October 30, 2014

My favorite resources for busy moms in business

Filed under: Biz Mama,Small Business — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 3:38 pm

Coworking…with a toddler

For moms running a business, life can be a whirlwind. With all the daily work and family responsibilities, it’s easy to lose touch with friends, not to mention business connections.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to find groups and resources that have helped me learn, get inspired, and make beneficial business connections and friends.

Resources for busy biz mamas

Founding Moms
In-person and online events, including local meetups and the annual Founding Moms Conference.

MomBiz
In-person and online events, including the annual MomBiz Retreat, weekly #Mombizmondays tweet chats and the MomBiz Solutions weekly podcast.

The Mogul Mom
Super informative blog, plus a business resource Market.

Working Mother Magazine
Nice print magazine, plus online resources, the Working Mother Radio podcast and annual conferences.

For Chicago locals*

Neighborhood Parents Network (NPN) has a very active Moms in Business group with in-person events and a Facebook group. Founding Moms has 5 local chapters (find yours here).

There are also several coworking spaces—some even owned by moms—such as Enerspace Coworking (owner Jamie is a past featured Biz Mama), Collide Coworking, and Free Range Office.

*Thanks to my awesome Moms in Business group for helping out with suggestions!

What are your favorite resources for moms in business?

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 17, 2014

Featured Biz Mama: Author Kate Hopper

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

Featured Biz Mama Kate Hopper

Biz Mama columnKate Hopper is the founder of Kate Hopper, LLC and the author of Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood and Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers. Kate holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota and has been the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, two Minnesota State Arts Board Grants, and a Sustainable Arts Grant. Her writing has appeared in a number of journals, including Brevity, The New York Times online and Poets & Writers. She is an editor at Literary Mama. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Minneapolis, MN.

Kate teaches writing online and in person; leads writing retreats for women; provides editorial support and mentoring for writers of all ability levels; and offers writing consultation services.

Kate and I met through a writing workshop in Chicago. She has inspired me to “use my words” and start writing my stories. I highly recommend her book Use Your Words to moms—especially new moms.

Kate Hopper

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

I began working with mother writers in 2006 when I developed a class at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis for women interested in writing about motherhood. My own daughter had been born prematurely a few years earlier, and I remembered the desperation I had felt during those long, isolating months after her birth. I remembered the way I had craved stories that would reflect some of the conflicted emotions I was experiencing as a new mother. And so I launched my class, Motherhood & Words, as a way to offer support, encouragement and guidance to other women wanting to process their motherhood experiences through writing.

I still teach, but now I also offer editorial and mentoring support to writers, primarily women writers. I help them write the stories they need to write. I work alone, so I’m responsible for all marketing, developing relationships with potential clients, developing curriculum, and keeping track of scheduling and bookkeeping. And then I shut my laptop so I can meet my daughters at the bus at 2 p.m.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

I have two daughters. Stella is ten and a half and Zoë is almost 6.

Did you start your business before or after having children?

I had been teaching and doing some editorial work before Stella was born, but her premature birth was the impetus for my classes and retreats geared toward mothers. Helping women write their truths, about motherhood and life, has become my passion.

How did your business life change after having children?

I’ve done a number of different things since becoming a mother. I’ve worked in development and nonprofit communications, and taught on and off. It’s always been a balance to earn enough money and still have quality time with my family. I was able to quit my nonprofit work this fall when Zoë entered kindergarten. Now I work from home and I love being able to focus more of my energy on the work I love.

Describe a typical workday.

The girls and my husband are out the door by about 7:15. I’ve started doing ten minutes of meditation after they leave, then I make my coffee, and turn on the light in my tiny pantry office. Sometimes I write first, before I let myself log on to any social media or email. (That’s ideal.) And then I turn my attention to responding to messages, scheduling, editing, etc. Right now I’m teaching an online class, so I spend quite a bit of time following and responding to the discussion threads and preparing lectures. Ideally, I exercise or take the dog for a walk mid-day, then come home and shower and work a little longer before I have to get the girls at the bus stop. I try to log off in the afternoons, but there are some days that the work isn’t done yet, so if Stella and Zoë are busy with homework or reading, I’ll turn back to my computer.

