sales – Fran Thompson, Karen Nuttle and Deb Miller. They taught me to be ethical and not pushy! I don’t want people to cross the street when they see me coming for fear I will ask them to host a party or order a product!

What is your best piece of advice for moms who want to do what you do?

Amber:: You have to set your goals, step outside of your comfort zone, be ethical, honest and be passionate about what your selling!

What do you do when you’re not working?

Amber:: Anyone in direct sales knows there is no “CLOSED” sign on my office!! A slight draw back at times! However, I am a busy mom of four. My oldest is in Jr.High sports, band and 4H, my 10-year-old is a competative dancer (yes I’m a dance mom too), my seven-year-old does gymnastics and I have an eight-month-old! Mostly when I”m not working I’m a MOM and farm wife! I also love to travel, so any chance to earn a trip through my company you better believe I set my sights on a FREE vacation! Up until this year, I was an active volunteer for Relay for Life and the YWCA. After a lot of soul searching, I decided to give up my volunteer obligations with the excepton of PTO and 4H. That has allowed me more time for my family and work. I am finally learning a new buzz word “no”!

Are you currently looking for team members?

Amber:: I would love to have new members on my team. We are a growing company and now is the time to join! Take the opportunity while it’s still an opportunity! Anyone west of the Mississippi….you are my target! You have an area that is new to Thirty One! Your income potential is limitless! Contact me today to hear more!

Can I host a show?

Amber:: Hosting a show in November is a great month! Everyone will want to purchase holiday gifts and bags for winter organizing! When you spend $31 in November you can purchase a Little’s carry all caddy for just $1!That’s right, a $12 value for just a $1! Spend $93 and get 4! The hostess benefits are fantastic and I would love to do a catalog or home show for you! I also frequently do fundraisers and help women earn cash for vaious organizations!

Carla Dickinson is the mom owner of Text Message Baby, which she founded in September of 2008. Her business offers bright, organic clothing such as onesies, toddler tees and bibs with funny text message lingo and emoticons printed on them.

Dickinson admits that owning her own business has its perks. “You can pretty much set your own hours and work when you need to,” she said. She makes a conscious effort to balance her work with her family. “I always want to make sure that my family comes first, so being able to delegate and work at my own pace makes the balancing act much easier.”

Growing a business takes time and patience, Dickinson admits. “As the saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and neither will your business.” She added, “Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams by doing or creating something that you love. Be willing to work hard, but be patient enough to see things through.”

In conclusion, Dickinson said, “Good things come to those who wait. I am a firm believer in that!”

Text Message Baby can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. Use coupon code ORGANIC and save 10% on any order!