5 Ways to Make Social Media Marketing Work for Home-Based Business

While it is still important for an entrepreneur to know about traditional advertising (newspapers, flyers, direct mail, signage), these tools are quickly out lapped by their digital counter parts that are not only more powerful, but are also less expensive (i.e. Google AdWords, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media). Of course, some technical prowess or support is needed to take advantage of these new opportunities.

The beautiful thing about social media is that everyone is doing it because everyone can do it. Social media marketing is simple, accessible and—with the right strategy—can be working for you while you are busy growing your business and focusing on customer service.


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Below are the three most popular social networking sites, along with tips on how a home-based business can leverage them as part of a marketing strategy. The great thing is, these are networks you can join right now for free.

Facebook

This is a growing and global captive markets for your message. Many small businesses now forgo a website and link their business home page directly to their Facebook page. This is even more effective when you purchase a small amount of advertising to promote your business page to your ideal customer.

Try starting a Facebook page and updating daily about a product you are selling. LifeLock’s Facebook page is a great example of the content possibilities from videos and photo albums to recent promotions and call to action pieces.

You can also use this opportunity to network with other businesses and even share promotions or suppliers. One Nova Scotian home-based business, an organic market stand owner who was at a stalemate with shipping fees for bulk supplies, used her Facebook page to reach out for community interest in a group-buying scenario. It was a win-win for the customers and other small businesses that benefited. The biggest benefit was for the business owner who can now pass on the lower price for bulk goods onto her customer.

Twitter

A global conversation is taking place. It’s between your current customers, your future customers and everyone in between. Conversations are happening and topics are trending. As a small business owner, jump in on the conversation and directly interact with your customer. Ensure they have your @twitterhandle to discuss your products or a recent experience with you. Network with other businesses like yours. Provide the public with tidbits of information about the area you specialize in. Follow trending topics and join the conversation, linking back to your business information when it is relevant.

Pinterest

If your business has anything to do with food, exercise, home improvement or decorating, you need to be on Pinterest. It is simple to join and add the bookmark tool to your browser. It is also simple to isolate the influential people who have garnered many followers on their personal pin boards.

Create a pinboard of your product offerings whether it is kitchen materials or press-on nail ideas. Create web articles and photo galleries on how to use your products in innovative ways to make day-to-day life easier. Share your pin board with others with similar interests or pins and sit back and watch the referrals come to your business.

Five Tips for Social Media

On any of the described engines, or any of the other multitudes of social media engines, the basic mantra (be creative, be unique and be original) and the following rules apply:

  1. Know who your customer is and speak to them; if you don’t know this information, find out!
  2. Be real. The appeal of social media is connecting to other people. Create a personality for your business that is closely related to you. The more genuine you are in your efforts, the more loyal your following will be.
  3. Plan and commit to fresh and original content. You can share, re-tweet or re-pin other people’s information from time to time but your followers will grow when they see you as a source for unique and original content.
  4. Commit to new content daily. Give some thought to what you will feature and post each week. You can use themes to help (birthday, holidays, etc) but make sure you are bringing new content out regularly. It is okay to repeat some posts but never too close together and never more than twice or three times.
  5. Don’t over post content or flood the feeds too much in one day. If you have a flurry of ideas for Monday, save some of these and post on Tuesday or throughout the week.

Back to School Morning Routines

This year, I’ll have three kids in school and one staying home (he’s three). Last year, the third school-aged kid was in morning preschool, so she still had to be up and ready and out of the house with the older two.

Honestly, I panicked. How was I going to get them all out of the house on time?! At least two of them are not morning people, that’s for sure.

But, we were able to get into a routine, and made it through the last school year without ever being late. And to me, that’s a HUGE accomplishment.

Here’s an example of how we handle back to school morning routines (what works for us):

The biggest thing that I do is prepare as much as possible the night before (or even the weekend before). I make all of the school lunches the Sunday before the school week (check out how HERE). I also sort school clothes into piles the weekend before, by days. So, each stack will have a complete outfit for each child, and I have at least three (if not five) stacks ready to go for the week.

back to school: morning routines

I also gather breakfast the night before…if I’m going to make scrambled eggs, I scramble them in a container, put a lid on and put them in the fridge, so all I have to do is pour them in the pan in the morning. I make muffins, waffles, and even pancakes ahead of time and freeze them, so in the morning, I can pop them in the microwave to reheat and serve them. My kids use cups with lids and straws, so I’m able to fill up their cups the night before with milk and stick them in the fridge.

Homework is done the day before (read about after-school routines here), and backpacks hang on hooks next to the front door.

