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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.

Getting Your Financial Life

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by guest blogger Emily Bass.

Trying to find a financially viable arrangement for my future feels like trying to find the best method of treatment for some rare disease. There are so many options and so many opinions to assess out there. Since I am not a professional financial planner, it is daunting to try and understand my options.

Book Cover I really appreciate finding Get a Financial Life - Personal Finance In Your Twenties and Thirties by Beth Kobliner. The writing style respects my brain while still using very basic language and explanations when referring to my financial dis-ease.

A former writer for Money magazine and columnist for Glamour, Beth has appeared repeatedly on Oprah, Today, CNN, MSNBC, and ABC’s World News This Morning, as well as public Radio’s Talk of the Nation and Marketplace.

Beth said she wrote this book because financial advice tends to be targeted towards older and better-established people while people in their 20s and 30s lacked advice that spoke directly to them and their concerns such as: paying off student loans, getting their careers on track, and thinking about buying a house some day.
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She’s an E-Entrepreneur: Carrie Bell of MadCapz

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I met Carrie Bell recently on the phone while I was giving a teleseminar about using Facebook for business. I told her that I profiled women for this blog and asked if I could interview her.

That is often how these things happen - being at the right place at the right time and embracing an opportunity. Seems like embracing opportunities is something Carrie does well. Here’s our interview.

Entrepreneur Mom: Why did you decide to start your company? What was the inspiration?

Carrie Bell: My company, Madcapz, was created out of a need. About 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease (an autoimmune disorder). The only exercise I could handle was going for walks and I always reached for one of my husband’s baseball caps because I was losing my hair (another symptom of Grave’s Disease). But wearing a man’s baseball cap with a sports team or company logo just didn’t do it for me. So, I began my search for a fun feminine baseball cap that I could enjoy wearing, would make me look great, and feel fabulous!


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Don’t Bring It to Work: Breaking the Family Patterns that Limit Success

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Book Cover Sylvia LaFair, Ph.D., author of Don’t Bring It to Work- Breaking the Family Patterns that Limit Success, is an expert on leadership, workplace behavior, and relationships. She is also President of Creative Energy Options (CEO), a consulting firm that runs teambuilding workshops and educational seminars that focus on results through relationships.

“I’ve been writing this book in my mind ever since I began to see the powerful impact leaders who are ‘pattern aware’ can have on their companies,” says LaFair. “As I offer executives and their teams the secrets of why we interact the way we do, I see less on-going conflict and more innovative solutions”

LaFair’s target audience are “leaders of the 21st century.” She feels these leaders can lead with more confidence when they learn about the complexities of relationship systems, especially how the learning in their original organization - their family - is replicated in their present work organization.


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One week until deadline for international women’s business plan competition

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Interested in entering a business plan competition? The first application deadline for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards is 13 February.

According to the site:

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards are an international business plan competition for women created in 2006 by Cartier in partnership with the Women’s Forum, McKinsey & Company and INSEAD business school. Five female entrepreneurs, one from each continent, are awarded annually with coaching support for a full year, a US$ 20 000 grant and an exclusive Trophy.

Last year’s winning business plans came from:

  • a local laboratory for African cosmetics and essential oils in Senegal
  • a biotech company working to improve detection and treatment of ovarian cancer in the U.S.
  • a program for providing cochlear implants to children and adults in Panama
  • a luxury leather eco-friendly company using salmon skin leather in the UK
  • a startup food company promoting healthy Filipino foods in the Phillipines

Learn more about the competition.

Put That Computer Down!

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In the same vein as guest blogger Emily Bass’s multi-tasking with presence post, I had one of my “aha” moments at the collision of work and life.

Yesterday, while I was supposed to be playing with my 2-year-old daughter (”two and a HALF”), I kept feeling a terrible compulsion to get online and plow through some emails and writing assignments. So I went with it, getting up from doing a puzzle with my daughter to fire up the computer just for a moment. The moment turned to minutes.

“Mommy, come here. Do a puzzle with me,” she called from the living room.

“One minute, honey, I’ll be right there,” I said, typing away.

Minutes passed.
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Guest Post: Multitasking with Presence

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Our guest blogger today is Emily Bass. Emily Bass lives between Anchorage and McCarthy, Alaska with her husband and son and her dog Lucy. After 20 years as a professional skier and 10 years as Founding Director of a nonprofit supporting people with disabilities to ski, Emily has taken up working from home as a freelance grant writing and providing support for small non profits in her community.

