Archive for November, 2008

The real power of gratitude

Still wondering about Social Media and how it works?

The non-profit organization, tweetsgiving.org, has just raised over $10,000 in less than 48 hours, all thanks to twitter. “tweetsgiving” is a project that seeks to demonstrate the power of twitter and the social web by spreading gratitude and raising $10,000 for a classroom in Tanzania. Those who chose to participate on twitter were able to donate money online during this twitter fundraiser.

I’m inspired by the generosity of people and their willingness to give to a cause during tough economic and personal times.

And, like so many others today, I’m thinking about all I’m grateful for.

I’m sitting here in Canada really missing my family back in Georgia. Nobody in Canada is celebrating Thanksgiving today–Canuks have this holiday on October 13th. Instead, my children are at school, my husband is at work, and I’m by myself at home, tying up some loose ends in the home office before jumping headlong into some baking for our own feast. We’ll have some friends from Michigan here for the weekend, and we’ll carve the turkey tomorrow evening. We’ll be a day late in this country.

I imagine my family down South. They’re all gathering at my sister’s house now. There’s probably 40 or more of them (we have a large family), and I’m sure I’m missing out on some wonderful things today. I’ll miss my Mom, Dad and siblings the most. Dad got up early this morning, started the coffee he normally relies on to give him a kickstart, but that he won’t need today. He’s happy and excited to get out of bed and get into the kitchen to bake his famous whole wheat bread, a treat we get only at Thanksgiving and sometimes Christmas. He’ll be singing as he always does, and making silly jokes that keep us either giggling or groaning. Mom will start buzzing around the house, finishing up the traditional dishes she loves to make, gathering the various serving dishes and such that she’ll need to take over to my sister’s. She’s busy, she’s multitasking, and she’s forgetting something in the oven. That’s all normal. And she is soooo happy–having her family gathered around her is one of the best gifts she ever has. My brothers and sisters are connecting with old friends back home they haven’t spoken to in a while, visiting with family, and stealing bits of ham, turkey and whatever else is left unguarded on the countertops. The phone is ringing off the hook, but chances are it will go unanswered because the noise and chaos of cooking, music, adults talking and the clamour of young kids in the house will drown it out.

In addition to so much else I’m thankful for, I am especially thankful for my family. I am the child who has travelled and lived farthest from home on multiple occasions. While I realize what living so far away has cost me, it has certainly helped me realize how much I love them. I am grateful to have a family so worthy of being missed. And I am grateful that they love me as much as they do.

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Umm…225 views to my blog yesterday???

Holy smokes! I’m humbled! The most visitors I’ve had in a day before yesterday was 61. What happened?

Well, I checked out my stats, thinking something must be wrong or broken with WordPress. And then I saw that the referrer for most of those posts was StumbledUpon. I got Stumbled!

Aha!

Social Media and Viral Marketing strike again!

Now I’m writing a blog post talking about StumbledUpon. The blog post will automatically show up in several places, like my LinkedIn Profile, on my twitter updates, on my personal Facebook profile as well as on my Facebook for Business Page. And I’ll include tags for StumbledUpon and eventually install a widget here on the blog so that others can Stumble this post (although I’m having a technical difficulty with that widget right now…).

And I think that the source for all this Stumbling must have had something to do with my participation in an online twitter event last night. http://mommygossip-gno.blogspot.com/ hosted a “Girls’ Night Out” (or GNO) last night, where zillions of twitterers logged on at the same time and chatted about holiday shopping (among other things) while entering contests to win lots of free stuff made by some of the other mom entrepreneurs participating in the GNO. The activity was frenetic. I stepped away from the computer once for about five minutes and there were 96 new tweets to read. Geesh!

Within the space of an hour, I had a great time chatting with an online community about Christmas toys, chocolate, kids and their bedtime routines, how to stay fit, what to do if you’re laid off during the holidays, and ways to be grateful. I also found about 30 new twitterers I was interested in and decided to follow. And my total number of followers went from something like 350 at 8pm to 423 this morning! Whoa! I even connected with about five of these new followers and am excited about the possibilities of developing a better releationship with them over time.