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

Having the support of my spouse and family is really critical, so I try to communicate openly about my work, and especially if I need extra work time. Then I’ll head out to the coffee shop for a couple of hours on the weekend. But I also think it’s really important to try to compartmentalize your work so it doesn’t spill over into your family time. When I feel myself reaching for my phone to “answer one more email,” I know I need to step back and reprioritize again.

Kate Hopper, LLC

Minneapolis, MN
www.katehopper.com
@MNKateHopper
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KateHopperAuthor
Motherhood and Words Blog: www.motherhoodandwords.com

November 12, 2013

Daycare holiday = Take Your Son to Work Day

Filed under: Mompreneur — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 2:41 pm
My son getting free reign at one my vendor's office!

My son exploring my vendor’s office. His favorite part: big office chairs that spin!

September 18, 2013

How I launched a new business…with a little help from Evernote

Filed under: Small Business,Time Management — Tags: , , , , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

typebaby loves evernote

Earlier this year, I launched typebaby, a line of typographic baby & kids apparel. Starting a new business (with an existing business and a 1-year old, no less) is no easy task, but using the productivity app Evernote made it much easier.

I was already using Evernote in my graphic design business to keep track of projects, design inspiration, small business and marketing resources, and small business events (the new Evernote reminders feature is perfect for this). I also found Evernote helpful when I was searching for office space. I used it to track leasing agents and spaces I’d visited (adding photos to notes made it easy to remember places I visited).

But when I started typebaby, my usage of Evernote grew tenfold. Being a mom in addition to a small business owner, I do a lot of work during off-hours, so being able to add to and update my Evernote Notebooks and Notes from multiple devices (Mac, iPad, phone) turned out to be a lifesaver.

How did I do it?

I started out by creating Notebooks for categories relating to my new business, such as sales, marketing & PR, manufacturing, new product development, packaging, and social media. Then I started filing notes, documents and spreadsheets, articles clipped from the web, and photos.

Here are some specific ways I use Evernote.

Research and reference

Because this was my first foray into product development, I did a lot of research before I launched and saved useful articles and posts in Evernote.

Spreadsheets

Having a product business, I maintain a lot of spreadsheets with information regarding inventory, sales, retail customers, blogger outreach and public relations, so being able to save and view Excel files in Evernote is a great perk.

Inventory tracking

Inevitably, I get requests from retail stores in the evening when I’m away from my office, so having copies of my inventory spreadsheets in Evernote is very useful.

Manufacturing details

I keep track of manufacturing details, such as vendors, online catalogs, invoices, and cost analysis.

Social media marketing

typebaby is very active on social media, so I keep a copy of my social media marketing plan in Evernote for easy reference. I add notes for potential blog posts or other social media engagement ideas.

Trade shows & events

I create Notebooks for trunk shows or special events that I’m participating in to keep track of correspondence and details. I also create a list of monthly tasks (with reminders) to make sure I’m on track.

New product development

Being a creative person, I’m always coming up with new ideas. Now, instead of scribbling them onto sticky notes, I file my new product ideas in Evernote and refine or develop them in a more focused way.

In short, Evernote can make launching and running a new business much easier—especially if you’re a busy Biz Mama like me.

New to Evernote?

Check out these useful webinars from Evernote. I also find the best way to learn about Evernote is to learn from other users, so feel free to reach out to me with your questions.

Editor’s note: I was not paid by Evernote to write this. I truly love and appreciate this app. But if you use my referral link to sign up for a free or paid plan, I will get a little bonus. Woohoo!

Stay tuned to the blog this week for a book review of another resource that helped me launch typebaby…

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September 6, 2013

A day in the life of a mom in business

Filed under: Biz Mama,Time Management — Tags: , , , , , , , — lidia @ 2:10 pm
My assistant, overseeing the office

My assistant, overseeing the office

A day in the life of a small business owner can be unpredictable. Throw a baby into the mix and…anything goes. It’s definitely not your typical 9-to-5 routine.

