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By Theresa Ceniccola

Do you have a gift for writing, graphic design, photography, videography, web development or some other marketable skill? Let’s talk about how you can put those skills to use as a freelancer and bring in some extra cash! I’ve been a freelance writer and marketing consultant for more than 20 years and I’ve experienced the highs and lows… the feast and famine… the pain and gain of the freelancer life.

Without a doubt, the best thing about freelance work is the flexibility. A freelancer can set her own schedule, choose the projects she wants to work on and say no to anything (or anyone) that doesn’t suit her needs. And, if she sets herself up correctly, she can enjoy a full-time income doing part time work…from home…wearing yoga pants…while the children are sleeping.  (Sounds perfect, right!?)

I recently had the honor of sharing my experience as a freelancer with a group of bloggers at the Type A Conference in Atlanta by presenting a session entitled “How to Get Paid to Write.” I’d like to share some of the best tips here for you! While the focus was on writing, much of what we discussed applies to any type of freelance work.

Ten Tips for Getting High Paying Freelance Gigs:

1. Let go of your ego. When you freelance for a company or organization, you have to set your creative ego aside. There are no bylines, credits or awards for most freelance work in the corporate world. There’s no room for getting offended or defensive. But there is room for getting paid! So my best advice is to find some creative outlet that will feed your ego, and let your freelance work feed your family.

2. Stop charging by the hour. Successful freelancers will tell you that the best way to charge for services is by the project – not by the hour. This one shift in thinking can dramatically improve your bottom line and your efficiency. If you are scared to make the switch, talk to a friend or colleague who can remind you of this truth: YOU are worth it!

3. Narrow your niche. Freelancers make up 34% percent of the workforce, with more than 53 million people. So if you want to succeed as a freelancer, you have to figure out what makes you different. Define your niche either by industry or specialty. And don’t be afraid to put your stake in the ground as an expert in that niche.

4. Take yourself seriously. The concern most corporate clients have about freelancers is stability. “If I hire this person to build our website, will she disappear a month later and leave us without support?” Don’t be that person. That’s the kind of person who gives freelancers a bad name. Instead, be the kind of person who is all in! Establish a legal entity for your freelance business. Get an official business license. Open a business checking account. File taxes. Get serious. Be real.

5. Polish up your LinkedIn profile.  If you’re “out on your own” you may be enjoying all the potential of Twitter, Pinterest, Periscope, Instagram or Facebook. But don’t overlook LinkedIn when it comes to attracting high-paying corporate clients. Make sure your profile is up to date, and join a few groups in your industry or niche.

6. Send warm letters. The number one way freelancers get work is through word of mouth. Like real estate agents and direct sales consultants, they thrive on the referrals of others. So when you are just getting started, you have to tap into your own personal referral network. Send a personal letter to everyone you know, telling them about your work and asking them to give you a referral if they know anyone who might be interested in hiring you. I know it’s uncomfortable. But it works.

7. Stay in touch. The second most common way freelancers get work is through repeat business. That means their clients continue to hire them for additional projects. As you begin to develop relationships with clients, you’ll want to find a way to stay in touch after your first assignment comes to an end. Do whatever feels natural to you – some people send newsletters, others make phone calls or send birthday cards.

8. Go the extra step. To secure that important repeat business, you’ll need to be better than your competition. Not only will you need to have exceptional skills but you’ll need to take the extra step that others are not willing to take. That might mean submitting your feature story along with ten tweets your client didn’t ask for but can certainly use to promote the article. Or surprising a client with 500 new business cards when you complete a website project. How can you impress your clients?

9. Hang out with clients. Think about the last conference or tradeshow you attended. Was it filled with colleagues or clients? Most of us tend to stay in our comfort zone. We attend events where we can network with peers and develop our skills. That’s important to do, but it doesn’t lead to clients. Try to determine which events your potential clients attend on a regular basis and make it a point to be there. Better yet, get a speaking gig at the event and position yourself as a resource.

