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Making Time for Play as a Working Mother by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

Making Time for Play

Making Time for Play

As a working mother I never feel like I have enough time to just play with my kids.  There always seems to be another deadline to meet, calls to make, and a pile of work on my desk that needs my immediate attention.

 

My two sons, ages 6 and 3, are very active and would love to have my undivided attention.  However, duty calls and work must be done if the mortgage and the bills are to get paid.  Try explaining that to a 3 year old…let me tell you, it’s impossible. 

 

What is possible is to carve out time in your day to play and release your inner child at the same time…how refreshing.

 

Day planners are made for just that.  Plan out a block or blocks of time each week that you can dedicate just to the kids.  If possible, plan these around times in their schedule where other activities don’t interfere—for example, naptime for your 3 yr old or karate class for your 6 yr old. 

 

Playtime can be indoors or outdoors depending on the weather but have a variety of activities for the kids to choose from.  This gives the kids some control and allows them the independence of choosing an activity.  Playtime can be as simple as kicking a soccer ball around or getting down on the floor and playing cars or building blocks or as involved as taking a nature hike outdoors.

 

During play time, put on the answering machine and turn your cell phone off so that the kids know this is their time.  Avoid any unnecessary interruptions.  Get down at your child’s level. Encourage creativity.  You can ask the older children to write down a list of activities that they might enjoy doing with you during “play time,” this engages them and teaches them how to make the best of their time too. 

 

While not easy, scheduling quality play time with your kids while still maintaining your business is not an impossibility.  It just takes planning.

 

I hope you enjoy reading these blogs as much as I enjoy writing them! Should  you have any questions about Motherhood Incorporated either as a client or as a mom looking for work, please email me directly at sandra@motherhoodincorporated.com or you can check us out at www.motherhoodincorporated.com  and www.sandrabeck.com

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4 Quick Tips to a Company Ready Home Office by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

If your home business requires occasional client visits, the state of your home office can make or break a business deal.  When my husband and I were looking for someone to photograph our wedding we visited a few photographers working out of their homes.  One invited us into a poorly lit kitchen to review his portfolio, while the contract-winning operation invited us into a home office that displayed quality and professionalism from the start.  I’m not saying that the state of your home office alone will win your clients over, but every interaction leaves a lasting impression.  Here are four tips to make sure the impression you leave is a good one:Allium flower head (macro)

 

1.  Clear the clutter.

 

Put away anything that doesn’t need to be out.  A disorganized home office will leave your clients wondering if you will drop the ball when it comes to their projects.  This is especially important when you are working with multiple clients on proprietary information.  Your customers need to know that they can trust you to be discreet.

 

2.  It’s all business.

 

Your office may be located in your home, but it should reflect a business environment.  Though you may enjoy hanging your children’s artwork and other personal effects in your workspace, when clients come around it is time to tuck these items away. 

 

3.  Critical cleaning.

 

Don’t waste time cleaning everything from top to bottom.  Focus from the waist up, on the areas that capture the eyes.  A quick dust over surfaces should suffice.  Do make sure that your guest bath is clean.  Wipe the mirror and sink, and run a brush around the toilet bowl.  Finish off by emptying the trash cans.  We all feel more comfortable in a clean environment.

 

4.  Liven it up.

 

A few strategically placed plants or a vase of fresh flowers can do wonders to brighten a room.  If you are fortunate enough to have a blooming flower garden, cut a few blooms and bring them inside.  Adding natural color to your office space will make it calm and inviting, something you can enjoy even after the close of the business day.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Let Your PDA Work For You by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

  by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

This morning I was babysitting a friend’s son.  With three toddlers in the house, you might assume that any chance of productivity was out the window.  I did, until I switched on my PDA to assess my options for nap time.  As I perused my To Do list, I noticed a phone call I needed to make and decided to give it a try.  With the kids happily playing at my feet, I cranked the volume up on my cell and went for it.  Mission complete, check. 

 

Counting my blessings, I wondered if I could pull it off again.  I returned to the To Do list, this time sorting by the phone call category.  Two more phone calls to make.  Dare I push my luck?  I went for the glory and it paid off big, check, check.  My PDA helps me make quick decisions on how I can most productively use my time. Here are a few tips on making your PDA work for you:Buntstifte

 

To Do List

 

Store your To Do list on your PDA, link up any important contact info you may need so everything is at your fingertips when you are ready for it.  Categorize similar action items, so you can easily complete multiple tasks while you have the resources readily available.

