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The #1 Thing You Need to Know About Online Business

The #1 thing you need to know about online business is not about how good you are, nor how hard you work, it's something entirely different. You're an expert and feel confident in your field. No doubt about it. 

Mompreneur on Fire - #1 Thing You Need To Know About Business

Everyone tells you how much they love your work. How you're a gem and you're one of a kind.  Add in some extra expletives and an awesome giphy for flavor and fun!  

The truth is - you know you're good.  

It's not being conceited.  You're actually really really good at what you do.  

I know lots of people like you.  I am super blessed that way.   People who are AWESOME at what they are doing, AWESOME at the work they are doing and yet their business is still reminiscent of being a college kid when you are digging in the seat cushion for change for the pizza boy.  

Running a business can be very expensive.  And if you are not careful you have to run the business simply to pay the bills.  

What's crazy is you see other people, who you know, doing similar things and they aren't half as good as you!  

Yet, they are working on so many cool projects that are leading to more projects.  To more income.

You die every time you see them posting about some other cool project or thing they are doing that you could easily do.  Okay, you may not d.i.e.  But you definitely choke back that bit of vomit in your mouth and roll your eyes thinking - "don't get me started." 

You could run circles around them.  No question.   

Here's the #1 Thing You Need To Know About Online Business. 

It's not how good you are.  It's not enough to feel confident. The difference is made in how strategic you are. 

Being strategic, my friend, is the single differentiating practice that separates you from them.  That's it.  Do you think all this success fell in their lap. 

No. They worked hard for it. (Choke.)  Or someone else did.  

The reality is that your friend, you know the one that you could crush in a one-on-one competition, is being specific and strategic.  OR they have someone on their team, someone on their side, being strategic for them.   Are they smarter than you? No!  Are they better at selling widgets than you are? No!

Heck no!

They are being strategic with their time.  Period. 

It's as simple as that.  

So, my friend, this is what you need to do.  You need to think bigger.  You need to think more.  You need to think of all the things that you, your brand, your voice would or could connect with.  Could sell.  

Here's an example:

Ok, so my friend teaches people how to sell the s**t out of themselves.  It's a hard, hard thing for a lot of people.  And her advice is spot on.  SPOT ON.  She's an expert.  She's a Master.  There's no doubt about that. No one who works with her denies that.  Everyone loves her.  When people love someone like that so much, you / they just want more.  

You get the point. 

So why isn't she out there all over the place?  Why isn't she partnering with other programs and products?  That's what the other guy is doing.  

Her revenue now is from individual client work and a program she holds a few times a year.  In my mind, immediately she needs to become an affiliate of her favorite brands so that every time she makes a genuine recommendation, she can ask her peeps to use her name as a referral.   Easy.   Multiple streams of income just because you love a product.  

She has an awesome persona, witty and crass without being vulgar.  It takes a special person.  Why is she not on speaking tours?  Why is she not speaking at every conference high and low?  What industry doesn't need to learn how to sell themselves better in real, actionable way??  I literally can't think of one.  

Just think, if we add in partnerships, products and retreats!  Oh my! 

Now she's gone from an expert that everyone loves to a Magnifier out there.  OUT THERE growing her brand and generating revenue from multiple streams of income!!

And she becomes that person and brand, that revenue-generating machine, she has been thinking and dreaming about!

Instead of gritting your teeth when you see your friend's post about how awesome they are or what other thing they are hawking. You are genuinely growing your gig to be a top tier brand that everyone knows and wants to do work with.  

How seriously awesome is that??

She can do it.  She's on her way.  You can too. 

Conclusion - it's not as hard as it seems.  Grab the 8 Steps Checklist on how to Make Room for Revenue.  


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How The Others Are Making So Much Money & Why You're Not One Of Them

What's the question you are dying to know but don't ask because you don't want to ask a question you are supposed to know the answer to.  You want to feel confident in your business and you don't want to look stupid in front of your peers. What are you doing wrong?

Mompreneur on Fire - How The Others Are Making Money

What's the number #1 question I am asked all. the. time?

What am I doing wrong?  Why are they making so much money and I am not?  You do good work, people love you, and you have the credibility.  

It's like those times when you go into your neighbor's Open House.  You see how they have decorated, where they have put upgrades, that the coffee maker you use is just like yours.  You see your house decorated that much nicer. You smile and tell them it's beautiful as you grit your teeth.   You can't help but compare.  

You can't help but compare. 

What are they doing that you are not?  

That's the question.

Here's the answer.

You're not thinking big enough.  Those peers of yours that are "all over the place" making tons of money and are involved in so many different things...  It's because they thought it up and then they took action to put themselves in their most optimal situations.

What in your life right now is a good natural extension for your business?  Don't know, email me and I can tell you in a 5-minute conversation.  I'll have no less than 10 options for you.   But you probably don't need me to answer those questions for you.  You already know what and where you can go.  

The next question is HOW.

Dare I say that's the difference between the haves and the have-nots.  

Taking action.  Taking the right action.  This is what "they" do.  And that is what changes lives.  Below are a few steps

1. Understand what you’re trying to accomplish.

I’m starting out broad, but not vague I promise! The answer to this is likely something different for each of you, because we all have different business ideas. We also have different reasons for starting those businesses. No matter what it is that motivates you, I’m not judging! Whether it’s pure, unadulterated passion for your industry or making a large profit, you need to be honest with yourself about your overall goal. Then, you need to make sure that “bigger picture” is always front and center in the decisions you make for your company. Narrow it down to one goal and work from there. Establish two goals (maximum) to complete in the next 90 days. These tasks should be rooted in your “bigger picture,” the central point that you’re working to accomplish. 

2. And WHY you are trying to accomplish this

It’s not to be trite or cutesy. Self-reflect on the roots of your overall goal for your business so that you can then go about formulating your plan of attack. Your WHY will help answer future questions about priorities, company direction, and production– and will always drive you to the best choice. 

If your ambitions are mostly monetary, you’re going to want to add a broader customer base so that you’re taking on as many new clients as possible. You will also have to get aggressive about your margins, meaning finding the best wholesalers and haggling them down to the lowest price, fastest production time, etc. A profit-driven goal should also be looking to expand into other markets and developing new versions of the original product. 

If you realize that your goal for your business is more about satisfying a personal or emotional interest, then you will be headed off in a completely different direction. You want the niche. Your hard work is aimed at a specific market, and more time will have to be spent nurturing those customer relationships than in a more commercial setting.  

No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, you still need to grow, but your path toward new revenue will be shaped by your goal and all answers will come from your WHY. 

3. Write a list

Remember those two goals you set for the next 90 days? Put them in writing. Make a list of what needs to happen for you to check off those goals. Do a little at a time so that your progress remains steady in the face of school drop-off traffic, last-minute dinner obligations, and the mornings where you just need one more tap on the snooze button. Each list item or task item is less than 6 hours of time.  By having this list in front of you, you can then focus and work step by step, action by action to reach your goal. 

Forcing yourself to focus and produce for large, cumbersome blocks of time isn’t sustainable (or enjoyable.) Work on quick sprints of productivity and do. not. stray. from your list. 

5. Audit your activities

It’s unbelievable how much time we inadvertently waste.  We can very easily start the day by getting sucked into email, Facebook, then Twitter.  Then we have a few meetings and there went the morning.  Now you need a break, a snack and quick chat and there went the day.  You’re sure you did some actual work but really, how productive were you? 

Take a look at where and how you spend your day.  Does it seem like you’re taking more steps than necessary to accomplish everyday tasks? How often are you leaving to go pick up coffee instead of sending someone else or making it in your home or office? These things add up!

A huge one is checking email! I would had never considered this to be a progress inhibitor before. In fact, I had figured that checking my email every few minutes translated to how committed I was to my customers and employees. Wrong! Every time you pick up your phone, read through emails, and then think of a well-worded response, press send… is all time that you’re distracted from what you need to do!

4. Break it down into a plan

Break your list down even further and sketch out your goals for the month, followed by your goals for the week. There is no rule against having too many lists! It’s important tobe able to see your pyramid of tasks and goals visually in front of you. Just the simple act of writing everything out forces you to mentally untangle and reorganize all of those little– and large– want-to-do’s and “ugh, need-to-do”… and “uh-oh, should’ve-done-last-week’s!” 

