3 Main Tips for Collaborating with Those in your Industry

Something Styled Events 1.png

One of the things I love most about owning a business is the connection I have made with other industry creatives and businesswomen.  Whether I am planning an event, designing floral, or styling a soiree, I have worked with and collaborated with some of the best in the industry!

With more than 1,000 events under my belt, I have three main tips for collaborating with those in your industry to build your portfolio and network.

 We all know that sending a DM, leaving a voicemail, or emailing a company or person to collaborate can be a bit nerve wracking but rewarding if done well.  I receive numerous calls, emails, and text messages on a daily basis with resumes, portfolios, and daily business grind.   

Collaboration has one goal…to build community + business.

Something Styled Events 4.png

To preface my tips, I want to let you know that I recently took the Enneagram test and I am a type 3 – an Achiever.  So my tips to collaborating with others might be a bit more to the point and less lovey and soft haha! We type 3’s are busy achieving things and have a very business like mindset so we don’t beat around too many bushes.  In fact, we don’t even beat around little tiny shrubs!!

So for all my business boss ladies out there here you go. Also… don’t take anything to heart. But in fact, practice brevity and you will come across more business like. 

Something Styled Events 3.png

1.    There is a process to collaborating with the people you want to partner with.

In order to gather the person’s attention, make it brief and send a plan.  Businesswomen can be swamped and if you present a quick visual, a date, what you need, and what your plan is, they are more likely to respond. Don’t bombard.  Sending 5 paragraph emails seems daunting to reply to. I when growing up, I was told by my dad that a 5 minute phone call is much easier than a 15 minute email with a 2 day response time. with that thought in mind, if several days pass by and you don’t hear back, call them.  I know telephone calls seem foreign to most these days, but an actual phone call proves that you’re a professional who is willing to take the time to step out and step up in your business.

2.    Have your plan in place and be confident about it, but also know that a true creative businesswomen will want to put “their touch” on it so it benefits them as well.

If you are confident and well assured of what you want and what they can bring to the table, they will most likely hop on board.  Your plan allows the other person to bring their talent to the table. You are only asking for what you need and they won’t feel taken advantage of or exhausted from the submission forms that hit their inbox. It will then feel like team collaboration and not a personal gain.

Something Styled Events 2.png

3.     Enjoy the collaboration!

When I first started my business, I had some poor collaborations because I reached out to people who didn’t truly want to collaborate and who were actually …well, lazy!

I ended up doing all the work and quickly learned that collaborations were not meant to exhaust and drain, but rather to give joy and be an outlet for creativity with other like-minded individuals. And to be honest, there are some people that you won’t be able to work with and then others you will want to work with time and time again.

Collaborations are meant to bring out the best in each person you choose and to benefit both.

How have collaborations helped your business and expanded your community and reach?

Something Styled Events.png

Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.

– Henry Ford

NOTE: Collaboration photos included in this post are from here, here, here, and here!

 

 

 

 


READ MORE ABOUT  SARAH  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GAL  GUIDES SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT SARAH (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GAL GUIDES SECTION

WRITTEN BY SARAH JOHNS: ENTREPRENEUR, CREATIVE, FLORAL AND EVENT DESIGNER.

Why should I start Juicing??

If you are on Instagram these days, you might have seen the juicing crazy come back in full force.  It is NOT a fad, it is around for good. I discovered juicing when I was at a breaking point with my health.  I was always bloated, exhausted, stressed…not to mention “that time of the month” symptoms were cramping my style.  Literally and figuratively.  Then entered a holistic health coach that taught me the importance of a nutrient rich diet!  If you (like me) are not sure about this whole “juicing thing”, let me start to change your mind…

You might be wondering about the difference between Green Juice and Green Smoothies, right? 

socialsquares_healthyeating1.JPG

Well the difference is that Green Juice goes straight into your blood stream whereas a Green Smoothie goes through your digestive tract. Both are great options to start your day with! I tried both, and I fell in love with juicing.  It’s fresh, it’s tasty, and I often put it over ice with a straw and feel fancy drinking it.  I’ve been juicing almost every morning for almost 9 months I can honestly say I don’t know why I would ever look back.

It provides me with the nutrients + greens I need, thus giving me energy for my days. As busy wives, mamas, working gals we need every bit of natural energy we can get.

Since drinking green juice, I’ve taken my coffee consumption down to ONE cup a day.

Can you believe it? This has also greatly impacted the daily stresses and anxiety that typically plague us.  Also, there is no “sugar crash” with green juice, which is a major win.  

Here are a few tips, and my go to recipes and I want to challenge you to just begin!

  1. If there’s a local juicery where you live, go buy one first and acquire the taste.

  2. Then when you are ready to go all in, Amazon is there waiting for you.  OR a local Facebook health-conscious or juicing group will be your best friend (many have found them on sale for a fraction of the cost of a new one!). 

Have I convinced you yet? 

Favorite Combo:

My fave green juice recipe is kale, celery, cucumber, red apple, green apple, lemon

Pinterest is also a great source of fantastic recipes and combinations!

Pour over ice in a glass with a reusable or paper straw! Such a treat! I use the Breville juicer (Shop for your own here!) 

socialsquares_healthyeating14.JPG

I hope this helps give you a new mindset of what your body is meant to do! You are absolutely capable and worthy of these lifestyle changes. I’m not perfect & I don’t do it perfect al l the time but having this mindset has changed it all . I no longer feel bloated, exhausted, depleted, run ragged. I’ve got my body back. Which has in turn given me the fuel I need to do the things I’ve been created to do! 

Cheering you on! 


READ MORE ABOUT  WYNNE  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT WYNNE (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

WRITTEN BY WYNNE ELDER: PHOTOGRAPHER, WRITER, ENCOURAGER, & COMMUNITY BUILDER.

Ten Things You Didn’t Know You Could Write Off

socialsquares_warmneutralshome0030.JPG

If you’re a small business owner and dread dealing with taxes, know you are not alone!

With it, comes with the worry of audits, fees, and money owed. But while it can be stressful, it does come with benefits for business owners - like writing off all those business expenses to help minimize your tax bill. Let’s go over some of them! 


RENT 

Most businesses have to pay rent of some sort. Usually, businesses are renting buildings out like storefronts, warehouses, office spaces, and more. These all cost money in the way of rent. Luckily, business owners can write off the rent for their business on their taxes! 

UTILITIES

Along with rent, you are going to have to pay the utility costs for where your business is located. Electricity, water, and internet all cost extra money on top of rent. But not to worry, these can be written off too! 

YOUR HOME OFFICE

Maybe you don’t rent a separate building for your business but you do have a home office. There is a tax deduction for that too! How much you can deduct depends on how large your home office is. You can calculate the deduction based off of the proportion of your office space compared to the total square footage and utility bills of your house. Have these numbers ready for your tax preparer when filing!

VEHICLE EXPENSES

If you are driving for work, you can too deduct this off your expenses. If your vehicle is both for business and personal life, just make sure to log your vehicle costs (gas, repairs, maintenance) and the mileage for both categories. 


TRAVEL

For some businesses, work requires the owner or employees to travel. If you or your employees are traveling out of town, you can deduct both your transportation and lodging expenses. As long as the trip truly is for business purposes of course!

Tax.png


MEALS & FOOD

Meals and food that are related to your business are a few of those partially detectable expenses. Most of your meal expenses are deductible to up to 50%. This includes travel meals.


INSURANCE

Insurance is a must have in business and luckily it is also something you can deduct on your taxes. Items like your business insurance, liability coverage, and your employees’ insurance can be a great deductible for you and help save on taxes. 

ADVERTISING SPENDING

Didn’t think you could write off the money you use to advertise your business?  Well, you can! Types of advertising you can write off include social media, newspapers, digital ads, email marketing, and more. 


EDUCATION

Continuing education and personal development can be definitely expensive. Which makes it daunting and scary to invest in. Even though it is needed to advance your business. Thankfully, you can write off education that is related to your business - like conference tickets and online courses.


CHARITABLE DONATIONS

Just like on your personal taxes, you can deduct charitable donations from your business taxes as well. Just make sure you have the receipts to prove it!

It Doesn’t Have to Be Scary 

Taxes don’t have to be scary. Keep track of your deductions and don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional if you need some assistance.

READ MORE ABOUT  ADRIENNE  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT ADRIENNE (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

WRITTEN BY ADRIENNE ZIMBRO: ACCOUNTANT, CONTENT CREATOR, & ENCOURAGER

15 (free) Ways to Market your Business

tamara-bellis-189610-unsplash.jpg

Marketing for our businesses can feel overwhelming, especially when we feel like marketing dollars flow out of our bank accounts like water. Luckily, there are tons of ways to share what we’re doing for FREE!


1.HOST A FREE TRAINING

Create video training or host a webinar to share your expertise. Make sure you offer your services at the end to remind potential clients that they can come to you for deeper/further assistance.

2. ASK FOR REFERRALS

Reach out to past clients, family, friends, and other business associates and ask if they know of anyone who might need what you’re doing.

3. PROMOTE A SPECIAL OFFER OR DISCOUNT

Giving an incentive from time to time is a great way to get past clients to work with you again and develop new customers, as well.

4. WRITE A GUEST POST

Get in front of an entirely new group of people by writing a guest post for a blog or website with a similar target audience.

5. FACEBOOK GROUP NETWORKING

There is a FB group for absolutely everything these days. Comment, post, and use them to market your business to like-hearted individuals.

andrew-neel-237802-unsplash.jpg

6. HOST YOUR OWN (LIVE OR VIRTUAL) EVENT

Whether you’re charging a small fee (to cover the cost of the event itself) or offering it for free, blow everyone away with the depth of content you offer. Make it both beautiful and full of value so those who attend share it with their audience/networks.

7. HOST A TWITTER OR INSTAGRAM CHAT

Connect with other experts and host a conversation that shares expertise in a certain industry or topic. Use a cohesive hashtag to share with your fans, keeping the conversation connected for all of your audiences.

8. COMMENT ON BLOGS

Comment (often!) on your favorite blogs and websites, including your web address. People often scroll through, reading other’s thoughts…they may be curious about you after reading what you have to say, and click over to your site.

9. SEND NOTES TO PAST CLIENTS

Sending a hand written note or even simply an email reminds past clients that you value them and their business. It also reminds them that you’re out there and the likelihood happy customers coming to you again is great.

10. ATTEND A NETWORKING EVENT OR POPUP

Find groups in your community or city because these are such a treasure trove for your business! Make sure your elevator speech is ready so you can quickly get folks excited about what you do.

thought-catalog-641073-unsplash 2.JPG

11. EMAIL YOUR SUBSCRIBER LIST

A subscriber list is imperative for any business and in any industry. Even if you don’t blog, simply sending quick emails with great, friendly content, will keep your company in their thoughts and therefore know where to find you when they need you next.

12. CREATE A YOUTUBE VIDEO

YouTube now has more subscribers/viewers than cable television. Get in front of an entirely new audience by filming videos providing great content.

13. CREATE A FREEBIE

Create a valuable (free!) resource for your ideal audience that they will receive when opting-in/subscribing via email. Mini Courses, resource guides, checklists, printables, videos, the options are endless and so is your opportunity to grow when you find the ideal thing to grab their attention.

14. SHARE INTERVIEWS

Interviewing other experts in a certain field or within a particular topic will not only be share-worthy, but also expands your reach because they will likely post about it to their network/audience, as well.

15. COMMENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Being active on social media is a given, but don’t forget to like and comment on other people’s feeds, as well. Comment in an authentic way that makes sense with the post (not a cut/paste generic comment that is obvious you’re not actually consuming their content). Not only will that person begin to notice who you are because of the consistency, but so will others reading through comments on their feed…resulting in curiosity and clicking over to see who you are and what you’re about.


