Unless you have an absolutely perfect business plan – and letâs face it, no novice entrepreneur does – your business will probably slog through a period when your cash flow isnât exactly what it should be. Your business should always have sufficient cash on hand to pay employees, buy resources, and perform other essential tasks. When your cash flow runs dry, you must have a fast and easy solution for getting more green.
You arenât the first entrepreneur to struggle with cash flow, and you won’t be the last. Fortunately there are several options to help. Here are seven tried-and-true solutions to avoid being a cash-poor business.
1. Cash Advances
Merchant services and digital payment solution providers typically offer advances on your future sales, allowing you to get cash now instead of later. Other names for this service include âworking capital loansâ or âlines of credit,â and some offer attractive terms – including minute-long application processes. This is a viable option if your business is growing so explosively that you need more equipment or supplies stat, but if you canât guarantee that youâll pay off the advance in a short amount of time, your business could drown under notoriously exorbitant interest rates.
2. Invoice Factoring
If your business is B2B, you undoubtedly suffer the agonies of slow-paying clients. Factoring companies will gladly buy your unpaid invoices, ensuring you receive the majority of the invoice while waiting for the client to pay up. Typically, invoice factoring provides more value than other ways of improving your cash flow – but you should research your options first, making sure to understand the fee structure before signing away your invoices.
3. Deferred Card Payments
Some credit companies are more than willing to offer reliable users the option of deferred payments, which could buy you some cash as well as some time before you must pay it back. Deferred payment plans differ in structure. You might seek a plan that divides a sum into equal portions to be paid in certain intervals – like some university tuition programs do – or you might prefer a grace period, during which you incur no fees or interest for the credit you use. Like cash advances, this method is best if you are confident in your ability to pay your debt in the near future.
If you donât need much cash to grease your businessâ wheels, you might consider acquiring a micro-loan. Typically only $50,000 or lower, microloans are designed to provide businesses a quick infusion of cash, often for starting capital. Such small loans are often faster and easier to acquire than traditional loans, but they do have similar interest rates and payment periods. You can find a reliable microlender through the Small Business Association.You can also look into Kabbage, a small business lender.
Crowdfunding is the wildly trendy business funding method of recent years. Instead of begging traditional investors or banks for cash, you can ask your potential consumers directly for financial aid. Websites like Indiegogo and GoFundMe help you develop and manage a crowdfunding campaign which could bring in the cash your business needs to survive.
However, it is important to note that the popularity of crowdfunding makes marketing exceedingly important. Unfortunately, some businesses spend more cash trying to gain visibility for their crowdfunding campaigns than they earn in the end. Therefore, you must be confident in your marketing abilities and have a solid plan before banking on any crowdfunding cash.
6. ROBS Program
With any luck, you already have a happy little retirement account brewing in the background of your personal savings. If you have enough saved, you might consider shifting some of your 401(k) into your business through a Rollovers as Business Startups (ROBS) program. The biggest boon of ROBS is you can avoid taxes completely through your entrepreneurial efforts. However, it is important to note that ROBS programs have strict and complex rules, and if you fail to adhere to them, your money could be taxed like crazy, sinking your business and your retirement in one fell swoop.
7. Home Equity Loans
It can be dangerous to leverage your home to fund your business – but if your otherwise rock-solid business is in desperate need of cash, a home equity loan is undoubtedly a fast way to get it. Still, before you risk your personal assets, you should make certain that the cash you gain wonât go to waste. After all, your family could end up homeless due to a business mistake with home equity loans. Be wise and know the risks before you commit to this type of loan.
It’s so important to understand the risks and rewards of whatever financial decision you make, especially when it’s one that could have serious repercussions. Do your homework and figure out the best course of action for yourself, your business, and your family.
How do you keep your business on financial track?
Ever wonder how your favorite websites achieve their swoon-worthy layouts and seemingly endless functionality? Chances are, it’s with a theme. Lots of platforms use themes; Today we’re focusing on WordPress themes, what they are, and a peek at my favorite ones.
So, what’s a theme?
AÂ WordPress ThemeÂ is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a weblog. These files are called template files. AÂ ThemeÂ modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying software.
More simply, a theme is a collection of code that magically brings beautifully responsive templates to life where you can house your website and blog. All you have to do is pick one you love, install it, and make it your own.
And now, on with the eye candy…
1 | Itsy
Meet Itsy, a modern, minimal, and oh-so pretty WordPress theme.
Things are clean and simple with this one. Using the Theme Customizer you can control layouts (sidebar right, no sidebar, sticky menu) and show and hide most of the elements of the theme. Choose from fonts, colors, and more to make it your own.
Want a lovely big homepage hero image? Youâve got it. Want a grid of your sticky posts on your homepage? Youâve got it. Want a cool and collected minimal design, with gorgeous share overlays, search overlays and a beautiful mobile experience?… then Itsy is your cup of tea.
As well as a widgetized sidebar, we have a header widget area and a footer widget area that adapt to the amount of widgets you have. For example, only using 1 widget, weâll make it 100% and centered â perfect for a web banner.
- Show/hide back to top
- Show/hide related blog items
- Switch sidebar on/off
- Google Maps API v3 integration
- Switch sidebar to left or right
- Turn menu on/off in sidebar
- Control all font sizes
- Enhanced Author biographies
- Fully responsive design
- Built mobile first
- All templates are HTML5 compliant
- Child theme supported
- Full control of colours
- Show/hide plain text logo
- MeanThemes Social Widget built-in via MeanThemes Tools plugin
- MeanThemes âAbout Youâ Widget built-in via MeanThemes Tools plugin
- Sharing on/off on posts
- Share via twitter including your username
- Change footer credit, logo text, logo alt all from Theme Customizer
- Control excerpt length on blog
- Auto excerpt on blog
- MeanThemes Tools plugin included
- Logo upload
- Retina logo upload
- Apple touch icon upload
- Favicon upload
- Contact 7 Form support and styling built-in
- Localisation support with provided .mo and .po files
- Custom Menu
- Featured image support
- Shortcodes for columns and buttons, toggles and tabs
- Shortcodes for social icons including: Twitter, App.net, Facebook, Linked In, Google+, Zerply, Vimeo, YouTube, Pinterest, Dribbble, Github, Instagram, Flickr, Behance, Mixcloud, Soundcloud, Good reads, RSS
- Shortcode for quotes including quote source and ratings
- Shortcode dropdown straight from the content editor
- Fully responsive (optimised for iPad and iPhone with retina graphics)
- Zilla likes support
- Extensive documentation
Bio page inspiration:
Display your favorites:
With lots of features and customization options, as well as a darling layout, you’re sure to fall in love with Itsy. It’s one of my favorites, and at only $25 it’s a steal.
