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Does the thought of trading internationally scare you? Or, are you already there? If not, it could be a very viable option for expanding your business. It can mean almost endless opportunity for your small business.

Selling globally can do a couple key things for your business. First of all, it can dramatically increase the sales life of your existing products and services because you’re finding new markets to sell them in. It can also decrease your dependence on the current markets you sell in, this is especially important if you see a lot of fluctuation in sales due to season changes or something similar.

Are you ready to take on the world’s markets? Here are some things you should consider before you do.

First, have you done your research? Will your products or services sell in a different culture? Are you, yourself comfortable in that culture? Does this new audience already have some knowledge of your product, or will you have to undergo a large education component to introduce it? Can the info structure of the country physically support the needs of your business and products?

Going into the unknown can be detrimental to your business and its success. Research and educate yourself on as many potential scenarios as you can. Preparation is key.

As the old adage goes, don’t assume. Don’t assume that what is popular here in the U.S. will be popular in a foreign country. Don’t assume that everyone will speak English. You must be willing to familiarize yourself with a country’s needs and their language and customs.

Next, how will you logistically get your product there? What are your shipping options and what are the costs involved? Are you familiar with their currency, postage, etc.? Will you use agents and distributers? Also, be sure that your packaging will meet international requirements.

There really are a multitude of things you need to consider before taking the steps to grow your business internationally. We suggest finding a consultant with experience in the area and go from there. It can mean unforeseen growth for your business, but you certainly do not want to set yourself up for failure.

After more than 15 years in the design industry, Zabrina Ogulana no longer felt her job was the right fit. In 2009, Ogulana’s dream of owning her own business became a reality when Goodie Tins was created. Goodie Tins offers an alternative to basic, boring gift baskets. Each beautiful tin is designed by Ogulana and filled with gifts. Goodie Tins are perfect for baby showers, weddings, birthday celebrations and any other special occasion.

Ogulana, co-founder of Goodie Tins with long-time best friend Melissa Livingston, is the epitome of a “mompreneur”. Not only does she manage all creative aspects of Goodie Tin, she also runs her own design firm and raises three children ages 18, 13 and seven months old.

Balancing family and business is Ogulana’s toughest challenge. She must help her oldest child pick out college classes while picking out the right car seat for her youngest and almost everything in between. What’s her secret to success? Organization. “I plan out my week meticulously right down to the meals I will be making each day. I strive to make sure that the uncertainty of being an entrepreneur doesn’t spill over into my family life.”

Ogulana wants to reassure other aspiring entrepreneurs that owning a business and taking care of a family is hard but also very rewarding. She advises others to not be afraid to ask for help from family and friends. Ogulana is happy with the decisions she has made while running her business. “I feel such a sense of accomplishment as Goodie Tins reaches each milestone. I am filled with excitement about where we will go as a company.”

Ogulana and her partner have had success with Search Marketing. “Our business is an occasion based business. It’s not really a product people buy for themselves so they have to be in that gifting mindset to purchase. Google lets us target that consumer.”

Interested in Goodie Tins? Check out the fun, decorative and creative gift tins online now. You can even create your own!

Want updates from Goodie Tins daily? Follow them on Twitter (and like them on Facebook.

 

During a marketing class at Pace University, April Bukofser and Marin Milio sat dreaming of one day owning a business together. In 2007, their dream came true when they started a women’s clothing and accessory brand called AprilMarin. The business started out as just a hobby, but in 2009 the two college friends both left their full time jobs to pursue AprilMarin full time. 

Balancing family and work life has been both easy and hard at times for these two entrepreneurs. Fortunately, both have extremely supportive husbands who help take care of the children when they have to attend events and meetings. The key to surviving a busy workday, according to Bukofser and Milio, is humor. “It is important to take a minute when you get overwhelmed and laugh at the lunacy of your life! We do it all the time!” They also encourage others to surround yourself with supportive and positive people.

Bukofser and Milio advise other aspiring entrepreneurs to do something you love that doesn’t make you feeling like you’re working. “Give yourself time to figure out what you want and then do serious research and planning to map out your steps.” They encourage hopeful business owners to read stories of other successful entrepreneurs. The last bit of advice was to believe in yourself. “Confidence is a woman’s best accessory!”

Bukofser and Milio market AprilMarin on their own through social media. “It’s a great free resource to get your brand and product out there.” They also attend as many charity events as possible. “It makes us feel great to be able to be involved with events that are for a good cause.”

Read what is on Bukofser and Milio’s minds on their blog, follow them on Twitter and become their fan on Facebook.

Checkout the classy, fashionable clothing that has been featured on the “Today” show by visiting AprilMarin’s online store. You’ll be sorry if you don’t!

Success Coach Rachel Luna’s life story is all but dull. Growing up in the concrete jungle of New York City, Luna imagined herself living a glamorous and famous life. This dream of hers drastically changed when she enlisted in the Reserves at age 19. After being deployed to Iraq, Luna came back to the U.S. Her life was filled with auditions in Los Angeles to low-wage waitressing jobs. She found herself unhappy and decided to re-enlist. While on her second tour in the Corps, Luna had an epiphany while giving care to wounded soldiers at a hospital in Germany. “Their [“men with missing limbs, gruesome burns and other life-altering conditions”] positive determination to rebuild their lives forever changed my outlook — life’s too short to continue living other people’s dreams.”