10. Study your craft. As you build your client roster, you will soon discover that you are busier than you expected. Not only will you be doing your freelance work, but you may also be keeping the books, doing the administrative work and marketing for new business. Don’t forget to take time out on a regular basis to study your craft. Don’t lose sight of what your “real job” is and the importance of staying at the top of your field.

What did I forget? Do you have any suggestions for getting high-paying freelance jobs?

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.

We are still a couple of weeks away from Halloween but the holidays will be upon us before we know it. Every year it’s the same story in my house, no matter how early I start planning and preparing I’m still left racing around on Christmas Eve picking up last minute odds and ends and that one unexpected gift.  I’ve shifted my own preparations into  high gear and started executing the plans for certain loved ones on my Christmas list with the hope that I can get the major gifts out of the way early. I’ve taken a new approach to gift giving over the past couple of years that has alleviated some of the pressure of what to get for those in my family who seem to have everything, which is pretty much all of them.

I love experiential gift giving, finding a cool new activity or local destination and creating a fun experience is far better than adding more stuff to the never ending pile of things accumulating in every room and closet in the house.

We are very lucky to live where we do in BC, Canada as we are really close to a number of cool destinations that fit the bill perfectly for a fun weekend getaway that makes the kids ( young and old) eyes light up.

The challenge with these experiential gifts is how to present them. We all know it’s the thought that counts and having something tangible shouldn’t be necessary but it is nice to have a little something waiting for you to open up on Christmas morning.

Here are our top three experiential gifts and how we presented them.

1. The Wine Tour

This is a favourite gift for my girlfriends or even for a nice couples getaway. Plan your getaway for a weekend in the Spring book your accommodations and create a map and itinerary for your tours. Once the logistics are taken care of it’s time to wrap up a cute little package that tells the story of your upcoming getaway.

  • Pick up a postcard of the destination you’re heading to and write down the details of the trip on the back.
  • Print out your itinerary and map on fancy paper. I’ve even had them laminated before and attached a pocket sharpie so you can write notes about your favorite wineries, etc.
  • I adore these wine journals and they make a great addition for the serious wine lover in the goup.
  • These travel wine glasses are always a huge hit and are handier than you’d think.
  • Lastly, include a bottle of wine either from a local winery or one from the destination ou’re heading to for them to enjoy before the trip.

2. The Snowboarding/ Ski/ Snow Shoeing/ Sledding (or any other snowy activity) Experience

We have loads of local mountains right in our backyard and we do our best to get to them all at least a few times each season. It’s the ones that are a bit further away (2-3 hour drive) that we can’t get to on a whim that we try to plan a bit of a more substantial visit. So just like the wine tour I’ve taken care of all of the logistics and then wrapped up essentials for the trip. Whether it’s a new set of snow shoes, a new sled or even new snowboarding or skiing gear. This can make this a really expensive experience but if it’s something that is loved it’s totally worth it. To keep this type of gift in a lower price range you can nix the snow going equipment in favour of a warm up basket stocked with a new scarf, gloves and toque plus all the fixings for hot chocolate by the fire at whatever chalet you end up at. (Maybe some cozy pj’s as well)

3. The Tropical Destination

We have in past years opted to forego the multiple gifts under the tree in favour of a family trip to a tropical destination to escape the bitter winter cold. One year a friend and I decided to take the kids to the Dominican Republic partly a Christmas gift partly their birthday gift as they are just days apart and born very close to Christmas it was the perfect getaway for the moms and the kids. They each got a cool new beach bag stocked with all of the beach going essentials.

  • Suncreen
  • Sunglasses
  • New Swim Suit
  • Flip Flops
  • Snorkel Gear
  • Inflatable Pool Toys
  • Lots of cool activity books and funky crayons to keep them occupied on the flight.
  • One of those waterporof disposable cameras (I was suprised they still made them) plus the photos that resulted were priceless keepsakes of our trip through the eyes of our pint-sized travelers.

How are you branding YOURSELF on Social Media? Sure, you have probably read everything about getting exposure for your business and taken countless trainings on how to market your company, BUT how are you branding yourself???

Ok, so you are probably thinking, I spend all my time working on my business, why do I need to brand myself on social media. My business is the most important thing.

