Looking for the working mom blog that helps women get down to business? The Founding Moms blog includes tips and tricks for mom entrepreneurs everywhere. The Founding Moms is a collective of offline meetups and online resources where mom entrepreneurs can exchange, connect and learn from one another.
Wanna learn how to manage your cash flow but it’s something you struggle with? In the FMC’s Course 43, Jill talks with our own FMC member Megan Mathias! As an attorney in the Chicago area, Megan cares about giving back to the community, especially women – and now she’s here to help us! Megan gives us tips and tricks to handle the cash flow ebbs and flows that come with entrepreneurship.
What causes a biz to fail?
More than failure to plan or a bad concept, the issue of cash flow is something that will cause business failure, especially in the beginning. In most beginning businesses, there’s not enough of a focus on cash flow, Megan says – and you need to know that having cash flow doesn’t just mean having cash set aside.
Understanding cash flow management
Think about the tools you have available. Megan often speaks about the “toolboxes” that women have in their lives. They use one set of tools for parenting, another for their personal lives, and yet another for their business. If you combined those toolboxes, how could you use them to the advantage of your business? You’ll learn how to make what you have in the bank, plus your receivables and inventory, etc. work for you to make your cash flow last longer. A lot of it is about communication.
Who can help me in managing cash flow?
It’s a good idea to leverage the relationships you have with your accountant, banker, and lawyer, says Megan. Each of them can help you understand and manage your cash flow situation. Using apps and software – if you understand the data and analytics that come with them – may be a good resource as well.
Are you ready to learn how to manage your cash flow?
Find out how to use what you’ve got, leverage the relationships you have, and save money in order to learn how to manage your cash flow
Jill knows that you can do it and Megan knows how you can do it.
As a mom entrepreneur, you know how difficult it is to get your goals accomplished without the necessary cashflow. Maybe you want some extra money to work on expanding your business, but doing so would leave you strapped for cash (and your kids still need to eat!). Maybe you need a short-term loan to help when business is slow but you still need to cover payroll. Whatever your situation, Kabbage is here to help small business owners like you succeed.
What is Kabbage?
Generally, if you need to raise capital for any reason, there are a variety of options: borrowing money from family or friends, taking out a personal loan from a bank, or working with an equity partner. These options, however, can be complicated and don’t allow you the freedom or flexibility to get the amount you need when you need it. After all, that’s why you started your own company, right? To have the freedom to do things your way?
Kabbage is an automated online lending platform that connects small business owners with access to funding that is designed to help you grow your business on your terms.
How does Kabbage work?
With Kabbage’s simple loan application, small business owners can apply for free online or from the mobile app. You can be approved in minutes and qualify for an ongoing line of credit up to $250,000. Terms are 6-months or 12-months and the best part is you take the exact amount you need—no more waiting weeks for an answer or taking more than you actually need. There are no fees to apply, no obligation to take funds once approved and no holding costs. It’s simple, and Kabbage charges low fees each month you have an outstanding balance.
Review your payment schedule before taking the loan so you can make sure there are no surprises. Kabbage is well known for its transparent and easy-to-understand disclosures, so you know the total cost of capital—down to the exact pennies on the dollar. You can even pay your balance early without prepayment penalties.
See what Kabbage has to offer
Kabbage not only provides access to small business funding but also helps you grow your business with educational resources. Take advantage of free marketing tips, webinars, guides and podcasts that will help you take your business to the next level in 2019. Kabbage is a lending platform that really cares about small businesses and their success.
Beth Thompson and Lori Ronca, HomeGrown Decatur – Kabbage Testimonial - YouTube
Grow Your Business with Kabbage
Whether you need to hire new employees, keep inventory on the shelf, cover payroll, or expand to a new market, Kabbage can help.
Guest post:: Colleen Chinlund is the creator of the Lasso, a travel and storage jewelry device that helps prevent tangled chains and keeps rings and earrings safe while you’re on the go. Here, she talks about how a personal frustration led to her motivation behind creating Lasso.
