By Lara Galloway

So you decided to start a business of your own, which is amazing in and of itself. You’re smart, ambitious and a hard worker. But there’s just one thing that keeps getting in your way. Or maybe two or three things. Or it could be that you have several of these things—those little darlings you love with all your heart—that need your attention pretty much all the time. If your kids would just take care of themselves, you could get your work done, right? What’s a mom entrepreneur to do if she can’t afford (or, for a variety of reasons) can’t get the help of a babysitter when she needs to work?

Many moms opt to work from home so they can avoid having to pay for childcare. They figure they can watch over their kids and get some work done while the children busy themselves with other things. However, when you are working with your children nearby, they will always trump whatever work plans you have. This is hard to admit for some moms who truly consider their families and their businesses their top priorities. They make plans to work while their kids are napping or playing independently or watching TV. But the minute someone wakes up, gets bored, hurt or hungry, or just utters that magic word—“Mom”— attention shifts to the children and away from work. Getting interrupted constantly while trying to work leaves you, your family and most likely your customers feeling frustrated. So why do so many moms attempt running their own companies without the help of childcare?

If you’re just starting out in your business, you may feel that you can’t justify more expenses like childcare when you aren’t yet making much money. Sometimes geography is the problem. One of my clients lives out in the middle of Alberta on a farm and her closest neighbor (and babysitter) is a 45 minute drive away, making it highly inconvenient to rely on a sitter to help her work during the day. And some mom business owners (like myself) simply want to spend time with their kids in the summer rather than putting them in fulltime camps.

Here are three creative childcare solutions that have been a life-saver for me and many of the mom entrepreneur clients I coach. Best of all? Two of them are completely free and the third is very inexpensive.

Create a Babysitting Co-op: Round up a few neighbors who have kids about the same age as yours. Rather than paying for a sitter, trade babysitting with these other moms. Your children will love having some playmates to keep them stimulated and active. Then when it’s your turn to get some work done, one of your co-op members can have your kids over and give you a few hours of quiet time. Starting our babysitting co-op 12 years ago was one of the smartest things I ever did. My kids loved all the playdates they had, and all the other moms and I became close friends who knew we could count on each other. I was able to schedule time to work free of distractions while knowing my babies were happy and safe.

Do the Mompreneur Tango: Shifting your attention between work and your little humans is sort of like a dance, so I call it a tango. It may seem a little complicated, but it’s beautiful when done well. The idea is to alternate between giving your focus to your kids and to your work in small chunks of time. For instance: When your children wake up, start the day with some snuggles, breakfast together, and getting dressed for the day (an hour or so of time). During this time, do not try to multitask at all (put your phone and computer in another room!), but instead give your children all of your love and energy so they feel happy and satisfied. Let them know to expect that you will soon be giving them some independent play time while you will be working. Tell them how long you will take—perhaps an hour or so, depending on the age of your children—and stick to it. For younger kids, give them a kitchen timer set for 30, 45 or 60 minutes, and tell them that when it dings they can bring it to you and you will stop working and play with them.

When work time/independent play time ends, it’s time for your next chunk of quality time with the kids. Do an activity, go play outside, hit a park for a couple of hours. Remind them to expect that when that activity is done, you will have another chunk of work/independent play time. Repeat this throughout the day so you can get your work done in small spurts. The key to making this work is building trust with your children by setting expectations and sticking to them. If you keep working past the time you say you’ll stop, then they will quickly learn to keep interrupting you.

Hire a Mother’s Helper: Babysitters charge top dollar for their services, but you can hire a mother’s helper for much less (even for free) to come over and play with your children while you’re home. I had a 10-year-old neighbor girl come play with my boys who were 4 and 6 after school a couple times a week. The boys had a ton of energy and loved playing upstairs or in the backyard with her. I was around if anyone needed me, but I could give my work my attention knowing the kids were safe and happy. She was able to practice her babysitting skills in a safe environment with me always present, my kids had a fun playmate, and I was able to work in peace. It was a win for all of us!

If you’re struggling to run your business while simultaneously caring for your children, I feel your pain! Hopefully you can use one or more of these creative childcare solutions to keep you, your family and your customers happy.

