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Your name and business name:

My name is Susan Hagen and my business name is LISU Wedding and Handmade Jewellery. I also sell on Etsy.

When did you start your business?

I started my business in April 2012 after doing an online business course from the London Jewellery School on how to sell online.  I had a part-time job at the time and my jewellery business is part-time too. I have been making jewellery for over twelve years now and I still enjoy making it.

What services/products do you offer?

I offer a bespoke jewellery service where you can tell me what you want me to make for you and I also make tiaras, hair fascinators, necklaces, pendant necklaces, wire wrapped pendant necklaces, wire weaved pendant necklaces, wire wrapped rings, bracelets and rhinestone quartz watch bracelets.

How do you balance family and business?

As I am working from home in my business, and both of my children are grown up now, I just work around things that need to be done.  I do not have a set timetable each day for what I do.  I tend to post on Instagram first thing in the morning and mostly every day.  When I have made new items of jewellery I try to photograph the items straight away but this does not always happen.  I then put the items of jewellery on my website and Etsy.  I sometimes work on my business at night and also at the weekend depending on what I am making.

What advice do you have for other mom entrepreneurs?

Basically if you have an idea of what to make and you think that it will sell then just go for it. You will not know if you will succeed or not unless you try.

How do your market your business?

I market my business mostly on social media now and Pinterest.  When I first started my business I had adverts in quite a few magazines such as Vogue, Craftseller and a few other jewellery making magazines.  I was never sure if this helped me make a sale or not and it was also getting too expensive doing the adverts. Now I use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to market my business. 

My social media links are:

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/suzy068

Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/LISUJewellery

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LISUSuzy068

 

Like many first time parents, Dana Sisk and her husband found themselves researching a multitude of baby products. Needing a multi-function diaper bag that was both attractive and affordable, Sisk developed a practical solution. The Bassibag was born from her storm of creative necessity and is both functional and cute to carry.

“Our Bassibag is unique because it is one (lightweight) bag that is capable of serving three functions,” said Sisk. The three in one bag serves not only as a diaper bag but also as a travel crib and changing station. It serves a valuable and practical function as a travel bag and crib when away from home as well as a clean and sanitary changing station while traveling to your destination. “It has plenty of room for all of the normal baby necessities as well as an insulated bottle bag,” Sisk added.

To add to the Bassibag’s appeal, it is also stylish. “I combined my love for bright colors and patterns with the need for practical utility in order to design a bag that would meet our needs and still be cute to carry,” Sisk said. The Bassibag features contemporary and attractive fabrics.

The Bassibag has been met with great applause and customers have been extremely satisfied with their purchases. “I love my Bassibag! I take it everywhere. It’s so versatile and makes traveling so much easier!” is what one happy customer had to say.

Bassibag is available on Amazon and qualifies for free, two-day shipping for Prime Members. If you’re not a Prime member, standard shipping is still free!

Dana Sisk, creator of the Bassibag, resides in Durham, N.C. with her husband and daughter. She can be reached for comment at [email protected]. Or, you can find her and Bassibag on Facebook!


I love setting goals and making lists of potential accomplishments. Each year, I write down several personal and business related goals for the upcoming 12 months. This list always includes an income goal for the year. In the past, I’ve written it down in December or January and not given it much consideration thereafter. Until, of course, the next calendar year rolls around and it’s time to do it again. Then, I would inevitably realize that I did not meet the goal I set. Not even close.

This year, I wanted things to be different. And, so far they are. I’ve exceeded my January goal by more than 46 percent and we still have a week to go! How did this happen? Was it just blind luck? I don’t think so. I implemented a couple changes and I credit them with my successful start to 2017.

First, I made sure that my goal was realistic. In past years I’ll admit I was guilty of just writing down a number that looked and felt good. I didn’t really give it much thought or research what it would take to get there. This year was different from the get-go. I looked at my numbers from the recent past and tried to gauge what I thought would be decent, acceptable growth from last year. I settled on a number 40 percent higher than 2016. Although a little lofty, I wanted to challenge and push myself, especially since I felt I didn’t do that last year.

Second, I broke down my goal into manageable chunks. By this I mean I simply turned my annual goal into a monthly one. I simply divided my goal by 12 to see what it would take for me to get there. This accomplished a couple things. First, it gave me clarity as to whether my goal really was realistic and achievable. I thought it was. Secondly, it forced me to think through various sales scenarios. What would I actually have to sell to meet this goal? What promotions could I offer to fit with my overall editorial calendar for the year? While there wasn’t detailed planning taking place, I did think through the year and what it would take to stay on track.