What other ways have you been marketing your business?? We’d LOVE to know! xo

READ MORE ABOUT  TERESA  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  GUIDES SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT TERESA (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS GUIDES SECTION.

WRITTEN BY TERESA SWANSTROM ANDERSON: AUTHOR, SPEAKER, AND FOUNDER OF THE & SOCIETY

When you're ROCKING Work but feel like you're FAILING Motherhood

I suppose everyone has ideas of what their lives will be like before becoming parents. I know I sure did. I saw the role of working mom as one that would be symbiotic. I would work all day, manage to semi make a descent meal, spend every night of quality time with my family and sleep at least six hours a night. I also just knew that I would ROCK motherhood.

liesl-leonard-1491898-unsplash.jpg

Oh Lord, forgive my blind ignorance. You never know what you don’t know. And I knew nothing about being a mother.

After fifteen years, I know a lot of things about practicing law and running a business. The raw, gut checking truth is that almost every day of my existence, I nail every aspect in my life-except motherhood. From business meetings to court appearances, I can do those things. And I can do them well.

dane-deaner-272368-unsplash.jpg

There’s also the other gratification of clients telling you "thank you" for a job well done, seeing sales numbers increase and having a judge agree with my legal reasoning all creates a buzz of “hey-I did that and I did well.” Those moments are fun. They remind me what I’m doing is the right thing.

The office has never been a struggle for me. I like to work. It’s where I am in control and the outcome of a lot of work days.

Home is where I most often lose faith that I have any abilities whatsoever.

It never matters how often I win a case, or successfully complete a sales call, there is another realm of which I am always struggling. You see, home is where most of my insecurities come out to play on a daily basis.

kevin-liang-683790-unsplash.jpg

The moment my briefcase is set down, there is another arena in which I have to perform every day. There is a floor to sweep, dinner to make and no matter how much effort or time is applied, there is always a pile of laundry to tackle. And then there are the other humans living with me, of whom I never have any solid control. Both of my kids are entering or are solidly in their teenage years. They have practice, social schedules and opinions of their own.

I often have to remind myself that just because I control work, home often seems to control me.

nicole-honeywill-1465521-unsplash.jpg

About a year ago, I finally had to give myself permission to be ok if things under our roof are never mastered. The laundry can hang out in the basket longer than I would like. The kids are developing into people and that’s a process where I am needed but cannot micromanage. And there are going to be days that no one cares what I did at the office.

brina-blum-767639-unsplash.jpg

That has probably been one of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself—the freedom to love what I do and not expect any appreciation. Motherhood and business almost creates two personalities in me. And after nine years of  doing motherhood and business together, I still have so much to learn.

So mamas, if you are feeling like a boss at the office (or behind the computer) and yet feel coming up short at home, take heart.

Your people may never fully appreciate all that you can accomplish except for when you have thrown together dinner of noodles and leftovers and sit around and ask about their days. Believe me that you are not alone and you are rocking both motherhood and biz life like only you can do!

READ MORE ABOUT  LINDSEY  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT LINDSEY (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION.

WRITTEN BY LINDSEY W. ANDREWS: LAWYER, ENTREPRENEUR, AUTHOR, AND SPEAKER

You can connect with Lindsey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or www.lindseyandrewswriter.com

How to Freak Out Less & Laugh More

The phrase "The days are long but the years are short" seems to be on repeat in my mind as the realization that our kids are growing older hits. It's been quite awhile since I've bought diapers or filled a bottle. I don't often wake in the middle of the night to a little one's needs.

Though I love the baby and toddler stages (like loooooooove them), I always figured I'd be excited to be out of it and onto the older years. And it is undoubtedly fun to be able to snuggle on the couch and read books side by side, have water balloon fights in the front yard, and cook dinner together...and yet, I'm realizing something.

anderson_family-38.jpg

The stage that I considered to be the most challenging of my life because I was tangled in a life of exhaustion and spit-up, has shifted into something else...another season more challenging than the one before.

Though I now have a few minutes to shower every morning (sometimes even without a kid interrupting!) and generally sleep through the night without someone needing me at 2 am, this stage is a hundred times more demanding.

Our kids have opinions and personalities and giftings and struggles. They have expectations and hurts and fears. There are days of tremendous elation and others with lots of tears.

I REALIZE EACH AND EVERY DAY THAT I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING AND PRAY THAT I DON'T SCREW THEM UP...TOO MUCH.

anderson_family-78.jpg

My heart skips a beat knowing they’re beginning to make life-choices that will impact who they grow up to be. Our youngest may be six, but our oldest is nineteen. This summer will mark six years with both these two and though it seems like we've had them forever, I also realize how fast time is going.

SOMETIMES I FORGET TO CELEBRATE THE LITTLE THINGS LIKE I USED TO AND SEE THE WEEDS RATHER THAN THE FLOWERS.

I think sometimes I stress out too much. Do you?

The other night, eight-year-old Imani had a performance. The weather was beautiful and warm and we smiled as we walked to and from the elementary school. We were all hungry afterward and as we fixed some snacks before putting on pj's, one of the little ones put on the La La Land soundtrack. The music is so fun and upbeat. I've played it so often that we all know the words to our favorite songs and the younger three and I danced around the kitchen, lip syncing and laughing.

anderson_family-156.jpg

But when I tried to bring one of the older kids into the fun, he got angry. Some of our kids have a lot of trauma from their past and unpredictable anger flares up now and then because of it. But this was not one of those kids.

The way he shunned our fun was surprising and unexpected. And it made me really sad. Like heartsick kind of sad.

I LOOKED AT HIM AND WONDERED WHERE HIS JOY HAD GONE.

I'm not saying he's a depressed kid. I'm in no way detecting a constant spirit of sadness or anger. But it does flash more often than I think it should and definitely more often than it had when he was young and every conversation had to do with superheroes, trucks, and legos. Now he talks about mean girls in class and struggling in math. He shares when he feels like he doesn't fit in and that he's not good enough, cool enough.

anderson_family-76.jpg

Ohhhh how that breaks my heart.

Motherhood is hard to maneuver, isn't it?

SO MY CHALLENGE FOR THIS SEASON IS TO BRING MORE JOY TO THE HOUSE.

TO FREAK OUT LESS AND LAUGH MORE.

I came upon Rachel Macy Stafford's post titled, The Day My Child Lost Her Joy—and What I Did to Revive It and realized this isn't only hitting my family. Is it impacting yours?

I think it's partly my own fault. I've noticed as the number of children in our family expands, the more order I need in our home and when order is not there, I get tense and frustrated.

anderson_family-119.jpg

AND AS WE KNOW, MOTHERS ARE THE HEARTBEAT OF THE HOME.

How does the saying go? "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Gosh, it's true.

Life is so chaotic and loud in a family of eight that I think it's my way to restore a little calm. The more kids in the house, the less I can handle mess and clutter. And my patience wanes as our old-enough-to-clean-up-after-themselves children either don't clean up...or they whine the entire time they do.

And because they see impatience in me, they're impatient. Because I'm stressed, they're stressed.

But if I ooze joy, they'll ooze joy.

And in all truthfulness...I yell. You guys, sometimes I yell at my kids for almost no reason at all. Sometimes it's simply because I'm stressed and they did something that broke the camel's back.

anderson_family-214.jpg

I've never been a person who yells. What is my problem??

I DON'T WANT THEM TO REMEMBER ME AS A "YELLING MOM."

I WANT THEM TO REMEMBER ME AS AN AFFIRMING, GOOFY, FUN MOM.

Something has got to change. And I think joy is where I'm going to spend my time first.

How do you infuse joy and happiness into your home? How, as your kids enter elementary, middle school, and high school...do you help them brush off hurt in a healthy way and turn their faces toward light instead of darkness and depression?

How do you see the flowers and not the weeds in your day-to-day life? From one mama that often feels in over her head to another...I'm so glad we don't have to pretend everything is always ok and perfect. No facades here. Let's grasp authenticity.

READ MORE ABOUT  TERESA  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  GUIDES SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT TERESA (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS GUIDES SECTION.

WRITTEN BY TERESA SWANSTROM ANDERSON: AUTHOR, SPEAKER, AND FOUNDER OF THE & SOCIETY

The Cutest Shoes for the #MomBoss (Our & Gal Leaders Spill their faves!)

You know what’s so great about shoes? It doesn’t matter if we still carry that baby-weight…our feet essentially stay the same. All the praise hands, RIGHT?!

Whether you’re a work from home or a work in the office/shoppe/classroom/courtroom/etc kind of gal, we think you’ll love way too many of these…and maybe you’ll even find some new brands to step into (see what we did there?)!

Ready for our fun roundup of some of our & Gal Leaders favorite shoes? Good, thought so. (pssst….we even have discounts for some of them!)


LINDSEY W. ANDREWS

FAVORITE PAIR: Red Cat Flats by Rothys

Lindsey W Andrews.jpg
Rothys.png

Have you heard of Rothy’s?? Lindsey, our favorite family law attorney introduced them to us a few weeks back while on a video conference.

“I wear them whenever I’m not in the courtroom! And even when I am, they’re in my bag”, she admitted.

We are SO excited about this (new to us) brand that’s not only fantastically cute, but socially conscious. Founded with an unwavering commitment to design, they wanted to create a beautiful shoe with the environment in mind. “Anyone can make pretty shoes” they explain, “we took it a step further and developed a way to craft stylish, comfortable flats from recycled plastics with virtually no waste throughout the entire process.”

Can you believe they’ve already saved over 20 MILLION water bottles from the landfill?

Plus, who doesn’t love matching mom/daughter footwear?! Especially when you’re literally able to slide them off your feet and right into the washing machine. Yes, REALLY!

We know you love discounts (so do we)…so click on the button above for $20 off!


KAREN STOTT

FAVORITE PAIR: Tan Ankle-High Leather Clogs by Lotta from Stockholm

Meet Karen.png
lotta from stockholm.png

This author, photographer, and retreat and conference creator is obsessed with her clogs by Lotta from Stockholm.

“I love that they are closed toed but still sandals because I feel like I can wear them for work events but still not be hot and trendy. They’re super comfy. Pretty sure I wore them the entire Abound Conference!”

(Speaking of Karen’s Abound conferences & retreats…here’s the next one this summer)

The best part about this Swedish brand? You can get them on Amazon! Ummmm Prime, please.

Here’s more fun from Lotta from Stockholm!


CHRISTINA CERANNA

FAVORITE PAIR: Natural Yarn Dye Women's Majorca Cutout Sandals by TOMS

Copy of Thank You So Much, Dad! (1).png
Toms.png

This entrepreneurial mama is a creative director, and content strategist (amongst many other things!) and loves looking cute while being on her feet all day…though comfort is a must! Christiana says,

“They are the perfect everyday shoe and go with everything from a daytime summer dress to an evening ensemble. They are supportive and comfortable to walk in to the park or to a work meeting and the color goes with everything. You can never go wrong with a nude heel that elongates the leg, and they are the only heels I can wear thatI can also maneuver twins in all day!”

It’s obvious we all love TOMS (especially since they created the whole one-for-one concept) but we’re especially loving their new wedges and new styles for spring and summer! Check out more TOMS faves below!

For $10 off, use code: GIVE4VSZR7HZ


RETHA NICHOLE

FAVORITE PAIR: JP TOBEE Platform Pump by Jessica Simpson

Meet Retha.png
jessica simpson 6.png

This boy-mom who spends her work days as a successful life and business coach, prefers heels because, “They make me taller, lol. Funny but true!” We feel you, Retha…some of us like to get some height on us!

