By Mindee Doney

When my clients are struggling with a task in their business I’m often amazed at how it fixes itself with a simple awareness of how they are spending their time. Their sales are not as strong as they would like but they can’t tell me the last time they spent a dedicated day working with brokers, distributors or cold calling. They wish they had more PR but all they have done is tweet and ping the Today Show staff on and off.  Their bookkeeping is a mess and they have no idea if they are actually making money – also no idea when they last organized their receipts and expenses.  It all comes down to a connection between your mind, body and heart in how you are spending your time.

Regular awareness of what you are doing is crucial to successful time management. You can’t be so wrapped up in a reactive state of putting out fires all day that you forget you have the ability to change the situation you are in. To control who you are with, what you are working on and what your attitude is in the middle of it all.  You own the energy that brings you the circumstances of your day.  Your response time, temperament and chosen priorities connect all the people, places and experiences in your life. They may or may not come together just the way you envisioned them, but recognizing your decision-making role in all of it will always find you better off when seeking changes

An honest look in the mirror is usually the best place to start if you are constantly feeling like you are out of time.  What does your typical day look like? What tasks take up most of your time? What has been your attitude during tasks you don’t necessarily enjoy? What have you been ignoring? What do you desire to have more of?  

When you find yourself in those difficult moments, accepting the truth of how and why you got there is the first step to getting out.  Here are a 3 questions I ask myself often to stay focused and intentional with my time:

1. Do I need this or just want this?  If it is not critical to what matters most to me, I let it go. Insatiability is a Mompreneurs worst enemy. Set your benchmarks for what you truly need (amount of time with family, time to exercise, time with partner, time for yourself, time in business). Make diligent choices to get all of what you need first. Including money. You need to know…. how much you need to work… for what you need to make… to pay for what you need to live. Not your new outfit or fancy trip or weekly pedicures or housecleaners, only what you need. Let’s hope you know those are wants, not needs.

2. What is MOST important for me to accomplish right now? I make a 30-60-90 list of big picture tasks instead of a daily to do list. I organize it by urgency and check in with it often. It lets me know when and how to allocate my time for the big picture instead of getting so wrapped up in the little details. It also gives me a great sense of accomplishment in the times I am feeling less than productive or guilty for what I haven’t gotten to yet.

3. How do I want to feel when I go to bed tonight? Productive, Energized, Loved, Tired – what can I do today to get to the heart of those emotions. Not all days are the same. Weekends I want to feel relaxed and loved and blessed for time with my family. Work days I want to feel energized and productive and successful. I make regular decisions with activities and time management to achieve those emotion.

Be aware of the time you share. Especially in the early years of running a business, time is just as important as money and your product or service.  Unlike those things though, you cannot earn or make more of it. Once it’s gone its gone forever. Take the “time” to truly know where you want it to go and check in with yourself often.

Be Well, Dream Big, Live Simply!

Mindee Doney:: Author, Inventor (Boogie Wipes®), Idea Consultant.Tired of chasing her kids runny noses, Mindee herself ran with an idea she had for a saline infused nose wipe she called a Boogie Wipe ®. In 2007, she partnered with Julie Pickens and by 2011 grew her concept, to $12 million in sales, with distribution to 50,000 retail locations in 8 countries.  She managed all PR, marketing and branding herself and landed Boogie Wipes® on the Today Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutch, Good Morning America, in People Magazine, The NY Times and countless others.  She is the author of Get your Own Juicebox – Confident Moms raising Capable Kids and consults an exclusive group of start-ups through her company Juice Box Consulting.

Irene Hatziantoniou is the co-owner of North Coast Aesthetic Center in Westlake, Ohio. They are a skin care clinic and won Best Facial four years in a row in the Fox 8 Hot List Cleveland. Hatziantoniou has been a licensed aesthetician for 17 years and opened their clinic four years ago.

At North Coast Aesthetic Center, the focus is on bringing back your skin’s natural beauty. “Through my unique blending of aesthetics and the latest in scientific advancements, youthful skin can again be yours. As a client, you will not only receive the best care possible, but also learn how to effectively care for your skin,” Hatziantoniou said. Services include facials, peels, microdermabraision, waxing and more.