I’m not a huge “numbers” person. Instead, I prefer building relationships with people. But Social Media and its viral marketing capabilities increase the total number of people I’m possibly interested in developing a relationship with. If ever there were a good excuse to believe in abundance, it’s when I think about all the possibilities that are out there for connecting with other mompreneurs and how we can all support each other!

Have you experienced a crazy jump in your online presence? If so, what happened? Was it intentional? What was the most significant value you realized from having your message/biz/profile reach more people? And how do you manage this increase in traffic?

Three little personalities

OK, this post is nothing but an unabashed Mom bragging about her beautiful kids. My new friend, neighbor, and professional photographer Jayme Morrison stopped by yesterday to test out her new camera on my three subjects. Here are some of the results. Many thanks, Jayme!!!

ellie-by-jayme-111308

paul-by-jayme-1113081

charlie-by-jayme-1113082

Are you feeling guilty about being a mom entrepreneur?

I love my job. I love to work. I actually enjoy the thing I get paid to do.

And I’m in good company. Many mom entrepreneurs have found a way to make money doing work they love. Our work is a source for our creativity, passion, ambition, purpose, and various talents. Doing our work validates us, gives us a sense of accomplishment, and of course, provides rewards like acknowledgement and money.

But there can be a downside to all that great stuff. Someone once told me that in becoming a mother I had signed a lifelong agreement with Guilt.

Not so much. Read Lisa Druxman’s tips to ditch the guilt and celebrate your achievements in the attached article, “The Guilty Mom Entrepreneur” from Entrepreneur.com.

If you can turn your guilt into gratitude, as Lisa suggests in her article, what is one thing about being a mom entrepreneur you’re grateful for?

Family time, ME time…What? Oh yeah, marriage time

I was just at my MegaMoms meeting in Detroit last night (for mamapreneurs), and after we discussed our business challenges, best practices and reviewed some new learning for the group, we talked about family. We spent a lot of time thinking and sharing about family traditions, routines for kids, best meals for families, great outings to build bonds with our children. After that, we took a nanosecond to discuss ME time…(LOL). But we realized we NEVER spend time applying the same consideration to our spouses/partners or to the work of being married. This hit most of us like a big AHA!

It seems to me that one of the biggest challenges mamapreneurs can face is the one that involves giving our marriages the time and nurturing they deserve. My husband told me a couple years ago: “I feel like I’m getting your scraps.” The THUD you might have heard was my heart dropping to the floor. It was a hard thing to hear, but so critical.

He was right. I was up to my eyeballs with motherhood, which I believed was a really hard thing to master. And you know how that goes: whatever we believe is true, right? So motherhood really WAS hard for me to MASTER. I’m sure you can pick up on the negative thinking I had going on there.

One of the things that made me feel better about myself then (and now) was being a coach–having a business, making a difference for my clients, being the best I could be. My work is an outlet for my passion, my ambition, my creativity, and my purpose. And while I was busy putting the best of myself into motherhood and my business, I for sure wasn’t giving my husband my best. It’s not that there was not enough of my best self to spread around (just like no matter how many children you have, you always have enough love for another one). Instead, the truth was that I didn’t have my marriage on the list of my priorities. GULP. Pretty hard to admit, but looking back, I know how true that was.

Since then, I’ve put some structures in place to make sure I don’t give him what’s left of me when I’m totally spent (which is only the whiny, bitchy, frustrated, defensive, exhausted part). We have a standing date night on the calendar every other Saturday. Babysitter is always booked. This has helped a lot. And we enjoy knowing we are going to have our time. And I have a note posted in my office that I see everyday that says: “Give Richard my best.” Visual cues are powerful reminders.

Being a coach and having my own business while raising our babies was a tough (gross understatement) sell to my husband four years ago. It was made tougher by the distance that existed between us as a married couple at that time. When we’re closer, more related, and taking care of each other, then we definitely do a better job of understanding and respecting what is important to each other.

