MIH 051:How to treat your business like a garden

MIH 051:How to treat your business like a garden

Listen to “MIH 051:How to treat your business like a garden” on Spreaker.
I’ve learned that owning and operating a business is very much like gardening. There are moments you put in a lot of work only to have to step back and allow it to grow. Other times we have to be more hands-on, give out garden a few sprinkles of water and be more attentive to its needs. In order to grow a business that thrives we should think of nourishing a business the way we might a garden.

How to treat your business like a garden

On this podcast I’m sharing some ways we can do just that! Here is the basic outline:

  1. Start with a seed.
  2. Plant the seed in good soil.
  3. Water it.
  4. Give it sunshine
  5. Watch it grow!

Listen in to hear my thoughts this week. I’d love to hear yours, too…just comment below and I’ll be sure to respond.

MIH 050:How I Balance Being a Homeschool Mompreneur

MIH 050:How I Balance Being a Homeschool Mompreneur

Listen to “MIH 050:How I Balance Being a Homeschool Mompreneur” on Spreaker.
I’m a homeschool mompreneur, and I know that there are a few of you others out there as well who are trying, like me, to balance both of these unique lifestyles. And if homeschooling isn’t your thing but you’re raising kids while working your business, then this podcast is still for you…so stay tuned!

Okay, mompreneurs out there- I know by the title of this post you’re thinking, “But is balance really possible?” Like you, I am skeptical of the promise of complete balance and freedom and bliss in my daily schedule. It just won’t happen.

Homeschool Mompreneur Life Balance

I firmly believe, however, that balance doesn’t just happen but it is achieved through hard work and perseverance (and even then it’s not a complete “balance”). Balance happens for every mompreneur in the way that suits her best for each particular season of her life. And it’s different all the time.

At this season of my life I am homeschooling my kids…and…I’m working flexibly around our daily school schedules. On this podcast I will be sharing what’s been working for me (or not) and how I’ve managed over the years to merge two very alternative lifestyles and adapt them to meet my unique family needs. I’ve also got a video to share from my homeschool YouTube channel over at MomZest. Most of what you’ll hear in this podcast will reiterate what I’ve mentioned in the video, but I share a few extra tips in the podcast that you might find helpful if you are balancing these two unique lifestyles.

Watch the video

You might be thinking: “But I don’t homeschool” or “I don’t have kids at home, but I’m a mompreneur who still needs help with life balance. Will this podcast be helpful for me?”

Although I’m gearing up this particular episode with tips I’ve learned along the way as a homeschooling mom in particular, I do believe that no matter your kids’ education status is, you can still very much benefit from this episode…so don’t tune out.

How I balance being a homeschool mompreneur

Prepare for the ride.

I’ll be honest with you, if you are planning to become a homeschool mompreneur, getting ready for the ride ahead of you will be the biggest challenge.  Mindset is always the #1 deterrent from success. Being mentally prepared for the task ahead and not cheating yourself out of the truth will take you a long way. You will need to own up to the fact that the ride ahead of you will have some bumps and challenges. It won’t be smooth sailing and there will be days that you may feel like giving up. But in order to succeed, you’ll need to keep going.

Prepare for the ride ahead of you by getting some support systems in place. Find groups of like-minded moms who are following the same path as you, who have also decided to become a homeschool mompreneur. Join entrepreneur meetups and groups in your area. Join groups online.  But whatever you do, get with somebody else who is walking the same path as you because you’ll need that support for your journey.

Here are a few more tips to help you find homeschool mompreneur life balance:

Embrace efficiency.

Juggling a homeschool lifestyle with work is not altogether impossible. In fact, it’s quite doable. Here’s an example of another mompreneur besides myself who is doing it.  In my family, I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade along the years that work for us quite beautifully, but it all started with trial and error. One of the biggest lessons I learned in the beginning is that if an event, a task, a new routine or schedule isn’t efficient for the family, we won’t choose it. If it takes too much time or energy or doesn’t  give our family the room to practice solace and simplicity when we need it, we won’t do it.

For many of you listening, that may mean finding schools for your kids closer to your home so you reduce travel time. It likely means arranging your work hours to fit around your kids’ school schedules so that you’re available for drop off and pick up. For a homeschool mom like myself that could mean choosing curriculum that doesn’t require a ton of parent teacher prep, choosing school hours that fit around my work routine, and changing my wake/sleep cycle to allow for more time in the mornings and evenings to accomplish my business work so that I still have the space to homeschool.

