The Only World-Standard SEO Software


Download Now
SEO PowerSuite
SEO PowerSuite Hot-new version
Supported OS

6 Mompreneurs’ Stories You’ll Love! [Featured Interview]

Link-Assistant.Com | Posted in category Internet Marketing Writing

Dear all,

Today we want to congratulate all Moms and wish them the happiest Mom's day ever!

Everybody has a dream and for many Moms this dream is to have enough time for her family and her job. We've interviewed six outstanding mompreneurs who have learnt how to balance their business and family life.

Some of them have only become Moms, other have years of experience, but all of them have shared valuable tips, recommendations and stories. Meet today's heroines:

Mompreneurs Interview

Holly Reisem Hanna in an Austin-based work at home mom, Publisher of the the award winning website - The Work at Home Woman, Social Media Manager for AWAI, lover of coffee, travel and fashion. Connect with Holly on Twitter @Holly_Hanna.

James Chartrand is the pen name of the founder/owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, an innovative writing course for business owners. She’s a leading copywriter, problogger, business expert, published author and renowned online entrepreneur from Montreal, Canada.

Roz K. Walker is a wife, savvy mom of two, and a born entrepreneur. A former corporate consultant and trainer, Roz ditched her 9 to 5 and opted instead to spend that time raising and homeschooling her kids. To fulfill her entrepreneurial spirit (and to help pay the bills!), Roz founded Covert Social Media, a Social Media Management business that provides done-for-you inbound marketing services for entrepreneurs. You can learn more about Roz by visiting www.covertsocialmedia.com.

Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, ghostwriter, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. Her work has been featured on Power 150 blogs such as Social Media Examiner, Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Journal, Business 2 Community, Windmill Networking, SEOgadget, and KISSmetrics.

Ann Smarty is the blogger and community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She is specializing in SEO consulting and guest blogging. Ann's expertise in blogging and tools serve as a base for her writing, tutorials and her guest blogging project, MyBlogGuest.com.

And here comes the first question!

1. What are the things that help you stay organized throughout the day and get time for everyone and everything? Is there a special time planner, or workspace design or technique that you use? Tell us your time management secrets!

Holly:
I'm old school when it comes to time management… I live by my day planner and daily to-do list, and yes they are of the paper variety. They're no special brand, just regular old day planners that you can pick up at your local office supply store. I will say that what works best for me is a day planner with a month at a glance, this way I can see the big picture and know when I need to say no to certain projects.

Along with my day planner, I use just a standard legal pad to jot down my daily to-do list, as well as to keep track of new ideas and research.

But probably the biggest way I manage my time is by prioritizing my schedule. For me being able to attend my daughter's school functions and attended weekly barre classes is important, so I know that I can't take on everything and I often have to say no or ask for help. I also have a virtual assistant to help me out with administrative tasks, she works about 10 hours a month.

James:

I've tried a lot of gadgets and apps – and nothing beats a good ol' Post-It note for efficiency. I have several pads in different shapes and colors, and they make sure I knock out tasks quickly. I also use Google Calendar a great deal, because it's handy and always available to help me make sure my schedule is stress-free.

One secret time-management tip I use to make sure I get projects done is a special rule called "Important Work First".

Most freelancers tend to operate in a 'shoemaker's son goes barefoot' situation, with client work always taking priority over everything else – but you absolutely need to make your business your most important priority. So I begin each day by working on my business projects first, given them my best, most creative time – about 2 to 3 hours. That way, my projects always see the light of day and get the attention they deserve.

Roz:

Besides being a wife and mom, I also homeschool my two kids and run a social media marketing business from home. With all of these roles to juggle, I HAVE to manage my time to get everything done.

What I have found that helps me is to use Google Calendar on my laptop and iPhone to keep track of personal and business appointments.  To keep track of all of my personal To Do items, I use a good old fashion paper planner.  I love the feeling of crossing something completed off of my list with a big red pen – nothing beats that feeling.

To keep my business To Do’s in order, I’ve found that using a teacher’s plan book is my best solution.  This allows me to have a separate column for each client and space to write what I need to do each day of the week.  I absolutely love this planner for keeping on top of my work.

Kristi:

As a new mom who works from home, I'm still trying to find the best way to be productive and spend time with my four month old. The most productive time I usually have is before she wakes up in the morning and after she goes to bed, making my work time between 5am - 9am and 9pm - midnight.

I also lock myself away in my office while my husband watches her in the afternoons. Of course, when she has a rough night and I don't get much sleep, that throws off my schedule completely and I just have to find ways to work around that. Sometimes it means working while she's napping or using my mobile to keep up with social updates while she's eating.