Let me pose this question: Are you reaching ALL your potential customers with your company’s social media pages? Odds are, probably not. You could be paying for ads that aren’t reaching your ideal customer. And if you aren’t paying for ads, then are you getting the engagement you want on your page? If not, the algorithms are not playing in your favor and exposure is low which means your page is not very effective.

As a small business owner, it is your responsibility to represent your company in all facets of social media. You need to be the brand and face of your business. Since many entrepreneurs are in charge of their own social media, you need to be embracing your personal social media pages as well.

Let me paint a picture for you: people are loving your brand, they are loving the product or service you are providing and then they go to do a little more research on the company especially the person behind the curtain.

They start Googling you and find amazing articles and interviews that show how awesome other people think you are. Curiosity sinks in and they start following your personal page on Facebook or Instagram. It turns out it’s not quite what they thought it was going to be. There is a strong disconnect between your business and your personal brand. Your page is full of unoriginal posts, shared posts, game requests, candy crush scores out the wazoo, political rants, obscene pictures of you getting wasted at a family party or worst yet it’s ONLY posts about your company.

All of a sudden the brand they loved is something they are questioning now. All they wanted was to get to know the owner and with this, they really are seeing a side of you that is incongruent with the message your company is putting out there.

Enhancing your personal brand on social media is going shift the whole landscape of your business. It will open up a brand new network of customers that might have never even come into your scope because you chose to forget a major outlet that you were unaware of tapping into.

How do I do this without turning my friends away but instead turning them into paying customers or even better REFERRALS!!??!!

It’s all about authenticity and giving them a peek into your amazing life without flat out selling or pushing a product 24/7. Think about it, when you log onto Facebook in the morning, do you sit down at your computer and say “hmm, what am I going to buy from Facebook today?”

NO!

You are going on to see what your friends are doing: who had a baby, who went on an amazing trip, who ate what and basically being a voyeur into their lives. It’s fun and that’s what it’s all about. You like and you comment because it’s interesting not because you want to buy something from your friends.

Let me let you in on a formula that has worked well with my business. If you go onto my personal page, you can easily figure out that I do something in the health and wellness field, but that’s what I do, it’s not who I am.

Who I am is a positive person, pouring motivation and inspiration into others, a mom who loves posting pictures of her kids, a woman who shares her travels and adventures and how she incorporate fitness and running into her busy life!

This is a general formula I use when planning out what I will post during the week:

10 lifestyle posts: meaningful posts with pictures of your family, your amazing life and all over positive posts. No political rants or negativity on your page.

4 posts somewhat inferring about your business: giving your friends a glimmer of what you are doing. Are you traveling somewhere fun for your business? Can you take a picture with your product placed in the background? You are looking to post something nonchalant about what you do without pushing it into people’s faces.

1 power post: this is a post where you share a deal you have going on, a new product you are launching, or a new service you are offering. You can put it all out on the table with this one post during the week.The point of only doing this once a week is so that people do not get annoyed with how many times you are posting about your business and in turn will probably unfollow you. They are also more likely to purchase this particular offering if you are only bringing it up once in awhile. What’s better than free marketing?

The point of doing it this way is to create curiosity but to not overwhelm your friends with your business either. By using this method, people will start asking questions like, “oh, are you still doing…?” or even better “what do you do? I have to know because your posts are amazing!”

Remember you are the person behind your company so project the persona in your personal social media pages that will make people know, like and trust you equaling more revenue for your empire!

Abbey Fatica is a busy mom of four, a runner and loves to travel. She is passionate about helping others transform their lives by become physically and financially free. She loves helping other moms feel comfortable in their skin and be able to dream again. She is a Life and Business Coach working with entrepreneurs who are wanting accountability and increase productivity to balance both their business and their personal life.   She is on a mission to help families create their healthiest life, full of financial and time freedom, so they can live out their passions with a strong purpose! Connect with Abbey Fatica on Facebook today!

