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Anna Lozano and Lindy Sood are Elite+ Mompreneur® members based out of the Halton Region, and are the dynamic duo and creative minds behind Love Powered Co. – Powering the Next Generation of Mindful, Kind, and Empathetic Leaders. Love Powered Co. is a soul fuel company bringing love, mindfulness, empowerment and connection into the home with innovative and simple guided tools for parents to use with their children, to help little ones develop positive self-talk, confidence, self-love, and  self-worth. We are thrilled to share Anna and Lindy’s Success Story!

About Love Powered Co.
Our first product is Love Powered Littles – Affirmation cards for kids! 22 Powers to affirm the greatness within your littles (and you!) – available in a physical box set, and digital versions (English, Spanish & French). We also offer 8 x 10 affirmation prints, and downloadable prints, adding to the décor of your children’s rooms, and reminding them of the power that exists within!

Through stating positive I AM affirmations, and deeply connecting with our littles, we create magic moments that last a lifetime. Through our simple, guided process, children learn how to tap into the powers that exist within them, so when it’s time to take the torch, they lead with love, and light the way for others.

Our recipe is simple: Affirmation. Connection. Repeat.

  

What inspired you to become entrepreneurs?
We both followed very similar paths: going to University to study business, leaving school to enter the workforce with a good job, climbing the corporate ladder; doing all of the things we were ‘supposed to do’.

Anna: In 2010, I was itching for something different. I wanted to be my own boss; I wanted to make a difference in a way I felt I couldn’t while working for someone else. So I started a network marketing business, and within only 2 years, turned it into a global, multimillion dollar enterprise, retiring myself and my husband from the 9-5 grind.

Lindy: My husband and I had always had one or a few side-hustles, and when our ‘side’ real estate investment business needed more attention, I left the corporate world in 2015 to realize my dream of becoming my own boss, as a full-time multi-passionate entrepreneur!

We came together in business because we wanted to make a difference. Together, with our complimentary strengths, strong work-ethics, and insatiable drive to make a positive impact while here on this beautiful planet, we knew that we could really create something magical. And this is how Love Powered Co. was born.

What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur?
Meet our sweet, spitfire, sensitive, hilarious, complex, and beautifully spirited children (Jaden, Farrah, Maya, and Maya’s little sister who just entered this world in June!). Our greatest accomplishments. Our light. Our reason. Our why power.

When we think of the world we want them to be raised in, it’s a compassionate one. It’s one that celebrates equal rights and humanitarianism. It’s one that’s innovative and inclusive, and filled with opportunity. A world where individual differences are honoured as much as individual strengths. It’s a peaceful, respected and sus-tainable planet.

It’s a world where #metoo is a distant memory. Where all leaders of our free world preach love vs. tweet hate. It’s a world throbbing with a grateful, reverent generation…future leaders who see no limits, take responsibility for the people they are and the lives they create, and who understand that their destiny is not decided for them, but created by them.

We don’t believe this is a far-fetched desire. It begins with collective hope and accountability…with us here and now. It starts with us guiding our children to know and to value the POWER that exists within them. Our children are our reason. They are our WHY.

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
We made a conscious decision to align our work with our core values, and Family is on the top of that list. We drop off our kids every morning, and we are there to pick them up each day when the bell rings. Our phones disappear and work stops until 8:30pm, when we pick it back up again. We are driven to prove to ourselves and to the world that you can grow a thriving business, while placing family first. It’s not only a goal, but it’s a non-negotiable in our households.

Lindy: Before jumping into entrepreneurship, I was dropping off my kids at 7:00am, and rushing to get them at 6:00pm. They were exhausted; I was exhausted. There were meltdowns every day, and I knew I had to make a change. My little guy straight up told me one day, ‘Mommy you never spend time with us. All you do is work’. Ouch. Since changing the trajectory of my life and becoming an entrepreneur, I made a firm commitment to myself and my family, to be a mom before all else; to limit the time they see me working and to put our time together, our health and our connection at the top of the priority list. Entrepreneurship has allowed me to stay true to these commitments.

The measurement of impact on having healthy, happy children and strong marriages, is a qualitative one. We see happy faces every morning; we personally wave goodbye when school starts, and we are there when the bell rings to pick them up. They have their mothers with them when they need us. Our husbands are proud and supportive. Being entrepreneurs has allowed us the freedom to create the family lives that we envisioned, and to live in alignment with what matters most to us, and this is by far the best part of owning our own businesses.

Can you describe a typical day?
We wake up, go to the gym, get our kids ready for school, and we don’t turn on our phones or check our emails until after drop-off.

We meet up and create our list for the day, dividing and concurring based on the level of priority for each task.

