The Mompreneur Conference: Recap 6

So as you've read this week in my recaps, the Mompreneur Conference was an amazing experience. From hearing some amazing women speak, to engaging in a brand audit, and having an enlightening experience facilitated in my higher consciousness...it was incredible.

It wouldn't have been made possible without the attention to detail and amazing organization from Maria, President and CEO of The Mompreneur. She spoke with grace and poise, raw emotion and passion. It all clicked for me, this path that I am on, hearing her and the other incredible women speak throughout the day.

Her amazing team of Mompreneur chapter owners impressed me time and again. They were filled with such enthusiasm and heart, it was refreshing to see women who genuinely want you to succeed.


Women are catty. They are mean. They gossip and they bring one another down as a result of their own insecurities.

Not this group.

They uplift. They encourage. They inspire you with beautiful passion, power and grace.

I am so incredibly thankful to be a part of this organization and am excited to see where all of the women at the conference take the tools that they learned and implement them into their companies.

We are all in this together. There is no competition, only needs that can be filled by other companies when we can't fill them.

If you haven't checked out this amazing organization, become a member of your local chapter, or looked into opening one in your area to help motivate women in your city...now's the time!


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The Mompreneur Conference: Recap 5

Yes, five recaps...and there will be one tomorrow for a sixth installment, but I promise you that today's recap of the Mompreneur Conference is very much worth reading.

As we sat down for the afternoon speaker, Nicola Jones, all of a sudden there was blaring music and some ridiculously energetic woman telling us to get up out of our seats and wave our arms. Naturally, we all did as we were told and soon the room was filled with an intensely positive energy.

Nicola Jones took centre stage and sat down on a high chair, addressing the room about who and what in our lives are serving us well; who and what in our lives are draining us.

in all honesty, I wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't know who she was, what her background was but I felt an intense need to listen. To watch. To engage.


This was going to be life changing.

And I was right.

Nicola took us through a guided meditation exercise, something that I used to do often after my Dad passed away as a means to reconnect with him. I was definitely not prepared for what was about to happen.

First, we closed our eyes and were instructed to take a few deep breaths to come into the moment and quiet our thoughts. Once we were there, she asked us what room we saw ourselves in. Who was there? What did it look like?

For me, I saw an art gallery, one that I had never been in before, and all of my paintings were on the walls. I saw my son, Owen, running around the gallery. I knew that the paintings were mine, though they weren't ones that I have created yet.

She then asked us to move to another room. I saw a long, dark hallway and I felt anxious...I was scared and confused and for a bit I was stuck there. I didn't want to continue walking down the hallway, wanted to turn back and go be in my gallery.

But I pressed on and walked through the hallway. She asked us what we saw, where were we now? I was in a room, overlooking the ocean. It was shaped like a semi circle and had french doors and windows for the walls. It was bright. It was lovely. There were white curtains blowing in the wind as the doors were open. I could hear the waves.

Then I looked out on the patio and sitting in a rocking chair looking out at the ocean was my Dad.

I was a mess of tears, but I felt so amazing. It felt like I finally had my Dad's approval...like he was happy and amazed at the path that I have chosen for myself.

If you haven't had the opportunity to listen to Nicola speak or engage with her in a conversation  please please do. She is incredible, and so genuine! I thanked her afterward and told her about my experience, and she was so happy that I shared with her.

I will be forever grateful for this experience, and I cannot wait to create my vision board this week {and share with you in the weeks to come!}

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The Mompreneur Conference: Recap 4

One of the keynote speakers at the Momprepenur Conference this past Saturday was Tracy Moore from CityLine. I had seen pictures of her and heard from others just how amazing she is, but it wasn't until I was sitting front and centre that it really clicked.

Tracy is the mom of two, a working mom at that. Both of those things in and of themselves strike a wee bit of fear into me, but hearing her speak about how much balance she has been able to achieve was incredible.

She's not perfect. She's not super mom {though she does have incredibly toned arms that left me rather envious!}.


She's a mom with every day struggles. She goes to the grocery store. She works out. She leads a balanced and healthy lifestyle. She wears amazing dresses featuring the floral trend as of late, with amazing shoes.

