Tag: guest blogger

There are 9 posts tagged as guest blogger.

Holiday Time Management Tips for Mompreneurs

Today my guest blogger is Ali Brown, if you haven’t  heard of her then you need to! There’s more information about her following this blog post. Thanks Ali!

 

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 17:  A home is de...

With the kids around more than usual over the holidays, you might be missing quiet time to get solid work done at home. Most moms I know get too busy to properly plan ahead. But, if you get a little creative, you can set your kids up for a fun, memorable vacation and not miss a beat at work.

Hire holiday help
Remember, K-12 kids aren’t the only ones home for the holidays. Most college students have 3 weeks off and are probably going crazy under their parents’ roofs themselves. (Don’t we all remember those days?) Ask your friends and neighbors if their older children are looking for some extra cash around the holidays to play nanny, so you can still play boss.

Volunteer your kids
During the holidays, soup kitchens and animal shelters are always looking for an extra hand. Appoint an adult chaperone (or two) to take the kids out for a day of kid-friendly volunteer work (For kid-friendly volunteer opportunities, click here.) Not only will it get your kids off the couch, but it also might get them into the spirit of giving in a life-changing way.

Indulge their hobbies
Whether it’s tennis, ballet, reading, or art, sign your kids up for mini-workshops that they can attend during the weekdays. If you can’t find a class in the community, then have a bunch of moms pitch in to hire a private teacher and host group classes in your own home (this method works best if you have a basement you can work in ;)). And don’t forget there are a ton of talented high school and college-level athletes and artists who would be thrilled to teach a group of kids!

Keep a routine
If there’s no way around it and it’s just you and the kids, be sure to set some boundaries so their day doesn’t invade yours. Instead of letting the kids run wild all day long, try to set a schedule for them so they get a mix of exercise, education and rest time. Plan holiday movie time or holiday project fun time, to give you 1.5-hour blocks of time to knock a few things off your to-do list.

Streamline your to-do list
Be honest, if the kids are home, you’re not going to get as much done as you usually would. There’s no reason to beat yourself up and feel like you’ve fallen behind. Instead, write down the top 3 work items that you MUST get done each day and make sure you accomplish them. That way you can shut down your computer feeling right about your day, and focus on all the wonderful time you get to share with your kids!

Don’t forget to indulge your own inner child and join your kids in a few fun holiday projects. That’s the beauty of being a “mom”preneur — you get to decorate gingerbread cookies with your kids in the morning, then work while they giggle to Frosty the Snowman in the background. Could you have a better workday than that?

© 2011 Ali International, LLC

“Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow a profitable business that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD “Top 10 Secrets for Entrepreneurial Women” at www.AliBrown.com

Trade Show Planning for Mompreneurs

Today Charles Dugan is my guest blogger with some information that will expand your thinking about marketing your home-based business. Thanks Charles!

 

Many – if not most – successful business women are also moms; some are even WAHMs (work at home moms). That doesn’t mean they can’t also have successful careers in the corporate world. If their career path takes them into marketing and sales, they will at some point attend or possibly exhibit at trade shows – the key B2B marketing tool. Trade shows offer the opportunity for one-on-one networking and sales, with face-to-face discussion that phones and virtual networking can supplement, but not totally replace.

 

If you have been given the responsibility of marketing your organization’s products and/or services at a trade show, and you’re a novice at the task, it may not take long before you feel overwhelmed by the prospect. Where should you go? What kind of events should you attend?

 

There are several basic types of trade shows:

1) The smallest and least expensive show, often called a table top expo, is typically very local in nature. Often sponsored by a community organization or chamber of commerce, it is normally possible to exhibit at a table top expo for a few hundred dollars. You won’t get a targeted audience for your organization at these expos, but you will gain additional local exposure with the members of the chamber or the association sponsoring the event. These smaller expos are sometimes also organized around educational seminars or roundtable discussions. If the discussion topic fits your organization and you can become part of the seminar or discussion, you may see increased interest in your organization as a result of your participation.

 

2) The next step up from the table top expo is the regional trade show. These shows are budget-conscious, smaller versions of national trade shows. Regional shows are often part a nationwide trade show tour. Although regional trade shows offer seminars, very few offer networking events. If seminars are important to your organization, regional trade shows may be right for you. But, if you’re looking for networking opportunities, regional trade shows are probably not a good fit. You will find that the attendee net stretches farther out than it does for a table top expo, but most attendees at a regional trade show will be coming from within driving distance of the event.