We then get to work, focusing on marketing, sales, social media management, relationship building, product development, manufacturing, client and customer service, admin, finances, events – you name it, we do it! We are truly the jacks of all trades when it comes to our business!

Early afternoon, we turn on the tunes and start to process our orders – we have 2 daily pickups a day from FedEx, and we need to have all of our orders fulfilled, labels printed, and boxes packed and sealed by the time the drivers arrive.

By 3:00pm, we shut it all down to pick-up our littles. After they go to bed, we pick-up where we left off, completing anything that needs to be finished, and setting up our day for tomorrow!

Who do you count on for help?
We count on each other (benefits of working with business partners who are on the same page!), our husbands (who happen to be the MOST supportive and wonderful men!), and occasionally a friend or parent who we may ask to pick-up our children if there is an event or meeting we need to attend.

It is extremely important for us to surround ourselves with supportive, encouraging and empowering women, and to always be the paragons of such behaviour. To rise, we must all rise together. And so, we rely on the support and help of mindful mamas who also want to make a difference.

Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
Of course! Our lives are made up of a series of choices, sacrificing this for that, determining what our core values are, and saying no to anything that doesn’t align. In starting a business, there is a LOT of upfront work. We put our heads down and worked tireless hours in the beginning to get this baby off the ground. Because we didn’t want to sacrifice time with our families, these hours were worked during the day, but also after bedtimes and late into the nights. But was it fun? Absolutely. Worth it? Unquestionably.

 

What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
We wholeheartedly believe in refuelling to be the best possible versions of ourselves – for ourselves AND for our families. We take weekends off (mostly), and occasionally we take time to celebrate our wins and successes, together as a team. A day off, as we see it, is really an opportunity to fill the tank – whether it be the love tank by spending time with family, the social tank by spending time with friends, or the nature tank but getting outside and enjoying this beautiful earth – and this makes us better, more insightful and more inspired when we get back to work!

What does the future look like for you and your business?
Our visions are big. VERY big. We are overjoyed with the success that Love Powered Co has had within our first year of business, shipping daily packages of love-filled boxes to families from all over the globe. We have plans to launch 3 new products within the next year, and within 5 years we know that Love Powered Co will be known as THE mindfulness brand for families, schools and corporations, globally.

Any tips for women thinking of starting a business?
Here are our top 5 tips for women thinking of starting a business!

1. Tackle your excuses:
Are they real objections that need to be worked through, or are they fear-based excuses? We can tell you from our own experience, that there will never be a perfect time. There will always be a reason NOT to do it. But if you really want to start your own business, then you need to work through all of your personal boundaries, swim through the fear, and find solutions to the reasons you think you can’t do it.

2. Build Your Network:
‘You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with’. We have discovered first hand the truth in this statement. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and lift you higher, as you do the same for them. And as you are building out your vision, connect and expand your network with others who have paved the path. You will learn from them directly, but they will often open the doors to new ideas, new people and new opportunities.

3. Ask for Help!
If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. And we all know, that the key to success has never been to do it all on your own. Take some time to really understand your core strengths, and then ask for help with the rest.

4. Don’t Quit Your Day Job…. Yet:
Unless you have a solid inflow of income from another source, earn while you build (in the beginning). It takes time to build a successful, revenue-generating business, and if you leave your job too soon, you may find your-self with the stress of no income, on top of learning how to create, manage, market, and sell your idea. The beauty is, we live in an era where side hustles are the norm! Until it makes sense financially, keep your 9-5.

5. Be Honest With Yourself:
Are you a self-starter? Can you overcome fear? Even if you are an introvert, can you be LOUD about your idea, your mission, your vision? We KNOW you can, but you have to believe in yourself first. Before anything else, you have to be your #1 supporter. We encourage you to work through your shit. If it’s important to you, then di-ve deep, work through your issues, and start your business knowing that you can be, do and have anything! Otherwise, it just won’t work.

The post Anna Lozano & Lindy Sood – Love Powered Co. appeared first on Mompreneurs® - Canadian Women in Business.

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Mompreneurs by Mompreneurs Admin - 1w ago

Fatima Butt is a Chartered Professional Accountant, where she specializes in personal and small to mid-sized Businesses’ Accounting and Taxation. She offers a complete range of services to meet the needs of individuals and businesses, including Compilation, Personal taxes, Corporate taxes, Bookkeeping, Payroll, Financial and Tax Planning, while providing personal attention to her clients’ Accounting and Taxation needs. Fatima uses her extensive experience to provide expert advice regarding all business matters, so that her clients can focus on their business operations while she takes care of their accounting and taxation in terms of both compliance and reporting. We are excited to share Fatima’s Success Story!

