Debra M. Cohen launched her business, Home Remedies®, in February, 1997. The company pre-screens and refers home improvement professionals ranging from painters and plumbers to electricians, General Contractors, handymen and architects. Contractors in the network pay a pre-negotiated commission for work secured  which means that the referral service is free to homeowners.

“Once Home Remedies® was successfully up and running, I realized that other communities were in need of a service like mine,” Cohen said. “Rather than expanding too quickly, I decided to document my business model and share it with other entrepreneurs. To date there are approximately 400 HRN’s like mine operating  nationwide and 90 percent of them are run by moms.”

Outsourcing is a way that Cohen maintains balance between her business and personal lives. “In order to optimize my work hours, I outsource any jobs/responsibilities that don’t fall within my area of expertise–web design, accounting, database management, etc.”

In addition, she said that she breaks her day into blocks of time devoted exclusively to work, family and an hour each day for personal time. “I’m much more productive when I know that I have limited hours to work and taking an hour or so break from work each day is essential,” she said.

When asked what advice do she had for other mom entrepreneurs, Cohen insisted that it imporssible to be an expert at every aspect of business ownership. “Consider setting up a Board of Advisors and invite a few professionals with specific business or industry expertise to join. You can turn to them for time saving advice and guidance,” she suggested.

Home Remedies® marketing efforts include websites, e-newsletters, direct mail, PR, networking and an online affiliate program. To learn more, visit Home Remedies® online or on Twitter.

“How do I get enough keywords into my site without overloading it with nonsense?”

Question from Leah, Peacock Pottery

Reply from Rick and Shara Weiss (Mommy Perks and Pine Media) and Leah (Charlotte Works The Web)

If you make up absurd sentences, Google can spot this and they know you are manipulating your SEO. They want you to write natural sentences about the value of your site/product/services.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the main purpose of your site or product line?
  2. What do you offer?
  3. Who is your target market?
  4. What key words make the most sense for your site or product line?

Key words must relate to who you are and what you are about.

The way you spread your key words around is by adding them to the primary areas that Google searches:

The title: use a title for each page. Do not use the same title for every page.

Examples:

  • Handmade Polish bowls page. The title of this page could be, “Polish pottery bowls from Peacock Pottery.”
  • Handmade Polish mugs page. The title of this page could be, “Handmade Polish pottery mugs from Peacock Pottery.”

Explaining this a bit more, the owner of Diaper Cakewalk states:

“We have specific pages dedicated to ‘diaper cakes for boys,’ ‘new baby gifts,’ ‘baby shower gifts,’ etc., and each page has the main keyword and some variations thereof. It’s a bad idea to try to get ALL your keywords on every page, although there will be some overlap here and there.”

The first headline (which should be tagged as an h1).

The first paragraph of your home page should have the key words at least once. Maybe twice, if this makes sense for your content.

Generally speaking, meta key words are irrelevant. However, you do want a different meta description for each page. It should focus on what’s on THAT particular page and not on an over-all concept for the entire site. You can use key words in that description; just know that Google isn’t ranking you based on that description. They simply use each description to show searchers what your page is all about.

Leah, from Charlotte Works The Web, shares:

“Some sites use meta keywords to pull content when someone uses the site’s search box. So if someone is searching a diaper cake site for a purple diaper cake, and they type ‘purple’ into our search box, only the cakes with ‘purple’ in the meta keywords box will come up. Meta keywords are definitely irrelevant to SEO though.”

Beyond that, you can spread your key words around your pages, here and there.

If you have a blog

You can also focus on key words in your blog area, blog titles and so on. You can always be using some main key words in your blog posts for SEO. You can label a post with some of your key words or add them to the text. For instance, you could write a post about Polish Pottery Gifts and use that title: “Polish Pottery Gifts.” Inside your text area (first paragraph), re-state this:

“Are you searching for Polish Pottery Gifts this holiday season? If you are, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to help! You won’t be disappointed. Read below for a few fun ideas.”

You can also label your images for SEO. See here: How to optimize images for search

Thanks for the question, Leah!

Shara Lawrence-Weiss has a background in education, early childhood, special needs, freelance and marketing. She owns various websites including: Mommy Perks, Kids Perks, Personal Child Stories, Early Childhood News and Resources and Pine Media (co owner). Shara is an active member of her town charity group and a Library Board Member. Learn more about her at Mommy Perks.