It makes sense to me that if I can consistently meet a monthly goal, I will be considerably above my total goal by December. Many of you may be in similar situations. Much of my income is generated at the end of the calendar year, before and during the holiday season. Meeting a monthly goal during the first half of the year will hopefully take some pressure off when it comes to promoting our Holiday Gift Guide and other similar promotions.

Lastly, I made a commitment to keep my goal front and center. Each week I create a to-do list so that I can keep track of tasks that need accomplished. At the top right corner, I wrote down my monthly goal. Each time I’ve made a sale this month, I’ve crossed it out and wrote what’s remaining to meet my goal. Today, I was able to cross the number off completely and instead write how much I had exceeded it by. Wow, that was a good feeling! Now, more than ever, I am committed to slaying the 2017 income goal I had set.

It has been easier than I thought to stay focused. By being realistic, breaking down my goal into manageable pieces and keeping it front of mind, I’ve been able to be successful. I’m looking forward to continuing the trend throughout the year. I’d love to hear from you! Tell us about how you hold yourself accountable in the comments!

Probiotics are now being recommended by doctors more and more due to increase in digestive health issues, especially in women.  There are more cases of IBS and other gut-related health concerns today then ever before. One of the main reasons for this increase is the diet we are eating. Overall, we get less of the good bacteria that we need to fight off sickness and sustain optimum health. So now we need to supplement our diet with good bacteria.

Microbiome Plus has developed a product that helps with several areas in human health, the main ones being digestive, immune and cholesterol. Their probiotic was proven in a study to lower bad cholesterol by 11.64 percent*. This probiotic also helps with mood and weight loss, as do all effective probiotics. This is because weight-loss research suggests that healthy microflora in the gut can speed up metabolism and for mood, the probiotics help you absorb the nutrients you need to increase energy. With more energy and a healthier stomach, naturally you are going to feel better.

Microbiome Plus GI comes with a prebiotic as well. The prebiotic acts as a fertilizer for probiotics. In fact, many people take the prebiotic on its own to promote the growth of any natural probiotics they have in their system. This combination of probiotic and prebiotic are very effective in improving your digestive health, including battling bad bacteria that can cause gas, constipation, bloating and other issues.  Many people wait until they have IBS or other more serious problems before taking probiotics, but this is not the best choice. It is obviously important to maintain your health today for a better tomorrow.

If you are feeling fatigued, probiotics are most likely your answer. Of course, eating properly and exercise should always be number one, but this allergy safe and gluten-free supplement is the next best thing. Microbiome Plus probiotics were developed by doctors and clinically tested, so you know you are getting the good stuff.

If you or anyone you know may be interested in trying Microbiome Plus probiotics, here is a coupon code for 30 percent off the 1 and 2 month supplies.

Coupon Code: 30offmom

https://microbiomeplus.com

Contest: As well they have a giveaway you can enter for free. The winner gets $250 in health prizes, including a 3 month supply of probiotics, $100 towards a gym membership and a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

https://microbiomeplus.com/deal/

Good luck!

*Cholesterol Lowering Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22990854

We all know the struggles of busy motherhood. Even if you haven’t taken the plunge into business ownership just yet, you are constantly balancing, juggling and yawning. In fact, that may be one of the reasons that you aren’t yet running a business. You may be frightened of the potential of being even busier and more tired.

Products and services that can make our lives as mom entrepreneurs easier are always a welcome sight. They come in many different forms and many different packages. Diapers.com isn’t just for diapers and baby gear. The site has a new section, Gifts for Mom, which specifically addresses things that can make our lives as moms easier.

For instance, there is the Nespresso Espresso Maker for the moms who need to stay caffeinated at all hours of the day. There is a large selection of video monitors so that you can work in your home office worry-free while baby naps.

Did you know that you can also order household items from Diapers.com and have them shipped directly to your home? Currently all toilet paper, tampons, vitamins, laundry detergent and grocery items are 25% off. This is extremely convenient for the new mom, or the mom who doesn’t want to take her little ones out to the store during cold and flu season.

The site offers free 1-2 day shipping on all orders more than $49. They also promote free and easy returns when necessary.