2Â | BOSS LADY
Sassy, classy, and a little smart-assy? Boss Lady is just the theme for you.
Created by Melanie Karlik, theÂ Boss Lady themeÂ is perfect for the energetic entrepreneur. She’s included lots of features to help you customize it to the layout and the look to perfectly suitÂ your vision, including 8 landing page templates andÂ a lead page template (with the option to upload your own background image).
Nine blog layouts to choose from:
- Customize Fonts and Colours
- Totally Responsive for Mobile
- SEO Friendly
- 1, 2, or 3 Column Layout
- Choose Different Layout for Category Pages
- Optional Sidebar
- Hide/Show Date, Categories, Tags, etc
- Homepage Template
- Page Templates (7 options)
- Landing Page Templates (8 options)
- Lead Page Template
- Blank Template
- Pick a Unique Banner Image for Every Page
- Custom Bio Box Widget Include
- Optional Fixed Nav
- Optional âFollow Sidebarâ
- Announcement Bar
- Full Width Call-to-Action Top & Bottom Widget Areas
- Add a Call-to-Action the bottom of your Posts
- 1,2,3 or 4 Columns for Footer Widgets
Save money by skipping expensive landing page programs. This theme does it for you:
Boss Lady is an ideal choice for no-nonsense business owners who don’t have time to mess around creating templates, pages, and layouts from scratch. Simply choose the ready-made one you love, customize the fonts and colors, andÂ you’re off and running.
3 | Simply Pro
Simply ProÂ is the perfect choice for those seeking a clean, crisp way to deliver their brand across the interwebs.Â Devoid of distracting pomp and circumstance, this theme provides plenty of inviting white space for those that don’t get along with clutter andÂ noise.
Simply ProÂ knows you don’t need a lot going on visually to create a truly beautiful brand. Classy and classic, thisÂ Wordpress theme based on the Genesis Framework. Use this theme for your blog or website.
- Fully Responsive on Desktop, Tablet, and Mobile phones
- Optimized for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Three page layout options on every page
- Customized drop-down nav bar with unlimited space for your pages
- Integration with Simple Social Icons, a social media plugin
- Threaded comments
- Custom, FLOATING social media icons
- You can simply type in your blog name to match the styling of the Marble Theme
- Or, upload your own logo/header
- Fully responsive (mobile friendly!) on all mobile devices (passes Google’s test)
- Contact form that is styled to match the Simply Pro Theme
- Sidebar widgets are styled to match the Simply Pro Theme
- I walk you through adding your social media icons, about pic and text, etc!
- You can have advertisements and affiliate links in your sidebar as well
- Styled social media icons for your sidebar (bloglovin, email, facebook, instagram, pinterest, twitter, youtube, vimeo, linked in, google+, flickr, dribble, github, RSS, stumbleupon, and tumblr)
- Built-in styled slider
- Styled Instagram widget in the footer
- Sticky navigation bar
- Change ANY color you want with the built-in customizer
Changing design options is easy-peasy, even for those who aren’t particularly tech- savvy:
Put your Instagram on display in the footer:
Simply Pro is a modern theme following the design trends set by the top bloggers. In the spirit of simplicity, the designer has made everythingÂ deliciously uncomplicated. Customizing is as easy as a few clicks andÂ this theme includes a PDF to walk you through the setup and installation process.
4 | INA
If you love aÂ clean look, but gotta have your pictures, you’ll love INA. This visual rich, photo stories theme allows you to showcase your photography or stock images on center stage.
- Easy-to-Use Powerful Theme Options Panel: customize layouts, logo, colors, fonts etc.
- One-click import of demo site
- Excellent Customer Support
- Responsive Design: desktop, tablet and mobile friendly
- 3 Header types
- WordPressÂ LIVE customizer
- 10 Blog Layouts:
- 2-1 Cols
- 2-3 Cols
- 2-4 Cols
- 1 Column
- 2 Columns
- 3 Columns
- 3-1 Columns
- 4 Columns
- 4-1 Columns
- Single post layout
- With sidebar
- Full Width
- Super fast loading and SEO optimized
- Author page
- Instagram feed
- Widgetized area in the footer with 3 columns
- 600+ Google Fonts
- Social media icons
- Child Theme included
- Translation Ready (.pot file included)
- Well Documented
Pictoral-y post inspiration:
Three gorgeous header styles to pick from:
With plenty of layout options and customizable features, INA is perfect for those who want to tell theirÂ story with pictures. Whether you’re a photographer or just have a penchant for visuals, this theme is perfect for you.
Psst… Need images to pretty up the place? Check out this post for 25 free stock photo websites where you’ll find an abundance of imagery to bring your little corner of the world to life.
5 | PE COOKING
Calling all foodies! PE CookingÂ is the ideal theme to share all of your delicious goodness with your visitors. Rich with tempting imagery options, your followers are sure to eat up whatever you’re serving.