Do you have updated marketing materials for your business? There are many reasons why you should. This is part one, of a three-part series on making your takeaways work for you!

What do I mean by takeaways? Business cards, brochures, samples, flyers, postcards, anything that you handout at a tradeshow or your place of business that will keep your potential customers thinking about you and your products or services.

If you want to stand out among the competition, it is critical to make a lasting impression. The pieces you hand out should be strongly branded and attractive. They should also be memorable.

When we talk about branding, it is important to incorporate your color scheme into all of your materials. The colors used in your logo should be used throughout all of your marketing efforts. Your website, business cards, flyers, packaging, etc. should all operate from the same color scheme.

Consistency is key. It sometimes can get expensive to print pieces yourself. Oftentimes it is better to outsource some of this. Not only can it save you some money, pieces often look better when printed professionally rather than on your home computer. Online vendors such as UPrinting offer full color brochure printing that can save you time and money.

Consistency really is the most important component to your overall marketing and branding strategy. You wan t your customers to become familiar with you and recognize you immediately. Consistency definitely helps with this.

Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks for more in this series. We’ll talk about what should be included in your marketing collateral and how to most effectively distribute it!

The newest holiday book on the market works to combine the joy of Christmas with the true reason for the season. Santa’s Secret Elf is a 42-page children’s book that will surely become your family’s new favorite tradition.

Santa knows he can make all the toys and games that kids ask for but realizes that he needs a special helper to handle the letters that ask for things far bigger than he can handle. Santa asks Merryam to help him do the job he can’t. Merryam prays for what the families need while Santa makes what the kids want.

Santa’s Secret Elf shares how even Santa needs a little help when he has a request from kids he can’t handle. With prayer, faith and a lot of fun Merryam helps Santa get it all done. Merryam is even more important than Rudolph in the North Pole when it comes to helping Santa and all the kids across the land.

There is a great story behind the story as well.

Kara is a wife, mom and business owner that also survived a breast cancer diagnosis at 39. Her kids Shelby and Gordy are the joy in her light and make each day a blessing. While going through chemo her son sat on Santa’s Lap and told him all he wanted was to make his mommy well. With tears in both their eyes Merryam was born.

Aside from the meaningful story, there is a lot of added fun. When you’re finished reading, be sure to find the hidden elves on each page. The website also features a lot of extra goodies like games and coloring pages for the kids!

My own children loved the website and the pdf book. All of the materials are colorful, attention grabbing and fun.

To get your copy, click here.

*I was given a free download of the book in order to write this review, however all opinions are my own.

Designs for the Stylish Soul is a business that sells hand screened textiles, surface and graphic design. Owner, Erin Flett, created her business from the ground up two years ago after being a freelance designer since 2004.

Flett, like many others, is a list maker. She balances family and work life by living off lists and continuing to check in with what has worked for her and what has not. She advises other mom entrepreneurs to, “Get help with things that are no longer a priority or things that you personally do not have time to do in order to spend more mindful time with family.” She is also an advocate for turning everything off when spending time with loved ones. “Multi task in a way where you feel you’re getting things done and set boundaries so you’re “off” when your family needs you.” 

She also encourages mom entrepreneurs to designate a little “me time” each day. She enjoys going to the gym, getting facials and sitting quietly and meditating. “Regrouping each day is critical to surviving the rat race,” shares Flett.

Flett believes that her consistency in personally marketing her own business helps her gain personal recognition. She markets Designs for the Stylish Soul as soon as she gets up in the morning until the time she goes to bed at night. “It’s not a side job or even something I really think about constantly, but rather something I AM everyday, every email, every relationship—every tweet, Facebook post, blog post—all of relates back to who I am and then ultimately what I make.”

So check the creative work designed by Flett via Facebook, Twitter and the blog.

By Amber Davis

I always thought it was strange when people said they were going to ‘find themselves’.

What does that mean?

I am starting to figure it out. As a work at home mom I feel like my main identity is MOM! This is a very fulfilling and gratifying position, however, never in a million years did I intend to loose Amber along this journey.

In an effort to ‘find myself’ I have started a bucket list of sorts. More of a personal goal list in cooperated with my business goals. I am turning 40 this year and feeling like I have so much more to accomplish on this journey.