Lara Galloway, The Mom Biz Coach and co-author of Moms Mean Business—A Guide to Creating a Successful Company and a Happy Life as a Mom Entrepreneur, is an author, speaker and coach to women business owners who want to work less, make more, and love the work they do. Her passion is helping entrepreneurs create and run successful businesses and live happy lives. She’s the host of the popular MomBiz Solutions Show on BlogTalkRadio She lives with her husband and three kids in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Connect with her at www.mombizcoach.com or on Twitter and Facebook: MomBizCoach.

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 Jennifer Erickson.

What is your business?
Children’s Directory

When did you start your business?
It was started by myself and a partner in 2007. In 2009 I took over full time and have been operating solo ever since.

What services/products do you offer?
We are a family resource guide promoting family friendly places, services and products that we think make life with kids so much easier! Behind the scenes of the blog we work with local companies, service providers and national brands to spread their message through integrated marketing campaigns and blogger outreach programs.

How do you balance family and business?
It’s tough being the only parent raising a rascal and balancing a career. My biggest issue is knowing when to shut down for the day. I tend to just put everything off between the hours of 3pm and 8pm Monday thru Friday, which is dedicated to the boy and his needs and then as soon as he starts snoring (he won’t admit it but he snores) I am back at it and have been known to burn the midnight oil ending up exhausted and a tad bit cranky by the end of the week! I am however very conscious of my need to fully unplug and have been making some pretty good progress lately!

What advice do you have for other mom entrepreneurs?
Enjoy your kids and family. I took 6 years off from my full time career and it was the best thing for me. I know it’s not for everyone but for me having that time to focus on family was exactly what I needed.

How do your market your business?
Social media is a big part of our strategy. Facebook and Twitter are our favorite platforms as well as a couple of blogging networks that have helped share our content. We are active in our community and maintain excellent relationships with the brands that we work with so really it’s all about building and maintaining the relationship with connections made along the way.

Where can we find you?

Facebook:: www.facebook.com/childrensdirectoryfanpage

Twitter:: www.twitter.com/kidsdirectory

Instagram:: www.instagram.com/kidsdirectory

Pinterest:: www.pinterest.com/kidsdirectory

We are also on Google + and Youtube more ways to connect are on our website: www.childrensdirectory.net

 

Are you a stay-at-home mom who would like to make some extra cash in your free time? Starting a blog may be a great way to do that. Blogging can offer you the ability to do share things you enjoy while working as little or as much as you like. By monetizing your blog, it can also be a source of income for you and your family.

Here are some helpful steps on how to start your own ‘mommy’ blog.

First, you need to decide what topic(s) your blog is going to focus on. What are you going to write about? Do you have a hobby or a strong area of interest that would make sense to center your blog around? If not, are you going to write just about the happenings in your family? Or, will it maybe be a combination of both?

Deciding your subject matter is a critical component. Successful blogs are those that update consistently with new, fresh content. Don’t limit yourself too much when it comes to content, but also don’t make your topic base too broad.

After you determine what you are going to write about, you can choose a title. Once you have some ideas for what to call your blog, do some research. You’ll need to make sure that you’re not infringing on anyone else’s existing copyright. You’ll also want to make sure that the domain name is available for purchase.

Purchasing your domain name and choosing a host is the next step. Sites like GoDaddy.com offer domain names relatively inexpensively. There are free blogging hosts like Blogger and some other inexpensive ones such as WordPress and Squarespace. Inspect them a little, do some research and choose one that seems the most user-friendly and practical to you.

Blogging is like any business, you want to establish a strong brand. So, you need a professional look. Having a professional help you with the design is a good idea.

Then, you need a plan of action for posting. Plan how often you will post and specific topics that you will cover. This helps with the overall organization of your blog, as well as helps you stay accountable and on task.

After you’ve established your blog, you’ll want to consider the ways in which you’ll monetize it and make some cash. You can consider things like affiliate links, paid advertising placements, reviews and giveaways and Google AdWords.

Blogging can be a rewarding experience. Good luck to you! Feel free to leave your questions in the comments!

It’s a big dilemma if you have a child, and you discover a pest infestation in your home. What do you do about having pest control work carried out? It’s something that many parents may be concerned about.

In reality there isn’t really anything to worry about if you hire a licensed professional to do the job. They have all the knowledge and experience necessary to carry out the work safely and to advise you of what actions you need to take. If you want more information about professional pest control methods click here.

What do you need to be aware of if your child has asthma?

It is true that pesticides can have an adverse effect on people who suffer from asthma, they can cause an attack to happen. This is more likely to be the case if the sufferer is a child as their immune system is yet to fully develop.