 

3) If you are looking for a multitude of activities and high-level, business-to-business opportunities, then your company is probably in the market for a national trade show. Organizations from across the country travel to these events to participate and exhibit their products and services. At national trade shows you will find many educational seminars and networking events, presentations of industry awards, and keynote speeches given by business leaders, celebrities and comedians. These shows can be very large, with hundreds or more exhibitors, and thousands of attendees.

 

4) For businesses looking to expand outside the U.S., international trade shows may be a viable marketing option. Attending an international trade show is more about building relationships with other businesses or organizations than it is about individual sales. If you are looking for help with regional distribution or marketing in another country, then attending (not exhibiting!) an international trade show is a good first step.

 

As you can see, there are a variety of different types of trade shows out there. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface as to what makes each different from the other, but hopefully this article helps to provide a starting point for your research. The first step is to clearly identify your needs, and which level of trade show best satisfies the requirements. Next step is to identify the right shows for your market, make a plan for exhibiting at the show of your choice, etc – all good subjects for future articles.

 

Charles and his wife Terri own and operate American Image Displays, a 25 yr old trade show display firm located in Redmond, WA. Their bookkeeper is their daughter Megan – a working mom with a 9 month old baby boy. The business focuses on providing fast and friendly service, helping clients to filter through the thousands of display choices to find the best solution for their specific requirement. Their blog mixes trade show planning and B2B marketing tips with new product reviews; you can visit it here – American-Image.com/banners

Owning vs Emphasizing Your Femininity

My guest blogger today is Riot.Jane, a witty and highly opinionated woman who is expressing her thoughts on another blogger’s opinion about femininity.  Thank you Riot.Jane!

 

On a blog the author recently wrote about the motivation behind her decision to begin a mini-revamp on her personal image.  While I tend to respond to such discussions with a “Meh” (I am just not a clothes and make-up kinda girl), the first words caught my eye:

Despite knowing I’ll get ripped for sounding sexist, I’ll say it: I think a lot of single women would probably feel more empowered over their dating lives if they’d own their femininity rather than shove it in their work suits.

Okay, blogger lady, I dare you to tell me more about “owning my own femininity” without sounding sexist.

It hit me the other day while on a Southwest Airlines flight on which the flight attendant females walked the aisles in golf shirts, Dickie’s work pants, and something akin to truckers’ shoes. They looked like they should be directing planes on the Tarmac; not serving sodas. What happened to the days of the tall boots and mini skirts? It was so much more… well… feminine. (Yeah, I know. It’s a dirty word to some women, but I have no problem with it. Women and men alike enjoy looking at attractive women. Tall boots? Short Skirts? Just throw in some tights, and I’ll put them on now!)

But the sight of these women was just another reminder to get on the stick with something I’ve been wanting to do for a few weeks now: a mini-image revamp. Unlike the direction that Southwest is headed, I’m going full-throttle feminine. Not boobs-in-the-face, crack-showing, “hey-do-you-want-a-piece-of-this” pseudo-femininity feminine (as a lot of the teens and twenty-somethings seem to deem sexy), but old-fashioned feminine with a sophisticated, modern edge.

WHOA THERE!  Sounds to me like Blogger Lady is equating or confusing the words “owning” with “emphasizing.”

Since when are skirts and dress blouses important to “serving sodas”?  Why is a woman who isn’t in heels and hose only suitable for “directing planes on the Tarmac”?  When one woman’s opinion is that tall boots, tights, and miniskirts are “feminine”, this woman’s opinion is that tall boots, tights, and miniskirts are an affectation designed to make ourselves more visually appealing to men while forcing us to walk like prey animals.  (There’s no surer way to make yourself seem like something to be protected rather than respected than to not be able to walk with a sure, strong stride at a quick clip on your own two feet.)

“[T]he direction that Southwest is headed” makes my heart sing.  Enlightened companies with non-sexist dress codes are the ones that receive my resume.  I don’t want to work for a company that attracts and caters to Barbie Doll women.  I don’t need to compete with the Bimbo Brigade while they ostracize me from the informal networks that create successful professional relationships.  I definitely don’t do well in environments that respect physical beauty and politics more than efficiency and quality work product.

