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Entrepreneur Mom

with Aliza Sherman

If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.

To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website, www.mediaegg.com.

A Mind-Body Connection Keeps You on Track

Categories: Infrastructure, Startup Tips, Uncategorized

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Problogger, Gina Blitstein, discusses the mind-body connection and offers up ways to promote harmony by balancing mind and body.

Stress is a fact of life, whether you’re a CEO, parent, student or all of the above. Stress can be felt in your mind and in your body too. Ideally, your mind and body are in sync, helping each other get through the challenges of the day. When the body and mind are not working in harmony, both suffer.

"Finding ways to keep your sanity and balance in life is necessary for a happy mind and healthy body." says Renee Rayles, author of The Super, Sexy, Single Mom on a Budget . Renee practices "Me Time" every day in order to stay balanced in her busy life. She suggests the following practices:

  • Journaling , writing a gratitude journal that will help you focus on the positive aspects of your life.
  • Yoga.
  • Take a long, hot bath with candles and wine.
  • A girls’ night out if not every weekend then every other weekend to let loose and catch up with your girls!

Renee’s philosophy inspired me to think about how I deal with stress. When I imagine feeling my best, I immediately think of the importance of strength and vitality. Maintaining the feeling that I am able to take on the challenges of my life requires a daily commitment. I try to take care of myself physically through living a healthy lifestyle which includes eating well and getting enough exercise. I’m no fanatic about it by any stretch of the imagination but the fact remains that the more diligent I am at caring for my health, the better I feel.

The second – and equally vital - component of feeling my best is keeping my mind in good shape. Since I tend to live in my head, I find my thoughts are commonly a barrier to accomplishing what I want to do. Sometimes my body seems to go one way and my mind another! Fortunately, I have discovered something that helps me keep both body and mind in more harmonious coexistence: The practice of yoga.

Simply defined, yoga is a collection of movements which stretch the entire body, leading to increased flexibility and strength. Through practice of the poses, the mind is released from outward distraction as concentration is focused inward on the physical effort required of the poses. Thus yoga forges a connection between the body and the mind. Repeating the poses reinforces this mind-body connection, so that over time the two communicate with increasing ease.

It is an absolutely liberating experience to become so engrossed in a pose that you forget to worry or ruminate or plan! Yoga teaches the skill of living in the moment, which is a healthy thing for someone who prides herself on being the ‘Planner Extraordinaire!’ It’s a great way to find balance in my life between the me who “does” and the me who “is.”

The most valuable aspect of yoga for me is that it is a process – or journey. There is no competition; no winning or losing. It is strictly between me and my body. The point is that you practice the pose not that you achieve the pose. The point is the striving toward and releasing yourself – body and mind – into the pose. With each attempt, your body gives in more freely and with increased confidence. The only things to master are the physical and mental connections within yourself.

Many people consider that connection of the physical and mental a spiritual experience. For me there’s no better way of creating, celebrating and nurturing my inner and outer strength and vitality. Neither my body or mind can be strong if they aren’t working in unison.

Yoga teacher and founder of Iyengar Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar, had this to say about the benefits of yoga, “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”

Could yoga be a way for you to conquer stress in your mind and body?

Bringing On a Project Manager

Categories: Infrastructure, Uncategorized

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Microsoft Project Screenshot
Image via Wikipedia

I’m just looking over the contract to hire an independent consultant whose official title will be Project Manager. She’ll work remotely as a virtual overseer of the projects I’m working on and help keep track of all the moving pieces including other consultants who come onto projects on an as-needed basis.

So now instead of having to spend a good portion of my time keeping track of the details and checking the status of tasks, I can let it all go and rely on her.

There are the operative words: Let Go. One of the biggest barriers to growing my company is my tendency to hoard tasks. But I’m at the breaking point. If I don’t let go of some of this load, something else will have to give - my sanity, my quality time with my family, my high standards in the quality of my work.

By hiring this person - who I’ve known for years and am looking forward to working with - I may be spending more money than I have in the past, but with her help, I’ll be able to bring on more projects without dropping any balls at all.


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Will Sarah Palin be the Ultimate Working Mom?

Categories: Infrastructure, Uncategorized

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Sarah PalinI’ve been living in Alaska for the last three years so have watched Sarah Palin’s move from Mayor of Wasilla to Governor of the State and now to John McCain’s running mate. I, too, have some of the same questions as many other Americans such as: Is Sarah Palin qualified to be Vice President of the United States?

While I think she is a relaxed and natural public speaker, delivering her acceptance and convention speeches as if she were addressing fellow parents at the PTA, I question the validity of most of what she says.

But my main concern isn’t if she is yet another pandering politician who I wish I could trust but simply can’t.

After watching her at 10pm Eastern Standard Time/9pm Central Time at the Republican National Convention in Minnesota and seeing her family pass 4-month-old Trig around like a football in front of the roaring crowd, I kept thinking, “If I were in that stadium, wouldn’t my baby be at home, with a sitter, sound asleep at her proper bedtime?”