Efficiency means streamlining my family lifestyle in a way that allows for increased productivity with the least amount of stress for everyone in involved.  That’s a huge undertaking and it’s not a perfect process, but I find that when I set my mind to it, I can place my plans into motion and watch the efficiency begin happening.

Keep a loose, yet solid routine.

Playing off the idea of efficiency, is the concept of scheduling. Time management is a major topic in the business industry because everyone in business has to learn how to make good use of their time. What I’ve learned as a homeschool mom is that I have to keep our family schedule loose enough to allow for flexible situations that may come up: like education field trips, weekly coops and group classes. But I also have to make sure our routine is solid enough so that, although our days don’t look alike from one day to the next, we at least have some idea of what a daily school routine looks like. I also have an idea of what my routine looks like for keeping up my home (meal prep and cooking, cleaning days, laundry) and what routines I have in place for work.

Stay organized.

As a homeschool mompreneur, keeping organized is crucial. I keep physical notebooks as well as Google docs and Google calendar. At the beginning of each week I like to set expectations for the week, what I wish to accomplish.

If you stay organized best with physical notebooks, digital notebooks, post it notes, checklists, or one of those fancy planners, do whatever works best for you. The main things to organize are your physical space and your time. If I can ensure that I spend quality time with each child throughout the week, and time with my husband as well, I’m a happy camper. I love family game nights, and dinner at the table together. That doesn’t happen all the time but when it does at any point during the week, it makes me pretty happy. Our time together as a family is even more important to me than the time I spend on business. However, if I want to succeed in business I have to make sure that I spend adequate amounts of time moving forward on my plans and not getting stuck in a rut, which can happen so often with distractions.

For this reason, I hole myself up in an office or coffee shop during my business hours with a no-disturb sign if I’m at home so that I actually can get some work done. It’s just one of those things I have to do personally to make sure my family is on the same page with me and everyone understands I am working and that just because I’m in the room next door doesn’t mean I’m available to make a sandwich. Also, my kids are thankfully of the age now where they are making their own snacks and pretty much keeping the house running for me while I’m working.  They know that when I’m done working, we can spend time together and they’ll get 100% of me at that time.

Keeping organized with my time is the only way for me to maintain family balance and still keep my business rolling!


I hope that these tips have been helpful to you if you are in the same boat as I am. Being a homeschool mompreneur isn’t easy but it is definitely doable. Let me know if I can help you in any way such as with branding your business or designing your new logo and website.

 

 

 

MIH 049: When Should I Rebrand?

MIH 049: When Should I Rebrand?

Listen to “MIH048: When Should I Rebrand?” on Spreaker.
First off, let me start by saying that I have experienced a myriad of phases of “the company rebrand” over the years.  In other words, I’ve reinvented myself and my offerings over and over and over again. How did I know when it was time to rebrand? Do you ever ask yourself: “When should I rebrand?”

Should I Rebrand My Business? - a podcast for mompreneurs, helping you to figure out when to rebrand

As a solopreneur and mompreneur, my reasoning for rebranding has mostly hinged on my own needs to re-express myself, my goals, and mission for my blog and business. There were also moments that I just felt plain bored of the same old thing and wanted to shake things up a bit. Said simply, I like to redesign my business every so often, giving it a fresh coat of paint and brand new life from the inside out.

I can’t honestly say that I’ve always had legitimately solid reasons to rebrand.  It’s just what I said above: it’s all personal preference for me.

How about you? Should you rebrand your company?  There are a few reasons you might find rebranding a beneficial thing for you. Let’s dig into some reasons why you might want to rebrand…or not.

When Should I Rebrand?

Your business has changed names

Name changes obviously require a rebrand with a logo change being one of the first things to get shifted. With a logo redesign comes the opportunity to change your business colors and other graphic elements and marks that will make a difference for the new representation of your company.

I recently changed my logo from:

to:

I wanted to give my logo an updated look: a fresh coat of digital paint, an updated heel, and different typography to express my sentiments for Mompreneurs in Heels even better. In doing so, I also ended up freshening up my website and changing out my social media as well. I created a brand board with colors that express the mood I want to convey through Mompreneurs in Heels, which was really exciting.

Can you tell I love design?

So…back to reasons you should rebrand…

Your vision has changed.

