Our New Home!!

I'm excited to say that we will no longer be blogging at this address! Our blog {including all archived content} has been moved to our new, expanded and redesigned website! You can go directly to Market Mommy:: The Blog by clicking the link below!

Drumroll please .......................

It's July! And, Market Mommy is happy to announce what you've all been waiting for! The winner(s) of our First Birthday Extravaganza! First, I'd like to say thank you to everyone who entered, tweeted, blogged, facebooked, etc. about the contest! I appreciate your support!

We had just under 300 entries! I've really enjoyed reading through them and getting to know you all a little bit better!

And, we of course can't forget our awesome sponsors! Without them, this giveaway would not have been possible! Please review the list here and thank them whenever possible!

Now for the winners ......

Mega Prize Winner::
A BIG congratulations to Lois Whittacker at Cushie Pushie

4 runners-up recieve a one-year membership to Our Milk Money::
1. Micholyn Fajen at Fajen Consulting
2. Staci at November Sunflower
3. Emily Li at LiLi Picked
4. Angela Bickford at Always B Designs

19 runners-up receive a copy of The Business Behind the Boogie::
1. Angela at Always B Designs
2. Maureen Calo at United from Home
3. Kathleen Collins at Jilly Jelly Bug
4. Eva at Hyper Space web design
5. Heather Flottman at Liliputians
6. Jaime at Simply Jaime
7. Colleen Garcia at Clever Container

8. Jan Ackerson at Superior Editing Services
9. Anita Foster at Rianja Fashion
10. Melissa Dery at The Golden Rule VA
11. Heather Barnard at Chickadee Prints

12. Susan Jones at Little Monkeys
13. Jill Chuckas at Crafty Baby
14. Michal Circolone at MammaMichal's Freshly Made Body Care Products

15. Suzanne Remington at The Boy’s Store
16. Michelle Campbell at 3 Blondes and a Bag
17. Staci Egan at Contempo Jewelry
18. Heather Lopez at Happy and Healthy Mom
19. Michelle Miller at Kids Décor, Inc.

Congratulations to all!

Extravaganza Guest Blogger:: Genesis Davies

Squidoo: How to Use It to Promote Your Business

I’ve been using Squidoo for years, but early on, I didn’t see the potential in it and really did very little with it. These days, I know better and the site has become one of my main methods of promotion. One of my lenses that was built over two years ago and has barely been touched since, brings in over 100 visitors a week to my main blog. That might not be a lot, but it does add up!

Why should you consider using Squidoo to promote your business? Well, there are a few great reasons, the first of which is that it is completely free . . . in fact you can actually earn money from them. For today’s purposes, however, we’re going to be looking at the promo value.

Squidoo is also very well liked by Google, so pages or “lenses” as they are called, are ranked quickly and quite high. That means great backlinks, as well as more traffic. Squidoo lenses are excellent sources of high quality traffic . . . people come across them while looking for information and click through the links to your business website.

Getting Started

Signing up for Squidoo is very simple. You’ll be prompted to set up your first lens immediately. Make sure to use top keywords in your title and URL and to select the “Do my own thing” option when setting it up. This will send you to a lens that has just an intro box or module.

To set up your lens, you can add modules, of which there are hundreds. Don’t get too fancy though! Just an intro module, a couple of text modules and a guestbook are fine for your first lens. You can tweak later.

Fill in the intro module first. This should just be an introduction to your business or the topic you’re writing about. Keep it short, about 100-150 words and keep in mind that the first couple of sentences are what will appear in search engines.

Write two short articles, about 200 words long, using your keyword. This is actually something that can be easily outsourced. Add these to your text modules and include a photo. You can use HTML within the text to create links to your site. If you aren’t sure how to do this, the code is easily found online. You can also link your photos to a site, which is an excellent method of boosting traffic.

Now, you can publish your lens and you have gone public.

Now What?

Once your lens is out there, it can take up to a week or so to get ranked on Google. You can speed things up by creating some publicity around the lens. Now that you’re a lensmaster, for example, you can go visit other lenses and leave notes.

When you leave a comment, your username is automatically linked to your lensmaster profile. Anyone can click through and find your lenses, so make sure your comments are eye catching and interesting enough to entice someone to click.

You should also start building more lenses! Link them to each other using the Featured Lenses module and build yourself a nice network of mini sites which will all help bring in traffic to your main business site.

Just a warning though . . . Squidoo is addictive. Once you start building lenses, you’ll probably find that you can’t stop!

Genesis Davies is a freelance writer and work at home mom of two. She blogs about Squidoo and everything else related to having a home business at At Home Mom Blog.

Extravaganza Guest Blogger:: Ros Guerrero

Stay Inspired

I recently came across this quote from Oprah and it has become one of my favorites - "Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure."

In early 2008, a year after launching Ficklets, I experienced a life changing, tragic event. My older sister and mentor, battling cancer at the time, came to live with me while she underwent a second round of chemotherapy.

Unmarried with no children, she relied heavily on siblings to help care for her. I soon discovered after a couple weeks that caring for her required around the clock care. To do this I decided to take hiatus from building the business to devote all my time and energy on her. The next several months became the most challenging and difficult times in my life, and put me on a path of spiritual journey and self-discovery.

Unfortunately, my sister lost her battle with cancer several months later. I was devastated, felt the deepest sadness and was immensely discouraged and unmotivated about business. Having lost the momentum, I questioned if I could continue building Ficklets.