- Glyphicon font icons
- PageSpeed high rate
- Custom code injection
- Social addthis sharing integrated
- 600+ fonts available
- 2 Custom slider widgets. a) PE Easy Slider – shows slider with images or video. b) PE Recent Posts – shows images with short description
- Fully widgetized
- Premium extensions included (Revolution Slider $18, Visual Composer $33)
- SEO optimized & clean code
- Unlimited colors
- Many home page versions – many combinations with sliders and blog layout
- Powerful admin panelÂ –Â complex and easy way for submitting a recipe
- Wide range of recipe details – like category, cuisine, recipe type, ingredients, preparing time and skill level, scanning shopping list, rating and comments
- Frontend & backend submission – for personal blog or allowing visitors to submit recipes
- Advanced search included – many combinations to let visitors find a recipe accurately
- 6 blog views
- 5 Recipe views – standard, with: tabs, slider, movie, comments
- Many custom styles for revolution slider views
- Wide range of configurable settings at the theme backed – like colors or fonts
- 100% fully responsive – supports mobile devices
- Demo copy included. Quick & easy setup
- Awesome icons
- Built with Bootstrap 3
- HTML5 and CSS3
- Fast page loading
- Sticky menu
- Rich typography – shortcodes
- Sticky topbar
- Unlimited layouts
- SEO Ready by Yoast plugin
- Schema microdata
- Google maps integration
- WPML ready, tested by WPML team
Beautiful posts showcase your images, but leave room for descriptive text so readers don’t getÂ overwhelmed:
Adding recipes is a cakewalk:
Blog posts that beg to be read:
As a food blogger, you know one of the best ways to set yourself apart is with eye-catchingÂ imagery. PE Cooking themeÂ offers not only a plethora of image layouts, but perfect spacing that doesn’t overwhelm or confuse visitors. IÂ getÂ hungry just looking at it.
Biscuit is decidedly clean, yetÂ elegant, and perfect for Food Bloggers, Designer, Photographer and Bloggers. Easy on the eyes, this sophisticated style is a great way to showcase your own brand of simple goodness.
BiscuitÂ is an amazing feminine responsive wordpress and ecommerce theme for minimalist style lovers. Visually rich, it still manages to maintain its simplicity. The well-organized layout makes navigation a no-brainer for your visitors.
- Dynamic Grid Layout for the Blog and the Archive Page
- Fully Responsive Design
- Google Webfonts Options
- Colors Options
- Useful Recipes Index Shortcodes
- Footer Area with tree columns
- About Widget and Social Icons ready to use
- Shortcodes: snippets ready to copy and paste in your posts and pages like columns, recipe, buttons and more…
- Woocommerce Integrated
- Meta Slider (Option for the Home Page)
- Recipe Card by Yumprint
- Translation-ready: you can easily translate it;
- Cross-Browser compatible; It works in all modern browsers (tested in Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, IE 9+, iOS and Android).
Customizing is a breeze:
Pretty, balanced post options:
Share your past posts and reader favorites in an eye catching portfolio grid:
For a simple way to share that still garners plenty of positive attention, look no further thanÂ Biscuit.
7Â | THE PASTEL BLOGSTER
For a soft, feminine touch, check out the The Pastel Blogster.Â Subtle, calming hues allure visitors and encourage reading, browsing, and shopping.
Pretty up your posts with this layout as inspiration:
- Customize colors (Stick with pastels, or… don’t – you decide)
- Color coded categories
- Striking and modular lay-outs in no time (easy to use shortcodes)
- Responsive lay-out
- Ad widget in the bottom
- Social icons on any page with shortcodes
- Ad space at the bottom + a widget zone available for more
- Colored widget zone changes colour with every new post
- Order yourÂ menu as you see fit
- Display your most recent post at the top
- The theme works best with maximum 6 pages and 10 categories
8 | Enamored
Enamored is simple, feminine WordPress themeÂ that’s got everything you need to breathe life into your brand. Scripty fonts offset the white space, making this a smart, sophisticated choice.
Fully responsive and highly customizable,Â Enamored comes with 6 layout options, unlimited colors, Google fonts, and more. Best of all,Â theÂ theme includes a built in theme customizer that allows you to make changes to your theme without touching any code.
- Fully responsive
- Optional full width blog home page slider
- Choose between full post or excerpt post content
- 6 layout options
- Footer widgets
- About widget
- Social media icons widget
- Woocommerce ready
- Works well with JetPack
- Translation ready
- Change the theme colors
- Choose from the large selection of Google fonts
- Upload your own logo
Or without sidebar:
Make it your own in a few clicks with the easy customization panel:
If you’re looking for refined beauty paired with simple to use options,Â EnamoredÂ is the way to go.
Bonus: This theme comes with access to the designer’s freebie vault where you’ll have access toÂ free media kit templates, pin it buttons, printables, and more.
9 | EXQUISITE
Dark and lovely, the aptly named Exquisite is a stunning e-commerce theme that manages to be classic, yet unique all at the same time. Build your store on this theme for a beautifulÂ storefront that won’t soon be forgotten.
A peek with a different style logo:
Comes complete with a fade-in effect on the homepage, a rotating testimonial section, portfolio page, change the damask background to another dark color, and more.
- Tutorials to setup your site just like the demo
- Genesis Framework
- Fully Mobile Responsive
- Large post area of 820px Wide
- One Sidebar that is 330px Wide
- Custom Homepage with Slider Area
- Featured Post Area on the Homepage
- Featured Products Area on the Homepage
- Fade in Effect on the Homepage
- Portfolio Page
- Choose Your Own Colors
- WooCommerce Ready
- Subscribe Box
- 2 Simple Drop Down Menu/Navigation Bars
- Matching âShareâ buttons at the end of each post
- 3 Footer Areas at the Bottom
- Bottom Bar for your Instagram Feed
- Matching Social Media Icons –Â 16 to choose from
- 3 Page Layout options
- Add your own logo – optional, theme will still work WITHOUT adding a logo
Black’s not your jam? Change colors easily (works best with dark colors):
For brands that know their voice and aren’t afraid to use it, make a statement before you even say a word with the Exquisite theme.
10 | Sara’s Fashion
Sara’s Fashion theme is a sassy little theme design with plenty of personality, andÂ typography-richÂ buttons that practically beg to be clicked.
