Hello! Happy Monday! Welcome to our Mommy Monday feature for this week! Each week, we interview a mom business owner and get to know her a little better! We like to find out how she balances life with children and a business! We also like to hear about the marketing strategies that are working for her! Hopefully, this provides a little bit of inspiration to all of the other hard working moms out there! If you’d like to be considered for this feature, send us an e-mail! We’d love to learn about your business, too!

Today’s mom entrepreneur is Pam Howard.

What is your business?
Be Healthy Be Happy Wellness

When did you start your business?

2012

What services/products do you offer?
1-1 Health Coaching, Menu Planning e-course, Young Living Essential Oils, Group presentations, and for local customers pantry clean-outs and grocery shopping education.

How do you balance family and business?
I try to stick to working only when the kids are in school.  I almost never work weekends.

What advice do you have for other mom entrepreneurs?
Find something you love – it’s what will keep you interested and interesting!

How do your market your business?
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Newsletter

Where can we find you?

facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/behealthybehappywellness

twitter: http://www.twitter.com/phoward336

pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/phoward336

Have you ever tried Schwan’s Home Service? Did you know that they offer much more than just ice cream? I was recently contacted by one of the company’s reps, Jennifer, and offered a trial of their products. I jumped at the chance. I’ve had their ice cream many times, but hadn’t had a lot of experience with their meals. As a busy parent (can you relate?!?!), I’m all for options that make meal time easier and less stressful!

Jennifer sent me two types of stuffed chicken breasts, a hearty baked ziti meal, corn, fruit and ice cream. All the items she sent were more than enough to make three complete meals for my family of five. The order total (with $10 off for being a new customer) was just over $46. If the five of us go out to dinner, we usually spend $40. I thought the pricing was very reasonable, considering the amount and quality of the food. Schwan’s has more than 350 items to choose from, so there is a lot of variety to add to your weekly meal planning.

All of the food was delicious, and we enjoyed everything we tried. The Italian Stuffed Chicken Breasts were probably the family favorite. The frozen corn is great too; I highly recommend it. The bag is large and can last several meal times. It’s very fresh and easy to just warm in the microwave. All of the meals I prepared were easy. I thawed the chicken and tossed it in the oven, while I went about helping with homework, getting ready for evening activities, etc. The pasta went right into the oven frozen and came out great.

Schwan’s will deliver right to your home, for a low $1.75 delivery fee. It is very convenient. They have easy, online ordering and an app option too. They have convenient freezer bags as an option too, if you aren’t home or available during normal delivery times. No memberships or minimum orders are required; simply order products on an as needed basis. If you do order online, you can earn 5 percent reward points.

There literally is something for everyone. The business has been around since 1952 and really caters to the busy, health-conscious parent. They feature USDA Choice grass fed beef, free range, hormone free chicken and fruits and vegetables that are flash frozen at the peak of freshness. There are no GMOs or pesticides.

Everything I’ve tried is great and I’m definitely planning to order more! If you’d like to give it a try, Jennifer has graciously offered coupon codes for new customers.  Use JENE2 to save $5 off $25 or $10 off $50, or use JENE15 to save $15 off $75. You can also enter to win a $25 gift certificate simply by liking Jennifer’s Facebook Page, and then commenting here that you did so! Earn an extra entry if you mention what you’d try first from her site! {Contest ends Oct. 10, 2014} Good luck!

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

By Jennifer Covello

As I was preparing to write this post and thinking about the topic, I decided to take a walk down memory lane. I opened up an old notebook from my mompreneur days and I was somewhat surprised at what I saw as I turned from page to page.

While some of the writings were things for me to do on a particular day, much of the content was my notes from teleseminars, workshops, and free coaching calls about how to grow my business. I re-read these notes and there were a ton of great suggestions for me to do. Everything from hosting my own teleseminar to enhancing my blog to doing research on local moms groups. All of these were terrific suggestions from experts in the entrepreneurial world.

I did none of them. That’s right. None.

Why would I seek out the counsel of people smarter than me and then ignore what they suggested?