We’ve all been there: You’re running late. You’re stressed out. You just need to get out the door. And then…
You reach for that perfect necklace to complete your look and it is a tangled mess. You have neither the time nor the patience to deal with detangling that chain — especially not when you’ve got an early meeting, you’ve got to get the kids to school, and you already know you’ll be stuck in traffic. Guaranteed to end in frustration — or even worse, a broken piece of jewelry — this small issue can quickly change the tone of your day.
The inspiration behind Lasso
I understand this struggle all too well. As a busy mother, wife, and professional, I know that time is precious and can’t be wasted! The concept of Lasso came to me while on my way to a much-needed vacation. I reflected on the effort it took to get packed and out the door. All I wanted was to wear my necklaces without the hassle of trying to unknot them or risk breaking them in the process. (Fun fact: Did you know that in some cases it costs more for jewelry repair than for the piece of jewelry itself?)
I knew there had to be a better way, and figured that I wasn’t the only one who experienced this problem. Wanting to help protect cherished valuables and prevent the time-wasting effort of untangling chains, I made it my mission to find a real solution to end this common frustration. And when I couldn’t find one, I started creating it myself.
I wanted the product to be small enough to travel (it fits in your purse)
but tough and environmentally-friendly (it’s made of shatterproof, BPA-free, bisphenol-free Tritan).
I knew there’d be those out there who don’t even wear necklaces all that often (it works with headphones, chargers, any cord that could get tangled, really).
I also wanted a way to store rings and earrings as well (there’s a compartment to do so).
But most of all, I wanted to help others conquer their day without worry or hassle. The potential to make a meaningful impact, however small, made it worth the challenge. I firmly believe that, though it may seem superficial, fashion invokes a feeling. When you look good you feel good. Accessorizing is not only fun but gives us the confidence we need to complete a look and let our personality shine. Plus, having a handle on your jewelry organization makes life so much easier.
Dress without stress
Lasso enables you to wear your favorite pieces of jewelry, wherever you are, without the fear of damage, loss, or tangles. Whether on display at home, in your gym bag, or on its way around the world, Lasso takes the stress out of getting dressed.
As a business owner, how many things do you do in a day? Are you a “Jill-of-all-trades?” In the latest FMC course 42, Jill talks with Daniela Bolzmann of Mindfull Goods about how to systematize your business. No longer do you have to do everything… this system will help you figure out what’s really important!
A Four-Step System
Daniela created her system when she was trying to figure out what she wanted in her life and her business. She has a background as a tech entrepreneur and now helps businesses launch products on Amazon. As mom entrepreneurs, we are often a “Jill-of-all-trades,” but you shouldn’t have to be. Create systems to learn what you should be handling and when you should be handling it.
Get Your Sticky Note (or paper and pen) Ready
Using the four steps of this system, you’ll be able to discern what tasks you do on a daily basis. From there, you’ll be able to categorize the tasks you should be doing, where you can have help, and what you really don’t need to focus on right now.
A Step-by-Step Walkthrough
Daniela takes us through a step-by-step walkthrough of how she used her system to create the launch process for her business. She found that learning how to systematize helped her to figure out what she could spend less time on. In addition, she saw that she could figure out what to offer at a basic price, and what to sell at a premium price. By systematizing, she can spend the time doing things she really loves.
Are you ready to learn how to systematize your business?
Find out how to spot the systems that you already have in place, create new ones, and make your business run more efficiently than ever before.
Jill knows that you can do it and Daniela knows how you can do it.
As a military spouse entrepreneur, you have a range of challenges you have to face every day. From moving around different parts of the globe to finding new ways to support your spouse, it’s not always easy to hold down a stable career. However, this is the perfect community for the entrepreneurial spirit to thrive and grow.
Being a military spouse entrepreneur comes with perks that are particularly useful. You can build a career that’s portable, flexible, and a positive outlet for your creativity. It’s a great way to carve out something special for yourself aside from your partner, and you can even get help from the government along the way thanks to your spouse’s network.
However, before you strike it out on your own as a business owner, you’ll want to review some of these important tips. Like starting any business, it’s not going to be easy. You’ll need to put the work in if you want to build something successful. Before you turn in your two-week notice to your day job, make sure you have what it takes to start something from the ground up.
It can be highly rewarding to grow your own business as a military spouse entrepreneur. If the entrepreneurial spirit calling you, here are three tips to help you answer it.
