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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.

Making Choices

Categories: Random Biz Rants, Uncategorized

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Life is a series of choices. As I teach my 5-year-old about life and being a good citizen of the world and taking responsibility, I realize a major lesson for her is about the choices she makes and the consequences of those choices.

Choose “bad behavior,” and you’ll lose privileges. Choose “good behavior,” and you’ll find that life is much better for everyone.

But the world isn’t black and white. Even in business, the choices you make can make or break your business - or you. Or they might have little or no impact on anything. And the choices you make are never made - or played out - in a vacuum. There are other factors, other players, other influences.

So even if you choose “good behavior” or make what you feel is the “right choice,” it can create an avalanche of problems or cut out opportunity,.
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Mom 2.0 Summit: The new entrepreneur, part 2

Categories: Biz Nuts & Bolts, Uncategorized

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I’ve been thinking a lot about personal branding lately and am reminded about a quirky, fun moment in a panel I sat in on at the Mom 2.0 Summit in April. The panel title was The Other New Normal: Entrepreneurial Strategy in a Post-Recession, Post-Web 2.0 World. The panelists were Stephanie Smirnov (moderator), Erica Diamond, Shelly Kramer and Gabrielle Blair).

Unexpectedly, Gabrielle (@designmom) used Justin Bieber in a lively presentation about tips for entrepreneurs. Yes, that Justin Bieber.

I’m not going to repeat the Justin portion - just use your imagination there.

But here is the gist of the tips she shared that can easily be applied to both social media and business:

Lesson #1 - Engage Your Audience - Interact with your audience. Reach out, respond.

Lesson #2 - There is No One Set Path - You may not know what you’re creating, but build something. There is no one way to do this.

Lesson #3 - It Never Hurts To Look Good - Brand yourself. Know what your “look” is. This is true for any business. Invest in design but also be smart about what you spend on your “look.”

Gabrielle also pointed to successful women-owned companies that were examples of people who are living and working these tips including 5MinutesforMom and CoolMomPicks. Take a look at what their doing and how they are doing it. Note what they “look” like and how they are putting who they are out there through their content and branding.

What path are you on with your business, and how are you communicating and showing it?

8 things I hate about having a company

Categories: Uncategorized, diary of a startup

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This post might come back to zing me in the butt, but I have to be honest here. I hate having a company. There, I’ve said it.

That said, I still believe I’ve got a killer idea that I could ramp up quickly and sell, but I was thinking that I had to have a company to make that happen. Now I’m not so sure I need one.

In one of my previous posts, I blogged about two opportunities I have to get me out of my rut, to shake off the business blues, and to move forward. One is an online process and forum where I’ll be guided to better articulate my business idea. The other is working with a friend on an entirely different level, another plane if you will, and get her input about the direction I’m going.

In my most recent brainstorming session with her, I expressed my frustration. There was some kind of barrier in my brain that I couldn’t seem to dismantle. Through the course of the conversation, she nailed what has been bugging me all these months.
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are women at the table in business?

Categories: Uncategorized

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We interrupt our regular programming to highlight an excellent blog post by Carol Roth titled At the Business Table, Where Are the Ladies?

Roth talks about the dearth of women in high places, from corporate board rooms to the New York Times Best Seller list. Here’s an excerpt from her post:

So, where are the ladies and why are we not represented at the highest level of business?  There are certainly many women who should be at the table, not because they are women, but because they are deserving and are conspicuously still absent.   In a recent discussion with a high profile business publication, I was invited to become a contributor.  The senior editor named all of the other business contributors and absent me, they were all men. Despite the fact that 52% of all businesses are started by women currently, the business advice is being given by men.

The conversation that has ensued in the comments section is familiar. The “women’s issue” issue isn’t new.
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getting a “wicked start” for my new business

Categories: Business Essentials, Uncategorized

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I’ve been in a funk lately about my new business. While I think my business idea is solid, the growth potential high, and I’m incredibly excited about mobile, I’m feeling isolated and scattered and have gotten discouraged.

Just at the time when I was feeling like burying my head in the proverbial sand or running away, I received two interesting propositions:

1. Traditional Business Support - A friend of mine contacted me about his client who started a resource called Wicked Start. The site helps new and aspiring entrepreneurs to get their businesses started. While I’m not a new entrepreneur, even a serial entrepreneur can be considered a “new entrepreneur” because every new business is different not to mention the business climate, marketplace and even consumers. For all my business experience - and doling out business advice over the years - I still can find myself paralyzed at the exact moment when I should be hitting the ground running.
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How much risk can you handle?

Categories: Uncategorized

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I’m taking a big risk. Again. I’m starting a new business venture.

While this is the 6th business I’ve started, I really don’t consider myself a risk-taker as an entrepreneur because I pick businesses that play to my strengths, experience and skills.

Why am I a serial entrepreneur? I get these ideas, and then get a feeling that I should just go for it and that everything is going to work out. Then I start things rolling and try not to look down as I walk that tightrope of bootstrapping a new business.

I’m not entirely without a safety net. I still have the social media marketing business I co-founded as one safety net although my two business partners are running the day-to-day as I’m pursuing this new venture. Plus my husband has a steady job so I’m not entirely without options in case my new venture doesn’t succeed.

But I know it will succeed.
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5 Must-Have Charging Devices for the Business Traveler

Categories: Business Essentials, Uncategorized

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I’m all about the useful, practical gadgets and gizmos that make things easier for me. When I’m traveling, I’m even more in love with handy products, particularly those that pack well and pack a lot of usefulness into their compactness. Here are a few products I find indispensible when I’m on the road:

1. Belkin Mini Surge Protector Dual USB Charger - This charger turns a single wall outlet into a charger for three devices plus has two USB ports to charge other devices. I’ve found this device particularly handy when I’m at conferences where power outlets are at a premium. I can share a single outlet with several people at once so we all get a charge.

