Aliza & Danielle Join Panel of Judges For StartupNation’s Leading Moms in Business Competition

Mom, Incorporated authors, Aliza Sherman & Danielle Smith, have joined the esteemed panel of judges for StartupNation’s fifth annual competition, “Leading Moms in Business,” sponsored by office supply superstore, Staples.

StartupNation is an online resource that provides information and support for small-business owners and entrepreneurs. Their contest celebrates the hard work and dedication of women who are taking care of their families and running a successful business. Danielle and Aliza literally wrote the book about juggling motherhood and entrepreneurship in their holistic guide.

We are honored to be invited to participate on the panel of judges,” said Aliza. “Startup Nation is a stellar resource for business owners, and we love the fact that they are recognizing moms with companies, a powerful force in business today.”

Aliza and Danielle will be joined by four additional judges on the panel: Jeff Sloan and Rich Sloan, founders of StartupNation, veteran media executive, Carolyn Wall, and Kim Jarvis, President, C. Jarvis Insurance Agency.

This year’s competition received nearly 350 entries of mom-owned businesses from throughout the United States. The top 10 businesses as decided by a popular vote will be presented to the panel of judges to be scored on the following criteria: 1) Revenue growth 2) Innovation 3) Creativity 4) Future growth potential.

The prizes for the competition are:
•   One first place winner will receive $10,000 from Staples
•   The top three winners will receive a $1,000 Staples gift card towards their office improvement efforts, a complimentary workplace design consultation from Business Interiors by Staples, and a complimentary business growth consultation by StartupNation founders, Jeff and Rich Sloan.

The winners of the competition will be announced later this month. In the meantime, Aliza and Danielle share some of their wisdom and advice for mom business owners in an interview with StartupNation, The Art of Being a Successful Mom Business Owner.

She’s Mom, Incorporated: Dee Wanger, Ridekick International

For almost two decades, Dee Wanger has pursued her career mostly through entrepreneurial endeavors, using her home as a primary base. A mom raising two daughters, Dee founded her regional science museum (now – while also working from home as a publication production professional.

After teaching elementary school while her daughters were in high school, Dee is now one of the founding members of Ridekick International, an innovative company that makes a motorized trailer that attaches to any bike and pushes the bicycle up to 19 mph for a distance of 10 miles. 

MomIncorporated: Tell us about Ridekick International and your role with the company.
DEE: We make motorized trailers that attach to and push bicycles up to 19 mph for distances of 10 – 30 miles.  It’s perfect for people who want to use bicycles for transportation and recreation (commuting, errand running, taking kids to activities) but aren’t strong enough, have physical limitations, or don’t want to arrive sweaty.  The Ridekick Child Trailer is our newest product that we’re excited to bring to the market.

I serve as “The Queen of Caulk” – filling in wherever there’s a need.  This can mean banking, marketing, office manager, sales, customer service, order fulfillment, purchasing, and janitorial staff.  My overarching role is as the culture development and assurance officer. Continue reading

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Our guest blogger this week is Stephanie Lee of Scratchpad Secretaries. We featured Stephanie in our book in the section about virtual assistants. She’s awesome, and here is some of her great advice!

5 Things to Keep in Mind When Hiring a Virtual Assistant

You’ve finally gotten to the point in your business where it’s time to delegate some projects and tasks. Good for you! It’s exciting to be ready to take that 5 step in partnering up with a virtual assistant to take some of that administrative load off your plate (and your desk!). Continue reading

Mom, Incorporated Wins the Gold

No, this isn’t news of Olympic wins – although for us, it is pretty darn close!

The influential publishing world magazine and website Foreword has selected our book – Mom, Incorporated – as the Gold Book of the Year Award (BOTYA) winner for 2011 in the category of Career. We’re over the moon thrilled. This recognition was unexpected and incredibly validating of the long, hard work we put into the book content. We are grateful.

Ask any serious author and they will tell you that they pour their hearts and souls into each book they write, and for us, Mom, Incorporated was just that – filled with our own stories and the stories of many other women, all from the heart, honest and revealing. We worked hard to make sure that the more technical chapters – like the ones about finances and taxation for new businesses – had personality and soul so they were more compelling to read. (No easy task!)

We’ve heard from many of our readers that our book is not only inspiring them but that they keep it right at their desk and refer to it frequently. This is incredible for us to hear because it is what we set out to do and only dreamed would happen. We wanted to create a holistic, realistic guide to starting and growing a business from home with a baby or kids in your midst that would become an indispensable resource for women. And by adding the stories of dozens and dozens of moms across the country with thriving home-based businesses, we also set out to make our book more timeless and lasting.