Pick your fonts and layouts with plenty ofÂ simple to use customization options.
- Two custom landing page templates (move homepage boxes to left or right)
- Home page slider to showcase your best products
- Custom coded share icons under each product detail
- User-friendly layout
- 100% integrated with WooCommerce
- Responsive mobile and tablet ready template
- Upload your own custom header
- Easily change fonts/color
- Easily add your post signature
- Easily add Favicon
- Upload your own background image/pattern.
- Multiple page layouts
- Custom matching diamond shaped social media icons under posts
- Profile photo with circle
- Add any number of menu pages
- Add unlimited widgets
- Custom coded share icons under each post
- MailChimp subscriber box
- SEO optimized
Get the word out on your blog using theÂ streamlined layout:
Showcase your shop’s offerings withÂ the pretty grid layout:
Encourage sharing on individual listings with stay-put social media buttons:
That’s it! A roundup of my very favorite themes currently available. All that’s left for you to do is pick one and get that website or blog up and running.
Love the themes but are terrified at the thought of installing them? Not to worry. If the theme designer is not able to help with the tech side, WordPress offers a super simple tutorial right here.
What’s your favorite theme?
Every October, the small business world comes together to celebrate the undeniable, incredible success of women-owned companies for National Women’s Small Business Month. Last month, events around the country highlighted the prosperity of women business owners, and pushed to put women in the best possible position to continue to grow and scale their businesses by helping provide access to capital and new markets. This yearâs “10 Million Strong” theme honored the 10 million women who are innovating and impacting the economy while also making waves in social justice and gender equality.
To compliment National Women’s Small Business Month, new data was released by Dun & Bradstreet and Pepperdine Universityâs Graziadio School of Business and Management highlighting how favorably women-owned businessesâ growth stacks up in comparison to the national average. For instance, in 2002, there were less than 7 million women-owned, small businesses. Now, there are well over 10 million (and counting!) women-owned small businesses that are innovating, creating jobs and contributing to the economy as a whole.
Girl Power is Growing
In the latest Private Capital Access (PCA) Index , women-owned businesses are expecting more growth over the next six months than the national average. Many emerging industries are being pioneered by a large number of female business owners, which has helped contribute to the anticipated growth for female-owned small businesses. As seen in the infographic and according to the report, 61% of all small businesses are expecting to hire within the next six months, and 69% of women-owned businesses are anticipating hiring new employees during this time. Nationally, 37% of small businesses are looking to raise financing for their companies in comparison to the 39% of women-owned businesses. Due to the expected growth, 67% of women-owned small businesses are anticipating the need for financing.
Are Women-Owned Business Getting the Help Needed?
With the celebration of success also comes the push for more growth and expansion. While women-owned small businesses are expecting exponential growth, they are continuing to feel restricted by their current business environment. Despite countless efforts to even the playing field, small businesses that are owned and run by women still appear to be held back financially from growth opportunities.
Women-owned companies are statistically in need of more financing and are statistically asking for more help, however national banks are simply not lending as much to these companies. Thirty-six percent of all companies applying for a loan received one, however, only 23% of women-owned corporations qualified for a loan.
Adapting to Restricted Access to Capital
So, what does this mean for businesses that are not receiving help? Based on the survey results, it appears that women-owned business owners are seeking capital from alternative sources or relying on their own personal assets to advance their companies. Female small business owners are pouring their own money into their companies at a rate of 37%. Personal credit cards are being used at a 64% rate, 12% above the national average. Sixty-three percent of female business owners are taking out personal loans and spending them on their businesses, nearly 20 percentage points above the nationâs average. Additionally, 73% of women-owned small businesses are using of company credit cards.
The goal of the National Women’s Business Foundation during National Women’s Small Business Month is not only to celebrate the many achievements of female business owners, but also to continue to lead the fight for helping level the playing field for women-owned businesses. The NWBF is striving to keep the momentum rolling for female entrepreneurs.
The new year is fast approaching and we’re willing to bet you’ve got BIG plans for it. Today we’re sharing some of our favoriteÂ Marie ForleoÂ quotes to give you a bit of encouragement and a jolt of inspiration!
Feel free to pinÂ away. Just hover over the image and a Pin It button will magically appear in the top left corner of the picture.
“Everything is figureoutable.”
âNot having the best situation, but seeing the best in your situation is the key to happiness.â
âTo be responsible, keep your promises to others. To be successful, keep your promises to yourself.â
âYou’re always being led to your highest good, as long as you have the courage to listen.â
âNever start a business to make money. Start a business to make a difference.â
âIf it’s not scheduled, it’s not real.â
What’s YOURÂ favorite Marie quote?
Getting your first real customer is a key milestone for every ecommerce entrepreneur. With literally hundreds of channels and tactics and different ways to promote your business, it can beÂ confusing (and overwhelming!) to know what makes the most sense for your unique business.
Because all businesses and all business owners are different, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing your business online. The only way to find out what truly works for you is by exploring, trying, failing, trying again, and always working to improve. The 30 Day First Sale Challenge Checklist is a free tool designed to help new entrepreneurs (like you!) ramp up their marketing efforts, drive traffic to their store, and make their first sale in 30 days.
So here’s a challenge: For the next 30 days, spend some time working through these high-impact marketing strategies. Dig in and putÂ the ones that relate to your business into action.
The guide shares three main areas to explore:
1.Free Traffic Sources
2. PaidÂ Advertising
3. Outreach [Connecting With Existing Audiences]
Each section shares tips and strategies on how to make the most of each marketing avenue. Sort through them and pick out the ones that apply to your business, then put them into action.
Because all businesses and all business owners are different, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing your business online. The only way to find out what truly works for you is by exploring, trying, failing, trying again, and always working to improve.
There are hugely successful online business owners out there right now who were once in your exact position; unsure of what to do, where to start, or how to reach buyers. But they took the leap, and they made it. You can, too. It isn’t rocket science, it’s simply understanding what works for your unique situation and how to reach your right people.
