April 8, 2014

Featured Biz Mama: Jill Anderson of Jill Lynn Design

Filed under: Biz Mama — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

Featured Biz Mama: Jill Anderson of Jill Lynn Design

Jill Anderson of Jill Lynn Design is that rare breed of designer and developer who partners with talented designers, copywriters, and agencies on their websites, and their client’s sites. Jill is passionate about crafting beautiful and innovative websites focused on clear positioning and positive user experiences. As a freelancer for over 12 years, she loves typography, code, and WordPress. She lives in the Atlanta suburbs and enjoys hanging out with her husband and 4-year-old son. And cat, Peanut, the chief paperweight. She tweets @JillLynnDesign.

I heard about Jill through a mutual friend and was impressed with her website (great advertising!) so I reached out to her and was pleased to learn she is a fellow mom of a boy.

Jill Anderson of Jill Lynn Design

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

As a freelance web designer/developer, I make websites for creative businesses including graphic designers, copywriters and agencies. My favorite thing to do is to take a design and make it come alive on the web.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

I have a 4 year old son, Quinn.

Did you start your business before or after having children?

I started my freelance design business before having Quinn. My first freelance project was in 2002. For the first 5 years, I ‘moonlighted’ while working a full-time job. In 2007, I made the plunge to full-time freelancing, and Quinn was born in 2009.

How did your business life change after having children?

It has changed tremendously! When I first started freelancing on the side, I worked nights + weekends since I had a full-time job. Yet, even when I transitioned to full-time freelancing, I didn’t really change my ways. I just worked more. I worked between 9-5 pm and nights + weekends because that’s what I was used to. My most productive times were at 10pm.

Then I had Quinn in 2009 and my life completely changed. I, personally, couldn’t keep late night hours. Strangely, I became a morning person. My most productive time is now at 10am.

Describe a typical workday.

After I drop Quinn off at preschool around 9am, I head to my home office where I design and build websites all day and drink coffee non-stop. The day ends around 5:30pm when it’s time to leave and pick up my kiddo. I try not to schedule any client work on Mondays as those are ‘Marketing Mondays’ and the day that I work on my blog, newsletter, social media, and overall content marketing. Plus it helps me get over the Monday Blues (I’m always sad when the weekend is over) and gear up for the week.

What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?

It is okay to ask for help. You don’t have to do it all. My son started going to daycare when he was 6 months old because I am not the kind of person that can do 2 jobs well at the same time. I can’t be a web designer and mommy at the exact same moment and be good at both. I need to be 100% one or the other. And that works perfectly fine for my family.

Jill Lynn Design

Dallas, GA
http://JillLynnDesign.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/JillLynnDesign
Facebook: http://facebook.com/JillLynnDesign

March 24, 2014

Featured Biz Mama: Jennifer Guimond-Quigley

Filed under: Biz Mama — lidia @ 10:00 am

Featured biz mama: Jennifer Guimond-Quigley

Biz Mama columnJennifer Guimond-Quigley is a family law and estate planning/probate attorney located in Chicago’s West Loop. Her law practice is about helping families. Whether she is helping her clients navigate challenging and life-changing situations such as divorce, custody, adoption, or the death of a loved one, or whether she is drafting estate plans for clients so that they can protect their loved ones in the event of their death or disability, she never loses sight of the reason she started her own practice.  Superb client service through constant communication and knowing the importance of listening to and empathizing with her clients is the cornerstone of her business.

Jennifer and I met through a mutual friend (thanks, Lulu!) and found that we both had West Loop offices—and toddlers of the same age.

Jennifer Guimond-Quigley

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

As the owner and sole attorney of a busy law practice, I am responsible for everything from day-to-day case management to administrative functions (ie business development, accounting, clerical tasks, etc…).  I do have some great individuals on my team who assist with some of the administrative tasks; otherwise I don’t think I could do it all.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

I have a 2 ½ year old daughter.