1. Look for Military Spouse Resources
Did you know there’s an entire network of resources intended for military spouses? The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Veterans Business Development encourages entrepreneurs within military families by providing the same training, investment opportunities, and counseling as service members and veterans. You can also look into resources through the Department of Defense’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities which includes monthly webinars about starting a business.
All of these resources are there already waiting for you to take advantage of them. You can find access to funding, investment opportunities, and counseling programs that will get your business launched and off the ground. While we all know it’s important to have your accounting in place, a military spouse entrepreneur will also need a strong safety net of resources like these national organizations above.
Yes, you need a degree of talent and passion to make it in the business world. But, you also need to take advantage of the resources available for military families. Don’t be afraid to ask about your options as a military spouse. You never know what you might find.
2. Use Your Network
Aside from military resources, you can’t do this alone. You need a strong team to turn your dream into a reality. There’s no such thing as an overnight success in the business world. These things will take time, hard work, and a lot of energy. Remind yourself that you aren’t in this alone.
If you’re stationed with your spouse, ask them for support. Even if that’s not an option, you still have a strong network. This is one of the most valuable assets of any business, and it’s built into the military lifestyle. Your personal and professional network will get you far.
Don’t be afraid to ask around to find the right connections. Talk to those in your local community. Ask your spouse who they can connect you with that has experience in your field. Look into the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veteran’s Families for networking opportunities. Most importantly, remember this isn’t a one-way street. You’ll need to both give and take if you want to go far.
3. Think Outside the Military
It’s easy to fall prey to the “military bubble,” especially if you’re living on base full-time. This is a great network and one you should use to your advantage. However, it’s not the only tool at your disposal. At the end of the day, you’re the same as any other business owner.
Time is the great equalizer. All entrepreneurs struggle to find enough time in the day to get their work done. This is only more of a challenge when we add families and military responsibilities to the mix. Look for support systems outside the military, whether it’s a women’s entrepreneurial group or a local industry event. At the end of the day, we’re all just business owners fighting for our dreams.
When in doubt, fall back on the basics of entrepreneurship:
Money – Use your resources as a military spouse to source capital for your business. Aside from this, consider crowdfunding, investing, and credit unions as a way to fund your endeavors.
Time – Make the most of the time you have by sticking to a clear schedule and conducting regular time audits. Family and responsibilities will get in the way, so make sure you find a healthy work/life balance. Know when it’s time to take a break.
Planning – You need a strong business plan to find the path to success. Work with a mentor in your field or a business counselor to create a plan that’s right for you.
Marketing and Branding – Your business won’t get far if nobody knows about it. Push beyond your military boundaries with unique marketing and branding that helps you stand out. You can work on self-branding by gifting challenge coins to your customers or by starting a new promotion online.
Goals – Finally, you need to set goals. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there. Think big, but try to be realistic. You’ll feel amazing when you accomplish something new.
Grow Your Business
Like any new skill, learning how to be an entrepreneur takes time. Don’t get down on yourself if things don’t work out perfectly right away. That just comes with the territory. Luckily, you have a lot of resources to help you along the way as a military family.
Take advantage of the tools at your disposal, but don’t let them distract you from the hard work. There’s no easy way out in the world of business, only passion and hard work. As long as you’re willing to show up every day and try your best, you’ll find success.
Guest post:: Stephanie Bates is the founder of Military Travel Mama. She is the wife of a military professional and mother to two children. Follow her blog for more about military life, military discounts, family trips, healthy eating, and parenthood.
Wanna raise capital for your biz but don’t know how? In the latest FMC course 41, Let’s Raise Some Capital, Jill talks with Sue Mulligan of Agile Advisors. Sue tells you who you gotta know to get an introduction to a VC, what you should have in your pitch deck, and what “due diligence” really means.
What do I need to raise capital?
Raising capital can be scary, but as long as you’re prepared, it doesn’t need to be. Typically, you’ll need an elevator pitch, executive summary, and your pitch deck. You also won’t get an automatic introduction to a VC, so who you know can help. This includes your lawyers, your accountants, developers (if you have an app), and important investors. Don’t forget to ask your network for connections!
