Monday, March 30, 2009

Introducing a New Mamapreneur

This Monday's mamapreneur is fabulous Denise Erickson, owner of Sweet Bitty Bows, the cutest custom-made bows and clips for little girls you will ever come across. Denise hand makes the bows and runs her business while also raising three adorable kiddos under the age of 10. Our hats off to Sweet Bitty Bows and to Monday's Mamapreneur, Denise!

Check out her bows at or on Etsy at and help support fellow mamapreneurs. Congratulations, Denise!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Not Now, Mom, I'm Working...

My son Ethan has learned an interesting trick from me when trying to get out of something he doesn't want to do. Rather than explain it, I'll give you a real life example from yesterday.

Me: Ethan, it's time to pick up your toys.
Ethan: Mom, I can't right now. I'm working. (With hand palm- out, as in "Don't bother me.")
Me: Working? On what?
Ethan: My compooter.

Hrrrmpphh. Why could the kid not learn work ethic? LOL

Monday, March 23, 2009


As momtrepreneurs, it's a tough balance between kids and your business, but women are doing it, and doing it extremely well, every day. Today I'd like to introduce the first of hopefully many guest columnist mamapreneurs -- otherwise known as ONE HOT MAMA.

Today's HOT MAMA is Jennica Maxfield. Jennica is a mom of 4 and the owner of Peekaboo Kids Gear (, a unique kids consignment shop. She also maintains a blog at called I Want to be a Work at Home Mom!!

If you like her below post, head on over to and follow her or let's support other mamapreneurs and purchase her gear. -Laurie ______________________________________________________________
Do you ever wonder what kind of legacy you are leaving your children? What they are learning from you every day and the impressions you will leave on them that will last for the rest of their lives? Does it freak you out as much as it does me?? As overwhelming as that can be, I believe it is good for us to be frighteningly aware of the task ahead of us.
I was thinking about this the other day as I came home from working at my (temporary) day job and then picked up where I left off with my business (my real passion). I kind of speculate sometimes about what my kids see as they are watching me work 12-16 hour days every day. A workaholic? Maybe.But maybe not.
When I’m putting in the amount of time that I am to create the business of my dreams I occasionally sit back and ask myself ‘Why?’…and you know what the answer is? For them. I want my kids to see that ANYTHING is possible. I want to show them that regardless of circumstance, age, class, skin color, gender or anything else that might present as an obstacle in their lifetime, they have within them the ability to be a force in this world.I also want to demonstrate to them that the sole purpose of our lives is not to make as much money as we can and acquire a gazillion possessions. This life is about people. Relationships. Connecting.
And while it honestly doesn’t matter to me whether my kids become business owners or doctors or missionaries (though all those are noble!), it matters that they learn to follow their passions and know that they can make a difference in the lives of people around them with those passions.So I’m here to tell you today that yes, it is worth it. It’s worth all the hard work and time and effort you are putting into ‘It’. And BRAVO for pursuing your dreams and being an example of courage and determination to your precious kidlets!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

You Know You Need to Vacuum when...

I just asked my son to stop laying on our dog as if she's a pillow and instead lay next to her on the rug and he told me, " I can't -- the floor's too dirty." Ahem.

He then went on to point out, " See, cracker, cracker, (Imagine his pudgy finger pointing to minuscule crumbs on the rug.) It's too yucky to sleep."
When I stopped laughing, I did have to admit that a week without a nanny, handling kids on my own and trying to work full days, had indeed done a number on the cleanliness of our house. But come on, Kid. We're not living in a shanty here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Little Clarity

Lately hubs and I have been feeling, well, blah. Our 120 lb dog Bogey has been diagnosed with canine lymphoma and doesn't have much longer to go, I've had to lay employees off due to the current market and our kids have been down with colds for much of the past 4 months. And let's not even get into the current economic crisis. But today I've decided if you can't change your situation, you can change your perspective.

So, drumroll please, here are some of the beautiful things about my life right now:

1) My son picking daffodils just for me and saying they make me a "beautiful princess" (What can I say, the kid's a charmer.)

2) My daughter's eyes lighting up when I enter a room.

3) Hubs and I sharing inside jokes that grow stronger with each year we're married.

4) Bogey, our dog, still kicking and stealing food off of our counters like she was a puppy again.

5) A trip to San Diego with Leggo Land and Sea World in our future.

6) Hot coffee on a rainy morning.

7) Wonderful family and friends who know where we've been, where we are and where we yearn to be.

8) My kids dancing like crazy around the living room as we listen to yet another round of "Choo Choo Soul."

9) Secure jobs that enable us to live comfortably.

10) Perspective to see that while everything has been woefully hard the last few months, a better time is coming.

And that, my friends, is what I'm going to focus on today... and feel blessed for all we have.

Monday, March 16, 2009

SCORE a Mentor

Ok, so you've got your forms filled out and domain URL assigned. YAY!! Now it's time to get someone who knows what the heck they're doing to help you through the hard stuff. And I have GREAT news for you - there is such a source and it is absolutely, positively free.

SCORE stands for Service Corps of Retired Executives and provides expertise from seasoned professionals to young business owners. Their website allows you to find an expert in your state. Wondering how to start payroll services? They'll know. Hiring your first employee? They can help.

