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‘Tis the Season for Colds and the Flu

woman entrepreneur with sick kids or a coldWe all know it – we’re right in the midst of cold and flu season, and that’s never a good thing. Research has shown that adults contract two to four colds a year, while children under the age of ten can average up to twelve. This time of year is especially demanding for mompreneurs, so it’s important that you have a strategy in place to deal with the inevitable.

Good management and pre-planning are the keys to running your business when you or your children are sick. Here are some tips to help you handle these extra challenges:

Work from home. These days, most entrepreneurs can do the majority of their work on their computers or from their smart phone. Make sure your home office allows you to work effectively – that means keeping printer paper well-stocked, having supplies on-hand, and preparing for emergencies before they hit.

Have a flexible, well-trained assistant. This person should be able to take over for you and perform most of your day to day tasks. Not only will it reassure your clients, staff, and colleagues that things are under control, it will give you peace of mind if you have to be absent for several days.

Have a back-up plan for childcare. Perhaps a relative, friend, or fellow mompreneur can watch your children in case you have to go into work for a few hours, or if you need to keep an important phone/video call that you can’t cancel and during which you don’t want to be interrupted.

Every parent knows that children often develop a cough or runny nose that can last for weeks. Obviously, you can’t keep them out of school or daycare for that long, but how do you know when to keep them home and when to send them in? If your child is exhibiting the following symptoms, they likely have an infection which can spread to others:

  • A fever above 99.5
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Severe cough or sore throat
  • Red and runny eyes
  • Rashes
  • Pain in ears, mouth, head or belly

So after children have been home for a few days, how do you know when they’re all better? Here are some signs that it’s safe for them to go back to school:

  • no fever for over 24 hours and it is controlled without medication
  • child has been taking prescribed medication for over 24 hours
  • rashes have been checked by a doctor
  • child only has a runny nose
  • child looks and acts like normal and appears restless


You know your child better than anyone else, so if you go with your gut you’ll usually make the right decision. And don’t forget – you need to take care of you, too! Dealing with an illness while tending to your business can be overwhelming, however with an action plan you can meet this challenge.



Written by: Karen Bivand
Featured Photo Credit: Piotr Marcinski




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Attract the Right Candidates With Your Job Advertisements

When you have a vacancy to fill in your business, finding and hiring the right candidate is no easy task, and can be a daunting one at that. The hours that you will need to invest in training a new hire are ones you cannot get back, so finding the right person (and ensuring they’re in it for the long haul!) is paramount.

You can make the screening process a lot more efficient by creating job advertisements that allow candidates to screen themselves, in order to ensure you are getting the right person for the job.

Here are five tips that will help you write job posts that’ll do some of the work for you:

attracting the right candidates for jobs

Put it in the right place

Find out which sites your target audience is using to find a job and post it there. If possible, talk with other employers in your industry to get a sense of where they have also found good candidates.


Choose your keywords carefully

Job search sites rely on keywords to match candidates to jobs. Make sure that you are using commonly used search terms that are relative to your company and to the position you are hiring for. Be realistic when it comes to the terms you are using for the job description, in order to guarantee an accurate screening.


Include detailed information

By providing key details about both the company and the position, you allow candidates to determine whether or not they would be a good fit. It may go without saying, but ensure that your website and company profile is up to date, which will further inform potential candidates about who they may be potentially working for.


Think carefully about the job title

Most job seekers focus on the job title when identifying positions to target. Make sure that the job title you use will attract the right type of candidates.


Be clear about the requirements

If you make candidates aware of the minimum requirements for the position, you will receive a higher percentage of applications from people who are actually qualified for the job.



featured image courtesy of

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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

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Win Customers With Your Blog

Your blog can be a valuable tool in engaging your customers, but it takes time to develop and maintain…

tips for a successful blog

If you are using a blog as a marketing strategy, you want to make sure that you are using it effectively. Here are some tips that will help you create a blog that actually brings customers through your door.