If you’re a service-based organization, it is easier to bootstrap, says Mulligan. But you can raise capital, too!
What should I expect in a meeting with a VC?
Your meeting will last 30 minutes start to finish, according to Mulligan. Her advice is to not waste it by going over your pitch deck again; assume the VC has read what you’ve got to offer. This is also not the time to be shy: You can’t send a person in your place. You want to be able to evangelize your product.
Also, expect that due diligence will happen. A VC’s team will be checking your financials and projections, any key contracts you have, legal bills, and patents.
Okay. Let’s raise some capital!
If you want to get practice raising capital for your biz and get step-by-step advice for your pitch deck and more, this course can help.
Jill knows that you can do it and Sue knows how you can do it.
FMC member Suze Solari is the founder of Suze Solari Style, and author of the Stylish Upgrades series books: The T-Shirt & Jeans Handbook, The Blouse & Skirt Handbook, and the newest Curvy Girl’s Style Handbook. She is a personal style expert known for helping clients align their style with their brand and lifestyle, and shows them how to maximize their wardrobe investment by wearing the right pieces to achieve their goals. Here, she helps Founding Moms transition wardrobes from summer to fall, stress-free.
Fall is the best time to refresh your mindset and wardrobe so that you can transition wardrobes from summer to fall. With the changing weather, October is the ideal month to take inventory and give yourself the opportunity to review your personal and professional goals. Whether you know it or not, your wardrobe plays an important role.
Most of my clients start to panic about what to wear in this time of transition. Fear not! After nine years in my business helping people look and feel fabulous in their clothes, I have developed four strategies for achieving a functioning and empowering wardrobe for fall. I am excited to share these steps with Founding Moms and help you implement them in your own closet.
As this new season arrives, let’s take a look at your wardrobe and make sure that it’s ready for the cooler months ahead. To avoid overwhelm by this approach, note your habits. Like to get things done? Choose a weekend and have at it. If not, take one task and let yourself complete it slowly over one week.
Working right to left, or clockwise, sort through key areas of your closet. Identify items that do not flatter, fit or enhance your body shape. Develop an understanding of what fit and silhouette is best suited to your body shape, so you feel chic and comfortable in every garment.
One way to curate your wardrobe on a continuous basis is a method I recommend to my more-fastidious clients. At the beginning of the season, place a colored hanger on the left-hand side of each section. Anything you have worn goes to the left side of that hanger when you return it. Next season’s edit will be easier because anything to the right was never worn.
Consider the items that go unworn. Try my “two tries” rule: if you put on a garment and then immediately take it off to wear something else two or more times, let it go.
Anything more than six months old that still has price tags on it was probably a mistake. If it doesn’t excite you and/or it doesn’t work with your other pieces, assess what doesn’t work about it, and let it go.
Remove and itemize items that don’t fit, or are in need of repair or cleaning and make a staging area for action to be taken. I like to put a bin by the door: When I leave the house knowing I’m going near the consignment shop or shoe cobbler, I can grab the item and get the task completed.
Confidently keep only those versatile garments that are a true expression of yourself, that you feel good in, and that presents you in the manner and style aesthetic you wish to be perceived.
Make getting dressed every day joyful, timely, and productive by using these and tools and processes:
Space is a key component in how you plan a closet layout. If you are fortunate to have linear square footage, and deep shelving for shoes, now is the time to rotate sandals to the rear and boots to the front of your closet. Swap lightweight silky items out for woolen and furry garments.
Organize by color, then garment type: This is the best way for me to find everything. The more you can see the things you have, the more creative you can be with your ensembles.
Invest in useful and time-saving tools: a valet hook for staging outfits, jewelry racks or trays for keeping categories separated and untangled.
Build your outfits around pieces that feel core to your personal sense of style that you’ll feel good about wearing years down the road, but also mix in a few trend-forward items to keep them modern.
Beyond the key basics you should have year-round, there are certain pieces needed when transitioning into cooler temperatures. These will allow you to create a multitude of fabulous outfits. Work with what you have, and invest in these quality items on my fall wardrobe checklist.