In the morning, all I have to do is heat up breakfast and lay out the outfits. There is no TV on in the morning (unless they finish getting ready in plenty of time), because my kids just get too distracted.

I wake them up about 45 minutes before we need to leave…they eat breakfast first thing while I take a shower, then they get dressed, get their shoes on, brush their teeth, and grab their lunch boxes and backpacks and we head out the door.

Getting it all gathered and prepared beforehand makes our mornings go so much more smoothly, and saves me a lot of stress on school mornings.

What is your biggest morning routine tip? Please share!

Back to school- morning routines

Be sure to follow my Pinterest boards for lunch ideas, organizational tips, and so much more!

Back To School: After School Routines

I can’t believe it’s that time of year again….BACK TO SCHOOL. One of the hardest things for our family (other than the dreaded transition from summer schedule to school schedule) is getting the kids into an after school routine that allows them time to eat, play, relax, AND get their homework done.

After school routines

Sometimes, you can use the same after school routine from year to year, but kids will probably grow out of it as their homework assignments change and grow, their sleep needs change, they become teenagers. And in the very beginning, that first year of school, everything is new and you just don’t know what will work.

Leigh Ann Torres of Genie in a Blog is the mom of three girls (twins and a little sister). Last year, she went through a tough tranisitional period in which she had to figure out what kind of after school routine was going to work for her twin kindergartners.

She finally did….here’s a bit of what she had to say: We’ve gone through a great many phases of change from the start of kindergarten until now. At the beginning of the school year, they were so, so, SO tired when they got home, they didn’t know what to do with themselves. I didn’t know what to do with them. Sometimes their tired translated into them being too rowdy, which always resulted in someone getting hurt. Sometimes it translated into them wanting to do nothing but stare blankly at the TV. Playing was too hard, eating a snack was too laborious, and don’t even ASK us to flush the toilet, Mom. We’ve had a hard day of coloring and ABCs.

To find out what finally worked out for her girls, READ MORE HERE.

When do your kids go back? Do you have a good after school routine already in place, or will you be doing trial and error to find a new one this year?

The Best Jobs for Moms

It’s tough being an entrepreneurial mom. It can get stressful coordinating childcare, work at the home office, housekeeping, and a social life. Some entrepreneurial endeavors are more profitable than others, and some depend on the amount of time and effort put into them. They all depend on a mom’s interests, talents, abilities, availability, and resources. Below are some of the best jobs for moms:

The best jobs for moms

Figure Out What You Really Want to Do

Top mom businesses and career roles are those that relate to their interests and passions, that pay well, and that can be done in flexible schedules.

SizzleIt! founder and entrepreneur Scott Gerber recommends entrepreneurs, including moms, focus on one business enterprise and not get sidetracked by too many different opportunities. They need to stick to things they like and can sustain an interest in for the long term. He suggests being able to articulate the business concept in 30 seconds — a very abbreviated elevator pitch — and surrounding themselves with advisors and mentors to figure out what they truly want to do.

Best Jobs and Businesses for Moms

April Peveteaux, writing for The Stir, says the best jobs for moms don’t require scrambling for childcare or going out on the road, or have blatant pay discrimination. She says jobs that are meaningful are important to moms who are spending time away from children.

Charyn Pfeuffer of Payscale.com says jobs and enterprises that work for working mothers pay well even for part time hours, allow a flexible schedule, provide paid maternity leave, and/or have good daycare benefits. An insurance role meets some of these criteria, with well-paid work from home which may also provide benefits. Using lead aggregation services like Quote Wizard to find customers frees up busy moms’ time and energy to work more efficiently and be available for family obligations.

Creative and helping jobs that offer flexible schedules include lactation consultant/doula, freelance writer, personal trainer, and Etsy seller/artist. Pfeuffer adds web developer, pilates/yoga instructor, and market research analyst. These jobs can be part time or full time or lead to a full business enterprise depending on moms’ interest levels.

Jobs You Never Thought Were Work-From-Home

With advancing technology and social media, many more jobs can be done from home than ever before. Jobs you might not think of as being done from home include senior bilingual technical advisor, nonprofit director, grant writer, online fitness coach, and RN nurse coach.

What Working Moms Need

Glamajama CEO and founder and author of “The Working Mom Manifesto” Heather Schuck says moms need jobs that allow them to take care of their families and pursue their work passions in fulfilling, lower stress ways. She says moms deserve to be happy at work where flexibility and a culture that values family prevails.

One of the 10 best jobs for work/life balance that Schuck recommends is entrepreneur. She advises moms that starting a business can be the quickest way to fulfilling their needs for flexible, rewarding careers. Schuck says that home and/Internet-based opportunities offer economical means to an alternate work schedule.

