I can still remember the day in 2007 when I told my mother about my idea for this site.
She and I were chatting on the phone, and I said, “I get so many emails from moms who are looking for advice about bringing a product to market. I think I’m going to start a website, and call it ‘The Mogul Mom’.”
“The Mobile Mom?”, she asked? (which was maybe a little foreshadowing…)
“No, The Mogul Mom“, I said.
So it began…six years ago.
The site that I lovingly created to show mom entrepreneurs that they CAN run a business, raise a family, and rock both turned into a magical, wonderful, fulfilling part of my life’s work.
Over the years, I’ve had the honor of playing hostess to thousands of amazing mompreneurs from all over the world, and have been blessed to become friends with so many of you.
And then I read a book called App Empire, and felt that old, familiar entrepreneurial itch to start something new, a new business as an iOS app developer. As an entrepreneur to the core, I felt a strong pull to go in that new direction.
I realized that sometimes, you have to say farewell to something, to say hello to something else.
So, I began thinking of selling The Mogul Mom, and last summer, put it on the market with a friend of mine from college who is a business broker. I worked very closely with himÂ to make sure we found just the right buyer.
After all, I couldn’t hand her over to just anyone.
It’s Time to Say Farewell and Hello
I’m pleased to say that I found the perfect new owner for The Mogul Mom, and today, I’d like to introduce you to her.
Her name is Megan Barnes, and she has a beautiful vision for The Mogul Mom’s future. Her energy, enthusiasm, and fresh perspective are exactly what I was looking for in my successor, and I am so thrilled for her…and The Mogul Mom.
Before turning things over to Megan, I’d like to finish by saying thank you to all of you who have made this site what it is today. Each and every one of you has played an important role in the success of The Mogul Mom. Readers, customers, members, contributors, guest writers, family, friends, and service and support folks.
I never could have accomplished any of this without you.Â I am so grateful for you.Â
First, a huge thank you to Heather, for all of her support in this transition, for entrusting The Mogul Mom to my charge, and for the lovely and generous introduction.
I will be working closely with Heather in the coming months, and as the visionary and founder of The Mogul Mom, hers will remain an enduring presence on the site. Â I know we all look forward to seeing where her journey takes her.
When I was trying to think what to share with you all in this introduction I remembered a greeting card I saw some time ago with a quote from a third-grader that said,
“When I grow up I want to be a heart surgeon.Â Or Elmo.”
And the Elmo part just killed me. Â I guess because I, like most grown-ups, tend to think that heart surgeons are very important people, and that Elmoâ€¦.well, Elmo is just silly.
You see, I was on my way to being a heart surgeon, or some similarly qualified medical professional, when my life took an unexpected turn.
My four years in university were fraught with challenges (I got married, spent six months living in Africa, miscarried three pregnancies, and came down with spinal meningitis, five bouts of shingles, and countless other undiagnosed ailments), but I finished.
And then about one week after graduation and three days into my chemistry internship, I collapsed in the lab. Â I didn’t know it then, but that was the end of a season, the end of a cherished vision that I had held for my life. Â
That was two years ago. Â I have been leading a much slower, smaller, nesting sort of life in a lovely home in Jackson, MS. Â My days have been spent snuggling puppies, cooking healing foods, and engaging in a fearsome war with self, that sometimes took the form of introspection, other times despair, and finally a fragile acceptance of what is.
And the really cool part is, as I grew in acceptance I started to understand that this was going to be my best season yet. Â This was a chance to choose my life’s work, not based on its importance but on my passion.
This was my Elmo season.
Elmo and The Mogul Mom
I understand now that Elmo isn’t silly. Â Elmo is all about being happy, connected, fulfilled, laughing.
Elmo gives hope. Â I think that Elmo is meant to touch that place in each of us, that place that was capable of such intensity of feeling about our lives when we were small, that place that seems to dull in the storms of life.
Remember those afternoon daydreams? Â The ones where you were gonna grow up and do the most important thing you could think of? Â Where you were gonna remember the excitement of a sleepover with friends even when you were old (like 30!)? Â When you were gonna make the world a better place through your singular contribution?
I’ve been remembering those daydreams a lot lately, and I’ve made a series of decisions that I think would be kid-me approved. The first is to quit with all the excuses and face my fears of writing fiction. Â A desire to write creatively was one of the unexpected discoveries of this new season of my life, and it’s been the scariest thing I’ve ever tried to do.
The other, was The Mogul Mom.
