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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

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Brainstorming Sessions that Work

brainstorming ideas - sessions that work for mompreneurs and women entrepreneurs

What do you do when you have to solve a problem or you need a killer new idea for your business?  Many business owners spend thousands of dollars on consultants when the perfect solution is right in front of them tucked away in one of their employee’s brain.  How can you access your employees’ great ideas?  Why not try a brainstorming session?  Here are some techniques that will help you hold a brainstorming session that is actually effective:

Don’t allow criticism.

The fear of criticism stifles creativity and makes people unwilling to suggest unconventional ideas, which is the whole point of the exercise.  Focus on quantity instead of quality.  Make it a team goal to come up with 75 new ideas.

Invite the right people.

Ideally, you would want to have between four and eight people at your brainstorming meeting.  When the group gets too big, people start to get intimidated.  Include a mix of people from different levels and departments.  You want to invite people who are willing to think big.

Make it a comfortable experience.

The space that you are working in matters.  Try to find a different room than the one that you use for your regular meetings.  Make sure that the chairs are comfortable and that people have room to walk around.  Select a time for the meeting when your employees won’t be too distracted by other tasks, and don’t forget to provide food and coffee.

Have an official facilitator.

You need someone to keep everyone on track and make sure that there is no judgment or criticism of ideas.  It is best if the facilitator is someone other than the manager so that the team members don’t become intimidated.

Plan next steps.

Clearly communicate what the next steps will be.  After investing their time and energy into this meeting, it will annoy your employees if all their ideas lead to nothing.

When handled properly, brainstorming meetings can be an effective team building experience.  It can get people talking in the lunch room, which is where the best ideas will come from anyway.  Your real goal as a business owner is to create a culture of brainstorming at your company.  If your employees are always thinking and are motivated to develop and share their ideas, it will take your business to some amazing (and interesting) places.

 


Written by Karen Bivand

Featured image via shutterstock.com

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5 Tips for Building Your Email List

By Stacey Hartman

If you’re looking to really start growing your business, email marketing is an awesome way to expand your customer base. One major stumbling point for some, though, is building your subscriber list. Fret not, we have several sure-fire steps to get your email list booming. Let’s take a look!

1. Get an email marketing service.

tips from GoDaddy for mompreneur on how to build your email list

This step might seem a bit obvious, but it is an important one. Email marketing services give you access to powerful list-management systems, opt-out functionality that will help you comply with government anti-spam laws, and the ability to quickly create professional-looking marketing emails. GoDaddy has an amazing email marketing product that meets all of these needs and is easy to use for email marketing beginners.

If you’re starting out small, you might think, “Why do I need to get a email marketing service right away?” You can handle a small list of subscribers yourself, right? Not so fast. The other angle to consider is that most regular email services won’t allow you to use their email system for email marketing.

If you send out more emails than they consider to be “normal” email use, you can be blocked from sending emails. What’s more, you’d need to manually update your email list for opt-out requests, or you risk facing penalties. Start off on the right foot and go with an email marketing service. It’ll save you headaches down the road.

2. Sign-up forms.

You’ve likely seen plenty of sign-up forms for email lists on other sites. To be effective, though, you’ll need to consider where to place your forms on your website, beyond just a pop-up. There are a few options for form placement to consider: Continue reading 5 Tips for Building Your Email List

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How Custom Apparel Can Help Motivate and Inspire Your Employees

Regardless of your industry, it’s no secret that custom branded apparel is an integral part of your company’s branding strategy. Wearing your company logo helps to promote your company’s identity and establish a professional image. But along with the many benefits to your company’s marketing efforts, printing or embroidering your logo on custom apparel can have a residual positive impact on your employees’ attitudes and work ethic; even your own!