There are multiple reasons. Ok, not really reasons, but excuses. It’s too hard. I don’t know how to do that. I don’t want to travel. I don’t have the money. I’m too busy. I’m tired.

Excuses. We all have them. We even have some favorites like the ones I mentioned above. They keep us from losing weight, cleaning out our closets, and sadly, from growing our businesses.

They seem legitimate when we use them though, don’t they?  But really, excuses are more than that. They are lies. Plain ol’ bold-faced lies that we tell ourselves because deep down we are scared. Yep. Scared.

We’re scared to call that radio station and ask to be a guest. We’re scared to go to a networking event and meet new people. We’re scared to spend money for someone to build our website. What will happen if we do these things? What if nothing happens?

When the idea for your business first came to you, you were filled with passion and fearlessness and perseverance. But maybe you got knocked down a few times and didn’t know how to get yourself back up. So you started to make excuses for why you weren’t doing the things you needed to do to fulfill that dream. One excuse led to another and to another until…everything just stopped.

So now that you’re stuck, what do you do? How do you move from excuses to action? How do you revive the dream you had of a thriving business? Here are a few suggestions. I hope one of them will inspire you to take a step forward and throw away your excuse bag forever.

1. Get professional help.

No – I’m not talking about therapy. I’m talking about a business coach; someone who can help you re-craft your action plan, hold you accountable, and support you on your journey. “I can’t afford a business coach!” is what many of you are saying. Before you click off this post and think that I’m suggesting you spend all of your hard-earned money, take a look into free resources, like SCORE. They are all over the country and ….it’s FREE! Check them out at www.score.org

2. Re-sync your schedule.

I’ve said this before but it’s worth repeating. Take a close look at your schedule. How do you spend your time? What activities can you eliminate? Is it possible to get up 30 minutes earlier? Only you can answer these questions but I will tell you this. One year ago I decided that I needed to work out. The only way I was going to be successful was to wake up early.  So, now I wake up at 5:00 am and by 5:45 am, I am walking on my treadmill for 30 minutes, Monday through Friday. One simple change has made all the difference.

3. Start doing the things you are learning about.

Life is about learning. We should try to learn something new every day. But, when we spend all of our time learning and never doing, then it’s time to re-evaluate. Workshops and seminars are great unless you are using them as an excuse to never try the things you are learning. If you attend a class on how to do your own SEO, then go home and try one of the suggestions and see what happens. Your website or blog is not going to get found magically.  If you’re not going to do some of the things that have been suggested to you, then you’ve wasted your time even going to the seminar in the first place.

4. Look inside, not outside, for the answers.

It’s wonderful to hear successful entrepreneurs’ rags to riches stories isn’t it? So motivating. So inspiring. We all need a little inspiration and encouragement from time to time. But don’t forget that these people were once in your shoes, struggling just like you. Why did they succeed and you’re still trying to figure it all out? Perseverance. Listening to their inner voices instead of the outside world. Being afraid and doing it anyway.

To be a successful mompreneur, you have to be willing to go the distance…every day. Nothing of value will ever be accomplished by sitting still or making excuses or waiting for a miraculous discovery. As Dolvett Quince of the Biggest Loser says repeatedly to dog-tired contestants, “Hard Work. Dedication.”  That’s how you do it. That’s how your dreams come true.

And only you can make it happen.

Jennifer Covello  is The Purposeful Parent, an award-winning author, blogger, creator of Frittabello baby gifts and mother of two children. With her unique perspective on parenting coupled with her sense of humor and vast experience, Jennifer is able to relate to a variety of women and the daily challenges they face as a mom and business owner. Jennifer has been featured on both radio and TV programs for her insights about her journey from corporate “cubicle dweller” to “mompreneur” providing helpful tips and inspiration to moms and dads alike. Most recently she was on Better Connecticut Weekend Edition where she provided tips on overcoming SuperMom Syndrome. Jennifer is a native of Long Island, New York and had a corporate career in IT and Marketing. She holds a B.S. degree in Management Information Systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Marketing Management from Pace University, New York.

The Internet is a vast space with businesses all over the world vying for attention.