For me, The Mogul Mom represents an opportunity to become the architect of my own future, after a long season of wondering if I would ever even have one. Â It presents an opportunity to grow and challenge myself, to help support my family, to cast a career vision and execute it–all within the flexible comfort of my own home, in spite of the limitations two chronic illnesses put upon me.
What’s more Â I get to be part of a process of empowering moms to cast and execute visions in their own livesâ€¦visions that have felt out of reach, visions that felt obscured by the busyness of motherhood and running a household. Â I get to stand with moms in the pursuit of a life where they can be a mom, run a business, and rock both!
My business, the business Heather dreamed and birthed and grew for six years, the business which has just been put in my charge, is a business of empowering, providing support, and bringing hope. Â I think Elmo would be proud.
So it is with great humility and gratitude (and a great big lap o’ puppy – my dog Gus, who has been severely ill with an ear infection for two days, has taken up a seemingly permanent residence on my lap, and Fergi is here too, supporting her big brother), that I take the reigns from Heather and join this circle of strong and amazing women, moms, entrepreneurs, and visionaries.
If you are reading this post, it means you are on your way or have taken steps to live your dreams, and for that I applaud you.Â It is my honor to be here and take part in The Mogul Mom community. I look forward to getting to know all of you and working alongside you.
Finally, Â I’d like to introduce my husband, Terrence, who is my rock and without whose support I could not possibly do something as big as this. Â T and I will be working closely together on The Mogul Mom, and he has a wealth of passion, entrepreneurial experience, technological knowledge, and vision to bring to the table.
We are both so eager to meet all of you and to go on this entrepreneurial journey together.
It’s your turn to say farewell and hello. We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
This is a guest post from GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping (formerly Outright).
Since we recently adding a brand new Invoicing feature into GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping, weâ€™ve become even more focused on how our customers get paid! That is, we understand sometimes itâ€™s harder than it should be to get the money youâ€™re owed from the people who owe it to you.
It helps if you streamline the process so every single client and customer receives the same experience.
To help you with this, go through the following tips and make sure youâ€™re doing each one. A streamlined invoicing experience will take the hassle out of invoicing for you and your customer, and get you paid on time!
7 Invoicing Tips for Small Businesses to Ensure You Get Paid Every Time
1. Get a Signed Contract
Before you even think about the invoice, think about the contract.
Not only does getting everything in writing prevent someone running off after you complete the work, it also mentally â€ślocksâ€ť the client into the relationship by making it official. Make sure to get one every single time, even if youâ€™re dealing with your brother-in-lawâ€™s cousinâ€™s wife who insists you donâ€™t need one.
2. Get Specific
When discussing the plan with your client, donâ€™t leave any stone unturned. Ask every question that comes to mind and make sure they do the same. The more detailed you are the less likely a mishap â€“ including invoice-confusion â€“ will occur.
3. Honor Your Own Commitments
Before you complain about the client not being on time, look at your own work: did you meet all the deadlines you outlined in the contract? If youâ€™re always late, why should you expect the client to honor his or her commitments?
4. Broaden Your Payment Solutions
How many forms of payment do you accept?
If you only do one or two, you may be handing excuses to slow-paying clients everywhere. While it may seem a little lazy on their part, opening up a new account to pay you on PayPal can be a pain to some traditional check-writers, while mailing a paper check can cause fits for someone who prefers to do everything via the internet.
This post is sponsored by Visa Business. For more information, please see the end of this article.
Being an entrepreneur is exciting, empowering, and can provide you with the authentic life you crave.
But, it can be emotionally and physically draining, lonely and sometimes, not a lot of fun. Without tools to get through these trying times, youâ€™re at risk of losing the entrepreneurial spirit that helped you venture into business in the first place. Here are five ways to keep your love for your business going!
5 Ways to Keep Your Entrepreneurial Spirit Up
1. Stick Together with Birds of a Feather
The thing isâ€”you canâ€™t do this on your own. Running a business is hard work. Add in a couple of kids, and youâ€™re hands are sufficiently full. You need help, sister!
The best place youâ€™ll ever find support, valuable business information and sisterhood is from other women entrepreneurs just like you. If youâ€™re not already involved in small business groups, either online or in your community, now is the time to look. Consider our Marketplace.
Utilize social media to see where other women business owners are hanging out. Not only will birds of a feather help you with business things, they can be the perfect sounding board when you need to vent, or cry, or eat too much chocolate. Or all of that, at once.
2. Be Well
Never, ever, underestimate the super-power of a healthy lifestyle.