Check them out - believe me, you'll thank me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Business Forms to File

So here's the boring part about being an entrepreneur, all of the paperwork. I swear I thought I would drown in paperwork when I started. And just wait until you hire employees - pure torture. But for the sake of brevity, today I'll discuss the paperwork you need to become a company (as a sole proprietor).

Basically there are two main forms you need:
1) Business license (often with city, state and county)
2) Registered business name

And we'll add in:
3) Domain name for your website.

Don't panic! These forms are very easy to fill out and obtain. As you research the forms, you'll see lots of references to an EIN (or employee Id number) you don't have to have this if you are a sole prop. You can use your SSN instead. If you don't feel like using your SSN, you can apply and receive an EIN as a sole proprietor. It's up to you. has a terrific link to each state's online directory for both determining how and where to get your states business license forms:

And obtaining a registered business name form:

In addition, visit to see if your domain name ( or website URL for your business) has already been taken. If not, you can buy it on the GoDaddy site. is going to become your new homepage, ladies. Truly. It's a great site for the new business owner.

If you are going to form an LLC, corporation or any other entity beyond a sole prop., you will need a whole host of additional forms. Which you can easily find on

Boring? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely. Fill out your forms today so we can go on to more interesting stuff in the posts ahead.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sole Prop, S Corp - Is this Greek or What?

Today I want to begin delving into some of the questions a lot of mamapreneurs have when beginning their own business. The one I get most often is : How do I get started?

When I started Charisma Communications I had no idea what I was doing. I just began going to networking groups, created business cards on the Office Max business perforated cards ( I know, I know... you should be wincing over this) and threw up a website. If I had it all to do over again knowing then what I know now, my first step would have been this:

1) Determine your business entity.

Depending on the needs of your company, you can be a sole proprietor, S Corp, LLC etc. This post will focus on Sole Proprietor and what that means.

The good news is, it's simplest for those of you who will be working on your own and not hiring anyone right out of the gate. That puts you in the Sole Proprietor category.

A sole proprietor, in a nut shell, means you don't have to create any paperwork on the legal side for your business entity. Any and all money you make is considered your own personal money and can go into your own checking account, if you want. You are required to pay self-employment taxes, but because the money you make is based on you as an individual, you add all of the revenue you made for the year on your personal tax return. It is, by far, the easiest form of company to start and maintain.

But here's the catch, if you plan on having any employees or shareholders, you have to go on to either an LLC, S Corp or other type of corporation. While I am in no way, shape or form anywhere near an accountant - I can send you to a great article to get you started:

Once you've figured out your entity, it's time to get legal. My next post will discuss some of the different forms etc needed to get started, with tips on where and how to find them. Stay tuned...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Get More Traffic for Promoting Your Blog

I just read a terrific post about getting more traffic to your blog using a giveaway, written by mom Betty at the blog: ItsMeBetty. Check it out...

Great info, Betty! Thanks! In the next few posts I'll be sharing ways moms who are looking to begin a business from home can get started. A very good friend of mine is beginning a marketing consulting firm and has asked me some of the very questions I asked others when I was getting started in 2003. I thought if we both have the same questions, some of you out there would have them too. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Bad Cliche?

On my way back from dropping my son off to pre-school today (and arguing in the car over whether he could take the guinea pig home) I stopped off at Starbucks to get a coffee. As I headed out with my daughter on hip and Grande in hand, seating her into my CR-V, I caught a glimpse of myself in the coffee shop window. Oh..My...God, I've become my worst nightmare. There I stood, Starbucks in hand, Uggs on feet, child in arms, SUV in parking spot.

On my best days I feel like a young(ish) creative, tapping away on my laptop in coffee shops, having it all - the wonderful hubs, the beautiful kids, the successful business. But on my worst days... just another work from home mom with too many Uggs and not enough time.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Guilt-Stricken Mom...

People always tell me how lucky I am to balance working from home with raising my kids. It's true -- I am. But those same people would be shocked to learn there are days I can't wait until those same precocious youngsters go to school. Truly and honestly, I find myself thinking, "Thank God, only two more years... "

I've always felt guilty about it. I mean, this is but a very small amount of time in their lives and I want to enjoy every moment. But here's the thing, the word "enjoy" doesn't exactly equate to what I'm feeling as my daughter screams at me across the room because "doggy" fell or my son indignantly informs me he doesn't want to (insert any word of your choosing here, because these days, he doesn't want to do anything.) I often feel perhaps if I could be one or the other - a stay at home mom or a working mom, perhaps I wouldn't feel the way I do.

So imagine my surprise, shock, utter relief to find out that a good SAHM friend of mine feels the SAME WAY and on a daily basis!! She shared with me recently she's counting the days until her young ones can be carted off in that lovely yellow bus. I felt like weeping.

My gift to you today is this -- moms, let's admit there are days we absolutely love being with our kids and other days... not so much. There are times when they light up our world and others when they throw us into such depths of exhaustion we can't see the light. Days when we want to freeze a point in time and hold it always... and then days when we count...and count.. and count the days until we can meet the school bus and the kids become someone else's world for a few hours.