If you’re looking for the next step for your business, especially if you are smaller business or a start-up, you should seriously consider the value of an online presence and utilizing a .com or .net domain name! Your business can vastly improve when you make your idea “Internet Official” by registering a domain name.

Why “Internet Official” Matters

1. Become Trusted: *91 percent of consumers globally look online for local goods and services, and 56 percent do not trust a business with a website. We are in a web-reliant world that considers an online presence one of the necessary characteristics of a trustworthy operation. Want to get started now? Whether you choose .com or .net, you can rest assured knowing they’re powered by Verisign, which means they’re trusted and reliable.

2. Increase Sales: Your actual business may operate 9am-5pm, but your e-commerce site is running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! When you’re “Internet Official,” your business can reap instant rewards by being available to prospective customers any time of day.

3. Marketing Opportunities: Thanks to the infinite space that is the Internet, once you finish setting up your domain, you will become instantly available to a wide range of consumers. You can save plenty of money too, as being on the web easily costs less time and money than all of those calls, letters, flyers, etc.

4. Constant Communication: Need to announce an update? Spread some news? Enhance customer service? All of these and more are instantly handled with your “Internet Official” presence. From your FAQ page or press release updates to that simple but necessary “Contact Us” button, your site allows a quick and easy route of communication.

5. Your “Following”: Last but definitely not least, an “Internet Official” domain name is the first big step in gaining a following. Once your site is all set up, the web is your oyster to create social media that will link back to the site, creating an ongoing circle of digital life. The possibilities to gain a large following are endless, but you won’t get very far if you don’t have a website for your following to gather back to. 

Learn more about becoming Internet Official here: www.domainspoweredbyVerisign.com/InternetOfficial!

This blog post is sponsored by Verisign.

*Verisign Survey, Benefits and Barriers of Bringing a Small Business Online

 

By Theresa Ceniccola

A friend of mine recently spent an entire day volunteering her services as a retail consultant for a small shop owner who couldn’t afford to pay her. She sorted inventory, rearranged displays and even helped with pricing strategies. As I sat listening to her talk about the job, I wondered why we agree to such things. Why do intelligent, successful women give away their time and work for free?

We like to believe it’s because we are generous. We have a heart for service and we know God calls on us to care for others. So we are ready and willing to take on whatever task is asked of us. I’m guilty of it, too – I’ve agreed to far too many lunch requests with someone who wants to “pick my brain.” And I’ve offered my writing and marketing services pro-bono for dozens of organizations – each of which has a noble cause. Why? Partly because I want to. But often because I feel I have to.

When someone is in need, we help them. That’s what we do, right? That’s just the way it works.

Not exactly. I want to remind you that it doesn’t have to work that way for you. YOU don’t have to be the one to step up Every Single Time something needs to be done. And you certainly don’t need to say yes when you’re asked to give away your time and professional expertise.

Trust me – I know you have valid reasons for saying yes:

“It may lead to something bigger.”

“They can’t pay me now, but if I do a good job, I’ll be the first one they call when there is money in the budget.”

“It will look good on my resume/portfolio.”

“It’s my duty to help others in need – I’ve been blessed and I want to give back.”

“If I don’t do it, nobody will.”

There may be an element of truth to your reasons but I’m going to challenge you to say no anyway. I want to encourage you to keep your priorities (rather than the needs of others) at the forefront of your decision-making. I know that sounds selfish but it’s really more a matter of staying focused.

Giving away your time and talent is a wonderful way to serve others – as long as it doesn’t derail us from God’s plan. If you are constantly putting your own business or ministry (or worse – your family!) on the back burner while you help others, then you’re not really living your purpose.

Sometimes our desire to help others is a distraction or procrastination technique. It prevents us from doing what God is calling us to do. Because it’s easier to be in charge of the silent auction for the third year in a row than it is to write that memoir about finding Jesus and healing from addiction.

If you really want to be a good steward of all your gifts, then be wise in the way you share your time and talent. You just might discover you have more time to do the things that matter most. And – you may even improve your bottom line!

