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Heba Ahmed Malki – domilya GROUP

Heba Ahmed Malki is an Elite+ Member from Milton, Ontario, and has been part of our community since 2011. Both her and her husband Rachid run their home renovations company domilya GROUP together, and Heba is also a consultant with Sendout Cards! We’re thrilled to be sharing her Success Story!

Mompreneur Heba Ahmed Malki of Domilya Group and Sendout Cards


What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
From a very young age, I understood the importance of working independently. My father, a businessman, always instilled in me the value of honesty and uprightness; my mother, meanwhile, the value of respect and service to others. With much enthusiasm and dedication, I partnered up with my husband to create domilya GROUP. Ambition, discipline and purpose allows me to balance both: my two successful businesses and taking care of my family.

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
Owning domilya GROUP and being part of the SendOutCards family has been extremely satisfying. As a family we have choices and we get to make the decisions. Owning our own businesses, allows us to shape out our dreams. We get to help people and have the option of a more flexible lifestyle. It has open up the possibility of increasing our income and best of all, it has changed our daily routines. We start our days with a smile every day and look forward to transforming our clients’ dreams into reality.

Heba and Rachid Malki

Who do you count on for help? Do you have a network of family that answer the call?
We come from a strong support structure with our families. We are blessed to have their unconditional support. We are very blessed to be surrounded by a large family and group of friends who live nearby and are very excited and supportive of our success.

Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
Yes, I have to make sacrifices all the time. Success is not easy and it always comes at a price. Sacrificing free time, sleep, your evenings and weekend, will inevitably be a part of the process but in the long run, they’ll pay dividends.

What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
Nothing but hang out with my kids and hubby. My days off are perfect days spent with family. They give me the balance and motivation I need. Last long weekend, for example, we laid out in the backyard all day, we had a water balloon fight and had a blast! Moments with my family are incomparable opportunities to experience special moments, build memories and appreciate what we have in life.

Heba Malki family

Are you active in your community? What does supporting local mean to you?
domilya GROUP and my SendOutCards business have a continued commitment to behave ethically and contribute to the region’s development by making donations and sponsoring events whenever possible. Lending a helping hand to the community is part of our vision, a way of doing things all year long. The company has sponsored and supported several charities including, the Halton Women’s Shelter, the Oakville Hospital, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Kids Help Phone, INCITE: A Single Moms Support Group, Food4Kids, Circle of Women, Milton District Hospital Foundation and the United Way of Milton.

Heba Malki family

Name another entrepreneur who inspires you.
Wow! This is a difficult one. Being a multi-preneur, I have many women that inspire me. My mom is the first and most important one and even though she does not own a business, she is a go getter, she seizes the moment, she is my best friend!

What does the future look like for you and your business?
We continue on our current path of growth. Healthy increases are expected to continue in the near future. With a clear vision of expansion and leadership in the renovation sector, domilya GROUP has come to occupy a leading position in this business. We want to be recognized and awarded as the best renovation company in the region. Our professionalism, ethical principles and values come together to keep offering our customers with the most impressive renovation service. We foresee opening our own showroom and grow to have 15 to 20 employees.

SendOutCards keeps growing as well. Paired with helping millions of people act on their promptings, SendOutCards’ mission is to provide a vehicle for financial success. My job is to keep educating people about the advantages of using SendOutCards, not only as a relationship marketing tool to grow a business (for which domilya GROUP is the perfect example), but also as an income opportunity.

domilya group renovations - mompreneur heba malki

Any tips for other women thinking of starting a business?

Educate yourself. Find a mentor. Build a support network. Join online communities that connect you with other mom entrepreneurs. They will become your lifeline for advice, resources and friendship.

Do your research, single out a specialty and most importantly, protect your work and family.

 


 

A version of Heba’s Success Story was previously published in November, 2015; updated on September 27, 2018.