I was a self proclaimed “excellent multitasker”. I felt productive and like a good person when I could check something off my list. I used to find multitasking calming - until I had a child that is.

As my 6 year old son sat at the kitchen counter, where he can do his homework and I can multitask, he was telling me a story. The story was something about an invention he was going to make that would help the world. Half listening I kept saying mmhmm, wow, that’s great. In between commands such as; “make sure your handwriting is clear” he called mom- MOM- MOM!
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She’s an E-Entrepreneur: Louise Zweben, SympathyTree.com

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What do you do when someone you love dies? Why not create an online memorial for them? That’s the idea behind SympathyTree.com, a place for people to go for comfort and to pay tribute to ones they have loved and lost. Louise Zweben, CEO, created this site after she was unable to attend a close family friend’s funeral in Scotland. Here’s an interview with Louise talking about her life as an e-entrepreneur.

1. Why did you decide to start your company? What was the inspiration?

I am originally from Scotland. I moved to California 14 years ago on assignment with Sun Microsystems, the company I worked for at that time. I had never intended to stay in the U.S. for long but then met my future husband and, well, the rest is history. We now have two daughters, aged 9 and 5, whom we adopted as young babies from orphanages in China. So, we are a very eclectic global family. Apart from my husband and my daughters, the rest of my very close knit family live in Scotland as do many of my closest friends.

Over the last 14 years, there have been several deaths in the family which has posed logistical challenges but, more importantly, has resulted in my not being able to be part of the grieving community, not being able to share in person my stories and memories, not being able to physically give and receive comfort and, as a result, not being able to heal with others.
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What is Your 2009 Business Resolution?

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In 2008, I made a resolution to get my business going again after having a baby in 2006. I finally feel like I’m back on my entrepreneurial feet again. I was still struggling almost two years post partum, but the last 6 months have been much more on track - physically, mentally, creatively, spiritually.

So my 2009 business resolution is to grow the business and bring on my first corporate employee who will also be my business partner. Bringing on another person versus working with independent contractors is a big leap for me. I wasn’t thinking my Internet consulting business would be anything more than a way to bring in some extra income for my family and work on things I enjoy, namely blogging, podcasting and social media marketing campaigns.

This is my 3rd or 4th business, depending on how you count them, and I’m as excited about my social media marketing company as I was when I started an Internet company in January 1995. Despite the down economy, I really feel like we’re onto something.

With newspapers dying across the country and many media outlets bringing their content online and building communities around it, businesses and organizations are looking for innovative and more cost-effective ways to market. Social media fits the bill, especially since today’s consumer is less influenced by traditional advertising and much more influenced by social networks-powered word-of-mouth.

So I’m confident I can grow my business this year and really look forward to doing it.

What is YOUR 2009 Business Resolution? What was your resolution in 2008 and did you keep it?

Workplace Etiquette for the Holidays

Categories: Books & Articles, Legal Stuff, Uncategorized

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It’s that time of year again!

Somehow, in between all the shopping and baking and wrapping and mailing and planning and driving to Christmas pageants and holiday concerts, you still have to find time to run your business—and decide how you’re going to mark the season in your professional life.

Here are a few tips to help you ring in the holidays the right way at work:

  • Gifts. Who gets them? And what should they get? Etiquette maven Emily Post says giving gifts to employees is “a nice gesture and a great way to acknowledge those who work for you.” If you’re going to gift your employees, though, remember the old Valentine rule from elementary school: Bring one for everyone. Books, gift cards, tickets to arts or sporting events, and baskets of cookies or other treats are all appropriate for employees. Avoid gifts that are too expensive or intimate.

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Tips for Switching Banks

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If you’ve been tracking this blog, you know that I had some very self-confessional posts a while back about leaving one bank for another. The bank I was using for my company was trouble from the start, but I was afraid to move to a new bank, not just because of the hassle involved but because I simply felt trapped.

I finally took the plunge and moved my company’s business to Key Bank. During that process, I was fortunate to be able to speak with Maria Coyne, EVP, Key4Women. She provided me with the following tips about switching banks for this blog.

from Maria Coyne…

Switching banks can be a daunting prospect so making the move is often put on the bottom of the “to do list.” But understanding the correct steps in transferring banks can make the process less stressful. If you’ve been considering transferring to a bank that is more closely aligned with your financial goals and personal values, first take time to research the new bank to know if it’s the right fit for you and then understand the logistics that make the transfer legal.


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