From that point on, Luna took her life into her own hands and within a year, she was debt free, married to the love of her life and discovered her calling in life.  What was that calling? Empowering women to actively create their own lives.

Luna is now the proud owner of The Tailor Made Life. She helps women overcome fear and to stop hoping and wishing, but to actually start taking action towards achieving their goals and fulfilling their dreams. She offers clients one-on-one coaching, keynote speaking, live workshops and group coaching. She is also the author of  “Successful People are Full of C.R.A.P. (Courage, Resilience, Authenticity, Perseverance): A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting it Together & Achieving Your Dreams.”

Luna’s philosophy on work, life and family is that, “It does not exist and THAT’S OKAY!” She advises other mompreneurs to, “Focus on your priorities and your H.E.A.R.T. (Healthy, Energizing, Authentic, Relevant & Time Sensitive) goals that will help your dreams to become a reality.” She also reassures that it is perfectly fine to let the dishes pile up or the laundry left unwashed at times.

The Tailor Made Life is marketed through Facebook, Twitter, a monthly newsletter, bust blog posts and word of mouth.

Stay in touch with Luna by signing up to receive her Mid-Week Motivation, Life & Biz Tips and the first chapter of her book “Successful People Are Full of C.R.A.P.” The best part? It’s all FREE!

You’ve waited nine months for this moment, the moment you will finally meet your child. The anticipation is high and you just want to have a healthy newborn. But what happens if your child is born with health issues? The answer: you do anything and everything to insure that your newborn gets the proper care and treatment to regain strength to survive. This is exactly what Michelle Staley did when her son, Ty, was born three months ahead of her due date.

When the doctors finally allowed Staley to bring her son home, he weighed less than two pounds and was required to be on oxygen around the clock. It was already challenging for her to tow around a baby, diaper bag and purse to begin with, but add an oxygen tank and Staley’s arms were filled to the max. She knew there had to be a more efficient way to carry around all the necessities, but when she could not find one, she designed a bag on her own. Thus, in 2008, Busy Breathers LLC was created. Getting her design on the market was challenging, but with a grant from Huggies, Staley’s unique creation hit select stores and online sites.

Staley is a one-woman team who runs her business on her own. Therefore, there are constantly projects she could be working on. She works from home during the day when her son is in Kindergarten. If she has additional work to finish when he comes home from school, she works later into the night when he is asleep instead of when he is home. Staley allocates the weekends to spend quality time with her family.

Staley advises other mom entrepreneurs to, “Take a deep breath and realize you are only one person. If you have to, let the small stuff around the house go on the back burner and don’t try to keep on top of everything.”

Staley markets her business on her own through social media including Facebook and Twitter. She calls or emails newspapers, magazines, television shows and news shows every week.

If you want to learn more about this unique creation, visit the Busy Breathers website or call Staley at 970.867.2235.

We have all heard of the phrase, “Putting all your eggs in one basket.” Leah Sicat, mother and wife, did just that. She had a steady job at a large corporation that she decided to leave for a marketing position at a small business with her husband. Joining forces with her co-owner husband in 2010, Sicat now leads the marketing team for Carousel Designs.

Founded in 1988, Carousel Designs manufactures high quality bedding, toddler, twin and full/queen size bedding and nursery décor. All products are sold exclusively on their website and made in the USA.

Because she works with her husband, balancing family and work is a little easier, but still difficult at times. As any working mother knows, managing time and commitments is very important. Sicat has realized over the years that she must prioritize and that it is okay to say no sometimes. “As a people pleaser by nature, this is tough for me, but in the end it keeps me and my family feeling balanced and happy.”

Sicat advises other mom entrepreneurs to not be afraid to take a calculated leap of faith. “Evaluate all of your goals – financial, personal, professional – before taking the leap. But don’t be afraid to start doing something you’re passionate about!”

As the marketing director, Sicat knows how important it is to market her business. “Our goal is to establish a connection with our fans and followers, to engage our customers and ultimately make them advocates of our brand. We want to create a digital word-of-mouth marketing movement!” So help create the “digital word-of-mouth marketing movement” and check out Carousel Designs on Facebook and Twitter. They also are active on Pinterest, Google+ and in the blogging world.

Looking for some phenomenal deals? Explore their discount baby bedding collections or enter to win a $500 gift certificate by designing your own baby bedding! 

After having three kids right in a row following marriage and starting a business with her husband Shmuel, four years later Margelit Hoffman says she’s, “On the best track yet.” Hoffman Productions is a video and media production company operating in New York, Jerusalem and Berlin. The goal of the company is to, “Create visually sunning movies that inspire your audience to buy your product or support your cause.”