With much surprise, just when I thought I was letting go of the dream, we received a couple of online orders and an uplifting email from a potential customer expressing excitement at her discovery of Ficklets. This was enough to reignite the dream, enthusiasm and belief to forge ahead with Ficklets.

Since then I have become an avid “inspirational seeker” and have made it a ritual to read positive, life affirming writings, surround myself with uplifting people and learn from heart-centered entrepreneurs.

These are just a couple of my favorite sites and people I follow that I turn to for those nuggets of inspiration:

http://www.daymondjohns.com/ – blog
• Kim Lavine on twitter - @MommyMillionair
• Shara Lawerence-Weiss on twitter - @MommyPerks

I dedicate this post to my sister Annie, my first female role model and mentor. She was intelligent, generous, kind and a girly-girl at heart (she loved high heels and large dangle earrings). She instilled in me I was beautiful and can do anything.

I miss her desperately, but grateful, honored and humbled she asked me to care for her on her last days here on earth. The journey taught me so much, but the life lesson that lives strong in my heart and mind – support, serve and love.

Ros Guerrero is the founder and inventor of Ficklets, eyewear charm huggers.

Extravaganza Guest Blogger:: Lisa Wible

Knowledge from the Gutters

If someone told you your kids could get their knowledge from the gutters, would you believe it? If you’ve ever wondered how to spark more excitement for reading in your children, then rain gutters may be just what you’re looking for.

As a Homeschool mom of six, one of my greatest desires is that my children develop a love for reading. I could spend all my free time getting lost in books. Our home is overflowing with books, and bookshelves are sprinkled throughout its rooms. But honestly, my boys would rather be hunting for critters, fishing, dirtbike riding, skateboarding, building and constructing, or doing just about anything other than sitting still. Our daughter loves books, but is still too young to read on her own.

One of the best additions we made to our home this year is using rain gutters as book displays. They allow us to display the books so that the covers are facing us instead of being stuffed tightly together on the shelves. The books look like they’re just begging to be read and the kids are drawn to them like magnets!

We are blessed to have a spacious basement and were able to run the gutters the full length of the wall in our Homeschool room. You don’t need a lot of wall space to do this though, and the materials are very inexpensive. They can be purchased at any Lowe’s, Home Depot or other home improvement store and only require a few brackets and screws to hang them. Even a one foot section near a cozy chair in your child’s room could do wonders.

I’ve found this to be a great way to increase literacy. The possibilities are endless. Let me know if you decide to use these. I’d love to see your finished project.

Lisa Wible is a Homeschool mom of 10 years, residing on an old country road in DE with her husband, Michael, and their 6 wonderful blessings, Noah 15, Jacob 13, Josiah 11, Joshua 10, Seth 8, & Emily 2 ¾. She is also a Dental Hygienist with a B.S. in microbiology and immunology, but retired from her lucrative career just before her 1st baby was born and branched into the fields of midwifery & homeopathy. She continued pursuing her passion for holistic wellness by conducting Wellness Seminars for many years. She was also blessed with five of her own wonderful homebirths, three of them being completely planned unassisted waterbirths. As an entrepreneur, she has successfully worked from home in the relationship marketing industry for the past 12 years. When people ask her what she does she tells them she gets to stay home and raise her future leaders, and give out joy and blessings everyday! Through her business, Bless Others With Cards, she helps busy business executives and professionals leverage communication strategies that enable them to build deeper, more effective relationships to stay top of mind with their clients and customers and increase referrals. She loves helping other moms work from home and efficiently stay in touch with family, friends, and colleagues too. Visit Lisa at Lisa Wible.com or her family blog, Raising Future Leaders.

Extravaganza Guest Blogger:: Deirdre Smith

Keeping your child occupied in the kitchen!

While you are trying to pull together a meal for your family at the end of a long day, do you have young child or children clinging to your leg? Is that child or children chanting, “Eat time! Eat time!” I have such a child at my house. A solution I have found that keeps my two year old JDaniel entertained is to give him his own cooking project. He is given a plastic tub or stew pot with about two inches of water with a dash of liquid dish soap. When he starts stirring, whisking, and cooking in the water bubbles form and that is fun the fun really starts to boil.

JDaniel has a drawer in the kitchen where I keep his cooking tools. He is able to help himself to the tools he would like to cook with each night. I have displayed JDaniel’s tool drawer below. You could use whatever you like. His drawer has some cookie cutters, a spoon, measuring cups and spoons, a nose aspirator (It makes great bubbles.), a whisk, and salad claws.

This activity is also a great way to have your child clean their hands. We pull out this activity out after we paint. It cleans the paint right off.

Deirdre Smith is JDaniel4's Mom, the forty five year old mom of a two year old son named Joseph Daniel the fourth. After teaching for twenty years, she met and married Joseph Daniel the third and moved from Northern Virginia to a suburb of Greenville, South Carolina. Last summer she decide to take what had been a blog that would have an few chatty posts about learning to be a mom posted on it every now and see what would happen with more time and focus.

Extravaganza Guest Blogger:: Lucinda Cross

Transformers "more than meets the eye"

Are you a transformer? Are you more than meets the eye? Are you projecting an image that speaks volume? What is you MPS (Most Profitable Skill)?

