September 29th, 2009

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  • BusinessWeek – Startup Jump Starters
  • Entrepreneur – Mompreneur defined
  • StartUpNation – The 8 Things You Need to Make a Home-Based Business Work!
  • Wall Street Journal – Freedom, Not Money, Drives Start Ups
  • Entrepreneur – Top Resources for Mompreneurs
  • Entrepreneur – It’s a Mom’s World
  • – Becoming a Mompreneur
  • Central Valley Business Times – Working mothers have it all
  • Parents – Home Office Essentials
  • – So You Want to Work from Home?
  • iVillage Live TV Show
  • Entrepreneur – The New June Cleavers
  • Nashville Parent – Shhh Mom’s Got to Work
  • Working Mother – Working Mother Group Directory
  • OC Metro – Home-Based Business Scams
  • Entrepreneur – Wanna Be a Mompreneur?
  • CBS News
  • – Working at Home: Tips for Success
  • CSM - Mom’s New Ballgame: Career at Home
  • Also featured in Forbes, USA Today, Home Office Computing, Parenting, Business Start-Ups, Baby Magazine, Family PC, Mothering, American Baby and many others!

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March 13th, 2018

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Have an amazing idea for a new business? Think you can pull it off and be successful from home? Perfect — you’re one step closer to making your dream become a reality.

Indeed, running a business from the comfort of home is a dream for many, especially steadfast parents who want to make an extra buck, but want or need to be home to care for their children.


Of course, like anything in life, the success of your business will depend on your ability to take your novel and fabulous idea and translate it into a true business model. With that in mind, here are four tips to help set up your home-based business.

1. Start with a Plan

If you haven’t already, start by creating a business plan, which will serve as the roadmap for your business and help garner you any necessary start-up money. Not sure how to go about it? Search online for free tutorials and/or how to create a templated business plan that will walk you through all the steps to create something solid.

In creating your business plan, you will hammer out a lot of the details about your new business, including its structure and how it will operate, the exact service or product you will offer, your marketing and sales plan and some concrete financial projections.

Ultimately, the point is to create something you can refer to again and again for guidance. Plus, this living, breathing document is what you will present to lenders and investors to take out a loan.

2. Find a Dedicated Space

Although one of the benefits of running your business from home is having all the comforts of home nearby, distractions big and small alike can easily take you away from the task at hand and serve as one of the biggest pitfalls in any failures or misfortunes.

With that in mind, treat your business like a business and carve out a dedicated space to do your work effectively. For many parents, this will mean working in a room where you can shut the door. Additionally, invest in the supplies you’ll need for your to run smoothly, including a laptop or desktop computer, business software, printer, landline and P.O. box.

3. Understand Your Business Obligations

The legal aspects of starting a business can be intimidating, especially if it’s not your area of expertise. However, having a good legal foundation can help you avoid costly and time-consuming pitfalls in the future. Now, the specifics will depend on your location and the type of business you plan to start.

But a few areas to think about include deciding on the type of business you plan to create (sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, LLC), obtaining a business and/or occupation license, understanding your financial obligations, protecting your business name and looking into any zoning restrictions. As with all legal matters, it’s never a bad idea to consult a lawyer who specializes in home-based business matters.

4. Prioritize Customer Service

Performing top-notch customer service can make a huge difference in the success of a small business. According to an American Express survey, 70 percent of Americans say they would spend more money with a company if they were guaranteed to receive superior customer service. Meantime, 78 percent said they would not go through with a transaction if they experienced poor customer service.

Before making your first sale, develop a customer service strategy to address questions, issues and complaints. If your business is large enough, consider implementing a cloud contact center with full omnichannel capabilities. Ultimately, this will allow your customers to contact you in a variety of convenient ways, including voice, texting, email, social media and more, through one centralized system.

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March 2nd, 2018

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In this age of the world wide web and fast-paced technological development, having a killer website is the first and most important step of many marketing initiatives. But with every new and existing brand fighting for consumers’ attention, how do you make your site stand out? Research conducted by the Nielsen Normal Group concluded that to gain several minutes of a users’ attention, it’s imperative to capture their attention within the first 10 seconds of them landing on your page. While you may have interesting content and clear value proposition for your business, it’s the extra touches on your website that can keep visitors engaged. Let’s take a look at a few examples of features you can include in your next website revamp.