Business Casual Attire For the record, golf shirts (and the very similar item called polo shirts) are available in female cuts/sizes, and the two pair of Dickies “work pants” that I own look like slacks when ironed.  “Business Casual”  usually includes slacks and polos.  Such attire is common today, especially in environments where employees will have to step, fetch, and perform any type of manual labor as part of their job duties (flight attendants, PC support, and inventory clerks are good examples).  People required to be on their feet for hours at a time deserve the respect and kindness of shoes that fit their feet, not feet having to fit their shoes. Activity-appropriate footwear is actually a safety and ergonomic issue.

I will spare you the rant that comes to mind because the Blogger’s only criticizing the female flight attendants.  God save us from returning to the days of inequitable professional dress codes.  We’re still fighting the equal-pay and equal-promotion battles, and retro thinking hasn’t helped.

As for the “boobs-in-the-face” and “‘hey-do-you-want-a-piece-of-this'” types of emphasized femininity, these expressions are just as valid as the Mad Men image that Mary prefers or the Rosie the Riveter image that Southwest’s female flight attendants invoked in her.  The last thing that women need from other women is judgment regarding their work clothes, especially when it’s uniformed attire (which he vast majority of flight attendants wear).  Even if it’s not a uniform, if you don’t have something useful or supportive to say, would you kindly shut your mouth?

 

How do you think a female flight attendant from Southwest would feel if she read this?  Are you really advocating that we should all return to impractical (and expensive!) clothes and hair, shoes that hurt our feet, and other affections that detract from our independence and equality?  Seriously, I’m okay with you saying this is how you feel about you and your style, but not with your saying that we all should do the same.

Isn’t it lovely that our culture has evolved to the point of allowing each woman to choose our her personal style?   Sure, “women and men alike enjoy looking at attractive women,” especially those emphasizing (or over-emphasizing) their femininity.  The proper time and place for that is social, though, not professional.

Riot.Jane is an obnoxious, opinionated, outspoken, pushy, and brilliant woman with a voracious appetite for all things stimulating and self-destructive (including Maker’s Mark and fine European cigarettes).  Her social commentary and reflections upon the colorful lives of herself and others can be found at The Jane Project, a community blog about the female experience.

Ideas for Home Business

Today’s guest blogger is Debbie Russell. I’m grateful that she was able to provide us with ideas for our home business during this crazy economy. Thank you Debbie!

 

The economy continues to limp along its rollercoaster ride of ups and downs but doesn’t offer any real hope to the millions of people who remain unemployed. In March of lastyear, the national unemployment rate sat at a whopping 9.7%. As of September 2010 that number only dropped half a percent to 9.2%.

The group most affected by the lack of jobs is the over fifty crowd. Although at 7.2% (the highest since WWII) the unemployment rate for baby boomers is lower than the average, it is a fact that people in this group remain out of work for longer. The average length of time between jobs is 22 weeks. For over fifty unemployed workers, the average is 35 weeks.   Personally, I am in this group, having lost my job due to corporate downsizing. over a year ago.

Baby boomers like me are sitting down and taking stock of their current situation. Some are choosing to retire early. Others are going back to school for retraining in other careers. While these are both good options, possibly the best thing you can do for yourself is to start a home business.

As a boomer, you have decades of knowledge and experience that other people need. While it is true that it is harder for someone of our generation to get a job, there is no reason why you cannot approach the company from a different angle and sell your expertise as a consultant, which is perfect for a home business.

In fact, selling your knowledge can be worth millions. You can certainly charge much more for it than the salary you would receive as an employee. Both individuals and businesses are struggling to get ahead in this poor economy. What you know can provide them with the edge they need to compete effectively and they are more than willing to pay people who can help them get results.   You also have the flexibility in your life and schedule.

As a freelancer, some ideas for home business include:

* Starting a consulting business providing advice to companies in your industry. For example, if you have been in sales and marketing for the last three or four decades, you can help businesses form and execute marketing strategies that drive sales.

* Develop a training course that teaches people specific skills or provides highly prized knowledge. For instance, you could teach human resource managers how to meet the needs of this new global workforce.

* Venture into the internet with a blog that provides insight into your industry. For example, former health care professionals can teach people how to get the most out of their medical care and save money on health care costs.