To answer the question, “When should I rebrand?”: in the case that your brand no longer reflects your vision, it’s time to rebrand. Maybe the name doesn’t match your new geographical region. Perhaps you’ve changed gears and want to do something completely different than what you started off doing. Maybe your passion for designing logos has waned and you want to now begin a new journey of life coaching.

It’s okay to switch gears, to rediscover your interests, and to rebrand your business, your self entirely.

Check out Should I Change My Blog Topic? (episode 034)

You’re not attracting the right clients.

You might find that you’re attracting a certain type of client…but not your type. You know who your ideal customer is and hopefully you have created a customer avatar and have begun to pursue this type of clientele. If the wrong people are showing up at your virtual doorstep you’ll need to ask yourself if perhaps you’re presenting your company in a bad light.

What does your ideal customer see when they land on your website? Do they feel attracted to what you offer right away or do they have questions about your credibility because your brand doesn’t reflect what you are trying to project?

So, again, if the question: “When should I rebrand?” is on your radar, then ask yourself these questions to see if it’s time to rebrand, my friend!

That’s all for today’s episode. If you enjoyed it, don’t forget to sub!

 

MIH 048:Interview with Urbana Chappa

MIH 048:Interview with Urbana Chappa

Listen to “MIH 048:Interview with Urbana Chappa” on Spreaker.

On this week’s podcast, I enjoyed speaking with mompreneur, Urbana Chappa.

Interview with Urbana Chappa at Mompreneurs In Heels Podcast

Urbana is  fashion designer and celebrity stylist. She began her company Maison de Mini, which is an eco-friendly children’s fashion line which focuses on creating from bamboo, soy, and hemp. Her husband is a songwriter for Bruno Mars and has written many songs such as “Just The Way You Are”. They have four adorable children together and she is an advocate for childhood cancer awareness and giving back to many children causes.

Urbana is raw, real, and authentic. On today’s podcast she gives an unhindered transparency of her experience with postpartum depression and how she overcame it through finding her passion in the fashion world. We also talk about the realities of balancing life as a mom in business and what it means to take care of and make yourself a priority.

What we talked about:

  • What lead her into the world of fashion design and styling
  • Her struggles with postpartum depression and how she managed and overcame it
  • Where she got inspiration for her designs
  • How she developed her different clothing lines
  • Some of her favorite style clients   (Diane Warren, her husband songwriter to Bruno Mars Natasha Henstridge from Species)
  • Her biggest passion in life and how her fashion lines reflect her life mission
  • How having a family affected her career on a day to day basis and how she balances motherhood with running her company
  • Urbana’s words of advice for mompreneurs out there wanting to live their dreams, but who also really care deeply for family and being a great mom

Encouragement Takeaways

As women we should…

Be comfortable in our skin!

Embrace ourselves!

It’s all about being okay with who we are in each season of our lives.

How to reach Urbana Chappa

Maison De Mini

UrbanaChappa.com

Website Design Special
Holiday Web Design Special for Mompreneurs

 

MIH 047:What Makes a Perfect Blog Design?

MIH 047:What Makes a Perfect Blog Design?

Listen to “MIH 047:What Makes a Perfect Blog Design?” on Spreaker.

What is a perfect blog design?

Calling a blog design “perfect” is a far stretch, I know. Perfection is a relative as beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. But on today’s blog post and podcast I want to discuss a few elements- namely 12- of what I believe a perfect blog design will entail.  There can be more or less, mind you, but these are 12 elements that I believe will round out the development of your blog and make it as user friendly as possible.

Elements of a Perfect Blog Design

Simple color scheme

I believe a simple scheme for your blog is optimal. The amount of colors you can have in your color palette are completely up to you, but I usually shoot for no more than 4 or 5.  You want to have a few mainstay colors that are consistent with your brand, and just keep it simple.

If a turquoise blue isn’t found anywhere in your color palette for your site and logo branding, it’s probably best not to awkwardly throw in this color on your social media accounts.  It just throws people off, and they wonder if it’s the same brand they’re seeing on Facebook versus Twitter.  Keep things consistent with colors and simplicity in your branding.

Simple navigation

There is nothing quite like the confusion that happens when visitors can’t find anything on your site. Usually this is a result of having too much in your main navigation. We want to avoid information overload as much as possible and give our readers a great place to start finding our content. Make the navigation easy to navigate by reducing your blog into just a few distinct topics and placing those topics in your main menu.