 

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Deciding When to Update Your Website

Written by Joe Forrest, on behalf of the GoDaddy Team

When is the last time you updated your website? Has it been a few years? If so, you’re probably missing out on a lot of business opportunities. The web changes fast, and you must pivot with it to succeed. Here are six questions you can ask yourself to determine if it’s time to update your website.

1. Are you socially active?

If you’re not promoting your business through Facebook, you’re losing out on a potential audience of around 2 billion people. There are many popular social networking sites out there that could be increasing your revenue if you take advantage of them. Social media marketing is so huge that it has created a huge cottage industry within the IT business world. Navigating the landscape can be daunting but to ignore it means you’re ignoring sales.

So if you’re actively promoting your business — and consequently its website — on Facebook or any other social platform, you’ll need to make sure your site design is up to snuff. Increasing awareness is a must, but if you’re not retaining any traffic after your social media pushes, it might be time to take a look at your website.

2. How’s your SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is how you get to the top of the charts, as they say. If you’re not using Google Analytics, for example, then you are way behind the power curve. You need to take the time to brush up on the subject. There are many professional services and products out there to help with this, so choose wisely. As always, you should educate yourself on what is really necessary, so you can make a plan of action to implement a good SEO strategy in order to get the full effect.

3. Is your site mobile-ready?

Most websites today are viewed on a mobile device. If you look at your website on an iPhone or Android and you can barely read the text (or if it just looks plain dated), then it’s time to update. You need to have a responsive website if you want to pull in new customers.

Even if you hired someone to build your first site and you’re unsure of web design, there are solutions available in the form of website builders. GoDaddy Website Builder, for example, makes it easy to build a professional website in less than an hour. With professional layouts and designs, you can easily find one that fits your industry. Bonus? It’s automatically built to be mobile-friendly. You can even design from your phone if you’d like!

4. How old is your content?

Your website’s design is amazingly important. If you haven’t even touched your website in the past six months, then you could be losing out on a lot of traffic — or worse, the potential for lining your pockets with cash. Your website is your public brand, and you want it to be welcoming with a clean and effective design.

A fresh update every now and then is a good thing. You’ll want to keep the design familiar enough to old customers while also integrating features that appeal to emerging audiences.

5. How’s your security?

It’s a common misconception that an SSL is needed only if you’re taking credit card information on your site. Google has been pushing a safer internet initiative for years now. In fact, if you have any sort of form on your site, such as a newsletter or login function, then utilizing an SSL certificate is a must to avoid being put on the naughty list.

In addition to SSLs, you should also factor in general website security. If you’ve never thought to add a layer of protection to your site in the form of a scanner to protect against malware, then you definitely need to include that in your update. If you’re not doing anything to protect yourself, then you’re gambling with your business, as 60 percent of all businesses that suffer from a cyber-attack go under in about six months. Check out GoDaddy’s Website Security, powered by Sucuri. They’ll even help you out if you already have malware present.

6. When is the last time your website had a facelift?

Have you ever noticed that major brands are constantly reinventing their image to stay relevant? If you designed your website in FrontPage and haven’t changed it since then, you need an update pronto.

As I mentioned before, website builders like GoDaddy Website Builder make it exceptionally easy to get a brand-spanking new design on your website — without the major costs associated with a professional web design. You can keep your original color schemes and photos, or you can browse the professional images and layouts to give your site a fresh feel.

QUICK RECAP

If you’re invested in your business, you should also be investing in your website. As with anything important, it’s valuable to educate yourself and formulate a plan. Then, pivot as needed to accommodate any changes. Using the power of the world wide web — and an updated website — can take your from being a small business owner to a major player.


tips from Joe Forrest via GoDaddy

 

Joe Forrest is a Hosting Support Specialist by night, creative writer/IT consultant by day. He is the founder of joeforrest.com, a blog dedicated to helping develop writers in both craft and internet marketing presence. His passion is to help the independent-minded, creative individual succeed and prosper with simple solutions in a complicated, high-tech world. You can follow him on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

 

 


Featured image via shutterstock.com

 

 

 

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5 Tips to Increase Your Security Online & Protect Confidential Information

Written by Hugo Organista

The internet has become a breeding ground for cyber criminals looking to prey on those who don’t exercise proper cyber protection habits. Stories of identity theft seem to be increasingly common today as mass hacking becomes more popular. The lack of security leaves an open door for someone with bad intentions to take advantage of your confidential information.