Marketing is all about getting remembered. Whether it is through direct mail, cold calls, website, blogs, email campaigns or word of mouth, the only point of successful marketing is getting remembered so people will want your service or products. Since you are a solopreneur you have to the PR representative, sales person and sole advertiser. Never let a good marketing opportunity pass you by. As James Malinchak would say ABM (Always Be Marketing).

1. Get on the Web
Search for your target market online using online forums and communities such as ning.com, meetup.com or igroops.com, sign up and begin posting content, no salesy language just content. Get to know your audience.

2. Be the expert
Find a niche in your general area and specialize in it. Remember you are not what you put on your business card or brochure. You are the skill set you offer your clients. You are an expert in what you do, so let’s define the skill and promote it like crazy.

These are two steps that you can take to begin the "transformer" process and open the doors to allow the rest of the online world know you are everywhere.

Lucinda Cross is the Lucinda Cross is a speaker and author and founder of Corporate Mom Dropouts, blog, radio show and book.

Extravaganza Guest Blogger:: Ally Loprete

Welcome to the New Parent Society

This is an exciting time. Don’t believe me? Look around at all the possibilities that have been presenting themselves on a daily basis. Often its easy to confuse change with fear- but you won’t do that, because you are not the same as you once were. Becoming a parent has transformed you into something else. You are not afraid to take risks, not afraid to fail, not afraid of what people will think of you. You are a parent now, and the bottom line on what is ultimately important has become much more simple.

You aren’t the only thing that has changed about the world. Parents everywhere are “born” each day. Like you, they learn that they are capable of a selfless and raw love multiplied by what was ever comprehended in the past. They are realizing the true priority of their lives. For the first time, parent everywhere are resolving to create their own rules, not give the best of themselves to a cold corporation incapable of loyalty.

Out of this trend has emerged the birth of millions of new businesses. But don’t let that number scare you. If you are one of the millions that have started working for yourself in the last three years, you probably already know that you are only able to handle a certain workload, so there is no reason for you to feel competitive. There is plenty to go around. In fact, the explosion of small business brings with it even more good news.

A brand new society...built with new rules, principles and standards...has become the real competition for corporate America. Now that we are our own bosses, parents have a created a new business society that works to enhance our family’s lifestyles, not detract from them.
So what are these new rules?

The basic principle is this: Family first. Business second. As parents, it’s a creed that all of us appreciate and none of us will dispute. To get more specific, this means that we will never again apologize for our children. If you’ve scheduled a conference call at a time other than when the kids are napping or at school, you are going to have to accept that there will be interruptions without apology. Where else would you get away with saying, “I won’t get to that until later. My son has a t-ball game”? Not only is this behavior acceptable, it is well respected.

In the new parent society, bartering is accepted and encouraged. How else are we expected to survive when our income is less than our outcome? We can barter just about everything, and that is because as a nation who is used to being over indulged, we sure do have a lot of stuff. We can swap clothes books, toys, even food. I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine. I’ll wash your car if you unclog my sink. A couple of loads of laundry for a mowed lawn. A night of babysitting for a piano lesson. The possibilities are endless.

Everybody does their part, and don’t look now, but we are surviving the big bad recession together. It’s all part of how this new society is rebuilding itself, and the social order of our culture. The world, just like us when we eat too much fast food, needed a good cleanse. Simplifying isn’t always an easy process, but once you de-clutter, decontaminate and de-burden, you’ll appreciate the luxury of less is more.

You can’t have a rainbow without first having a storm. Welcome to the new parent society. Aren’t the colors beautiful in here?

Ally Loprete is a stay-at-home mother of two boys, a former television, theatre and film actress, singer, performer, storyteller, and teacher. A true parent enthusiast, Ally founded OurMilkMoney.com, an online business directory that lists only self-employed parents and encourages us to utilize our power as consumer to make purchases from one another. Ally is the host of This Little Parent Stayed Home, a live weekly radio show, dedicated to supporting parents who wish to leave their corporate day jobs and find an alternative way to earn a supplemental family income, affording more opportunities for parents to stay at home with their children. Ally’s passion to help others transition from full time working parent to successful entrepreneur has grown from her own experiences. She has declared that she will BRING HOME 1 MILLION PARENTS, and is determined to help other’s deal with the sometimes overwhelming prospect of starting a new business while still running a household, and is resolute about creating a haven in which we can continue to thrive and support each other in our personal journeys.

Father's Day Tribute

My site and blog are obviously mom-centric. Most of my readers are female and most of my readers have children. But, I bet a lot of us can say that we wouldn’t be where we are without our fathers and the fathers of our children. I’m lucky enough to have been surrounded by great fathers in my life; my own dad, my grandpas and now my husband and his dad.

My Dad
My dad has always been my biggest cheerleader. My dad is the one who always said “you can do and be anything you want to be.” As a child that was very encouraging. And, since it was told to me, I’ve never thought any different. I can be anything I want to be. Any goal I’ve ever set, any venture I’ve ever tackled, any idea I’ve ever had has been attainable in the eyes of my dad. At times I’m pretty sure he has more confidence in me than I do.

My dad and I are a lot alike. We’re dreamers by nature. We’re creative, adventurous and inventive. We’re not necessarily detailed but rather fly by the seat of our pants type people. I like that about us. I make myself write lists to keep on track, but otherwise I like to see just see where the day takes me.

I look like my dad and my kids look like me. Everyone asks my little boy where he gets his red hair. Papa.