A little bonus: when you really feel lost and unsure of your next move, no worries! Everything you need to do has already been written down and scheduled out so that you have a few less activities, timelines, and deadlines to keep track of. The mind is an amazing entity, but a hardcopy backup never hurts. 

6. Delegate and outsource

You want to be hands-on and involved in your company, but your time is valuable and your expertise must be well-spent. If a task can be taken care of by another, then hand it off.  Delegating more work out can be a little tricky.  It doesn’t come naturally to all of us, but a request for help is just that, a request for help.  No one will be offended when you step into that leadership role of your business. Whether they’re being paid or are just helping you out, that is what they are there for! 

Don’t fear outsourcing either! For tasks that require a specific skill set– possibly one that you don’t have or don’t have time for– hire a freelancer on a per diem basis. You don’t need to worry about adding them to payroll or taking out taxes with an independent contractor, and websites like upwork.com and Freelancer.com take care of the annoying paperwork. They also ensure that neither party gets duped– either left unpaid or unsatisfied by the finished product. 

Focus on your 90 day goal, and delegate or outsource the activities that don’t directly benefit that goal. Help is there, you just need to ask for it. An Online Business Manager can help get everything organized for you.  

7. Host effective team meetings

Early and often! A few times a week, round up your entire crew for a quick 20 minute meeting to make sure everyone is on the same page. These are the perfect time to set your expectations for the week.  Give each person a turn to update the group on what they have recently completed and what they’re working on. Besides keeping the group up to date, this can be a subtle tactic to keep your folks interested, on task and yes, motivated too! 

Sometimes, when I tell people how I do what I do it seems too basic for them.  But basic or simple is good.  Simple processes with clear intentions is what makes sh*t happen.  It's how they are making type of money you are not.

"There was so much work that needed to be done it was overwhelming. We had a hard time getting things done.  Now, we have 2 courses that are selling, signed partnership agreements, will be doing a speaking tour and have a book coming out next year.  It's unbelievably exciting!" - Beloved Reality Star

"We wanted to tap in to a new market and needed to know how the others were so successful.  I don't understand how Ashleigh knows so much.  Now we have hired designers and manufacturers, have 2 stores opening and have our website up and running. I carry Ashleigh's recommendations with me everyday." -International London-based Guru

Click here to sign up for my Make Room for Revenue 8 Step Checklist.  No joke.  It's real and it's possible for you too.

Work From Home & Make Thousands Selling on Amazon

I know an Amazon business owner that brings in $10s of thousands of dollars a month.  Who would have thought you can make money from home by partnering with Amazon?! This is an amazing business idea for women who are just getting started or ready to start something new.  I have personally done some research on what products the winning companies are selling, who and how.  I have talked with several people and then read about others, about how they generate revenue on Amazon.

Mompreneur on Fire- Make Money on Amazon

This post contains affiliate links.

I sometimes wish it were my “thing” but it’s not.  I am convinced that if you are interested, this is a real possibility to generate a ton of money every month!

Why waste the research and learning though??

here you go:

Amazon is one of the greatest Internet services where you can develop your online business and sell goods (products and items) for great prices. There are more than 20 categories available with many more subcategories. The good news is that Amazon also provides a sales plan for every member and you can choose if you are working as individual or as professional. If you are successful in the first few months, you can expect that you will build your own brand on Amazon in the next few years.

Getting Set Up

First, you need to create Amazon store and choose between individual or professional plan. Register with your e-mail address. Individuals can sell books, toys, electronics, and tools. Professionals have many additional options, including art, beauty products, and clothes. After you register your account on Amazon, you can start listing your products and items and categorize all of them. Amazon will automatically check if there are similar products in the base and if there is no product like yours, you may wait longer to register a new product for the service. You should write all the qualities and features of the item, so it can be added to the catalog and available for purchase.

Finding Products

There are a couple different strategies that people take when finding products.  INSIDER TIP: You want to purchase products for re-sale with an Amazon sales ranking of #8000 or less. 

·       You can research wholesale stores, look up their clearance items and see if there is a good match with Amazon.

·       You can visit stores like Tuesday Morning or TJ Maxx Home Goods to find deals.  Before you purchase the item pull up the item on Amazon and see if it has a good sales ranking.  If it does, can you purchase, resell it cheaper than the lowest price it’s currently offered at AND still make a profit?

·       Research high-end products that do not offer 2-day shipping and determine if there is a high enough sales ranking on Amazon.  A lot of people are starting to pay a premium for items so they can get the 2-day shipping.  So buy it on sale or at regular cost and up the price so you can make a profit and the buyer can win out too by getting the product in 2 days.  I have heard Disney shopping is a good place to look at, but have not personally checked out myself.

Sending Your Goods to Amazon

After you find products and items that you can sell on Amazon, make your purchase and then send them directly to Amazon for Fulfillment by Amazon service.  Fill your Amazon store with the products categorized and subcategorized in the categories and set your price. Be careful to set the price well, because sometimes just a few cents mean that your product can be less popular than others.

In the most cases, customers buy the first product they see, especially if it is Prime eligible. 

When you set your product try to give the buyer options in the “Customers Also Bought These” section.   This is an easy way to direct your customer to buy more from you. 

It may sound cumbersome in the beginning but my understanding is you can quickly get in a rhythm and quickly understand what will sell or not with minimal risk on your end. 

Then after you ship your products, Amazon takes care for the rest.   And start thinking about the next holidays like Black Friday and plan your sales!

Additional Tips:

-        If you can, register as a professional seller, so you can save on fees.

-        If you are a professional seller, you have more categories allowed and that means that your products can easily be found on the service.

-        If you want to register your own brand on Amazon, you should be professional subscriber.

-        Sell with FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon). That means that Amazon will ship the product and also will handle the customer care, refunds, and returns.

-        Set the lowest price with shipping included, so your product comes up first. The buyers will more likely to click on the cheapest product and that may increase your sales and income. Check the prices of the same product from other sellers, so you can make the best combination of price + shipping.

-        Combine more products as a special offer pack, to create a unique product. For example, if you sell books with bookmarks as a set. Buyers love a combined offering.

-        Don’t forget about customer service!  Good ratings are important. Customers want to feel confident in what you are offering them.

-        Describe your product with many details. Customers always want to know what they are buying.

-        Try your best to use high-quality images of the product, photographed on every side and angle possible. The photos should be at least 1000 pixels on a side, so the customers can zoom the picture. Also, try to take the photos on a white background. You can find many instructions on the Internet on how to make the best photos possible.

-        Label your items correctly before you send them to FBA.

-        Learn how to use the Amazon’s keyword tool so you can optimize your store to be in the first results after the customer searches for something.

 

Additional Resources to Help Out 

If you *do* decide to give it a try - please let me know!  OR If you do have some insider tips - please let me know!!


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Update! How to Be 20-Something & Make $112,000 A Month

Michelle started with multiple gigs to earn pay off her student debt fast and not live paycheck to paycheck. Now, she has 1 gig. She incorporates multiple streams of income into her blog to get things done. Crazy Fast Growth!

Mompreneur on Fire- Making Sense $112k A Month

This post contains affiliate links.

First, I literally just had an interview with Michelle Schroeder from Making Sense of Cents about her work, how she does what she does, her why, etc.  If you don't know Michelle, she is living this amazing life that she has chosen.  I mean, she sold her home and travels the country with her husband in an RV and blogs about Finances.  I think that in itself is something to be celebrated!

But here's the thing.  When I interviewed her, like, yesterday, she was making $70,000 a month pretty regularly.  That's what we talked about in the interview!  How in the world did she do that?? 

But did you see it? 

The reason for the update is because not only was she making $70,000 a month, but Michelle just earned over $40,000 additional for the month, pushing her monthly income over $112,000!

Aack!  Who does that?? 

And HOW?? 

First, you should understand a little about her.  Here are some excerpts from my original interview with her, and then there are some thoughts, which I have confirmed with Michelle on the big change. 

Can you tell me about your initial side businesses?

At one point, I had many side businesses. I used to blog on the side, mystery shop, babysit, take surveys, sold items on eBay, rented rooms in my home, entered giveaways, and more. Side businesses and jobs pretty much consumed my life, and I still worked full-time as a financial analyst as well.

I did all of this so that I could pay off my student loans more quickly and not be bound by a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle.

I'm so glad I found blogging, because it allows me to make a great full-time living, while also loving what I do.