 

Date Book

 

Use the date book to schedule appointments and set aside time for routine tasks.  View your date book with the To Do list, and you can quickly plan your day.  No more erasing or scratching out required, reschedule items by dragging and dropping them into a new time slot.

 

Contact Info

 

Keep all your contacts at your fingertips by storing them in your PDA.  Quickly find any address or phone number when you need it.

 

Synchronization

 

Your PDA’s synchronization capability is easily one of its best features.  Back your PDA up onto your computer, and you can rest assured that you won’t lose vital information.

 

Email

 

Many PDAs come equipped with emailing capabilities.  Load email onto your PDA, and you can read and respond to messages while you are out and about.

 

Expense Tracking

 

Keep track of your expenses and budget while you are out.  Easy access to your financial planning info will help you make informed decisions about how much to spend, and prevent you from forgetting to write it down later.

 

Notes

 

Save paper by taking notes in your PDA.  You can store the notes on your computer later, and keep your purse or brief case from becoming cluttered and heavy.

 

Software

 

There is a plethora of software available for PDAs.  Pocketgear.com has a nice selection of business and fun applications, many of which are free to download.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Help, Please! An Interview with Networking Guru Lucy Rosen by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

  by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 I caught up with Lucy Rosen, president and founding member of Women on the Fast Track, an international networking organization for business women.  Here’s what Lucy had to say:

 

What are the benefits to networking? How many words do I get? New relationships. Opportunities for new opportunities. Opportunities to connect others. Opportunities for jobs / information / resources, but I think the biggest one is the opportunity to help others.Gardening tools

 

What networking advice has benefited your career?  Everyone has value. It may not be a good fit for you, but that doesn’t mean to write them off.  It means file them away to refer them to someone else!

 

Where can a woman find networking opportunities?  Local clubs, organizations, associations, online, at schools, alumni groups, other mothers, other women, newspapers, radio, and magazines. Virtually every daily paper has a business section and usually it appears on Mondays. In that section would be a list of all the networking “things” happening in and around your community.

 

What advice do you have for women who want to network, but feel shy or uncomfortable?  Most of the time we feel shy or uncomfortable because we think we don’t have anything to give. We are the “givers” not the receivers- so it’s much more comfortable for us to give than to receive. If there is a feeling of not having much of worth to give – start making a list of all the different people you know – from your neighbor, to the woman on the PTA you met, to the different jobs you have had and who you know from there. I reconnected with someone from high school that I hadn’t seen in 30 (gulp) years… She was looking for a job in accounting, and I happened to know an accounting firm that was looking to hire – so there you go! It worked.
How can a business woman start a networking group in her area?  They can call me and I will help them start Women on the Fast Track chapter!

You can find out more about Lucy Rosen and Women on the Fast Track by visiting her website at www.womenonthefasttrack.com.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Sales Plan – Creative Marketing for Your Small Business by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck/ Motherhood Incorporated

 

 When you have a small business chances are that your marketing budget is also small.  That doesn’t mean that your marketing plan has to be small.  We’ve already talked about internet marketing, blog marketing and social networking as great ways to get your message out to the masses and we’ve also talked about the advantages of branding to make all of your marketing count, now it’s time to think outside the box.Color caps and gerbera

 

You know who your target market is and you=2 0know what your unique selling proposition is, how can you effectively let people know about your product?  It really depends on what your product is.  If you are a cup cake business specializing in really cool cupcakes for baby showers, you might want to team up with your local baby boutique and offer a coupon for ten percent off your cupcakes to expectant Mom’s who register at the boutique.   For the cost of printing a few coupons you can effectively reach your local target market.

 

If your business is offering services to business owners you may want to check out the local chamber of commerce and all of their social functions.  Some Chamber events will even let you do a “live commercial” just for attending.  What a great way to notify local businesses about your services.

 

It’s crucial to consider where your target market ventures.  Do they go to coffee houses or are they shopping for diapers?  If you know where they go, you can formulate a way in which to court them.  Contests, coupons and incentives are great ways to get your business’ name well known.  People may lose the coupon but they tend to remember your name if you’ve branded yourself well.

 

The main thing is to seek out your target audience in a way that is conducive to their daily rituals.  If your product is good and you’ve affectively addressed its unique selling proposition you should have no problem attracting your target market.