Ann:

My time management secret - my laptop. I always have it with me: Whenever I have several minutes of free time, I open it up and start working. I am on Mac and it lets me work within 2 seconds after it's open :)

This trick dates back to the time when my daughter was a baby and I had a very scattered work day: I was working outside when taking her to walk (if she falls asleep), while she got 5 minutes of playtime, when she is busy - whenever I had at least one minute!

Noelle:

First and foremost it's important to have a regular weekly schedule.  Mine includes set 'office days' and set 'family days'.  I use iCal to schedule all of my commitments and make sure that my phone and my laptop are always in synch.  I always find it helpful to track my business time and I use a free tool from: ziptimetracker.com.

2. Does being a Mom help you be more professional at what you do? Has your career changed in any way?

Holly:

My career has changed drastically. I used to work 40 hours a week as a Clinical Research Coordinator for a pharmaceutical research company. But when I had my daughter, I knew that I didn't want to put her in daycare, so I quit my full-time job to become a full-time stay at home mom. But after nine months of play-dates and a dwindling bank account I started to look for jobs that I could do from home. This is when I came up with the idea for The Work at Home Woman.

If anything, being a mom has made me grow as a person. Back when I worked in an office, I would have never dreamed of starting my own business.

James:

Being a mom while building and growing my business was a big challenge – I have two kids to manage, and since they were born 11 years apart, each is in a different developmental stage and requires different attention from me.

So that meant I needed to learn to balance their needs with both my needs and those of my business, which helped me learn to prioritize effectively, be efficient in everything I do and never sweat the small stuff.

I've become adept at decision-making, continually asking myself, "How important is this, in the grand scheme of things?" I've gained the ability to focus during chaos and keep my cool, which is a valuable skill to develop.

Most importantly, I've learned to always take care of yourself first – because if you fall apart out of neglect, then everything else around you falls apart too! By making sure I'm happy in my life, I'm more productive, able to care for others and pleasant all around.

Roz:

Becoming a mom made me re-think my career choice and I ended up leaving my corporate career and starting a business from home. Now, because of being home with my kids, I have learned to better manage my time and to multi-task even more effectively. I think I’ve become a better professional as a result.

Kristi:

Being a new mom has definitely made me more productive during my work time. And on the days that I'm not feeling very motivated for whatever reason, looking at her gives me the motivation.

I hope that my husband and I are good role models for her so that she knows that you can be successful without having to fit into the traditional 9 to 5 job mold.

Ann:

When I knew I was going to become a mom, I quit my day job as I wanted to spend more years at home with my daughter getting older, so I needed time to get prepared for her being born. So yes, that was a huge impact. My husband and I built our careers around her trying to accommodate to her needs as she was getting older.

While I do believe I am not a perfect mom as Val often sees me working, I can totally say that I haven't missed a day (or even half a day) of her life!

Noelle:

My career changed dramatically after I had children! I left corporate America and started my own business which has allowed me a lot more flexibility. As a business owner I really appreciate the trust my clients put in me and I am therefore always focused on conducting myself professionally when I am interacting with them. This means I try not to mix caring for my kids and caring for my clients at the same time. I dedicate set office hours and set family hours - and I modify that schedule when emergencies come up!

3. There’s an opinion that business people shouldn’t talk about their private life in social media, blogs, etc. What’s your opinion? Is it okay to post the picture of your kid’s first steps in the Twitter account where you also talk to customers?

Holly:

I think it just depends on your business, for some businesses it makes sense, for other not so much. For me personally, I like to keep my family life private, so I'm not on Instagram sharing photos or blogging about my family. My blog is also informational in nature, so people aren't coming to it looking for photos and personal stories.

One of my favorite jewelry designers, Lisa Leonard, does share family photos and stories via her blog and social networking accounts, and it seems to work well with her business model.

James:

My opinion is that you need to consider privacy issues from your children's perspective – how would you like it if people began posting pictures or talking about what you did without your permission, with all your life on full display for the general public? You wouldn't enjoy it, and your kids deserve better respect.

Plus, as they age and hit high school, would they enjoy their friends finding their life story on the internet? That's prime teasing material – kids have it tough enough as it is. Why add to that? It's far better for them to build their own lives and decide for themselves what gets put into the public eye versus you making that decision for them.

So as far as I'm concerned, everything about your children's lives is completely off limits. Show them you love them, respect them and care about them by allowing them their privacy at all times.

Roz:

I think people need to see that business people are human too. And there’s no better way to show that than by sharing both business tips and glimpses into your personal life on social media. The key is not to over-do it. Posting every cute thing your kid does may become nauseating, but a personal post once a week or so can help your followers better connect with you.