It’s the New Year and many of us have set new resolutions and new goals for the coming months. Oftentimes, health and wellness is a big focus of those goals. Everyone wants to lose a little weight, eat healthier and improve their overall wellness in the New Year. This can sometimes be hard to do, especially if you are working from home, running your own business.

It’s easy to understand how the stress and time commitment can be overwhelming, leaving little time for healthy activities. The key is to stay focused and dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle despite your demanding work. Here are four ways in which you can help ensure your healthy success.

Meal Plan & Prep

Dedicating part of your Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon to planning out your week’s meals can go a long way in the quest of healthy eating. When you grab things on the go, or order in because you didn’t plan the evening meal, the chances of eating unhealthier dramatically increase. By planning ahead, you can ensure that you will get good, balanced meals each day. This can help with grocery shopping too, and you’ll have healthy snacks on hand for the days where you’re stuck at your computer for what seems like endless hours. You can also use this time to prep for some of the meals. Cut vegetables for different recipes or marinade meats; do anything that might help you save time later in the week. The goal is to make it easier on yourself to cook healthier throughout the week; if you have a plan it’s much more doable.

Manage Stress

Stress is a big deal in the life of the mom entrepreneur. There is so much to do and so little time to do it in. We have to balance the family with the business with the home responsibilities and so on. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out. Try to avoid stress and deal with it appropriately. Be sure that you are getting enough rest and taking mandatory time off. Don’t let yourself get burnt out. If you can minimize stress, your chances of being healthier are so much greater. Try not to let the pressure get to you. It’s reasonable to feel very possessive over your business. But, remember, you simply can’t do it all. If there are tasks you can delegate to help take the load off; do it. Focus on the big picture and don’t let the small issues drag you down.

Exercise

Movement is a huge key to health. Your overall wellness depends on exercise. Working from home should make it easier to find time to sneak in a workout, but in reality it often just complicates it. You must schedule time for it. If you have little ones at home, it may need to be before they wake in the morning. Usually by nap time there are several other things on your to-do list to take up that chunk of time and working out will be the furthest from your mind. Exercising in the morning can give you the clarity and resolve to start a new day. You can also schedule short breaks throughout the day. Even if it is just a few ten-minute walks around the block, it is better than being completely sedentary all day. Exercise will make you feel better overall and is a great way to improve your health.

Invest in Yourself

Another way to stay healthy is mentally and emotionally. It is a great idea to have a business mentor. An experienced entrepreneur that you can bounce ideas off of, go to for advice and look to for encouragement can be a great asset.  You may also want to attend a seminar or educational course to help improve your skills. Investing this time in yourself, and in your business, can help you grow healthy in more ways than one. Just reading a book or browsing educational sites online can be beneficial. Just be sure to focus on things that interest you and are relevant to your own goals.

There are many reasons to want to be healthy. There are a multitude of benefits. You want to take care of yourself because you are your businesses biggest asset. In the end, healthy individuals end up being more productive. So, your health and wellness goals directly tie into your business goals!

 

 

Modern businesses rely heavily on technology. They spend a lot of time, and money, on sourcing the best equipment and software.

Most company owners recognize the importance of using the latest innovations to help them to serve their customers effectively. However, there is one area of most businesses that is often neglected. Firms rarely invest in purchasing HR software for their personnel department to use.

This is a real shame, because using this type of software brings many benefits. Modern HR software can do so much more than help you to get your payroll right. Today, you can turn your HR department into an internal hub that brings everyone together and ensures that everyone is working as an efficient team. Below are just a few examples of how that can be achieved.

Run an efficient appraisal process

An important part of making sure that every member of your team is pulling their weight is setting targets, and measuring progress. Most firms do this using an appraisal process.

This approach works well. However, that is only the case when appraisals are carried out on time, and the data gleaned from the interviews is actually used. The best HR software includes modules that will help you to manage the process, and ensure that everyone does what he or she should to make your appraisal system work.

Manage absenteeism

Most firms use their HR system to keep track of hours worked and make sure that people are paid on time. This is important, but so is managing absenteeism.

If you want to, you can use the information you gather to make sure everyone is paid properly to spot members of staff that are taking more time off sick than average.

Once you spot a problem, you can take the time to discuss the issue with the person concerned, and find out what the underlying cause is. Often these conversations are enough to stop people taking time off sick without good cause.

Roll out best practice

Every company has to evolve if they want to stay ahead of their competitors. As a result, managing change is an important part of the modern business world.