By Lara Galloway, author Moms Mean Business: A Guide for Creating a Successful Business and a Happy Life as a Mom Entrepreneur

If you—like I do—sometimes feel that you’re only barely managing to juggle motherhood and all the ins and outs of running a business, then it’s time to take a good, hard look at how you spend your time.  No matter how much I plan for it and expect it, getting back to school in the Fall always leaves me exhausted and flustered. I’m stressed out with all the deadlines that come with school programs and field trips and with the logistical nightmare of carpooling three kids to all their after school events. Add to that the renewed energy and ambition for my business that shows up for me at the end of summer, and I struggle to figure out how to get it all done. I give myself a week or two to figure out our new schedules, and then I get down to business and back to owning my time. Here are a few of my favorite tips for getting things done. 

1.  Get a routine.  Now I understand that there are those of you who will balk at the idea of a formalized routine.  But hear me out.  While it’s totally not necessary to plan your day in strict, 15-minute increments, a regular schedule of sorts will support the flexibility you value in your life, allowing you time to work on and in your business, as well as time for household chores and family events.  Start by creating a loose schedule—morning, lunchtime, afternoon, dinnertime, evening—for Monday through Friday, blocking off office hours and your regularly scheduled daily activities, like packing lunches, getting kids off to school, and so on. Knowing when you have time set aside to do certain tasks will help you get them done without stressing out all the time.

2.  Break down your office hours into manageable chunks.  This one is simple, and you can block off time by just observing your habits.  Is there a particular time you tend to work on the computer?  How about returning emails or phone calls?  Schedule time to work on your business—marketing and the things that cause your business to grow—and in your business—actual, billable hours of production or face-to-face client time. 

3.  Make appointments for yourself.  You would never stand up a client with an appointment.  Why not show yourself that same respect?  Need to work on your website redesign?  Make an appointment! How about Tuesday from 9-11am? Have a business proposal due?  Set a time for yourself to work on it.  Give importance to the things you want to accomplish by putting that time and date on the calendar, and then showing up for that appointment. 

4.  Schedule downtime.  Yes, productivity is important.  Yes, as mom entrepreneurs, it seems that 24 hours is never enough.  But taking care of yourself is a priority, and it needs to be planned for!  Try alternating tasks that require mental focus with good-for-you breaks—a walk around the block, a healthy snack, a phone conversation with a friend—whatever relaxes and recharges you.  You may be surprised at how productivity soars when you’re fresh and energized. 

These are a few tips that I use to manage my time as a busy mompreneur.  All of this will help you round out a really ideal schedule for you, adding up to more time to get things done in a way that makes you feel productive and purposeful—not overwhelmed. 

Which of these tips can you implement today to help you get control of your time? 

What other tips would you include that keep you focused and productive? 

Lara Galloway is an author, speaker, business coach and host of the Mom Biz Solutions Show podcast. Her passion is helping entrepreneurs create and run businesses that honor their priorities and make them successful and happy. Her book, Moms Mean Business: A Guide to Creating a Successful Company and a Happy Life as a Mom Entrepreneur, published by Career Press, offers inspiration, advice, and a healthy dose of how-to. She is frequently interviewed for her expertise on work/life balance, starting and running a successful small business, marketing your business on Social Media, and creatively managing your time by Inc., Fast Company, Forbes, Crain’s, The Chicago Tribune, and More Magazine. Her extensive online influence and unique approach to coaching mompreneurs to success have led to her being named one of “30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter” and one of the “100 Most Powerful Women on Twitter.” When she’s not working, she’s wrangling her three kids with her husband, drinking good wine or micro-brewed beer, and baking something with lots of calories since food is her love language. She loves living in Michigan, especially when it’s 80 degrees and sunny. Learn more and connect with her at LaraGalloway.com.

By Monika Labbé

Are there times during the day when you seem to lose focus and productivity goes out the window? Me too. As a entrepreneurs, I feel that we get so easily distracted because we have so much on our plates, that we must have something wrong with us. My latest thing is forgetting what I was doing in the middle of doing it. Has that ever happened to you?

My belief is that these thing happen to us because we have not created a daily routine that promotes efficiency and allows us to really “get stuff done”.

Mental fatigue is a real struggle, as real as any physical fatigue. When we do the same things the same way hoping to get different results we are in effect setting ourselves up for failure.