If you’re a mom trying to decide what kind of work would fit best into your busy lifestyle and still enable you to take care of your family, explore some of these jobs and work from home businesses. Look for good pay and flexible hours in work and businesses related to your interests and passions.

Popping the Perfect Family Movie Night Popcorn

In our family, we have a weekly “pizza and popcorn” night. We make homemade (gluten free) pizza and pop a bag (or two) of popcorn. They go perfectly together, and we go through so much of both that I shed a few tears when I accidentally burn a bag of the popcorn.

But get this….there’s a new APP for your PHONE that tells you exactly when your bag of popcorn is perfectly popped, so you never waste a bag. Because let’s face it, nobody eats burned popcorn except maybe me…the mom (always making sacrifices for the family, right?).

Isn’t technology fantastic?! Instead of standing by the microwave and counting between pops (how many seconds is it?) you can turn the Perfect Pop app on and enjoy the movie. When it tells you that the popcorn is perfectly popped, take it out.

Pop Secret Perfect Pop App

Pair our favorite weekly meal with a new movie from the library, and everybody’s happy. I’m happy because the popcorn came out perfectly so I don’t have to make another bag and try to salvage burned popcorn for myself.

Pop Secret Perfect Pop app

The kids are happy because they get to watch a different movie, eat in the living room, and stay up a little later before the weekend.

Pop Secret Perfect Pop app

You can download the Perfect Pop app for free and try it yourself. It’s a fun way to make sure your popcorn is PERFECT. I guarantee the kids will love it, too.

Pop Secret Perfect Pop App

The Perfect Pop app is available for free at the App Store, for iPhone 5+ with iOS 7+.


Thanks to Pop Secret for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

Tips for Finding a Daycare Provider

Selecting a daycare provider is one of the hardest things a parent will ever do, regardless of the reason for why you are doing it. Some of us have to work for financial reasons (like me) or because we know our mental health would never hold up to staying home (like me) or just because we enjoy working (like me).

Tips for Finding a Daycare Provider

Whatever your reason, here are some tips for selecting a daycare provider:

 

  1.  Know what you want… All daycare providers are different. Some are strict, some are relaxed, some have a learning focused environment, some of them focus on play. It is important to have an idea of what type of environment you want for your children before you start your research. One of the reasons I fell in love with my first daycare was because when I did a tour the infant room teacher was sitting on the floor with babies crawling all over her while she loved and hugged on them. That’s what I wanted for my baby.

 

  1.  Know where they are… I did a Google search for daycare centers for the town where I live and where I work. I looked at all of the neighborhoods to see what centers would be convenient for me and ruled out areas that I knew would not work. (Let’s be real. All towns have at least one bad neighborhood.) This allowed me to cut down my list of potential centers.

 

  1.  Know the law… In Texas all of the regulations are posted on the internet. Go to your state licensing agency and read the rules and regulations before you schedule a tour at potential centers. That way when you walk in you will be able to spot if they are doing anything blatantly against the rules, like not having enough people assigned per age group.

 

  1.  Know where they stand… Texas also posts all reviews online so that you can find the deficiencies for all of the schools that interest you. Do be aware that the auditors that go into these locations are super, super picky and will write up tiny things and make them sound really bad. So while this can be good information, read it with a judgmental eye.

 

  1.  Know what your friends know… Ask everyone you know every question you can think of. No question is too large or small. You can learn more by asking people you trust than you ever will through any other method.

 

  1.  Know when it is time to move… One center may not always fit your needs. In the beginning I loved the center we where we were. As my daughter got older her needs changed, and also management changed. I was not happy with things for awhile. It took me a long time to make a decision about moving my children. Some of the workers there were like family. They rocked my babies to sleep, potty trained them, taught them their ABC’s… But still. There comes a time when you have to listen to your heart. When that time comes you need to be sure to follow your intuition.

 

Do you have any tips for finding a daycare provider?

Jennifer Williams is a full-time working  mom of two kids. You can find her at her blog and Facebook.

Quick Tip Tuesday: Keep Track of Library Books!

Deborah Gilboa of AskDoctorG.com is full of great parenting advice, and she has today’s Quick Tip Tuesday: how to keep track of library books.

Quick Tip Tuesday: Keep Track of Library Books!

 

Be sure to subscribe to Doctor G’s YouTube Channel so you never miss a great parenting tip!

Quick Tip Tuesday- work intervals using a timer

Quick Tip Tuesday is just what it sounds like…a super quick way to make your life easier, more manageable, more organized, more SOMETHING. Simple, yet effective. Ingenious even. If you love it, pin and share it!

Read more Quick Tip Tuesday tips!