Luckily, you don’t have to be a security expert to keep your information private and secure on the web. There are simple, yet effective habits everyone can develop to stay significantly safer and more secure on the internet. Whether it’s keeping your website secure or using a VPN to encrypt your activity, these five security tips can you help stay ahead of a security breach.

1. Use multiple passwords and change them every 90 days

protecting your online information - GoDaddy tips

The most effective way to keep passwords secure starts with the user. Hackers know that most users on the internet use the same passwords for most websites, and they often keep using the same password for years before changing them.

To prevent this, users should practice using a different password for every website and ensure that they are changed every 90 days. This will isolate an exploit to only the website where the password has been compromised and minimize impact to the affected user.

The following criteria are suggested when creating a strong password:

  •      Use 12 to 14 characters
  •      Use lowercase and uppercase alphabetic characters
  •      Use at least one number and one symbol

Not sure you can remember your newly created, strong password? There are password managers for that.

2. Use a secure password manager to keep everything in one place

Gone are the days of storing passwords on a spreadsheet or a notebook. Today, a password manager makes things a lot easier by keeping all your credentials in one safe, encrypted place.

Password managers also allow you to access your credentials from anywhere, and some password managers even have a mobile app you can download for instant access. Most popular password managers also include a secure password generator that will automatically create strong, random passwords for you.

Check out these great password managers you can use: Continue reading 5 Tips to Increase Your Security Online & Protect Confidential Information

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Are you Ready for a Tax Audit?

Written by Linda Spencer

Are you at risk? The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) continues to audit the following key areas, as these areas seem to be the ones of greatest error or non-compliance by small and medium sized businesses:

Denied expenses – CRA denies unsupported and non-deductible expenses. It is important to have proper and adequate documentation to support the expenditures.

Taxable benefits
– CRA scrutinizes automobile benefits and other expenses such as travel expenses and phone and internet usage to ensure taxable benefits are attributed properly to employees.

Shareholder benefits
– CRA continues to seek out personal expenses paid for and deducted by the business that should be denied or taxed to the shareholder. Taxpayers should carefully document the business purpose of all expenses and have practices in place to closely monitor shareholder accounts and credit cards to avoid these reassessments. Continue reading Are you Ready for a Tax Audit?

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Natali Pupovac-Peters – FranNet

Natali Pupovac-Peters is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Southwestern, Ontario. She is a Franchise Consultant with FranNet. Natali is in the business of putting other people into business – literally! She works with people who want to become business owners and explore franchise opportunities as a way of achieving that goal.  We are excited to share Natali’s Success Story!

