Inspiration

Moms Matter Most

By Melissa Moller (Board Member, CTPFC)

I stumbled across MomGetsALife.com in my research for blogs directed towards women in Connecticut. I was instantly intrigued by the title of the website, and inherently wanted to learn more. While reading Patty’s story, I couldn’t help but feel an intense level of empathy. Not because I’ve been in that position, not because I’m a mother (because I haven’t and I’m not), but because us women have a bond that transcends age, marital status or job title.

I felt for Patty’s pain and I feel for all mothers who might experience something similar. We are in a constant struggle to find ourselves, and when children are in the mix that makes things all the more complex.

Now imagine being a mother, trying to find yourself, searching for happiness – but in the midst of all of that not being able to provide the most basic need for your child: diapers. According to a study done by Huggies, one in three moms in the US currently struggle from diaper need. That number astounds me.

That’s where Connecticut Partnership for Children comes in. We started the first Valley Diaper Bank in 2011 and are committed to providing assistance to any mother in CT, who is in need.

CTPFC operates primarily from donations and grassroots fundraising efforts. We host events throughout the year that you can get involved in, and this year we are sponsoring our first Annual Diaper Dash 5K to support our Diaper Bank. The walk/run will take place on Saturday, May 31st at Seymour High School. All proceeds go to supporting mothers & children in Connecticut.

In addition… to honor ALL moms who kept our bottoms clean and dry, we’re offering special discounted registration on Mother’s Day only – and we’d love to share this discount with YOU! Participants can use Promo Code THANKSMOM on the checkout page and receive $10 off regular race registration. This promotion runs from 12:00 AM Sunday, May 11th through 11:59 PM Only. Visit www.thediaperdash5k.com for more details.

Why will a mom invest in her children faster than herself?

IceSkates ImageYesterday at my daughter’s ice skating lesson the instructor told me I should invest in a pair of used skates for my daughter. I had held off buying skates to make sure my daughter was really committed.

But he said the words that turn any parent’s heart inside out: “Your daughter shows real promise.”

So, of course, off I trotted to our local sports equipment store to find a pair of used skates.  I had expected to pay $60 or $70. They were only $29. Had I known that was the price tag, I probably would have just grabbed them when she started.

My thought was: “What is $29 when it comes to my child’s success and fulfillment?”

Then something struck me on my way home.  $29 was exactly how much it cost me to print out my first set of business cards. And that purchase I debated for weeks.

When I finally handed over the money for those business cards, I didn’t even get excited.  I hadn’t made any money in my business and I felt like I was doing something wrong –spending money I hadn’t yet earned.

Back then I didn’t understand the difference between spending money and investing in my business.

Luckily, over time I learned how to strategically invest in my business to help it grow.  At times I still have to invest money in parts of the business that are not producing revenue. I know that if I want to grow future revenue, I have to invest today.

I work with women every week who resist investing in their businesses. Usually the explanation is that they are waiting for some future level of success that will justify the investment.

But you can’t create success in the future without investing in the now.

Do you struggle with investing in yourself or your business?

What if it wasn’t your business you were investing in? What if it was your child?  Would you struggle as much?

Why have we trained ourselves to give everything to create happiness for our kids, but we can’t do the same for our own success- a success that will not only enhance our lives but also our children’s lives?

Women-owned businesses make 25% of the revenue our male counterparts make.  When the U.S. government studied us to find out why, the #2 reason is that we don’t invest in our businesses.

The #1 reason is that we don’t have mentors that will show us how.

That is why I launched the Mom Grows A Business Conference.  During this powerful one-day event, you will hear from speakers who have grown their businesses beyond a million dollars and more, while raising kids and making smart decisions in their futures.

You will receive the mentorship every woman needs as she is growing her business and learn how to invest in your business without fear and with confidence.

If you’d like to learn more about the Mom Grows A Business Conference or to purchase a ticket click HERE.

Ready to Make More Money?

MoneyDo you ever wonder whether all the time, love and effort you put into your business is worth it?

We all get to this place on our entrepreneurial journey. Sometimes, when we are lucky, it happens more than once.

Yes, I said LUCKY! Questioning your journey means that you are ready to look critically at your business. This is the time that creates opportunity for growth – growth for you and growth for your business.

I love to see this happen with each client and fellow entrepreneur, because it means she is about to make A LOT more money. If you are at the stage where you are looking at what you put INTO your business, versus what you get OUT of your business, you are behaving like a CEO and I commend you.