Content is key.

People are going to visit and revisit your blog because of its content.  If you post information that is useful and relevant to their lives, readers will flock to your blog.  Get to know your target audience and try to determine what motivates them.  Remember, you should be educating and entertaining at least 70% of the time and promoting your business no more than 30% of the time.

Be strategic.

You need to be clear with yourself about what you are trying to achieve with your blog.  Are you building your brand?  Are you engaging your customers?  Are you establishing expertise?  While these goals may all sound good to you, your social media strategy will be more effective if you zero in on one or two goals at a time and have a clear plan for how each post will contribute to it.


Social media is supposed to be about people, so make it human.  Respond to comments and comment on other blogs.  Post pictures and allow your readers to see the person behind the voice in the blog.

Be consistent.

As you begin to build a following, readers will start to anticipate your next blog.  If you have a regular schedule for posting, you make your blog a lot more reader friendly.  You can post every day, every other day, or on set days of the week.  The key is to be consistent with it so that your readers know what to expect.

Make it attractive.

Blogs succeed or fail based on the way that they look.  If a blog is not visually appealing, most people will just click past it.  Allow for enough white space and include pictures in your blog.  Blogs with photos tend to get a lot more hits than those without them.  If you’re not sure about how your blog looks, solicit feedback from people in your network. Continue reading Win Customers With Your Blog

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Creating Your Schedule for Success – Free Time Management Template!

Mompreneurs Time Map and Schedule Template for Women Entrepreneurs
Here we are – a brand new year, and a clean slate to get our business lives and personal lives in order! What better way than to organize your schedule or ‘time map’ so that you can help set a new routine for yourself and accomplish as many of your business goals as possible this year.

Why Scheduling is Important
As an entrepreneur, every minute of every day matters. If you’re not scheduling your time, you’re kind of flying by the seat of your pants, and will surely find yourself with an unending list of things to do, without an end in sight.

Scheduling your time on a daily and weekly basis can help you focus on the tasks that must be done right away, should be done by end of the day, and would be wonderful if done by the end of the week.

What’s Important Enough to Be “Scheduled”?
This is an element that changes based on your wants and needs.

  • Are you the kind of business owner who will work without a break from 9am to 3pm, just to get everything done before you’re back to being ‘mom’? If so, schedule a break for eating and even going to the bathroom. It may sound funny, but putting a little reminder on your smartphone that tells you it’s been 3 hours since you got up from your desk can help keep a bigger picture in check for you.
  • Do you have an unrelentless inbox that, no matter how hard you try, and no matter how late you stay up replying to emails, just doesn’t seem to get better? Schedule the first hour of every day to catch up on emails (only!) – put your phone on silent, clear your schedule for this important work, and get as much done in 1 hour as you can.
  • If you have young children at home, or you are a caretaker for your parents or other relatives and loved ones, make sure you schedule the necessary time where you are needed as such. You won’t do anyone any good if you are supposed to be making breakfast and packing lunches, but instead you’re on your phone with a client. By dedicating time for your family’s needs in your schedule, you can be held accountable for their needs, but they can also see that you are focused on them for consistent amount of time.
  • What about YOU? Do you take time out to go for a run or workout, or read up on the latest marketing news, or even go for a massage? Don’t forget to work some personal time into your schedule as well – without you, your business wouldn’t be here in the first place. So take care of you!


Keep these simple ideas in mind when you’re filling out your Schedule, and be sure to not only fill it out, but print it out, stick it to your office wall, and schedule items of importance along with reminders in your mobile calendar as well.

Download Our FREE Time Map Template!


PS: You’ll see a note in our template about Robin Sharma’s “Holy Hour”… a 5am wake-up call isn’t for the faint at heart, but it can do wonders for your productivity. Feel free to use or take out of the template, as you wish! It’s merely there as a reference.

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Imagine How Your Small Business Could Grow with $100,000*

Are you ready for your chance to win $100,000 to help your business blossom?