For me personally, I am proud to say I accomplished my first item on the list this past weekend and I completed a 5K color run! This is a HUGE personal accomplishment since I hate running, I hate the cold temptures and I hate mornings! Let me tell you when my alarm went off at 6 a.m. and it was 46 degrees I was not excited! But upon starting (and finishing) the race I felt a huge sense of pride! One of my proudest moment was when 2 of my daughters called out to me just before starting the race! I am blessed to have ran and finished with a friend and colleague.  She too, hates to run!

The run itself was a deeper personal accomplishment than just the physical aspect of running. It is the beginning for me, the beginning of getting back to who I want and need to be. Finding the whole Amber who is lost among running my direct sales business and being mom and wife! I have a long way to go to finding my entire identity! However, I am on the right path to making a lot of changes between now and my birthday!

I am by nature a people pleaser but sometimes I please everyone else except ME! Living a simpler life, making myself happy and cutting out extra unnecessary things in my life would be a good start!!

How can you re-invent yourself? Have you lost your identity? Start simple!

·         Lunch with a friend
·         Yoga class
·         Loose yourself in a good book
·         Take a nap
·         Go to a movie
·         Make your own goal sheet or bucket list!

Share your ideas with me via e-mail!  

I strive to be successful in everything I do! Along the journey I have become derailed and I am aiming to get back on track! Life is short (I know you hear that all the time) but it’s true! Living each day to the fullest should be the first priority for all of us.

It’s hard to be the perfect woman we expect ourselves to be. With any luck we can find our own ‘perfect’ and still carve out a few hours a week for ourselves!

Amber Davis is a 17 year direct sales associate with The Lonagberger Co. and currently director for at Thirty One Gifts. Holding a degree in business administration and marketing, she previously worked in the business industry. After the birth of her second child; family took priority over work and she left her full time position. Now a mother of four, she believes firmly in direct Sales and the endless opportunity it provides! “I can’t imagine ever returning to a traditional 9-5 job,” she said. She firmly believes in doing what works for your family. She helps her husband on the family farm and writes her own blog: Adventures in Farm Life. This, she said, is a work in progress and mostly serves to share family photos. In her free time she loves to travel and enjoys volunteering.

I’m a proud mom, just like you. Now, thanks to my new bracelet from Lily Brooke Jewelry, I have another way to show it. Melissa contacted me to sign up for our upcoming Holiday Gift Guide and also asked if I would like to review one of her products. I quickly agreed.

I asked that since I have three children, could I just get a bracelet with their birthstones and not their names. She immediately responded with the perfect product, the birthstone initials bracelet. This birthstone bracelet has all three of their stones, plus each of their initials.

I love it!

It came packaged in a beautiful box and was monogrammed perfectly. It has a toggle clasp and beautiful Swarovski cube crystals and sterling silver beads. I also love that it is two-toned and coordinates nicely with all of my gold and silver jewelry.

I immediately put it on and it wears beautifully. I sometimes get a little nervous to order bracelets because my wrists are small. But this bracelet fits very nicely and I don’t ever worry about it sliding off or hanging too loosely.

I’ve definitely been impressed with my bracelet and at its reasonable price point would definitely suggest it as a gift for the special mom, grandmother or godmother in your life! You can order online at Lily Brooke Jewelry.

*I received a complimentary product in order to write this product review. However, all opinions are my own.

 

 

Share a little about you, your business, including when and why you started your business.

My husband and I have a special needs daughter and we need to make sure she is financially stable for her life. I stopped working 5 years ago to home school her and we needed a way for me to work as well.

Two years ago, we wondered why you can price compare almost anything on the internet except for beer. We enjoy a beer in the evening and with the prices of everything continuing to rise we created http://www.saveonbrew.com/.

We poll 50,000 retailers and have approximately 300,000 live beer deals at any given time. In just two years we have grown from Texas only to nationwide and we continue to add retailers and beer to our database every week.

Read the full article here.

Are you interested in winning a gift certificate to N-fini Shapewear? We have a $75 gift to give away!

Here is what their website says about their brand:

N-fini
The Perfect Fit!

At MGI Graphics, Inc. we devote ourselves to the design and production of superior quality apparel. Our concepts are the most contemporary in the seamless industry and each creation is designed and produced under our roof. Everything from the thread to the finished garment is therefore manufactured in the USA.

We skimp on nothing that will compromise the quality of the product lines or the promise to provide beautiful and effective products to our clientele. We are proud of our reputation for fabricating essential wardrobe components that offer style and comfort. We consistently research alternative techniques and refine combinations based on current trends and the input from our clients.