Since the beginning, she says balance has been challenging. “I started my business when my boys were three and two-years-old, a husband, and caregiver for sick parents. My parents were in and out of nursing homes for rehab sometimes at different facilities. I felt like I was everywhere and ready to lose my mind.”

However, through faith she began to realize her blessings and put herself first. She recommends reaching out and asking for help. Depending on your situation, someone out there has an answer or solution, she said. “Being a full-time working mother can lead to feelings of guilt and stress because of divided attention between work and family. The key for me is to focus on a plan, get organized, and find the right balance between profession and parenthood,” she said.

Hatziantoniou relies on networking as a strong marketing tool. “For me the best way I have found to market my business is to get out there and connect and meet others that could be a client for you. Yes, that takes time. But that is where balance comes in. Even if it is once month you join a networking group to meet others and get your name out there,” she said.

You can find Irene Hatziantoniou online at NCA Skincare.com.

I was recently contacted by Citrus Clear to see if I would be interested in reviewing their new Tangerine Tingle face wash. Several months ago, I had tried their sister company’s Shielo hair products and loved them. So, of course I agreed.

I was immediately impressed when I received the package. The product packaging looked great and a wonderful aroma emerged when I opened the box. In addition to the Tangerine Tingle, they had sent me some Grapefruit Acne Spot Treatment, which was a pleasant surprise.

The Tangerine Tingle Face Scrub is so much fun! It can be used as a face wash or a face mask. The longer you leave it on the more it tingles! The tingling action is from the ingredients in the scrub doing two things: (1) removing dead skin cells, and (2) stimulating production in new, fresh skin cells. Contains gentle exfoliating ingredients which remove oil, dirt, and impurities. Contains glycolic acid which exfoliates dead skin cells and keeps pores from clogging. Lemon oil helps improve and brighten complexion.

So far, I have not used it as a mask, just a wash, but plan to do so soon. It smells great and leaves my face feeling fresh and smooth, exfoliating all of the dead skin cells. The product description states that you may experience some redness but I have not. The tingling lets you feel it working.

The Grapefruit Acne Spot Treatment is great too and I’ve already seen results from using it.

This spot treatment contains a maximum strength dose of salicylic acid to treat existing and prevent future breakouts. It even prevents the formation of blackheads. Contains 100% naturally derived grapefruit extract and vitamin C. This is the best defense against breakouts of acne. Designed for use right on the spot where the acne breakout has occurred, it may be used up to five times per day to clean away the oil, and heal the site of the acne. Treats acne fast while minimizing pores. Fresh grapefruit overtone scent, with a natural green tea undertone.

The price points for these products are both reasonable and affordable, $16.99 and $12.99 respectively. I’m a big fan of their holistic approach, natural/organic ingredients and environmentally friendly business operations. Learn more here and get some Citrus Clear for yourself!

*I did receive free product in order to write this review, however all opinions are my own.

Leslie Truex is the author of The Work-At-Home Success Bible (Adams Media, 2009) and Jobs Online: How to Find and Get a Work-At-Home Job. She is also the owner of the 14-year-old WorkAtHomeSuccess.com, which has been recognized by telework and small business associations as a quality resource for work-at-home information.

Since January of 1998, Truex has been offering free information and resources on work-at-home jobs, home business and more. In addition, she offers the Profit Blog Blueprint, and Work-At-Home Success University, an email course on various work-at-home topics.

Truex agrees that it’s much easier to balance work with family when the kids are at school; summer and evenings are much more challenging. “One thing I learned is to learn to focus. When it’s work time, I need to focus 100 percent on work. When it’s family time, I’m 100 percent focused on family,” she said. “I also have a schedule and if I have to work when the family is home, I let them know what’s up and I’m sure to connect with them before and after any work I do.”

When giving advice to other entrepreneurs and work-at-home moms, Truex said to research the business and create a plan to avoid pitfalls “Second, focus on your strengths when choosing a business. Find a business that you’ll love,” she said. “Finally, learn all you can about marketing. Marketing is CRUCIAL to success and an area many small businesses fail to implement effectively.”