It is so easy to slip into the habit of exchanging time for money and never feeling fully satisfied with your businesses. I know – I spent plenty of time early on in my business exchanging time for money.

It wasn’t until I started behaving like a CEO that I finally created a business I love, and that takes care of me. And I want the same thing for you. A business plan is a great place to start.

I’m not talking about one of those monstrous 20-page business plans the bank requires to give you a loan. I’m talking about a simple one-page business plan that lays out:
Who you sell to
What you sell
How much you need to sell to make the income you desire, and
What you need to do to create those sales.

I have a super simple document I use that I update each year. I’m doing my 2014 plan right now. If you’d like a copy of my One Page Business Plan, head here and you can download it for free.

If you already have a plan in place, please take it out, look it over and make sure it’s still working for you. You deserve to have a business that takes care of YOU and an income you can plan for!

Making Choices

Life is a series of choices. As I teach my 6-year-old about life and being a good citizen of the world and taking responsibility, I realize a major lesson for her is about the choices she makes and the consequences of those choices.momincad220x140_edited-1-1

Choose “bad behavior,” and you’ll lose privileges. Choose “good behavior,” and you’ll find that life is much better for everyone.

But the world isn’t black and white. Even in business, the choices you make can literally make or break your business – or you. They can help or hurt others. Or they might have little or no impact on anything. The choices you make are never made – or played out – in a vacuum. There are other factors, other players, other influences.

So even if you choose “good behavior” or make what you feel is the “right choice,” that choice can cascade into an avalanche of problems or cut out opportunities.

Last year, one of my focuses was to pare down the projects I worked on and the opportunities I accepted. They either had to be 1) things that make me say “Hell, Yeah!” or 2) things that paid me commensurate to my worth. This was my way of making better, more strategic choices about my career.

The first criteria – “Hell, Yeah” – is something entrepreneur Derek Sivers talked about back in 2009 – a criteria for determining when you agree to do something. If it isn’t a “Hell, Yeah,” then it must be a “No.”

The second part – being paid commensurate to my worth – has always been a tough one for me. Saying “No” to an offer to speak, for example, simply because someone doesn’t have a budget feels wrong to me somehow. Yet we all set goals for ourselves and our businesses, and if part of those goals are financial – which they should be if you’re in business – then wanting to be paid what you are worth is actually a good thing.

Still, saying “No” can be painful. I  cringe. I feel guilty. I worry that I’ll never be asked to speak again. None of this is true, but it is hard to not worry.

I was recently offered a paying speaking gig, and although it wasn’t a “Hell, Yeah,” it was certainly an acceptable offer and my immediate inclination was to say yes. But then, another factor came to play in my decision, literally as I  composed an email to accept. I realized the event fell close to other business travel I’d already scheduled. Suddenly my “few days away” from my husband and daughter was turning into 10 days away with travel time.

It’s hard to avoid the “Family Factor.” Family or relationships are another part of the complex puzzle of making choices. And after being away for 6 weeks in 2011 for a book tour and speaking engagements in Germany and Russia, I vowed last year that I’d make very conscious, careful choices about opportunities that took me away from home.

When I was single, I was a road warrior and loved every minute of it. Now that I have a husband and a child, I don’t only feel like I’m missing out on our life together when I’m away, but it is also complicated and stressful figuring out childcare in our rural town. For my 6 weeks away, I flew my mother to Alaska from Florida to help out. But that would be too costly for 10 days away. So I said “No” to the offer.

And my gut churned. Words started flying around in my head like “You reject this, and they’ll never ask you back” and “You just turned down MONEY. You’re going to fail.” To get through those moments of panic, I kept telling myself “You can’t just chase the money. You can’t just chase the money.” I knew I was making the “right” decision but even found myself a little disappointed that I chose not to go.

Life is full of choices. Even the good ones might end up “bad.” But if you know in your heart why you are making those choices and can live with your decision, then stand strong. Nobody said it was easy.

What criteria do you use to make your decisions?

Aliza Sherman is a Web pioneer and Travelgirl with a mission to empower women through technology. Aliza is the author of nine books including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Crowdsourcing, and Mom, Incorporated. Her next book will be Social Media Engagement for Dummies. You can find her work at http://alizasherman.com and http://travelgirl.com.

Are You My Personal Brand?

 

 

 

 

Written by:  Lisa Hufford

Helping people discover their person brand is what drives me. One question people often ask during this process is, “How will I know what my personal brand is?”