mompreneur Natali Pupovac-Peters of FranNet


What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I honestly don’t think I remember a time that I wanted to be anything other than an entrepreneur. I’m not sure if this is because I grew up with an entrepreneurial Dad, because early on I recognized the benefits of being my own boss, or because it was a career that was off the ‘normal’ path.
However, even though I knew this was something I always wanted to do, it wasn’t an easy path getting to this point. I completed my education, worked for a small business as well as a large corporation, before I had the courage to take the leap into entrepreneurship. I think my biggest inspiration was the lifestyle that I knew I could have and the lifestyle I can give my kids as a result. I’m not talking about money, but about the flexibility to spend the time with my kids and my husband when I choose to and not when my work allowed me to. It’s about spending the day with my kids if they’re sick or taking that family vacation and not having to worry about whether I can get the time off, or whether or not my boss will be upset about it. So even though I always knew I was going to be an entrepreneur, it was having control over my days, my income and my future that inspired me to finally take that leap.
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
It’s definitely the control – having control over my time, my income potential and my future.
My husband works all sorts of crazy shifts and he works out of town. It was critical for me to have the flexibility to work around his schedule in order to make sure that our kids were always taken care of and that we could give them the opportunities that they need, even if they don’t fit into the typical 9-5 mold.
Secondly, I like being in control of my income potential. I didn’t like my income being tied to industry standards, but rather to my work ethic and work quality.
Lastly, having control over my future. It’s funny because most people out there consider entrepreneurship risky and working for someone else more secure. Yet, I would argue that the opposite is true. Many of my clients are individuals who have spent 20, 30, and 40 years working for someone else just to be laid-off due to various reasons. When you work for yourself, you don’t have to worry about that. Your promotion is also not tied to company policies or subjective performance reviews. It is only tied to you and the things that you do day in and day out.

Continue reading Natali Pupovac-Peters – FranNet

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Paymaneh Ritchie – SPR Management Inc.

Paymaneh Ritchie is an Elite+ member based out of Coquitlam, BC. She is the Owner of SPR Management Inc., and the Author of Hello, My Name is Oliver. We are excited to share Paymaneh’s Success Story!

mompreneur Paymaneh Ritchie of SPR Management Inc.


About SPR Management Inc.
My husband and I established SPR Management Inc. in 2003, as a shell company, an intuitive, rare, and uncaclucated move on our behalf, given that at the time he had his own successful business, and I was employed in the biomedical sector. Our intuition paid off after we had our daughter in 2007 and nothing working out as planned. Becoming a stay-at-home-mom afforded me the opportunity to consider independent employment and take a harder look at myself as a person. As it turned out, I did not dislike what I discovered within myself!

We now use SPR Management as an incorporated umbrella under which all our varied efforts gather strength. These include procurement, consulting, business licensing, and even my new chapter book, “Hello, My Name is Oliver”. I am always looking for new ideas, partnerships, and empowering work impacting animals and children. I dream big and take smaller steps, hoping to pass this on to the next generation.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Family lifestyle and becoming a mother. With a premature baby who had some health issues, we decided that focusing on our family’s health was more important. Given the nature of the biopharmaceutical sector, I decided ten hour work days plus travel time would keep me away from our baby for far too long. So I stayed home with her for two years and gradually set up my home office.

mompreneur Paymaneh Ritchie, author of Hi My Name is Oliver and owner of SPR Management Inc.

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
Being there for my daughter! I love picking her up and listening to her tell me stories about her day. We have our best conversations in the car on our way back home! Continue reading Paymaneh Ritchie – SPR Management Inc.

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Looking for a Business Loan? Tips to Choose the Right Lender…

From the expert team at Evolocity

There are different lending options available to small businesses in Canada, but which one is the right one for you and your business?

The Scenario:
You’re an entrepreneur and you want to obtain financing to grow your small business. Maybe it’s to make some much needed renovations, or deal with unexpected expenses, or simply to get you through a slow season. Whatever the reason, there are a number of options available to you. But, before applying for any type of financing you should be able to answer most – if not all – of the following questions:

  • What do you need the money for?
  • How much money do you need?
  • How long will it take to pay back?
  • How is your business doing financially?
  • How much collateral do you have, if any?
  • When do you need the money?
  • What kind of business do you own?

These will help determine what kind of funding you should pursue.

The major types of funding available for small businesses are:

Each type of funding varies by lender, based on qualifications, restrictions, interest rates, amounts, and turnaround time.