This information may make you think that it’s not a good idea to have your home treated with pesticides if your child has asthma; this isn’t the case. The pesticides used by pest control experts are at a low level of concentration which is fatal to the pests but is not harmful to humans, as long as safety precautions are followed. One of these precautions is the requirement to stay away from treated surfaces until the pesticide used is dry.

You will need to make sure this is adhered to by all humans and pets in your home. In addition, if your child has asthma, making them more susceptible to the effects of pesticides you may be advised to keep your child out of the property while treatment is taking place, and while the pesticide is drying.

The professionals will advise you of the actions you need to take, and as long as you follow their advice you and your children will be completely safe.

Why is it important to make sure pest control is carried out?

One thing you should always remember is that it’s vital to call a pest control expert if you have a problem. You shouldn’t be prevented from calling them because your child has asthma. All you need to do is advise them of the fact and they will make sure that everyone remains safe and well during and after the extermination process.

It’s important to note that if you don’t deal with the problem effectively the pests themselves can cause problems with your child’s asthma. Both pest droppings, and cockroaches have allergens that can bring on asthma attacks. If you don’t deal with your pest problem this is likely to happen.

If you have a child with asthma you are protecting them by calling the pest control experts. The professionals will tell you exactly what you need to do for you and your child to remain safe while they concentrate on giving you a pest free home.

 

If you are in need of pest control in Winston Salem, visit our sponsor Clegg’s Pest Control.

By Monika Labbé

“Public relations is both an art and science, but the most important thing to remember is authenticity.”  If you don’t have a good product that you can represent authentically, more PR will just kill your company faster. ~Aishwarya Iyer

Do you already have an awesome product and unbelievable customer service experience? If you have a very happy client on your hands, take a moment and ask them if they would be open to sharing their experience in a short video. They can just use their first name and you can post the client feedback directly to your blog, website or on your youtube channel. There is nothing better than real people talking about your company.

If you don’t already, then may I suggest supporting charitable causes and silent auctions. When you partner with them it helps build positive brand sentiment. The best way to do this is to lead a charitable initiative that ties in directly with your core initiative. When you know your target market you can bet it helps to tie in any products and services that would be beneficial to them. I have gained lots of new clients through offering items through silent auctions, and attending as a guest so that I can directly connect with the winner.

For me entering personal competitions either for entrepreneurs or for your specialty is a great way to get my name out in the industry and the community. There are also business plan competitions which are great for start-ups. You can find a list of them here: Business Plan Competitions

Establish an on-line presence on social media platforms, and not just Facebook and Twitter. Explore Google +, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Foursquare.

Reach out to websites that profile entrepreneurs or that speak to the product or service that you provide. Find a site that does interviews for example and you can speak about your small business and it’s offerings. Another resource is Lithium formerly Klout. It reshapes the future of the digital customer experience. If you’ve ever thought about pitching to journalists directly then Klout will help.

Become a speaker and speak at different conferences, like the small business expo, or a community college or a university. Often there is a business course being taught that you can tie into.

Lastly, hosting an event could be another great option, especially if you have office space or know someone that does. You can either use the space after hours for an evening event or use it during the day if you get a lot of foot traffic. Use that time to talk about your company and the products or services you provide.

The key to effective PR for your business is doing these items on a consistent basis. Connect with other in the industry and make your business be the best in can be.

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

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 Gina Almonte.

What is your business?
Refresh-a-Baby, Inc.

When did you start your business?
2012

What services/products do you offer?
Refresh-a-Baby turns water bottles and other baby beverage bottles like “ready-made” baby formula bottles and juice bottles into baby bottles, anytime, anywhere keeping baby hydrated and happy on-the-go! It’s 100% Made in the USA and BPA Free!

How do you balance family and business?
Very carefully!  I have to shut down a little while when my son comes home from school for homework time, snack, to hear about his day, and a little outdoor activity. It is very hard to do this when there are so many deadlines, but your child is only young once and I refuse to miss out on his life.  My work can wait a little for quality time needed with my son.

What advice do you have for other mom entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  There are plenty of resources out there and willing people to help if you just ask you’ll find it and it will make a world of difference. 

How do your market your business?
I have been mainly marketing organically via word of mouth and social media, but also through trade shows and occasional print opportunities.