TELUS and The Globe and Mail have launched  the 5th annual Small Business Challenge, a contest designed to help small business owners overcome their biggest business challenges with a $100,000 grant and additional prizes from TELUS.


Take a moment to hear from the previous four winners of this contest and how they were able to transform their businesses.  Last year’s winner was Vancouver Island Salt Co. This year, it could be you.


Find out how this year’s contest is even better than ever, with $150,000 worth of prizing – more money, more prizes, and more ways to win. Plus, your business can be profiled in The Globe and Mail so it can get the attention it deserves.


Telus Small Business Challenge

Enter before June 1st and your small business could be the best of the bunch.

Learn More

Telus member discount for mompreneurs and business women in canada

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Announcing Elaine Tan Comeau as Mompreneurs® Ambassador: Coquitlam, BC

Elaine Tan Comeau, Mompreneurs® Ambassador, Coquitlam BC

We are excited to announce our first official Mompreneurs® Brand Ambassador, and who better to welcome than our 2014 Mompreneur® Award of Excellence winner ELAINE TAN COMEAU of Coquitlam, BC!

Elaine will be helping us welcome members and supporters from British Columbia, and we hope to one day soon bring an event to the area to further help our network of women in business!


About Elaine

Elaine Tan Comeau is an enterprising mother of three young children, a wife, and a former elementary school teacher who is the founder and CEO of the multiple award-winning Easy Daysies, a visual magnetic scheduler to help children and families with their daily routines. Elaine was awarded the 2014 Canadian Mompreneur of the Year and has received the Chamber of Commerce Award for Excellence in Business, as well as an Award in Teaching Excellence.  Her products are recommended by child psychologists, occupational therapists and educators.  Easy Daysies was named one of Dragons’ Den favorite deals by Mr. Wonderful Kevin O’Leary and was chosen by Ford Company as one the 2014 Dragons’ Den Driven For Success Companies that exemplified Ford’s Four Pillars of Success.

Elaine has been featured in the Financial Post, Maclean’s Magazine, Canadian Business Magazine, Huffington Post, to name a few, all wanting to know her story about being a mom entrepreneur. Her products have been featured on CBC, CTV, ABC, Breakfast Television, FOX32 News, KCAL-TV , WPIX, WISH-TV, XETV.  Elaine has been published in Educational Psychology (Allyn & Bacon Canada, 2000, and Pearson, 2015 IV ed.) for her insight on teaching diversity. She has written and published several e-books (2013), and she continues to be sought after for her sell-out webinars and speaking engagements on educational strategies for both educators and parents.  Elaine is a frequent speaker on educational topics, entrepreneurship, and continues to be a guest blogger for Staples Canada, Scholars Choice, Mompreneurs® and Creative Teaching Press (USA). Elaine is also raved about in both Kevin O’Leary’s and Jim Treliving’s latest books.


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Where It All Began: 4 Years of Incredible Moments

Today marks 4 amazing years since the very first “Mompreneur Showcase” in Milton, on October 16, 2010 – where have 4 years gone?! In true celebration style during our 4th Anniversary Party, we reminisced while looking at old photos, we laughed, we cried, and we indulged in some pretty amazing dessert in the process!

Many have asked how this whole ‘Mompreneur thing’ began – truly, I call it a journey, and one that I am so proud and fortunate to have been on for 4 years now. Here’s how it all began, and how this crazy journey has led Milton Mompreneurs and our entire Mompreneur network to where we are today:

Mompreneurs Milton Mompreneur Showcase October 2010 with Mayor Gord Krantz

July 2010: We’d just moved into our new house; the kids were 2 and 3.5 years old, and we were just starting our summer holidays. On our second day in new surroundings, I turned to my husband David and asked him what he thought of an idea I had: to put together a group for women who were in business but who were also mothers. His response: “what’s the worst that could happen?!”. So I put the word out via an online mom’s forum: any women who were moms and also business owners were invited to meet at Starbucks and chat about business casually over a grande latte. 12 women came out to that first event, and it was the start of something new and exciting and full of prospect.