For me, some days are jam-packed with nothing else but client and in-house project work—while others involve early daycare pickups and pediatrician appointments (or if I’m lucky, playing hooky at a playdate!) Some evenings are spent playing catch-up on work after Little One is in bed or reading business magazines or articles. Fellow biz mamas, can you relate?

Here’s a snippet of one of my recent days:

7:30 am: Breakfast and morning routine

8:30 am: Drop off Little One at daycare

9 am: Check email, check to-do list for daily priorities

10 am: Impromptu meeting with client to discuss branding and packaging design project

12 pm: Lunch and errands (deposit checks, mail invoices)

1:30 pm: Work on client and typebaby projects

5:30 pm: Pick-up Little One at daycare

6–9 pm: Home stuff

9 pm: Work catch-up, scan social media and reading list for content to read and share

Moms in business: what’s a typical day like for you?

September 4, 2013

Featured Biz Mamas: Lindsay Kavet & Jessica Cribbs of Expressing Motherhood

Featured Biz Mamas: Jessica Cribbs & Lindsay Kavet of Expressing Motherhood

Left to right: Jessica & Lindsay with Maria Shriver after their Today Show interview. Opening night of their show in Burbank, CA (dresses provided by Unique Vintage)

Biz Mama columnThis week’s featured Biz Mama(s) are former Midwestern girls, Lindsay Kavet & Jessica Cribbs of Expressing Motherhood. Currently residing in Southern California, these two stay-at-home moms (using the term loosely) manage to each raise 3 kids apiece and put on a popular stage show.

In 2008, stay-at-home moms Lindsay and Jessica conceived the idea for Expressing Motherhood after leaving their full time jobs outside the home to work full time inside the home. Expressing Motherhood is the hit, on-going stage show that has been showcasing people with stories of motherhood onstage ever since. It was the first stage show of its kind to offer a platform for these stories with no acting, writing or speaking background, the space to just get up and share their experience regarding motherhood.

Lindsay Kavet is the Co-Creator/Director & Producer of the show. She also launched FixTheToaster.wordpress.com last summer, a site dedicated to bringing discussion to making our roads safer. Jessica Cribbs is Co-creator and Producer. When she’s not driving carpool or separating fights, she’s blogging about her favorite family-friendly town in SoCal at BurbankMom.com.

Lindsay Kavet & Jessica Cribbs of Expressing Motherhood

Tell us a little about your job responsibilities with the Expressing Motherhood show.

Lindsay and I started the show together and it’s actually been really cool to see how we’ve morphed into the roles we have now. Lindsay is the one who casts and directs the shows and works with the performers on the editing of their pieces, if necessary. We know what works with these shows, and that’s normally no more than 5-7 minutes per performer. Sometimes it takes a lot of work to get amazing stories down to that amount of time…but Lindsay does it very well, without compromising the integrity of the story.

Lindsay and I share a lot of the producing responsibilities on the shows, meaning, the booking of the theatre, networking, social media, blogging, events and such.. And I’ll create our programs and graphics for promotion and such.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

Lindsay: 7-year old boy, 3-year old boy and 2-year old girl
Jessica: 8-year old girl, 6-year old boy and 3-year old girl

How does having children affect your working life, in particular, when producing an on-going stage show?

I can truly only speak for myself on this, but I will tell you that Lindsay and I are both committed to our families and raising our children takes a priority over our show production. There have been times when we’ve both agreed that a show at that time or this time wouldn’t be beneficial to either of us…so we set our show schedules to our family schedules.

Producing a show does affect my life as a mother…I know that I, personally, struggle with the mom-guilt of a preoccupied mind. I would say that having children doesn’t really affect my working life so much…but the working life I want affects my life with my children. And I suppose that’s where my guilt comes in! I do think, though, it’s important for my kids to watch me do things that make me happy.