Five Tips to Stop Giving Away Your Time and Working for Free:

1. Run the Numbers. Decide on a percentage of your product or service you will provide pro-bono and don’t go above that number. For example, if you are a portrait photographer you may decide to offer one day of your time per month to a local non-profit.  If you teach a course or workshop then you may offer a certain number of scholarships for every 10 paying students. Once you choose a reasonable number and start tracking your time, you’ll feel better about saying no to additional requests because you’ll be able to quantify the pro-bono work you are already doing.

2. Adopt-a-Cause. Choose a charitable cause for the year. Devote your time and energy to serving that organization and let people know you support their cause. Then, when you have to turn down a request, you can explain that you already donate products or services to that charity.

3. Practice Your No. Sometimes I agree to do something I don’t want to do simply because I don’t know what to say. That’s why it’s important to actually write down a scripted response to any requests for pro-bono work and practice it so you don’t have to think about it. Your reply should roll off your tongue and sound sincere. It might sound something like this:

“Thanks for thinking of me but I’m not going to be able to work on this for you now. I donate 10% of my professional time to non-profit organizations and I’ve already committed to working with the Make-a-Wish Foundation by producing their monthly newsletters.”

4. Collect Resources. When you can’t help someone out, it’s a good practice to give them a referral. So take a few minutes to go through your contact list and compile a list of people or companies who may be able to fill your shoes when a certain request comes your way. But be sure these folks are open to referrals for pro-bono work before you pass along their names!

You may even create a library of helpful free resources that you could give away for free in lieu of giving away your time. Perhaps there are templates, tutorials and checklists you could create that would allow someone to do the job themselves.

5. Use a Litmus Test. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell if donating your time is a wise decision. So create your own litmus test to help you determine if the request is in alignment with your goals. Ask yourself if the request will help you gain something valuable – like developing new skills or creating relationships. If you trade your time and expertise for something you truly value, then it’s not the same as giving away your work for free. But you have to be clear on what YOU want out of the arrangement.

Let’s practice here. Tell me what you will do the next time someone asks you to donate your time or professional expertise.

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.

Hello! Happy Monday! Welcome to our Mommy Monday feature for this week! Each week, we interview a mom business owner and get to know her a little better! We like to find out how she balances life with children and a business! We also like to hear about the marketing strategies that are working for her! Hopefully, this provides a little bit of inspiration to all of the other hard working moms out there! If you’d like to be considered for this feature, send us an e-mail! We’d love to learn about your business, too!

Today’s mom entrepreneur is Elisabeth Hubbard.

What is your business?
My business is funflector® by glimling.com (glimling.com LLC)

When did you start your business?
I founded glimling.com in 2010. Production has been a roller coaster, so now we have initiated the exciting process of bringing manufacturing in under our own roof to get better predictability and quality control. I’m proud to be the only American manufacturer of EN13356 compliant reflectors. It is a European standard for these types of reflectors that has been developed over several decades in the Scandinavian countries.

What services/products do you offer?
We design, manufacture and sell fun-to-wear Scandinavian style pedestrian reflectors of our own funflector® brand. Consumers can buy online via our webshop, Amazon.comKeepAmerica.com and in brick-and-mortar stores around the US. We wholesale stock reflectors to retail and provide businesses, organizations and schools with customized logo and spirit wear reflectors.

How do you balance family and business?
Flexible hours are by far the best benefit of running your own business. It’s not that I work less, but I don’t need to ask for permission to take a day off when school is out and when they visit friends on the weekend, I tend to use that time to get some work done. Last summer, I spent 7 weeks in Sweden where I have my family. We had, of course, some vacation but when my kids attended summer school I sat down to work. I only needed someone in the US to manage our order shipping.

What advice do you have for other mom entrepreneurs?
Find a good network of local businesses so you can build your support team and learn from supporting others. Make sure to network with men as well, not only women’s network.

Don’t be afraid of trying outside-the-box solutions along with the traditional, but also don’t be afraid of letting go of things that don’t work. Listen to the advice people give you, but think about if it makes sense for you, your personality and your business before you implement them. I have got some advice that worked for me and lots of advice that didn’t. If you are an introvert, be extra skeptical to advice from extroverts 😉

How do your market your business?
Word-of-mouth, asking for referrals, networking, online presence (webshop, website, blog, social media), targeted mailing campaigns. Carefully selected local shows are also a good source for new customers and referrals.

