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Changing the Mean Girls Narrative (or Why I Co-Lead Mamas & Co.)

Changing the Mean Girls Narrative (or Why I Co-Lead Mamas & Co.)

Many people have asked me why I joined Lianne Kim to lead Mamas & Co. a year ago. I’m an engineer, my small business is sustainability consulting rather than business consulting, and I had only known Lianne for a year. But my story actually starts much earlier than all of that. It starts when I was 10 years old, and the bullying began.

As a kid I was strong-willed and confident with who I was. In other words, I didn’t really try to fit in. I just did me. But I was (and still am) pretty sensitive and emotional. And it turns out, that made me a prime target for my first experience being bullied. I was invited to “friends’” houses and intentionally excluded from activities, or pressured into situations I didn’t want to be in. I was called names. Girls would not-so-subtly whisper things about me, spreading untrue rumours. I was told, indirectly, that I was not good enough for them.

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Don't Forget About Your Real-Life Community

Don't Forget About Your Real-Life Community

With so much pressure to grow an online presence, it can be easy to forget about opportunities right in our own backyards. This story of how one speech pathologist grew her business is a great reminder of this:

I grew up in a large extended family that took over our small Scarborough street. Our dentist, doctor, and orthodontist, were within walking distance; each knew all the members of my family and often felt like a part of our fold.

I was educated in NY state, returned home to work for a year, then left with my partner for Australia. We lived in a small town and I worked at a local hospital seeing in-patients, out-patients, and doing community visits.  At the beginning, going to the bar on a Friday night and seeing the parents or children that I had worked with was very unnerving and uncomfortable (for me). I would try to blend in the background and avoid chit chat. Soon though, it was a pleasure to run into families outside of work. I began to understand and appreciate that we were neighbours, had a working relationship, and that I was an important person in their child’s life. I moved from wanting them to see me as “professional”, to seeing me as a neighbour...

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10 Ways to Increase Your Creativity

10 Ways to Increase Your Creativity

If you are trying to brand your business, come up with creative content or copy or develop new products and services, getting in touch with your creative side is key. The more you try to force an insight, the more you prevent the insight. Makes sense right? Cultivating creativity does not always come easy.

So what can you do to set yourself up for some creative thinking? Here are 10 ways to increase creativity.

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Meditation for Mama Entrepreneurs

Meditation for Mama Entrepreneurs

A stressed-out mama walked into the woods, sat for ten days, and walked out feeling calm, centered, and laser-focused. What happened?

Sounds like a riddle, doesn’t it? I would have thought so, too, before my experience at the beautiful and secluded Ontario Vipassana Centre, where I spent a week and a half in silent meditation, learning how to sharpen my ability to concentrate on the external by turning my attention inward, and how to incorporate the practice into my everyday life. The benefit to me, both personally and professionally, cannot be understated. It got me thinking, though—does it really take a ten-day retreat to bring about the positive effects? How can meditation, in any form, help other busy mamapreneurs succeed?

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Legal Issues Every Entrepreneur Should Know About

Legal Issues Every Entrepreneur Should Know About

When you launch and grow a business, there are legal implications in almost everything that you do, and sometimes you may not even know it. In this blog post, I will highlight some of these implications.

Picture this. You and a friend have a great idea, decide to get together as co-founders, and start a company together. You start meeting up twice a week to brainstorm and work on a business plan. Pretty soon, the two of you have chosen a company name, designed a logo and have a website set up. What are the legal implications at this point?

In this blog we take a look at a very common scenario when starting up a business and the type of legal questions you should ask yourself - and answer.

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5 Ways to Define Your Differentiator

5 Ways to Define Your Differentiator

Your Differentiator is what makes you unique in your market and is a key contributor in creating your business’s brand (the things you want your customers to know about you through every interaction they have with you).  Articulating what makes you different helps consumers sift through the choices they have, helps them understand your distinct value, and ultimately select your business over the competition.

But, defining your Differentiator isn’t always easy. It starts with understanding who your customers are and answering the question: “What problem am I solving for them?”.  Maybe you’ve answered this question, or maybe, like a lot of us, you came at business ownership from a personal passion perspective and haven’t been as customer focused as you could. Or maybe, it’s just time to review the competition and your relevancy.

Here are some pointers to help you define your uniqueness.

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Small Business Finances

Numbers Matter: Why You Should be On Top of Your Small Business Finances

Tax time is looming and you’re looking at that ever-growing pile of receipts on your desk and wondering, ‘when am I ever going to work up the courage to tackle that?’  Your immediate next thought is, ‘wow, those windows look really dirty… I should probably clean them.’  And boom…  receipts get left for another day!