Top 5 Essential Garments
Dark rinse, wide leg trouser jean
Fitted navy blazer
Classic trench coat
Brown leather jacket
Luxurious white or cream top
Top Five Accessories for Fall
Bold necklace, in silver or gold
Chunk heel ankle boot
Thin belt, in metallic leather
Extend summer just a little.
Yes, we want to transition wardrobes from summer to fall, but you can hold on just a bit longer. I am loath to give up my summer clothes and sandals. Living in Chicago, I want the few warm months that we have to linger and to stave off the idea of winter as long as possible. Here are two ways to extend summer a little and take these two warm-weather staples into fall by layering.
White Jeans: these can be worn well into cooler months by combining them with a long sleeve print top. Make sure white is in the pattern, and pair it with a woolen or knit vest. Add grey suede booties and accessories with these colors and tones to complete the look.
Summer dress: add a thick legging, a thin belt and wear the dress as a tunic. Top with a fuzzy cardigan or leather jacket, riding boots, and voilà – you have a “new” fall outfit!
Get the most out of your wardrobe.
Consider these additional mindful tactics to get the most out of your wardrobe.
Value your time. What is your time worth? Are you regularly staring at your closet, putting on, then taking off clothing, and hanging up the piles when you get home? Perhaps showing up to work in a bad mood, online shopping without buying anything, trying things on in dressing rooms to not buy, or to return them? How could you make more or add more value to the world if you had that time back?
Make more money. When you look like a million bucks, and then feel like it, you are more likely to raise your prices, get the promotion, land the dream job or ideal client.
Give more. Want to make more of an impact for good? Have more money to invest in your children, hobbies, travel? Save money on your own clothes every year and turn that into good. Who could you help if you saved $5K in the next 5 years?
Reflect more. Fall is the best time to decide whether your goals are still a good fit and evaluate how we are showing up in the world. Using the changing seasons as a physical reminder of growth allows us to go with the rhythm of our bodies and nature.
If you would like more useful style tips and resources, sign up for Suze’s monthly newsletter, and receive a free digital copy of her first book!
Wanna get going with your video marketing but don’t know how? Are you feeling like maybe you missed your chance? In the latest FMC course 40, How to Make Video Magic, Jill talks with Rachael Kay Albers, host of Awkward Marketing and the founder and creative director of RKA Ink. They walk you through how to jumpstart your video marketing to get your biz noticed.
Why should you do video marketing?
So many people often think it’s too late to start making videos, but it’s really not! The best thing to do is just to start, no matter how awkward it might feel. Rachael advises creating public accountability: tell others you’re going to start doing a Facebook Live, for example, and stick to it.
You can do video marketing!
The good news is that people are interacting with video more than ever before. Being visible allows people to know, like, and trust you and your brand. And no, you don’t need fancy equipment. Start where you are with what you have on hand and get comfortable with the tools in front of you.
What would you say?
There are various topics you can cover in a video, and you can make it short and sweet. You don’t have to agonize over it like a blog post. Address the questions you get asked most frequently, take viewers on a behind-the-scenes tour, or – if you can tie in a current or topical event to your business – address it.
Ok. I’m ready to learn how to make video magic.
Getting in front of the camera and marketing your biz can be scary and challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Practice makes perfect!
Jill knows that you can do it and Rachael knows how you can do it.
Be honest: Do you feel guilty as a working mama? In the latest FMC course 39, How to Quit Feeling the Guilt, Jill talks about the guilt working moms have as they raise their kiddos. She wants to know if moms ever ask their kids how they feel about a mom who has a small business. So, she went straight to the experts and asked her own children: Miss Roses and Miss Sunshine.
Who’s Got Guilt?
As working moms, we know there can be allllll sorts of guilt – from your kids, from your partner, even family members who just don’t get it. But do you ever ask your kids how they feel about what you do? Do you involve them in the workday?
Interviews with Miss Roses and Miss Sunshine
Jill asks her girls what she does. They understand that she’s the founder of The Founding Moms, and that she helps other moms who have businesses. They understand that sometimes their mom needs to work, even though it takes attention away from them. And they like being kept in the loop because otherwise, they wouldn’t understand the importance of what Jill does. Plus, they like helping out!
What’s your inner fear telling you?