But you can’t succeed if you don’t start. So take some time and figure out what you really want. Then, go after it. Just think…Â 15 minutes from right now you could have your e-commerce shop open. Then, you can get to work building your own online empire. No excuses.
Ready for the challenge?Â
Grab your free checklist now, print it out, and get ready to spend the next 30 days paving the road to your first sale.
Feel free to stop back here and leaveÂ your questions, comments, and success stories in the comments.
If thereâs one form of communication entrepreneurs and professionals canât do without, itâs email. Unfortunately, email also lags behind other mediums in a variety of ways, which ultimately leads to unnecessary distractions and lots of wasted time. Want to increase your daily productivity and get more done? Improving your email habits should be one of the top items on your agenda.
Email: A Massive Time Waster
Email exists to provide individuals and businesses with quick and effortless written communication. However, study after study shows that itâs not always used as intended. Here are a couple of pieces of research that may surprise you:
While these may seem like absurd numbers to you, pause and think about how much time youâre spending on email each day. Even if you fall below the average, youâre still wasting far too much time with email.
Something needs to be done.
Thereâs no reason you should be spending four, five, or six-plus hours with email. You have far more important professional and personal obligations. With that being said, letâs take a look at some email management tips and techniques that others have found to be effective.
1 | Develop a Filing System
The very first thing you need to do is create a filing system. Every email that you receive should have a folder that it goes in. While you should create a system that works for you, many choose to use the following:
With these four folders, you can organize just about every email. As soon as an email comes in, either reply immediately or designate it to one of the folders. Youâll find that itâs much easier to stay focused and process information this way.
2 | Kill the Notifications
Hereâs a controversial suggestion that not everyone agrees with, but think about turning off email notifications on your mobile devices. The reason is that these notifications tend to distract you when youâre doing other important things. Furthermore, youâre bound to open an email and forget about it. Then, when you log into your account on your computer, the email has already been opened, and you may overlook it.
3 | Cut the Fluff
Do you spend five minutes crafting an email that could be written in 30 seconds? You may need to work on your email writing skills. While itâs nice to include a cordial opening and then end with some sort of salutation, this isnât necessary. In fact, most recipients appreciate brevity. Cut out the fluff and just deliver the facts. (Bullet point format is easy for people to digest quickly.)
4 | Create Templates
If you get a lot of the same emails over and over again â such as requests for guest blogging opportunities or frequent customer service questions â developing a handful of email templates can save you hours of time. Simply paste the template in, customize it to the sender, and youâre good to go.
[*TMM Tip: Check out Systems Rock for FREE templates to keep your business flowing smoothly!]
5 | Separate Work and Personal
If you have one email account for everything â work and personal life â then you know how frustrating this can be. When youâre working, youâll inevitably get an email from a friend and may end up wasting an hour of your time. When itâs the weekend, and youâre trying to enjoy time with family, youâre bound to see some stressful email that will ruin your day. But have you ever paused to consider why you use the same account?
Email accounts are free and easy to sign up for. Thereâs no excuse for not having separate work and personal email accounts. Create some separation, and youâll be much more productive.
6 | Purge Your Subscriptions
Over the years, youâve signed up for dozens of different email lists and newsletters. How many of them do you actually read? Find a way to unsubscribe from lists, and youâll feel that sense of relief and satisfaction that comes after you clean out an old closet or junk drawer.
Not sure how to get started? One of the coolest tools is Unroll.me. It allows you to organize the subscriptions you like into a single daily email, while simultaneously identifying the ones you donât like and unsubscribing for you.
7 | Try an Email Alternative
Finally, who says email is the best choice? With all of the distractions and clutter that are present in your inbox, you could benefit from using an email alternative. There are some popular ones on the market, but Slack seems to be everyoneâs favorite. The streamlined interface allows you to send direct messages to individuals and groups without the hassle of attachments, bulky features, and spam. Game changer for sure!
Reclaim Your Productivity
Are you ready to slash your email time in half and start reclaiming productivity? Imagine how much work you could get done if you spent more time on core business activities and less time deciding who to CC on your latest message.
Try it for a couple of weeks and see what you think. Youâll never go back to your previous habits!
Hello & welcome to the biggest shopping day of the year. While everyone else is out there amidst the chaos, you can shop from the comfort of your own home and grab these amazing deals! So many savings, you can set your business up for the entire year at a fraction of the price! Check it out!
Save 70% off hosting withSiteground, now through Monday 11/28. Get great hosting with unparalleled customer service for under $3/month! Average ticket time is 10 minutes to answer. You simply can’t beat it!
ElegantThemes WordPress Themes (including the ever-popular Divi!)
ElegantThemes is offering 25% off Divi, their biggest sale ever and their most popular theme. Get the deal now right here.
CarboniteÂ is offering their best deal ever on personal cloud backup! Starting on Wednesday, November 23 through Monday, November 28th, one year ofÂ CarboniteÂ basic is 50% off, now just $29.99.Â Photos, music, and files will all be safe from spilled eggnog, hardware crashes and even ransomware withÂ Carbonite. Buy nowÂ before this deal is gone for good.
The Mogul Mom!
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Mailerlite’s Annual Plans
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Quickbooks for Small Business
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The Social Spread
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In the modern age of technology, every business, brand and franchise needs a killer website. This central hub allows you to harness the promotional power of the internet and reach a wider audience than could ever be possible in the physical world.
However, for small businesses and start-ups, getting the capital together to build a website that will live up to the needs and quality of your brand can be tricky. More elements go into a successful site than simply an attractive design. This guide covers five key aspects of perfecting your online domain that will help you take your company to the next level.
Obviously, when building a website, the most important thing is to have a strong concept. You have to ensure your site will add value to the internet as a whole so users have a reason to visit and even more reason to stay. If your online endeavors are surrounding blogging, then you have a clear concept to work with, but if you’re promoting a business, service or product, then you have to get somewhat more creative.