How does she market her businesses? “Since I’m online, most of my efforts are online and include PR, article marketing, teleseminars, social media and social networking. Offline marketing includes drop cards with QR codes to my website and public speaking,” she added.

By Stephanie Shaterian

Perhaps you’ve noticed some of the buzz around recent data that seems to show Facebook user numbers are declining in big western markets. Perhaps it is your own personal use starting to dwindle as you see less and less of what you’re interested in and more paid ads and articles on things you’re not. A world is fast approaching where Facebook may no longer be the 800 lb gorilla in the room and more interestingly, it doesn’t look like anything is rising up to take it’s place.

First, let me say that this is NOT a call to stop your Facebook marketing efforts. Your social media channel selection should always, always, always be tied to your marketing goals. (In fact, depending on what you are trying to achieve, Facebook may still be the best place to do that) However, if the current trends play out the new social media landscape may be a segmented and nuanced one. As busy mom entrepreneurs, we have to be as strategic as possible with the time and energy we spend on social media marketing activities. Soon a Facebook Page may no longer be a have to but just an item on the options menu.

Now is the time to start thinking about the alternatives and (if you have the bandwith) to start doing a little experimentation. Here’s some demographic information about the major players waiting in the wings to help you choose where to start:

Twitter: Yes, that 140 Character, revolution-starting, hashtagging social media service is still there and still growing, albeit at a slower pace. Currently slightly more popular with men than women, Twitter is big with the 18-29 year old set, urban-dwellers, and black and hispanic users.

Instagram: According to Pew Research Center, the recent Facebook acquisition captures a whopping 28% of 18-29 year old US Internet users. January 2013 user engagement (likes and comments) increased thousandfold since they last reported statistics. Bonus: 98% of Instagram images are shared to Facebook. (You can experiment – AND keep your FB efforts going. Win-Win)

Pinterest: The numbers haven’t changed. If you’re looking to reach affluent, well-educated (white) women, Pinterest is the place to be.

Tumblr: Where my ladies at? Tumblr apparently. Rich in educated 18-34 year olds with no kids. While Tumblr users are primarily caucasian, the percentage of the hispanic internet using population who are on Tumblr is enormous. Tumblr has been around awhile but brands are not making big use of it yet. You can still get in on the ground floor!

Pick the channel that most closely aligns with the audience you want to reach and get to experimenting. Before you know it you’ll be ahead of the pack.

Stephanie Shaterian, owner of fLO Content Marketing,  is the consummate online actress, taking on the identity of any brand and creating winning, witty content that helps companies and non-profits build loyalty and top-of-mind awareness among clients and prospects. Stephanie has worked with a diverse range of clients including: consulting, advocacy, retail, greentech, commercial furniture, medical, performing arts and animal boarding(?!). She also helps parent entrepreneurs get a handle on their social media marketing with her quick and affordable Coach fLO program

What child doesn’t have a favorite television, cartoon or movie character? At the One Stop Kids Shop, they specialize in character themed pajamas and clothing that your child is sure to love. And, they have a wide variety!

Disney Princesses, Spiderman, Winnie the Pooh, Thomas, Sesame Street; these are just a few of the many, many fun options at the One Stop Kids Shop. They know that your child is the cutest, and they strive to offer the best selection of children’s clothing to show them off in.

They also stock some holiday specialty items as well as accessories. They have merchandise for infants up to teens available and they do the research about what is popular and trendy.  They are sure to have something for everyone.

They also have a variety of sibling and family oriented pieces available. Wouldn’t this shirt be perfect for your daughter to wear on Father’s Day next month?

BUY NOW:: You can buy with confidence because One Stop Kids Shop always honors a no questions asked return policy.

FUN ON FACEBOOK:: Follow them on Facebook. They frequently run contests and you can win items that are slightly flawed.

SAVE:: One Stop Kids Shop offers competitive pricing and always quick and FREE US shipping. International buyers can contact them for large discounts on shipping as well. And, if you mention Market Mommy, you can save an extra 10%! Shop now!

 

Lauren Elward is the founder and CEO of Castle Ink; an office supply store that she founded in 2006. The store offers compatible and remanufactured printer ink cartridges and laser toner.