Organization

A nicely organized website makes all the difference for your site visitors.  Think about the flow of your traffic as a reader lands on your blog.  Is it easy for them to navigate your site?

If your navigation menu is cluttered, try simplifying it.

Your bio

In a perfect blog design world, your viewers will want to get to know you better.  It’s always a great idea to include a “who am I” section. Your bio tells your audience a bit about yourself and a lot about your mission all in one compacted paragraph.

Your bio shouldn’t be extremely long as it usually goes in your site sidebar with your headshot. Having a bio in your sidebar as well as a bio page gives your readers a chance to get to know you and become familiar with your mission. Plus, it’s always nice to way connect a friendly face to a blog.

Social sharing buttons

You want your readers to share your content. Word of mouth is the best way to spread the news of your offerings. One of the best ways to do that is by using social sharing buttons. Many of these are free plugins. Just do a quick search for free social sharing buttons and pick from a variety of styles.  I’m currently using WP Social Sharing.

Yoast SEO

Probably the only reason I’m able to write quality posts that fly through the Google “good post” detector is completely due to Yoast SEO.  This plugin has helped to guide me through making sure my keywords are in my metatags and throughout my post and title as many times as needed to have a quality SEO-rich post. For SEO help when creating blog posts I highly recommend this plugin.

Beautiful images

It’s no mystery that blog readers love great images. Readers want to not only read but see pictures sprinkled throughout the post. It helps to break up the lines and paragraphs to make reading easier. Additionally, images are paramount for Pinterest users. If you want to bring a nice dose of traffic to your website with an image only, you’ll need to begin creating catchy images for your blog which you also pin on Pinterest.  It’s a nice deal!

Content then sidebar on right

I love sidebars for so many things. I place my bio there, a search bar, affiliates and sponsor information, and sometimes it’s a great place to add popular posts.

I find that when I place my content first and sidebar on the left of my content, readers find my content easier to surf through.  The eyes automatically land on the content without distraction. Here’s a post I wrote a few years back on creating content your readers will love.

Header and logo

Every great blog should have a nice logo and header. Branding is very important, and as I’ve learned over the years, it’s not enough to throw up an image and call it a day. Taking the time to craft a catchy logo that speaks volumes of what you offer will make a huge difference.

Be sure to hire someone who understands your brand because your logo or header will practically follow you everywhere!

Related posts

I like plugins that allow your readers to view related posts. This gives readers a chance to NOT hop away from your blog so quickly. Once they reach the bottom of one post they’re more likely to click through and read more of your related posts served up through the one of the many “related posts” plugins.

Sidebar opt-in

Check with your mailing list provider for the newsletter signup script and be sure to place one in your sidebar as well as other places throughout your blog.  Having a sidebar opt-in that’s always visible no matter which page your reader is on might make a difference in a new signup…or not.

Search box

I always love giving my viewers a chance to search for something on my site. You might be surprised at the types of content your readers want to look for on your blog, so providing them a way to search for a blog post you’ve written is a service you want to offer. It’s free and very easy to add. I usually add mine to the sidebar.

That’s all for this podcast. I hope you enjoyed it.

Be sure to subscribe in Itunes for additional episodes.

 

MIH 046:5 Ways to Set Yourself Up as an Expert

MIH 046:5 Ways to Set Yourself Up as an Expert

Listen to “046:5 Ways to Set Yourself Up as an Expert” on Spreaker.

Are you an expert? If not, what’s stopping you?

Setting yourself up as an expert online isn’t rocket science, but I admit it takes some leg work.  Running an online business might seem pretty intimidating if you’re unsure of your digital marketing strategy– or how you plan to get known online.  It’s one thing to own a website, another thing to keep it updated, and an entirely different program to use your blog as a platform to display your expertise.

Mompreneurs: How to set yourself up as an expert online.

So, what’s stopping you from  setting up yourself as an expert? 

Is it fear of the unknown?  Lack of information on how to go about doing it exactly? Fear that maybe you’re not actually an expert?

Let me calm your fears a bit- you don’t have to do much to be an expert. You just need to know yourself.  Know your business. Know what you bring to the table.  And most of all, be confident in your field and in your expertise.

If you’ve done any of the initial groundwork and the laid the foundation for your business it won’t be so difficult to know what your expertise is.  This groundwork includes discovering your passions, setting up your online presence, developing your pricing model, discovering your customer avatar, and maintaining relationships with your tribe. You can find out more in my book.