The better you treat your body, the better it will treat you, and that goes for your brain, too. Pretty simple, right? Well, not always.
When you’re an entrepreneur, itâ€™s easy to sit at the computer for hours at end, grab a handful of potato chips for lunch, drink soda, and go to bed too late. Time to change it up! Exercise and good nutrition boosts your mood, fuels your brain and helps give you energyâ€”all of which you need for your business and your family.
Here are some ideas to keep you healthy:
This post is sponsored by Visa Business. For more information, please see the end of this article.
So…what is company culture?
Itâ€™s your way of saying, â€śThis is how we do things around here.â€ť It defines the values, beliefs and operational standards you have for your business and the ways in which staff can support these things collectively.
Your culture may embrace the work-family balance by offering onsite daycare. Or, your culture may nurture a free-thinking atmosphere with bean-bag chairs and ping-pong tables to inspire creative thinking.
No matter what culture you embrace, the end-goal of making money and obtaining growth is the same. It doesnâ€™t matter if youâ€™re a two-person, home-based business or a company on the verge of going public. Having company culture can help attract and retain employees, and define how youâ€™re going to reach important goals. Plus, you can have fun–lots of it, while youâ€™re plotting how to take over the world.
How do you build a positive company culture? With an action plan and the commitment to revisit and rethink your company culture as your business grows.
How to Create a Positive Company Culture
Determine what company culture means to you:
Ultimately, your company culture will support the core values and principles of your business.
Letâ€™s say you create jewelry from recycled materials. It makes sense, then, that your company culture will embrace recycling, use repurposed or salvaged supplies, or maybe host a weekly drop-box where the community can bring gently used items for donation. All of these things come together to support your core business value of reusing and repurposing, while also supporting your bottom line.
Once youâ€™ve determined what your company culture will be like, communicate this to your team. If youâ€™re still in the hiring process, create a handbook or collateral on your company culture to provide applicants and new hires. The sooner you have everyone on board, the sooner you can start implementing your culture.
Our Summer Learning Series continues…and this week, we’re talking about product development.
To paraphrase Jerry Garcia, developing a product is a long, strange trip. LOL. From concept to consumer, prototype to product, sketch to store shelves, bringing your product to life involves more than just a bright idea.
In this week’s Summer Learning Series, we’re sharing some of the best articles and resources that’ll help you make it happen.
Summer Learning Series: Product Development
Donâ€™t Get Burned By Your Lightbulb Moment | The Mogul Mom
Manufacturing Doâ€™s & Donâ€™tâ€™s | The Mogul Mom
What to Do If A Competitor in Asia Orders Your Product | Fashion Incubator
Who Are You Packaging Your Product For Anyway? | The Mogul Mom
How Do I Get My Product In Stores? | The Mogul Mom
Hacking Kickstarter: How to Raise $100k in 10 Days | The Blog of Tim Ferriss
Sales Reps 101 | The Mogul Mom
30 Tips to Sell Handmade Products | Launch Grow Joy
Trade Shows 101 | The Mogul Mom
This post is sponsored by Visa Business. For more information, please see the end of this article.
Admit it. When you consider purchasing from a business, you look to see if they have a website, donâ€™t you?
Youâ€™re probably also curious if they have more than just a shingle on some web spaceâ€”youâ€™re looking to see if they have presence. Social media presence, that is. Letâ€™s face it; the more active a business is online, the more likely we are to be reassured they are a real, reputable company who is going to supply a great product or service for our money. In this digital/social world, a well-maintained, active web identity can make or break your business.
But your pretty website and social media pages arenâ€™t just about making sales anymore. Theyâ€™ve evolved into a prime platform for handling customer service inquiries. We know that bad news is spread across social media, like Twitter and Facebook, faster than good news. This is true for your business, too. An unhappy customer is more likely to post about their experience than a happy one. Even if you currently offer a toll-free phone number and customer support email address, it may not be enough. Clients are expecting more!
Itâ€™s become essential to have an interactive social media presence. Why? Thereâ€™s a good possibility that your customers or potential customers would rather jump on Facebook or Twitter to ask you a question than pick up the phone or send an email. If youâ€™ve never thought about using social media for customer service, now is the time.
So, how do you get started?
How to Use Social Media for Customer Service
Get Set Up
If youâ€™ve already set up a business Facebook and Twitter account, youâ€™re already there. Consider the social media platform that might work best for you to handle customer service. If youâ€™re a solo entrepreneur or micro business, consider setting up one social media platform for customer service. This will be easier to monitor and respond to, than providing customer service across all your social platforms. If you have the manpower and are able to monitor multiple sites, than do so.