Unfortunately, just marketing is not a good enough reason to have a website. No one will invest time and money into a webpage that only tries to sell. It has to have its own unique function that will entice visitors. For example, if youâre selling a product, why not make a product review website? If youâre marketing your photography, then why not create a site that offers online tutorials? Identifying your niche and finding ways to snag the interest of your target audience is the essential first step.
Once you’ve solidified an idea for your webpage, itâs time to think about design. Humans are visual creatures, so the aesthetic of your site needs to speak just as loudly as the content you will create. Choices to be made here include color, font and images. All of these things are critical in creating a feel and mood for your site and, therefore, attracting the right type of viewers who will invest in your company and return again and again.
If youâre struggling to come up with an appropriate design concept, then here are some points to consider:
- Color. Colors are highly emotive. Consider the theme of your site and choose a palette to match.
- Font. Different fonts communicate different emotions and feelings. Consider the difference between a flowing script font and a hard, sharp oneâwhich is more appropriate to represent your brand?
- Theme. What do you want the focal point to be? Do you want more focus on the pictures or the words? Which pages need to stand out most? Pick a theme that fulfills all of these requirements.
- Photos. Photos are one of the strongest forms of nonverbal communication. Each picture you use on your site will convey a message, and itâs important each one is cohesive to the overall image. If you’re using stock photos, sticking to one resource is a good way to ensure continuity.
Many great hosting platforms, such as WordPress.com and Shopify, will take care of the design for no charge if youâre trying to keep the costs low. However, if you want more freedom to customize layouts, then there is a small investment required. This payment also covers the cost of hosting, so it could actually be a saving in the long run.
Once youâve established an overall concept and design, the next element to consider is content. For a successful website, itâs essential to post regularly. Even if you want a static site, it is wise to set up a blogging section. Doing this means you can continually attract attention to your webpage. By focusing on articles around your niche, you can target the visitors you are getting to the people you actually want to see your brand.
It can quickly become extremely time-consuming to write your own posts, as itâs recommended to put out content at least once a day, so you may find this is another point that forces some expenditure. However, with low-rate freelance sites, such as Fiverr, you can find workers who wonât break your budget and will be able to deliver content that will be invaluable for marketing your company or brand.
If you are dedicated to creating and maintaining a successful website that will help grow your business exponentially, then security is an element that is essential to consider. Online attacks are increasingly common, and if a large amount your business is based on the web, then you need to take steps to secure yourself.
Itâs essential to start with good personal security, which means having a comprehensive security suite running on the machine you use most often. Itâs also paramount to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when on the go, as public WiFi provides the greatest risk to online security. Â This article explains how a VPN works in order to tackle this problem.
There are also many website-specific practices you can employ to stay safe. For WordPress users, there are numerous plug-ins available for little to no cost. These include dedicated anti-virus, two-step authentication, malware alerts and much, much, more.
Finally, no matter how well you create your website, how beautiful your theme is or how relevant your content, if you fail to use the available channels to get your webpage out into the world, it will never bring you the success youâre looking for. For those on a budget, social media is most definitely one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.
Almost all platforms are free to set up an account, so the only costs you will incur will be optional. However, there are opportunities to promote your posts to a wider audience for a small fee. If not, by simply being active on social media and utilizing platform-specific tactics such as hashtags and shares, you can significantly increase the traffic to your site and help market your business endeavors.
Building a killer website isn’t something that’s reserved for the wealthiest of business owners. There are many great tools and platforms that can provide you with low-cost ways to market your company online. By following these five points, you can cover all the major bases to ensure your website is a thriving success. Be sure to leave a comment below if you have any more tips to add to the list!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And here, in no particular order, is a list of my top ten Winter Favorites for my fellow mompreneurs.
If you tend to run fashionably (or frantically) late for just about everything then letÂ this pretty, on-time weekly plannerÂ help you to get a handle on your hectic schedule once and for all. The 17-month planner is brimming with original illustrations and inspirational words, features one weekly grid per page and includes a lined “notes to self” should your memory be in need of nudge from time to time.ThisÂ highly portable little number easily pops in your purse, briefcase, backpack or messenger bag and the flexible format makes it perfect for managing your time on the go. Get organized for under $16.Â Yes, please.
Instant PotÂ is definitely a favorite all year round, but especially during the cold, cozy winter months when comfort food is in demand. ItÂ combines three of my favorite things: Food + Easy + Fast. Â Cook healthy food quickly and cleanup is a breeze. Make everything from roasts to soup to yogurt quickly and easily.Â Side note: I got this book to go with it:Â 500 Pressure Cooker Recipes. So far, so great!
These are far and away some of my most favorite styled photos for wintertime. Add your text and make them your own. The black and white paired with the greenery is simple, elegant, yet super eye catching. Not just for Christmas or the holidays- use these all season long. Grab them right here.
I just adore this cute little number. Pick a color, any color – reads: Girl Boss: AÂ girl building her empire. Sounds about right to me. Grab one and show them who’s boss, here.
I love, love, love Warby Parker. I love the style choices, the company mission, and their philanthropic efforts. Hop on over toÂ their website, choose your five favorite pairs, add them to your basket, and they’ll arrive on your doorstep in a few days for you to try on. Free. Snap some selfies to share and get your friends’ opinions, or just surprise everyone with your new look. Best of all… for every pair purchased, a pair is distributed to someone in need. You get to look goodÂ and do good. Perfect. Shop the new Winter CollectionÂ here.
Blue Q Socks are as pretty as they are cheeky. Woven with luxurious combed cotton to keep tootsies warm. Love that 1% of sales supports doctors without borders. Snap up a pair (or six) for yourself and a few more for your fellow mompreneurs. They’ll surely love them. Lots to choose from, here.
Style your blog, and your Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram social media posts with these festiveÂ winter + holiday stock images. I love the subject matter AND how they have space for you to type your message. [P.S.: Did you know that red is one of the most clicked through colors on social media posts?] Grab the whole pack for only $16. That’s less than $1 per image. While everyone else is using the same handful of recycled public domain images, you’ll be standing out. Smart mompreneurs know that’s how it’s done.