Kristi:

I have found that becoming a parent has given me more things to talk to my customers about. I wouldn't suggest posting baby pictures every day on your professional accounts and updating every time they spit up. But the occasional update here and there can help people connect with you on a more personal level. One of my newest clients even said he approached me because I was a real person on my social accounts, not just a "marketing bot" as he called others.

Ann:

I see nothing bad in that (though I seldom do it). As a client, I love knowing more about whoever works with me and I am quite personal with my clients and bosses, so why not?

Noelle:

I try to keep my personal social media activities and my professional social media activities separate - but every so often they mix. I think it really depends on your field. If you are an accountant - your clients probably don't want to be bombarded by your personal stories. If you are a life or business coach - I think your clients will be a lot more interested and open to your personal challenges. You have to know your audience and act accordingly!

4. Can you recollect any funny kid-work balancing stories?

Holly:

Well… There was the time that I had to bring my daughter to business luncheon with me, and she threw up all over my sweater. Or the was the time that I went away on a business trip, and my daughter had taken my credit card out of my wallet and put it in her purse, and I didn't realize until I was minutes away from boarding the plane. Luckily, I had my debit card with me.

James:

Honestly, no. I have plenty of slightly sad and touching work-balance stories, like furiously drafting book content in a hospital room chair as my mother lay on the bed nearby in desperate pain for 5 days with a broken hip while waiting for surgery – ah, deadlines – or taking breaks every 20 minutes to bail the rising flood in my basement... which lasted three weeks... but no, nothing funny. Sorry!

Roz:

When I first left my corporate career and came home, I did some direct sales work as a way to get started. Once my husband got home from work, I would sit at my computer with the phone and make dozens of sales calls using a script. My then 4-year-old daughter would often color or play in my office during that time. One day, she picked up a ringing phone and immediately started saying my script, word-for-word, in her best grown-up voice. It was funny and luckily it was her grandpa on the phone, though I think she just might have made a sale.

Kristi:

Probably the most interesting times are when my husband is out of town. Then I find myself trying to write blog posts while listening to GiggleBellies. I've also tried writing while she was sitting in my lap, and that is amusing because she's already figured out that she can move things on the screen by messing with the touchpad.

Ann:

When Val started crawling and I was working beside her, I had to hold her leg for her not to fall from the couch while I was typing with one hand :)

Noelle:

I have been in meetings digging through my purse for a pen and I have found a lonely sock, a half eaten snack, a Barbie and more in there. This always makes me laugh and sometimes my clients take a peek and share in that laugh!

5. Any recommendations to Moms who dream about being entrepreneurs, but just can’t get started?

Holly:

Yes, get involved with other mom entrepreneurs. Starting a new business can be a scary and overwhelming task and without the right support system in place, your dreams can quickly turn to dust. And this isn't because your immediately family and friends don't want to see you succeed, it's because they don't know the ins and outs of being an entrepreneur.

Having a liked-minded group of peers is a great place to get advice, emotional support, and it's awesome for getting those creative juice flowing.

James:

"Just can't get started" typically means two things:

1) The person doesn't know how to get started, so the problem can easily be resolved by doing some research, calling around, and putting in the effort to figure out what to do to get started, how to get set up and a realistic time frame for it all.

2) The person hasn't actually made getting started a priority, in which case either the person is saying she'd like to start but doesn't really want to, deep down, and is trying to avoid it, or the person has other priorities that matter more.

There's no real reason anyone can't get started in anything these days – the barriers to entry are very low, you can start small with the available time you have, and there's very little cost to starting up.

So for anyone who says "just can't get started", my biggest question would be, "why not"?

Roz:

Don’t give up on your dream. It may take trying different things before you find your niche, but that’s okay.

I went through several types of businesses – direct sales, freelance writing, online teaching – before I learned enough to start my own business. The key is to discover what you love to do, who needs what you love to do, and then how you can market it to them.

Kristi:

One of my biggest challenges is getting over the fact that I can't do everything I want to as quickly as I would like. Even with just writing an ebook - sometimes I feel like if I can't get it done in the next month, I should just scrap it. But you just have to get over that and start by just doing a little here and there. It gets you closer to your goals than if you don't try at all.

Ann:

Well, my only recommendation is: "Stop playing and start doing!" There will never be a "better, less busy" time in your life. There's always something in the way and there's never a "perfect" time to do anything, so just go ahead and do. Things will work out!

Noelle:

Take one small step everyday - even it that small step is making a single call that will move your business ahead!

Again, we want to thank these beautiful ladies for taking part in the interview - you rock!

P.S. Don't forget to share this post to inspire even more Moms :)



back to SEO blog