Well, school’s out for summer but that doesn’t mean the learning has to stop.
We know you’re spending more time with your kids more than on your business right now, but our Summer Learning Series will help you keep building your business even while you’re on vacation.
Each “lesson” in our Summer Learning Series will focus on one topic and will include links to the best articles and resources on that topic. Browse the articles, bookmark the resources and if you have something to share on that topic, please DO add your own links in the comments.
Our Summer Learning Series kicks off this week with Facebook. So dive in and get ready to learn everything you need to know about using Facebook for your business.
Summer Learning Series: Facebook
How to Make Money with Facebook Landing Pages | Amy Porterfield
Facebook Guide Book | Mashable
6 Ways to Use Facebook Apps for Business | Social Media Examiner
Facebook Insights: Demographics, Growth and Referrals | The Mogul Mom
4 Facebook Posting Techniques That Will Boost Your Business | The Mogul Mom
32 Ways to Use Facebook for Business | GigaOm
5 Facebook Posts That Spark Massive Engagement | Amy Porterfield
5 Easy Ways to Use Facebook to Boost Sales and Build Your Brand | The Mogul Mom
Tips and Strategies to Attract More Quality, Engaged Fans | Amy Porterfield
How to Target Only Your Customers with Facebook | Social Media Examiner
Blog.Â Itâ€™s a four-letter word, but itâ€™s one of the better four-letter words youâ€™re likely to hear, aside from, ohâ€¦cake or cash.
If youâ€™re considering starting your first blog, you probably donâ€™t regard the task with the same gooey, sweet anticipation you would with say, eating cake, but the end result can leave you just as satisfied. Why?
Blogging can be an intensely fulfilling personal outlet, a great way to promote and network your business, or to share your message with the world. It does take a little hard work to get started. We wonâ€™t lie about that.
If you have a business, customers are going to automatically look for your blog on your website. Unlike your website however, your blog can be a more personal space that allows the curious-minded (like your customers) to get to know you. Hey, youâ€™re a human, not just a business and thatâ€™s what a blog can help others see.
But you donâ€™t have to be a business owner to benefit from a blog. Maybe youâ€™re a housewife with lots of ideas, recipes, or funny stories to tell. Maybe youâ€™re an author with a book to promote, or maybe your reasons are deeply personal.
Thereâ€™s a blog out there for you. You just have to get it started.
How? Grab that cake and weâ€™ll show you!
How to start a blog
Like anything, creating a blog requires a little foresight and planning. Youâ€™ll need to flex your gray matter and dig deep to think about your blog from many angles. True, you could just slap something together. But the end result wouldnâ€™t be right.
It wouldnâ€™t be you.
It wouldnâ€™t be authentic.
The authenticity that is uniquely you, is what makes your blog useful, and passionate, and helps it to stand out. As we go through the steps for creating a blog from scratch, weâ€™ll nudge you towards being you. Here are the essentials for getting started (let the gray matter flexing begin).
Pick a Niche
Niche is a fun little word but what is it? Simply, it equals the section of the blogging universe you intend to harness and make your own, i.e. what youâ€™re going to blog about. Itâ€™s what drives youâ€”what keeps you up at night, eagerly thinking about your next post topic.
Maybe youâ€™re an avid knitter. Maybe youâ€™re a vegan parent. Perhaps you have a rare chronic illness. Each of these things represents a niche, or the collective theme that you can blog about.Â If youâ€™re a business owner and plan to blog for business, then your blog niche will likely be the same as your business niche. Here on TheMogulMom.com, we blog about how moms can run a business, raise a family, and rock both. Our niche is mom entrepreneurs.
If you’re having trouble narrowing down your niche, consider these things:
- What topic are you already knowledgeable about?
- What do you want to learn more about?
- What topic are you willing to invest in, and power-through on, even if you get a little bored with it?
We threw a nice little wrench in that last sentence, huh? Did you see it? Invest.
Letâ€™s face it, anything you do for a long period of timeâ€”and if youâ€™re going to pour hours of your life into a blog, you should consider it a long-term commitmentâ€”might get a little boring; itâ€™s going to get stagnant and some days, youâ€™ll want to quit. Whatever your niche is, it should be important or interesting enough for you to invest the energy and gumption to power-through onto the other side of â€śhappyâ€ť and â€śweâ€™re having fun again.â€ť
Every year when June rolls around, I find myself doing the same thing: searching frantically on Google and Pinterest for things to do with my kids during the summer.