Quick Tip Tuesday: Cleaning and Cardio

Today’s Quick Tip Tuesday comes from Dani Stone of DaniStone.net. It’s all about staying fit while multi-tasking and you can easily include the kids or get it done on a hot summer day. Her solution: cleaning and cardio!

Quick Tip Tuesday: Combine Cleanign and Cardio

How to combine cleaning and cardio to get things done around the house and get your sweat on and burn some calories without feeling like either is taking up your whole day? Set a timer for 10-15 minutes, blast some good, fast, get-your-heart-rate-up tunes on the radio, and tackle some chores. Deep clean the kitchen as much as you can, or the bathroom. Change the sheets on all the beds and pick the toys up off the floor. Scrubs the baseboards that you haven’t touched in a few months, or dust all of the ceiling fans. Do it fast and don’t stop until the timer goes off. Do that a couple of times (or more) one day a week or so, and your house will be much cleaner while you’ve been “working out!”

Quick Tip Tuesday- work intervals using a timer  Quick Tip Tuesday is just what it sounds like…a super quick way to make your life easier, more manageable, more organized, more SOMETHING. Simple, yet effective. Ingenious even. If you love it, pin and share it!

Read more Quick Tip Tuesday tips!

Five Safety Features For A Teen’s First Car

Being a parent of a teenage driver can be nerve-wracking, particularly when the National Center for Health Statistics names motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death among 15- to 20-year olds. If you’re a worried mom, you can implement several safety features that will help keep your child safe on the road. These devices and apps will help prevent most types of vehicle accidents, making them necessary safety features for a teen’s first car: essential safety features for a teen's first car

Virtual Teen Driving Coach

A personal driving coach can be a great way to encourage safe driving, but instructors can be expensive and won’t always be there every time your child gets behind a wheel. MOTOsafety is a virtual driving coach, specifically designed for teens. This small and easy to install GPS tracking device monitors a teen’s driving behavior and offers a score at the end of each session. It can track speeding, acceleration and harsh breaking to give you a better idea of how well your child is driving. You’ll also receive updates on your teen’s location and be alerted when your child safely arrives to his or her destination.

No Texting App

DriveScribe is a free smartphone app that combines safe driving with a points-based rewards program, giving your child a higher sense of responsibility while driving. Automated reminders help keep teens’ eyes on the road and performance is impacted by traffic violations and excess speed. DriveScribe’s message-blocking technology also forbids young drivers from reading or sending text messages. After each trip, a Safe Driver Score will be calculated and redeemed for points. These points can be used for free gift cards or store discounts.

Autonomous Emergency Braking

Forward-collision warnings and auto-brakes are common in newer models. Look for vehicles that come with this important safety feature, which can prevent or lessen the impact of a car crash. This system only activates when it’s too late for your teen to impede a crash by braking forcefully. If you can’t afford a new car with these features, research mid-size used cars on Kelley Blue Book. A vehicle like a 4-door sedan is small enough to maneuver, but large enough to offer protection during a crash.

Reverse Backup Sensors

Some automobiles already come with built-in reverse backup sensors. For vehicle’s that don’t have this safety feature pre-installed, AutoSonar offers reverse backup sensor kits that can help your teen with this tricky driving maneuver. These sensors can prevent many unfortunate accidents when backing up is unavoidable (when backing out of a driveway, while parallel parking, during three point turns, etc.). An LCD, along with an audible alarm, will warn young drivers when they are about to collide with an object.

Side View Assist

With side view assist, your teen can make lane changes more safely. Like reverse backup, this system uses ultrasonic sensors to detect nearby cars while driving. Whenever a turn signal is on, the side view assist will activate and warn teens if a car is in the next lane. Side view assist can be installed onto vehicles through a series of sensors that are placed on the sides of the front and rear bumpers. This new technology could make blind spots a thing of the past.

Quick Tip Tuesday: Never Iron Again!

Today’s Quick Tip Tuseday comes from Lydia of Cluttered Genius, a busy work at home mom of three little ones. She’s a woman after my own heart, with a tip on how to never iron again (yay)!

Quick Tip Tuesday: how to use a sock so you never iron again!

 

Lydia’s tip is a simple yet effective one…the kind we like best, right? Simply find one of those mismatched socks we all have, wet it with some water, and throw it in the dryer with whatever item of clothing you’re trying to get the wrinkles out of. Easy, peasy!

Quick Tip Tuesday- never iron again!

Quick Tip Tuesday is just what it sounds like…a super quick way to make your life easier, more manageable, more organized, more SOMETHING. Simple, yet effective. Ingenious even. If you love it, pin and share it!

Read more Quick Tip Tuesday tips!