No matter what, I know that I have my dad’s unconditional love and support. And, I know that my happiness is of true importance to him. I value that and truly appreciate that about him. I hope he knows that it goes both ways.

I love you, Dad! Happy Father’s Day!

My Husband
Every woman needs a great support system, and mine starts with my husband. My life truly could not function without him. I feel as though we are partners in the true since of the word and I would not want it any other way.

He is an awesome husband and an awesome father. I really couldn’t ask for better. He spends quality time with the kids and never complains about helping out around the house. He works hard to provide for his family. He is honest. He cares for me and knows how to make me feel loved. He is truly my closest friend.

And, he puts up with a lot! Sometimes I’m crabby {I know I’m not alone ladies}. Sometimes I nag. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I’m rude. Sometimes I work too much. Sometimes I’m late {ok, I’m late a lot}. Usually, he doesn’t let it bother him. He’s accepting of me, even with my faults, and loves me unconditionally.

Without him I would not have this wonderful life, two beautiful children or even Market Mommy. I am beyond appreciative of him. I will love him today, tomorrow and always!

Happy Father’s Day, I love you Craig!

Extravaganza Guest Blogger:: Stacey Kannenberg

Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten!

Practice will make for a great first day of school:

Visit Now
Visit your school during spring or summer session and visit the Kindergarten classrooms and teachers with your child to build relationships at school before school starts in fall.

Share Stories
Play on the playground along with your child and share your memories from Kindergarten. Did you play on similar monkey bars or slide? Did you drop your tray during lunch? Share those stories and memories with your child to build relatable moments.

Be Involved - Stop, Drop & Listen
The easiest way to be involved parent is to STOP, DROP & LISTEN to your child everyday. Ask open ended questions to get your child to share daily. These conversations build strong communication skills, vocabulary and will set the foundation for strong child/parent relationships. Sadly, Kindergarten teachers share the heart-broken facts that many kids come to school without the ability to hold a conversation and can only answer in a “yes” or “no” manner. Holding daily conversations with your child will only contribute to future success.

Build a strong network at home and school
The key to a child’s success in school is directly related to parental involvement in school and extracurricular activities. I believe that it is the job of the parent to build a network of support for their kids at home and school. If you want your child to have friends at school, help them build a network. Start networking at the park, zoo, church, library, school events, community activities, PTA and school board meetings as a family to help build a base of friends for the entire family.

Make what they will need to know fun
• Let’s count how many blue cars we see on the way to the grocery store or how many bubbles we can blow, working on counting skills.
• Let’s name colors and shapes in our world while driving or exploring inside our house, working on colors and shapes.
• Let’s scramble all the alphabet letters and numbers 0-10 inside a hat and name them as we pull them out, working on knowing our alphabet and numbers.
• Let’s sort the coins by penny, nickel, dime and quarter, working on knowing our coins and counting objects to 10 or how many we have of each coin.
• Let’s see how far we can count to 100 together while we are waiting for the tub to fill up, working on counting to 100.

Skills that will be required to be mastered in Kindergarten
• Counting objects to 30.
• Count to 100.
• Basic shapes, colors and coins.
• Identify the alphabet out of order.
• Identify the numbers out of order to 30.

2010 Copyright by Stacey Kannenberg, Cedar Valley Publishing, AWARD-WINNING Author & Publisher of Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten! Let’s Get Ready For First Grade! & iA Prepararse Para Kindergarten! http://www.cedarvalleypublishing.com/

Extravaganza Guest Blogger:: Casart Coverings

Update Your Growing Child's Room With Style

Kids grow up fast, and their tastes change just as quickly. Designing a kid’s room can be hard. One day they might like horses, the next princesses. The one sure thing with kids is that they’ll change, and they’ll want their room to change with them.

That’s where Casart Coverings comes in. Our coverings are easy to put up, movable and removable. All with no leftover mess on the walls, making it easy for a busy mom to keep up with their kid’s preferences. Choose from decorative finishes, patterns, and borders that are customizable for you, and leave room for last-minute changes.

Everyone likes their room to be a little bit special, and kids are no exception. That’s why we have our t3 line: tots, tweens and teens. These are a collection of borders and wall-art in kid-friendly designs. There are balloons, butterflies, knights and princesses. They give a kid’s room that special touch of customization you can’t easily find or do on your own. It’s like having a hand-painted mural on the wall for a fraction of the cost of being painted on site that you’ll never have to worry about painting over because it is removable. Use our coverings for an exciting accent wall and save both money and time. Just remove or change it out when you grow tired of the décor. No worries at all, with no mess or damage to your walls. You can even match to paint colors and customize sizes as well as upload your own photos.

Everyone reaches that age eventually when princesses and balloons no longer fit on the walls, but with removable coverings you can be prepared. Casart offers various colors of wall finishes, and some specialized architectural elements for an added air of sophistication. Every young teenager likes to feel grown up, and what better way to let them then to customize their walls and furniture, without having to worry about them changing their minds all the time.

Kids know when they’ve outgrown their room décor, and with Casart Coverings you can keep up with their taste without a lot of work, and without breaking the bank With the t3 line you can take a room from toddler through elementary school and beyond, and keep both kids and mommy happy.

~ The casart crew!
Including help from our summer intern, Christine Haley!

