Squirrel Cheeks is an online boutique featuring clothing and accessories! Use code WS to save 20% now!

Shopping!

Whether you are shopping for your own children, or for a gift, Squirrel Cheeks is a great place to stop! They offer unique items for all of the girly girls in your life! They offer lace and satin rompers, boutique outfits, dresses, bloomers, leg warmers, bows and flower headbands. Plus, much more, like unique Frozen dresses for your aspiring princess!! Shipping is just $2, plus 10% of your order. Orders over $200 receive free shipping!  

Rewards! 

Customers love the Reward Points! You will accumulate 1 point for every dollar you spend. When you get to 100, you can redeem them for a $5 Gift Certificate to use for anything on the site. Make sure you create an account first to earn points and that you are logged into your account for every purchase.  

Wholesale!

Squirrel Cheeks caters to wholesalers! You can get an awesome return on purchases you make for your own boutique! Squirrel Cheeks offers free drop shipping and an automatic 20% discount on all of your orders! Plus, there is no minimum order. So, order as little or as much as you like at one time! Orders over $200 receive free shipping automatically!   

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By Monika Labbé

When first starting out in your business your focus was probably on getting the word out about what it is that you sell or what service you provide. But once you become more established, it becomes harder and harder to stay one step ahead of your competition. That’s where it’s best to expand your product offerings. Launching a new product or service can be time consuming and might have hidden costs that you did not anticipate. It’s important to create awareness and promote a products benefits without breaking the bank.

1.Reduce your financial risk by using the existing brand name to enhance your client’s perception. It’s important to already have an established presence with your brand or service, otherwise you could potentially risk your brand image with something new.

2.Extending your brand is a great tool for increasing not only your income, but awareness about your company as a whole. You could tie in additional products or services to causes that are meaningful to you and or community events that are happening around your neighborhood. Keep it simple and make sure you tie it back to your core mission. Make sure whatever you are adding is a nice benefit to clients, but not too far removed from your actual core business.

3. Make sure your website is collecting key information about your clients when they are visiting your site. It’s important that the things you collect are not just demographics but things that are relevant to specific business goals. You need to improve your market based on the information you collect and be able to speak specifically to the interests of potential clients. By finding out specific needs of your clients you can conduct deeper and more targeted research that would be more timely and relevant.

4. Partner with someone who offers a service or product that compliments yours. In my industry of photography I often partner with wedding vendors for that segment of my business. If you are offering a product think outside the box of who might be interested in wanting to partner with you, where does your product naturally fit? For example if my product is a toothbrush, naturally toothpaste goes with it, but so does mouthwash, floss, maybe even teeth whitener. Who could use the toothbrush? The dentist’s office obviously, but how about using it to clean hard to reach places, or for polishing small surfaces. It’s taking the thought process one step further than the obvious and asking, what can this tool actually do if I have never used it before?

By recognizing where the market is heading, anticipating the needs of your clients, and stretching yourself in your thinking you will be able to develop complementary services that will effectively extend your reach.

Having been a professional photographer for over 13 years, I feel very blessed to have been published in numerous books, magazines, and websites. For me, seeing how my photos touch others, whether they bring a smile, a chuckle, or a tear, is what I consider truly priceless. I welcome the opportunity to bring that to you and your family. For more information regarding photography services, please contact me through my website,or email me directly. ~ Monika Labbé, Visual Storyteller

 

By Theresa Ceniccola

 I admit it. It’s not easy going to work at home when school’s out and the beach is calling my name. It’s tempting to put off the work and take a three month vacation with my family. But hey – I’ve got clients to serve and bills to pay, just like everyone else. So each day is a new opportunity to find that perfect balance between work and play.

Having worked from home for 20 years, I’ve learned a little bit about how to stay productive and avoid distractions without becoming a work-monger. And because my children have never known anything except a work-at-home mother, they’ve grown up sharing their home with a business. Together, we’ve come up with a fairly decent system for spending the summer in work and play. Here are our favorite tips, and they should work for toddlers to teens and will even be helpful if you’ve got a babysitter or nanny on board:

Seven Home-Based Business Summer Survival Tips

1. Create a Schedule. Yeah, I know…boring! But having a loose schedule will give everyone the structure they need to accomplish what has to be done, and enjoy the long days of nothingness. At the very least, establish regular working hours – even if they fluctuate from week to week.  And do your best to treat those office hours as sacred time without distraction or interruption. This will help you prevent trying to work at the waterpark (not very productive as I have learned from experience).