According to Elward, balancing family and business has been her greatest challenge. “When I first started the business I didn’t think I’d be able to sustain it because of the amount of time I needed to spend on it.  I realized that I had to find ways to automate and outsource in order to maintain a good balance between work and family,” she said. Elward feels lucky that she found a partner vendor that has been incredible to work with. In addition to managing all aspects of fulfillment for her, they also support customer service which has freed up her time tremendously. 

Like many others, Elward tells aspiring mom entrepreneurs to make sure their business venture is something they are passionate about. “It’s easy to get burned out, but you can overcome it if you believe in what you are doing,” she said.

“I’ve been passionate about recycling all my life, and that’s really what spurred me to start and continue to manage Castle Ink,” Elward said.

Castle Ink is marketed through a solid mix of organic search optimization and social media. Elward said she has amassed an extensive knowledge of the art of optimizing a site to maximize traffic from search engines (a discipline known as SEO). “The biggest “hit” for Castle Ink has been the effective implementation of search engine optimization, especially on Google. What really makes this a “hit” is that I manage to do this without spending more than $1,000 a year in total marketing,” she said. “I feel incredibly lucky to have built a multi-million dollar business that is able to grow without spending much money at all on marketing,” Elward added.  To this day, Castle Ink still relies on organic search engines for the overwhelming majority of traffic.  

By Shara Lawrence-Weiss

Recently, a long-time twitter friend of mine, Paolo, sent me a link to an Italian video you YouTube. As I began to watch the video I thought, “Oh great. Another Facebook or Twitter promotion. Who needs more of that? We all know how much Facebook and Twitter have done for social media and small businesses. We don’t really need another reminder, do we?”

 

I was pleasantly surprised by the video ending. In fact, I loved it. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve written my fair share of social media posts, praising what SM has done for my own businesses and professional relationships. However, I recently stepped away from social media to work in a classroom again, after being gone from the mainstream workforce for several years.

It’s different. While I’ve found great contentment in my Online work since 2007, and I’ve enjoyed cultivating my Online friendships and business relationships, there is something irreplaceable about eye-to-eye contact. There is something unmatched about hands-on experience in a real life setting, coffee with colleagues, round table discussions about methods of practice and brainstorming sessions between employers and employees.

In a world where text messaging, Skype sessions, YouTube videos and screen time have begun to dominate our lives I encourage you to step back now and again. Perhaps you need a fresh perspective on parenting or small business ownership, teaching or customer service. Maybe you need to make a lunch date with an old friend, join a chamber of commerce group or visit a senior center to chat about days gone by. Conversing with a neighbor over tea could do your body and mind good. Taking a side job away from your computer or volunteering in a soup kitchen or classroom may be just what you need in order to feel motivated again.

Resent research suggests that many people are suffering from depression after becoming addicted to Facebook. Teenagers watch their friends posting fun and interesting photos of trips or new clothing only to wonder, “Why isn’t my life that interesting? What’s wrong with me?” One study in 2011 (The New York Times) actually stated that people are “in love” with their iPhones – that a chemical reaction happens when our phones ring or vibrate.

The articles states:

“But most striking of all was the flurry of activation in the insular cortex of the brain, which is associated with feelings of love and compassion. The subjects’ brains responded to the sound of their phones as they would respond to the presence or proximity of a girlfriend, boyfriend or family member.

Here is my suggestion: walk away from your Online and digitized world now and again. I’m finding new perspective lately, with fewer hours Online and more time spent in eye-to-eye contact with others. I fully understand the need to be Online if you run an Online business. I’m simply encouraging you to remember that the best social media network, in a nutshell, is LIFE.

Shara Lawrence-Weiss has a background in education, early childhood, special needs, freelance and marketing. She owns various websites including: Mommy Perks, Personal Child Stories, Early Childhood News and Resources, Emergent Literacy and Weiss Business Solutions (co owner). Shara actively assists with children’s charity events and currently works as a Special Education Paraprofessional (K-5th). Learn more about Shara and Rick. You can view additional Guest Posts here.