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5 Sources of Inspiration

Sometimes you need inspiration and it is nowhere to be found. On those days, the savvy mompreneur just has to look a little harder. Here are five sources of inspiration that can help you get back on track when you’ve fallen into a bit of a rut.

Your Network.

The people in your network may be aware of opportunities that you’ve never even considered. When you’re talking to your contacts, always keep both your ears and your mind open. Get out and meet up with some fellow women and entrepreneurs in your network, it will lift your spirits!

Other Entrepreneurs’ Stories.

Only another entrepreneur can truly appreciate the challenges and triumphs of starting your own business. When you hear the stories of entrepreneurs who have overcome tough obstacles and built a successful business, it makes you wonder what you might be able to accomplish if you put your mind to it. You can read up on fellow Mompreneur member Success Stories right here on our blog!

Your Customers.

The success of your business will always depend on how well you understand your customers. Take some time to talk to them and get to know them – send out a survey, post a poll on Facebook, or record a Facebook Live video to interact directly! They will likely be able to provide you with a perspective that will help you make improvements to your business.

Your Children.

Nothing is as inspiring as envisioning your child’s little face looking up at you, no matter how much older they now are from that moment in time. Hold on to that image and bring it out on the days when you need to climb a little higher. It will remind you of how much you’ve accomplished as a parent, and how far you’ve come from those early days in your entrepreneurial journey.

 

Featured image via shutterstock.com

 

 

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Time vs. Money-When is it time to Outsource?

Sometimes business demands can over-run your schedule, no matter how diligent you are with creating a killer time map. So what is a busy mompreneur to do? Outsource!

when is it time to outsource?

Simply put, but not so easily done for those of us who like to be in control of every aspect of our businesses.  It really boils down to three questions:

1.   Where is my time better served?  

Are you better at selling than the mundane task of bookkeeping and paperwork?  Or are you internet savvy enough to rock your social media world and website, but not so good at the selling? Figure out what you are best at and do it well. Then hire someone else to take on and master the things that aren’t at the top of your ‘love to do’ list. Continue reading Time vs. Money-When is it time to Outsource?

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Keep Them Coming Back to Your Website

keep customers coming back to your website shutterstock

Although more women are power players in the business world today, the online community is still an area yet to be conquered by women. 1&1 Internet Inc., the world’s largest web host, reports that only 13% of web hosting customers are female. With over 650,000 customers in North America, the statistic shows that men have a significantly larger presence online. Now that the Internet is becoming an essential element in many businesses, it is especially important for female entrepreneurs to keep apace by establishing a successful online presence.

Companies are constantly working to retain customers and encourage loyalty in order to keep their doors open. Customer loyalty is especially crucial to the survival of online businesses.  Impatient buyers have more and more competitors to choose from, and will quickly leave a site if they cannot communicate their questions or concerns in real-time.

In fact, according to the ‘Web site Communication Survey’ of some 1,025 North American consumers conducted by Toronto-based MaCorr Research and commissioned by 1&1 Internet, the ability to contact a business is the most important aspect of using a business’ web site for 85% of North Americans. Continue reading Keep Them Coming Back to Your Website

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How to Have a Nice Day

tips from mompreneur Heba Ahmed Malki tips from SendOutCards on making others days better

We all like surprises, and kind gestures can make all the difference in whether you or someone you know has a ‘good’ day or a ‘bad’ day. Whether it is an unexpected gift or getting an extra carton of fries in your bag at the drive-thru window, a surprise just makes you feel better.

Elite+ Mompreneur member Heba Ahmed Malki, Marketing Distributor with SendOutCards, suggests challenging yourself on a daily basis to spring a nice surprise on someone else. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some great ways to make someone’s day:

  • Let someone out in traffic during rush hour.
  • Let the person behind you at the checkout stand go before you, no matter how big their order is.
  • Visit a nursing home and spend time with those who have no family.
  • Pay for the meal of the person behind you at lunch.
  • Leave some sweet treats with inspirational messages on the break-room table at work.
  • Volunteer at the local elementary school.
  • Give an encouraging smile to a random stranger.
  • Let someone go ahead of you in the school pick-up line, and SMILE while doing so!
  • Wave at strangers that you pass on the road.
  • Buy an extra box of candy at the movie theatre and offer it to the family next to you.
  • Mow your neighbour’s lawn.
  • Leave an encouraging note on someone’s windshield.