Casart™ coverings began in the summer of 2008 as a product line of printed decorative finishes and murals from the artwork of C. Ashley Spencer with support from her partners, Lindsey Wood (sister/Denver), and Lorre Lei Jackson (mother/New Orleans). We are a family-run and female-owned business. We offer hand painted decorative finishes and murals reproduced onto wall coverings that are repositionable, reusable, and removable. Revolutionizing the concept of traditional wallpaper. Hand painted decorative finishes, murals, patterns, and unique photos, all customizable.
Pictured at right are Casart founders C. Ashley Spencer, Lorre Lei Jackson and Lindsey A. Wood.

Slipcovers for your walls (casartblog) = http://www.casartcoverings.com/casartblog/
Twitter = http://twitter.com/casartcoverings
Facebook = http://www.facebook.com/casartcoverings
Linkedin = http://www.linkedin.com/companies/casart-coverings-llc

Extravaganza Guest Blogger:: Candi Wingate

School is out, and the search for child care is on!

The challenge most parents face is finding quality care for your child that fits within your budget. Here are some cost-effective child care options that won’t break the bank.

Hire a Nanny or Babysitter
Nannies are no longer exclusive to the wealthy. If you have two children in full time daycare you can afford a nanny, and sites like Nannies4Hire cut out the high-priced fee of nanny agency. Whether you need a full time nanny or part time babysitter, trusted online sources provide a massive database of local care providers at your fingertips. You can find candidates quickly based on your personal requirements and budget.

It Takes a Village
There are likely multiple families in your neighborhood with young children. Get with these other parents and arrange shared childcare, in which two or more households take turns attending to the children. Parents might need to take time off work during their turn, but it should be minimal as other households are rotating turns as well.

Go Back to College
College students on summer break are ideal candidates for child care. They can be recruited through the on-campus career centers or through a parent network in your community. Many will be looking for jobs as resume builders, so their pay expectations might be lower for that purpose, and their schedules are typically very flexible during the summer months.

It’s all Relative
Enlisting the help of a relative this summer can be a win-win for everyone. Whether it is a teenage cousin or beloved grandma, your children can enjoy some quality bonding time. Your relative may not accept payment, but you should certainly offer. Treat him/her as you would a hired care provider: Negotiate pay, respect their schedule, keep lines of communication open, and be direct in your expectations.

Summer School
It’s true that kids deserve a break from the intense learning schedules of the school year, but there is no reason the learning must stop completely. Half-day summer school can be a great option to keep your child mentally engaged. Summer schools may be available through your child’s regular school, an alternative school, civic organizations, or churches.

Summer Day Camp
Affordable day camps can range in activities from sports and science to fine arts. Local options might include science museums, arts centers, YMCA/YWCA, Boys & Girls Club, city parks & recreation, and nearby colleges where the Early Education students can gain experience working with children.

City recreational departments often offer a volunteer program for kids 13 and over. Volunteer opportunities can include office work, recreational centers, aquatics, senior citizens, and children’s summer programs. These volunteer programs are a unique way for kids to explore career opportunities, give back to the community, and receive school credit.

You might find that a combination of these options is most efficient and cost-effective. Take your time in selecting the option(s) that works best for your family and budget. Enjoy your summer!

Candi Wingate, President

WW:: There's still time!

Extravaganza Guest Blogger:: Abbey Fatica

Is 3am the only time to build the business?

Once I became a mom, I realized there is no more alone time. Yes, the kids do sleep and nap during the day, but I still am not free to just up and leave whenever I want. Although, I am tied down to my house while they are upstairs, my kids are my entire world and I know everything about them from how exactly they fall asleep to where I am to place their food on the plate during meals.

My mom radar perks up when I know that my daughter is about to have a melt down or when my son is about to scream because he thinks he is starving. This aspect of being a mom is something that I would not change for the world, but, with all this mommy time, when do I have time to be a woman, an adult who can provide some extra money for her family!

In the past year, I have experienced many new and exciting ventures that I would have never had if I wasn't a mom: my daughter started talking, my son was born and I started a business,
Living My MoMent, based on what I thought mom entrepreneurs needed. The premise of my business is to help MoMs (and now DaDs ) who run their own businesses get free advertising in what is a difficult time for our country, economically.

With well over 500 companies listed, my website has grown exponentially in the last year and I have added many new features to help promote other businesses, like Product Reviews, Giveaways and Paid Advertising including prime real estate for a banner ad or button ad, a personal interview, ability to share a guest blog, and the use of my
Facebook Fan Page and Twitter Page to promote sales and news.

Yes, I have had a very exciting year and there are always new things on the horizon. For example, right now
The Work At Home Woman and Living My MoMent are hosting the 2010 Summer Blog Tour where we are featuring 60 different blogs over the course of the summer. We are also collaborating on other projects that could be huge for the Direct Sales Moms out there!

All of these ideas are great and I welcome them on a daily business, but honestly, there are some times during the day, I have sneak away to my computer when my kids are playing to answer a few emails or tweet out a contest. Then there are some days, when I don't even get that luxury because I have a child hanging on me from the time we get up til the time they go to bed. I do, in fact, cherish the days when I get 3 solid hours during nap time and then solitude again at bed time to work on whatever I want. That is, if I don't get distracted by the tv, have to clean the house or actually spend time with my husband (who always works a ton of hours).

Really, the only time I have to build my business at this time in my life is at 3am. And right now, I need my sleep to keep up with the little ones during the day. At the present time, I fit the business into my schedule but I know that I am doing the best I can for my clients. I am able to take care of my children and be passionate about Living My MoMent at the same time! Watch out world, when my kids are in school 6 hours a day and I have the ability to take on my business without distractions, it's gonna be huge!!!