When she spoke, she spoke from the heart. She was truly authentic and explained that even she has mom guilt. People engaged with her, she took extra time to answer questions {which I personally thought was really amazing} and was just real.

The main theme, it seemed, from the women in the group were that they struggle with how to balance their home life with their work. For those of us who work at home, it's a little different as we also have to find a separation between work and home, but all in all it was a constant theme for discussion, even until the very end of the day.

How do we get over the mom guilt? How do we have our husbands understand that our online, freelance, blogging, artistic, home businesses are actually viable businesses? How do we take time for ourselves? Why are we so hard on ourselves?

Tracy's advice was something that I believe in wholeheartedly.

Be good to yourself so you can be good to others.

Ladies, this means manicures and coffee dates with friends. It means buying a new pair of shoes when you need them. It means having a date night with your husband.

And it means not feeling bad about taking that precious time for yourself.

It was really validating to hear Tracy speak, and it was a great time to reflect on how supportive my husband is with my workload, and just how far I have come since starting on this professional journey in 2010.

Do you struggle with balance? Let me know in the comments and lets chat!


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The Mompreneur Conference: Recap 2

Two people that I was very excited to meet at The Mompreneur Conference and Gala were CJ and Brittany from TPH Canada.

These ladies are nothing short of witty and amazing. They conducted a dynamic presentation about branding and the #notsooldschool print media that they are able to offer. As small businesses, and bloggers, we have the ability to be fluid in our printing choices and think outside of the box when it comes to printed materials.


This is one of the things that I have always loved about TPH; I can email them with a crazy layout idea or wanting something fresh and new, and they always deliver {shipped within a couple of days!} exceptional quality.

It was fantastic to hear new ideas about video books, memorable ways to stand out, and about their sustainability program. As small business owners, making your marketing dollars stretch is something that is very important, which is why digital printing and small batches are great. Sure, everyone needs a business card, but does everyone really need 5000 brochures with information that is bound to change within a couple of weeks of being printed? No.

You need a way to stand out, something that is different and outside of the box. You need TPH Canada.

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The Mompreneur Conference: Recap 1

This past weekend, I attended the Mompreneur Conference in Toronto, Ontario. I wasn't sure what to expect, anticipated alot of business-like seminars for learning best practices and left my home {very early in the morning} with an open mind.

Wow.

I am simply blown away by the experience, and I will have to spend a few days this week recapping everything that happened. I came home a changed woman, with a renewed sense of focus, who felt strong, powerful, thankful and validated.

The day started with a brand audit, led by the ever amazing Shelagh Cummins of MomBiz.



I already knew that I am my brand and my brand is me, but what was interesting to find was how strong my brand is. Sure, there is always room for improvement, but popping up #1 in a Google search is never a bad thing...followed closely by your Facebook page in #2, .com landing page {to be developed} #3, Pinterest page #4, Twitter #5 and Etsy #7.

Ah-mazing.

What is taught me was that while my branding is strong and pretty dominant, I do have areas that I need to improve on. I need to grow. I need to learn. I need to continue engaging and inspiring. I need to focus. I need to connect on those emotional levels with my customers.

And I need not undersell my time, work or expertise.

I am my brand
My brand is me
I am authentic

Shelagh hit home some things that I already knew, and made me feel validated; like I'm on the right path.

While the Mompreneur Conference and Gala was one full day {and in conference terms, that's really not a huge chunk of time}, the amount of content and the amazing experiences that I was fortunate enough to participate in deserve their own recaps. Stay tuned this week as I let you in on some really amazing things!

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Ask Me! Time Management....??

About a month ago, @mrs07c {one of my fab BlogHer roommates} wrote on my facebook wall and asked how I do all that I do...and only in 24 hours.

How many hats do I wear?

Event planner {kiddo's birthday, Mom's wedding,bff's baby shower}
Artist
Mom
Wife
Woman
Co-Chair for Ovarian Cancer Walk of Hope {London, ON}
Blogger
Freelance writer
Baker

I'm sure that there are more...but they're escaping me right now!