 

To learn more about Starting Your Own Business, check out www.sandrabeck.com and www.motherhoodincorporated.com.  You too can work from home, have time with your family and make a great living with what you already know!

Social Networking – Social Networking and Your Small Business by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck/ Motherhood Incorporated

  

When was the last time you were on FaceBook?  If you aren’t on FaceBook yet and you have started your own business you need to stop reading this Blog right now and go register yourself on FaceBook. 

 

Did you know that is estimated that 25% of the world’s population is already on FaceBook? 25% – that includes children, people who don’t have computers, people who can’t read, and people who don’t even know what the internet is (Let’s face it we all know someone who just “doesn’t get the internet”) So if 25% of the world is on FaceBook it is safe to say=2 0there are plenty of potential customers for your business on FaceBook, enough that you simply can’t afford to miss this opportunity.violets

 

For those of you who are on FaceBook already you might be thinking, “I just opened a business; I don’t have time to be talking to high school friends on FaceBook!”  It’s time for a little shift in your thinking.  FaceBook is an opportunity to tell people about your business in a passive, non-intrusive way. 

 

There are several different options; first there is the status bar.  This is the bar that allows you to tell your friends what you are thinking, feeling or doing.  Why not fill that with something positive about your business. “Jackie is…Thrilled about her new website for her miniature cupcake business.”  Or “Rebecca just finished writing a 13 page business plan for h er client” It sounds ridiculous but people will ask questions, “Really, I didn’t know you knew how to write a business plan?”  Now their question has gone out not only to your friends but also all of their friends.  In all likelihood you have just told 300-500 people that you write business proposals or make cupcakes or whatever it is you do.  For every person who comments on your status the number goes up.

 

Three weeks later if some one needs miniature cup cakes or help with a business proposal, do you think they would rather hire a friend or a friend of a friend – or try to find an unknown person?  They would rather hire you.  Even if you set yourself the goal of entering one positive comment about your business a week (which will take you less than 5 minutes) you will see positive results for your business.

 

Another great thing to do is import your Blog20into your facebook page – you’re taking the time to write the Blog, why not share it with your warm market, people who already know you are good at what you do?

 

Once you have mastered FaceBook and have a sizable number of friends, make a FaceBook page for your business, this is different than a regular FaceBook page.  It allows you to have fans of your business instead of friends and gives you great ways to market your business on FaceBook!

 

Social Networking is a great way to utilize passive marketing.  Search the web to see if there is a social network that is specifically geared toward your business.  For instance Active Rain is a social network just for Realtors.  Use your social networking; it’s fast, efficient and FREE!

 

To learn more about Starting Your Own Business, check out www.sandrabeck.com and www.motherhoodincorporated.com.  You too can work from home, have time with your family and make a great living with what you already know!

Starting a Small Business- Doing Your Research by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 By Sandra Beck/ Motherhood Incorporated

 

When you are getting ready to start your own business doing your research is the single most important thing you can do to prevent failure.  Before you commit a single dollar to your new business make sure you become an expert in everything to do with your business.  Find out who and what your competition is. Is there a market for your product or service?  Is the market already saturated with other businesses that are already fulfilling the needs of your target client? What do you have to offer that is unique?Balloons

 

What is the price point for your service or product?  Are you able to sell at that price and still recoup a reasonable profit beyond your overhead costs?  How much volume is required in order for you to make the funds necessary in order for you to survive?  Are you capable of creating that volume or do you need to hire additional employees?  How skilled do your employees need to be, what wage are those types of workers getting in today’s market?  Is your business something you can start part time while you continue to work your current job?  Can you effectively hire employees to work for your business while you continue to work your job?

 

When starting a business you want to think outside of the box, but you don’t want to have to reinvent the wheel.  Is anyone doing what you want to do in a different market?

When possible try to put yourself in a position to have a working knowledge of the business you want to start before committing to it.  If you want to open a window washing business that specializes in tall buildings take the time to visit a nearby city and observe a successful window washer as they go through their day.  Don’t stalk them…call them and ask them if you can observe them, if your markets are far enough apart they may be willing to let you pick their brain.  Take advantage of it!

 

Research everything you possibly can about your prospective business and you will save yourself time, money and heart ache, not to mention energy.  In the next Article we will discuss formulating a business plan.

 

To learn more about Starting Your Own Business, check out www.sandrabeck.com and www.motherhoodincorporated.com.  You too can work from home, have time with your family and make a great living with what you already know!