What are your current revenue streams?

My only form of income now is through my blog. You can find the exact ways I earn a living in my monthly income reports. This includes: affiliate marketing, sponsorships and advertisements, and more. I do a little bit of staff writing every now and then, but not as much as I did last year.

One new form of income that I just recently started earning is through online courses. I just launched my very first course for bloggers, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

My monthly income totals around $70,000 a month. I expect to be earning $100,000 and above on a monthly basis by the end of the year.

What are your biggest lessons now that you are able to look back?

I thought that creating more websites would help me to increase my income. That was a huge mistake! I have since learned that when I am more focused, I am able to have much more fun with my business, while earning a better living. 

What advice would you offer out to someone else trying to have. it. all?

You can do it! Yes, it may take time and a LOT of hard work, but you can reach your goals. You just need to start.

But now Michelle has made $40,000 more?? HOW??

She created her own product. 

It's that simple and that hard. 

It always comes back to the product, and for Michelle, the additional $40,000 revenue was from her Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course. 

Which I actually bought in a heartbeat once I heard about it, because Rosemarie said I needed to! (And you know I just do what Rosemarie tells me to!)

Truth be told, within a few days of me taking her Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course, I made real cold-hard-cash-money for my own pockets!

What I love most is that the product works for her AND me. 

See, she has built this blog, this business, and has learned a few things or two.  Now she has finally decided to teach others how to do what she does. 

And I have to admit, as an entrepreneur mentor, I read enough business books and follow enough people to know that creating your own product is always the game changer. 

I look forward to the day that I am there, too.  When I have my own product. 

But I am not there yet.  I am okay with that.  I am too busy pulling the rest of ... life together. 

But in the meantime, I am more than happy to learn how I can just make some extra cash doing what I am already doing -- with a tweak here and there -- thanks to Michelle and her $112,000 lessons!



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Money Making Side Jobs for the Stay at Home Mom

Being a mom is a great experience that brings along lots of love and loads of work.  No one doubts that nor do they argue with it.  It can become an overwhelming task on some days,  heck, some moments, and then there will be days when you’ll wonder what to do with the free time at your hand. Here are some legit ways you can work from home.

Mompreneur on Fire - Side Jobs for SAHM

This post contains affiliate links.

Don’t we know you sometimes also want to earn a few extra bucks while also being able to spend quality time with your kids? It is more than true now, we do both.  No more stressing about balancing work and family, we can have our families, raise our families and have a side job too.

Here are a few things we look for:

  • Plenty of quality time to spend with kids
  • Have a feeling of self-reliance while doing so
  • Feel independent
  • Manage our household with the freedom to earn a few dollars too
  • A job that doesn’t force them to shift things too much from your current life.  

One of the fastest growing options for the caring and loving moms these days, who also want to contribute towards the finances of the family are side jobs that don’t need their full-time involvement or being away from family and kids too!

Let’s take a look at some of the most promising part-time side jobs that can make us $2000-$3000 a month during when the kiddos are napping or at school.  It’s a way to use our time in yet another productive way and make us more independent while they are able to stand on their own two feet.

Virtual Assistant ($200 / week = $800 a month per client)

Chances are you haven’t given this amazing opportunity much of a thought. However, Virtual Assistants is one of those careers which come with amazing benefits at the comfort of working from home. It’s true that this was not much of a possibility until recently.  Thanks to the exponential rise in social media now virtual assistants are now among the most sought after professionals on the internet.  Their rates can bring in real money for your household and your pockets for a few hours of work.  

As a virtual assistant some of things you would be responsible for include:

  • Schedule Meetings
  • Research
  • Send Emails Using Canned Responses
  • Answering emails
  • Data collection and analysis

The possibilities on how you can help are endless.  Find a solopreneur, a realtor, a blogger, a stylist, a jewelry maker, an Etsy or Amazon store owner and ask them if you can be of service to them!! Email them (yes! email them!) and ask if you can help!

If you can manage to 3 clients that are paying you $200 / week, that may not sound like a lot of money but at the end of the month you would collect for yourself, you can easily make around $2400 per month. That’s real money!  Made while you are working from home!
Now that sounds like a good opportunity, doesn’t it?

Monthly Payout - $2400 for 3 Clients


Proof Reading/Editing ($10-15 per post)

If you have an eye for errors or an ear for english, proofreading and editing posts may be a piece of cake for you. You need to proofread a pre-written blog and/or edit it if there are any mistakes. Most bloggers also have eBooks and Guides and Books coming out.  There is a lot one can do!  Try finding proofreading and editing jobs through Facebook groups or Freelance sites like Freelancer.com or Upwork.com.  You can earn around $10-$15 per post without much of a time commitment from you.  If a blogger writes about 8 posts per month and pays you $10 for each post that’s $80 of cash you didn’t have before for a few minutes of your time.  What if you had 3 clients??

Monthly Payout - $240 for 3 Clients


Set Up Blogging Tools

What if we tell you that you can earn hundreds of dollars with a laptop, an internet connection and no technical know-how?

I know if any of my friends came to me and said, how can I help?  I would direct them to the tools I am about to tell you and ask them to help me there.

This is especially good if you want to work on a project-by-project basis.  If you can spare just a few hours from your day and start setting up some of the tools, you would be in awesome, marketable shape.  Not only can you help one, you can help many.  

Start by watching some YouTube videos to learn the product.  Most platforms do not require you need to know anything about coding and are mostly quite straight forward.  Plus I promise you, if there is a question, it probably been addressed and a work around has been made.  Do one setup at a lower rate so you can physically go through the process. Once you learn a Tool, I cannot tell you how marketable and invaluable knowing these tools are.  Did I mention you don’t have to learn how to code or anything??  

  • ConvertKit: It’s THE tool that most people who email you use.  It’s THE tool.  It’s an easy to use email marketing software that you can use to grow the audiences. You can start by charging them for the initial setup and offer an hourly fee and monthly maintenance fee.
  • SumoMe: This is similar which can be used to grow a blogger’s email list.
  • LeadPages:  Similar to ConvertKit and SumoMe, LeadPages comes with an exception that you can use landing pages, social media posts, text messaging and emails to collect leads and build customer contacts for bloggers.

These tools may sound tricky right now, but once you go through them, you’ll realize how many you can help.  Charge a set-up fee and then a monthly maintenance fee.

Set-up: $200; Monthly Maintenance; $65
Monthly Payout for 3 Clients - $795


Consider Blogging Yourself

Have you thought of having a blog before??  Do you know what it would be about?  It’s one of those really great creative outlets that most people are still confused by.  How does one make money from a blog??  Okay, there’s advertising and sponsored posts.  But now there’s great opportunity in affiliate marketing and creating your own products.  

I find most people fall in one other these categories when it comes creating a blog: you’ve always wanted to start one, you’ve started one, or you have never even considered the idea.  Whatever your situation, I firmly believe it’s a great investment, much less fun thing to do!

  • Start by setting up your hosting for something like $4 / month on Bluehost.  
  • I use SquareSpace as my tool to build my website which is something like $8 / month.  (And it’s an easy tool to learn - yet another marketable skill!)
  • Get writing! Share and share and share!
  • If you’re worried about traffic, there are plenty of thoughts out there on how to improve your traffic but you know me, you know me, I love Rosemarie Groner and her Pinterest Strategy Guide not a bad investment at all at $35.
  • When you’re ready to your blog to a real income generating level, like Michelle Shroeder who makes over $100k a month, you can start by taking her Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course.  Affiliate marketing was her primary income source for the longest time.  

So there are many ways to generate multiple streams of income from having a blog.  Even if you decide not to monetize your blog directly, it’s a great placeholder for companies to see what you are up to, what your values are and act as an online resume.  It’s a great way to establish your authority as a freelancer and with time.

Monthly Payout - Infinite possibilities.  

Mompreneur on Fire - Side Jobs

Coaching/Consulting – Subject Matter Expert

There is a good chance that people often talk to you and seek guidance on a particular thing.  They may appreciate your style, the way you parent, how you manage your household or decorate.  

What I want to say is, if you have a skill that can make others’ lives better, then you should think about offering it as a service. Start by asking your friends and family if they would pay you.  Go to your local church or community center.  Put it out there in one of your Facebook groups.  
If you start at charging $100 a session, if you have 3 clients you are now bringing in $300 more than you were before!