How do I do it all? Well...here are some tips!

Blogging
  • have an ongoing blog planner open in Word
  • plan all of the blogposts that pop into your head on their appropriate days
  • try and get as many blogposts done as you can in one hour; sit down a the computer after the kiddos go to bed and write as much as you can
  • schedule your blogposts one month in advance and you'll always be on top of things!

Party Planning
  • start as early as possible...it is absolutely not crazy to plan a party a year in advance {even if others make fun of you for it!}
  • if you have an online shop, put up a vacation notice the week of your party so you can focus on the task at hand
  • hire someone to do the cake
  • set out the party platters and food cards the night before

General
  • regular scheduled dates with your significant other
  • regular scheduled date nights with yourself; I firmly believe that when you take time away for yourself you are able to be better to those around you
  • don't feel bad if you don't get everything done...seriously! What doesn't happen today, can happen tomorrow or the day after. Chances are if you didn't prioritize it today,it means that it likely wasn't that important in the grand scheme of things.

Sponsor Love: Organo Gold Gourmet Coffee


Over the past couple of months, you’ve had the chance to sit and sip along with me and Organo Gold Gourmet Coffee…experiencing the amazing health benefits of gourmet coffee infused with 100% Organic Ganoderma.

Are you a stay-at-home-mama? Not want to go back to work after your baby is born?

Take a look at the greener grass on the other side and become an Organo Gold Gourmet Coffee Rep!

The benefits are crazy amazing of this incredibly healthy productive – it literally sells itself so if you’re looking for something that is easy peasy, and you don’t have to be a born salesperson to sell and make a profitable business from, Organo Gold Gourmet Coffee is your company!

The Benefits:

  • · Earnings up to $11, 000 per month
  • · 7 ways to earn money through the company
  • · Make your own hours…make it work for you!

Interested?

For more information, contact Amanda Braun at amanda_braun1@yahoo.ca

Mompreneur Monday: BailyBelle has a new look!

Remember that little shop I introduced you to earlier in the year, BailyBelle? Well...Ms. Vanessa has been working incredibly hard on her new website and I want to share it with you!!

The new BailyBelle features the same infinity scarves that I've fallen in love with, but also an incredibly celebrity collection, and unique eco-friendly tote bags that are too adorable not to share!




Vanessa has designed custom pieces for Lauren Conrad, Tenley Molzahn, Zooey Deschanel and Kim Kardashian! Pretty amazing if you ask me!


She's even been taking some of her older pieces, tearing them apart, and creating something totally new from them. I think it's so incredibly refreshing to meet an artist who has vision, and isn't afraid to look at something they've done, appreciate it for what it is, and turn it into something fantastic and new.





I proudly own four rings, an infinity scarf, am getting a custom business card holder made for my trip to BlogHer and own this amazing piece!


The photo does not do the necklace justice. It is so incredibly awesome, I just adore it!! It packs such an amazing punch, and is a real coversation starter.

Don't own a piece of BailyBelle yet? Hop on over to her Etsy shop...get 10% off with code BLOGHER


Mompreneur Monday: Luxe by Lisa Vogel

I am so excited about this mompeneur today!!

I met Lisa on our monday evening #mombizmondays chat on Twitter a few weeks ago, and after taking a look at her shop, all I can say is that you're all about to fall in love with an incredible woman and swimwear designer.

Lisa is lovely, sweet, genuine and real. Purely amazing!


What do you do?

Creative Director LUXE by Lisa Vogel swimwear, Co-President of RAJ Manufacturing (USA's largest domestic swimwear manufacturer), blogger, philanthropist, mom.



How do you maximize your time as a busy mom running a business?

A strong support system and organization are the two key ingredients. If I didn't have an amazing supportive husband, I don't know how I would do what I do. He is very involved with
the children and always patient when I have to work late or travel! I also send him all of the children's appointments, sports schedules, and school related activities on his blackberry so we can be on the same page.

What do you see as your greatest challenge being a MOMpreneur?



Balancing family with work. The truth is that balance does not exist. I just try to do the best I can.


What advice do you have for other moms looking to start a business?