Abbey Fatica, Living My MoMent

Extravaganza Guest Blogger:: Holly Reisem Hanna

10 Lessons I’ve Learned as a Mompreneur & Blogger
By Holly Reisem Hanna

I have been working at home for two years, and blogging for one, and during this time I have learned a ton of valuable lessons and insight as a mompreneur.

I always enjoy it when others share their wisdom with me, so here are my 10 lessons that I have learned as a mompreneur.

Don’t Be Obsessed with the Numbers. As a blogger and mompreneur I am constantly checking and monitoring my numbers; how many Twitter followers do I have? How many Facebook Fans do I have? How many page views did I receive today?!? It can really drive you nuts and create a ton of self doubt, especially if your stats start to go down. Let it go, focus on creating quality content and cultivating relationships, when you do something that you love the rest will fall into place.

Watch Who Your Friends With. In the past I worked at establishment where the majority of the employees were unhappy and disgruntled, needless to say this negativity rubbed off on me. Hang around positive and inspiring people, the energy that they emit is infectious and when you hang around the right people you will find yourself feeling motivated and empowered. Can’t leave your current job? Try joining a business group, women’s self renewal group or attending a blogging conference, this will give you the boost and energy that you need to stay upbeat through the difficult and trying times.

Keep Learning. In her book, The Chic Entrepreneur, Elizabeth Gordon suggests reading a new business book every month. When I first had my daughter I thought I was too busy to read a new book every month, but when I took her advice, I found that you can find the time – you just need to make it. Cut out a little TV watching, read while you’re waiting for appointments. I like to take my books in the car so that I can read while my husband is driving. Learning exercises your brain and helps get those creative juices flowing.

Enjoy the Simple Things in Life. Remember to cherish the simple things in life; a great way to do this is to keep a notebook and write down the small occurrences that make you smile. One of those times for me, was when I went to the Texas Conference for Women and was talking to a woman who I had never met before. When she asked me what I did, she said, “I know The Work at Home Woman – I love that site”, it made me feel like a million dollars. It’s the little moments like this that enrich our lives and make us feel special, remember them by writing them down.

Go Outdoors Everyday. Being a work at home mom, there are days that I just feel trapped and isolated. When I start feeling this way I know it’s time to get outdoors. Whether it’s sipping some coffee on my deck, playing in the sandbox with my daughter, or going for walk being out in the fresh air always makes me feel refreshed and renewed.

Love. Do what you love and surround yourself with the people that you love. Life is way too short to spend 40 hours a week in job that you hate, or around people that make your skin crawl.

Take Care of Yourself. Good health, you don’t appreciate it until it’s gone. I know this because this past fall myself, my mom and my sister all went through some health issues and let me tell you, if you don’t have your health the world turns upside down. Take care of your health, eat right, exercise, schedule regular check ups and be kind to your body. You only have one life, why not make the best you possibly can.

Get Rid of the Guilt. Guilt is a terrible feeling and it is totally useless. Moms feel it because they work outside the home, they feel it because they stay at home, and other women feel it because they decide not to have children, it is a vicious cycle, let it go. Live your life knowing that you’re doing what’s right for you and because of the choices you’ve made you’re the best possible person you can be!

Vocalize Your Appreciation. Let the special people if your life know how much you appreciate them, it will make their day.

Everything in Moderation. Extremes in any direction are not a good thing, live your life in moderation.

Holly Reisem Hanna is the Founder & Publisher of The Work at Home Woman, an online business resource for women and moms who wish to work from home or become self-employed. For more information, please see: http://www.theworkathomewoman.com/ Are you looking to reach intelligent & sophisticated women and moms? Check out our advertising solutions: http://www.theworkathomewoman.com/advertising/

Extravaganza Guest Blogger:: Cindy Selvaggio

You Can’t Have Your Cake And Eat It Too

Have you ever heard someone say “You can’t have your cake and eat it too”? You may have thought it yourself as you were contemplating your goals and dreams. What other little messages or “self talk” are repeatedly running through your mind? These thoughts may very well be holding you back from a successful business!

Self talk comes from life experiences. We consult these experiences as we make decisions. They contain the shoulds and should nots, the can’s and cant’s, as we try to live up to the expectations of people who are important to us.

Self talk originates from handed down bits of information that came from authoritative figures like parents, teachers, coaches, pastors, etc. It represents their attitudes, beliefs and opinions. Some of this information can be helpful and while others can contain negative and very limiting beliefs

Very often, our income and self image reflects those limitations. These may prove to be very expensive limits.

You may not be aware of the self talk, but it subconsciously runs in the background like a computer program. It affects every decision we make and everyone we come into contact with, including potential clients or customers.

Often, self talk will elicit a negative feeling or emotion which puts stress on the body. We may feel anger, guilt, fear or shame. We can feel those emotions in our bodies via stomachaches, backaches, headaches or migraines, heart palpitations, diarrhea or IBS, etc.

Our bodies are very electrical by nature, so when you feel these negative emotions in your body, you radiate negative vibrations which can be felt by those around you.

Have you ever been in the presence of someone that was giving off bad vibes? You sense it immediately. Engaging in a conversation with someone who is in a bad mood or pessimistic does nothing but circle the drain like garbage.