The tools that are included in today’s HR software packages make it easy to roll out best practice and keep track of progress. Most of the best packages include scheduling modules that keep track of what needs to be done, when, and by whom.

Run staff bonus schemes

For any firm staff motivation can be a problem. It is hard to keep everybody enthusiastic and working hard.

A good way to do so it to set up and run some sort of staff bonus scheme. This task can be done more efficiently using a HR software package.

If you would like to learn more about how to set up a staff bonus scheme, you can do so here.

As you can see, using something like Cascade Human Resources Software brings many potential benefits. As a result, if you have not seriously considered investing in this type of package we strongly urge you to take the time to do so.

Christmas is fast approaching and the season for gifts is set to come along with it. Everyone around the world has already started to look for the best gift which they can present to their loved ones to express their love and gratitude for them. While doing so, it is important to ensure that you choose such a gift that is both useful as well as appreciable.

There are a lot of options that one can consider to present their loved ones with. But in this post we will focus on gifts that will be a perfect present for tech geeks. Here’s a list of five amazing gadgets that will lit up the faces of your dear ones with happiness and glee. Each gadget has its own unique purpose and will surely delight your close ones with its design and utility.

1. Sony Play station 4 500GB console

Gaming console is probably the most common and sought after gift that can be presented to a gadget geek. Someone who loves playing games will surely be more than happy to receive such a pleasant surprise. When we talk about gaming consoles, the first name that pops up in our minds is the Sony Play Station. Sony’s series of Play Station consoles are the most sensational gadgets and have always received unprecedented success and love. The latest in the series is the PS4 which has the best of specifications and controls to play with. The product allows gamers to tap unseen zones of their creativity and push themselves to develop some amazing and enthralling gaming experiences. The main highlight of the console is the ‘Suspend mode’ that eliminates load time on your saved games and enables you to directly start from the saved point. Enjoy endless challenges and share all your achievements as you reach to the top of the table in your designated game.

2. VicTsing speakers

VicTsing presents you with the most stylish and elegant speakers that can be gifted to your loved ones on this special occasion of Christmas. This wireless speaker is a waterproof gadget with 5W drive and built-in mic. Its impressive design boasts of a silicone case that guarantees a shockproof and dustproof experience with up to a gradation of IPX5 level. The device has an inbuilt 5W speaker along with A2DP support that lets it stream incredible stereo sound with crystal clear sound and high range output. Moreover, the speakers can be easily carried and tied to a mount because of the detachable suction and aluminum alloy hook. For best shower speakers choices I recommend you visit Topreviewhut.

3. Autel Robotics

If you are a video enthusiast then you will surely appreciate this beautiful drone from the Autels. The X-Star premium features a 4K Ultra HD video camera with quick release 3-axis gimbal stabilizer that can record and display HD videos for as far as 1.2 miles away. The device has a 64GB card and comes in a semi hard, splash proof zipped case. Dual GPS/GLONASS outdoor navigation, SecureFlyTM magnetic interference protection and Starpoint Positioning system are some of the main highlights of this device. Its LCD display and intuitive one touch controls helps the drone to record and display HD videos with great amount of clarity and details. The gadget is safe and stable at even low altitudes and can work smoothly even without the free Starlink mobile app. But still having the app will be an added advantage because it will render you with many extra capabilities that can be useful to control its flight, rotation and operation.

4. Nintendo New 3DS XL special edition

The future of gaming and entertainment is set to change with Nintendo’s new 3DS XL system that combines next generation portable gaming and super stable 3D technology with added controls. The system can play all the Nintendo DS games though they will not appear in 3D format. This new version boasts of a faster processor for easy loading, built-in amiibo support for greater compatibility, NFC support and a C stick that powers you with enhanced controls. The device lets you take 3D photos and allows you to connect with your friends as well. Games like super Mario world comes pre-installed on this gadget which can be used by anyone whose age is 7 or more.

5. HyperX Cloud Stinger Gaming Headset

HyperX Cloud Stinger is the ideal headset for gamers who prefer to enjoy light weight comfort and high quality sound while playing their favorite games. The headset fits conveniently around your neck and gives less strain to your ears, thanks to its 90-degree rotatable ear cups. It has a adjustable steel slider for enhanced stability and has its volume controls placed below the right ear cup for quick and easy accessibility.  Its multi-platform compatibility lets you enjoy the same kind of experience on all kinds of devices including PC, Xbox One,PS 4,Wii U and mobile phones. Additionally, the device has a microphone that has high end features like swivel-to-mute and noise cancellation capabilities.