Find something that you love and follow your passion. If you are motivated by passion, as opposed to making money, you will succeed.



Is there anything additional you'd like to share?

Please visit www.swimspot.com and enter the code "stella" for a 15% discount for your readers. This code expires 5/1/12.

Wow!! Thank you Lisa!!

Enjoy your 15% off coupon, everyone!

Mompreneur Monday: Amber Bryce

This week is a big big week around Sweet Stella's and I can't think of better way to kick it off than with this amazing mompreneur.

I met Amber through The Artisan Group, and it was love at first sight. She has an awesome rocker edge, with a wholesome eco-friendly outlook and I find her sense of spirit to be incredibly inspiring.


Read a little about who she is as a mompreneur and why she creates the outstanding jewelry that she does!

What do you do?

I create one of a kind jewelry from recycled Sterling & Fine Silver and genuine Gemstone Beads. A lot of my pieces include an intricate coiled design, adorned with the finest hand pic
ked Gemtones.


How do you maximize your time as a busy mom running a business?


All of my girls are in school, so I literally work a 9-5 job. Ok, more like 7am-4pm, and then any chance I get through the evening. I try to keep on track by writing out monthly goals/to-do's, and then each week breaking those down into weekly & daily tasks. This makes it easier to accomplish what I need to do and always keep things fresh & moving forward. Though of coarse, life happens, kids come home sick, I gotta go get groceries, run errands, all of the typical mom stuff. But working at home for myself allows me to re-arrange my schedule when things happen without worrying about getting fired or not getting that raise. Or, take a day off in
the middle of the week just because I need to lounge around in pajama's and do nothing but watch old movies.
What do you see as your greatest challenge being a MOMpreneur?

I'd have to say marketing and expanding, hands down. Creating is so easy, and I could just create new jewelry all year long. But having to put yourself out there to the world and hope some people like your products enough to purchase them is hard. You have to get over rejection, because it's not personal, it's just a difference of opinion, and that's ok!

What advice do you have for other moms looking to start a business?

Don't be afraid, and do lots of research! Take some business classes; there are lots of great online resources. Join some local women's business groups for support, and I think most importantly gain the support of your family before you decide to start. Having a network of support is probably one of the best things you could have for a new (and growing) business.

Is there anything additional that you'd like to share?

I was recently contacted by the production team for The Real Housewives shows on Bravo and asked to be the exclusive jewelry sponsor for the upcoming seasons of the Beverly Hills & O.C. episodes. This is such an amazing and surreal opportunity, I don't think it's completely set in yet! So be on the lookout for my sparkly jewelry in future episodes of The Real Housewives Beverly Hills & O.C.!

Mompreneur Monday: Rebecca Nash Photography

I am so excited for today's mompreneur....someone that I actually know in real life, have had the chance to sit down and have coffee with (more than once!) and have gotten to know as a person, a mama, and a mompreneur.

I'd like to introduce you to Rebecca Nash, fine art photographer located in Southwestern Ontario. She has an eye for colour and beauty, and even has her work off to a
very special place...that she'll reveal at the end of the post!

1) What do you do?

I am the owner and photographer for Rebecca Nash Photography. I specialize in Wedding, Portrait and Fine Art photography. I love heading out to work with someone new to create beautiful images that I know will be cherished for years to come. The fine art photography also challenges me but in a completely different way. Instead of building a relationship with my subject in order to create a great portrait or wedding image, I have to create an image that shows or provokes an emotion within viewer through the subject and setting. It’s a completely different challenge and I thrive on this opportunity to change it up.


Link


2) How do you maximize your time as a busy mom running a business?


Prioritize, schedule, and be ready for anything! Finding the balance is always a challenge for me. I make sure to plan out my tasks, have a to do list to keep me on track, and try not to get worked up about schedule changes that seem to always pop up. By having my own dedicated space for my business within our home I’m able to really get focussed on what I’m doing with minimal distractions. I also capitalize on time after my daughter has gone to bed when I’m sitting in front of the TV to go over schedules, to-do lists, and work on blog entries. Blogging at night allows me to get all my ideas out and still have a chance for a quick reread in the morning but also helps empty out my brain a bit before bed.