My point is, negative thoughts are not only felt inside your body, but others can pick up on it as well. No one wants to do business with someone who is emotionally circling the drain.

Did you know that it takes less than 20 seconds to line up vibrationally to whatever you are focusing on? Only 20 seconds of pure focused thought, good or bad, negative or positive makes us ripe for attracting more of that “thing” or self talk that you have been focusing on.

Keep it up and you will keep attracting more of the same. It’s no wonder why some people keep attracting more negative experiences, day in and day out. It becomes a self fulfilled prophecy

Pure and simple: Negative thoughts = negative emotions = negative energy = unfulfilled goals and dreams.

Take a moment and write down any self talk you are experiencing as it relates to your goals and dreams. What emotions surface? Where are you feeling it in your body?

What you just wrote down, could very well be holding you back if you are not as successful as you would like to be.

There is good news! Just like a computer program can be uninstalled, you too can permanently erase the self talk, re install a more positive way of thinking, raise your vibration and achieve your dreams!

One very good way to erase the self talk is through meridian tapping.

Our bodies are full of meridians or energy channels. When these channels become blocked, negative emotions surface and often you feel physical pain.

As you tap on specific acupressure points associated with these meridians, negative emotions and pain are reduced and/or eliminated. Limiting thoughts and beliefs are erased and replaced with new affirmations that can create a new reality packed with endless possibilities.

Tapping erases our mental blocks and installs our dreams. The process can be transformational and life changing.

People with dreams make things happen!

Cindy Selvaggio

Cindy became an entrepreneur at a very early age when she learned she could create things and sell them! She has been involved in health and wellness since 2001 and most recently in the energy therapy business specializing in meridian tapping.

You can connect with Cindy at: http://www.tappingheals.com/ and on Facebook!

Extravaganza Guest Blogger:: MariLee Parrish

Hello again, Market Mommy Friends!

It’s great to be back with you all!

I want to let you know of a great work-from-home opportunity for any Christian mom. Thanks to God’s blessing…our mommy bags have been a great hit nationwide! It is too much for me to handle all by myself, so we’ve turned it into a business opportunity. We’ve been testing this out the past few months and it is working for other work-from-home moms in six states. We are now interviewing state event coordinators for the remaining open states all across the U.S!

If you are a Christian mom who wants to work from home (or maybe you already do and would like some extra work), then check out our new website and request an interview at http://www.mommybagmarketing.com/

I also want to let you know about a fun Summer Event we have going on over at our blog! From June 15 to July 15 we’ll be having a month-long event called “Across the U.S.: Summer 2010 Family Vacation Guide.” We’ll be talking about the best family-friendly vacation spots, hosting some fantastic giveaways and connecting with women all over the U.S.! Come on over and join in on the fun: http://www.wahmblog.info/

Happy Summer!

Blessings & thanks,

MariLee Parrish

Extravaganza Guest Blogger:: Heather Lopez

Let's Play "Name That Brand": Brand Identification via Audio Visual Cues

Take a look at the following pictures, logos, and slogans and identify what brand is associated with them.







G: "It's Everywhere You Want to Be"
H: "Have It Your Way"
I. "The Greatest Show On Earth"

Now that you've taken the time to work your brain a little, think about how these logos and slogans relate to the brand and company they represent. Were they easy to identify or hard?

If they were easy, why do you think you were able to identify them so easily? Do you think that it was because you have seen them in multiple places. Most major brands have developed an image in your mind, which is constantly reinforced by being exposed to visual and audio cues. Most studies show that people need to be exposed to an advertising image or stimulus around 6-8 times before they actually take notice of it. Once they take notice of it, they must then engage with the company in order to further develop and maintain the brand image of that company.

What does this mean for your business?
It means that you need to develop a consistent audio visual message via your logo, slogans, marketing materials, social networking profiles, etc. that will expose potential customers to your brand numerous times & get them to engage with your business. This consistent message serves to further maintain the brand identity once the customer is obtained.

Think about Burger King, which is one of the companies with a slogan listed above. Burger King offers a franchise arrangement in which the franchisee incorporates their own business and pays for a license to use the Burger King brand. Most consumers don't really think of the franchisee as a separate company from Burger King, even though they legally are. The Burger King brand image is so strong that others are willing to pay to use it. Additionally, in order to maintain the brand value, the franchisee must adhere to Burger King's guidelines or lose their license. Burger King franchises use the same audio visual cues regardless of the owners, therefore reinforcing the consumer's image of the brand.

Another tidbit
I attended the Growth 2.0 Conference offered by Entrepreneur Magazine and Jay Conrad Levinson, Father of Guerilla Marketing, was the keynote speaker. During his very fun and enlightening presentation, he explained that logos are dying. He said that the new age of brand imagery involved "Memes." Memes are like logos but trigger actions by the consumer, as opposed to just showing the name of the company. Does your logo or banner portray an action-oriented message to your customer? Is the action-oriented message implied by your logo related to your business? These are things to consider when developing your brand messages and images.

About the Author:
Heather Lopez is a 30 y/o married mom to two in diapers, as well as a small business/nonprofit consultant and marketing professional, with over 10 years experience in business development and management. Her experience ranges from being on the frontlines of direct service & sales, all the way to the top of the company food chain. She is the founder of Happy and Healthy Mom.Com and the co-founder of the Super Mompreneur Conference & Expo. She is currently developing the Bloggin’ Mamas Cruise Conference and heads Become Better Brands.