My BFF gave me one of these for my birthday last year and not a week has gone by that I haven’t used it. Since then. I’ve bought one for everyone in the family. It keeps the hot, hot and the cold, cold… for a long time. It’s my sidekick while I’m working on the computer so I don’t spill anything on the liquid hatingÂ Mac. Plus, the name is fun to say… admit it. I got the aqua one, but there are lots of fun colors to pick from. If you’re feeling fancy, you can go on Etsy and haveÂ a custom vinyl sticker made with your name or monogram on it to slap on the side. [I get my vinyls from Amanda.]
Such a cute collection of hand drawn snowflakes, sure to add some festivity to your graphics this season. So easy to use, too. Switch up the colors to fit your project. Grab all of them for only $5 for a short time, right here.
UGG Australia Women’s Ansley Suede Slippers are the perfect ‘work shoes’ for work at home mompreneurs. Slide these toasty kicks on for a long day at the home office.Â These are a bit of a splurge, but you deserve it! I love the gray ones. Which color is your favorite? See them all, right here.
What are some of your favorite things this season? Let us know in the comments.
The American workforce has become lazy.
I estimate, conservatively, that knowledge workers are four times as efficient as they were 20 years ago. Thatâs why I moved my company to a five-hour workday about a year-and-a-half ago. We work 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. with no lunch; then, we leave.
For a beach lifestyle brand like ours, this move made sense. Revenue and profits are way up, and weâre attracting great talent â but thatâs not the interesting part of this story. What surprised me was how visceral a reaction â both positive and negative â people had to this simple experiment we were doing.
People are either huge fans or hate the idea. While the five-hour workday garnered rave reviews overseas, Americans have approached it skeptically.
Why? Because the idea of working less doesnât jive with the hard-working, big-earning ideal the American workforce so proudly identifies with.
A Breakout Abroad
Tucker Carlson once said to me, âLet me ask you a philosophical question: Arenât we sort of put here to achieve something? Maybe sitting on the beach or paddle boarding isnât the purpose of life.â
I responded, âThe point of life is not work. Weâre not economic slaves.â
Tuckerâs comment was in line with most American media and people Iâve spoken with. Our âFox & Friendsâ segment drew more than 1,000 strongly worded comments, clearly showing that questioning the utility of Americans as a people of strong work ethic touches a nerve. And many media outlets refused to cover it, chalking it up to gimmicky, socialist nonsense.
Internationally, it was a different story. A week after my article on the five-hour workday published in on a major business magazine’s website, the Hamburger Morgenpost in Germany dubbed me âthe worldâs best boss.â A German TV crew even called me on a Friday and flew out to film my company the following Monday. Germany’s NPR station interviewed me that same week, and dozens of articles flooded Germany, Austria, Switzerland, India, the UK, and Canada within a week.
The irony is that this story is about a fast-growing company in Southern California developing a technique to radically shift the American workday, yet major worldwide media have pounced on the story.
When the German NPR crew interviewed me, I found out that the five-hour workday was an overnight sensation in Germany because Germans pride themselves on being highly productive people. The idea of working harder for shorter periods of time makes perfect sense to them. This is when it clicked for me.
In my mind, moving to a five-hour workday killed two birds with one stone. More free time means a better quality of life, and increased bandwidth due to heightened pressure yields more production. Right now, America is losing on both fronts â except I chose to do something about it.
Our country is so caught up in our image as an efficient, high-grossing entity that weâre blind to the notion of improving our workforce â no matter how valid the idea.
Could Less Truly Be More?
A 2012 study by the Economic Policy Institute found that worker productivity in the U.S. grew 80 percent between 1973 and 2011, while hourly wages only rose 11 percent.
My time running a startup has made one thing clear: Donât stretch a task out longer than necessary. You either become efficient and productive, or you cease to be self-employed. So when the boss in me sees that 80 percent growth number, I get angry and wonder why American bosses in similar positions donât feel the same.
On the flipside, employees are getting the short end of the stick by stagnant wages to the tune of 11 percent in 40 years. Maybe thatâs why theyâre not finding ways to work faster.
Is this the new normal in the worldâs largest, most dynamic economy? If we donât change something fast, that strangle hold on first place will be disrupted. And as an entrepreneur who feeds off of disruption, I saw it coming a mile away, so I decided to share my findings.
Our revenue is still up, and all the metrics are going in the right direction. Employees are more productive and happier. Work has become something we do in the morning instead of the central point of our lives. My staff has started working more like my entrepreneurial friends: get in, get stuff done, and go live your life.
Iâm here to tell you, that a five-hour workday is not only possible, but itâs also a better mousetrap. Maybe Americans arenât lazy; maybe our thinking just is.
Itâs not easy to be a busy mom today. From attending meetings to managing carpools with the kids, it can be difficult to get everything marked off of a daily to-do list and still have time to relax.
Stress is a working momâs constant companion. Sometimes it seems that it is impossible to find a balance between work and parenting duties. However, good organization is the key to success in both personal and professional life.
Enter the cloud.
Thereâs been much talk about the cloud lately and what it can do for businesses. Letâs take a look at how the cloud can help you work more efficiently and at the same time, become a more productive mom.
The Benefits of the Cloud for Your Business
If youâre a momtrepreneur, you will appreciate the savings that come with the cloud. The cloud utilizes the hardware of your business and lowers your overall IT costs, making it easier to save money throughout the year.
Whether youâre an employer or employee, the cloud will make collaboration much easier for you by simplifying the teamwork and management process for higher levels of productivity each day. The cloud increases flexibility and enables you to access important information anywhere, to ensure that you can continue working even while you’re away from the office.
Cloud-based productivity services, such as GSuite, offer a myriad of analytic solutions, real-time insights and most importantly, a high degree of security.