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
My children inspired me to become an entrepreneur but it was not planned. I kind of fell in to it but I am so glad at this point that it happened because If I was to plan it then it would not happen for another ten years.

After I had my first son, I felt like a full-time job became very difficult. The corporate culture in a public accounting firm is very demanding in terms of your performance and time commitment. I felt very challenged to perform at the same level after sleepless nights and missed work for my son’s sick days. Then when I had my second son, I decided to take on some contract work instead and slowly started building my own clientele. All my clients come through referrals and I have developed a good base just in a few years. I am only two and half years into being a successful entrepreneur and I am never going back to a full-time job.

What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur?
I am enthusiastic about what I do. I am practical and hands-on and I like to do things in creative ways. I love what I do and my passion and my exceptional client service is shown by the referrals and reviews I receive from my clients.

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
It’s very rewarding because all the hard work I am doing is an investment to my own self, and I reap the benefits of it one way or the other. My motivation level is much higher for the same reasons. I am much more excited to see what the next day will bring to my table. Of course, there is a lot more responsibility that comes with having your own business. Flexibility is there, but a business owner never stops working on or in their business.

Can you describe a typical day?
Every day is different. Some days I work from home while other days I go to see clients. Some days I have meetings all day, whereas other days I focus on wrapping up a number of projects. A typical day starts with dropping off my kids at the daycare and then juggling between phone calls, meetings and client work until its time to pick up the kids again.

Who do you count on for help?
My husband is very supportive of my business activities, and actually he is the one who encouraged me to start working on my own. I schedule my meetings and phone calls around his and my kids’ schedules. Most of the days he picks up or drops off the kids. He is also very helpful with the kids, and my boys are very attached to him. If I need to work over the evening or weekend, he takes the boys out or looks after them at home while I work to meet my deadlines.

Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
Yes of course, I think it’s all about sacrifice. My life revolves around my family and my business. If I am not working, then I am spending time with my family and vice versa. Because I was self-employed, I had to put my second son in daycare when he was only 4 weeks old. I worked all through my pregnancies and got back to work right away after having my kids, because I did not have employment insurance benefits. That being said, I also took longer holidays and worked less during the summer after the busy season was over, so I could spend much more time with my kids.

What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
I don’t take any days off; my days off are planned around the kids. They don’t go to daycare on weekends or public holidays, so I try to plan something for those days unless I have a deadline to meet.

What does the future look like for you and your business?
There is a lot of potential for growth and success in my business. The speed of achieving this growth also depends on how much time I am spending on advertising or networking. I feel like I am not very involved at this point, but may be when the kids grow up a little bit, when I believe it will be much easier to invest more time to grow my business. Until then I am relying on referrals to grow my client base.

Any tips for women thinking of starting a business?
I think for women it’s much more important to start a business because it can give them the flexibility that they need, especially if they are raising kids. Also, women are very creative and they have a lot of potential to work under pressure, and that’s what starting a business is all about.

The post Fatima Butt – CPA, CA, LPA appeared first on Mompreneurs® - Canadian Women in Business.

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With summer kicking off, you may be planning some off-site events to bring your employees together to celebrate the warm weather. While you’re getting everyone together and organizing the event, an important part of that planning should focus on getting everyone to and from the event safely, and making sure that the facility itself is clean and safe. To help you ensure that the event goes as planned and reduce any flare-ups, we’ve put together a checklist that you can use for any recreational outing that takes place outside the workplace.

Documentation:

  • Collect signed consent forms
  • Complete written agenda – include:

Name and address of location visiting
List of all individuals going on trip
Expected return time
Main contact person and number

  • Provide the written agenda to staff who will not attend the trip

Staff:

Ensure that:

  • Supervision ratios are met or exceeded
  • Staff are aware of their responsibilities
  • Staff are trained in first aid
  • A designated staff member responsible for head count before and after excursion
  • Facility is adequately supervised
  • Facility staff members are helpful and ready to assist

Transportation:

Be aware of your options, including:

  • Employees supplying own vehicle
  • Carpooling
  • Bus carrier (Collect certificate of insurance from bus carrier)
  • Public transit
  • Walking
  • Plan safest route

Inspection of venue:

  • Physical environment: Facility clean and sanitary
  • Equipment and furniture in good repair
  • Walkways, sidewalks, etc. in good repair
  • During the winter months – adequate snow removal
  • Facility wheelchair accessible – ramps in good repair
  • Fire and life safety equipment: Portable fire extinguishers readily available
  • Posted evacuation plan
  • Fire routes clearly marked and free of obstructions
  • Confirm the nearest hospital
  • Confirm the location of the emergency telephone if available

Supplies checklist:

  • First aid kit
  • Fully charged cell phone
  • Emergency contact list for each person
  • Individual photos
  • Medication

With the right preparation, you can reduce the risks of something going wrong at your next staff party and celebrate with peace of mind.