Answers- A: Wikipedia B: Wordpress C: Twitter D: Nike E: Apple F: Microsoft G: Visa H: Burger King I: Barnum & Bailey Circus

Extravaganza Guest Blogger:: Angela Bickford

How I Run My Business on Next to Nothing

Running a business isn’t easy. Whether you’re running it while holding a full-time job, raising kids, or both, maintaining a business has its ups and downs. How do you start? Where do you get the money from? Will you have a partner? These are all questions we ask ourselves when we decide to be our own boss. Here’s the story of how my business, always B designs, started, and how I maintain it for next to nothing.

A tax refund. Yes, a tax refund. $1000, which in the grand scheme of things, isn’t a lot. When I told my husband I wanted to start a business, he didn’t have a problem with it, but he wasn’t willing to go into debt and wanted me to find a way to make it work without it breaking our bank or taking out a loan. So, when we got our check from Uncle Sam, I used that to get the bare essentials: supplies to make my first products, and said a prayer.

For awhile, it was money out, money in, make ends meet paycheck to paycheck. I barely had enough to pay my monthly website fee, and sometimes I had to borrow money from our personal account long enough for the check from the customer to come in. It wasn’t easy to get customers without having invested in advertising. I had to come up with some creative ways to market my business without breaking the bank. So I read a ton of books, asked friends who were wiser than me, and learned the following tricks:

• Social Media Rules: I can’t emphasize this enough. You MUST use Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other tools to get your name out there. Don’t just set them up and post once a week. Consistency is key and your customers will come to appreciate your ‘real’ self. Respond to them, engage, post daily, tweet several times a day. I have gained many friends, fans, and customers from just this simple act, and it cost nothing. If you need help with this, connect with me. :-)

• Bartering is Alive and Well: I don’t pay for over $100 per advertisement, no matter what. I have advertised in magazines for $200+ and had no return on investment. But, I’ve also advertised on Market Mommy for $25 and had 2 inquiries from customers. I’ve traded blog posts, done guest posts and had people tweet about me, and have connected with many potential customers for no cost at all. Just ask. Watch for those people out there that are willing to invest in you and your business and figure out a way that you can help each other. It works.

• Honesty is Still the Golden Rule: I make it a point to be honest with myself. I have to know my limits, my strengths, and my customers. So do you. Take time to explore this so you can run a business that others will trust – no amount of money can buy honesty.

• Be Patient: If you choose to run your business without paying for advertising, you will get frustrated. You’ll get impatient. Don’t. The best marketing happens through word-of-mouth. It happens with trust, and it happens at little or no cost. But, it takes time.

So, how will you choose to run your business? This is just one way, and it won’t work for everyone – but, try it, you never know!

Angela is a crafter who loves to make art of all kinds. She has a home-business where she sells custom stationery and gifts, including domino jewelry, clipboards, and scrapbooks. She is also passionate about writing, is a published author, and has edited two books for other authors. She lives in Texas with her family.

Extravaganza Guest Blogger:: Jennifer Erickson

Must Haves for a Single Parent in Business

Running a business is a challenge under the best circumstances. There are never enough hours in the day, the to do list seems to be never ending and incorporating a social life and time for family is next to impossible. Throw in the added challenge of being a single parent and you have a recipe for a potential nervous breakdown on a daily basis!

There seems to be even less time in the day and the to do list is not only never ending but it seems to be multiplying as quickly as the loads of laundry in my laundry room and trying to find time for that girls night out that I have been trying to plan for the last two years really is next to impossible.

So what are the tricks? How do you fit it all in? How do you find the balance between spending the quality time with your kids that you wanted when you decided to start your own business? I’ll have to write an update when I figure it all out!

What I have learned though is that time management and setting boundaries is a huge piece of the puzzle. This in itself is a huge challenge for all business owners, especially in the beginning start up phase. I learned by trial and error that sleep deprivation, consumption of large quantities of caffeine and neglecting myself was not necessarily the best way to run a business and be a good parent. So after the caffeine was finally out of my system and I awoke from a very long nap I realized that I needed to make a few changes or risk losing my mind and my businesses.

So I took a few days off and actually shut down the computer, put down the Blackberry and went to the Zoo and enjoyed time being 100% in the moment with my son, then I dropped him off with Grandma and Grandpa and went to a Hot Yoga class and got my nails done.
How is this supposed to help my business, you ask? Well it helped me re-focus and re-evaluate what was important and realize why I wanted to be self-employed in the first place. It wasn’t until I turned on the computer again and waded through the 1500 e-mails that I had received and found that only 20 of them required my attention and the other 1480...deleted. That was my moment, when I realized that I could do it all, I could be a great mom, have a social life, find time for exercise, run a business and do the laundry without having a nervous breakdown.
I did however implement a few things that have made my business and personal life a whole lot easier!

Here are my top 5 must haves as a single parent in business:

* A fabulous web designer with excellent technical support
* A great automated billing and accounting system
* An incredible e-assistant to handle social networking and website updates when I need a little extra time for me and my son
* An invaluable support system (aka Grandma and Grandpa) and a fantastic childcare facility
* And the most important... guilt free time for me. We all deserve it!

Jennifer Erickson
Co-Founder http://www.childrensdirectory.net/
CEO http://www.itgirlparties.blogspot.com/