Government-Backed Financing
The small business financing program offered by the Government of Canada is a good option for businesses with gross annual revenues of $10 million or less. This type of loan helps small businesses that need funding for a specific reason like opening a new location, making renovations, or leasing new equipment or vehicles. The business will still have to apply for the loan through a chartered bank but it’s usually easier for small businesses to obtain a loan through this program because the government shares the risk with the bank. The downside to this type of funding is the number restrictions imposed on how the funds can be used. The turnaround time for the loan may also take longer than a direct loan from a bank or alternative lender. If your business needs quick funding, this option may not be the best choice for you. To apply for the government-backed business loan, you will be required to present a detailed business plan and a complete financial overview to a participating chartered bank. Continue reading Looking for a Business Loan? Tips to Choose the Right Lender…

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Three Email Headers to Increase Email Open Rates

By Stacey Hartman

new message image - how to increase email open rates using email headers

When you’re working toward gathering and maintaining subscribers for your email marketing, it’s easy to lose sight of the email headers in the shuffle. However, crafting an effective subject line is crucial when you’re considering the open rate for your email messages (open rates would refer to how many recipients open your messages). Afterall, what good is an amazing message if your readers aren’t even opening your email?

Let’s take a look at some options and ideas for effective headers that will get your emails noticed.

Make it personal

Adding your reader’s name to the subject line helps to increase the email open rate. It shows familiarity and can foster a sense of connection. A study by Experian Marketing Services found that personalizing the subject line of an email increased the open rate by almost 30 percent.

The primary example for this would be including a client’s name in the subject line or header text of your email, but you don’t have to limit yourself to only their name. Use casual verbiage in your subject line, share a personal story about yourself or your business, or choose words that imply friendship.

Pro tip: Be careful, though, to not overuse personalization. Overdoing it can have a negative impact on your open rates. Continue reading Three Email Headers to Increase Email Open Rates

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Empower Your Financial Wellness

Written by Linda Spencer.

financial wellness

It’s a fact – money is THE #1 cause of stress in North America today.  That stress places strains on our bodies, our relationships and our emotional and mental wellbeing.  Stress costs billions of dollars in health care and lost productivity each year.  There are programs, pills, tips and tricks to manage the symptoms of stress, but what is there really that gets the heart of the cause of that stress – in this case, MONEY?

Why is it that Money is such a stress factor?  With statistics like over 60% of the population not having good basic financial knowledge and 85% of business failures being caused by lack of financial know-how and organization, I think poor financial literacy, along with instilled beliefs that money is limited or not available to us, has created this high money stress that we experience today.

As parents, consumers and business owners, it’s our responsibility to educate ourselves with the tools, knowledge, strategies and MINDSETS to take control over our financial destiny. As educators and parents, it is our responsibility to give our youth the knowledge, tools and mindsets they need to not only support themselves, but to thrive in a world that is still governed mostly by a lack mentality (which we CAN change). And I see it as my job to pass on the financial knowledge and know-how I’ve acquired in order to reduce this money stress, and empower people to create the life they truly desire, to have greater ease and joy in their lives.

Here are 3 of my top tips for reducing money stress:

Continue reading Empower Your Financial Wellness

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Arti Sharma – Measure Marketing

Arti Sharma is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Milton, Ontario. She is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategist for Measure Marketing. We are excited to share Arti’s Success Story!

mompreneur Arti Sharma of Measure Marketing


What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
My drive to support and service many business owners, while being available to my children as they are growing, was my primary reason to start a business. As a natural coach (and being a business coach for a franchise organization) my natural style is to support, help people find answers, and inspire them to take action. By being an entrepreneur, I can do this and support my team, vendors, and clients, while building a lifestyle that provides for my family, and live out my purpose to influence, inspire, and impact.

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
A common response to this question is “being your own boss”, however it isn’t exactly a true statement if you believe in having a collaborative and respectful working relationship with your employees. Owning a company with 18 employees means answering the needs of those employees and providing the tools and education they require to do their jobs. It also means providing them with direction, purpose, and inspiration to help them remain engaged in the business. I’m amazed by the creativity and brilliance people show when you let them shine.