So many moms are faced with guilt while they’re building their businesses. They worry that they’re damaging their children, that they’ll learn bad habits, that they feel lonely or ignored. But it’s important to remember that if you involve them in what’s going on, you can all get on the same page, you can get their feedback, and it can be fun and relaxing! No guilt needed!
Ok. I want to learn how to quit feeling the guilt.
Stop feeling guilty. Ask your children how they feel and get them involved in your workday.
Jill knows that you can do it and her discussion with her daughters can show you how you can do it.
Local business owners want to get more customers from the Internet. In a world where everyone’s an expert, however, they are left wondering who to trust, what to do, and how to do it… often spending years of effort and gobs of money for little-to-no return on investment.
That’s why Netblaze software is designed to be like a virtual Chief Marketing Officer for your company, allowing you to control your Internet marketing from one place. It helps you show up in more local search results and get more business online with almost no learning curve. Now you have the time and ability to get the results you’ve always wanted.
Talent Agency Lands On Page One In Less Than A Week
Debby Kotzen, owner of the NV Talent Agency in Chicago, wanted to get more business from the Internet but was lost when it came to how to market her company online. “Being a small-business owner, I have been able to manage all aspects of keeping my company viable. The one area lacking has always been its presence on the web,” she said.
Then Debby heard about Netblaze from a friend. She had her tech person implement one of the suggestions from Netblaze and within seven days her website was on page one for her main keyword phrase: Chicago talent agency. That keyword is searched 2,400 times per month, giving her company the opportunity to capture some of that business, and it cost almost no time, money, or effort to make it happen.
“Netblaze is helping me add, fix and correct everything that I was doing wrong while I was busy doing everything else. The Netblaze team is fantastic with communication, creativity and speed, helping me understand the ins and outs of social marketing. With Netblaze, everything is all there – I don’t have to go to ten different sites to obtain all of the info. The site makes it possible to find out what’s missing and what we need to do and then see ways to do them within Netblaze, which is perfect for a busy person like me.”
Private Caterer Gets Contacted By The Food Network
A private caterer in Chicago spent years trying to get results online but said, “It’s not my skill set and we are not going to pay an agency or a publicist. I know something’s not right but I don’t know how to get what I want. We are not getting enough engagement, web hits, or growth.” And that’s when she signed up for Netblaze.
Right away, Netblaze revealed a one star Google review she didn’t know about. She got the negative review removed and said, “Now I know how to handle fake reviews and the immediate effect was more and more people are calling.”
Within three weeks of starting with Netblaze, her website was found by a local business owner who reached out to strike a deal where their companies could regularly cross-promote each other. And a casting agency for the Food Network contacted her about helping with a tv show.
She said, “No one has ever just found our website and this guy literally searched and found us. This is the first time we’ve been found online. Netblaze has increased our website’s profile and generated some business already. We are getting a lot of visitors for a boutique brand that isn’t spending money on advertising. I wish I had met Netblaze ten years ago! It has rejuvenated my passions and has brought me up to speed since selling my first brand. I was in a rut and it came at the right time.”
A One Stop Shop For Local Small Businesses
Just type your details into Netblaze and it will create a plan to get you more business online. It watches over your entire web presence, detects any issues you’re having, and displays content on how to fix those issues fast. You can do these tasks yourself or send them to someone else. It’s never been easier to put yourself on the map, appear in more local search results, and get more customers walking through your door.
Why keep wasting time, effort, and money on marketing that doesn’t work? Netblaze delivers many of the benefits of hiring an agency at a tiny fraction of the cost. It puts you in control, giving you virtually everything you need to stay connected to your customers, get found by new ones, and increase your revenue.
The Only Online Marketing Software Made For Local Business Owners
Steve Clayton, Netblaze’s founder and CEO, said, “Netblaze empowers local business owners to grow their business without having to become an expert digital marketer or to pay high fees. Netblaze is creating an easier way for local business owners to get the word out about their brand and get more customers from the Internet.” If you have built a good brand and reputation offline, let Netblaze make you just as great online.
Founding Moms can find out more about Netblaze—its features, its power, its ability to get you into local search results and grow your business—and get a special offer by heading over here.