“I usually wear these with dresses or skirts,” Retha goes on to say. “I love how feminine and bold they are and make me feel as I go into important meetings”


ERIN PERSON

FAVORITE PAIR: Blade Booties : Freebird by Steven

Meet Erin.png
FREEBIRD.jpg

Baker, balloon artist, and manager of her family’s business, Erin has a fun and big personality and her style definitely reflects it. Whether building a massive balloon installation for an event, playing at the park with her two little cuties, or helping run her family’s landscape business, she needs something that she feels good in (that’s still mega-comfortable)!

She says, These boots are life! Unique in every sense of fashion. Perfect for a day in the office and even better out on the town.”

We’re definitely wanting to raid your shoe closet right about now, girl.


SARAH JOHNS

FAVORITE PAIR: Colorblock Espadrille Flat by Tory Burch

Meet Sarah.png
tori burch 1.png

Whether meeting with brides or running to the wholesale floral market, Sarah, owner of an event and floral design shoppe in Denver, CO, is on her feet all day. Her perfectly classic style blends perfectly with these cheerful espadrilles.

“I do love Tory Burch but I’m not all booshie all the time, lol. Size 10 is hard to find…they’re either soooooo ugly and frumpy or $1,000!” Sarah explains with a laugh.

Are you a Tory Burch fan, too? We’re loving her other styles below, too!

**FUN SIDE-NOTE: Sarah Johns and Erin Person (above) are sisters (wink!)


LINDSEY BOMGREN

FAVORITE PAIR: Women's GEL-Nimbus 20 Running Shoe by ASICS

Meet Lindsey B.png
 
asics.png

Our resident health and fitness mom, Lindsey is a big fan of Asics.

These transition seamlessly from running to cross training to everyday walking”, she gushes.

And she would definitely know since she’s constantly bouncing back and forth from teaching fitness classes, taking care of her son, and creating healthy living content for her website, Nourish Move Love.

And um, let’s just say it’s super fun seeing her on their Instagram feed. Lindsey certainly walks the walk.


MEREDITH WATKINS

FAVORITE PAIR: Valerie Microsude City Ankle Boots by A New Day (at Target)

Meet Meredith.png
target.png

Can we just talk about Target for a second? I know you’ve seen that meme that says something like, “Did you find everything today?” And the woman responds, “First of all, I didn’t come here for any of this…” You know it’s funny ‘cuz it’s true. But seriously, Target. You’ve done it again. Meredith’s booties are just the cutest.

She says, These leopard booties are my go-to shoe for sassing up an outfit. And every time I wear them — without fail — someone says how much they love them. They can never believe it when I tell them they’re from Target!”

Have you seen the other shoes on their shelves lately?!


TERESA SWANSTROM ANDERSON

FAVORITE PAIR: Gaby Flat in Embriodered Floral by Root Collective

Meet Teresa.png
Root Collective 8.png

Our founder, Teresa is a total heels girl (she says the taller her teenage sons grow, the taller her shoes need to be, haha). That being said, she’s completely obsessed with these floral flats by Root Collective these days.

Teresa says, “My parents moved us to Guatemala during my middle school years so knowing what I’m wearing on my feet is actually impacting people inside a country I love dearly is incredible. Plus…the shoes incredibly well made, comfortable, and even more gorgeous in real life.”

Have you heard of Root Collective? They’re literally changing the world while partnering with small, independent workshops because they believe that's where the most impact in communities happen. With the goal to support existing workshops that are run by local business owners, all of their producers receive beyond fair trade wages.

Teresa remembers the guerilla warfare and gang disturbance well, so knowing that Root Collective is working intentionally to help communities have safe alternatives is extraordinary. Providing steady and safe jobs fight against violence in Guatemala by giving young men and women an alternative to joining the gangs, which are rampant in many communities throughout the country.

Head on over to Root Collective’s site. With a motto like: Ethically made. Empower communities. Invest in change. you know we’re big fans. We bet you will be, too.

We know you love discounts (so do we)…so click on the button above for $20 off!


WANT MORE FUN SHOE IDEAS?

HERE ARE A FEW MORE OF TERESA’S FAVORITES

OASIS ORANGE MULTI  BY STEVE MADDEN

OASIS ORANGE MULTI BY STEVE MADDEN

Linx Slide Sandal  BY 42 GOLD
winslow black multi  by betsy johnson

winslow black multi by betsy johnson

RAINBOW SNEAKERS  BY TRETORN

RAINBOW SNEAKERS BY TRETORN


WANT MORE FASHION FUN?

Meet Kristen.png
sonnet+james+10.png

For even more fun #momboss fashion, head on over to Kristen’s post: The Work-From-Home Mom's Guide to Dressing Without Yoga Pants (which truly, is for any mom because the stuff in here is just so darn cute)

You’ll never wear yoga pants outside of yoga again!


What are your favorite shoes??? We’d LOVE to know more brands + styles for next time!! xo, Teresa

Writing Content for Your Business, Part 2: Website Content

Welcome to the second installation of our Writing Content for Your Business series. Last time, I talked about why blogging is still a viable and important piece of your business’s content strategy. This time however, I’m tackling your website content, which I dare say is one of the single most important pieces of marketing copy you can write.

Here’s why.

Your website is where your business lives online. It tells people what, why, and how you do what you do. It’s where you introduce yourself to your audience and give them a sense of who you are as a person and a business owner.

Social Squares_Styled Stock Photos for Social Media_0386.JPG

And—this is super important—it’s where you clearly direct prospective customers or clients to take action to further interact with or buy from you.

For these reasons, you should write your website content to accomplish these goals. Looked at through this lens, the process is quite strategic.

There are many really good marketing writers who teach this in detail (and I suggest you do yourself a favor and read what they have to say, specifically Donald Miller’s Building a Story Brand and Ray Edwards’ How to Write Copy that Sells), but for brevity’s sake, I’ll pull the main points they espouse and break them down for you here.

How to write killer website content in a (abnormally large) nutshell:


YOUR HOME PAGE

This is literally the first place most people land on your website, so it’s imperative you provide clarity about what you do so they’ll keep reading. Various reports say the average reader will stay 15 seconds on your site before navigating away if you haven’t given them a good enough reason to stay. I’ve actually heard that time reported as few as 3 seconds. The point is, you have very little time to capture a reader’s attention. So…

1. BE RIDICULOUSLY CLEAR ABOUT WHAT YOU OFFER.

To grab and keep someone’s attention, you must be crystal-clear about what you offer so they know immediately if the answer they are looking for is on your website.

To do this, you must first become crystal-clear about what you offer.

This may seem obvious, but honestly, how simply can you describe what you do? And would the average person understand what you mean?

Trying to be cute on your home page is basically marketing suicide.

Just don’t.

Social Squares_Styled Stock Photos for Social Media_0711.JPG

We don’t know what “Upleveling Your Spiritual Vibration” means. Truly, think of all the possible ways to interpret that… I mean, the mind reels.

However, we do know what it means when you say, “I teach regular people how to incorporate meditation into their everyday lives”. OK! Now we’re getting somewhere.

You want people to understand right away what you offer so they can decide if that’s what they’re looking for or not. And there’s a good chance they do want your product or service or information so long as you don’t disguise it under weird language that doesn’t actually say anything.

2. HAVE A CLEAR CALL TO ACTION PROMINENTLY POSITIONED.

People need (and want) to be told what to do when it comes to taking action to get your product/service/information. They do not have the time or desire to interpret vague messages and follow a meandering path toward actually getting what they want. The sooner you can connect them with their desired outcome (buy the product, set up the consultation, learn about the subject), the more likely they’ll be to actually do those things.

That may seem obnoxiously obvious but think about how easy (or difficult) you make it for people who come to your site to quickly get what they came there for. Go to your website with the eyes of someone who knows nothing about you or what you do and see how easy it is to figure it out and navigate to the end result.

It is possible you may be too entrenched in your business to be able to do this objectively, so you may be better served to have a trusted friend or family member do it for you. Either way, do that exercise, be willing to be completely honest with yourself, and then make the changes to convert browsers into buyers.

Here’s one quick and easy way to do that: Place a clear call to action button in the top righthand corner of your home page. Use words like “get” and “click here” and “download”—basically any directional word that clearly tells your reader what to do to get what they want. Make sure there’s no ambivalence about what they’re doing or what they’re getting when they click that button. And if you don’t have a call to action button, for the love of all that’s holy, add one right now!

3. HELP READERS NAVIGATE TO THE RIGHT INFORMATION.

It’s possible you offer more than one service or product. Your home page is where you clearly lay out each one and guide readers to the right information for each one. This is easily achieved through boxes like these ones from online marketing guru Amy Porterfield’s website:

She clearly lays out three paths you can take, depending on what you need most. When you click on the button, you are taken to the cheat sheet she promised (and you add yourself to her mailing list, which is another super important facet of your overall marketing content strategy…but that’s for another article).

Clear. Simple. Effective.

Your boxes don’t have to go to freebies that you use to build your email list (though, if they do, bonus points for you), but they should lead to the most appropriate page on your website that answers your visitor’s question or meets their need.
Which leads us to…


YOUR SERVICES PAGE

If your home page is the first stop on your customer’s journey, then the next step is your services page (and, ideally, your home page should lead them there several times). Because this is where you get down to brass tacks about what you offer. From artwork to consulting services, present the options to your visitors as (wait for it…) CLEARLY as possible.

LAY OUT YOUR OFFERINGS CLEARLY AND MAKE THEM EASY TO BUY.

If you offer several services, you may choose to present them individually or in packages, but be sure you convey all the value people receive with each one.

Bullet points are a nice way for readers to quickly scan the benefits of each offer. They also force you to be more concise about communicating them.

The goal here is to say what you offer, what the person can expect to gain from it, and how to receive it. Donald Miller does this really well using boxes (of sorts) on his page for the online marketing workshop he offers:

Don’t overcomplicate this part but do put careful thought into the strategy of what you’re doing and on how best to execute it.


YOUR ABOUT PAGE

This is the page where you introduce yourself more personally to people, so it’s a great place to let your personality shine. However, it’s not the place to go on and on about yourself.

*Record scratch*

What?!? Isn’t that the whole purpose of an About page?

Well, kinda. But not really. Here’s what I mean.

In Building a Story Brand, Donald Miller explains that the most compelling stories are those where we follow a hero’s journey through hardship to reach a desired goal. Very often, the hero has a guide who gets them there. Gandalf guides Frodo in the Lord of the Rings,  Dumbledore guides Harry Potter in the Harry Potter series… they are essential characters in the story, but they are not the main characters.

Social Squares_Styled Stock Photos for Social Media_0744.JPG

This, Miller argues, is how to effectively position yourself in relation to your customer because every person sees themselves as the hero in their own journey. Trying to place yourself in that role upsets that order and doesn’t serve them best.

So your About page is where you lay out what you know to be their hero’s journey as it relates to what you offer.

For example, if you sell toxin-free makeup and skincare products, your customer’s hero’s journey is to learn about the toxins she currently uses on herself and her family, discover why they’re harming them, and replace them with safer products. She remains the hero of her story, her life, her family, and you simply serve as the guide who shows her what she needs to know to make the best choice when it comes to the beauty and skincare products she buys.

Language you might use in your About page could be, “You might have heard that traditional skincare products and makeup actually contain harmful chemicals and toxins. You definitely want to make the safest choice for your family, but with all the information out there, you’re not sure where to start. Don’t worry: You’re in exactly the right place.”

This way, your readers see themselves in the journey you’ve described, and they feel reassured that they have found the place to get their questions answered. You will guide them to the right solution.

Social Squares_Styled Stock Photos for Social Media_0352.JPG

Then it becomes natural to tell them a little bit of your own journey to using non-toxic products and the benefits you’ve experienced as a result. You can sprinkle in details about your professional experience, as it’s relevant: “I always wanted to make a difference in people’s lives and used to do it as a teacher, but now I’ve discovered a new avenue where I can both educate people and tangibly improve their lives—and even advocate for better laws that make our skincare safe!” You can also share bits about your personal life here, as it pertains to your business.