Are you getting some pushback from your spouse/partner? Do you have to defend your work and why you’re committed to it? Do you feel stuck between choosing motherhood, marriage, or career?

Well, you’re not the only one. If you feel like sharing your comments, please do. I feel better having shared my story with you.

The economy stinks, but you still need support

Let’s face it: right now, we’re all taking a look at what we can do without. We’re putting off buying goods and services we don’t really need. We’re reorganizing our budgets in a way to squeeze a little bit more blood from the turnip.

Here are a few things I’m willing to do without for a while:

1) New bedroom furniture. I’ve wanted to replace the hand-me-down college furniture we have (with the exception of our phenomenal walnut and mahogany sleigh bed my dear husband built with his own two hands) for about four years now. Yeah. Well, I guess I can wait a while longer.

2) A really swank pair of black boots and a nice winter coat to go with it. As much as I want them, I don’t need them and can get by with what I have just fine.

3) Travelling some place warm after the thrill of the upcoming holidays wears off and I’m really, really sick of snow and the cold, gray days. I’ll have to make peace with the weather outside and appreciate how much my three little kiddos love it.

4) Much needed home decor and an interior designer to tell me where to put it. A year after moving into our lovely new home, I haven’t hung a single thing on the walls. Would love to brighten them up since I’ll be spending a lot of time in here given #3.

I could go on and on.

I am not resentful about giving these things up. It’s simply a choice I’m making. By saying no to these things, I’m saying yes to several others. I feel very powerful about the choices I’m saying yes to.

But there are a few things I will not choose to live without. These are the things I need to support me beyond the obvious food, clothing and shelter expenses I pay each month. I need to see my friends and family back in the States. I allow the expense to drive there on occasion. (Yippee–gas prices are down, finally!) I pay for an international calling plan that allows me to connect and relate to my faraway friends and family. I will continue to pay for the exercise and yoga classes that help me stay strong and healthy. And I pay for my business coach, who helps me keep my focus, my resolve and allows me to work out the fears I have that could cause my life and my business to take a downturn along with the economy.

Any of the expenses I’m choosing to keep spending could be seen as luxury items by some that could be cut to save money. But I know that, for me, cutting those would cut too close to the bone. Such cuts would weaken me, and I’d have less of a chance to stay strong, healthy, and focused when times are tough (like now).

What are you cutting or choosing to do without?

There are lots of places in most of our budgets that could be made leaner.

However, cutting out the things in your life that support you in being strong, healthy and focused could have a detrimental effect.

For a limited time, I’m offering my coaching services at a minimal fee to those who need some support to get through these tough times. My normal fee for four-hourly sessions per month is $600. I’m offering a once-a-month Focus Call for individuals for $150.

Seriously, aren’t you worth one hour and $150/month? Get someone to support you so you can see the possibilities that are available to you now. I’d love to be that someone!

Please email me directly for more information: lara@mombizcoach.com. Of course, you can learn a bit more about my approach from my website: www.mombizcoach.com.

To your success!

Can I get a little inspiration, please?!!!

There are a lot of people out there who are a lot scared right now about how things are looking in the economy. And no doubt: once a person gets scared, more and more scary things start showing up.

I’m excited to continue sharing good news that’s happening to some great mom entrepreneurs right now. If we continue to look for what we can celebrate, what is working, what IS possible, then a lot of amazing mom biz owners will get the recognition and support they need and deserve.

Please read the attached blog post below from a new friend and colleague, Traci Bisson, who runs The Mom Entrepreneur as well as her own PR and marketing firm. Traci is doing a phenomenal job in her own ventures and is celebrating other mom biz owners who are committed to doing the same. Traci is looking for stories from mom entrepreneurs who are “making lemonade from lemons”, and will highlight them in an upcoming blogpost.

Want to know more, or have a suggestion for Traci? Read below.

Continue reading ‘Can I get a little inspiration, please?!!!’


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