All day long we are faced with choices, decisions we have to make about this or that. The more choices we make the more fatigued our brain becomes. We seem to be happier overall when we have less choices to make.

One of the routines that could help take some of those choices away is having a regular work outfit. Just having a simple few outfits on hangers ready to go each morning automatically frees you from making a decision about what to wear.

Next, streamline your meals. For me, it’s dinner that’s hardest. Every Sunday I roast enough veggies for the week. Simple, olive oil, salt & pepper and at 425 for 15 minutes and it is really a huge time saver. I’ll then roast a few chicken breasts, and then any other meat I want to eat that week for variety. Once it cools I put it in the fridge then all I have to do is just warm up dinner when I am hungry. There are also great things like Prepdish and Instacart that will make your meal planning and shopping a snap.

The key to creating a strong daily routine is to limit the amount of trivial choice on a given day, in order to maximize your energy for more important decisions. Great daily routine provide the framework not just for your day or week but for a month or a year and that saves you a lot of thinking.

Determine what time of day you are at your most productive and then guard that time. Mark your calendar off for those hours and use that time to get things done, and not trivial things like making appointments or social calls.

Recognize when your brain starts to wonder and then schedule a 10 minute mental break that does not mean sitting in the same place doing the same task. Get up, eat something or go outside for a short walk. Don’t feel like you have to do all three, just do one but be intentional about it.

Are you a person that works out, needs quiet time or journals? Schedule these things last into your day after determining when you are most productive. They will provide you will natural breaks in your day. They are also transitional tasks and will help you segue from one thing to another.

Another way to stay organized is by taking your BIG goals, breaking those goals into categories and then breaking them down into small tasks. If you do this once, you can have a monthly standing task that you can then break down into a weekly and daily task. For example, if you know you have to re-do your website, you can break it down into what needs to happen next. You will need a new headshot, you may or may not want to add video, you will need new copy, and possibly graphics or just new photos of your products. Then when you break it down you will plan when you will take that photo, write that copy etc. and by the end of the month you have put a plan in place and or even gotten closer to your goal.

Rely on project management software to guide you like Evernote, Trello or Basecamp. This will help you focus on what projects you need to tackle that week or that day. Checking emails at only set times of the day help remove distractions and helps you stay on focus.

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 Prerna Malik

So, you’ve taken the plunge and set up a blog.

Woohoo!

However, how are you going to make that blog stand out in the millions and zillions of blogs out there in the blogosphere?

How will you make readers return and refer your blog to their friends and family members?

How will you hold the attention span of a reader online who probably has a gazillion windows open and people around him asking questions as well?

Ooh and what about getting readers who do land on your blog to take action to either stay connected with you by signing up to your list or adding to your revenue by buying from you?

Yeah… I know… Sorry to be the party pooper at your “I-now-have-a- blog” party but someone’s gotta tell you that the setting up is actually the easy part. It’s the getting readers and engagement bit that needs you to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

On that note, here are 5 of my best and highly effective, known-to-work tips to amp up the power of your business blog:

  1. Have A Design to Delight

Yes, we live in a content-driven world where visual appeal rocks. Think, Pinterest and Instagram.

So, start by ensuring that your blog design reflects your branding but is clean and clutter-free. Get rid of any ugly badges that don’t tell a reader about you or what you do. Remove unnecessary widgets from the sidebar.

Tone down the colors and use a coordinated palette.

Design is key so unless, your superpower is web designing, I’d recommend getting your blog designed by a professional so that it looks awesome and invites readers to stop awhile and read what you have to say.

2. Stir Up A Sizzling Strategy

Design is important but really, content is what sets you apart.

Your blog, like your business itself, must have a strategy in place.

Create an editorial calendar {grab a free one here!} and draft a content strategy that ties in with your other online marketing efforts.

Create content that your readers are looking for and for that it is vital that you know your them inside out. What are their challenges, hopes, dreams, desires? Tailor your content around these themes and then, most importantly, remember point #3.

3. Stand Out by Being Awesomely Authentic

While it may be tempting to follow the A-listers and the influencers, remember that being fake will NEVER get you anywhere.