Monthly Payout - $300+


I know we are busy with our lives.  I know our little ones take up all of our time.  I also know so many of us want a little bit more.  Start now.  Trust me, you can do these things you dream of without blowing up your life at home.

I'd love to hear from your experience and which idea you liked the most.  Let me know!


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Make a Living Freelance Writing In 8 Steps

Now that I am learning that so many of us are working on multiple projects, and building multiple streams of income, I wanted to know how one can earn a living freelance writing!  Ty Schmidt, a reporter turned freelance writer seemed the best person to ask! Below is what her vast experience has to say!

Mompreneur on Fire - Freelance Writing

This post contains affiliate links.

By Ty Schmidt

When I was a little girl, I wrote in my diary every single day about heaven knows what. When I was 15, I started writing for a national, bi-monthly magazine written for teens, by teens. After having major knee surgery in 2012, I took to a personal blog and creatively chronicled my recovery. And in May of this year I took about as humongous a leap of faith as they come. I quit my job as a reporter for one of the largest newspaper corporations in the country to try my luck as a freelance writer.

Even more important than that, I wanted to be a mom to my two boys as opposed to the full-time zombie version of myself I had somehow morphed into.

So I made it happen. Kind of.

Because after juggling a full-time job and two side projects leading up to my departure from all of it, I was exhausted. I needed to just take a second and breathe a huge, restorative breath. The timing worked well; it was the start of summer and only a few weeks passed before I was suddenly an expert in the best splash pads and wading pools in the area. But it wasn’t long before I missed writing again, not to mention that checking account was desperately calling my name.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far about making a living from being a freelance writer:

1)     Believe in yourself.

I know it sounds cliché, but this was the first step for me as I started building what has become a relatively successful freelance business. I needed to flip off the switch in my brain telling me I wanted to “be a writer” and realize that I already was.

2)     It’s okay to take a breather.

Mine lasted a couple of weeks, and it was probably the best decision I’ve made (aside from quitting my job, of course). Money was tight, but I joked I was like Alanis in her iconic “Ironic” lyrics. “I’m broke, but I’m happy,” I told people. And for a while it was true. Then I knew it was time to get to work.

3)     Do your research.

Take some time to understand the different freelance writing options that are available out there. From Freelancer to Textbroker, there are tons out there to choose from. Each operates differently with unique ways of handling things like fees and work flow. Get to know which kind of platform works best for you and stick to it.

4)     Start branding.

Networking and marketing yourself has never been easier than it is today, with all things social media to thank. Develop a brand for yourself just like you would if you were starting up a company – because you are! The basics like Facebook and Instagram are a good place to start, but I found other resources like contently.com to be incredibly helpful as well. Contently offers you a place to organize your online portfolio in a succinct and easily shared profile, which is an incredibly valuable tool as you move forward with your business.

5)     Choose what works.

I was just so excited to get started that I registered everywhere, including Textbroker, Freelancer and Upwork. In theory, they’re all the same: you register, you browse for work and apply for jobs. In practice, it didn’t take me long to realize that was an unreasonable, unfocused and unmanageable technique. Instead, I settled on using Upwork as my work flow management system. Using Google Drive for file sharing purposes and Slack for communication purposes, everything else I do is managed through Upwork.

Benefits to using Upwork. Clients use the system to assign work, keep track of deadlines and issue payment. While the fees charged against the work are a downside, Upwork functions as a third party protector that facilitates payment. If a client refuses to pay for work, Upwork will defend you – a benefit I decided early on was worth paying for.

Tips on growing your Upwork business. Gaining momentum on Upwork is as easy or challenging as you make it, but the first and most important step you can take is to edit your profile to say you’re an English speaking native. At first, my profile simply stated I spoke English – not that I was a native English speaker. Within minutes of making that tiny tweak, I received almost a half dozen invitations to interview.

Choose your Upwork clients wisely. At first it can be tempting to take every job you’re offered. Yet that is what I would easily deem as my most painful mistake. The point was to make some extra money while keeping the real focus on raising my sons. The point wasn’t to get myself into a situation where I was working long hours on nights and weekends to keep up with the demands. You can afford to be choosey with the jobs you take, and you will be better (not to mention more sane) for it.

Communicate with Upwork clients your way. Upwork does have its own messaging system, but it’s clunky and a little more of a hassle to use than other apps, like Slack, which facilitates communication with multiple team members.

6)     Stay organized.

Deadlines are stressful despite being flexible in most cases. If you’re like me, your schedule will rely greatly on when (and if) your children are napping or go to bed. I’ve found it most helpful to build myself a work “schedule” that I try my best to stick to throughout the week. Sure, things come up. The boys both got sick and had to go to the doctor this week, for example, which threw a wrench into my entire work flow. That’s where staying organized pays dividends.

7)     Know your worth.

Understanding pricing can get complicated, especially on Upwork when you’re dealing with a sliding fee scale. However, do not let that stop you from figuring out what your time is worth and sticking to it. Because your business is worth it. You are worth it!

8)     Remember your “why.”

This is the last and probably most pertinent element to making a living as a writer while simultaneously being a mom. For me, being a mom always comes first. For me, my kids are my “why,” and nothing will get in the way of that. They inspire me on a daily basis with their silly antics and I wouldn’t trade my time from home with them for the world.

There are days. You know the ones. The days where you honestly feel like you might just pass out from chasing around two randomly hyper toddlers all day while trying to squeeze in a quick blog post (or three) and still remember to feed yourself something more than discarded Goldfish crackers or apple slices. The days when you literally count down the seconds until bedtime, but know it’s not quite the same because you need to work after the kids fall asleep.

I never thought about those kinds of days all those years ago when I was writing in my diary. And they happen all the time. But so do the good days. Like summer afternoons watching my boys splash around together at our favorite wading pool. Or when my older son tells me he loves me randomly after we finished reading “Little Blue Truck” for the millionth time. Or when my little guy said mama for the first times. I was there for all of those special moments because of the choices I’ve made. Those are the days that inspire me. Those are the days that remind me I’ve done the write thing.


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How to Be 20-Something & Make $70,000 a Month

I'm not kidding -- this girl, this woman, is amazing.  Michelle Schroeder from the personal finance blog Making Sense of Cents is "killing it." Whether you want to create multiple streams of income, or solely profit from your blog, you can do it.

This post contains affiliate links.

Michelle Schroeder travels the country in her RV with her husband and dogs, and blogs from road.  Last month, she brought in $68,000+ dollars.  The month before that, she made $69,000, and the month before that, nearly $72,000.  I point out several months because this is a pattern, not a one-time stint.  Oh and the best part is, her expenses are not nearly that of traditional businesses where expenses can easily get to 50%.  Her expenses are close to 5%.  Yes, you read that right.  Her expenses are typically below $3,000 a month, which is approximately 5%. 

Unbelievable.

How does she do it?  She blogs. 

Catch your attention?  Caught mine.  So when she released her first online course, I jumped right on in.  How does she bring in this income?  The majority of it is through Affiliate Marketing.  So, me, not having a real clear picture on what that was, signed up for Michelle's Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course and I cannot wait to see what her new numbers will be. 

I learned about Michelle from another favorite blogger of mine, Rosemarie Groner, from the Busy Budgeter.  Actually, you will remember Rosemarie, as she was one of my first podcast guests.  At the time, she was hoping to make $8,000 a month from her year-old blog, and now just a few months after the interview, Rosemarie herself is making over $20,000 a month.  

I have personally studied, hired Rosemarie, and taken the steps that Rosemarie suggests for getting traffic and earning a living.  She recommended Ruth Soukup's Elite Blogging Academy, and that learning was unbelievable.  I was lucky enough to get in right at the time it opened for the year.  Then I was lucky enough to have some coaching sessions with Rosemarie before she closed that out and focused on her own products.  Her Pinterest Strategy Guide for something like $35 is well worth the investment.  The YouTube video links she provides in them are worth 10x that in learning!  So you get my point, I love Rosemarie.

And when Rosemarie recommends Michelle, you listen.  

Michelle earns her living from her awesome blog, and the income reports (can't believe people actually post those) show Affiliate Marketing is her highest revenue source.  

I am curious, I am more than curious.  I don't really even know what affiliate marketing is, yet she's making $70,000+ a month (a MONTH) on it!

Between that and Rosemarie's recommendation, I totally signed up for her Affiliate Marketing course to learn more!