Did you start your business before or after having children? (explain why, if applicable)

I started my business in 2009, two years before my daughter came along. My husband and I waited a couple years after I started my business to have her so that I could focus on building my practice to a sustainable level before her arrival. The timing worked well for us, although I was still answering emails and phone calls during my maternity leave, so I would have liked to have more “uninterrupted” time with her those first couple of months. I ended up going back to work part-time (four days per week) when she was nine weeks old and slowly moved back to full-time by the time she turned one.

How did your business life change after having children?

I definitely got much choosier about any business development events or meetings that took me outside of regular work hours. I also became more of a night owl, finding that sometimes the only uninterrupted block of time to focus was after my little one was in bed.

Describe a typical workday.

 I get to the office by 9am unless I have one or more court appearances, in which case I will usually get to the office around 11:00am.  I catch up on my emails and phone calls and then I will typically have a client meeting or lunch with a colleague or other professional contact. Afternoons are usually spent doing drafting work, meeting with clients, or attending court hearings.  I try to return any emails and phone calls the same day I receive them, so before leaving the office I will catch up on those. After work, I may go to a business networking event or to a Flying Solo meeting (a solo attorney resource group that I started in 2010). Most nights of the week, however, I am home by 6pm to spend time with my husband and daughter and recharge before it all starts again the next day.

What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?

Keep a work-life balance.  This formula is different for everyone, so it’s about finding out what works best for you.  I find that the more stressed and busy I get, the more important it is to force myself to turn off the computer for those few hours after work and on the weekends and be totally present with my husband and daughter.  If I don’t get that time, I am miserable and then I’m no good to anyone!

Law Office of Jennifer Guimond-Quigley

Illinois
www.gqlawoffice.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Law-Office-of-Jennifer-Guimond-Quigley/105151696228824?fref=ts
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=30593837&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile
Avvo: http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/60661-il-jennifer-guimondquigley-1949879.html

March 21, 2014

10-Minute Marketing: write your positioning statement

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 1:59 pm

10-Minute Marketing: write your positioning statementYour positioning statement is a guide for your small business branding and marketing. I refer to mine before doing any type of marketing outreach, ie drafting website copy, writing a blog post, planning a marketing campaign. It should be basic and straightforward, without any industry jargon.

Your positioning statement can be broken down into the following:

  1. Your unique service or product
  2. Who you provide it for

10-Minute Marketing task:

Write your positioning statement

Example:

  • Wharton Business School: The only business school that trains managers who are global, cross-functional, good leaders, and leveraged by technology. (via dummies.com)
  • typebaby: typebaby is a line of baby & kids apparel for urban parents that lets kids share their personality type through typography.

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.

March 14, 2014

10-Minute Marketing: define your brand essence

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — lidia @ 10:00 am

10-Minute Marketing: define your brand essenceYour brand essence is one word that expresses your brand promise, i.e. the emotion and/or experience that you promise to deliver to your customers.

This can be difficult to do from scratch, but determining what your brand IS and what your brand IS NOT can make it easier.

10-Minute Marketing task:

  1. Write down 5 things your brand is
  2. Write down 5 things your brand is not
  3. Distill your brand promise down to one word (your brand essence)

Example:
Walt Disney = magical
Volvo = safety

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.

March 12, 2014

Marketing tip: decide who you will NOT target.

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , — lidia @ 5:07 pm

A key part of marketing is deciding whom you will NOT target.

From Tips & Traps for Marketing Your Business Tips and Traps for Marketing Your Business by Scott Cooper , Fritz Grutzner and Birk Cooper

March 10, 2014

Featured Biz Mama: Alexandra Eidenberg of The Insurance People & Friends of Alexandra

Featured Biz Mama: Alexandra Eidenberg

Biz Mama columnAlexandra Eidenberg is the co-founder and President of The Insurance People and an IL 4th District US Congressional Candidate. She has been a licensed insurance agent for over 8 years and educates people about their options and the market so they can make the best decisions for their families and businesses. Her passion to help others is evident in everything she pursues and the networking community of Chicagoland knows her well for her bubbly personality and giving nature.