We’d love your support getting the word about about Mom, Incorporated. We want to help more women with their dreams of starting a business from home. Here’s how you can help: Click here to tweet out a message. Or share our Facebook Page or posts with your friends. And if you haven’t picked up our book yet, you can do that here!

Thank you to everyone who has supported our book so far! We look forward to meeting more of you in the near future.

Is Your Body In As Good Shape As Your Business?

Lisa Kalner Williams

Lisa Kalner Williams started her social media marketing company, Sierra Tierra Marketing, with about $200 for a Web site and business cards. She’s one of the women discussed in Mom Incorporated: A Guide to Business + Baby.

Says Lisa, “For the first year of my business, I did no exercise. I’m now entering my second year and finally have a somewhat-easy-to-manage plan to gain back my physical fitness.”

In the following post, Lisa talks about her decision to get back in shape, and the reason she chose yoga as her preferred form of exercise.

Last month, I celebrated the first-year anniversary of my full-time social media marketing business, Sierra Tierra Marketing. This milestone made me reflect on the question that everyone seems to ask me — “How’s it going?”

1.    The business? Check. Satisfying work and happy clients.
2.    Home life? Ding! I’m still able to manage quality time with my preschool daughter.
3.    And the body that runs both the business and home life? Yeah — this I tossed right in the “needs improvement” bucket.

This last year was by far the least active I’ve been in the past decade. My daughter got too big (emotionally) for the stroller, so I no longer walked her to day care. (Walking without a stroller takes four times as long, without any cardio benefits.) Being away from an office job meant that I no longer ran like the dickens to catch the commuter train to Boston. So this body languished — and softened — in my car’s driver’s seat, my desk chair, and whatever I could find to sit on at my local Starbucks.

So I made a decision to have my body run as smoothly as my business. I decided that practicing yoga three times a week would be the best way for me to achieve this goal.

Why yoga?

I can’t say I chose yoga because it was a long-lost love. In fact, my only regular relationship with yoga was a semester-long college curriculum requirement in the early 1990s. A handful of practical reasons made yoga my choice for physical improvement. Here are the benefits that came to mind:

First, yoga can be done almost anywhere. In a studio or gym. By watching it on TV, a laptop or a mobile device. This flexibility ranked very high for me, as cold weather in New England severely impedes my motivation to “go out there and do something.” It’s also great for when I travel, since I’ll always have some mobile device with me. For the time being, though, I practice one morning and one evening at a local yoga studio. On Sundays, I clear away furniture and do yoga in the living room.

My wallet also made its exercise choice known, since yoga requires very little equipment. The most you’ll probably need is a mat, two blocks and a resistance strap. The do-it-yourself gal in me uses a fabric belt for my home workouts (and most yoga mat straps can double as resistance straps). I also eyed this yoga kit  as an affordable way to have all the fixings for home workouts.

Another appealing factor for me was that most types of yoga produce a great workout — but with little sweat. Each Tuesday morning, I leave my yoga studio and walk right to my local Starbucks to begin monitoring my clients’ Facebook pages. I have yet to drip on the table or stick to my chair.

I spoke with Checka Antifonario, a Boston-area instructor and children’s yoga specialist, about yoga for work-at-home moms. She spoke highly of the mind-body effects of steady yoga practice.

photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons

“For moms who work from home, the days are often full of multitasking and role-juggling,” Checka says.  “While these are necessary ones in today’s fast-paced world, we are equally in need of opportunities to slow down — to practice focus and simplicity.  Carving out some time to be on your mat — whether it is 10 minutes of breathing and meditation, an hour of vigorous postures or somewhere in between — will allow you to tune back in to your mind and body.  When you commit to this, the state of flow that you can find in a yoga practice accompanies you back into the agenda of the day, and the rewards are sweet!”

This reminded me of the other benefit of yoga — that of slowing down, even if the pause is temporary.

Admittedly, I can’t say with conviction that my mind has slowed down yet. But I have certainly noticed an attractive sculpting of my leg muscles and improved posture at my laptop.

We moms work so diligently to ensure that our children and clients are in good shape. It is often in those efforts that we neglect to take care of our own fitness. My hope is that these tips will inspire you to think of ways you can incorporate physical activity in your busy schedules.