Where can we find you?
facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/glimling

twitter: http://twitter.com/glimling

pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/glimling/

google+: http://plus.google.com/+Funflector

Hello! Happy Monday! Welcome to our Mommy Monday feature for this week! Each week, we interview a mom business owner and get to know her a little better! We like to find out how she balances life with children and a business! We also like to hear about the marketing strategies that are working for her! Hopefully, this provides a little bit of inspiration to all of the other hard working moms out there! If you’d like to be considered for this feature, send us an e-mail! We’d love to learn about your business, too!

Today’s mom entrepreneur is Kellie McGarry.

What is your business?
Nourished and New

When did you start your business?
I have been a health coach since March 2012

What services/products do you offer?
I offer Holistic Health Coaching and Body Image Coaching.  I work with women 1:1 and in groups. My next group is an Online support group called Beautiful Freedom: The Body Love Group and uses my new workbook.

How do you balance family and business?
I home school this year so I meet clients by phone or skype during the afternoon or evening, or I can meet in person on Wed. or Thursday mornings.  I work on my business whenever I have the time- such as when my kids are watching a video or after their bedtime.

What advice do you have for other mom entrepreneurs?
My advice first of all, is to be your authentic self.  Don’t try to copy other successful businesswomen, like I did at the beginning.  Know your unique personality and what makes you tick.  Get in touch with your passions and use that to motivate you and light your fire. Second, make time for self-care. Don’t be afraid to put your work aside and pamper yourself.  A burned out mom will make for a mediocre business.

How do your market your business?
I am currently marketing my business through workshops and my book that is published on Amazon.  I also enjoy attending networking meetings and making connections.

Where can we find you?
On the web
Facebook
My blog
Find my book here

When you’re at home working on your business and you’re next great idea, you’re thinking about how to promote yourself and how to get your idea to the masses. Once your idea takes off and you start building a customer base, you’ll have to work to maintain that base and continue growing at the same time.

Of the many tools in your arsenal that can help you accomplish this goal, you turn to one that we all know far too well, social media. Social media marketing is the ultimate combination of the “old” in marketing and the “new” that is the online connected age that we live in. The Internet boasts over 1.5 billion social media monthly users and plays host to over 10 billion connected devices. The potential for brand exposure is extraordinary and fervently taking to the Facebook and Twitter skies is enticing. But just like everything in marketing and business, you need a plan and you need some basic know how.

Once you move you begin to build your online social presence you’ll need to keep your followers engaged and wanting more. Social media accounts aren’t just there for cute pictures and basic contact info, they are there as part of your marketing strategy and will serve as an invaluable tool on your path to brand growth and sustainability. Consumers today expect active use of social media more than they appreciate it and pleasing the modern consumer is a most.

Visual customer service is the integration and extension of the brand-customer interaction in an online social setting. Being able to communicate with your currently and prospective customers is essential especially when you’re running a business from home. Social media serves well not only for communication but for actual engagement. Allowing your customers the forum to interact with you, engage, give feedback, and experience your product and your service will help you retain your customers by making them feel truly cared for and connected with.

The effort you put into your visual customer service will shine through in your customer retention, and what is ultimately the goal, your customer’s advocacy of your product, service, or brand on social media. If you make a good enough impression then you’ll earn the ultimate prize, word of mouth.

There are various platforms that can be used to implement visual customer service as part of your overall plan, each as useful and unique as the next. The beauty of today’s visually driven social media platforms is that consumers enjoy more, engage more often, and are more likely to return to visual mediums than text based ones. So as well as managing these platforms, you have to prioritize creating good visual content for them.

Check out this infographic “Visual Customer Service in the Social Age” for a great breakdown of the different social media platforms that business todays are using for their customer service and engagement. You’ll learn that each has it’s own advantages and unique strategies for use, as well as some ideas of how to angle your approach for each. So take a look and remember to implement visual customer service in your plans!