Bonus tip: I started asking my kids to create their own summer routines a few years ago. I give them parameters like “one hour of reading time,” or “30 minutes of exercise,” and “no more than one hour of screen time.” They have fun and learn a valuable skill by outlining their own daily schedules – and they are far more likely to stick to the routine when they create it themselves.

2. Plan. Discuss. Repeat. Because summer schedules seem to change each week, it’s even more important to hold that weekly planning meeting with your family. Review the schedule for the week and set realistic expectations for office hours, meals, transportation, play dates, etc. If you have a childcare provider, outline the week for her as well. It only takes 20 minutes and gives everyone an opportunity to participate and be heard. Plus, it gives you an idea of what your top priorities will be each week so you can tackle them first!

3. Protect Your Boundaries. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your family is the gift of clearly defined boundaries. Do your kids know when you are “at work” and “at home?” Do they know the rules of when they can or cannot enter your office? Do they know how to behave when you are on the phone? (No matter how old they are!) Do they know WHO to go to when there is a babysitter in the house and mom is in the office? Do YOU know the rules about answering a work related call while playing CandyLand or teaching your teenager to drive? Do YOU respect your children by focusing on them 100% during the time you are not working? Give this area some serious thought and work with your children to create and honor boundaries that work for everyone.  

4. Write a Business Bucket List. You may already have a bucket list of fun things your children want to do this summer. But do you have a bucket list of your business goals for the summer? What are the things that you put off until summer to explore, learn or implement in your business? Are there any road trips or excursions that might be good for your business and fun for your family? Do you have a weeklong beach or mountain retreat planned that would be perfect for writing your book or several blog posts? Are there some things your children can actually help you accomplish this summer? What about your babysitter – can she sort papers or stuff envelopes or do research while the kids are napping? Make a list of business related projects and goals that are perfect for summer.

5. Get More Rest Than You Think You Need. Let’s be real – your summer isn’t filled with lazy days lounging poolside with freshly painted toenails and a frozen margarita. Last time my life looked like that was on my honeymoon! In fact, there are no lazy days of summer. Only fun filled crazy days of summer! We are a family on the go – even when we’re in slow motion. Which means I need to make sure I get a full eight hours of sleep every night – so I can keep up with my kids, my business and my health.

6. Take Advantage of Quiet Mornings. Hear me out on this one – even if you’re not a morning person, you may want to consider setting the alarm an hour earlier and brewing a pot of stronger coffee so you can tackle your biggest work projects in the peace and quiet of early morning. Sleepy teens and tweens will not even come near you at that hour. And, if you’re lucky, the younger ones will be happy to eat breakfast in their pajamas and watch Veggie Tales or go outside and play before it gets too hot. So mom will have a few hours of uninterrupted work time before the day really begins. 

7. Say No to “Opportunities” That Can Wait. It’s a myth that business is slow in the summer. Even in the corporate world where clients are on vacation and it’s difficult to schedule meetings, there is still a LOT of work to be done in the summer. People are taking advantage of lighter schedules to do some planning and creative brainstorming. That’s all great news if you are looking for work. But if you’re trying spend more time with family, then be careful not to take on anything new that will infringe on your personal time. Be especially careful not to accept a project simply because you are afraid the client will never ask you again if you refuse. Trust in your own talent and know that the work will be there when you need it – but your children are only home for a few short weeks this summer.

Whether or not you have childcare this summer, I hope these tips will help you stay productive in your home office and enjoy your family time too. When September rolls around, you will skip the neighborhood back-to-school celebration where moms send off the school bus with mimosas in hand. Instead, you’ll be one of those moms at the bus stop in tears because you’re sad to see them go. You’ll be ready to devote more time to business, but you’ll be grateful for the summer fun memories you created. (And if you’re a homeschooling mom, you’ll be all set with new schedules and boundaries that will serve you well all year long!)

What did I forget? Do you have any summer survival tips for working from home? Please share them with us here!

Theresa Ceniccola is The Christian Mompreneur—a Mentor to Moms Who are Running a Business that Supports Faith and Family. As the president and founder of the International Christian Mompreneur Network, she empowers entrepreneurial moms to build profitable businesses with wisdom and grace. Theresa has successfully run a home-based business as a freelance writer and marketing consultant for the past 18 years. She considers herself blessed to make a living doing what she loves and empowering other moms to create businesses that support their values of faith and family. Join the International Christian Mompreneur Network (it’s free!) today and you’ll receive Theresa’s Mompreneur Toolkit featuring the Ten Commandments of a Mompreneur.