Alexandra makes insurance fun, inviting and understandable. Her company, The Insurance People, is contracted to over 120 carriers to serve their clients needs. As a brokerage their commitment is to the client and not any particular carrier. You can be assured your needs are the #1 priority. The Insurance People offers products and services to every day families and businesses that want great insurance at the right price.

Many know Alexandra for her community involvement and work with eWomenNetwork, a professional organization that supports men and women in business. She is on the Board of the Small Business Advocacy Council and is endorsed by Stand Up, eWomenNetwork, Founding Moms and more! Alexandra is passionate about the community and helping others. She is an advocate for her clients, colleagues and friends and works hard to ensure that others succeed and have access to needed resources.

Alexandra and I met through eWomen Network. When I recently saw her at a Founding Moms meeting, she had her twin babies in tow. Now that’s a biz mama who can juggle!

Alexandra Eidenberg

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

I run an insurance practice with two awesome business partners—Carmen and Jorge Londono. We have two locations—one in Chicago and another in Park Ridge. I do everyone’s favorite boring things!  Car, home, business liability, workman’s comp, life, health disability, long term care! You name it, I do all that fun jazz. My personal specialty is health insurance. I love helping people find the best coverage at the right price.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

I have Identical Twin Girls that are 9 months old.

Did you start your business before or after having children?

I started my business before having children. My business is my first baby! Being a business owner has afforded me the opportunity to be a more hands on mom. I am super grateful for it!

How did your business life change after having children?

I work constantly and live life most passionately when working like crazy. I started running for public office while pregnant with the girls.  Working an insurance practice full time, running for US Congress in the IL 4th District and being a mom is fantastic! Our schedule is always full and the girls come first! I often take them along to meetings, networking events and of course along the congressional race they have been with me the whole time—from in the womb dialing to now attending events in our community.

The biggest change since having the girls is that they are the priority and everything else falls in line from there. If clients don’t like it then it is not the right match, if it does not work for the voters then they are not the target constituency—being a mom is #1 and I surround myself with amazing people that support that mission and cause.

Describe a typical workday.

My day starts with a focus on my girls.  I stay at home until 10 am so I can coordinate their wake up, breakfast and getting ready for the day. I get to my office around 10:30 am and kick butt getting as much done for both The Insurance People and my political campaign, Friends of Alexandra.  I coordinate applications, follow up with clients on benefits, claim processing and more, interview with various publications, focus fundraising efforts, check email throughout and of course pump several times to make sure my girls have milk for when I get home around 5 pm.

I cook and feed the girls dinner when I get home.  Mir and Anna love being in the kitchen with me and we have a great time sampling varies vegetarian foods I love making!  By 7 pm they are in the bathtub getting ready for bed and then I repeat this every day Monday through Thursday.  I take Fridays off to be with the girls and work during their noon – 3 pm nap so I do not fall behind on my work.  We all thrive on our routine and love it!

What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?

Get a routine going that works for you! Your kids and spouse will appreciate it and it will create normalcy that you and your business need.  You will likely never get the entire to do list done so focus on the urgent then work down the list to the important. If people do not respect your schedule and how you work then move on to another client that is better for you. Owning your own business is about working with people that see eye to eye with you.  You grow together and thrive together.

More about Alexandra’s campaign for US Congress

I am excited to be the voice of women and small business owners.  My campaign for US Congress has been momentous and thrilling.  Being a mom, wife, small business owner, community activist and leader has given me the strength and joy to take on this level of service for our community. We are looking forward to a big win on March 18th for the Democratic Primary. Please help us win by volunteering, donating and voting!  Women supporting women is the key to us winning. Please vote! Vote to support our rights and help women serve.

Alexandra Eidenberg
The Insurance People, Friends of Alexandra

Chicago IL
www.insuranceppl.com
www.alexandraeidenberg.com
Twitter: @ACEidenberg
Facebook: www.facebook.com/alexandraeidenberg
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alexandraeidenberg/

March 7, 2014

10-Minute Marketing: Write your vision statement

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

10-Minute Marketing: write your vision statement [Biz Mama blog]Your vision statement captures the passion and future plans you have for your business. As this Forbes.com post says, it answers the question: “What’s the best you can be?