Your About page is also a way to sneak in details about who you most love working with—your ideal customer. You can achieve this by describing how you like to work with your customers and what you most enjoy about the process. This way, those who are drawn to your approach will be naturally drawn to you too, and you’re more likely to attract your people who are always so much more fun to work with!

In addition to these three pages, you should also have a Contact page that includes a field where people can email you with questions and that should also be linked to your email marketing provider, like Mail Chimp or ConvertKit. If you’d like people to be able to call you, make sure you include your phone number there too.

If you implement all of these principles into your website, you will have a fully functional, incredibly effective website that will help you reach the people you most want to help and keep crushing it like the #momboss you are!


READ MORE ABOUT  MEREDITH  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT MEREDITH (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION.

WRITTEN BY MEREDITH WATKINS: ENTREPRENEUR, EDITOR, WRITER.

If you liked this and would like to learn more about creating crazy-effective marketing content, visit me at www.meredithwatkins.com. I’d love to help your business grow through smart, intentional strategies.

I Survived the Shootings at Columbine HS...what I'd like you to know now that I'm a mom

Teresa Swanstrom Anderson.jpg

Hey friends, Teresa here. Today’s conversation is a bit of a hard one.

With six kids at five schools, I pray each and every morning that they will stay safe within the walls of where they’re educated.

And each and every morning as I kiss them and say goodbye, I wonder if they actually WILL be safe. It shouldn’t be this way, but it’s the reality of today.

Crystal is a survivor of the shootings at at Columbine HS. And by survivor, I mean she witnessed things we pray our children never will.

In honoring Columbine’s 20 year anniversary this week, I wanted this dear friend to share her heart of forgiveness and remind us that when darkness surrounds, we must always let the light back in.

If you’d like to hear more of sweet Crystal’s heart, head over to my personal blog and read her post, Fear, Family, + School Shootings. xo Teresa


Lately, it's impossible to open up your news feed or turn on the TV without seeing a headline about a shooting somewhere in the world, where lives are tragically cut short at the hands of someone bent on mass destruction. It seems no one is safe, whether watching a movie, attending a concert, eating at a restaurant, or going to school, our lives and the lives of our children seem to be in peril. Whether we like it or not, we are faced with a choice, to either shrink back in fear, or to push forward in hope.

For me, that choice came nearly twenty years ago on April 20, 1999. I was a sixteen year old junior at Columbine High School. I had gone to the library with a few of my friends to study for a test I had later that afternoon. After only a few minutes in the library, a teacher ran through the doors screaming that we were in danger, as two boys with guns were shooting students.

beautiful painting of Columbines by  Oana Befort

beautiful painting of Columbines by Oana Befort

Immediately taking cover mere moments before they entered the room, we witnessed what would become the worst school shooting in history at the time. The library was where a majority of the violence happened that day, the same place where I pleaded with God to save my life and the same place where I stared death in the face. Regardless of where any of us were that day, we were all deeply affected. Regardless of whether you were even at the school the day, it has struck fear in the heart of every parent today.

What began twenty years ago at Columbine High School started an epidemic that has become rampant in our world still today. We live in a post-columbine era, where every student knows school is no longer just a place to learn, but also the next place where terror could potentially strike.

Therefore, if we look to the news, to inform our beliefs about others and the world around us, fear will take over and we will certainly loose all hope.

But let me assure you, all hope is not lost.

Hope can be found in the teacher who shields her students from raining bullets.

photo of Columbine memorial, just after shootings. provided by Crystal.

photo of Columbine memorial, just after shootings. provided by Crystal.

Hope can be found in the firefighter who runs into a burning building when everyone else is running away from it. Hope can be found in the hundreds of people who pour into a city or country after a natural disaster to bring aid and offer help. Hope can be found in the family who opens their home and their hearts to a foster child. Hope can be found in the army of people who show up after the loss of a loved one to cook, clean and help. Hope can be found in the nurse who sits at the bedside of a sick patient all night caring for them. Hope can be found in the friend who sits with and listens to you in your darkest despair and depression, refusing to let you be alone.

Hope can always be found in our kindness toward others and in the kindness others show us.

Because kindness reminds us that there is still good in the world and it gives us courage to press forward despite our circumstances. Kindness is the tonic we need for a world torn apart, bruised and battered by war, famine, disease, disasters, injustice, division, hatred, racism and violence. We can never underestimate the power of a kind word, a kind act, or a kind gesture. What the world craves now, maybe more than ever, is to know they are not alone, they matter, they have a place to belong and they are loved.

photo of Columbine memorial, just after shootings. provided by Crystal.

photo of Columbine memorial, just after shootings. provided by Crystal.

Kindness will not solve the worlds problems, but it will make the journey through difficulties much easier to bear.

We need one another, we are made for one another. It’s easy to forget such a simple truth, in this day and age where we run at breakneck speed toward our dreams wishes and desires, and see people as means to an end. It’s easy to forget our need for one another in this day and age where we lead lives dictated by our schedules, and the schedules of our kids, never stopping long enough to enjoy a moment. It’s easy to forget our need for one another in this day and age where social media is king and the number of likes and comments alone give us self-worth. What if we looked up from our phones and our devices more often to remember that we need one another, that we can offer safety, connection and belonging for others to process their pain and grief?

What if we quit getting so angry over each other’s offenses to recognize that we are all more alike than we are different?

And what if we listened, instead of always trying to be heard?

photo of Columbine memorial, just after shootings. provided by Crystal.

photo of Columbine memorial, just after shootings. provided by Crystal.

Is it possible that we can build better neighborhoods, places of work and schools when we look to the needs of others above our own? I believe the answer is yes. I believe so many of our problems today stem from the fact that we have forgotten to care for one another. We have become more concerned about ourselves and what we can gain. Most issues in society could be impacted through the basic understanding of human decency toward our fellow man. I am not sure I understood this truth until I came face to face with humanity at its worst at Columbine on April 20 1999.

Rainbow over what would become the columbine memorial (behind Columbine HS) provided by Crystal

Rainbow over what would become the columbine memorial (behind Columbine HS) provided by Crystal

Sometimes it takes seeing the darkest night, where hopelessness abounds to recognize hope and light and our great need for it.

Change starts with me and it starts with you.

But listen, this is important…

Our children look to us as mothers in how to treat and look out for others. They look to us to lead them into a bright future, a future where they lead the charge, not by force or power, but in humility and kindness. And if you touch the heart, you can make transformation a more true reality. Don’t get me wrong, we must still talk with our children about the real dangers of school violence. It is vital that they are aware of the red flags and trained to have a plan in the event of an attack.

But ultimately as mothers our effort is best spent teaching our children the value of others, by entering into their stories. It is nearly impossible to hate or dislike someone once you know where they came from. Teaching our children to see beyond their snap judgements and get to know people for who they truly are, is of utmost importance. Always being on the lookout for those marginalized and on the fringe of society. As mothers we can teach our kids that kindness has the ability to spread like wildfire and offer hope to a hopeless world. The hope for our future is found within the walls of our homes, and in the mama who never stops teaching them!


READ MORE ABOUT  CRYSTAL  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT CRYSTAL (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

Author and Speaker, Crystal is a survivor of the shootings at Columbine High School and has been seen on The Today Show, CNN, Dateline, and featured in Glamour, Marie Claire and Time Magazine, as well as countless other media sources as she advocates for hope after extreme tragedy.

No one talks about what happens when the pursuit of happiness doesn’t work out the way you thought it would

It’s been said that the test of a true man’s character is the way he behaves when no one is watching. The last few years of my life have lead me to believe that a better testament of personal character is how we respond to life’s blows, and how we treat others when we lose everything.

This past year my family has lost every single asset that has come to define modern day success.

Whether filling out school, home, or job applications, our entry to security and opportunity are all qualified upon this value of financial success…of winning.

IMG_6199.jpg

The world tells us to boldly chase after what sets our soul on fire. To be fearless and to #riseandgrind. We put entrepreneurs and risk-takers on pedestals, and we are led to believe that if we want something bad enough, and are also willing to put in the time and sacrifice that it takes, we can achieve all of our hearts greatest desires (these photos are an example of a dream come true…that was suddenly gone).

Sometimes that happens. My husband was lucky enough to achieve enormous success in business at a very early age. He brought significant impact to companies by doing things he was remarkably talented at, and those impacts made companies a great deal of money. His personal financial gains from those wins made taking more bold leaps possible, and seven years ago when we embarked on building our life together, we set off to do just that.

At that time, I believed that my husband and I were both destined and entitled to even more “success” because we were two of the most intelligent, honest, and hard-working people I know.

We do the right thing, even when that meant we took the biggest hits, because we value integrity above all else. We are not afraid of hard things.

We have collectively sacrificed so much to try and get ahead, and we did it all because success meant we had the opportunity to change other people’s lives.

IMG_6200.jpg

But even in the face of all of those realities, we managed to lose the two things that we thought we needed the most - my longing for security - and my husband’s desire for freedom.

Let’s be honest, those two losses were horribly difficult to swallow.

Some of our losses were due to the inevitable missteps that one takes when pioneering and disrupting into new territories, some were the byproducts of personal growth, and many of our losses (and the hardest to recover from) were the consequences of being taken advantage of by people who did not share our core values.

No one talks about what happens when the pursuit of happiness doesn’t work out the way you thought it would.

How do you stomach disappointment? How do you modify your lens of success when you try your best and you don’t succeed?

IMG_6203.jpg

And this is what I have learned as I stand here today in the reckoning of letting go of the security that I once believed defined me…

Most leaders believe that the biggest indicator of success is money, because money equals power, power equals freedom, and without freedom we have no control. I have learned however, that the things that give you the most fulfillment in life (for us, there is no greater meaning in life than the kind you experience as a parent) are often the things you lose sight of on the journey towards building your safety net.

While research has proven that money only increases happiness up to the point of about 70K a year, I still held on to this notion that ambition, if altruistic in nature, could bring purpose to your life.

IMG_6202.jpg

I surmised that business could act as a vehicle to create impact and to give back - and I have since come to understand that the biggest gifts I have given to others didn’t lie in the money I donated to charitable causes, or within the opportunities I provided, but in the ways I loved just a handful of people with my whole heart.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
— Maya Angelou

For a long time, I held onto this system of belief that my need for safety and freedom had to be met in order for me to be happy.

I have transformed that ideology in recent months to uncover quite the opposite. When you are the most stripped down and sitting in the absence of the things you think you need the most, is when you truly awaken to the magic of the world around you.

When you are forced to stop all the doing, grinding, charging, achieving, driving, hustling, and fighting is when you get still enough to focus on the being of human existence.

IMG_6201.jpg

I should admit that I am still in the process of forcing myself to stop the cycle. Accepting disappointment is certainly not my biggest strength.

When you don’t feel secure - you feel afraid - and its human nature to want to charge to fix it, control it, and solve it. When you feel stuck, and you don’t have answers to your problems, it is ever so difficult to let yourself be still and to focus on the sound of your child’s laugh, the wind at your back, the blessings you have in just being alive.

But this is the new measure of success I have set for myself and these are the goals I am striving towards: embracing disappointment and finding joy in the absence of getting what I thought I needed, being fully present to the simple joys of life, and expressing gratitude for what I have instead of mourning all that has been lost. 

The silver lining of my story is that when you lose everything, you get to wipe the slate clean and start over…and as it turns out the security, freedom, and success I have always wanted, was always right here for the taking. It just looks different than I expected. The world is still our oyster, and I wouldn’t bet against us.