I also love having the opportunity to educate my clients (owners/entrepreneurs) from a marketing perspective, which helps them grow their businesses in many ways. Knowing that my team and I played an important part in their successful journey is very gratifying. The relationships I have built with my clients and partners is also rewarding. I find it very fulfilling that we can help each other continue to learn and grow our businesses, either from a coaching perspective or as a mentor. And most importantly, I am able to bring passion, purpose, and people together to create a positive outcome. I feel blessed and proud to have committed team members, who are an important part of my company’s success.

 

mompreneur Arti Sharma of Measure Marketing

Can you describe a typical day?
Over time, my “typical days” have changed, as I have grown from being the one–person team to team of 18. I start each day with my non-negotiable rituals, such as meditation, journaling, and setting intentions. Although I don’t have many “typical days”, as my company is growing, there are still many hats I wear occasionally. My team is heavily involved in project and account management, while I am out building strong relationships with existing and new clients, and building an audience for my speaker series. Although, I must admit that I’d like to become more disciplined in following a daily structure, and I am continually striving for that as part of my transition and growth. It is truly an exciting time for my business and my family, and a long-time goal I have been striving for.

Who do you count on for help? Do you have a network of family that answer the call?
I have a business coach and I have mentors (industry leaders and clients), who help me with the tough and new types of decisions required for a company that’s growing. In addition, I have a son who loves to brainstorm with me on new marketing ideas and the future of marketing in general. I also have a husband who is a “silent partner” in my business, as well as a wonderful support system.

mompreneur Arti Sharma of Measure Marketing

Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
Yes, I did sacrifice time with my family for a while. But I soon realized that I could do both, provided I showed a great deal of self-discipline and planning on both personal and business levels. I make a point of taking my daughter to school every day and picking her up after school. I also take weekends off so I can refuel and connect with the people who matter most in my life – my family and my friends. This is all possible because of my supportive partner and loving, mature children.

What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
That’s a good one! I don’t think a passionate, entrepreneurial mind ever likes taking a day off, as I don’t find it possible to just “turn off’ my business mind. I do take weekends off and special days when I feel the need. There are some weekends that I work as needed, and that’s the choices we all make, based on demands.

However, I set intentions and continuously practice saying “no” to things that won’t serve my business, my family, and myself. On weekends and days off, I like to cook, read, go for a long walk with my daughter, and spend time hanging out with my husband, kids, and friends.

Are you active in your community? What does supporting local mean to you?
I am a firm believer in supporting our communities. I am a past board member for Food4Kids (Halton Region), and continue to support them as I can. I also give back through an online portal called Stryd-e- Entrepreneurs helping Entrepreneurs. I designed and created this entity/goal with the purpose of bridging the gap between global communities of entrepreneurs and business professionals by providing them with a platform to network, receive educational programs, and find the right partners to work with under a no pressure pitch or paid system. This is all about creating a supportive community for business owners. I also mentor new business owners and colleagues I meet at Chamber events or BNI meetings to help them push the envelope, and this gives me a lot of satisfaction. And during the process to educate and share my experience with them, I learn from them.

Name another entrepreneur who inspires you.
Lisa Kember – Previously with Constant Contact and now a franchise owner for TAB (The Alternative Board) a Peer Advisory Board and Business Coach.

What does the future look like for you and your business?
We’re a progressive business that is continuously evolving. This consistent process makes me feel excited and grateful for the people in my life who are a big part in the ongoing success of my business. In addition, there is always the possibility that my children will join the business in the next 8-10 years. So, the future looks pretty fantastic to me!

Any tips for other women thinking of starting a business?
The top five suggestions or tips I would advise are as follows:

  1. Do the research and talk to someone who has created a “real” business. Ask a ton of questions.
  2. Dig deeper into why you want to start this business, what will it do, what will be the guiding motivation for you to pursue this for the next 5 years (motivation shifts over time as you evolve).
  3. Invest in yourself, and connect with someone you admire and would like to mentor you.
  4. Learn how to market and sell your business or hire someone to do it for you.
  5. Build processes and systems early on to guard your time and stay disciplined.