I must admit that I probably would never have noticed the baby, much less the parade of her other 4 children, if I were still single, aggressively career-oriented, and child-free. But as an older mother of a 2-year-old, I was offended and appalled.
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It is OK to Divorce Your Bank

Categories: Biz Nuts & Bolts, Business Essentials, Infrastructure, Startup Tips, Uncategorized

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BankI’m in the middle of a company crisis and have decided to do a series of blog posts about how I’m solving the situation. Don’t worry - my company is actually thriving. The crisis is…more complicated, and I’m probably not yet ready to talk about it at this time.

One small component of the crisis has led me to re-evaluate my business relationship with my current bank and to suck it up and leave this bank for another one. This move has been long overdue and has only been held back by my own personal (and unfounded) fears.

The bank I’m currently with has been a nightmare from Day 1. The problems started with the new bank employee who set up our company account in January 2005 and made a slew of errors including mispelling our names multiple times which continued to haunt us over time. I ended up with a 5-page, single spaced typed document outlining every egregious error that the bank made (almost every one of them that they admitted to doing) that cost us time, money and sanity. To this day, I still have not had my call returned when I left a customer service voicemail - per their instructions - asking for a supervisor to call me back to address my complaints. That was 2 plus years ago.


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8 Ways to Overcome Idea Block

Categories: Infrastructure, Legal Stuff, Uncategorized, Work/Life

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Rough mindmap notes taken during a course sessionImage via Wikipedia

As a writer and pro-blogger, I’m always in need of ideas for articles, columns and blog posts on a near daily basis. Unfortunately, even a writer who does this for a living can run dry. It isn’t that I don’t have any ideas. It is just that the ideas I have right now aren’t inspiring me. Call it a bad mood, call it writers block, call it what you like. But whatever you call it, I’m still sitting here with my morning blending into midday blending into afternoon and still no blog post.

So I will do what every professional writer must do at one time or another. Write about ways to overcome writers block or ways to find your next cool idea. I hope this list will inspire you and help some of you get out of that idea-free rut you find yourself in on occasion, whether you’re looking for topics to write about or ideas for any aspect of your company.
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Working in the Clouds

Categories: Biz Nuts & Bolts, Books & Articles, Infrastructure, Tech & Net, Uncategorized

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clouds on WikipediaA few weeks ago, I heard the phrase “working in the clouds” for the first time. The phrase refers to the way many people are starting to use online-based applications for their work processes and tasks rather than computer-based solutions. Even without thinking very much about it, I’ve been “working in the clouds” more and more often in the last six months. But after my big computer crash and near-loss of all 10-months worth of data, I’ve been thinking a lot more about “cloud computing” ever since.

There are definitely major pros but also major cons to cloud computing, and weighing them out is often too much for my overloaded brain to handle. But I thought I’d share my thoughts on the topic and then hear from you as well so we can share best practices on this revolutionary way of work.

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I Need an Assistant!

Categories: Business Essentials, Infrastructure, Legal Stuff

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Workload
Image via Wikipedia

When do you know that it is time to hire an assistant? I think so many of us are used to multi-tasking. Some of us, like me, even thrive on having a million things to do and find it difficult to get motivated when our workload is light. But even with Type A overachievers, there must be some definitive signs that it is time to hire some help.

Here are some signs that could mean you are in need of hiring somebody.

1. You are missing deadlines. Sure, your clients may be forgiving, but if you find yourself getting behind, chances are you’ve reached the tipping point between a lot of work and too much work for one human being. Missing deadlines is not acceptable. Don’t sully your reputation by lowering your standards.
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Is Your Business Sustainable?

Categories: Business Essentials, Infrastructure, Work/Life

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Greenhouse gas emissions per capita in 2000Image via Wikipedia

One of the latest megatrends in business is sustainability. What is sustainability, you ask? According to the Sustainability Dictionary, sustainability is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” In other words, a sustainable company is one that has a triple bottom line:

  1. People
  2. Planet
  3. Profits

You may have heard people talking about their “carbon footprint.” Your carbon footprint measures the amount of greenhouse gas emissions your life and work activities create. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, and chlorofluorocarbons that absorb infra-red radiation in the atmosphere and contribute to global warming.

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To Grow or Not to Grow Your Business

Categories: Infrastructure, Uncategorized, Work/Life

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paper doll cutoutsI’m in the age-old quandry many business owners face at some point: Should I let my business grow? Maybe that sounds like a strange question because perhaps this is a more “female business owner” question. Maybe I’m being sexist, but I think most men start businesses to make money so business growth is a given.

Most (many?) women start a business for different reasons such as having more flexibility to be with their kids (a misnomer, by the way); to make a difference in their life, their community, their world; to make enough money to pay the bills with some to spare. I haven’t met many women in my immediate sphere who have started a business to become a millionaire. They are driven by a myriad of other motivations.

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Choosing a Business Attorney & Accountant

Categories: Infrastructure

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Kate asked the following question:

So i know you need a good lawyer and accountant to help make sure everything you are doing is right and legal. But how do you go about finding a good one? What should we look for/stay away from? and how much should the services cost? what is ‘too good to be true’ cheap and overpriced?

There is no hard and fast rule to finding and choosing an attorney or accountant for your business. That said, the last place I’d look if I were you is the Yellow Pages. However, searching on the Internet is not necessarily a bad idea.
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