And now I am a student in awe.  

The great thing about the structure of my blog and podcast is that there are a lot of interviews, and I just had to ask her, personally and in depth, WHAT! WHY?! and HOW!  

Below is our unedited interview. 

Can you tell me about your initial side businesses?

At one point, I had many side businesses. I used to blog on the side, mystery shop, babysit, take surveys, sold items on eBay, rented rooms in my home, entered giveaways, and more. Side businesses and jobs pretty much consumed my life, and I still worked full-time as a financial analyst as well.

I did all of this so that I could pay off my student loans more quickly and not be bound by a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle.

I'm so glad I found blogging, because it allows me to make a great full-time living, while also loving what I do.

What are your current revenue streams?

My only form of income now is through my blog. You can find the exact ways I earn a living in my monthly income reports. This includes: affiliate marketing, sponsorships and advertisements, and more. I do a little bit of staff writing every now and then, but not as much as I did last year.

One new form of income that I just recently started earning is through online courses. I just launched my very first course for bloggers, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

My monthly income totals around $70,000 a month. I expect to be earning $100,000 and above on a monthly basis by the end of the year.

How / when you decided to focus on one (if this is the case) primary project?

Last year, I sold all of my side websites and decided to focus mainly on Making Sense of Cents. Over the years, I had created several websites on the side, as well as freelanced for many different people. I decided that my heart wasn't really in that, and that I wanted to be in charge of my business and do things that I really wanted to do. Plus, I was super scatterbrained by having so many projects and clients, and I realized I need to really focus on just one thing or a couple of things.

How this one project "clicked" and became super successful?

Yes! Ever since I made that change, I have been happier than ever, and my income is higher than ever as well!

What are your biggest lessons now that you are able to look back?

I thought that creating more websites would help me to increase my income. That was a huge mistake! I have since learned that when I am more focused, I am able to have much more fun with my business, while earning a better living. 

What are you actively learning?

I'm always learning new things about blogging and managing an online business. If there's a webinar, I almost always sign up for it. My favorite online influencers that I enjoy learning from right now include Kimra Luna, Amy Porterfield, Mariah Coz, Melyssa Griffin, and many, many others.

You live in a RV and travel with your husband. (Woops, not really a question!)

Yes, I do! We sold our house in 2015, bought an RV, and have been living in it since. 

How do you keep connected with your family and loved ones while "always being away"?

There are many things we do.  When we do go back to visit, we try to stay awhile.  We just spent two months visiting just family, and they're probably sick and tired of us until we see them again in around 6 months, ha ha. Plus, we try to plan trips and meet up with friends and family while we are traveling.  Lastly, there's always Facebook, Instagram, phone calls and text messages. :)

How do you maintain a healthy relationship with yourself?

This is easier said than done, but I do try to take breaks from my laptop when I can. That is difficult because it's extremely easy to stay connected as a blogger, so I feel like I should always be working. Plus, I love what I do, so it can be hard to stop!

Due to this, I try to maintain a healthy work-life balance.  I will take full days off when I can, and I just took the majority of the past 6 days off.  And, I'm getting ready to take it easy for the next month as well.  While, yes, I will still be working, I don't plan on adding anything additional to my plate so that I can enjoy the rest of the summer!

What does your typical day look like?

My typical day varies greatly. I usually wake up, answer some emails, walk my dogs, then come back and finish answering emails. The rest of the day varies. I may work the rest of the day until I go to sleep pretty much, or I may break the day up with some hiking, paddle boarding, trying out a new restaurant, and so on. I love being my own boss and being able to create my own schedule. It makes full-time traveling much more enjoyable!

My readers and listeners want it all.  They want to have successful businesses and a meaningful, inspirational life.  They will not settle.  They want their businesses and families too.  

Given that you seem to demand similar things in your life (run a successful, profitable business while also choosing to live a non-traditional lifestyle via the RV) 

How do you keep motivated? 

I find it very easy to keep motivated. I think it's because I love what I do. Due to that, I recommend that people follow their passions in life, or to at least do something that allows them to follow their passions in their free time. By doing so, you'll stay motivated much more easily because you'll be happy!

What advice would you offer out to someone else trying to have. it. all?

Feel confident that you can do it! Yes, it may take time and a LOT of hard work, but you can reach your goals. You just need to start.

Finally, where are you now? And what's for dinner?

We are currently in Fruita, Colorado! We just cleaned out our storage unit and put everything in a Uhaul. My husband's family is taking everything and storing it at their home. We are extremely thankful for them and the fact that they are doing us this huge favor! Next, we will be going to Buena Vista, Colorado to hike as many mountains as we can!

For dinner? Ummm, I guess I should probably think about that!

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43 Side Jobs of 20+ Women & Moms Who Are Making It Happen!

In just a few months time, I have interviewed over 45 women and mom business owners.  The power behind these women are incredible.  These are everyday women working on side jobs, full-time jobs and all are focused on building while also living their very full lives.

With all of the women I have interviewed in The Power Squad Project

At first I will admit I was initially shocked to learn that most of the women, if not all, work on multiple projects at one time.  Actually, more often than not, this is the case. We are not locked into one boring position. 

In fact, many of us are are protected by multiple streams of income.

I have the best job ever and love love love that I get to talk with these amazing women on my podcast about the work they do.  Not only am I curious as to how they do they what they do but what they do.  I want to know everything from the most basic level!  

How did you get started? Why did you get started?  What exactly are you doing it??

In just a few months time, I have interviewed over 45 women and mom business owners and was initially shocked to learn that most of the women, if not all, work on multiple projects at one time.  Actually, more often than not, this is the case. 

I find that information sits really well with me.  

It's the new way we diversify.  

It's the new way we can try different things and see what we like.  

We are not locked into one boring position.  We are protected by multiple streams of income.  

We are challenged by different projects.  

We are able to build our community.  

Build our income.

Build out our lives.

Build. Build. Build.

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side jobs- pinterest 1 (1).png
Mompreneur on Fire - 43 Side Jobs
How to Start a Blog When You Have No Technical Skills

As an Online Business Manager, I hear it all! Everyone always tells me how they have no technical skills and couldn't even begin to imagine how to create a blog or a website.  They need help bringing their business ideas to life.

Mompreneur on Fire - How to Start a Blog

 To be honest, back in the day, it took a lot of work.  Wordpress makes my head spin.  I went from ugly site to ugly site as I tried my hardest to create something beautiful and meaningful.  

Then as a "creatives" with so many ideas, I popped in excitement when I really started to learn about SquareSpace and how easy it was to pull together.  That was I was looking for without even knowing it.  If only I could put my ideas there in, an inexpensive manner, to see what and where I really want to spend my time.  We don't start sometimes because just thinking of the process of creating it, whatever IT may be is so darn overwhelming.   That's what happens for me, at least.

Now you don't have to have any technical skills whatsoever.   All you have to do is 2 things and things only.  

1. Pick a Domain & Buy It

This is probably the most fun part of starting something.  It's the first step.   Yes, I am putting my idea out there.  I am locking it down.  I am choosing a domain name.  

How. fun. is. that?! 

Go no further than Bluehost.com to find your domain name and buy it. Enough said, don't put anymore thought into if you should or shouldn't - allow yourself to have the fun and pick your domain name.

Yeah, you may have to play around with spelling or adding adjectives (hint) but once you lock it down, you will be excited and have fun.  So don't forget to congratulate yourself on that one too! 

The thing is you can buy one or multiple domains for a small fee and feel out which one works best for you!  It's that easy.  Not even kidding.  Bluehost.

2.  SquareSpace It.

It cannot get any easier to create a website than SquareSpace.  I have tried Wordpress and I am now here to tell you that yes, Wordpress is good, SquareSpace is what most modern and most clean and most easy. to. use.

SquareSpace is so easy if you are getting married you can quick create a site.  If you need to put a resume online.  If you are starting something new and just want a place for people to go.  If you don't have anything yet but want that place holder to collect interest and emails.  You can create a Cover Page and a cover page only.  I think that is $4 / month.   One page and it gives you all the templates in the world.  No creativity, no technical skills are required just you taking the steps.

If you are ready for a little bit more, for I think $10 / month you can create an entire site.  The site can have a Blog and an About page.  It will help you create a contact form or display your social media. And just like that, your business idea is now a reality!