3) What do you see as your greatest challenge being a MOMpreneur?


For me it’s always about finding the balance. I love my family and my daughter dearly and some days I’d rather stay home and just be a mom and homemaker but in the same breath I am a creative type and I love my photography. It is sometimes the only thing that keeps me sane. Unfortunately I have a habit of swinging from completely family focused to completely immersed in my business without any middle ground. This year my goal is to schedule time for both every week and stick to my schedule!


4) What advice do you have for other moms looking to start a business?


Link

Research, plan, build your support system, and then go for it! It will be a bit of a roller coaster so make sure you set boundaries and talk to your family about what you’re doing so everyone’s on the same page.


So where is your work off to now?


I’m thrilled to be having the opportunity to participate in the MTV Movie Awards Celebrity Gifting Suite and Swag Bags for the upcoming awards show in early June. In honour of this event I’m in the process of designing and creating a line of new products which the celebrities will receive and you can get too! Watch my blog for all the info on the design process and the product launch!

Sponsor Love: Wedding Accessories by Jacques Vert

Which wedding accessories do you choose for your wedding?

If you are planning to attend a wedding or perhaps you are getting married yourself, it isn’t always easy to find perfect wedding outfits because of the wide range of choice. On top of that are the accessories that are of importance as well. If you are unsure of which accessories to wear with your wedding outfit or when going to a formal lunch event, then it might be worthwhile for you to read this post. I have lined up some accessories that I believe would make a great addition to any occasion wear outfit.

Jewellery

When deciding upon what type of jewellery to choose, I’d recommend opting for less chunky jewellery such as this elegant fine black enamel and marcasite effect pendant necklace. The necklace is set on a silver colour chai with little ball beads and would look great with any wedding outfit.















Fascinators

For those who have never heard of this term, a fascinator is a fashionable headpiece that is often worn on special occasions. Fascinators come in various styles and are created by colourful feathers, flowers and other sorts of fabrics.











Often, these fascinators can be worn in two different ways. There are fascinators with combs attached to them which you have to stick in your hair in the opposite direction, ensuring the hairs are woven between the teeth of the comb. The other, more common, form is the headband fascinator which can simply be placed on top of the hair.

Purses

Finding the right purse to go with your outfit can often be a tricky task because you have to ensure that all your belongings fit in the bag (and we’ve got many things we put in our purses) whilst at the same time making sure that the colour is right.








This purse is an elegant fondant pink fabric clutch styled bag, with a curving flat to the front and satin draped twist detail to finish. You can combine this purse with a crème or black dress, or a similar colours dress.


This post was sponsored by Susanna Cha, on behalf of Jacques Vert

Special Post: Tina Dean Designs GIVEAWAY!

One of my amazing BlogHer'12 sponsors has collaborated with GoGreenAmericaTV to host an amazing giveaway in celebration of her involvement in the GBK Academy Awards Gifting Suite!

What can you win?



a eco-chic mini tote with repurposed lining from an old pair of jeans!



And since it's a Rafflecopter giveaway, entering is a breeze!! Enter now and enter often!!

Mompreneur Monday: The Mom Writes

Happy Monday, mamas! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Prerna...the mastermind and mama behind The Mom Writes. What does she do? Well...she provides affordable and effective solutions to help mom business owners live {and survive} online!

What do you do?

I am a professional freelance web writer, business blogger and social media manager.


How do you maximize your time as a busy mom running a business?

Focus. Shutting out distractions like Twitter, FB and my email works wonders. Also, I’m an early riser and am often up at 4 in the morning. That gives me a good 4 hours before my preschooler needs to be up for the day.

Also, saying, “no” to tasks that wouldn’t add to either my life as mom or mompreneur helps.


What do you see as your greatest challenge being a MOMpreneur?

Keeping a hold on ALL the ideas that keep jumping into my head. I’m constantly thinking about how to grow my business, add more value to my clients’ businesses


What advice do you have for other moms looking to start a business?

Start. Don’t wait for the kids to grow up or to move to a house with space for an office. Just start.