Where can we find you?

facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/RefreshABaby

twitter: https://twitter.com/RefreshB

pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/refreshababy/

youtube: http://youtu.be/S4JCOYiEixA

linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/gina-almonte/59/626/597/

By Prerna Malik

Have you been struggling with a Facebook page that looks like a ghost town?

Do your posts reach next to no one?

Does it seem like your fans don’t “like” you even though they like your page?;)

Well, then, my friend, I have just the solution for you – seriously simple but superbly effective ways to boost engagement organically on your Facebook page, like, right now!

1. Ask a Question, But Not Any Question

Yes, everyone asks questions, but do they get answered?

Um, not really?

The idea is to ask a question that your audience will LOVE to answer, will want to answer, will jump over each other to answer. You get my point, right.

How do you know which question to ask then?

You spend some time understanding what your audience specializes in. You play on their strengths, you focus on their needs, wants, desires and then, you ask.

So, spend some time identifying what your audience would love to share, ask, know, find out and then, ask? Also, make your questions interesting. You can share a snippet, a fact, a photo even, and then, ask a question.

2. Share a Photo, But Not Any Photo

Photos, too, are really popular with Facebook fans and tend to go viral fast. But again, don’t share just any photo.

Share one that your readers would relate to. Share one that stirs up emotions. Share a photo that would spur your readers into action.

And yes, don’t forget the call to action. Ask your readers to like or share the photo should they agree with what it depicts.

Tell your fans what you’d like them to do and chances are they will. They are your fans, after all.

3. Take Your Community Behind-the-Scenes

This is a fantastic way to show the person behind the page, so to speak. You can combine the photo idea in the point above and share a photo of one part of your home office every day.

At the end of the week, you’ll have a nice little album that readers can look at and know more about how you do business.

4. Host a Giveaway or a Contest

The evergreen. The favorite for every online marketer. The Facebook contest.

First things first, run the contest in accordance with Facebook guidelines.  You can read the latest guidelines here.

Make the contest or giveaway simple and fun to enter and have a prize that your tribe will love.

5. Answer, Share, Invite

Finally, make sure that your fan page is a place fans would want to congregate and commune at.

Make it inviting. If there are comments, acknowledge them. If there are questions, answer them. Invite people to share by asking them to do so.  

Make your online presence an engaging one just as you do in real life.

Ready to go all awesome with the engagement on your page? Get 600+ ready-to-use social media updates for your community with The Social Spread A year’s worth of updates for less than $0.50/day. Use your exclusive coupon code MARKETMOMMY to save 20% on it.

When she isn’t socializing online, Prerna Malik and her husband work together at Social Media Direct offering gourmet content and community management solutions for time-starved business owners. She can also be found at The Mom Writes, sharing their life with their daughter, Manini, and simple ways for busy moms to do more with less.

 

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 Mary Bertsch.

What is your business?
Ind. Avon Sales Representative
Blogs:
http://beautywithmary.com
and http://thinkbeautytoday.com

When did you start your business?
2008

What services/products do you offer?
Avon sells beauty products for your whole family. Beauty and fashion bargains include Avon Anew, an Avon skin care product and Skin So Soft, an Avon bath product. Other popular products are Avon makeup, women fashions, women and men’s fragrances, kid’s clothes and bath products, Avon jewelry, home fashions, and breast cancer, empowerment, and inspirational products.

How do you balance family and business?
Avon is perfect for anyone who has a family. I work my Avon business while running errands. I also market Avon online when I am at home. I don’t even have to leave home to work. I also work my Avon business around helping my daughter and babysitting my precious granddaughters.

What advice do you have for other mom entrepreneurs?
Work your business consistently. Never give up. Make yourself weekly goals. You will love the rewards you receive. Remember everyone started at the bottom. Be encouraged by top reps in your business.

How do your market your business?
I promote Avon by handing out brochures at different businesses I stop at. Everyone knows me as the Avon Lady at our local gym, where I leave Avon brochures. I also love to market Avon online. If you are active in social media, promote Avon to your friends. With Avon, you get a free website to sell to anyone in the US. If you love to write, start up a beauty blog and share the new products and brochures. Today everyone loves to shop online.

Where can we find you?

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/100218494201326145099

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mauvemary

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/avonskintips/

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/avoncatalog/

You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/mauvemary

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AvonCatalogOnline

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 Julie Mangan.

What is your business?
My Puke Pot by A Better Way, Inc.

When did you start your business?
We began selling online and in stores in 2012.