Hoffman balances family and work in a variety of ways. She has no Internet connection at home, therefore, work stays at work and she can focus on her children. The family relocated to live near relatives so she could have extra help. In addition, a housecleaner and babysitter are used a few times a week to keep life balanced. Hoffman’s advice for other mom entrepreneurs is simple: “Remember that your family comes first. They are more important than your email. Keep your work at work.”

Hoffman and her husband market Hoffman Productions in a variety of ways. They use a combination of social media, email marketing, blogging SEO and holiday mailings. If you’re ever in need to “wow” your audience through online video and media productions, contact Hoffman through social media via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. You can also contact them through their online blog.

Do you ever feel as if it’s hard to find practical information that would make it easy to take your children into new countries? If so, Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan’s website (Momaboard.com) will provide you tips and tricks to make traveling with your kids simpler. Momaboard.com was created in 2009 after Kaamna had her first child and was living in Australia. She found it difficult to locate places to buy baby supplies and restaurants to eat other than McDonald’s.

The Momabaord community website was launched in 2011 to, “share this information
and to enable sharing amongst a community of like-minded parents.” The site offers international city guides, travel tips, discounts, giveaways and product reviews. Fans of the Facebook page and followers on Twitter are given the opportunity to directly ask DhawanKaamna for advice on specific questions.

She is thankful that her business encompasses two things she loves to do: spending time with family and traveling. However, by being a solo entrepreneur, she has realized there are many things she just can’t do on her own, especially while taking care of a three-year-old and a six-month-old.

She plans her work in the mornings and nights while her son is in school. Kaamna also hired a nanny to take care of household chores and watch her daughter when she is working from home. However, she allocates meal times and one activity a day solely to her children. She said, “It’s tough because it never feels like you are giving anything your all but it’s important to pace yourself and set realistic goals.”

She advises fellow mom entrepreneurs to, “know your skills and find partners that can fill in the gaps. If you think really hard, you’d be amazed at how you can come up with mutually beneficial partnerships that don’t involve money.”

If you’re ever traveling abroad and can’t seem to locate places that are children friendly, visit Momaboard.com to find restaurants, hotels and general sites that she personally vows are accommodating to families with young children. You can also directly email her with questions, thoughts and feedback.

Happy and safe travels from Momaboard.com! 

Maria Dismondy, a native from Michigan, is a children’s book author who writes about bullying, teasing and friendships and how children can deal with problems they encounter. Maria Dismondy Inc. was created in 2008 after she had two children’s books published.

“Spaghetti in A Hot Dog Bun” was published in August 2008. Based loosely off of Dismondy’s personal childhood experiences, the book encourages children to, “Be who they are and not pretend.” The book has sold almost 40,000 copies to date. Dismondy collaborated with Bob Sornson in 2010 to publish another book entitled “The Juice Box Bully”. Her most recent project is a book about bullying between friends. “Pink Tiara Cookies for Three” will be released in early 2013.

Not only does Dismondy write books for children, she also travels to Michigan schools to speak about the topics of reading, writing and bullying. Within a two-month time span, she spoke to 10,000 children in area schools.

In addition to writing and speaking, Dismondy is a stay-at-home mom. She cares for her daughter while taking online photography classes. Spending time with her daughter is important, so together they read close to 12 books a day. She works on her writing during naptime and before her family is awake in the morning.

Dismondy encourages other mom entrepreneurs to, “Go for the gold (and) follow your dreams and fulfill your passions.” She markets her business through social media via Facebook and Twitter. She participates in book tours, both virtually and locally, and networks through groups she is already a part of. “There is a lot of power in word of mouth!” stated Dismondy regarding marketing through local organizations.

If you’re interested in learning more about Dismondy or her books, visit her website. You can also order her books right online through Amazon.

Two years ago Tricia J thought to herself, “I like sewing, wonder what I can do with it?” The answer: start her own online business doing something she loves. Tricia learned from a young age how to sew from her mom. Then in junior high school she took a few home economics classes. Now she owns TJJ sews.

Check out her website and explore all the creative and fun items she designs. Tricia’s favorite products to make are for electronics. They range from iPad cases to e-reader cases. She also sews yoga mat totes and popular key fobs. Her key fobs are customized for sports teams, hobbies and careers. Shop around the site and take a look at all 130 items. They are bright, fun and great for people of all ages!

Her keyfobs are among her most popular items. Priced very reasonably at $5.00 plus $1.95 shipping, they make great party favors. Keyfobs are great for weet sixteens, graduations, bar mitzvah, sports banquets, wedding showers, baby showers or corporate event favors. She’s even made them for golf tournaments to be included in golfer goodie bags. 
 
Volume pricing on the keyfobs is availabe. 1 – 11 keyfobs are $5.00 each, 12-23 keyfobs are $4.75, 24-35 are $4.50, 36 – 47 are $4.25 and 48+ $4.00 each.  She also offers monogramming which is an additional  $2.50 for each keyfob.

You can like TJJ Sews on Facebook and follow her on Twitter to get weekly updates on craft shows she attends and other TJJ Sews news!