Take action. Every day. Do something to build your business every single day. From researching ideas to building your customer database, make sure you’re working on your business, every day.

Stay hopeful and positive. Honestly, it isn’t easy being a mompreneur. There will be discouragement and disappointment, but don’t let them shake you. Surround yourself with positive, inspiring women who’re rocking the business world and stay encouraged and positive.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with Sweet Stella's readers?

First, I’d like to offer ALL your readers with a business a FREE one-on-one social media/web content strategy session. Please sign up here

I’d like to offer a 20% discount on ALL web content, business blogging and social media services. Please mention "SweetStellas" in your email to me. I can be reached at prerna(at)themomwrites(dot)com.

Web

Twitter

Facebook

Blog

Mompreneur Monday: CoachInU

Good morning everyone!

What a sweet week we have in store; a new Mompreneur today, and Valentine's day tomorrow!!

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Nuria Lencina - a life coach and mentor who coaches specifically expectant and new mothers on how to deal with the expectations of their new role as a mama. Man...how I wish I had of met Nuria 20months ago! Her advice is nothing short of inspirational!

What do you do?

My name is Nuria Lencina and I am a mother of two, a Psychologist and a Certified Professional Coach. I empower expectant and new moms to embrace their motherhood by supporting them with their daily struggles.


How do you maximize your time as a busy mom running a business?

I do have my own struggles but I am now working on a TimeMap to support my progress and keep me on task. Not having structure makes me procrastinate and also not value the things that I do. By having a system in place that holds me accountable for my own actions I feel supported and it gives me sense of direction.


What do you see as your greatest challenge being a MOMpreneur?

I think that time management is the most challenging aspect of having my own business, especially since I have small children. In my case I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old. They are still very attached to me and I consider them my full time job. Running my business has to come in second place and it is difficult to let go of your work commitments in order to care for your family. Setting up the boundaries, and not neglecting my job or my mom priorities, is very difficult.


What advice do you have for other moms looking to start a business?

I would say to them that the key for success, apart from a great business idea, is a really good support system and a lot of patience. If you believe in your product, and you are committed enough to start a business, there are a lot of chances that you will get what you want. But it is important to establish SMART (Specific, Measurable, Realistic, Timely) goals and objectives and surround yourself with a good support system to help you accomplish them. Having all that in place it is a question of time, and it can take a while, but PATIENCE has to be present in your goals too.


Is there anything additional you'd like to share?

I would like to share with you that it is never late to ask for help. If you feel like giving up find someone to talk to. Get into a networking group, join some kind of group of moms who talk about what you love, call your best friend, do something, but don't give up just yet. It is really hard to have your own business, take care of your family, run the household, and on top of that remember to wash your face in the morning. But you are not alone, there are so many of us doing it everyday. Let it out.

I would like to offer EXCLUSIVELY to the SweetStellas readers a 50% discount (ONLY $45) on their first coaching session with me, if they are willing to explore what coaching can do for them, or how I can help them get a better daily structure, how to improve their communication with their partner, how to find ME time, how to cope with the emotional rollercoaster, or how to increase the confidence and self-esteem.

Also, if you decide to sign up for the ‘’Foundation Package’’ (4 x coaching sessions – $359) and you refer a friend that signs up for another ‘’Foundation Package’’, you will immediately receive a 50% discount on your purchase, or on your next purchase. This offer allows you to one discount only and cannot be combined with any other offers.

Mompreneur Monday: BellaGrey Designs

Happy Monday everyone! Do you know what's right around the corner?

Valentine's Day!!

What better timing to introduce you to this fantastic Mompreneur, Jennifer Kirlin from BellaGrey Designs! With super cute invitations, cupcake toppers, printable, tags...you name it and she's got it for you! There's even a free Valentine's printable at the end of the post!

What do you do?

I create custom party decor


Link

How do you maximize your time as a busy mom running a business?

I get up early to start my day, get the kids off to school and then work like crazy until I pick them up. I try to spend most of the late afternoon with them. Once they are down for the evening, I'm working again. I work when I can, for as long as I can.


What do you see as your greatest challenge being a MOMpreneur?