The list of home business ideas goes on and you are only limited by your creativity. Anyone in any industry can get on the freelance bandwagon including dieticians, human resource managers, lawyers, doctors, healthcare administrators, teachers, and many others.   All of these professions can easily translate into a home business that can be used for developing business with new and former clients.

Tips on Getting Started With your Home Business

As is the case with most home business ideas, the trick is to get started.

* Start by evaluating where you currently are. What can you do? What are you willing to do? What do you like to do? Don’t let not knowing how to do something put you off from pursuing a home based business idea. You can always get training to fill in the gaps in your knowledge.

* When you are first starting out you want to focus on one thing at a time. Focus on starting your consulting firm and then work on writing and selling a business book, for example.

* Eventually, though, you will want to develop multiple streams of income. In our business, my husband and I make money providing boating services, a chain of retail online stores and social media services that help home based businesses.

* Spend a lot of time on developing and executing marketing strategies. Your greatest challenge will be getting your name in front of interested buyers and this is where you want to make sure you are investing in tools and techniques that will get the job done.

Getting Your Home Business Online

There are various ways you can market your new freelance home business, but one tool I want to recommend is  this Branding System that I used to develop my website/blog.. In a world connected by routers and cables, you must have an internet presence. This system will help you establish your business brand quickly and easily so you can focus on what matters most; helping your customers.

Experts predict that it will be several years before the economy recovers fully. You really can’t afford to wait that long for a job that matches your skills and experience. Take a chance on yourself and start your own home based business today.

Debbie Russell is a marketing veteran who loves to train people on the best way to build their businesses. For more tips on how to brand your business for success, visit her website.  For a turnkey branding system that puts your name on the Google map quickly and easily, visit MyBrandingSystem .

Mom Entrepreneur Get Promotion!

Today’s guest blogger is Lori Lite Founder of Stress Free Kids. She’s offering GREAT advice for mom entrepreneurs! Take note! Thank you Lori!


Lori Lite founder of Stress Free Kids After years of running my business from my kitchen table…I decided to give myself a promotion. A vague memory of a promotion in corporate America meant a corner office with a view. In a work from home mom’s world (WAHM) it meant moving my papers, computer, files and self to my dinning room. I would never again have to pack up my mobile office each night to serve dinner! I had arrived!

Last year I had the good fortunate of being selected to appear on ABC’s Shark Tank. National exposure got me out of the kitchen and forced me to look at my business like a shark.

 

 

Tips:

1. Get Out of the Kitchen!

Meet other entrepreneurs for lunch. Tell your neighbors about your business. Network with other enthusiastic entrepreneurs. You might find out that your business is more impressive than even you thought. I personally had no idea that selling 30,000 books from my kitchen without the backing of a nationwide publisher was an amazing feat. I was prepared to defend my sales to the investors (sharks), but they stopped me in my tracks…no need to defend…it was time to be proud.

2. Surround Yourself with Dream Keepers!

Spend your time and share your ideas with friends and relatives that believe in you. It is hard enough to be an entrepreneur. A positive attitude supported by positive people will bring positive results.

3. Outsource!

Most of us try to do everything: bookkeeping, marketing, writing, social media, oh and did I mention… run a family. It is impossible to be effective in all areas at the same time. Hire help on an as needed basis. Even 1 hour a week of help can be rejuvenating and allow you to focus your talents where they are most needed.

4. Have a Business Plan!

We all dread the business plan. I practically cried (OK, I cried) while writing mine, but it opened my eyes and helped me to see where my focus was needed in order to grow my business and live my dream.

5. Over-Prepare!

If you are speaking, going to a bank or investor, or pitching in any way… be prepared. I learned that when you think you are over-prepared you are barely prepared. Many of us think our passion is enough. Passion will get you in the door but you better be ready to back it up with hard-core numbers. Sharks get hooked by numbers.

And that’s how it is when you get out of the kitchen!

 

Stress Free Kids founder Lori Lite has created a line of books and CDs designed to help children, teens, and adults decrease stress, anxiety, and anger. Ms. Lite’s books, CDs, and lesson plans are considered a resource for parents, psychologists, therapists, child life specialists, teachers, and yoga instructors. Lori is a certified children’s meditation facilitator and Sears’ Manage My Life parenting expert. For more information visit  Stress Free Kids and for daily advice follow Lori on Twitter and Facebook.