Readers, even online, can spot pretense a mile away and will never want to return to your blog.

Instead, learn from the pros but always, always be YOU.

Let your blogging voice reflect your vision, your ideals and values. Make your blog brilliant by letting your genuine desire to help your readers shine through in all your posts.

4. Create a Community

Right from day 1, treat your blog like a community.

A community of readers who’re eager to learn about you, what you do and how you’ll be helping them.

Respond to comments, engage in discussions, connect with readers on other social networking platforms.

Blogs often fall by the wayside because of a lack of engagement.

Bottomline: Readers don’t want to be talked at, they want to talk ‘with’ you.

5. Add Value to Your Readers’ Lives

Finally, and most importantly, the best way to make your blog really stand out from the crowd of blogs out there is by adding immense VALUE to your readers’ lives.

Each time you write a post or create your monthly content calendar, review your strategy and see if you’re helping to improve the lives of your readers.

Your blog must aim to make life easier, better, simpler, saner, happier, nicer for your readers. 

Prerna Malik is the gourmet content and community management chef at Content Bistro. Along with her team, she serves up sizzling hot social media, SEO and copywriting solutions to time-starved entrepreneurs. Dig into her FREE social media strategy guide to get a taste of what’s in store for you!

By Theresa Ceniccola

Think you have what it takes to be a great leader? If you’re a mom, I’d say you probably do. Somewhere between diapers and diplomas, most moms develop leadership skills that rival any CEO. They earn their honorary degrees on the campus of motherhood. And they’re as competent as their colleagues in the corporate cubicle. Excuse me a moment while I make some assumptions and generalizations. I realize that there are some moms out there who haven’t quite learned these lessons…but I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about YOU! And I want you to know that you’ve got everything it takes to be a great leader.

10 Reasons Moms Make Great Leaders

1. We know how to foster growth. Our job as mothers is to train them up in the way they should go. Whether we’re correcting or conversing, every interaction we have with our children is part of the plan to help them grow and succeed. Wouldn’t it be lovely if every boss felt the same way about helping employees grow?

2. We’ve learned to embrace change. So maybe we cry on the first day of kindergarten and the entire summer before college…but somewhere along the line we accept the fact that change is a good thing. Leaders who recognize this truth are the ones who innovate and evolve in the shifting marketplace.

3. We protect our people. I dare you to say something slanderous about my child or treat her unjustly. I’ll tear you to pieces. (Well, not really.) But at the very least, I’ll make sure my child never has to experience your mean spirit again. Great leaders stand behind their people like an angry mamma.

4. We’re great listeners. I used to think good parenting was about saying all the right things. Now I know it’s more about listening and responding appropriately to each child’s needs. It’s about knowing when to follow the rules and when to follow your heart. And letting my kids come to their own conclusions at times. Imagine if our world leaders listened like that.

5. We get things done. If I ran my house like some corporations or government agencies, there would be a lot of meetings and even more paperwork. But that’s not how moms get things done. We’re quick to make decisions. We’re not afraid to do the dirty work ourselves. And we don’t give up until our bodies give out. We might not do them perfectly, but we get things done.

6. We don’t try to do it alone. Well, maybe the new moms try to fly solo for a few years. But they crash and burn like the rest of us. That’s when they learn to delegate (to husbands, kids and babysitters), find mentors, and create a support system (mom’s night out, anyone?).  I wish more leaders understood that it doesn’t have to be so lonely at that top.

7. We’re problem solvers. Any mom knows that as your children get bigger, so do their problems. And a good mom can solve five different problems while she’s cooking dinner. She also knows when to let her children solve their own problems. Sounds like the perfect training ground for a future leader.

8. We follow our instincts. Good moms read the parenting books and solicit the advice of others who have gone before them. But in the end, they do what they think is best for their child. I remember my pediatrician telling me that I would know what’s right for my child. That I would have a feeling I couldn’t explain — and that I should rely on that feeling. I like to call it the work of the Holy Spirit. And leaders who are tuned in to that wisdom are bound to make better decisions.