Drawing the line between time devoted to BellaGrey Designs and time with my family is really hard for me right now, because I'm constantly "working" in my head, thinking of new designs o
r colors I can use.



What advice do you have for other moms looking to start a business?

If you truly believe in yourself, then you have to believe all of your hard work will pay off. Sure some days you'd like to throw in the towel, but you just persevere. One day at a time.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Yes! I've created a beautiful Valentine's printable...free to download
here!




Mompreneur Monday: The HopeFULL Company

I am absolutely thrilled about our Mompreneur team today!! They are a dynamic duo of moms, who are bringing a message of hope...and full bellies...into the world!

Meet Jessica and Stephanie, sisters and owners of the HopeFULL Company. They have created the cutest ways to help kids eat more whole foods with the idea of eat happily ever after.

What do you do?

We are both mothers to two young children and we're on a mission to help kids eat more whole foods!
Lately we've been busy launching our newest product, The BellyFULL Kit, which helps parents make nutritious and delicious frozen whole food pops at home with their kids.


How do you maximize your time as a busy mom running a business?

Get up before the kids do! It's not always easy getting up early, but those extra couple of hours before the kids get up really helps us get ahead.

What do you see as your greatest challenge being a MOMpreneur?

Finding balance is always a challenge. We love our work, so sometimes it's hard to turn off the computer or take a day off! We make a point to schedule time for ourselves, and we make quality time with our families a priority - time where we are present and enjoying the moment.

What advice do you have for other moms looking to start a business?

Be patient - it doesn't happen over night! We've also learned that just like parenthood, it takes a village. There are many wonderful resources out there for women entrepreneurs. Legal Corps, Women Venture, SCORE to name a few. Reach out, network and make connections. Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the ride!


Is there anything additional that you'd like to share?

We'd love to offer a BellyFULL Kit giveaway to one random new "liker" on our Facebook Page! Just head to https://www.facebook.com/thehopefullcompany, "like us" and post "Sweet Stella's sent me!" to qualify!

Talk-To-Me Tuesday....with Sarah Sloboda

Good morning everyone!!

I have a special treat for all you mompreneurs and mama bloggers out there! I'd like you to meet Sarah Sloboda, who is a brilliant photographer creates gorgeous heirloom inspired photos and runs fantastic workshops! She's here to help you all make the most with iphoneography! {note: she's seriously making me want an iPhone!}

iPhoneography for Business Owner Moms
by Sarah Sloboda

As a photojournalist-style photographer, I am enamored with real moments in
time. I love photographing kids because they’re so spontaneous! We adults can
learn a lot from their free-spiritedness. I see a lot of moms who want their kids’
hair to be brushed just so, for their clothes to be perfect, and for their smiles to be
practiced. However, none of those things speak to me of childhood. So, I
encourage the kids to giggle, to run, and to explore. Yes, I have to chase them
around a lot. But when they stop and catch their breath, I am ready with my
camera. And, they’re usually beaming.



If you want to take better photos of your family (and set your child up to be more
photogenic for life), think of yourself as a documentarian. Document what you
want, yes. But don’t manipulate. Don’t ask for poses. And, don’t fuss! Let the
kids enjoy themselves, and what you hold dear about this time in your life will
show through in the moments you capture.

The iPhone is an incredible tool for moms and business owners alike. I
recommend you turn the flash off, and pay attention to natural light sources in
the environment you’re shooting in. Make sure to arrange yourself so that light is
falling on your subject. In other words, if you’re facing a lamp and the baby is
silhouetted in between you and it, don’t expect the camera to give you a good
exposure. And, be sure you get low to the ground – you want to be on your
subject’s level.

Plus, the iPhone is something you already take everywhere you go, so using it for
social networking and marketing is a no-brainer. It’s an invaluable tool for giving
your audience that coveted glimpse behind the scenes.



iPhonegraphy tips for documenting your family and business
marketing:

1. Get on Instagram! If you haven’t already, sign up for an Instagram account.
It’s free! Just go to the app store and install. If you want to use it for marketing,
select a username that corresponds with your brand. For instance, my Instagram
name is sloboda.