The first step is to acknowledge that you are, indeed, an expert. Then you’ll be ready for the following steps.

1. Crank out awesome content!

Developing an online presence that matters means cranking out awesome content, and on a regular basis. I shared about batch scheduling a few months ago, and it’s one way I manage to keep content rolling at my three blogs.

You’ll need to do a bit of research and find out what your audience likes. You want to give them the kind of content they’re looking for, so keep their questions answered and keep them happy and looking for more from you.

There are more ways than one to deliver content (as you’ll see in my following points), but blogging is definitely a great way to start building your expertise online.

There are a few steps to creating a great blog post and it’s necessary to make sure you follow a decent format so that your audience knows what to expect when they read your blog. After a while, once you start getting pretty comfortable with blogging, you might even feel confident enough to reach out to sponsors for support and partnerships which can definitely further your brand a do a lot for your business!

2. Give your audience good visuals.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to maintain consistency with branding and to create visuals that flow well with your brand. I haven’t always done this and I’m guilty of brand conflict. What do I mean by this?

Well, typically it’s a good idea to have your social media profiles all match with your business brand being the same throughout. I haven’t always stayed on top of this in my own social media profiles and just so you know, it is confusing to viewers who come to my Twitter page and see an entirely different logo than the one they see on Facebook.  So, I’ve gone through a cleaning spree this year to ensure that I get a lot of this brand mix-matching cleaned up.

Another important thing about visuals to note is that when you are blogging you have an important opportunity to capture an audience of image lovers- right there on Pinterest! So, including a Pinterest-friendly image with each post you write is going to be of paramount importance if you plan to incorporate Pinterest into your digital media strategy.  By Pinterest-friendly, I just mean images that are the best size for Pinterest so that they are more likely to be re-pinned and give you that extra boost of traffic to your blog.

I can affirm that Pinterest works for traffic-building and good visuals make the difference.

Your images definitely connect your audience to your brand and help them to connect to you as an expert in your field.

3. Consider public speaking, podcasting, or both!

Public speaking in front of a live audience isn’t my thing, but it might be yours- in which case, you should start booking some speaking engagements! This is probably one of the best ways to establish your expertise.  You’ll have an audience at your fingertips who want to hear from you and they are eager to hear your words.  This makes you an expert.

Since I don’t currently do live speaking, I decided that my best ways to connect with an audience on a more personal level was through podcasting and vlogging.  These two forms of public speaking behind a camera and a microphone have been my way of connecting to moms and entrepreneurs for the past 10 years and it has worked for me. My kids were young and I couldn’t get out and travel so I made the decision to build my business from my laptop.

I LOVE podcasting and vlogging because it’s a significant way to connect to my audience, hear from them, and establish relationships with them (some of whom I enjoy phone chats with or get to see in real life).

4. Take advantage of social media.

I get it- social media takes time. But if you can, carve out a little time to batch schedule your social media posts, using nifty tools like Post Planner or Meet Edgar.

With Post Planner I’m able to plan out weeks in advance of Facebook posts and tweets. I use Tailwind for Pinterest sharing also and that has been major for me in driving traffic to my site from Pinterest.

Other social media platforms that have been proven beneficial to me are YouTube (mainly for my homeschool platform) and I use Google Plus for SEO benefits only.

The key is to find the social media platforms that work for you and work them.  I don’t especially like Twitter much, so I don’t use Twitter often. I only use what I love and what works for me.

Using social media will help to draw your tribe and help you establish your expertise across many platforms.

5. Leverage the power of search engine optimization.

Last, but not least, is the power of SEO. You don’t have to do it every time you write a blog post (although it’s optimal) but if you have strong search engine optimization habits you’ll land your blog in a better position of getting noticed in Google.

Remember your titles and header tags and to include pertinent keywords in each. Add your keywords in your blog post description and in your images as well. If you need a little help figuring this out, simply installing the Yoast SEO plugin can help you navigate through these steps.

You have an awesome piece of content- so why not ensure Google finds your blog post one of the relevant ones on the topic and rank your site high for it? Just doing a little extra prep work in advance and learning how to use your keywords effectively throughout your blog posts can be extra helpful and go a long way in helping you establish your expertise online.

That’s it guys! I loved sharing this podcast (and blog post) with you and hope that this episode helps you to see yourself as an expert in your field.

Leave comments below if you’d like to add to this conversation! I always like hearing from my listeners 🙂