Continue reading How to Have a Nice Day

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Getting Clients to Pay on Time

Written by Andrea Henry

how to get paid - legal tips from mompreneur Andrea Henry

Let’s start off by admiting that as much as we love what we do, as small business owners, we do this to make money.

Let’s also admit that we have clients who have not really grasped this concept and who just don’t pay us on time — or at all.

How do you deal with it? As always, prevention is better than the cure. Here are my top three tips to getting paid on time.

Get it in writing.

Relying on verbal agreements and handshakes is for amateurs, and you my friend, are a professional with bills to pay. State your fees and payment terms in writing so that you avoid misunderstandings about payment expectations. Your written contract should also include, at a minimum:

  • a Scope of Work Clause which is a very clear, very specific description of exactly what you are going to provide to the client.
  • a Cancellation Clause which will tell your client if and when they can cancel and what, if anything, they will still owe you after cancellation.

Make it super convenient and easy to pay you.

In your intial meetings, ask the client what works best for them in terms of timing of invoices, credit terms and payment type. Instead of just accepting cash and cheque, consider accepting credit and debit cards, online payments, direct deposits and email transfers. Paypal, Square, Quickbooks and Freshbooks are just a few companies which allow you to send invoices that clients can pay with just a few clicks.  Continue reading Getting Clients to Pay on Time

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When It’s Time to Focus on Your Needs

Women are notorious for putting everyone else’s needs before their own; this can ring especially true for moms, as it’s part of the job. However, it can become a problem if your own needs are never being met. While you have to put your heart and soul into your family and your business, you can’t give so much that it hurts.

when it's time to focus on your own need as a mompreneur or female entrepreneur

Here are some indications that you need to draw a line:

You have nothing left to give

You would love to go outside and play with your child, or take time to do some research for that new client. The problem is that you can’t seem to will your body to get up off the couch. As difficult as this may be for you, either get someone else to do it or let it wait. You need to rest.

You’re feeling resentful

You spend so much of your day looking after everyone else that you never do anything for yourself. That would make anyone feel resentful. Your needs matter just as much as everyone else’s, and it’s important for you to feel cared for and respected.

Nobody considers your needs

Have you started to notice that nobody seems to even recognize that you have needs? Don’t be too hard on them; others around you have become so used to depending on you, that it probably doesn’t even occur to them that you’re just as worthy of attention as they are.

Picking up on the signals that you are in need of some important self-care time, and helping those around you to understand how you are feeling, is not necessarily an instantaneous revelation – old habits die hard, as they say. It may take some strategic planning, focused conversations, and honest open-mindedness to not only share your thoughts, but also have those in your circle understand and appreciate them.

Once you have identified that it’s time to start drawing boundaries, you need to find a way to do it without hurting the people around you: Continue reading When It’s Time to Focus on Your Needs

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5 Tips That Will Give You More Energy

Written by Karen Bivand

5 tips for more energy - mompreneurs

It’s 6:30am – time to wake up!  How do you feel?  Do you jump out of bed eager to take on whatever challenges today has in store for you?  Or do you stagger around like a zombie until your third coffee?  If you are chronically exhausted, here are a few tips that will help you get that spring back in your step:

Analyze your sleep habits.
How much sleep are you getting each night?  It is recommended that adults get at least 7 hours.  However, just devoting the time to your sleep isn’t enough; you also need to pay attention to the quality of sleep that you are getting.  Other people, noise, light, stress, and caffeine can all interfere with your quality of sleep.  If you are sacrificing sleep time to get more work done, it may actually be counterproductive.  You are more efficient and effective in your work when you are well rested.

Accept a challenge.
Your low energy could be as simple as a lack of motivation.  Could it be that you just aren’t feeling enthusiastic about what you are doing?  There’s a quick fix for that; try to find a challenge that makes you feel excited.  Aim for something that’s a little outside of your comfort zone.  You may find that getting out of your monotonous routine is all you need to do to get your blood flowing.

Take care of the basics.
There are many reasons that you could be lacking energy and your physical health is a big one.  When you are running a business and taking care of your family, it is easy to fall into the trap of neglecting your own health.  Make it a priority to eat healthy food on a regular basis, drink plenty of water, and try to do at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.  It may also be a good idea to visit your doctor to rule out any medical conditions that may be making you tired.