SIDE NOTE - HERE ARE A FEW RELATED POSTS TO KEEP YOU GOING...

A Few Additional Thoughts on Building Your Blog

How long does it take to set up a website?  

Well, there are two types of websites you can create.  A single page "cover" page.  This is used as a placeholder or for very specific invitations etc.  Those take all of maybe 8 minutes to create.  And I am saying 8 to give yourself time to play around a bit too.  

The website itself?  Let's say you have a Home page, an About page, a Contact page and one other maybe that's a blog page or Product / Services page.  SquareSpace offers you about 30 different templates to choose from.  In each template there are About page and Contact pages.  You just have to change their wording to yours.  So you are starting with a clean, nice structure.  If you are focused and know what you want, then a few hours.  If you are still working out what you want then add on more.  It's not rocket science and I firmly believe you (anyone) can build a beautiful site.  

The other great thing is you can change anything at any time.  Get started.  Let me know if you need any help.  

What other costs are there?

None really.  You have to buy the domain for a few buck and you pay a monthly fee for the website.  You can choose to purchase photos for your site (directly from within the site) for a few dollars more or you can choose to use your own.  

Good luck!  Let me know how it goes!

FTC Disclosure of Material Connection: In order for us to maintain this website, some of the links in the post above may be affiliate links. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and/or believe will add value to readers.


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Instagram Growth Step-By-Step

Once you've started implementing your business idea, you need to start marketing. People need to know who you are. Exposure. Mom life and lengthy magazines do not go hand-in-hand. Precision and ease are key. Here's how you'll do it.

Mompreneur on Fire - Instagram Growth

Disclosure: Yes, there are some affiliate links below, but as you can tell, I will only recommend things I actually use and recommend.  In fact, I have intentionally left off some products I have tried out but would not recommend.  Just sayin'.

I'll admit it. I am new to social media.  I had to do a deep dive in learning because I was so pumped up about my podcast, I wanted others to get the same benefits I was getting to talking with these amazing mompreneurs!

So, I had to learn about social media.  As much as we want our online world to be organic it is far more strategic than one would ever imagine.  So pick your platform.  

I love Instagram.  I am pretty pictures kind of gal.  If there is a quick quote for me to read, great.  If there is something cute, sweet, tasty or neat, I buy right into it.  I am a mom.  People magazine is too dense for me.  US Weekly?  I don't even know who those people are anymore.  But I like the pictures. 

Once I started learning how to expose aka promote my account, the climb started.  

Once I started learning how to expose aka promote my account, the climb started.  

(And don't get me wrong, I totally love to read.  But reading People, US Weekly, Facebook and Instagram are completely different than reading a great book.  I even wrote this post about how to be a mom and read again which you can check out too if you like.)

Okay, so with Instagram being my preferred platform, I took to learning all I could.  

First, Curated Photos are Key.  

PicMonkey Photo editing made of win

Everyone says pic a theme and stick to it.  I could not agree more.  Even so, my style in the last few months has shifted.  I realize I am more one way vs another.  Can you tell by my feed?  Use the photos that you are attracted to. 

I was also introduced to PicMonkey around the time I started to get serious about working online.  It's the editing app to resize your photos, brighten them up, slightly correct them if you need to.  Add a filter or a bubble or some verbiage.  I lived on PicMonkey. 

PicMonkey also helped me creating my cover photos for my blog posts.  You can set the size you want (square for Instagram) and then add in verbiage if you want for a quote or to make a comment.  The filters are plenty and it's beyond easy to use.  Even for the non-techie like me.

Exposure Exposure Exposure

Remember my podcast interview with Rosemarie Groner??  She's from The Busy Budgeter and is making some serious waves.  I will never forget her words of wisdom, starting with stating something like "helping someone become successful does not take away from my own success."  She so right and absolutely lives those words.  She acts like a mentor as she keeps increasing her stamp on this world.  When I interviewed her near the beginning of the year she was 1 1/2 years into blogging and was hoping to make $8,000 for the month.  She surpassed that number by a zillion and now regularly earns $20,000+ a month from her part-time blog.

No one is going to find your stuff. You have to put your work out there.
— Rosemarie Groner, The Busy Budgeter

She also made it crystal clear that you YOU had to be the one to put your work out there.  It's up to YOU to get your work published, your products found sought after.  If YOU don't do it no one will.  

And with that mentality in mind, I became a believer in finding and creating exposure.

How do you get exposure on social media??  You create it.  You engage.  

When you like someone's photo, that is exposure for your own profile.  

When you comment on someone's photo, that's exposure for your own profile.  

When you like someone's activity at one of your favorite places, that's exposure to your own account.

When you like photos from a specific event or hashtag, that too is exposure for your account.  

Adding a Place or Location to your photo, that is exposure for your account.  

Hashtags categorize your work and guess what else they do - they are expose your account.  

Actively "liking" a profile, a place and your favorite work in hashtags creates exposure to your own account.  Just like you would put out your blog post or your product and promote it, when you like something on Instagram you are promoting your own account.  

This is exposure.   You want exposure.  

You actively want to expose your work to your target market.  Expose.  Like. Comment.  Like. Comment. Like. Comment. 

Consistency

Consistency is hard, I am going to admit.  And there's a wide variety of opinions on how much to post.  There are people out there that think you should post 5x a day.  And there are others there that think 1 is enough.  Most people agree that posting photos 1-3x on a consistent basis is enough.  As far as I can tell there are two programs that allow you to schedule out Instagram photos and that's Hootesuite and Schedugram.  

Hootesuite is a program that allows you to review and schedule postings for all of the different platforms.  If you want one place to post from and one place to schedule from the free option allows you load in, I think 3 accounts.  If you have more than that you want to manage from Hootesuite, I again think the fee is $10 / month give or take.  Actually what I like about their set up is they allow me to see if I really will use / need the program before committing to a monthly expense.  

schedugram helped me this past month when i was busy with morning meetings or company.  i was able to schedule a few postings and not worry about letting my exposure and engagement lapse.  love it when i can be ahead in the game!

schedugram helped me this past month when i was busy with morning meetings or company.  i was able to schedule a few postings and not worry about letting my exposure and engagement lapse.  love it when i can be ahead in the game!

While I really like Hootesuite as a whole, for Instagram, I prefer Schedugram.   In Schedugram, I can see in calendar format what is going to post when.  I am a visual person and this really helps me.  When I started focusing on gaining exposure to my Instagram account I scheduled almost my entire week out.  It took me about 2 hours per week to do so and then I plan to add specific postings (like podcast specific posts) manually during the week.  

Now, as I am busier and busier, I use it as a tool to assist me when I know I am going to be super busy.  If I have back to back to back meetings I will try to schedule back to back postings so my account is not sitting that long, nor is my exposure dwindling.  With Schedugram, I can upload multiple photos at once and simply leave them in Draft mode too.  I have a bunch of quotes that I love and will scroll through them when I am looking for inspiration or the right post to set how I am feeling.  

 I really prefer this program for Instagram and can't believe so many people do not yet know if it! 

Special Treat: If you choose to sign up with Schedugram, will kindly give you and me a $5 credit to our accounts.  Just Use Referral Code: MOF. 

Training

With all this talk, there are people out there that have hundreds of thousands of followers.  There are people out there that have 10s of thousands of followers.  As I got into my research, I just wanted to know / had to know what these people were doing differently than I was.  

Oh! And it's important to mention that I also came across in my path some information about apps where you can BUY followers.  The descriptions on the apps are enticing and I downloaded one (maybe 2?) for like 1/2 second.  On one app, I was immediately hacked and on another app it was so weird how people with one or two followers (like a zillion of them) would become your fake follower.  Or something.   Once I figured out how big a scam that stuff was, I immediately deleted the app and accounts.  It was weird.  And that's also how I know I can look into any account and see if you / one is paying for scammy followers!

In any event, I still was / am trying to learn all about Instagram. I came across Alex Tooby's tutorials, she has one account @menandcoffee that has over 350,000 followers, so I figured she knew what she was talking about and I signed up!  Her in-depth Instagram course Infamous to Influential was the tips and tricks I think everyone else is doing - or should be doing.   I immediately saw improvement in my engagement.  I couldn't believe, I finally found the information I was looking for.  How do you actively expose your account and connect with your target audience??  How do you make progress strategically not slimy? Her focus is to teach you how to expose your work and connect with the people you want to.  Targeted.  Connected.  And real.  I would share, and hope I have throughout this post, some really key takeaways.  That said her courses are great if you are serious about wanting to grow your Instagram accounts.  Not kidding one bit.  