IMG_6204.jpg
That’s all about doing, not being – and while doing will bring you moments of joy, it won’t necessarily reward you with lasting happiness. Stop and breathe. Be healthy.

Be around your friends and family. Be there for someone, and let someone be there for you. Be bold. Just be for a minute.

If you allow yourself to be in the moment, and appreciate the moment, happiness will follow.  Because allowing yourself just to be, puts things into perspective.

There’s a reason we’re called human beings and not human doings. As human beings we have the ability to think, move and communicate in a heightened way.

We can cooperate, understand, reconcile and love, that’s what sets us apart from most other species. Don’t waste your human talents by stressing about nominal things, or that which you cannot change. If you take the time simply to be and appreciate the fruits of life, your stresses will begin to dissolve, and you will be happier.
— Richard Branson

READ MORE ABOUT  CHRISTINA  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GAL  GUIDES SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT CHRISTINA (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GAL GUIDES SECTION.

WRITTEN BY CHRISTINA CERANNA: ENTREPRENEUR, CREATIVE DIRECTOR, PHOTOGRAPHER, SOCIAL MEDIA & CONTENT STRATEGIST

Bookkeeping Basics for the #MomBoss

Mom life is extremely busy - right?! Between taking care of the kids and the normal household necessities, you barely have any time for yourself. Add running a business on top of that, and the time you have available has pretty much gone to zero. Thankfully, some things in life can be made easier in order to save you time. One of these things is bookkeeping for your business.

We know that learning a new skill also adds to the amount of time you need in a day, so instead of having you take a full course on accounting, we have prepared some quick tips on bookkeeping basics for the #MomBoss. 

socialsquares_neutralloves007.JPG

Choose a Bookkeeping Software 

One of the very first steps for getting your bookkeeping going is a good software. You will want to choose an easy-to-use system that allows you to code income and expenses, reconcile your accounts, and provide you with monthly reports. If you are just starting your business, check out Wave. It is free and pretty intuitive to use for service-based industries. 

As your business begins to grow, you will want to upgrade to more robust (but still super user-friendly… we promise!) accounting software. Quickbooks Online is our go-to recommendation. They offer a variety of plans so you can pick which one is right for your company. It costs a monthly subscription fee but is SO worth it offering customized reports, sale tax and 1099 tracking, and more. These are features you will want available as you grow that business!

Separate Your Bank Accounts 

GOLDEN RULE! No matter how big your business is, you should always separate your business bank account from your personal bank account. Even if you don’t use a bookkeeping software, at the very least you will have a separate register of all business-related transactions in one place. 

We recommended having a dedicated business checking account from the very beginning. And if your business is already up and running, it isn’t too late to separate your finances now. If you are a sole proprietor, you can even just open up a new checking account under your own name and use it strictly for your business finances. 

All business related income and expenses should flow through this account, and this account only!

Bookkeeping Basics.jpeg

Keep Your Receipts Digitally

Filing receipts is probably the most yawn-inducing aspect of bookkeeping - but necessary for tax purposes. That’s why we advise taking it digital. Keeping your receipts in a physical file can get really messy and disorganized. Instead, snap a photo on your phone or save the PDF attachment emailed to you, and then simply upload to your preferred cloud storage folder.

Not sure which platform to choose? Take a look at Google Drive or Dropbox. You may be already using one of these for your business anyways! We like to file receipts by year and month.

Block out Bookkeeping Time 

Has anyone else heard of block scheduling? We love it as it helps us focus on specific tasks at a designated time - like taking care of the bookkeeping tasks. 

Set aside one time each month to work on coding transactions, reconciling accounts, reviewing reports, and filing receipts. You will feel at ease knowing that your one-hour block of time has saved you that headache during tax time.

Keep it Simple

The biggest advise we can give is to keep it simple. Bookkeeping may seem like it is super complicated, but it doesn’t have to be! The simpler the system you are using, the more likely you are to keep it up long-term.

Automating tasks like invoice follow-ups, letting clients pay through invoices directly, and using the QuickBooks Online bank rules to automatically code recurring expenses can save you even more time to spend on other areas of the business. 

By utilizing these tips, you will have your business bookkeeping flowing smoothly in no time. And maybe even squeeze in some extra mom time!


READ MORE ABOUT  ADRIENNE  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT ADRIENNE (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

WRITTEN BY ADRIENNE ZIMBRO: ACCOUNTANT, CONTENT CREATOR, & ENCOURAGER

10 Steps to Healthy Living (it may not be what you think!)

What comes to mind when thinking of “healthy living”?  When I say healthy I don’t mean we need to be at our ideal weight, or on a super strict diet…I mean we need to be pursuing health so that we can be the best version of ourselves.  In this article, I’m going to give you ten things you can start doing right now to help kickstart this movement!  I know what you’re thinking…TEN?!

Well, here’s the thing:

Baby steps still move you forward.

With those baby steps in mind, I encourage you to just hone in on one or two keys on this list that aren’t currently a practice in your life. Simply start there.  Have grace for yourself and dare to begin!

socialsquares_warmneutralshome0015.JPG

1.Be kind to yourself!

Yes, I did this one first for a reason.  I know for me personally, I am the harshest with myself.  I “speak” to myself in a way I would never in one million years speak to a friend.  I truly think living a healthy life starts with treating yourself like you would treat a friend!  This is a process, no perfection required.  Be kind!

RELATED ARTICLES:

An Open Letter to You, Working Mom

The Impact of Voicing “I’m a Good Mom”

2. Get your sleep

Research has shown that our bodies actually need 7-9 hours of sleep per night.  If we really paid attention, so much of poor health can be linked back to lack of sleep. Just like we often remind our children that they need to go to bed because this is when our bodies heal and recharge, we sometimes need to remind ourselves the same!  Set an alarm on your phone at a certain time and label it “shut it down” . Start winding down from your work/your phone each night 30 minutes earlier than normal and allow your body the rest it needs to thrive.

RELATED ARTICLES:

How a Digital Sunset Will Help You Sleep (+ 4 Other Sleep-Better Tips)

How Time Blocking Changed My Life

3. Drink plenty of water

This is a great challenge for yourself to start your day with a glass of water.  My health coach painted this picture for me that after sleeping, our insides “need a shower” and that’s what a big glass of water will do.  Make it a point to drink water throughout your day and see how it makes you feel.  Also more water typically equals less caffeine, which is never a bad thing. Note: If you struggle drinking water, spice things up with lemon, lime, fresh berries, or a sprig of something yummy!

RELATED ARTICLE:

Three Tricks to Help You Look Rested

socialsquares_healthyeating2.JPG

4. Fuel your body

So much of what we put in our bodies determines how we feel.  Our body digests foods at different speeds and can tremendously affect how we feel. Changing the lifestyle of my eating has drastically improved my quality of life.  It’s not about losing weight, dieting, or looking a certain way - it’s about how you feel!  When we are fueling our bodies with whole foods (not processed), we have more energy and “fuel” for our days.

RELATED ARTICLE:

10 Healthy Snack Ideas

5. Establish a morning routine

I fought this one so hard, but establishing a morning rhythm has allowed me to start my day in a healthy way.  I started by making a list of what my “idea” morning would be, and then worked from there.  It’s important to remember this is not a check list, or a to do list but simply a routine (or rhythm) allows our minds to take a rest.  It leaves room for creative space, increases productivity, frees up time.  YES!

RELATED ARTICLE:

Let’s Talk Exhaustion & Morning Routines

socialsquares_selfcare003.JPG

6. Live uncluttered

I truly believe that our physical surroundings affect our inner life.  Clearing the clutter of our physical space, clears up mental space and gives us time back.  Healthy living and living uncluttered go hand in hand in my book.

RELATED ARTICLE:

Living an Uncluttered Life

7. Create a support system

Living a healthy lifestyle alone is so much harder than living it alongside someone else.  Ideally, our partners would be seeking to live a healthy lifestyle with us - but if your partner isn’t on board yet, find a friend or sister to come alongside of you.  Having the support and accountability is everything.

RELATED:

Have you joined our Private FB Community full of other Working Moms Yet?

8. Move your body!

Again, this isn’t about losing weight or looking your best but it’s about how you feel.  Find something that you love and go for it.  Maybe it’s a group class, an at home video, getting outdoors…..moving your body will help you feel good and give you energy.

RELATED ARTICLES:

At-Home Workout: 15-minute HIIT cardio (video)

At-Home Workout: 7 Exercises for Postpartum Core Recovery

Quick 10-Minute Beginner Ab Workout for Moms (Video)

socialsquares_healthandfitness00125.JPG

9. Establish a Quiet Zone

Take time away from your phone, the noise, your work….this is so important especially as women who are juggling so much.  If we never stop, we will burn out.  Setting aside an intentional time each week to set away from the never ending responsibilities to just BE will do so much for your health and wellness.  I’m challenging you!

RELATED:

Head over and read the text in this Instagram post about Creating a “Zone of Silence” twice a day.

10. Set your intentions

This is so much a mind game, y’all.  I promise that living a healthy life is possible for you, but you have to decide that for yourself!  Be intentional, set yourself goals or intentions and just dare to begin!

RELATED ARTICLE:

How to Actualize (Not Just Visualize) Success

socialsquares_rosedesktop51.JPG

I believe in you!  You are one step away from living a healthy life…all you have to do is dare to begin. 

Forever cheering for you, Wynne


READ MORE ABOUT  WYNNE  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT WYNNE (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

WRITTEN BY WYNNE ELDER: PHOTOGRAPHER, WRITER, ENCOURAGER, & COMMUNITY BUILDER.

Let's Talk Exhaustion & Morning Routines

Our founder Teresa & today’s article author Erin laughing it out (as they always seem to be doing)

Our founder Teresa & today’s article author Erin laughing it out (as they always seem to be doing)

Hey friends, Teresa here! Consider today’s article a “Choose Your Own Adventure” of sorts, because we’re sharing it in two parts. Feel free and read whichever you think would impact you the most as we chat about Morning Routine

The first section is written by Erin, one of our & Gal Leaders, as she shares her struggles and successes in getting her day started well (sometimes we need a #metoo story so we’re reminded we’re not alone).

The second section is for anyone who simply desires the quick and gritty info. The mom who wants the cursory a + b = c to help her mornings flow better.

Enjoy choosing your own adventure! If you’re like me though, you’ll end up reading all the things because you need all the help you can get. (raise hand here)


We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.
— Richard G Scott

Maintaining the forward momentum can be challenging at times. However, remembering that you will be able to gain time for yourself, less stressful mornings, and the entire environment in the home becomes peaceful is worth it.

tracey-hocking-727337-unsplash.jpg

. ONE .

What do your mornings look like?

Do you find your mornings stressful, full of chaos, and promising to make tomorrow better?

Or are they calm, peaceful, and focused?

Setting up a Consistent Morning Routine can create the most beautiful mornings, glorious afternoons, and restful evenings. You take the stress away and free up time to move toward the goals and achievements penciled in for the day.

Many years ago, I was a morning person and woke up early for work, and by early I mean 3:30am, because coffee addicts are in line at 4:30am * wink *. On the days I wasn’t working at Starbucks, I rose by 7 and was ready to get my day started. I thrived in this same schedule for six years. As the years have flown by though, I have become a Tired Mom.

And by that, I mean neither a morning person nor a night owl.

alexandra-gorn-325610-unsplash.jpg

Two kids and a couple employment changes later, I am an alarm clock that wakes up, works, checks an item or two off a list, and goes to bed. Sound familiar? Pretty robotic. Ugh.

My schedule changed drastically when baby number two arrived and ohhhhhh girl, did she set a new tone for the family. School drop off and pick up, bringing an infant to work every day (which involved naps and feedings, as well as time to interact and play with baby), dinner and chores, and ending each day with our bedtime routine. I’m not exactly sure how I managed to work from home at night or simply bathe, but I did.