If you just Google âcloud and its benefitsâ, youâll see that there are numerous posts written on this topic. It is clear that the cloud simplifies your work. However, cloud-based solutions can do so much more for you. If youâre a mom, brace yourself for the wonders that the cloud can perform in your personal life.
How Cloud-Based Services Can Help With Your Daily Life
Busy moms who are looking for a way to stay organized and manage their busy schedule can take advantage of the cloud.
Take Office 365 Business Plan, for example. This is clearly designed for businesses, but it can do a lot to keep your family in sync. You can use Outlook to enter kidsâ activities, and stay on top of the tasks that you have planned throughout the week.
If both you and your partner have access to the cloud, all the changes in your plans will be easily viewable. You no longer have to make numerous phone calls, send texts or run around like a headless chicken. Instead, manage your kidsâ sporting events more easily and invite your husband to view the schedule with just one click. Similarly, when your partner enters any changes, you will have instant access to them.
With the cloud, you can simply mark the activities that are finished, label those that might need follow-up and prioritize the most important tasks. Instead of making endless lists and losing yourself in a pile of post-its, use the cloud to immediately jot down any ideas and reminders on the go.
Plan your family budget with the cloud, just like you plan your monthly business budget.
Again, the cloud will allow you to enter any costs and expenses as you make them, without the need to keep all the receipts in your purse.
You can plan your activities together with other busy moms who use the cloud. Playdates and sleepovers will be neatly scheduled and readily available to anyone using the same service.
Maintaining your house can become a lot easier if you have access to the cloud.
Over-worked moms can have a hard time dealing with daunting tasks such as grocery shopping. Use the cloud to write a list of groceries to buy. Both you and your spouse can label whatâs been bought and have instant access to all the items that you still need to get.
House cleaning is yet another task on a working momâs to-do list. You already get the idea – list activities, delegate, mark as finished and prioritize to make your life easier. If your kids are older and have access to the cloud, they can also see their daily schedules. They might not like it, but theyâll always know whose turn it is to take the garbage out or do the dishes.
In conclusion, the pace of modern life can quickly take its toll on working moms. If you are an over-worked mom, you should take all the help you can get in order to stay on top of everything.
A working momâs life will always be hectic, but you can certainly make it less stressful. It may be time for you to finally take control and let the sunshine in with the cloud.
When Lioness began as a concept in 2011, very few people were talking about female entrepreneurs. In fact, I could probably name on one hand the organizations who were buzzing about them at all. And even then, they were focused on female founders in tech.
There was no media outlet solely dedicated to women launching and scaling startups. Journalism â at that point â was recovering from the 2009 recession where reporters were being laid off left and right. Daily newspapers were thinning, and their print editions were competing with their own online platforms. Starting a media company seemed like a risk.
The hole I discovered in the digital media market was ripe for the taking, and I felt like we had a unique opportunity to build something special. You see, women are the fastest growing population in the small business community. According to the National Women’s Business Council, we open more than 1,288 new businesses per day and last year generated more than $1.6 trillion. However, most mainstream media outlets for entrepreneurs focus on white males.
Our mission is to elevate, educate and support female entrepreneurs. We do that by publishing 12 digital editions per year, including daily news at LionessMagazine.com and by helping women entrepreneurs with their unique needs by offering live and virtual events, personal development and business coaching as well as technical assistance.
So, you’ve found an untapped market. Now what? You still have to validate that it’s a void people want to be filled.
We produced more than 24 prototypes of the magazine between 2011 and early 2014. We kept improving the layout and brand, and each month we honed our articles and related editorial content until we found our voice. It was important to me as a publisher that we utilize standard Associated Press guidelines for our newsroom. We are not a blog, but a media organization and so we strive to deliver excellence. We’ve interviewed and have spoken with nearly 10,000 women entrepreneurs. We also have hosted private customer development interviews so we could have candid conversations with our target audience about their needs and their wants.
How we got started
When we were finally ready, we launched in April 2014. Here are five things that helped me launch my startup and enter the market:
I zeroed in on my customer
Lioness magazine was created to serve women just like me, so that’s where I put my focus. What kind of articles would I want to read? What would inspire me? What are my digital media peers not doing? The sooner I was sure who I was serving, the sooner I could focus on their needs.
I launched the freaking thing
I didn’t sit around and perfect my idea. I wanted to get my product in front of my target market to test it and validate that women even wanted it. When we started scoring quality interviews and gaining readership, we paused and went on a month hiatus, then came back ready to serve.
I got help
Even though I initially launched as a solopreneur, there was no way I could pump out a digital magazine on my own. People have been quite generous to me â offering discounts, giving me extensions to pay invoices and providing guidance when I need it. None would have been possible if I didn’t ask and remain honest about what I needed.
When I knew I had gotten as far as I could within my skillset, I accepted that I needed to bring on a CEO that could drive the vision of Lioness, create an infrastructure and lead us as we transition from startup to a sustainable business. Relinquishing myself from that role allows me to focus on what I do best â being a publisher.
Enter Dawn Leaks. A certified life coach with a master’s degree in communications and an MBA in entrepreneurial thinking and innovative ideas, she had already been working with several women entrepreneurs through her company Woman of Confidence Coaching. Leaks merged our companies under the Lioness banner and cofounded a new Lioness â one that now aims to be the premiere resource for female entrepreneurs.
I wrote out my vision and mission
Putting down the purpose of my startup on paper helped me stay on course when crafting the Lioness brand. Of course, there were pivots we made along the way, but the essence of the company has not changed one iota.
I put myself out there
No one wants to fail, let alone publicly. However, we need to be the face of our brand and get the word out about what we are doing. In the beginning, I was relentless. I emailed universities, entrepreneurs, PR companies, conferences â ANYONE who had contact with my target audience. Out of 100 emails, I would receive 20 responses, sometimes five and other days NONE. The next day, I would get up and send out 100 more.
When it comes to entering your market, you must be two things â persistent and consistent. The road will get bumpy; you’ll make some bad calls and celebrate some amazing wins. Staying the course will put the odds in your favor.