 

Are you going to The Founding Moms Conference? We highly recommend that you do! The Founding Moms is a collective of offline meetups and online resources where mom entrepreneurs exchange, connect and learn from one another. Incredible women living right in your backyard meet up to swap start-up stories, interact with renowned business experts, and build personal and professional connections within the ever-growing network of mom-owned businesses. They’re currently in 43 cities (9 countries!) around the world with 8,000+ members. In 2013, Forbes named them one of the Top 10 Websites for Women Entrepreneurs  and in 2014, its founder Jill Salzman was called a “mommy mogul” by CNNMoney.

If you’re ready to learn from the best — folks like Christie Hefner and Barbara Stanny are speaking — and want to be inspired about building your small business, then head to this link to grab your ticket before they’re sold out!

About us :: The Founding Moms is a collective of offline meetups and online resources where mom entrepreneurs exchange, connect and learn from one another. Incredible women living right in your backyard meet up to swap start-up stories, interact with renowned business experts, and build personal and professional connections within the ever-growing network of mom-owned businesses. They’re currently in 43 cities (9 countries!) around the world with 8,000+ members. In 2013, Forbes named them one of the Top 10 Websites for Women Entrepreneurs  and in 2014, its founder Jill Salzman was called a “mommy mogul” by CNNMoney.

About Jill :: She’s a serial entrepreneur. A mom of 2. An published author. A “do-it evangelist.” An avid tweeter. Co-host of the renowned podcast, Breaking Down Your Business. Star of the new video series Tip Top Tips for Entrepreneurs. And best friends with Stephen Colbert, even if he does not know it yet.  

 

I was recently asked to review an Epson WorkForce WF-3640, all-in-one printer. The gracious folks at Epson sent me a unit for review. The printer really does everything I want it to; print, copy, scan and fax. It connects to Wi-Fi and is very easy to set up and use.

One of the key features that I was looking for was the ability to easily print from my iPad and iPhone. The WF-3640 does that easily, as well as from my laptop and desktop. The Epson Connect feature basically allows you to print and share from anywhere, which is a definite plus. Here are some other great key features:

Printing

The unit has print speeds of 19 ISO ppm for black and 10 ISO ppm for color. It also automatically prints two-sided to save up to 50 percent of your paper! It also allows you to collate and remove punched holes or shadows.

Capacity

The paper tray holds up to 500 sheets of paper, meaning you have to load it less frequently. And, there is a second rear tray for cardstock, envelopes and labels.

Touch screen

The WF-3640 features a 3.5” color LCD touch screen with gesture navigation, making all of the features on the unit easy to use.

Technology

The unit features PrecisionCore Inkjet technology which is  a new printing technology using a revolutionary high-density print chip which can generate up to 40 million precise dots per second with astonishing accuracy, producing professional quality output at dramatic speeds.

Epson is also environmentally friendly, which I think is really great! According to the Epson website, the WF-3640 is equipped with these ECO features:

  • Uses up to 70% less power than laser printers
  • Save up to 50% on paper with automatic, two-sided printing / copying
  • ENERGY STAR® qualified
  • RoHS compliant
  • Recyclable product
  • Epson America, Inc. is a SmartWaySM Transport Partner

If you are in the market for a new printer, scanner, copier or fax machine for your home office, the WF-3640 is a great option. It’s compact and because of the Wi-Fi connection, you can place it anywhere throughout your home or office. The printing quality is great and it’s easy to set up with your established technology.

The WF-3640 is available online for $149.99 after an instant $50 rebate and qualifies for free ground shipping. The all-in-one printer includes four DURABrite ultra ink cartridges, an instruction manual, CD-ROM for setup and power cord. A USB cable is not included in the packaging, so if you aren’t using the Wi-Fi option you will need one of those.

In addition to the website, you can also find Epson via social media at Facebook.com and on Twitter!

Do you have an all-in-one device in your office? What are the biggest benefits? How does it make your work-life easier? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

*I was supplied with a WF-3640 free of charge in order to write this product review. However, all opinions are my own.