Our commitment to excellence has helped men and women feel and look spectacular. We provide the wearer of our products an entirely new experience.

How can you win?

Follow the instructions below and enter via the Rafflecopter entry form.

Buy it now?

You can also purchase now and save! Use coupon code marketmommy15 and save 15% until the end of October! {Can’t be used with any other coupon.} Be sure to visit their Daily Deal page where featured items are up to 60% off!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 We recently had the opportunity to interview the moms at Travel-Tot before they headed to Louisville for this year’s ABC Kids Expo. If you’ve been wondering about displaying at a large tradeshow, the investment, and how it can help your business, this post is for you!

Market Mommy:: Tell us a little bit about your business.

Travel-Tot:: At Travel-Tot, we produce an award winning travel childproofing kit. It is an affordable, temporary, all-in-one childproofing kit that provides a layer of protection as well as peace of mind for families wherever they travel… hotels, motels and even grandma’s house!

What makes our product unique to the market is that it is temporary and completely non-damaging to furniture, yet provides everything necessary for childproofing on the go. Hotel rooms are comfortable and convenient for adults and now they will address basic childproofing needs and create an instantly safer environment for children.

This is a product that takes some consumer education. It’s critical and even essential that families childproof when they are away from home and it is a thought that in the midst of the hustle and bustle of travel planning often gets lost. This is one of our marketing challanges, and we’ve found some great ways to get the word out there.

Market Mommy:: Have you ever exhibited at the ABC show before?

Travel-Tot:: We have! We launched our product, the Travel Childproofing Kit there 2 years ago. It was a huge deal for us and the response was amazing.

Market Mommy:: Have you ever exhibited elsewhere?

Travel-Tot:: We’ve done a few trade shows, the biggest being the International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant show in NYC. We exhibited there because not only are we selling to retailers nationwide, but we are also working with hotels and lodging providers to provide basic safety and peace of mind for families who stay with them. At the IHMRS we were thrilled to win the Editor’s Choice award for Best New Amenity!

Market Mommy:: Why did you choose to exhibit this year?

Travel-Tot:: Last year was all about logistics and production for us, as well as solidifying our partnerships with the hotel industry. It’s been a huge learning curve. Our team has a ton of experience in sales and marketing but we’ve had a lot to pick up on the other side.

The ABC Show helps us take the temperature of the industry in a few short days. It helps us maximize our travel budget and fortify retail relationships that we are just building. Since this is a new industry for us, this step is crucial.

Market Mommy:: What are your goals for the show, what do you hope to accomplish?

Travel-Tot:: We’d like to make sure that every buyer, rep and media outlet attending the show knows our name and what Travel-Tot is all about. We aim high over here!

Market Mommy:: How big of a financial investment is this for you?

Travel-Tot:: Anytime you talk about undertaking a trade show it’s going to be a big investment. It’s worth it though for the exposure alone.

Market Mommy:: How big of an hour/time investment is this for the business?

Travel-Tot:: The prep work for a show like this is huge. We would never want to show up and WISH we’d done something different so we’re constantly making lists of must haves and nice to haves, and split up the responsibilities to make sure everything we need done is addressed.

Market Mommy:: What are you doing to prepare? What are you taking? media kits, products, samples, takeaways?

Travel-Tot:: So much of what we do is about what the take-away is. So yes, it’s our media kit that outlines who we are, what awards we’ve won and the fantastic press we’ve garnered over the last two years. We’ll also have product in the booth to demo and display, plenty of marketing materials and always good snacks!

Market Mommy:: Did you have to invest in a display? How are you designing your space?

Travel-Tot:: We did invest in a display. We’re in a 10×10 space (booth #1944, come on by!) and we have a fantastic graphic backdrop. It’s so important at an event like this to catch someone’s eye. From the beginning we have put a lot of stock in our branding, so we want to show it off in all of it’s finest!

Market Mommy:: Why is the ABC expo part of your marketing plan? What efforts are you doing in conjunction with this?

Travel-Tot:: The ABC show is the only event of it’s kind and size in the US. Bang for your buck you really can’t find a better way to touch more retailers in one space in such a short period of time. Yes it’s an investment in time, money and effort but the end result is fantastic exposure and tons of personal relationships you might not have made via phone or email.

The ABC Kids Expo is currently going on in Louisville! If you’d like to hear more about Travel-Tot’s experience there this year, watch our blog in the next two weeks for the follow-up interview!