Iconosphere

Finally, to help track and manage comments and progress, there's Iconosphere.  

Mompreneur on Fire - Iconosquare

It's really fun to pull statistics that say you are on an upswing of 269% for this and 240% for that 109% for that.  And this was just at the beginning!  

One of my favorite features besides the great graphs is that it allows me to add in a few "competitors" to study and watch.  I can see what they are doing compared to what I am doing.  It's another set of analysis that helps along the way.  

I love Instagram.  It's my favorite platform.  I am a pretty pictures, in the moment, kind of gal and I am excited to see progress and engagement made. 

Hey - Have you checked out my Instagram account yet?  


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How to Start a Podcast for $12

You need a podcast. Whether you want to share working mom tips, a passion for the outdoors, or share business ideas for women (like I do!!) you just need to start. Podcasting is absolutely the way of the future.  On demand is what we want and this is a powerful form of on demand radio.  Imagine, 2 years ago there were podcast but not even its own app.  2 years ago, 12 million people were listening to podcasts.  Now it's 17 million.  Imagine what it will be when cars have easy access to podcasts.  That's our future. 

In full disclosure, this blog post contains affiliate links which means if you make a purchase from any of these links, I may make a little money. Thank you in advance for supporting my dream work too!

It's a great time to get into podcasting.  Everyone is still learning, still growing.  They are growing together.  

I love podcasting and talking with my interviewees.  It's a way I can learn, connect and get inspired.  I have a few additional thoughts on other podcasts or how to expand my own but time will me get there.  

In the meantime YOU need to start one too.  Now is the time.  Below is what I did to get started.  

Have a Good Subject & One That You Love 

Okay okay who decides if the subject is a good one or not?  We don't really know.  But you most definitely want to have a topic that you enjoy talking about over and over and over again.   I once heard about a woman traveling the country to talk about the lessons learned from her brother's suicide.  What were the signs, the sadness, etc.  Then she realized how awful it was to talk about over and over and over again.  She didn't want to have her career spent reliving this tragedy.  

Point is, pick a subject you love to talk about.  

Set Your Format 

Will your you be talking on your own, will you be interviewing?  What type of schedule will you maintain?  Once a week or perhaps several times a week?  Set your format now, as best as you can, so your listeners will be ready and eager for the next episode.  

I knew I wanted an interview format right from the get-go.  I wanted / want to connect, learn from, be inspired by, build my tribe around women who have taken the leap.  I knew I wanted to talk with these amazing women right from the get-go.

Get Technically Involved 

If you want to try to have a podcast, you have to get your hands dirty.  I didn't know if it would "stick" so I was willing to learn, to do anything as long as I could keep the costs down at least until I figured out if the podcast was something worth pursuing.  

I knew I wanted an interview format and I was certain that some other interview based podcasts must accept people calling in.  I mean, Billionaire Mark Cuban, has been on podcasts, the interviewer must allow for people to call in from their phones.  I knew I wanted to make it easy for my interviewees to call-in.  If they are busy in their own lives, which I was confident they were, how easy could I make it for them to just say YES! and talk for 30 minutes.  

The Only Equipment You Need

Conference Calling Services

Really, that's all you need.  I signed up for a conference call system where I could record and download the call afterwards.  Actually I used a free conference calling service for my first probably 8 or 9 interviews.  Both parties would call into the conference line, I would hit record, and WA-LA game on!  After the call / super official podcast interview I would hang up, download the recording and begin editing.   That's it.  That's all you formally and officially need to record your podcast.  

It worked well for me.  

I switched from that service to Zoom because I was hosting video conference calls to such a degree that the paid monthly service was needed.  I think it's $15 a month.  If you have a need for video conferencing, sharing screens and recording of that it was and has been a really great service.  I am more than happy to pay the monthly fee for Zoom now.  It has saved me time and time again. 

Whether I am using it for work conference calls, for interviews, for video calls it is so helpful and the quality is top notch.  

Want to Step Up Your Recordings Even Further? 

Zoom's service has been a gem to me all around, no complaints and I still use it often.  For Mother's Day, I was excited to that my husband wanted to treat me to some upgraded podcasting equipment.  I mean, what mom doesn't want a microphone, headphones and a recorder for her gift?

Honestly, I was thrilled!  This is what I got specifically:

  1. Microphone Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone
  2. Windscreen Dragonpad USA Pop filter Studio Microphone Mic Wind Screen Pop Filter Swivel Mount 360 Flexible Gooseneck Holder 
  3. Recorder Zoom H4N Digital Multitrack Recorder
  4. Sony Dynamic Stereo Headphones - MDR-7506
  5. SIM Card - 32 GB

It took some education from YouTube to really learn how to plug everything in together but when it did come together I was jumping up and down in joy!  I think this video was the one that started me off on the right tracks!

White earphones and tablet pc, close up photo, small dof

Record

Now comes the fun!  Record!  If you are solo or you are interviewing you need to record.  When I first started out I was so nervous and shaky.   I would honestly give myself pep talks but the truth learning how to run a podcast is like learning to ride a bike.  It takes practice and learning to be better and comfortable with it.  In the end though, recording the podcast is the most fun.  Especially if you have a really great guest!  It doesn't matter if you are using a free conference calling service or Zoom!  Have fun! 

Oh! And use your headphones from your phone to talk into.  No microphone is needed at this point, use those headphones.  Trust me, the sound quality is much much better with that added action.

Editing

Be prepared, there is nothing more humbling than hearing yourself talk for the first time.   Errr... .first few times.  But you've gotten this far, don't let fear stop you!

I needed an editing tool because the format of my podcast is interview style.  I wanted to add in an Intro and Outro (as I call it) at the beginning and end of each interview.  Then I also learned I needed to further edit after I got a sweet note from one of my best friends and most loyal listeners that I need to cut out some Ummms and Ahhhs.  

The editing tool I use, GarageBand, is the tool that came with my Mac computer.  I was pleased to hear many other podcasters stick with this free option too.  Once you get over the initial learning curve, it's a pretty great tool! Again, I studied YouTube for videos on how to edit a podcast and found a ton of information there.  It's easy to get sucked into the learning and there were so many to choose from.  Start with this video and go from there.  If you don't have a Mac or access to GarageBand, I have heard good things about Audacity.   I haven't tried it because the need just has not been there but in my research, this seems to be a program people talk about.

All of my saved files are on Dropbox of course.  Does anyone use anything else anymore??  There is no fear about losing files to a crashed computer.  There is no fear that my files won't be accessible.  I can pull anything from my phone, my tablet, my computer.  I can share.  I can do my work, save it to Dropbox and move on.  What else do you need?

Publishing

(Here's where I spent my money when I started out.)

Once your podcast is ready, you have to publish!  How fun!!  There are so many manners on how to publish actually publish a podcast.  Simplecast is the program I choose.  To me, it seemed simple and it did the job.  By this point, I had been to my eyeballs in research and learning, when it came time to publish, I didn't need anything fancy.  Just get the job done.  And I was willing to pay.  $12 a month.  Can't beat that right?? 

Find Yourself

You've done the work!  Now go listen!  How crazy fun and scary was that??  But you did it!   You crossed a big hurdle and did it! Congrats!

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podcast - pinterest 1.png
Mompreneur on Fire - How to Start a Podcast

 

 

4 Easy Side Businesses I Wish I Had Time To Create

There are so many business ideas going through my head that it's hard to organize them! So, rather than let them go to waste, I want to share some of them with you. I look forward to seeing you grow! The possibilities are endless.

Mompreneur on Fire - Side Businesses

This post may contain affiliate links. 

1. Jewelry

There is some unbelievably gorgeous jewelry out there.  Those stackable bracelets, yep, I make them, too.  Those giant beaded necklaces.  Have lots of them hanging.  I don't know, I can't sit still.  When my husband watches boxing on Saturday nights, I pull out the beads.  I must admit, it's pretty, fun and easy.  Well, it's not as easy as you would think.  My husband thinks these suckers are our retirement and sat down this past weekend only to make 2 bracelets in 2 hours' time.  One, we will dismantle because it is just ugly.  The other, I am afraid to touch because he put his heart and soul into it!  