Describe a typical day when you have a show in production.

(Laughing) We love show days! Typically we’ve had our nails done…for the first time in a long time…and maybe even hair…a new dress or shoes…. Most of our producing work has been done at that moment, so it’s just a matter of showing up to the theatre and putting on a show! Lindsay and I thoroughly have a fantastic time on show days. We are both stay at home mothers, so when opening night comes, we know we’re in for a treat…a little creative break does a mother good. There is work to do on a performance day, sometimes there are sponsors to work with or more programs to order/pick up… we make sure our performers have what they need for a great show, etc. When we take that final bow, the satisfaction that comes with it is just amazing.

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

A tip, eh….. Well, from me personally, I suppose my ‘tip’ would come directly from my mother. Before she passed away, she said she wanted one thing for us…’Be Happy. Be A Family…that’s it.” Really, what that means to me is make sure your priorities are in order. The rest will fall into place.

Final thoughts?

Lindsay and I are both Midwestern Gals…we LOVE this part of the country and cannot wait to visit family, friends and just put on an amazing, poignant, entertaining show. We’re looking forward to tasting the best of Chicago…maybe catching a show somewhere in Town and enjoying a Girls “Extended” weekend!

See Expressing Motherhood in Chicago!

Expressing Motherhood will be at Stage 773 in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood from September 19–21. Buy tickets here. I’ll be there! Will you?

Expressing Motherhood

Los Angeles, CA
www.ExpressingMotherhood.com
Twitter: @ExMoShow
Facebook: ExpressingMotherhood
#ExpressingMotherhood

September 3, 2013

What can you learn about small business from a toddler?

Filed under: Biz Mama — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 5:14 pm

All I Really Need To Know In Small Business, I Learned From My Toddler

Last year, I wrote a blog post about what my infant son taught me about small business. Now that he’s an active 2-year old, I decided to write a follow-up.

Head over to the Founding Moms blog to read All I Really Need To Know In Small Business, I Learned From My Toddler.

Founding Moms is one of the Top 10 Websites for Woman Entrepreneurs in 2013!

Leave your comments! What has your baby or child taught you about running a small business?

August 21, 2013

Featured Biz Mama: Leasa Navarro of kickSprout

Filed under: Biz Mama,Local (Chicago) — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

Biz Mama: Leasa Navarro of kickSprout

Biz Mama columnkickSprout is a social community connecting women experiencing pregnancy and motherhood face-to-face in local cities to help navigate the world of parenting. They empower moms to organize local groups, events and workshops to connect families to learn from one another as well as through local experts on topics that are vital to raising a strong family. kickSprout is the place to experience the transition to motherhood & family life together.

Leasa Navarro is co-Founder of kickSprout, managing business development, brand partnerships and daily operations. Prior to kickSprout, Leasa served as an Interior Designer in Chicago. Leasa is a busy mom of 2 and currently lives in Chicago with her husband and two children, 3-1/2 years old and 13 months.

I met Leasa after attending a kickSprout event in Chicago when my son was just a few months old. I loved the kickSprout concept and community and am excited to see the organization grow!

Leasa Navarro of kickSprout

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

We are a small startup so I am pretty much involved with all aspect of kickSprout. I focus mostly on business development and brand partnerships as well day to day operations. I am also very involved in member support and relationships. I attend as many events and outings I can because one of my favorite parts of being involved with kickSprout is meeting and connecting all the amazing Moms and Moms-To-Be. kickSprout is a social community and we believe that creating a supportive community for moms will create a flourishing community and a better world. We’ll be parents until the day we die and will always have something to learn and give back. kickSprout is not about us, but about the parents and people we want to help and support.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

Daughter 3-1/2 and a son 13 months.

Did you start your business before or after having children?

We started kickSprout when our daughter was around 8 months old and really started because of our own need as first time parents. The moment we brought our daughter home from the hospital (after 4 days in the NICU) and the role of mom and dad sunk in; we quickly realized that this parenting thing amidst all the advice, was going to be much different from what we had expected.