October 16, 2010: Word began to spread of  our group – the “Milton Mompreneurs”.  The women who were initially taking part in our networking chats expressed an interest in showcasing their products and services – and so was born the first “Milton Mompreneur Showcase”. It was a whirlwind of activity and women and community members – 40 exhibitors, 400 visitors, and amazing excitement all around. For many of the women who exhibited that day, it was the first time they had told the world that they ran a business, and they first time they took part in exhibiting to the public!

February 2011: Milton Mompreneurs connected with another local women’s networking group called Milton Area Female Entrepreneurs (MAFE), organized by Sandy Hatzis. The thought was that by putting our two groups together for networking events, we would be covering all our bases: women in business and women in business who are mothers! On a random Monday morning in February, we had 80 women attend our first joint meetup, and the energy was incredible. Both Sandy and I knew that we were onto something pretty amazing!  In that same month, on February 14th to be exact, I filed incorporation papers for what is now our “Mompreneur HQ” – Mompreneur Showcase Group Inc. Though it was initially my ‘5 year plan’ to open up other Mompreneur chapters, so many women were approaching me and asking how they too could start a group in their community – so I made it happen! It was a learning curve for sure, but in the end, by the end of February, we had 3 new Mompreneur chapters in other communities around the GTA.

April 2011: The 2nd Annual Milton Mompreneur Showcase took place – we upgraded to an Arena floor, went from 40 exhibitors to 120 exhibitors, and went from 400 visitors to just over 1,000 visitors. In just 6 months time, things were really picking up speed! Over the next year, we continued to host monthly events in the Milton community, while also opening new Mompreneur chapters and continuing to develop the Mompreneur brand and business platform.

September 2012: Another big stepping stone came into play, via the purchase of the Canadian trademarked word “mompreneur” – this now positioned our ‘little’ Mompreneur company as THE Mompreneur company for all of Canada! By the end of 2012, we had developed Mompreneur events in 15 various communities, all formed using the same model of our very first group in Milton.

March 2013: In 2013 we hosted the “Mompreneurs Conference” with CityLine‘s Tracey Moore, a national event that welcomed 200 business women from across Canada! At this event, we crowned our first winner of the “Mompreneur Award of Excellence” – a $30,000 prize awarded to one talented mom in business. I was also honoured in Milton by being named “Entrepreneur of the Year” through the Milton Chamber of Commerce – an honour that I continue to hold near and dear to my heart!

March 2014: The 2014 Mompreneurs Conference took place, with keynote speaker Arlene Dickinson of Dragon’s Den. To say that this accomplishment was huge for me is an understatement, as Arlene is, in my books (and the books of most women in business!), the quintessential “mompreneur” – it was a weekend that I will never forget.

That Brings Us to TODAY: Over the last 4 years, so much has been accomplished since that very first meeting at Starbucks, and that very first “Mompreneur Showcase” in the little banquet room of our local sports centre. As a collective community between the whole Mompreneur Organization, here is a look at our ‘numbers’:

  • Our collective online community consists of over 17,000 amazing women in business across the country
  • Social media is HUGE for us, with over 40,000 collective followers on Twitter, and over 33,000 fans collectively on Facebook
  • There have been over 500 hosted “Mompreneur” events, both online and in-person, since 2010.
  • Collectively, Mompreneurs and its chapters have raised close to $100,000 in charitable donations for our communities
  • Milton Mompreneurs has raised over $30,000 through various events both independent and partnered, funding of which has stayed in full within the Milton community. We have been proud to support organizations such as Halton Women’s Place, Milton United Way, and The Sunta Caruana Music Scholarship Fund.