To get a free online quote in minutes, visit TruShield Insurance online

The post Make Safety a Priority at Your Next Staff Event appeared first on Mompreneurs® - Canadian Women in Business.

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Written by Mélanie Bernier

As a Canadian French translator and the owner of WordFrog Inc., I am often asked about the value of French translation for a business or manufacturer:

  • At what stage should a Canadian business transition to bilingual communications?
  • Do Quebecois consumers truly care whether or not packaging and websites are translated to French?
  • How big of an investment should I expect to make?

The answers below are simple yet effective, to help you determine what your next steps could be when it comes to bilingual packaging requirements.

What are the benefits to having bilingual product packaging and marketing materials?
The number one advantage is unlimited, unhampered growth throughout Canada. By optimizing your packaging, website and communications for the entire Canadian population, you are eliminating obstacles on many fronts. In addition, a properly-done bilingual packaging design gives your product a more professional and legitimate look. 

When is the right time to have my product packaging and website translated?
As soon as possible, especially if you hope or plan to sell nationwide, in Quebec or in Europe.  This is particularly important for any material that ends up on the store shelf, as untranslated or improperly-designed packaging can lead to costly delays, as we will discuss below. 

What can happen if my packaging is unilingual and/or non-compliant?
My team deals with the following situation on a regular basis: manufacturers get an opportunity to sell or pitch their product to a large Canadian retailer, but find that their packaging and proposal package do not meet the retailer’s strict requirements. The required improvements are of course time-sensitive, and a lot of money may be at stake. The true “cost” of having non-compliant packaging can include costly reprints, extended delays, missed opportunities, tarnished reputations and lost profits – not to mention the sky-high rush fees for translation, graphics, printing and other required services.

How much should I budget for a translation?
The price of an English to French translation is very case dependent, as the number of words varies. However, an all-inclusive packaging translation (including a final revision of the artwork) ranges from $99 to $299. Unless you have a simple landing page, websites are typically priced higher and can range from $299 to a few thousand dollars.

Mélanie Bernier is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of London, Ontario, and she is the owner and creative mind behind WordFrog. With nearly a decade of experience in the field of translation, writing and content creation, she is ideally equipped to provide comprehensive communication solutions to companies of any size.

Whatever your situation, Mélanie’s team at WordFrog Inc. can help you determine your specific needs in terms of bilingual packaging and communications. You can contact her personally at services@wordfrog.ca to discuss a no-obligation quote for translation and consultation services.

A version of this article was previously published on WordFrog.ca

The post Parlez-Vous Français? A Guideline to Bilingual Packaging appeared first on Mompreneurs® - Canadian Women in Business.

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Debbie Stanley is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Guelph, Ontario. She is the Founder of Estate Transition Planners Canada, where she helps families start the conversation surrounding estate planning. Debbie and her team take a holistic view and find the gaps that need some additional assistance, while also providing hands-on support to Executors of estates, understanding that it is a job not necessarily applied for, or even known about, by many. Estate Transition Planners of Canada makes sure that the entire estate administration process runs smoothly and efficiently. We are excited to share Debbie’s Success Story!

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
It was a light bulb moment for me; I had a fantastic career and loved where I was, however I found I wasn’t able to assist clients in the manner I would have liked due to where I was. The night that I said, “I’m sorry, I can’t help you with that” to a client was when I went home from work knowing that something else needed to be done.

What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur?
I love to help people, but even more so, I love the feeling I get when I help a family. When I can help educate and empower an Executor and see the clarity in their eyes and the weight lift off of their shoulders, then I know I have done the very best that I can for my clients.

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
The best part of owning my own business is that this is all my baby! The successes are mine and the failures are mine too. If I have an idea, I go with it and see if it sticks. If it doesn’t, then I learn from it and try the next thing. It is a flexibility and freedom for my creativity and passion that I would not get at a conventional job.

Can you describe a typical day?
My day begins at 5:30am with my dogs breathing over me for a walk. I spend the morning on personal development by going to the gym and listening to audio books. From there it depends on the clients; I may have a day full of meetings, or completing work, or networking. Usually it is a mish-mash of all three!

Who do you count on for help?
I count on many people for help: my coach, my mentor, my family, my friends. It takes a village to run a business! Sometimes I need help and advice for personal aspects of my life and sometimes I need help for the professional side of my life. I make sure that I have a strong team around me so that I can utilize their support.

Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
Family time sometimes is sacrificed; my days can be long and exhausting. I may be out of the house from 5:30am to 10:00pm (that’s what my day looks like today). Those days are the hardest, however I communicate with my family and luckily it is not every day. The time flexibility has also allowed for me to take a day off to watch a play, or help with prom. It is never one-sided for too long – I try to keep a balance.

What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
If I take a day off, my mind is still always on the business. I will sneak in and check my emails, or write down ideas that pop into my head. I would say that I am not 100% unplugged when I am off. Definitely something that I am working on.

What does the future look like for you and your business?
I am hoping that one day I will have locations all over the country that can be helping families during the most difficult time of their lives.

Any tips for women thinking of starting a business?
Leave the guilt behind. It is ok if the kids eat pancakes for dinner and if the house is a mess; it also is more than ok to ask for help from your partner on the tasks you can no longer do. Trying to juggle everything leaves a lot of things done poorly and leaves no one happy.

The post Debbie Stanley – Estate Transition Planners Canada appeared first on Mompreneurs® - Canadian Women in Business.

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Have you determined that LinkedIn is a waste of time for your business?  Have you created a profile and built a network without getting any real results?  The reality is that most entrepreneurs are using LinkedIn but not as effectively as they could be.  The possibilities of social media are endless but you need to approach it like you would any other area of your business.  It requires a strategy and you have to be consistent with it. Here are some tips that will help you use LinkedIn in a way that will open doors for your company:

Identify and reach out to people who are highly connected.

On LinkedIn you are only limited by your connections.  If you are connected to a lot of people, your scope is significant.  Consider your contacts as a doorway; through them you are able to access everyone that they are connected with.  When you reach out to people who already have a lot of strong connections, you are able to leverage all of those relationships to the benefit of your company.

Find and connect with your target customer.

Very few entrepreneurs use social media to its fullest potential.  If your target customer is a particular type of business, you can use LinkedIn to identify and contact people in key positions at those companies.  However, don’t forget that on LinkedIn you are not permitted to directly contact people that you don’t know unless you have a premium account.

Complete your company page.

One of the best parts about LinkedIn is the opportunity for your business to be found by potential customers.  It is free, targeted advertising.  You waste this opportunity if you don’t invest the time to create a high-quality company page.  Think about what impression you want people to have of your company.  Also consider the keywords that people might use to search for your business.  Potential customers should be able to get all of the information that they need from your company page.

Use LinkedIn to compliment your other communications.

While LinkedIn is a useful tool, it is not meant to stand alone.  You should be using LinkedIn as a compliment to your website and to your other social media sites.  For example if you are holding an event, you can publicize it on your website, tweet it out on Twitter, and mention it on LinkedIn.  After the event you can post pictures on Facebook.  Usually the best approach is to give your customers the basic information on social media to grab their attention and then link them back to your website.

Join LinkedIn groups.

One of the easiest ways to grow your network is to join relevant LinkedIn groups.  These groups allow you to showcase your expertise and to reach out to people in your industry.  Participate in discussions and support people in the group and before long you will be viewed as a leader in your field.

In a lot of ways, social media is the great equalizer of our time.  With an effective social media strategy, a small business can easily compete with the big box companies.   If you are deliberate and consistent in your efforts, it won’t be long before LinkedIn is bringing customers through your door.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

The post How to Use LinkedIn Strategically for Your Business appeared first on Mompreneurs® - Canadian Women in Business.

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Mompreneurs by Mompreneurs Admin - 3w ago

Rebecca Sutherns is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Guelph, Ontario. She is a Certified Professional Facilitator with a PhD in Sustainable Communities, and the Founder and CEO of Sage Solutions, which she founded 22 years ago as a facilitation and consulting firm that offers strategic clarity and time well spent in three distinct ways:

  1. Helping groups make better decisions together, through our work with purpose-driven leaders in the public benefit sector –non-profits, health care agencies, educational institutions and governments, as well as community-minded for-profit firms and multi-sectoral coalitions – to align what is important with what can actually be done. This usually involves community engagement, strategic planning, governance training and leadership coaching.
  2. Supporting solopreneurs and small businesses with strategic coaching services, most notably to help them combat isolation and wasted time.
  3. Offering introductory and advanced facilitation and community engagement skills training, in person and online.

We are thrilled to be sharing Rebecca’s Success Story!

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I became an entrepreneur initially by accident. People would call me with project requests while I was home raising my four children, and if I could fit the work into my schedule and it sounded interesting, I would say yes. I was delighted to have an opportunity to use my talents and make an impact while my main work was focused at home. Over time, it became increasingly clear to me that my “side gig” would become my “real job” – I loved the work I was doing, and it met virtually all of the criteria I was looking for: variety, challenge, flexibility, meaning. Seeing myself as an entrepreneur and developing the skills to run my own successful business have therefore evolved gradually. I continue to be inspired by the creativity and control that running my own business affords.