We were the first of our friends to launch into the world of parenting and we were completely lost. We were truly looking for was a community to connect face to face with other parents as well as access to experts to ask our burning questions. We yearned for a community of parents to reassure one another that we were not all going crazy. We wanted to hear, “Don’t worry, we’ve been there before.”

How did your business life change after having children?

As I mentioned we started kickSprout in response to our new life as parents. It is definitely busy trying to balance and juggle everything on your plate running a business and taking care of the family. Even more so with two. I feel am very fortunate though that I am able to be home to watch my kids grow up as well as work on a company that is all about them and helping to make me a better Mom!

Describe a typical workday.

Typical, ha I don’t think I have one of those!! I have a sitter that stays with the kids 2 days a week so on those days I would say I have a more “typical” work day. On the other 5 days of the week I try to squeeze in work and work around family time, nap time, dinner time and doing a lot of work in the evenings. Being organized is key. I wish I could say I was a super organized person but it is still something I work on day to day.

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

Guy Kawasaki said his 2 kids are the ultimate Startups and that is something that has stuck with me. There are a lot of similarities in becoming a parent and starting a business, you work a lot for at times little outward reward but both experiences are things I wouldn’t change for the world. It is hard to figure out a balance at times but I know my family is “my” ultimate Startup so as long as they are happy and healthy I have succeeded.

kickSprout

Chicago, IL
www.kicksprout.com
Twitter: @kicksprout
Facebook: kicksprout
Click here to find a kickSprout group in your city

Let’s help kickSprout grow!

kicksprout indiegogo campaignkickSprout has launched an Indiegogo campaign to help them add chapters to new cities. As a mom, I know how important it is to have parent resources and a support system, especially in those early days.

Click here to watch the video and donate to this great cause!

Campaign runs through Sept. 1, 2013

August 7, 2013

Biz Mama: Candace Thomas of Luxe…With Kids

Filed under: Biz Mama — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 11:46 am

Biz mama: Candace Thomas of Luxe...With Kids

Candace, the voice behind Luxe…with Kids, is a stay at home mom to two little boys, Bennett and Graham. Originally from the Chicago area, Candace’s family has been on a whirlwind tour of the U.S. the last few years, spending time in St. Louis, San Francisco, and has now landed in Houston. Candace loves going on adventures big and small with her family, listening to music, exercising, and all things pop culture.

On Luxe…with Kids, you’ll find tons of advice and first hand experience on how to live well with your children, including reviews and recommendations on their favorite products, hotels, restaurants, and services. Their philosophy is that you can live the ‘good life’ with your kids in tow, you just have to find the right places, brands, and products to help you do so.

Candace and I met in an Italian class and worked together on marketing projects for several years. We now share stories of being working moms and raising boys.

Candace Thomas of Luxe…With Kids

Tell us a little about your business/job responsibilities.

I write the content on the website Luxe…with Kids and the accompanying twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook pages.

What are the ages/genders of your children?

I have two boys, Graham is 2, and Bennett is 4.

Did you start your business before or after having children?

After—in fact, being a mom inspired my business!

How did your business life change after having children?

Prior to having children I worked in marketing at an agency. It was a high energy and creative environment and I loved going to work every day. A year after my first son was born, I decided to become a full time stay home mom. Although I no longer sit in conference rooms or make pitches to clients, my daily life is still high energy and creative, and without a doubt I love going to “work” everyday!

Describe a typical workday.

I am a stay at home mom first, so I try my best to maximize nap time and spend the evening after the boys are in bed to write. Ideas come to me all the time, so it’s important for me to jot them down and come back to them when I have time later.

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

Connect with other mamas! Other working moms know the unique challenge—and the unique voice—that you bring to the world.

Luxe…With Kids

Houston, TX
www.luxewithkids.com
twitter: @luxewithkids
Facebook: luxewithkids
Pinterest: luxewithkids

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