I was exhausted and quite honestly, am still quite exhausted!

sharon-mccutcheon-649052-unsplash.jpg

Mom and wife are two roles I have always wanted and would not change for anything.

But my stress and anxiety began to increase and cause internal turmoil.

Turmoil that would often come off as short and abrasive, indirectly toward my people, in turn heightening the exhaustion and stress. Talk about a cycle, so normal for many of us yet and completely uncomfortable and painful.

Is this really what the essence of motherhood is? When do I get to do anything for myself or what I love?

I needed change and quick!

alexandra-gorn-471463-unsplash.jpg

My breaking point hit hard and quite honestly ladies, it can still knock me off my feet and shake me up from time to time.

I have struggled to ask for help and truthfully, am still working on it every day, and in every situation. Why is it so hard to ask for help?

Why is it difficult to look at my sweet husband, the father of my children, and say “I need some help with_______________________”??

Pride.

Moms can do it all, and we can do it all the time.

That’s what we tell ourselves, right?

But boy are we wrong.

I began to set my pride aside and embrace the support of my husband. Sounds simple, right? Well, for this Enneagram Two, not so much. I do a great job at loving and helping others through life, however, recognizing that my ‘I can do it all’ mentality is not what my family needs. What they DO need? Consistent mornings, consistent schedules, and a mom that’s not stressed out all the time.

We decided to sit down and really set forth a basic daily agenda. Initially, he would help me with simple tasks: getting kids dressed, driving them to school, or something as easy as daycare. As the months went by, we found that penciling in two, sometimes three, mornings a week, which he would take over the entire morning routine, was a game changer.

Consistency is key.

Consistently doing small things will lead to great results. Working daily on following through with routine and the things that matter most, create a progressive movement for you and the family.

Momentum that feels successful and prevailing, graduates from a penciled in task to a naturally recurring habit.

I am still in progress, so no I am not a Morning Routine Professional, but I can attest to the glory of progress. Heading to the office early a few days a week has led me to asking myself what else I am not finding time for. Recently the answer has been my health and gym time. Next up, earlier mornings for more self-care time.

What is it that you would like to add to your routine that sits on the back burner?

david-lezcano-1316687-unsplash.jpg

. TWO .

Picture perfect routine comprises of what, exactly?

I took that question to some mamas and found the answers were near identical.

  1. Planning the night before, if not for the week

  2. Positive attitudes

  3. Accountability

  4. Prioritize

Tamil, a mother to three darling divas, has learned the art to routine and keeping it simple. She stated that the following is the basic nightly schedule followed to ensure a smooth-sailing morning.

1.     Double check the alarms to ensure everyone wakes up on time.

2.     Pre-plan the night before by making lunches, reassuring all books are in book bags and outfits are chosen and laid out.

3.     Positive morning attitude.

Knowing the fluidity allows for Tamil and the girls to arrive on time to both school and work.

Improved morning routine sets the entire day up for success and lasting change in life.

Keep cheering each other on and loving on the Working Mamas around you. We need support in everything, including morning routine!!

**For more on this topic, head to THIS POST on How Time Blocking Changed my Life.


READ MORE ABOUT  ERIN  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT ERIN (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

WRITTEN BY ERIN PERSON: BAKER, DESIGNER, MANAGER

10 Ways to Teach Kids to be Others Focused

Moms, we all know that pouring into our children’s character is important. In fact, teaching them to become caring, kind, and people of good repute is one of the biggest things we can teach (and sometimes the hardest!). So when we’re able to teach in a hands-on way, there is a benefit all the way around. When our kids witness a lifestyle of focusing on others, they too, begin to prioritize it in their own lives. I definitely don’t consider myself an expert in this area, but I do sincerely enjoy finding new ways to reach out to others and invite my kids into the process.

andrea-tummons-448834-unsplash.jpg

Believe it or not, I’ve actually learned more from my kids in this area, than I believe they’ve learned from me. For the most part, our children (ages 8, 4, 3) have been untainted by the judgements and prejudices that we tend to carry. They see people and they see the world through a loving, compassionate and caring lens. They have nothing to lose by being kind to others.

kevin-butz-1459877-unsplash.jpg

I love the quote from Martin Luther King Jr that says,

“It’s the quality, not the longevity of one’s life that’s important.”

When we live with others in view and recognize that we all belong to each other, we find meaning, but also discover our purpose.

Kindness towards our friends, family, neighbors and even strangers can have a greater impact than we realize. It can truly change somebody. It’s possible it could change their life, sure. But more likely the things we do will be small and consistent, brightening someone’s day. And these days, we can all stand for the world to be a bit brighter.

It’s impossible to turn on the TV without seeing a world torn apart, bruised and battered by war, famine, disease, natural disasters, injustice, division, riots, racism, hatred, mass violence, and death.  And if we look to the news to inform our beliefs about others and the world around us, we will certainly lose all hope.

But hope can be found in people like you and your children, committed to focusing on others and spreading kindness for the betterment of all.

kiana-bosman-1052919-unsplash.jpg

Hope is found when you share a warm meal with a person living on the streets.

Hope is found when you give presents to kids at Christmas whose parents are incarcerated.

Hope is found when you sit across from a refugee and offer your friendship as you listen to their struggle and story.

Hope is found when you go out of your way to help someone you wouldn’t typically help.

When we look back on history, I believe it is the everyday heroes of hope, that we will remember and celebrate most.  Those who refused to grow silent on issues that mattered most, those were a voice for the voiceless, those who fought for justice and equality, those who dignified the marginalized, and those who elevated those pushed down by society.  

Focusing on others is a challenge because it means helping people who are different than you in the way they look, talk, or act. Those who believe different than you, vote different than you, and live different than you.

If you are like me, then you love the idea of molding children who are others focused… but sometimes lack fresh ideas and inspiration. My aim is to give you a few tangible expressions that you can put into practice with your own family…feel free and modify or add to these below!

sandrachile-686986-unsplash 2.jpg

Ideas on how to care for others:

  1. Blessing Bags

    A year-round and ongoing project that we exercise are bags for the homeless. My kids and I will go to the store and pick out a variety of toiletries, snacks and a few necessities. When we get home we get to fill the bags with all the goodies. Sometimes the kids will write notes or draw pictures. Sometimes we include money, sometimes we don’t. But typically we include a Bible and pray for the person receiving the bag. Our daily drive gives us the opportunity to encounter a handful of people who may benefit from one of our bags

    The best part of all comes when one of the kids rolls down their window to share a bag and a smile with their new friend. On several occasions it has awarded us some very special conversations. It’s amazing what people are willing to share when we take the time to listen. Often a person living on the street will share what it is that has led them to that place in life. Several we’ve met, are incredibly grateful for their new bag and for life itself, which leaves us feeling grateful for all our blessings.

  2. Random Acts of Kindness (Starbucks edition)

    I’m not gonna lie, my kids and I frequent Starbucks almost daily. We love our yummy treats, but what’s even better is buying the yummy treats for those customers in line behind us. I personally have been on the receiving end of this gift and it always puts a smile on my face and reminds me of the goodness of people.

  3. A Little Restaurant Love

    At restaurants my family and I will, on occasion, buy another family dinner or leave a large tip for our waiter or waitress to bless them and thank them for their patience of dealing with us (wink). We always seek to talk to our servers and get to know them. What is more, we aim to frequent the same establishments in order to grow those relationships on a deeper level. 

  4. You Get a Donut, You Get a Donut, EVERYBODY Gets a Donut!

    At random and based on no particular reason, the kids and I will pick up a dozen donuts, cookies or cupcakes and drop them on a porch of an unsuspecting friend or stranger. Who doesn’t love sweets showing up on their doorstep?!

  5. Meal Drop-off

    I think one of the most practical and helpful ways we can bless another person, especially another mom, is to take someone a meal. We can invite our children to cook with us and write special notes and then go with us when we drop it off to someone who is sick, had surgery or experienced loss in their life. This also allows us to have some very real conversations with our own children about suffering and hardship. 

  6. Honoring Miscarriage + Loss of Children

    For our family, every March represents a significant time in our family. I lost a son and my children lost a brother many years ago. Therefore, we use his birthday as an opportunity to show extravagant acts of kindness in his honor and ask others to join us in doing the same. One year, I was able to connect with a mama who had recently lost her own son to suicide. I wrote her a long note letting her know she was not alone and that there was hope. I took her flowers and a special piece of jewelry to remind her of her son. Year after year, I am amazed how I am able to use my lose to help someone else experiencing loss of their own. Entering into the suffering of others teaches our kids not to be afraid of difficulty and how to grieve with those who grieve. 

  7. Sponsor a Child

    There are many organizations where you and your family can sponsor a child. Our family have three different sponsored children in three different countries (ROWAN, World Vision, & Compassion International are two very well known and reputable organizations). Your kids are able to write and receive letters from their sponsored child, which gives them much needed perspective of the world at large. When you’re children are older, I suggest traveling with them to third-world countries and staying awhile. Their eyes will be opened to how the majority of their world lives outside of comfort. 

  8. Acts of Service to Those who Serve Us

    We love to take care of our garbage man, our mailman and our local ups and FedEx drivers. So my kids will make lemonade and distribute it to them when they come. As a result they know my kids, they wave and smile at them whenever they come through the neighborhood. They have developed sweet friendships with these men and women. 

  9. Back-to-School

    In the fall we fill backpacks full of school supplies for children who would otherwise be unable to attend school without them. For example, many foster children in our cities struggle to have what is needed for the new year, let alone anything brand new.

  10. Christmastime

    a) At Christmas time we tend to do a lot of projects that focus on others. One of our very favorite is Operation Christmas Child. It’s such a great lesson to head to Target and pick out school supplies, necessities and toys for kids affected by war, poverty and natural disasters. Often my kids will ask me for a toy for themselves and get upset when they can’t get one. I always love a good object lesson about how others do not have some of the same privileges and blessings readily available to us. 

    b) Another thing we do at Christmas is make goody bags with candy or candy canes and hand them out in parking lots, in stores, and at the mall. It’s fun seeing folks suddenly forget about their shopping-stress as a smile spreads across their face when one of our kids hands them a treat.

bill-wegener-601508-unsplash.jpg

Please do not feel overwhelmed or discouraged if this is not a part of your family’s rhythm. Start small, try little things and build up. I truly believe it is better to do something rather than doing nothing. Good luck, and have fun experimenting with what it looks like for you to become focused on others, and then finding ways to teach those lessons to your children!

Comment below on other ways your family could (or does!) care for others and be less self-focused!


READ MORE ABOUT  CRYSTAL  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT CRYSTAL (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

Author and Speaker, Crystal is a survivor of the shootings at Columbine High School and has been seen on The Today Show, CNN, Dateline, and featured in Glamour, Marie Claire and Time Magazine, as well as countless other media sources as she advocates for hope after extreme tragedy.

Quick 10-Minute Beginner Ab Workout for Moms (Video)

 

Hey ladies! Teresa here.

I just wanted to pop in real quick and remind you that whether the idea of working out completely stresses you out or you’ve been committed to exercise for years, Lindsey’s videos rock.

Why? Well for lots of reasons but mainly because:

1.Her kind enthusiasm shines through and you really do feel like you can push out more reps or power through longer than if you were working out on your own.

2. Her workouts range in difficulty but are doable for anyone at basically any level. #notscary

3. You can do them from home…or even your hotel room while traveling!! Gym membership not required!

Ready to dive in with Lindsey? Good. This one is fantastic.

xo, Teresa


Hi everyone, I’m so excited to share these nine core strengthening exercises. These were, and still are, some of my favorite ab exercises to do at home. I created this 10-minute ab workout during my maternity leave as these ab exercises specifically helped me re-build my core and pelvic floor post-baby.