Here's what I would do if I had the time to really pursue selling jewelry.  

  1. Order beads to your taste from Etsy and eBay.  Order lots, and a variety.  Also, you want to order them now.  They aren't that expensive but they come from all over the world.  So it takes time to get them in.  
  2. While you are waiting for them to come in, head to Michael's to get some stretch thread in the jewelry-making section, and some Krazy Glue.
  3. I would start an Instagram account, hashtag it appropriately, and see if there is any interest.  I feel like having the likes and followers will give credibility when going to boutiques.  Ideally, I would learn how to photograph them properly but I am not convinced it's necessary when you get started and don't have much time. 
  4. Make a list of all the local boutiques, hotels, and wineries that you would love to work with.  Gather the names, addresses, and phone numbers of each place.
  5. Call and set up an appointment for them to look at your jewelry.  Take your best work and go for it!  

2. After-School Yoga for Kids

After school, my kids always have activities.  Yet there is this time between after school and when they do their AYSO that they want to do something else.  They want to play or do something now that they are free from school!  Hooray!  Oftentimes, the school offers enrichment class but to be honest, I think it's people, experts in their fields, making the offers.  

What if I found a reputable yoga teacher and organized her to come in for an hour or so after school to take the kids through a gentle yoga program?  If the class is at school, and the school is willing, host the class at the school. That way pickup is not necessary until later.  Then have the kids sign up.

Approximately: $30/class.  If you have 10 kids sign up, that's $300.  Pay the yoga teacher and keep the profits.  Not bad for a little bit of work.  If everyone likes it, schedule the class regularly.

3. Accountability Program

We all say we need someone to light that fire under our behinds in order for us to really get something done.  My girlfriend is picking up her pace (training) so she can be a part of a faster running group.  A dad I know is riding a long bike race to raise money for a charity that is near and dear to his heart.  We all have that one thing that we want to do and think about.  I'll be your accountability partner and we never even need to talk. 

Get 10 people to sign up for $10, $20, or $30/week (2 coffees to them) for 3 months.  Send them a quick motivational text in the morning.  Or motivate them through Instagram.  Send them an email or simply follow up.  It takes no time whatsoever, but adds $400 extra a month in your pocket.  

4.  Closet Organizer

I don't know what's wrong with me but I love to go through other people's stuff!  It's so fun!  And I love to organize!  In a heartbeat, I can help someone out just by "going into action-mode" and watching their expressions.  

If you don't love it, out it goes.  

I am totally copying that amazing advice from the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  Have you read it?  Anyone and everyone I know that has read the book has literally reported how it's a life-changing process.  

I have been through it, and I love it.  Who would not want to have the freedom that comes when living only with things you love? 

Problem is that most us need a little help.  We need a little nudge.  Why not have a good friend over to withhold judgment and help clean out?! 

Am I weird to love it?  I have a friend who paid someone $500 to help her clean out her clothes.  Her closet is amazing.  Her style is amazing.  She now only wears what she loves.  Sounded kind of expensive to me, but who am I to judge?  And she is always in things that make her feel good.  Sounds like a solid and healthy investment, actually.  So, if I had time, maybe I'd start by charging $250.  $250 to change your life!  Who doesn't win here??

There are the 4 business ideas that are on my mind.  I love what I do with Mompreneur on Fire, and that consumes the majority of my work.  If I had time, I would pursue the others.  Maybe you will and have some success, too!  Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

Update w/ 2 More Great Side Business Ideas

5. Blogging, Yes, Blogging 

If you asked me last year or even six months ago about the benefits and revenue sources that comes from blogging, I wouldn't have believed you.  Here's the thing that many people don't understand, you can make money from your blog.  You can create multiple streams of income from writing about the things that interest you.  

My family, even my husband, looks at me cross eyed when I try to explain the revenue and income sources from blogging.  In fact, majority of the bloggers I know will talk about how their family and friends don't understand what they do.  You don't even have to understand quite yet, you just need to start.  

HERE ARE 3 STEPS TO GET YOU STARTED:

  1. How to Start a Blog When You Have No Technical Skills.  That was a blog post on its own. It's not a difficult thing to put together but there are maybe 10 steps involved.  I went through the entire process in the post. 

  2. Then when you want to actually get serious about driving traffic to your site, this guide, is an amazing guide.  Literally, I use these strategies everyday and for months upon months now I am only seeing major traffic growth.  The big, I mean big, bloggers use these strategies too.  

  3. THEN when you really want the income to come in you must learn more about affiliate marketing.  I cannot believe I went months and months and months and months without this information.  I cannot believe there are 20 year old bringing in 10s of thousands by these (relatively) simple steps they put in place.  Michelle Schroeder's Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course is not that expensive and has amazing tips on how to generate real income without having to do the whole ads thing.  Trust me on this.  It's ah-mazing!

6. Sell Stuff On Amazon

Think eBay, only better.

You do the fun part, finding product to flip. Then Amazon handles all of the details of fulfilling orders. It’s called Amazon FBA, for “Fulfillment By Amazon.” You ship the inventory to an Amazon warehouse, they store it for you, and then when a customer buys something, Amazon picks, packs and ships it; they handle any returns, too.

Think about all of the stuff you have lying around the house - from books to toys to kitchen gadgets - and how great it would be to ship it out and then cash out! If you could find 20 items at home that each made $10 in profit, that’s a cool $200 to start. And you hardly did any work!

If you wanted to put in a bit more effort, there are lots of stories of people who make six figures selling on Amazon, and most of them will tell you they do it with part-time hours. The Selling Family’s Amazon Boot Camp is a great place to learn step-by-step details about running an Amazon FBA business.

I'm curious - in the comments - tell me what ideas you have that you think would be easy to start and set up??


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Sales: All You Need in 4 Steps

Whether your dream is to own a business that supports a healthy lifestyle or to live large, opportunities and sales are an important part of the process that will allow for your dreams to come true. How will you take your business ideas to the next level?

“I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” -Oprah Winfrey

Davon, the owner of a $10 million consulting firm, believes that “the money is going to come and the opportunity is going to come”, and what you do with both will determine the success that will follow.  He believes a big part of his success has happened because he has been able to make the most out of the opportunities that have come his way. 

“THE MONEY IS GOING TO COME” 

The natural question that follows is how does someone make the most out of a business idea??

1. Prepare For the Opportunity

Your experience, whether it is your life experience and/or your work experience, is preparation for opportunities to come your way.  However, experience alone will not generate the luck required in small business success.  Most small business owners agree owning a business is a lifestyle and that you are always working on it.  Making the most of your opportunities and business ideas is the result of hard work; you must continue to create offers and continue to learn.   As a small business owner, there is a requirement to continue reading and researching, formulating a plan, creating a product or service, delivering the offers and continuing to prepare for opportunities that will come.  This preparation is the beginning of the process in how someone makes the most of opportunities. 

2. Create an Opportunity

Many business owners state that they have created opportunities for their business growth by “pounding the pavement” and getting in front of their targeted customers as much as possible.  Trae, a successful business owner of a promotional products organization, initially started his business with a small list of clients and cold-called prospective clients to generate new leads.  Ralph Velasco, an award-winning travel photography instructor and international tour guide, generated new leads by offering photography classes for the local community.   Taking action by putting offers in front of their target client base is how business owners create opportunities and generate sales. 

It is also important to note that while a lot of time is also spent perfecting the plan, message and quality, business owners agree that the number one requirement in generating customers is generating offers.  By creating an offer to a potential client, you, the business owner, have the opportunity to generate income if the potential client says Yes! Or you have a chance to practice and test out your service, message and delivery.  Each offer presented is an opportunity puts you one step closer to your goals.

3. Recognize an Opportunity

Opportunities may be in right in front of you.  A majority of business is created from extending contracts on current clients or referrals from current clients.  Your product or service, if structured and messaged appropriately, may have a broader reach than you realize.  Use each opportunity as a possibility to grow your business.    

4. Maximize an Opportunity

When opportunities present themselves, make sure you speak up!  An opportunity comes and goes.  Speak up, present yourself and your product! Use the time to generate an offer or practice your skills.  When an opportunity arises, what will you have done with it??

Remember, Davon, the business owner that generated $10 million last year??  He thought one of the top places he was most successful was in making the most out of an opportunity.  What will you do?


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