Plan a vacation.
When was the last time that you did something just because you wanted to?  When we overextend ourselves for a long period of time, we all burn out.  Re-charge your batteries by planning something fun.  If possible, book a trip somewhere exciting.  If that’s not feasible, a day at the spa or even a shopping and lunch date with a good friend may do the trick.

Take care of your appearance.
Nobody is suggesting that a bright shade of lipstick can make up for three nights without sleep.  However, if you invest some time and energy into making yourself look gorgeous, you may feel a little more capable of conquering the world!    

 

 

featured image courtesy of shutterstock.com

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Business Card Mistakes to Avoid

Insights from The UPS Store

business card mistakes to avoid, tips from UPS Store for mompreneurs

It’s no secret that a great business card is an essential tool for any small business owner. Whether you’re handing one to a contact in a networking situation, or attaching it to a new customer’s order in the hopes of generating repeat business, the ideal card conveys valuable information about your company, and expresses something about its personality.

Of course, not all business cards are created equal. Some are a cut above, displaying relevant details while also being unique and creative. Others, however, fall victim to several common mistakes that can diminish the overall message. Concerned your cards might be selling you and your company short? Take a look at this list of business card blunders and make sure you’re not an offender.

Too much information/Illegible text

It’s tempting to cram as much text as you possibly can onto your business card, so anyone who takes it can get all the information they may be looking for. The problem? Your finished card is liable to end up looking cluttered, or has a font size too small to read comfortably. It’s best to stick to the basics: your name, title, the name of your business, and basic contact details such as a telephone number, email address, and website info. If you’ve still got space to include a mailing address, and think it would be a valuable addition, go ahead and include it. A more valuable choice for many businesses, however, are your social media handles.

Be careful what you put on the back

Business cards have two sides for a reason, so make the most of both of them. Some printers may offer a discount if you allow them to put their logo or information on the reverse side. However, this could lead some recipients wrongly assuming you are connected or affiliated with that company, which isn’t what you’re looking for. Resist the temptation to save a few dollars on printing costs and keep the back of your business card your own. Use it to include information that didn’t fit on the front, such as social media contact info or the address of your brick and mortar business, a brand promise or tagline, or simply a space for notes – new contacts may want to jot down a few words about you after receiving your card to help them remember you later. Continue reading Business Card Mistakes to Avoid

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Tips for Using the Media to Grow Your Brand

Written by Dawn Mucci

breaking news banner for media promotion of small businesses

You created a great concept and now you are ready to let the world know about your brand. The trouble is, you only have so many marketing dollars in your company coffers to get the word out. If you are a new or emerging brand with minimal capital this can be a huge challenge. I’ve been there myself and I know the struggle is real. If you find yourself in this situation or simply want to learn how to save some money in this department, consider using the media to grow your brand. I did this successfully albeit out of sheer necessity and I did it by spending time crafting my story and sharing it passionately, forming relationships with key contacts in the industry at all levels. There are many forms of media for you to leverage and I will touch on the top ones in this article.

In all honesty, I was not really using the media. I was helping the media engage their audience with relevant and timely content they needed and wanted to grow their perspective interest. This can be accomplished through traditional media such as TV, radio, and print or via platforms like social media, YouTube, events, podcasts, article writing etc. When I say to ‘use the media’, what I mean is to use what you have to offer in the way of a story, expertise or educational content. When you realize it is not about what the media can offer you but what you can offer them, it becomes less intimidating and much easier to approach people to create those mutually beneficial relationships.

I asked a couple of my franchise industry friends who have done an excellent job in this regard to provide me with their insights; they were more than happy to share these tips:

Make it easy and be timely with your content

Fellow Mompreneur member Ruthie Burd of The Lunch Lady is a media darling, appearing on countless TV shows and in articles teaching families the importance of healthy eating and showing them creative lunch options. She had the following suggestions:

“Be prepared not only with a compelling story but to also have pictures and props, which will eliminate the need to send a photographer or do extra production work. People have too much coming at them already. Anything you can do to reduce their time stress and make it easy for them is appreciated. Be timely with your content as well; for example, we make school lunches a subject of interest in September when the new school year begins. Tell everyone your story, you never know who is listening or who knows who. Finally, hire an agency or someone professional to help you be prepared with ideas to pitch for their advice and feedback. You want to create synergistic partnerships with anyone representing your brand to ensure your voice is authentic in the public space.” Continue reading Tips for Using the Media to Grow Your Brand