What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur?
My “why” can be expressed at various levels. Within my business, I help clients, whose mission and values I share, get even better at what they do. I want to accelerate their impact, while making their experience working with me as enjoyable, productive and insightful as possible. More broadly, my entrepreneurial journey shows my children, especially my three daughters, that women can be strong, effective leaders and business owners, at the same time as being present and involved mothers. I hope that example inspires them to be their best selves. My success as an entrepreneur also gives my family more choices and experiences to enjoy, and allows us to invest generously in our community.

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
The best part about owning my own business is the variety of challenges it offers. Many entrepreneurs resist having to wear so many hats in their role, but I actually seek that out. It appeals to my curiosity and is the nature both of entrepreneurship and of the consulting work I do. I relish the learning opportunities that come with juggling multiple clients and projects. I am constantly experimenting. I love having the authority and flexibility to try new things, and if they don’t work well, I can make adjustments and try again.

Can you describe a typical day?
My days are all different. That is one of the characteristics I love most about my job. My best days find me in front of a room full of participants, facilitating lively discussions, lots of learning, and meaningful decisions through effective group processes I’ve designed. In between those sessions, I am meeting with prospective clients, conducting community-based research and documenting the plans that participants have created together.

Who do you count on for help?
I have a Business Manager, Laurie Watson, on whom I rely extensively. She handles many of the administrative tasks involved in running my business, better, faster and more happily than I do! I look to a roster of colleagues who help to expand my capacity to take on work and sharpen my professional performance. I also count on my family to provide the emotional support and practical help that allow my business to flourish.

Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
No one can be in multiple places at once. There are times when work responsibilities have caused me to miss or delegate some events with my children. I try not to miss anything really critical and appreciate the flexibility I have to make those choices, but I cannot always be the one to drive my kids to lessons or appointments. On the other hand, there were many years when my work days were shortened in order to accommodate the needs of my family, most often to pick kids up or meet the school bus at the end of the day. These sound like potentially trivial things, on both sides, but the mental load of juggling multiple competing schedules over many years has been a significant part of my story.

What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
I am admittedly not very good at taking whole days off. My work and home lives have been so intertwined for so many years that I do both on most days — unless we’re travelling. Our family has made international travel a high priority, culminating in a 10-week sabbatical in 2017 that took us to Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia and New Zealand. That trip included securing 37 nights of accommodation for just $500! Exploring new places with people I love is my favourite way to enjoy time away from work.

What does the future look like for you and your business?
I am currently participating in a program through Thought Leaders Business School in Australia that is helping me set clear and ambitious targets for my business. It has transformed my mindset and my revenues over the past six months. I look forward to continuing to do work I love, with people I enjoy, the way I want; likely on a world stage with a higher price point and broader impact in the years to come.

Any tips for women thinking of starting a business?
My best tip for women thinking of starting a business is to be clear about their “why.” Your definition of what success looks and feels like will change over the life of your business. Make sure to know what matters to you in your business at this time. Go after that, and track your progress.

The post Rebecca Sutherns – Sage Solutions appeared first on Mompreneurs® - Canadian Women in Business.

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Everyone loves the family business. There’s something romantic about mom, dad and the kids working together to create a company that is as unique as they are.

Customers like family businesses because they tend to be friendlier and they treat you like a real person. If you have a family business, are you making the most of your competitive advantage?

Loyalty.

There is competition and in-fighting amongst employees in all businesses, but in family businesses, everyone understands that the well-being of the family and the success of the business trump everything else. This loyalty motivates everyone to put their self-interest aside and do what’s best for the company.

Commitment.

When you create a family business, you are building something that is greater than yourself. Perhaps you inherited the company from your parents, or you might be working hard to leave a legacy for your children and grandchildren. Your investment in your work goes far beyond a regular job. This level of commitment causes owners of family businesses to put their heart and soul into their company, which contributes to its success.

Trust.

The level of trust that we have with the members of our family is completely different than it is with anyone else. Our family are the only people lucky enough to see us without our make-up. We tell them exactly how we feel and exactly what we think. This openness ensures that problems are dealt with swiftly and that everyone’s point of view is heard.

Values.

Often family-owned companies reflect the values of their owners. The line between the business and the family that owns it can be impossible to distinguish. Business owners have a sense of pride when their company actually stands for something. Many family businesses are strong supporters of their community and customers choose the business because its values resonate with them.

Relationships.