To the early supporters: David, Emily, Patsy, Mom, Kristi and Jonathan Budworth, Kyla Holt, Sheri Medina, Andrea Sadgrove, Lena White, Anna Maria Di Nicolantonio, Adina Ingram, Natasha Pearcy, Piri Darabont, Sandy Hatzis, Bridget and Shawn Saulnier, Deborah Hilton, Theresa Brereton, Angie Wagenaar, Hedi Nowak, Amy Leask, Allycia Uccello, Julie and Shawn Creighton, Michelle Hawco, Dean and Allison De Fazio, Mayor Gord Krantz, Nicole Horn, Sam Kassam-Macfie. Grace Moores, Jennifer Williamson, Pat Cluett, Suzanne Culley, and Lesley Stainkaitis.

Truly, I would not be the person I am today, as a mother or as an entrepreneur, if it wasn’t for the incredible support and network of powerful women I have been blessed to surround myself with – for everyone who has supported Mompreneurs past and present, and for those who continue to support us in future, I truly appreciate all that you have brought into my life. The many many ways in which you have shaped our group has changed the lives of many women across this country, and I’m not sure I will ever be able to fully express my gratitude.

While some businesses have come and gone over the last 4 years, others have flourished and taken off just the same. I have seen members go through so many life-moments: pregnancies, weddings, divorces, first-days of school, going ‘back to work” – through it all, I have found that the support we are able to give each other, no matter which life-moment we happen to be in at any particular time, THAT is what drives us all to success.

Here’s to many more years to come – truly, thank you to everyone!

xo Maria



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Great Business Reads

As entrepreneurs, there is no end to how much you can learn and apply to your own business. With ever-evolving trends in technology, customer relations, human resources, and just about every other aspect of business, it’s important to stay on your game, think of new ways to serve your clientele, and keep your company at the top of the food chain.

We’ve put together our latest list of Great Business Reads – we hope you will find it useful! If we’ve missed a book that you have found to be absolutely integral to your journey as an entrepreneur, we’d love for you to share it with us!

PS: all work and no play makes for a very long day no matter what business you are running – have fun with whatever reading time you are afforded!


what i know for sure - oprah, inspiring book, great read for entrepreneursWhat I Know For Sure  by Oprah Winfrey

At first glance, this doesn’t strike as your typical ‘business read’ – and it’s not. But what Oprah manages to put together in 240 pages of eloquently written thoughts and life lessons will leave any entrepreneur feeling empowered and inspired.

We all know Oprah Winfrey is a powerhouse of inspiration and motivation for millions of women around the world – this book is a testament of why so many take her words to heart and aspire to greatness because of them.


daniel j. levitin, business read, think straight

The Organized Mind  by Daniel J. Levitin

The information age is drowning us in an unprecedented deluge of data. At the same time, we’re expected to make more-and faster-decisions about our lives than ever before. No wonder, then, that the average person reports frequently losing car keys or reading glasses, missing appointments, and feeling worn out by the effort required just to keep up.

But somehow some people become quite accomplished at managing information flow. In The Organized Mind, Daniel J. Levitin, Ph.D., uses the latest brain science to demonstrate how those people excel-and how readers can use these methods to regain a sense of mastery over the way they organize their homes, workplaces, and lives.
book creativity inc

Creativity, Inc.: overcoming the unseen forces that stand in the way of true inspiration  by Ed Catmull

This book hit home on so many levels for me – both as an entrepreneur, a mother, and someone who appreciates great storytelling and the art of risk-taking. I originally borrowed this book from the library for my husband; we’re both big Pixar fans, and I thought he’d get a kick out of reading the processes behind some of our favourite family movies. What I didn’t know was how inspiring the countless tales of uncertainty, being told ‘no’, and the empowerment of going with your ‘gut instinct’ would be for me as an entrepreneur. Creativity, Inc. is a book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, and for anyone who wants to delve deeper into the possibilities that having a great imagination can lead to.


book zero to one

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future  by Peter Thiel

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

I’ll be honest – I’m not even halfway through this one… but it’s got me deep in thought and eager to finish quickly so I can start implementing in my own business. That is usually a great sign of a read that is worthwhile.