9. We know how to prioritize. Nobody is juggling more than a busy mom. No one has to reconcile conflicting priorities as much as a busy mom. We’ve perfected the art of reprioritizing and refocusing – and saying no to anything that isn’t mission critical. Now that’s a skill every leader should have!

10. We have vision. Remember those eyes in the back of your head? They enable you to see more than what’s in front of your face. They allow you to see the big picture. And they give you the confidence to move forward every day, knowing that there is greater plan unfolding right before your eyes. Yes, moms are the ultimate in visionary leadership.

What mom qualities do you have that make you a great leader?

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.

Kim Flynn is passionate about playing big in business. She is a bestselling author, speaker, and workshop leader for entrepreneurs and small business owners. She has four kids, is the founder of five businesses, and the creator of the Plug & Play Business System. Kim teaches business owners how to automate, systematize, and grow their business using her unique system. Kim started her first tutoring business when she was 24 years old. She grew that business to employ over 30 people while working only 3­5 hours per week. She went on to build, systematize, and automate three businesses which she sold in 2009. In 2010, she founded Kim Flynn Consulting where she trains and mentors women (and a few brave men) to play BIG in their businesses. She has been a frequent guest on television and radio shows such as Forbes and Fox Business News and is often interviewed on small business topics. Her book, combined with her seminars and media appearances, have helped tens of thousands of people systematize and grow their small businesses. Kim has taught countless sold­out seminars throughout the country in her Master Class Live and Internet Marketing Bootcamp event series. She is most known for her Business Intensive Retreats, where entrepreneurs gather in her Park City Lodge to learn the Plug & Play Business System, overhauling their operations and marketing in three intense days. In 2010, Kim was recruited as one of Vanguard’s 22 international keynote speakers, which include Stedman Graham and Stephen R. Covey. She was featured in the Top 40 under 40 through Bennett Communications, and was named Woman of the Year through the Telios Group. To learn more about Kim visit KimFlynn.com or find her on Facebook at Business Training for Women.

By Monika Labbé

Successful brands have branding at the heart of their business, it permeates from the inside out. It’s prevalent not just in their look but in their verbiage as well. It’s in everything they say and do.

So how do you define yourself or your business? Is this the same as business identity? When you have a strategically defined brand and customers can connect with it on an emotional level, it means they have the same values and beliefs of your brand. This then gives you an ideal platform from which to extend your offerings because at this point your clients feel loyal to you.

First you need to pinpoint your space in the market, and research the emotional needs and concerns of your clients. Think of your brand as a person. When your building your brand consider your own character, will it be the same or different from you as person? It’s vital to create trust with your brand, and you do that by not breaking promises and delivering more than expected. Let your clients know exactly what to expect from your product or service so there are no surprises.

Most important your brand is different from any other so copying from the look and feel of other similar chains is counterproductive. What you need to be is different, not the same. Clients want someone original and they crave authenticity. Do a competitive analysis and find out what other companies are offering, then decide how your brand is different. Finding that special something that sets you apart is essential. Clients today have so many choices that you need to stand out in order to be recognized.

Just putting your logo on everything will no longer work as the marketplace is rapidly changing. Clients want to engage with your brand at every level, they want it to be a personal experience. Give it to them. The clients of today are highly intelligent so respect that intelligence by generating some intrigue about your brand, allow them to find out more about you on their own. This is how relationships are built after all. Clients today will share their great and not so great experiences with their friends, family and even strangers so creating loyalty is more important now than ever before.

When choosing a design theme you will need to make sure you match the tone and language of your brand and its mission. Your look needs to be synchronized across all the mediums, website, product, brochures, etc. A great logo helps you to embed yourself in the clients mind. Hiring a professional is a must as your logo should be distinctive and well designed.

Research and choose colors that will represent your brand, remember to keep it simple. You want the brand you create to be easily recognizable and come to mind quickly.

Try offering more rather than offering discounts. Promotions are opportunities to further enforce your brand. Consider nostalgia to build your brand, people feel connected to things that remind them of childhood and carefree times.

It’s a good idea to copyright any visual branding or distinctive tag lines. Remember the personal connection you have with your clients is what will ultimately make your company successful.

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