Cobra 2. Cobra CPI-150 Micro Port 150 Watt Power Inverter (Black) - I use this power inverter above and carry it with me to use in rental cars when I’m traveling on business to charge my inevitably low-on-power laptop. It comes in a small pleather zipped pouch to compactly hold both inverter box and plug. My ony complaint about this device is that it is small, and I often overlook it or forget it on some of my trips. I’ve thought of keeping it in my car but then tend to forget to grab it and put it into my bag when I’m getting on a flight. I need to start keeping it in my computer bag!
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Book: Simple Wisdom for the Not So Simple Business World

Categories: Uncategorized

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Book Cover I received a review copy of Simple Wisdom for the Not So Simple Business World by Lynda Barbaccia. The book incorporates the author’s suggestions for infusing the workplace with more positive energy and less stress. She emphasizes rituals, creating a sanctuary, and incorporating more mindfulness into one’s day. Chapters in the book are short but each guides you to a new activity or new way of looking at the old ways of work.

Here are some of her ideas for transforming work and the workplace:

    1. Lessen mess to create more harmony.
    2. Use a lamp versus overhead lights to add warmth to your workspace.
    3. Add color to your workspace understanding the energy of colors.
    4. Build a workplace shrine including a bowl to contain written intentions for improving business.
    5. Learn to meditate to bring more mindfulness to your work day.
    6. Let go of power struggles.
    7. Bring laughter and humor to your work.
    8. Smile.

Barbaccia’s book is compact, easy-to-read, and you can enter it at any chapter and receive some advice or guidance to making positive change in your work and work environment. I actually carried it around with me while traveling on business and found I could apply many of the practices in the book to any space and any work.

Buy the Book.

Download the Kindle version.

Book Cover
Also on my reading list:

Taming the Monkey Mind by Thubten Chodron

Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

What’s on YOUR reading list?

Welcome to my mommy escape

Categories: Uncategorized

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I did it. I spent a bunch of money I didn’t have to spend and can already feel the financial pinch, but I circumvented a downward spiral into mommy madness this past weekend with my Mommy Escape. For those of you on Twitter, my hashtag was #mommyescapes. I learned a lot on my weekend and wanted to share some of those lessons as well as recap what I did - and didn’t do.

Here’s a glimpse of my weekend:

1. Booked Friday and Saturday night at the hotel. I chose a hotel called Il Lugano. I’ve stayed there before and knew I liked the hotel’s style, the ambiance, the food, the intracoastal.

2. Slept. No, I did not indulge in a pay-per-view-movie at all during my entire stay (see previous post).

3. Spent Saturday being creatively productive. I was actually planning on doing nothing but found I got much more joy out of being creative. Wrote a little then got caught up with some of my podcasts and felt really good about that.

4. Booked a spa treatment. Went to the Atlantic Hotel’s spa and picked two of the cheapest spa treatments. They did some heavy upsell on me and ended up doubling what I had budgeted. Live and learn, but thank you, Atlantic Hotel spa, for working with me on my sticker shock. Good customer service wins out.

5. Ate solo in the lobby bar. I wanted to dine with a friend but she was out of town. So tried a fancy burger with chianti onions and hand-pulled mozarella and parmesan fries. Sipped some 14 Hands merlot. Then wandered out to a wine bar nearby. Early night, more sleep.

6. Spent Sunday at the beach. I ended up at the beach at the Ocean Manor which turned out to be like a mini-Spring Break-type crowd but instead of stressing about it, I amused myself watching the people and sipping a Bloody Mary.

7. Ended with a fun fruity drink. When I asked the bartender back at Il Lugano to make me a special drink for the end of my Mommy Escapes Weekend, she obliged with a concoction of dark rum, coconut rum, pineapple and orange juices and grenadine. Perfect!

But of course, the weekend was not all relaxation and drinks. Here is an excerpt of what I tweeted during my Mommy Escape including a short list of lessons I came away with from my time alone:

All in all, this time away solidified my perception that the idea of balance between work and home life is a fallacy. It is all one big life with different modes, paces, interactions and obligations. It all requires an agile dance, a juggle, some ritual, a lot of self-care, and unapologetic moments of shifting from high stress and pressure mode to complete abandon and disconnection. I’m one of the lucky ones who can (almost) afford to pay for my “away time.” But we all need to find it, create it, honor it, revel in it.

If we don’t take care of ourselves, we could do the one bad thing we all seem to be racing around so hard to avoid: We could fail.

How do you take care of yourself - just you - to fortify yourself to meet the demands of work life and home life?

The 45-Minute meeting? hurrah!

Categories: Biz Nuts & Bolts, Uncategorized

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I received a pitch from a publicist who works with a company called TimeBridge which is a one-stop online meetings solution where that you can use to plan for, schedule, receive reminders for and follow up on meetings using their online tools. The pitch was about the 45 Minute Meeting Movement, a “new” idea being perpetuated by the TimeBridge folks to reduce the amount of time we waste in meetings.

“Why are we starting this movement?” asks John Stormer on the 45 Minute Meeting site. He goes on to explain:

“Well if you ask me what drives our work at TimeBridge, it’s a commitment to make meetings better for the both organizers and attendees.  That means everyone’s time is better spent, for sure, but it also means that teams are more effective.   More stuff gets done in the meeting.  And (this is not insignificant) that teams feel better about their work, more empowered, more effective.”
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