Custom Apparel Improves Morale

One of the biggest advantages to outfitting employees in custom apparel is the boost it can give to employee attitudes and work ethic. When your employees feel like valued members of a team, they are more likely to be loyal to your company, show pride in their work and even be more productive.

mompreneur partner Entripy Custom Clothing staff

Custom Apparel Improves Performance

Employees are often more motivated to get work done when they feel part of something larger than themselves. When sporting your company logo, employees are more likely to feel accountable for your company’s success and are more motivated to get work done. Plus, employees wearing branded apparel tend to act more professionally, knowing that their actions when out in public will reflect on the company. Continue reading How Custom Apparel Can Help Motivate and Inspire Your Employees

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How to Stop Overextending Yourself

tips to stop overextending, for women entrepreneursDo you often feel like you have bitten off more than you can chew? Do you find yourself rushing from project to project with barely enough time in between to eat or shower? If you are like many entrepreneurs, you may have a tendency to over-commit yourself.  People overextend themselves for various reasons; perhaps you just get caught up in the moment and agree to something before you check your schedule, or maybe you find it difficult to say no to people.

Whatever your motivation, it leaves you feeling frustrated and frazzled, and it could potentially damage your reputation if you’re not able to honour all of the commitments that you’ve made. Here are some tips to help you take control and stop over-committing:

  • Acknowledge that it’s a problem: While it’s normal to be busy, if your hectic pace causes you to be stressed out most of the time, then it is something that you need to address. Being constantly on the run is bad for your health, puts a strain on your relationships with your friends and family, and can cause you to lose focus of your goals. You can work on your business for twenty hours a day and still find that success slips through your fingers. Being busy is productive; frantically scrambling around is not. If you think that you may currently be overextended, then it is time to step back and re-evaluate.
  • Listen to your body: Your body is great at telling you when you’re going too fast, provided that you take the time to listen. How do you feel? Do you have trouble sleeping? Are you tired all of the time? Do you suffer from headaches? Are you having digestive problems? Do you have acne or eczema or any other skin conditions that flare up when you’re stressed? If your body is displaying symptoms of stress then it means that your activities are physically straining you. Don’t take these symptoms lightly; while you may only be able to detect a headache and a rash, that same stress could be causing much more serious damage to your body.

Continue reading How to Stop Overextending Yourself

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Dreaming Bigger Than the Fear

Written by Darlene Gudrie Butts

dream bigger than your fears

Do you have this huge desire to do something big?

Do you take a couple of steps and then stop, paralyzed by “what ifs”?

I can relate.

I have always been a big dreamer and if I am not a little scared I feel I am not living fully. But, this year I made the mistake of dreaming so big that the “what ifs” have been pummeling me in a heavy downpour.

I decided two months ago to go on this epic journey to travel across Canada to gather stories for Canada’s 150th birthday. The 150 best ones would be put in a book.

Not a bad idea.

What??? CANADA is HUGE! The gas alone will be insane.

Here comes the fear…

What if I run out of money?

What if no one submits a story?

What if the stories suck?

What if I can’t get people and businesses to sponsor books for grade fives and my big dream goes kaput?

Then, I turned it all around and sucker-punched fear to the floor.

What if I don’t run out of money?

What if I do run out of money and don’t cover every province in person? Can I still write the book? Hell yeah!

What if the site crashes because so many people are submitting stories and I make the national news because of it, which in turn causes another crash?

What if I meet the sweetest, most amazing people and get to tell the stories no one would hear if I didn’t share them?

What if I get to inspire a whole generation?

Dreaming bigger than fear is easy. It is all about perspective. If you concentrate on all the wonderful things that can happen versus the negative, they will happen. I promise.

Whenever I get overwhelmed, by this project I stop and picture an email sent by a ten-year-old telling me how she read a story in 150 Canadian Stories and now she is inspired to do something big for herself and her country.  Her life will be forever changed by one story. Then, I take the next logical step.

Take that fear!

Mic drop.


mompreneur Darlene Gudrie Butts of 150 Canadian Stories
Darlene Gudrie Butts
is an acclaimed author and speaker as well as a very proud Canadian and Elite+ Mompreneur member. She wanted to celebrate this country’s upcoming 150th birthday with her power skill, story-telling. Willing to leave her business, city and friends behind, Darlene is embarking on a three-month tour of this incredible country looking for ordinary people with extraordinary stories. Her big dream is to be able to get enough books sponsored to be able to gift them to every grade five student in Canada so that the next generation has the love and pride she has for this country! Find out more about Darlene’s journey at 150canadianstories.ca


 

 

featured image via shutterstock.com