It may seem complicated, but you can break it down into the following: who (customers), what (product or service), where (region) and why (your passion/vision).

Why write a vision statement?  It serves as a guide for how your company presents itself in daily business and marketing activities—as well as long-term goals. It’s not just for start-ups; it should evolve as your business grows.

Your 10-Minute Marketing task:

Write your vision statement.

Example – Whole Foods
Our motto—Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet — emphasizes that our vision reaches beyond food retailing [why]. In fact, our deepest purpose as an organization is helping support the health, well-being, and healing [what] of both people [who] — customers, Team Members, and business organizations in general — and the planet [where].

Need inspiration? Google your favorite company + vision statement for ideas.

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.

March 3, 2014

Featured Biz Mama: Tina BarOn of Wild Dill

Filed under: Biz Mama — Tags: , , , , , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

Featured Biz mama: Tina BarOn

Biz Mama columnTina Bar is the founder of IMA Design Imports and the owner of the online boutique www.WildDill.com. IMA Design Imports is a specialty importer and distribution firm for design focused, eco-friendly, baby and children’s products from Israeli designers. Wild Dill is her second business, acquired in 2013 as an e-commerce venture focusing on Organic, Fair and Natural clothing and toys for little ones.

Tina and I met through my business typebaby and found that, besides having the children’s apparel business in common, we also have toddler boys of the same age. She, however, lives in a much warmer and sunnier place (Chicago has had a rough winter).

Tina BarOn of Wild Dill

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

My business is very multi-faceted in that I source products, import, wholesale and do e-commerce sales across my 2 businesses. The hardest part is keeping everything organized and on track.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

I have one little boy, who is now 2 ½.

Did you start your business before or after having children?

As most mompreneurs he was my inspiration to start my own business. We were on a family trip to introduce my son to his family in Israel and I went shopping to see what cute baby gifts I could get abroad. I was blown away by the quality and modern design that I found in baby products and was inspired to import them to the US. I spent the whole trip either online doing research or having my husband drive me around Tel Aviv to track down designers I could meet with and give my pitch. Luckily a few of them were as enthusiastic as I was and some great partnerships resulted from that visit.

How did your business life change after having children?

I now have so much more appreciation for the challenges faced by moms. It is impossible to balance everything but luckily in this space you work 99% of the time with other parents and they are very understanding about middle of the night e-mails and kids in the background on phone calls.

Describe a typical workday.

A typical workday is about 1 hour in the morning before my son gets up reading and responding to e-mails. Then I’m off to my day job and my businesses don’t get attention again until around 9 pm after my son is in bed. If I have wholesale or retail orders to get out it can be a long night of processing orders, or it can be time on the computer for lead generation and outreach to stores.

What is one tip you can share with other Biz Mamas?

Make sure you are always having fun! The pace can be hard and balance is nearly impossible to find but it’s all worth it if you have fun. I treasure and enjoy every milestone I hit whether it is a new customer, great press or a new vendor relationship.

Wild Dill

San Francisco, CA
www.wilddill.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/wild_dill
Facebook: www.facebook.com/wilddill
IMA Design Imports:  www.imadesignimports.com

February 28, 2014

10-Minute Marketing: List your features & benefits

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — lidia @ 10:00 am

10 minute marketing taskYou’ve probably heard the saying: customers buy benefits, not features. However both are important when marketing or promoting your service or product. Customers buy because of the benefit, but their decision is supported by the features.

So, what’s the difference?

  • Features = what your product or service is or does.
  • Benefits = how the customer is impacted by the product or service: how they feel or are affected after using it.

Your 10-Minute Marketing task:

Make a list of your product or service’s features. Use that list to write down the corresponding benefits.

Example:
Feature: Our tees are made of high-quality 100% cotton.
Benefit: Our tees wash well and are long-lasting, saving you the time and money of buying more.

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.

February 19, 2014

Good design is good business.

Filed under: Uncategorized — lidia @ 2:14 pm

Good design is good business.

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