If you’d like to view the full 10-minute beginner ab workout, complete with details and links to products I love, head on over to the full post here!

NOTE: having a hard time seeing the video above? Head on over to YouTube and watch this 10-Minute Beginner Ab Workout there instead!

ab_workout_3.jpg

This workout was specifically created with two groups of people in mind: those who are beginning their fitness journey (welcome!!), and new moms who are postpartum, postnatal and post-baby. 

If you don’t fall into those two categories you can absolutely still give this 10-Minute Beginner Ab Workout video a try. But know that there are several additional ab and core workouts on my blog too. If you’re more advanced, this 7-Minute Abs Workout for Women and this 10-Minute Butt and Abs Stability Ball Workout are personal favorites.

BTW, you’ll see I’m using a spongeball to do this workout….but don’t worry if you don’t have one. You can always grab a throw pillow from the couch or even a toy ball from your kid’s room, they work just as well!

ab_workout_1.jpg

When performing each exercise, your goal should be holding each one for 45-60 seconds. If that’s too much, it’s ok! Don’t give up, just work your way up to it!

If you do this 10-minute Ab Workout for Moms two or three times a week, you should totally pat yourself on the back. You’re on your way! By doing these exercises consistently, you’ll rebuild your core strength and tighten your belly. I know you’ll be excited about that!

Ready for more of a challenge? Head on over and find the perfect workout for you!

ab_workout_4.jpg

View more of Lindsey’s videos, exercises, and more at Nourish Move Love!

READ MORE ABOUT  LINDSEY  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT LINDSEY (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION.

WRITTEN BY LINDSEY BOMGREN: FITNESS EXPERT, BLOGGER, VLOGGER, AND CONTENT CREATOR.

How Time-Blocking Changed my Life

All of us working moms know that the after school hustle is real.  Call it witching hour, or call it whatever you like but those precious hours starting when you get home from pick up or the bus pulls away from your house, until bedtime can be a little nutty.  Especially if you are in a season of small or school aged kids.  So, I’ve found a few things that have been pretty helpful in managing the potential stress and chaos.

WHAT IS TIME BLOCKING?

Ok, I’m sure you get the concept of what this is, though I’ll admit when I first heard about this concept, I binged watched every youtube video I could find.  I was enamored by the idea. 

THINK ABOUT BLOCKING OUT THE HOURS OF YOUR DAY LIKE WHEN YOU WERE IN HIGH SCHOOL.

Yes, really!!  Remember when the bell would ring, and you would pack up your Geometry books and head off to Art? Then after the bell rang for art, you would pack up your supplies and head to English?  You get the point…

Instead of doing ONE MILLION THINGS at a time, you were laser focused during that particular block of time.

(Having trouble with this video? Try watching it here instead)

So what would it look like to block out your time as a working mom?  Well we could talk about a lot of different parts of the day right now, but…

LET’S TALK ABOUT THE AFTERNOON BLOCK

This is potentially the hardest and most freeing block of time for me personally, when I adhere to my time blocking schedule.  

I pick up my daughter from school at 3pm, and then by 4pm my son is home off the bus. I also have a 2 year old who somewhere in there is waking up from her nap.  So how does time blocking work?  I have an alarm on my phone that is set every Monday-Friday at 4pm that says “kids home/evening block”.

That alarm serves as a reminder for me to put my phone AWAY for the next 3ish hours.

Time Blocking.png

I know what you are thinking, “Wynne that is so hard! I do a lot of business during that block!” And I totally hear you, and I understand.  I’m just here to say that there’s a lot more productivity that can happen when you aren’t screaming at your kids “just one more minute” and getting so frustrated with them because they are “interrupting you”.  I know y’all get it, the struggle is real.  

What if instead of multitasking and trying to help with homework, cook dinner, be present with your spouse, play with your kids AND work at the same time…

What if you shut down the temptation to work during that block, set up a healthy boundary, and gave yourself permission to be present? 

I have found this to be extremely helpful both in my resting and my producing.  I fill myself up on kitchen dance parties, cooking dinner, and looking my kids in the eyes so once bed time rolls around, everyones tanks are full. You know what happens next right, the next alarm goes off!  

THE GOAL:

Be present wherever you are or with whatever you are working on, while still being the badass #momboss that you are.

Me/us time/work block rings and with our mind and bodies, we move onto the next block of time.  I promise that little “rest” of your mind from your work tasks onto your family will only give you the mental capacity you need to move onto your next big task or project!

NOTE:

If you want to see what the rest of my day looks like (time-blocking wise anyway), check out the photo below.

This one (and the image used above) are the actual alarm reminders I use each and every day!

Time Bocking Morning.png

FOR EXAMPLE:

5:12am DO NOT CHECK SOCIAL MEDIA OR EMAIL

6:00am Write

6:21am Get Camp up! You got this!!!

6:55am Bus is coming!!!!

fast forward to evening

4:00pm All Kids Home/Evening Block (i.e. PUT PHONE AWAY)

7:30pm Kids Bedtime/Me/Us Time Block

9:30pm Shut it down (phone), Read, and Sleep

TRY IT!

I can’t wait to hear your stories and see how you make this your own. 


READ MORE ABOUT  WYNNE  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT WYNNE (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

WRITTEN BY WYNNE ELDER: PHOTOGRAPHER, WRITER, ENCOURAGER, & COMMUNITY BUILDER.

"I Forgive You": Why it's Healthy for Your Kids to See Conflict with Your Spouse

My Mom and Dad never really get angry”. As the counselor relayed my son’s words to me, I was shocked! My husband and I definitely get angry, and he has witnessed it firsthand on many occasions.

 “I don’t understand. We get angry, even arguing in front of the kids sometimes. We do our best to make up in front of them as well, sometimes explaining the conflict in an age appropriate way to them.”

 “What words do you use?”

 “Well, I tell them Mommy and Daddy were frustrated, or we lost our patience, or we had a misunderstanding.”

 “He isn’t identifying any of that as anger. It is great that you resolve the conflict in front of them, but it is important to sometimes actually say that you were angry, otherwise he assumes he is the only one that ever feels that way and becomes ashamed of it.”

devon-divine-1125448-unsplash.jpg

You guys- this was such a breakthrough for me. (And can I just take a moment to say- go to counseling with your kids, with your spouse, or just yourself! It is truly amazing how much healthier you and your family can become with just a little guidance in the right direction.) I had no idea I was portraying a lack of anger, or how important it was for me to demonstrate healthy anger to my kids. It makes total sense to me now. Frustration isn’t anger. A lack of patience isn’t anger. A misunderstanding isn’t anger. Anger is normal and healthy, (if resolved properly), and I needed to call it by name for my son.

Resolving conflict, as we all know, doesn’t come naturally. Some personalities are more comfortable with conflict than others, and it just so happens that my husband, Shawn and I both land on the more comfortable end of the spectrum (and more so myself). I rather fully address situations as they come up, I don’t struggle for words during the conflict, and I feel so much better when it is resolved in a complete and transparent way.

I know so many other women that would rather have a bikini wax than have to face a conflict directly. For those of you familiar with the Enneagram, I am an 8, which you know means I am the small portion of the population that doesn’t shy away from a conversation that may become tense. This in and of itself makes many other people uncomfortable. While I know none of my children share the same personality or tendency toward comfort in conflict..

I want them to grow up with confidence that they can tactfully and respectfully stand up for themselves, respect the other person during an argument, and have the courage to address issues as they inevitably arise in relationships.

I believe this is one of the most important life skills; success in their marriage, their job and friendships will all depend on it.

Now, I’m definitely not saying the entire conversation should always be hashed out in front of the kids. Some things are just not age appropriate, or hearing the entire conversation would give them more worry than necessary. Even if most of the words exchanged are behind closed doors, kids can always sense when something is off. I grew up in a home that experienced much conflict. I rarely witnessed the actual argument, but I could always sense the tension, I never witnessed the resolution, and it gave me much anxiety. It has taken a ton of work for me to learn how forgiveness even works (and to realize the benefits in it!) because I didn’t grow up familiar with the process or equipped with the tools to have that kind of conversation.

One evening, far after we put the kids to bed, we were having an argument (that at this point I can’t even remember what it was about- isn’t that always how it goes?!) and our oldest came down the stairs, bawling his eyes out. He had been sitting at the top of the stairs listening and was filled with so much stress that somehow he had caused the fight even though it had absolutely nothing to do with him. (I still don’t know why kids often assume this, but they do!). We reassured him it was normal for parents to have disagreements and put him back in bed. For the following two or three days, he walked around in a serious amount of anxiety, until we realized it was because he hadn’t seen the resolution. Until we sat down with him and talked about how we had forgiven one another, he couldn’t find peace.

annie-spratt-66432-unsplash.jpg

I want my kids to see us say we are sorry, we forgive one another, and we hug and make up.

We try to explain to them in an age appropriate way that we had hurt feelings, could have said kinder words toward one another, we are sorry, and everyone can move on now, satisfied and stress free.

They don’t have to wonder if Mommy and Daddy are still mad, did they cause the problem, is everything okay in their home? It gives kids so much insecurity to leave their imagination to fill in the blanks after they have been sensing tension.

Forgiveness, I find, is a choice. A process. I get to decide if I am going to bring peace back to myself, my husband, and my home.

There is such power in forgiveness; power I definitely want access to.

What about you and your family? How do you teach your children to handle conflict in a healthy way?


WRITTEN BY KRISTEN HALLINAN: WRITER, SPEAKER, WORK-FROM-HOME MAMA

READ MORE ABOUT KRISTEN (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION.

10 Healthy Snack ideas (and what you didn't know about pre-packaged stuff)

We are living in a pre-packaged world, which means we’ve GOT to be more intentional about creating healthful children. As families become increasingly busy, we look for quick ways to feed our families with foods that our kids will love as well as provide them balanced nutrition. Sadly, much of even the prepackaged fruit and veggies have things added to them, usually to preserve their color and freshness for longer. But if we dig in to what those preservatives are…most of it really is not stuff we want in our bodies.

If you’re thinking, “Well that’s great…but my kids just won’t eat healthy food like this” then I just want to encourage you to know that just like everything in life, it might take time, but we need to teach them how to live well. And because of this, that time is worth it.

fikri-rasyid-699015-unsplash.jpg

When my kids were really young, I was told that it takes many interactions with a food before kids adjust to them.

In fact, recently a dietician I met with told me 40-50 times.

But let me say one very important thing:

There is no substitute for fresh fruits and vegetable. Period. Full-stop. Let’s just start by being honest. Our kids need it and they simply aren’t getting enough.

Today, with my children, we are a mostly plant-based home and even so, I am still very concerned about my kids’ veggie intake.

kyle-nieber-762835-unsplash.jpg

I’ve come up with a few suggestions for quick snacks on the go (and most of them you can have Amazon Primed to your doorstep!). Yes, some of them require prepping but 15 minutes of prepping on a Sunday can change the game. And hey, get the kids involved…create an assembly line. You do the cutting and they pack the veggies.

 Here are my top 10 right now:

1.     Veggie sticks:

Carrot sticks, celery, snap peas, sugar peas, bell pepper slices with hummus or nut butter.

SIDE NOTE: Baby carrots are washed in a chlorine-bleach solution to clean them (!!!). You have to decide what you are comfortable with but in our home, we strive to eliminate as many chemicals as possible. My kids love the many colorful varieties of heirloom carrots so I cut them myself.

socialsquares_healthyeating0019.JPG

 2.     Bare Products

a. Bare Sea Salt Beet Chips:

You would be surprised what you could do with veggies that aren’t looking as fresh as they once were and a dehydrator but if you are in a pinch, try beet chips. They are a great combination of lightly sweet and salty. This brand is made with only two ingredients: beets and sea salt, you can’t beet that!