Working together as a family is a rewarding experience and the strength of these relationships benefit both the family and the business. Family businesses have a long-term orientation that many companies lack. The family is invested in the business for the long haul, during good times and bad.

Never underestimate these ‘mom and pop shops’; the family business is the oldest type of business and these companies make an important contribution to our economy.

Featured image via shutterstock.com

The post The Allure of a Family Business & How It Attracts Customers appeared first on Mompreneurs® - Canadian Women in Business.

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Mahnaz Fardghassemi is an Elite Mompreneur Member based out of North Vancouver, BC. She is the Owner and Operator of Smallprint Vancouver North, where she offers a beautiful range of silver keepsakes featuring the fingerprint, handprint, or footprint, or writing and drawings of loved ones. Prints can be taken at any age, babies to adults with the most unique offering of the Original Fingerprints, where loved ones’ actual finger is gently pressed directly into the silver – no molds are taken, thus making the piece literally touched by loved ones! All pieces are handcrafted, hand engraved, and are pure sterling silver. We are thrilled to be sharing Mahnaz’s Success Story!

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I had worked in the corporate world for over a decade; I enjoyed my roles and accomplishing so much in my career, but when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I decided to resign from my high stress job and the long work hours that it came with. After the dust settled with my daughter being born, I knew I could never go back to that world. I needed to find something where I would be inspired on a daily basis!

What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur?
With my first daughter, I had a complication post-delivery and was told that I might not be able to have another child. Because of that I was always trying to find ways to capture as many memories as I could, before she was all grown up! At the time we were living abroad and that is when I came across fingerprint jewellery. Two and a half years later, we moved back home to Vancouver, and we were blessed with having our second daughter. Once again I wanted to keep the memories of her tiny hands and feet before, and that’s when I started Smallprint Vancouver North so that I could introduce other parents to this great way of keeping memories of loved ones close to them as I do with mine.

  

What’s the best part about owning your own business?
I love owning my own business, because I built it from the start! I am involved in all aspects of the business and most of all I get to create amazing keepsakes for such fascinating people, whom I meet on a regular basis!

Can you describe a typical day?
My typical day starts at 5:00am. I get dressed and get my workout done before anyone else is awake in the house; this is literally the only time I can fit it in my day. Then I sit at my computer with a freshly brewed cup of coffee and get some work done until it’s time to get breakfast ready and my two amazing girls wake up! Then it’s normal daily life: I take my eldest to preschool and my youngest gets to come along with me while I get errands done, which usually means going to the post office to mail the keepsakes I have made. Then we pick up my daughter from preschool, come home and have lunch together. When both girls are down for their naps, I get back to work. When they are up, depending on the weather, we head out to the park and have a play date. Then dinner, bath and bed for the girls. After they are nicely tucked in, I take my pot of green tea with me to my studio and sit down at my desk to work on creating silver keepsakes.

  

Who do you count on for help?
My husband! He is the one that pushes me when I doubt myself. He is the one to step in and help me, especially when I have large amounts of orders – Christmas was all hands on deck! He also takes on the responsibility of taking care of my girls whenever he is home, so that I can get to work!

Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
Yes! I find balancing being with my girls and my family, and going out for my events, is a big struggle for me. I want to be at events and pop-ups around town, but most of these would be all-day events and sometimes being away from them that long is tough for me. Luckily my husband sends me lots of photos and videos; I also sometimes get surprise visits from them, which is always great!

What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
Day off? What is that? I try to give myself half a day where I am totally hands-off from everything business-related, so that I can focus on my family and friends.

What does the future look like for you and your business?
I see a day where I see everyone wearing one of my keepsakes. I go down the street and I have people coming up to me to say hello, and reminisce about how and when we met to make the piece they are wearing!

  

Any tips for women thinking of starting a business?
Trust yourself! Trust that you are doing the best you can do in the situation you are in! Hindsight is always 20/20, but what you need to focus on is what you learned and move on! Don’t question yourself so much; you made a decision, it didn’t pan out as you thought it would – learn from it and move on!

The post Mahnaz Fardghassemi – Smallprint Vancouver North appeared first on Mompreneurs® - Canadian Women in Business.

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Written by Maria Locker

Finding unique “Team Building” activities is something that has become more commonplace in many corporate and small business cultures. The act of bringing co-workers and team members together for the purposes of planning, building company culture, and team bonding, can be both rewarding and fun.

Our core team within Mompreneurs® (minus one – we missed having you with us, Elaine!) got together recently for our annual planning meeting, where we discussed areas within the company that are working well, as well as specific areas we’d like to change up or further develop. It was a full day of chatting, note-taking, reviewing, and dissecting. I can honestly say that, while we as a team have phone calls and video meetings on a regular basis, being in one room all together always makes the biggest impact, and allows everyone to be more engaged, honest, and open. If you have the means to make it happen, I highly suggest bringing your core team together at least once a year for 1-2 days of connections and high-intensity focus on your business structure.