I’ve been through this for the past six years, so I don’t know why summer always takes me by surprise…but it does.Â Maybe you’re going through the same thing?
If so, here is a round up of articles and resources for work at home moms that’ll make summer vacation more fun and less like Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell. (See? I knew my Humanities degree would come in handy for something!)
And when the dog days of summer start dragging, remember, it only takes 30 minutes to be an awesome mom. đź™‚
Summer Vacation Resources for Work At Home Moms
6 Educational Activities to Keep Your Kids Busy While You Work | The Mogul Mom
6 Technology Free Hobbies to Do with Your Kids | The Mogul Mom
7 Ways to Successfully Work at Home with Toddlers in Tow | The Mogul Mom
Awesome Summer Activities for Kids | My Life and Kids
50 Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids | Six Sisters Stuff
Having an at-home business and a healthy work-life-family balance doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.
With a little time and effort, you can strike a healthy balance between work and life.Â Here are six steps to help you get started.
6 Steps to A Better Work/Life Balance
Step One : Get real about how much workable time you have each day
Mom entrepreneurs don’t usually have the same 9-5 gig that moms who work outside the home do. You need to figure out how much “workable time” you really have each day.
Think about your days and begin to notice the patterns. To get a better idea of your patterns, try Charlie Gilkey’s “heatmapping” exercise.
Which hours are your most productive? Which are near impossible to get anything done? What daily activities do you need to work around, like school drop off, lacrosse practice andÂ orthodontistÂ appointments? Once you’ve recognized these patterns, pencil in those hours on your desk calendar or on an online calendar like Google’s.
Step Two: Set your office hours
Now you know how much workable time you DO have each day, so it’s time to set your office hours.
If possible, create a regular schedule of office hours like, M – W – F 10am-2pm. This will help you plan your day better and it’ll help your customers and clients know when they can expect to meet with you, hear from you, etc. Post your office hours on your website or blog and add them to your email signature instead of an annoying auto-responder. Sorry, Tim Ferriss.
Using social media marketing successfully for your business requires some forethought and planning.
You donâ€™t need to make a playbook per se, but having a solid idea of why you want to use social media can help keep you on track. Without setting your marketing goals, it can be very easy to waste time on social media and not see any real results for your efforts.
The key to reaching your social media marketing goals is actually having them.
Letâ€™s think about some social media marketing goals.
Maybe you want to:
- Increase brand awareness
- Build your email subscriber list
- Sell more of your products or services
Once youâ€™ve identified your reasons for wanting to be social, think about which social media outlets are a good match for your goals. If youâ€™re looking to network with industry professionals, or hire employees, LinkedIn is a good choice. If youâ€™re looking to build subscribers to a list or an advertising platform, a blog and Twitter may work better so you can share your information and engage with potential new readers. Is your business product, design or image-based? Pinterest offers a great platform for visual businesses.
Steal A Page from Our Book
For The Mogul Mom, making personal connections is an imperative part of our marketing plan. And really, generating valuable, organic connections with others is important to any business â€“ after all, itâ€™s what turns â€świndow-shoppersâ€ť into customers.Â Since The Mogul Mom offers valuable advice and resources to mom entrepreneurs, we tap into social media that allows us to interact with potential readers by engaging in conversation and encouraging a community-like atmosphere.
The three social media platforms that help us reach our marketing goals and keep us growing are:
A gym membership to improve your health, a coffee pot to save you money by brewing at home instead of daily trips to Starbucks, or an eco-friendly car thatâ€™ll carry you where you need to go and be good to the environment.
These are all expenses that reflect your personal goals and priorities.
But does your small business spending reflect your business goals and priorities?
And if not, what can you do to create and balance a business budget that ensures youâ€™re getting the best return on investment for the money you put into your small business?
3 Steps to Building a Business Budget That Works
1. Know Where Your Money Goes
Before you can make adjustments to your business spending (and thus your business priorities) you need to know where your money is going.
Plug your business finances into an online tool like Quickbooks for Small Business. Quickbooks requires minimal to no data entry and will give you a visual pie graph of your spending by vendor or by category so you can make determinations at a glance.
[SAVE 50% NOW USING OUR PARTNER LINK, HERE].
For example, does the office supplies chunk of your spending pie look suspiciously large? It might be time to reevaluate whether you need all those paperclips.
Many banks also offer handy apps so you can access your financial information from your mobile phone or tablet. But even if your bank is a little behind technologically, you can sync your finances with an app like Mint for a snapshot of your finances at a glance.