 

So, you’ve bought your laser printer and you’ve got over the shock of the price – it has to be said that they are more expensive than inkjet models – and now you’re wondering how to make some savings on the toner cartridges. Thankfully, toner is cheaper than ink and it also stores for much longer, so that’s an initial saving right there. You can save even more, though, by buying your supplies from online retailers such as Cartridge People. There’s also a few other tricks to make each cartridge last a bit longer. Let’s look at some of them.

Of course sometimes a cartridge has just run out and it simply needs to be replaced, but sometimes you can get a few more sheets out of it, or make your printouts look better, by adopting a few clever moves. This will, over time, save you a few pounds, as well as help you to reduce the number of cartridges you use each year.

Give it a shake

If you’re finding your pages are suddenly streaky or patchy, this doesn’t automatically mean that the toner is running out. It is also a sign that the toner powder isn’t evenly distributed in the case. Take the cartridge out of the printer, wrap it in a towel or cloth and shake it gently. This could get you a few dozen more pages. 

Use a less-hungry font

Some fonts use a lot of toner – chunky fonts like Comic Sans MS is a baddie, so use Calibri or Verdana instead. Always aim for sans serif, as well.

Don’t print so much

We’ve got too used to just hitting “print” without thinking. Stop and ask yourself if you can email that document, or whether you can store some files in the cloud. When you do have to print out, choose a smaller font and use your print preview function to make sure you’re not missing half the text; if the top or bottom paras are missing, you’ll have to make another copy…

Use greyscale or black-and-white as much as possible

If you’re always using the best quality print, or colour, then you’re wasting ink. Save colour and high quality for final, official or external documents. Your printer probably has a draft mode, which reduces the dots-per-inch (dpi) volume. The text isn’t as bold, but if it’s for your eyes only, who cares?

Try out toner saver mode

This setting helps you to save ink – it doesn’t look so good with greyscale and you can forget about photos! However, for rough drafts, it’s useful and you don’t have to make it a permanent setting.

If you do have to replace your cartridge…

You’ll get quite a few warnings before the amount of toner becomes critical – but even so, try not to print out any official documents if you think the cartridge is on its last legs. When you do replace the cartridge, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

I am always excited when I get an email from Wonder Forge Games asking me to review some of their newest products. This fall was no different. This year, they have tons of new games for the entire family out in time for the holidays so I had several to choose from. I chose the games listed below and am glad I did. Our family had a wonderfully fun game night because of them!

Stick Stack

This game is sort of like a cross between the classics Jenga and pick up sticks. It was a lot of fun and created a lot of laughter in our household. The box says for ages 8 and up, but my 5-year-old enjoyed it immensely. You must keep a steady hand and stack the sticks on matching colors. I liked the rules that said even if some sticks fall the game isn’t over! It retails for just $16.99 and can be found at Target stores.

Suspicion Game

I was drawn to this game because my 9 and 11-year-olds love the classic Clue game. And, it turned out they liked this game too, although it’s different than Clue in several respects. In this game, you are the jewelry thief and have to conceal your identity while you steal priceless gemstones. You have to figure out who the other thieves are. It retails for $19.99 and can also be found at Target stores.

Really Bad Art Game

Our family loves drawing games and those that get our artistic abilities (or lack thereof) involved. And, who couldn’t love a game with this name?? You only have six seconds to draw your phrase. After everyone draws, you mix them up so people can guess which drawing matches which phrase. The box says the game is best for ages 12 and up, but my 9 and 11-year-olds didn’t have too much difficulty with it. It retails for $19.99 and is found at Target stores as well.

If you are looking for a great gift idea this holiday season, or are just in search of some fun things to do as a family over the holiday break, I definitely recommend these Wonder Forge games! More games that are available include; Dr. Seuss Thing Two and Thing One Whirly Fun Game, Disney Pixar Dory Bubble Science Game, Boulder Burst, Star Wars Eye Found It! Game, Marvel I Can Do That! Game and Disney Frozen Where’s Olaf? Game.

You can see more of my previous posts about Wonder Forge here. Happy Holidays!

I did receive these products free of charge in exchange for the review. However, the opinions are my own.