Planning things out as a team, and enjoying delicious food and new mugs c/o Dana Shortt Gourmet & Gifts in the process!

One of the things I knew I wanted to implement on our planning day was a visit to an Escape Room. I had recently had the experience with both friends and family, and knew that bringing our core team to go through a fun challenge together would help everyone bond over a shared experience, while also teaching us a few things about how we work together, and where we need some improvements.

Entering the Escape Room, blindfolded and ready to take charge!

The minute we got to Escape From The 6, we were whisked away with blindfolds on, which I can say for a fact was already a challenging trust exercise for the majority of us in the group. We held onto each other, and slowly shuffled into an unknown room, completely in the dark about what we were about to embark on. Once our blindfolds came off, it was ‘go time’ and the clock started ticking away. Unlike other Escape Rooms I had tried before, this particular room was an ‘Expert’ challenge that would take an hour to complete successfully, and was based on real-life challenges that a team of Firefighters would experience. This red room was the first of 6 rooms we were to eventually find our way out of, and it took longer than it should have for us to move onto the next room. Being our first room, we were all figuring each other out, trying not to step on toes but also trying not to hold back our natural leadership qualities.

Over the course of the hour, we fell into our natural roles while also helping each other and working as a team. It was an exciting project that went quickly while keeping us fully engaged and thinking 2 steps ahead. I’m proud to say that our team successfully completed the challenge and escaped the room, however we did not finish within the hour as we were supposed to – we were lucky enough to have no other groups scheduled after us, so we finished about 15 minutes past our time allotment.

This brings me to the Top 3 Lessons we learned over the course of the hour:

 1. Communication is key.
The facilitator had warned us that communicating would be an integral part of completing our challenge successfully. While we did communicate quite well, there were times that everyone was so focused on their individual tasks, sometimes we didn’t express out loud that we needed help, or we didn’t ask questions out loud that others on the team had answers to (we found this out quite late in the challenge!). This spoke to me on a much deeper level, and reminded me that, while we are all strong and independent individuals, it’s important to ask for help when you are stuck – it will likely save you time and stress in the long run.

 2. Small details matter.
Once we were back in the car and headed home, we all discussed what we loved most about the challenge and what we thought we could work on to improve. What I found most interesting was that, as we discussed, it became clear that we each had a revelation at some point throughout the challenge, where we saw something or read something relevant to our escape, but instead moved on to something else, assuming what initially caught our attention wasn’t important or meaningful to completing the challenge. It wasn’t until we completed a task successfully that we realized, had we paid closer attention and let our instincts guide us, we likely would have completed the task much sooner. This was a key learning fundamental that I flagged for our team — going with our instincts, paying attention to the little things, and seeing an idea through fully, is what we need to continue doing as a team in order to see the best results in our company.

 3. Know your strengths and pay attention to your weaknesses.
I can only speak for myself here, but this really rang true for me. I found that at the beginning of the challenge, I tried to let others figure things out on their own at first, without meddling (too much) in their actions. By the time we hit the 20-minute mark however, I was getting frustrated that we hadn’t moved on quicker, and my tasks were done but I didn’t know how to help my team. What I realized was that I had failed them; I had found what needed to be done and I did it, but left them behind in the process. At one point I even took Sara’s clipboard to see if I could help move things along, and only slowed things down for her in the long run. I know my strength is to lead and to think things through, but I wasn’t paying attention to one of my weaknesses, which is micro-managing and taking over when I get frustrated. What I should have done was help along the way and check in throughout the process, instead of trying to jump in only when my tasks were completed.

In the end, I’d like to think our team was closer and more in tune with each other after having successfully escaping our room. Victory was bittersweet however; I think we all would’ve kept going for another hour, it was so much fun!

Have any other tips for fun team-building experiences? Please share!

Maria Locker is the Founder & CEO of Mompreneur Showcase Group Inc. (aka Mompreneurs®) and its properties, including Mompreneurs® Momentum Enterprise of Canada, Mompreneur® Magazine, The Annual Mompreneur® Awards, and The Annual National Mompreneurs® Conference. She is a wife and mother of 2, and attributes every success to the unending support and encouragement she has received from her family, friends, and community. She hopes to be an inspiration to her children while demonstrating what can be achieved when you have a passion for helping others and doing what you love.

The post What Conquering an Escape Room Taught Our Team appeared first on Mompreneurs® - Canadian Women in Business.

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