BareVeggieChips.jpg

b. Bare Apple Chips:

Just apples. That’s it! We just love these. Oh! And I should tell you that Trader Joe’s has dehydrated apple rings and banana chips that my kids love, too. We call them “sometimes food” because they could literally eat them All. Day. Long.

 3.     SeaSnax Roasted Seaweed:

I love this brand because not only are they organic but they use olive oil instead of canola. Nori is a good source of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc. Seaweed is a vegetarian source of DHA. And they naturally contain sodium…whereas most brands add more for flavor. Their tagline is “strangely addictive” and my kids would agree! (They even have Lime, Barbecue, Jalepeno, and other flavors in addition to the Original!)

 4.     Fruit:

Seriously… fruit doesn’t go out of style. If we can get our kids to crave and choose whole fruit, we’ve won! Eat more plants!

socialsquares_citrus001.JPG

 5.     Biena Sea Salt Chickpea Snacks:

Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), sea salt and sunflower oil make this a better alternative to chips. Folate and protein are added benefits. These are a favorite because they taste fantastic! So easy to grab a handful while working or running out the door. Yay for easy snacks!


6.     Once Upon A Farm Pouches:

Every ingredient used is sustainably grown, certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, and can be traced right back to the source. Their food is kept simple and doesn’t contain preservatives, colors, concentrates or added sugars.

SIDE NOTE: Much of the fruits and veggies that are used in Once Upon A Farm comes from co-founder, Jennifer Garner’s family farm in OK!

 7.     Figgy Pops:

I mean, so many good things to say about this brand. Kids love sweet things, let’s get real. The ingredients are real and they don’t skimp on last. These unbaked energy balls are a sweet treat for after school or a kids lunch box.

 8.     Super Seedz Pumpkin Seeds:

You don’t have to wait until Halloween to enjoy these guys! Did you know that pumpkin seeds contain anti-oxidants like Carotenoids and Vitamin E? They can reduce inflammation and flight free radicals. They are also linked to a reduced risk of certain cancers and they are high in magnesium.

And helloooo…curry, cinnamon sugar, and even a dark chocolate and sea salt? Major yum.

 9.  Chia Pod:

My goodness, how I love these. Chia pudding is really fantastic. Chia seeds and pure coconut milk, blended with vanilla bean and a pinch of cinnamon. This simple combo is my favorite but the company offers several lovely flavors. Chia helps to sustain energy, improve digestive and heart health. This power packed seeds provide a lot of nutrition that modern diets really lack.

Chia-Pod.jpg

 10.  Rhythm Superfoods Kale Chips:

This brand is the absolute yummiest. And while kale was the sexy green food for a minute, don’t let trends tell you that it’s out. Kale is still a nutrient beast. I know you may not believe me when I tell you how easy these are to make (I really do promise), but if you’d like to try your hand at it, here’s a favorite recipe!


 We cannot possibly control everything that goes into our kids mouths, but we are the ones who work hard for the money and buy the groceries.

When my kids are 18 they can make all the choices but today, I am doing my level best to fill them with as much colorful goodness as possible.
— Kiesha Yokers

READ MORE ABOUT  KIESHA  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION

READ MORE ABOUT KIESHA (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION

KIESHA IS A PASSIONATE SUPPORTER OF SOCIAL EQUALITIES THROUGH HEALTH AND HOLISTIC LIVING

Beating The Working At Home Guilt

I leave for work most days the same time as my kids leave for school. They are old enough now to fix their own breakfasts and pack lunches, so our mornings flow fairly well. Okay-most days they flow. Then there are the days my 10-year-old decides to take a 45 minute shower, but I digress.

Depending on the day, I pick them up after practices and we head home for dinner, which we always do together. It is literally the only thing in parenting that I am consistent with. No matter if it is bowls of cereal or the nights where we clean out the fridge, for at least fifteen to twenty minutes every day, we speak to one another. One of the only mom hacks I have is Clean Out the Fridge Night. At least one night a week we pull out all of the leftovers, heat up the containers and I pass out forks. We stand around our kitchen island and fork fight over the last bit of spaghetti or the remaining meatloaf. It’s fun, it reduces our food waste and it cleans out our fridge.

Social Squares_Styled Stock Photos for Social Media_0099.JPG

There you go, you now have the secret sauce to the only beneficial tip I know about raising kids.

On the other nights of the week, the rules are different.

There are no cell phones allowed at the table, usually the TV is turned off unless it is something we all are pressed to watch together and we get to discuss our individual days.

And then we disband.

The kids head off to shower, lay out their clothes and projects for the next day and finalize homework. And  I open my laptop. Monday through Friday, this our routine.

neonbrand-381359-unsplash.jpg

Now some days are different and at least once a week we go out to eat because I have forgotten to meal plan appropriately. Those are the dinners we actually have more interactions across the table from one another, mainly because I have trapped them into a booth to talk.

Then there are other days where practice is cancelled or my work load is not pressing and we play games or watch movies.

But at this stage of parenting a teen and pre-teen, our weekends are for fun and our weeks are for getting through.

I would like to tell you that only have a brief moment with my children each day depresses me. However, it is all we can do with the lives we are leading and the time we spend is good. They are active and have homework and I almost always have a daily project to finish or a court date to prepare for the following day.

I have a no work on Saturday rule. Not for any other reason than soccer for both kids is almost entirely year round and Saturdays are game days. We are bustling from field to field, cities to varying States and I couldn’t work even if I had to. It also is an entire day that my kids know is devoted to them. You have to find a pattern that works for you, your business and your family.

The worst advice I’ve ever been given in business is that you have to have a work life balance.

There is no such thing.

stil-479024-unsplash.jpg

Sometimes, your business requires your family to make sacrifices. And then at other times, the laptops are closed and business can wait. The ebb and flow of that will change depending on your schedule, your family’s obligations and the needs of your business.

You cannot beat yourself up for the nights that you miss family game night doing expense reports. Because there will be days that you can move everything around to make it to your 3rd grader’s science project presentation. Giving yourself the freedom to know that a balancing act is not feasible, will free up space in your head and heat to think of something other than guilt.

You love your job…or maybe you need the income from it. And you most certainly love your kids. And that’s ok. In fact, that’s GREAT! The most important thing to remember though is wherever you are, be all there. When you’re home, make sure you’re looking into you family’s eyeballs. Ask the questions, be the encouragement.

And when you’re at work, remind yourself not only how grateful you are to have one, but also what an incredible blessing it is that your children are taken care of while you’re hustling. Whether they’re at school, with a nanny, or daycare…they’re learning so much about playing with others, independence, seeing mom work hard, and thrive in a multitude of ways… all because you have given them the opportunity to.

Mom Guilt? Push it away and pass out those forks.

READ MORE ABOUT  LINDSEY  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT LINDSEY (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION.

WRITTEN BY LINDSEY W. ANDREWS: LAWYER, ENTREPRENEUR, AUTHOR, AND SPEAKER

You can connect with Lindsey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or www.lindseyandrewswriter.com

Is Blogging for Your Business DEAD? (Writing Content for Your Business: PART 1)

You’ve probably seen the headlines while scrolling through Facebook. I know I did.

“Blogging is dead!” they declared.

It is so early 2000s, and now it’s all video! and Pinterest! and strategic alliances!

Which left thousands of bloggers who invested years of effort and passion feeling confused. So, this whole business I started is now, what? Finished? Business owners who used a blog to provide value to their current and prospective customers were concerned—and more than a little frustrated—that they’d have to rethink their entire content marketing strategy.

Who decides these things, anyway? Is it even true?

rawpixel-752512-unsplash 2.jpg

The short answer is no, it’s not true. Providing value to your audience is a not a zero-sum game that one single strategy is responsible for. That’s complete nonsense.

People who want you to focus on what they have to offer—say, video, affiliate marketing, or ice bucket challenges—simply want to draw your attention their way. But some of them did it in this icky way of putting down another form of marketing to try to make themselves appear better. The thing is, that doesn’t work in life and it sure doesn’t work in business, especially if you’re in it for the long game.

blogging 6.png

OK, I think I’ve sufficiently made my point.

So. Now that we’ve established that blogging is not, in fact, dead, let’s go a little deeper about why blogging is not only still relevant but will make you money. Which—real talk—is a what makes a business a business and not a hobby.


ESTABLISH THE KNOW-TRUST-LIKE TRIFECTA

As you’re building your brand, you likely know that for people to buy from you in any capacity, they need to know, trust, and like you. It’s a human nature thing: if two people are selling the same thing, we are more likely to choose the one we know, trust, and like. The reasons for this are pretty straightforward:  

·      Know: People are familiar with you. Your name is associated with a specific area of expertise. They’ve seen your face and know what you’re about.

·      Trust: You’ve shown yourself to have credibility in your field. You’ve gained a measure of success and have consistently demonstrated that you know what you’re talking about.

·      Like: The persona you present is genuine to who you really are and people like that. Your style of humor or branding aesthetic resonates with them—you’re their kind of person.

blogging 2.png

POSITION YOURSELF AS AN EXPERT IN YOUR FIELD

Building on the trust factor, regular blogging allows you to tangibly demonstrate that you are an expert in your field. By sharing your insights and observations you’ve made as a result of your experience, you position yourself as a reliable source of information in your area.

They return to your blog when they have a question and, if you’ve developed a strategic content plan, they will likely find the answer they’re looking for. Then, when it comes time to buy something from you, they have little to no hesitation in doing so since they’ve already developed confidence in your expertise.


PROVIDE SERIOUS VALUE — FOR FREE! 

Blogging is fantastic source of free added value for your customers, existing and potential. You provide useful, practical, interesting, or just plain fun information that actually makes their lives better. This is no small thing and should not be overlooked at any level. Heck, even Martha Stewart has a separate blog-specific Instagram account in addition to her juggernaut brand account. And you know if Martha’s doing it, it’s a good thing. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.) 

It feels like something extra, a bonus, to your readers—and it sort of is—but really, it’s just a smart move in your overall content marketing strategy. And, while time is money, this is one form of marketing that technically costs you no dollars. Anywhere I can get that kind of bang for zero bucks, I’m a happy lady.


CREATE MARKETING MATERIAL YOU CAN SHARE

Once you have a great blog, you can (and should) link to it from other relevant parts of your website (e.g., your About and Work with Me pages). Once you’ve amassed a nice little portfolio of blogs and have seen which ones generate the most traffic, you can provide a list for new visitors to your site to read to get a better sense of who you are and what you do.

blogging 4.png

Your blogs give you ideal social media content too. Every time a new blog hits, highlight it on your social media accounts and link back to it on your site. Two birds, one stone blog.

Blogs are also a fantastic way to share your business with other influencers, brands, and media outlets. Slightly tweaking your existing blog to their specific audience is a quick, easy, and effective way to get featured with people and companies with larger audiences. (One caveat: Sometimes media outlets will ask for an original piece for their platform. In this case, please write them something new rather than trying to pass off an old piece. Trickery does not a good business practice make.)

Massive platforms like The Today Show are constantly picking up popular blogs from relatively unknown people and posting them on their social media feeds (just ask Jen Hatmaker if you don’t believe me). Do excellent work now, and you never know who may come knocking!

If you weren’t sure if blogging was something your business needed before, I hope you’ll seriously reconsider that position and start putting out tremendous blog content immediately.

READ MORE ABOUT  MEREDITH  (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO  THE & GALS  SECTION.

READ MORE ABOUT MEREDITH (AND ALL OUR AMAZING CONTRIBUTORS) BY HEADING TO THE & GALS SECTION.

WRITTEN BY MEREDITH WATKINS: ENTREPRENEUR, EDITOR, WRITER.