None of us (well… let’s be honest, except for us bookkeepers and accountants!) went into business because we thought doing our finances would be fun.  Our passions and talents lie elsewhere and finances are left on the back burner.  Besides, who wants to finish that awesome new product/webinar/marketing strategy and then have to pour themselves another coffee at 9pm to tackle the numbers?  AND, what if we don’t like that bottom line?

All the advice tells us to get on top of our finances and to understand our cash flow, but it is really that important?

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How to Turn Your Side Hustle Into a Full-Time Business

How to Turn Your Side Hustle Into a Full-Time Business

Deciding to become an entrepreneur is a big deal.

The benefits are awesome. You can ditch the 9-to-5 and create your own schedule. The earning potential is huge in the long run. The flexibility to spend more time with your kids while also doing work you love makes for a very rich life… rich in ways that are far more meaningful than only financially.

For all the positives there are some truly hefty risks.

Can you afford to quit your full-time job and give up benefits? Do you have the knowledge, skills and support to start up a business? Most importantly, is there a market for what you’re selling?

In my work as a career coach, I always present the option of entrepreneurship to the moms I help through job transition. Especially for those who are looking to reinvent their career entirely. I’ve worked with a number of moms whose entrepreneurial dreams percolate while they continue working full-time. And I’ve seen it’s a great option.

Starting a business on the side is a fantastic way to dip your toes into entrepreneurship without all the risks. You build credibility and brand awareness  as you work on your business in a part-time capacity. You can lay the groundwork for quitting your day job and position yourself to leave your company gracefully. Most importantly, when you’re ready to jump into your business full-time, you won’t have to start from scratch.

Here are some key steps that will make this transition more successful.

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LinkedIn for Entrepreneurs

LinkedIn for Entrepreneurs

As entrepreneurs, many of us use social media in some capacity to grow our businesses. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are among the most popular social channels. But there is another social platform you might be overlooking – LinkedIn. Whether you sell to other business (B2B) or to individual consumers (B2C), LinkedIn can help you reach potential clients or customers.

You may object to that last sentence by saying that your target audience is not on LinkedIn. But unless your target demographic is people who avoid social media, then your target – and people who know and love your target – are on LinkedIn.

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The Next Big Thing in SEO is Brand Presence

The Next Big Thing in SEO is Brand Presence

Brand presence is the next big tactic in your overall SEO strategy. You’ve heard of SEO – search engine optimization – right?! If not, Google it. And that highlights the definition: SEO is the magic of bringing your content to the top of a Google search.

Since the dawn of time (OK, since 1990 when the first search engine was created in Canada - you’re welcome, world),  search engine optimizers (SEO’ers for short) have tried to influence search engines to make their page appear at the top of a search result.

Because of this, sophisticated engines like Google must crack down on tactics that influence their results. A great way to do this is to recognize brand presence and monitor for industry relevance and consistency.  

Brand presence is everywhere your brand exists online. This can be through social media, directories, reviews, your website, guest blogs, and that random ancestory.ca account you created once. It all adds up to a blueprint of what you or your business is about.

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5 Ways to Boost Your Business

5 Ways to Boost Your Business

It’s common for business owners to go through phases of feeling stuck, or in a rut. Maybe it’s the weather (I think January broke a record for the number of consecutive days without sun in Toronto) or the political climate, but we’ve been hearing this as a recurring theme among our members this winter. So if you’ve been feeling this way too, know that you are not alone.

Also know that you can turn things around with a few mental shifts and new habits. We decided to pull together our first Mamas & Co. webinar to share valuable strategies to help our members get themselves out of a rut. 

Here's a summary of the 5 ways we shared to help give your business a boost, starting right now.

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How to Plan for Savings as a Sole Proprietor

How to Plan for Savings as a Sole Proprietor

It’s a tale that all sole-proprietors know too well: some months things are going great and the dough is rolling in. But then the next few months are an icy, cold winterland where the cheques stop coming in the mail and you have to stop RESP contributions.

Although the flexibility and feeling of achievement usually make up for it, the life of an entrepreneur and parent can be stressful and unglamorous. Not to mention making it super difficult to manage your money — especially savings.

It’s almost impossible to set monthly saving targets when you have variable income. For that reason it may be a better idea to set annual savings targets.

When you have annual savings targets it gives you more flexibility.

For example, let’s say your annual savings target is $5000. Every month, depending on what you make, you put in a portion into a high-interest savings account. Months you’re doing well you put in more, and months that are tight you put in less. At the end of the year, you decide where to deploy those funds.

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