One of the biggest indicators is when you identify the “magical things” people keep asking you to do more of – and that lead them to tell others about you.

 

 When I started Simplicity, I was consulting on my own. But I quickly became known as an “expert” for full-time professionals who wanted to transition to consulting work. I began coaching people on how to gain clarity on what they want and go after it. Word of my expertise spread as more people asked for help and told others about my approach. My personal brand as a coach was defined.

 

 

We all have unique gifts. The key to true happiness is identifying and owning them. In both your professional and personal lives, what do people seek you out for? Where do people tell you that you’ve made a difference? Listen for these clues. Your personal brand is closer than you think.

 

Narrow Your Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Lisa Hufford

Telling a good story is not easy. Telling your own story is even harder.

I regularly teach a personal brand course at Bellevue College. Whenever I teach this course, one thing stands out: your personal brand is only as strong as your authentic story.

Your authentic story is what motivates you and what you really want to do. Narrowing your personal brand to what it is you really want feels uncomfortable for most people. It’s hard work to narrow in on what we want because we like to leave our options open. But when we tell a vague story about what we want, we get vague in return – which can lead to frustration.

When I ask people to talk about their personal brand, it becomes very clear what’s authentic to them through their enthusiastic tone and mannerisms. One of my favorite things to do is listen for those natural vocal inflections and then reflect back to someone what they’ve just said – this is key in narrowing in on what’s important and what shapes a personal brand.

Most of us really do know what our personal brand is – the challenge isn’t in knowing it, but owning it.

Identifying Your Personal Brand

 Written by Lisa Hufford 

 

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed helping people discover their personal brand, and many who’ve attended my course have mentioned how much they gained from the experience. So I’m delighted to speak on this topic at the “Mom Gets a Business” conference in April – but I’d like to give you a head start. That way, you can come to the conference having worked through the very important first step in identifying your personal brand. And that is to be aware.

Your values drive your perception of how you see the world. Becoming aware of your values and how you’re living your life is key to identifying your personal brand. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are your values?
  • Are you living in alignment with your values?
  • How are you showing up – right now, in this moment?
  • What are you focusing on?
  • What is your motivation?
  • Who do you admire and why? The qualities we admire in others are often qualities we value and want to be demonstrating ourselves. 

I look forward to meeting you in April and helping you work through the steps to discovering your personal brand!

 

 

The Croods Have A Lot to Teach Us About Success!

I took my children to see The Croods last week.  They had a blast and that was my main goal but I was surprised to find I learned some important lessons myself.

I shot this quick video to share why I think The Croods hold the secret to our greatest success as mompreneurs!  Hint:   There is a difference between living and not dying!

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm0ETVpiPJA

5 Businesses You Can Start Today

video

For two years I’ve been speaking across the country to moms about entrepreneurship.    I’m a huge advocate for women running businesses out of the home for one reason:  It is the EASIEST solution to creating a life where you can honor who you want to be as a woman and a mother. 

If you have a computer and an internet connection you have all the tools you need to create a profitable at home business.    That sounds great right?  But what you might be thinking is “What kind of business could I possibly create?”

I’ve created this quick video to share 5 different businesses you could create from home TODAY if you wanted to. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZABgdMxcv0

When Entrepreneurs “Tip the Scale”

by: Nina L. Kaufman, Esq.

After reading some stats on the growth of women-owned companies, I was tempted to get depressed. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce (2010), 88% of all women business owners are sole proprietorships without employees. 80% of all women-owned businesses earn less than $50,000.  (It’s not so fabulous for men-owned businesses either: 77% for ownership and 59% for income).  It seems like a huge amount of toil for very little return.  And isn’t business about getting a return on investment?  What kind of return on your investment of blood, sweat, and tears can you get if your business is “just you”?  (Answer: bupkis)

Hard lessons

I’ve been noodling on this because I learned some hard lessons not long ago. In mid-2007, the revenues of my 11-year-old law firm choked. I saw that for all of our efforts over more than a decade, my business partner and I had never achieved real leverage within our law business. And given the lack of scale–or anything saleable about our company—there was nothing we could do but shut our doors. All that work, for all those years, and no return on the time, money, and effort. (Let’s leave aside the thousands of dollars in debt the firm had accumulated—that’s for another post). I can make the money back, but I can never reclaim the time.

Looking at the stats, I’m not alone in having a business that couldn’t “scale.” That got me wondering: at what point do women business owners realize they need to “tip the scale”—that is, leverage their service business organization so that it can function independently of them?

To Read more click here.