What services/products do you offer?
We manufacture and sell colorful buckets called My Puke Pot for those times when a loved one or friend is sick.  Our goal is to make illnesses a little more bearable by offering a comforting alternative to a germy toilet or trashcan.  My Puke Pot comes in a variety of bright colors and can be personalized with our decorative waterproof stickers.  We proudly make My Puke Pot in the USA!

How do you balance family and business?
I am the mother of 3 teenagers.  Luckily, I am able to spend my days working from home while they are at school. My evenings and weekends are all about family time.  Because we run an online business, there is a lot of flexibility in my schedule.  However, like all busy moms, I often have to juggle many things at once, so being organized and setting priorities is important to being productive.

What advice do you have for other mom entrepreneurs?
If you have a great idea for a new business, go for it!  Be sure to surround yourself with people who support you and offer exciting ideas and sound advice.  I have a wonderful business partner, Gioia Herrmann, who has been with me from the beginning and has been an invaluable asset to our business.

How do your market your business?
We market My Puke Pot through word of mouth, trade shows, various social media sites and donations to a local hospital. 

Where can we find you?

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MyPukePot

twitter: https://twitter.com/mypukepot

pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mypukepot/

By Abbey Fatica

So you’ve got this amazing business and have started marketing and sharing with others. That’s great! You have taken that leap of faith to show the world how excited you are about your new venture  As you get out more into the market place, you come to realize that there is someone out there plugging the same or similar idea and they are doing it better, getting more sales, growing faster and stronger than you. Your initial adrenaline and excitement has worn off and you actually start to wonder if your business is good enough. The questions start popping up like: what more can I do, why is so and so out selling me, am I in the right industry, they must be better than me? Then you start questioning yourself who am I to think I could do this, who am I kidding that person is way better than me, they have more experience, I should just give up now. 

And you know what I say to that ENOUGH!  Just STOP! Where is that excitement you had when you started your business? Remember the dream of going to the top and making it! You are letting your ego get the best of you by comparing yourself to others. And that is going to get you on a fast track to nowhere. 
I recently saw this post that said these are the 8 things that you need to give up now. And this is not just for business but for life:
-Doubting Yourself
-Negative Thinking
-Fear of Failure
-Criticizing yourself and others
-Negative self talk
-Procrastination
-Fear of Success
-People Pleasing
I’d like to add one more things to that list: Don’t Complain 
If you do need to complain then seriously give yourself a timer and only complain for 5 minutes and be done. No one really wants to hear your problems and you don’t want to bring others down. It is is good to hash out your feelings but let’s not dwell on them. Instead take a minute and focus on the good in your life. You’ve got this amazing business that you know will be the way to set you free.
 
Instead of questioning yourself and watching others surpass you because you are more worried about what others are doing, just let go of the distractions and the negative thoughts that are swirling around in your head. I know this sounds easier said than done, but the key is to stay focused on the task at hand and to stay in action. When you are diligently working then those negative thoughts don’t have a place in your head. When you are fulfilling your passion then there is no room for fear or your ego to come in and tell you that you can’t do this. You totally can do this as long as you put your blinders and earmuffs on. Follow your gut because this opportunity came to you for some reason. So go with it and tackle with everything you’ve got! 
Now, as I tell my team, when that voice pops into your head of self-doubt or worry then take a step back and think is this truly serving me for the greater good of what I’m trying to do? Is this really a thought I need in my head? How is this moving me forward? 
If you are like me, you will get a pit in your stomach literally telling you that something is not right and that you need to move on. Three serious deep breaths usually do the trick and I’m ready to get back on track. With these breaths you are pushing that negative energy out of your body so that it has no where to live. 
You WILL reach the goals you set out to achieve. Just stay the course and don’t quit and the rewards will start rolling in. It might some time and you will have set backs, but just stay positive and remember that you are not your ego and it does not have to survive. Just give it the old heave ho and kick the negative thoughts and your ego to the curb! You GOT this!

Abbey Fatica is a mom of four that has transformed her lifestyle by being committed to being healthy and fit. She loves helping other moms feel comfortable in their skin and achieve their dreams. She created Reinventing Moms after coming to the realization that she needed to regain control of her physical and financial life.   Knowing that her purpose is to help moms who are unhappy with their current situation to get back to a healthy, fit body and achieve their desired lifestyle makes it easy to ask “How Can I Help YOU Today?”