2. Apply filters to your images before you share them. If you also install other
photography apps, you’ll have a whole bunch of one-click PhotoShop-like settings
at your fingertips. My favorites include Hipstamatic, Snapseed, Camera+, Iris,
and Filterstorm. They range from $1.99 to $5.99, and can seriously enhance just
about any image you take.


3. Mix and match multiple filters from various programs by saving to your photo
library and then opening in a new program. When you’re pleased with your
flashy new picture, open Instagram and click on “share,” to upload.

4. Get tagging! Hashtags are a great way to get followers of similar interests on
Instgram. Use @[username] tags to respond to someone who has commented on
yours or another’s photo. Link your profile to twitter and automatically tweet
your photo (with capture and hashtags – up to 160 characters, of course). To be
really savvy, use twitter tags in Instagram so your intended audience sees your
image.

5. Be yourself. Share your interests, and your day-to-day. Document moments
with your family. Get involved in an activity! Frame your shot and be ready to
snap when natural smiles (and all kinds of expressions) occur.

Sharing photos of genuine moments goes a long way towards communicating
your values to your audience. A picture’s worth a thousand words, right? That’s
like 41 tweets!

*****
Sarah Sloboda is a modern kids photographer. She has been featured in
numerous publications, and her work can be found at http://sarahsloboda.com.
Be sure to follow “sloboda” on Instagram.
All content and photos ©Sarah Sloboda 2012. These images were produced
exclusively on an iPhone.

Mompreneur Monday: Awe Inspired Designs

Happy Monday! I have a wonderful new Mompreneur to introduce you to today, Cicily Atkins of Awe Inspired Designs.

I ran across her shop on the Dreamers into Doers forum on facebook, and was immediately blown away by her letterpress invitations and custom stationery for every occasion. There's just something about an embossed font that I just absolutely love. Cicily's designs are gorgeous and wonderful, and I am pleased to introduce you to her today.

What do you do?

I take paper dreams and turn them into a reality. I meet with clients who want stationery that does not come from a catolog. With each client, I design every aspect of their event stationery (save the dates, invitations, programs, table cards, fans), each piece custom to each event.



How do you maximize your time as a busy mom running a business?

Oh my goodness, as a momprenuer, I sneak in work, whenever I can. I maximize nap time, and bed time. And when I meet with a client for a consultation I will bring the kiddos to an at home daycare close to my home.

What do you see as your greatest challenge being a MOMpreneur?

LOL.. My biggest challenge is balancing my budding baby entrepreneurs. They sooo want to help me with each project. So i might let them count (teaching them to count, ;-) ) , or I will let them put in packing peanuts, or some other VERY important task.



What advice do you have for other moms looking to start a business?

Nike-Just Do it! Don't stress when you are up late, or if your kids wanna help out. Do your best, and be patient with yourself.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I'd like to offer up a $35 gift certificate towards a Custom Invitation Suite Order (Quantity of over 50 invitations) for a random new fan on Facebook. Custom Invitation Suite includes Invitation, Response, and Information Cards (with accompanying envelopes). Winner will be drawn by random and will be contacted by Awe Inspired Designs!

Mompreneur Monday: Call for Moms!

You've seen some really great moms featured over here on Mompreneur Monday like Julie Cole of Mabel's Labels, Vanessa Hotchkiss of BailyBelle and Tina Allen of Tina Dean Designs...do you have what it takes to get some notice?Link

I'm currently on the hunt for some really awesome mompreneurs to feature in the Mompreneur Monday segment, and would so love to collaborate with you!

A few things to keep in mind...

  • Offering a discount code or giveaway to Sweet Stella's readers is always great and will get you more traffic, but it's not required so don't let that hinder you in contacting me
  • It doesn't have to be artsy and crafty in nature! If you're a mom and you run your own business, I'd love to hear from you!
  • Make sure that your website is top-notch, so we are putting your best virtual face forward
  • Include a photo sampling with your email so I know what type of work you do (if applicable)

Interested? Have what it takes? Want to get some free support from the WAHM community?

Drop me a line! shannon@sweetstellas.com