1. Visual Aesthetics

It may seem simple, but if you only have a few seconds to capture a visitor’s attention then you better make sure your website looks cool. There’s nothing worse than a website filled with lots of words, structured in a boring layout without any visual aesthetics. Instead, employ cool and engaging features like fonts, formatting styles, colors, diagrams, memes, photos and infographics that make it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for and use the website accordingly. Once you have this all down-pat, format the content in a visual hierarchy so it’s easier for your customers to remain engaged with information and absorb it at a faster speed simply through visuals.

2. Interactive Features

What’s one of the best ways to keep a user engaged? Keep them moving and active on your site. Including interactive features that demand users to keep clicking and engaging in some form of call to action ensure they won’t get bored. This also gives you more time to provide them with as much information as possible to get them hooked on your products and services. For example, Apple Rubber uses interactive features like moving parts on the screen, hyperlinks that lead to different landing pages on their site, live customer service chat boxes and easily accessible customer surveys. These ideas are a great way of capturing attention and setting yourself apart from your competitors.

3. Video Integration

While written content is always necessary on any website, it’s important to offer other unique ways to convey information to your customers. Due to their visual and vocal capabilities, videos have a unique and efficient way of getting a user’s attention fast and keep them engaged for longer. You could not only use videos as an auto-play pop-up upon entry to the site, but you could also keep users engaged for longer periods by utilizing videos to display product or service features more efficiently and effectively. Keep in mind that when you do include video content, it’s vital that the quality is high — use professional equipment and plan strategic concepts for each video so that it has a clear purpose in engaging your audience.

For any brand or initiative, having a high-quality website is vital to long-term success. While a lot of time and effort goes into the some essentials needed in a website, consider the extra features you will include to get your audiences engaged quicker and for longer.

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March 1st, 2018

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by Stewart Dunlop

It may seem difficult to believe, but the human microbiome is an intelligent ecosystem that controls many processes in the body (and not just digestion and weight loss). In our opinion, even specialists think far too little about the gut when they discuss health and wellness.

As a result, the health state of our society as a whole is not as high as it could be. To shine a bit of light on the gut and its importance in our internal system, we decided to highlight the top five illnesses that may be the by-product of poor gut health.


#1: Weak Immune System

Hippocrates once said “All disease begins in the gut.” As you can see, the connection between gut health and a powerful immune system has been known since ancient times. While you may have got the cold from your coworker, the reason you have a runny nose, sore chest or a cough may lie in your gut.
If you tend to get more infections than usual, or you get colds more often, all these are symptoms of a depressed immune system. But a poor immune system is tightly connected to gut microbiome health, which when low, can signal some of the following:

  • Overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria, fungus, or yeast
  • A parasite
  • Poor microbiome health

In conclusion, the solution to better health may not be in medication, but in probiotics, which are responsible for maintaining a healthy gut.

#2: Heart Disease

A recent study discovered that there may be a strong connection between the gut microbiome and the risk of stroke or heart attack. According to the research, some gut bacteria produces higher levels of a compound that enhances clotting.
It is not yet sure which of the microorganisms in our gut is responsible, but the connection is very clear. The medical world has high hopes for the prevention and treatment of heart diseases once the researchers understand this process. However, until then, it’s best to keep a healthy gut!

#3: Obesity and Weight Gain

Obesity was officially recognized as being a disease and the gut has a lot to say on the matter. It was proven that an imbalance in gut bacteria can lead to obesity and weight loss resistance, so if you feel you can’t shed any weight, even though you’ve been trying different methods, the problem may be in the gut.
Ask your doctor for a gut health analysis and look for ways to help your human microbiome regain its healthy state (such as consuming probiotics).

#4: Mental Health Disorders

It may seem like a long way from the brain to the gut, but there is actually a gut-brain axis that connects the two in a direct manner. Even more, modern medicine considers the gut as the “second brain”, so when people tell you “do what your gut is telling you to do” it may not be just a figure of speech.
It looks like there is a strong connection between depression, anxiety and the microbiome.

#5: Skin Problems

The phrase “You are what you eat” may have never been as literal as when you consider the connection between the gut and our skin. The only way to have beautiful, healthy skin is to be healthy on the inside – this of course, goes really deep inside, in your gut.
Studies found a deep connection between the microbiome and the following skin conditions:

  • Acne
  • Psoriasis
  • Dermatitis
  • Eczema

In many cases, the problem is quite visible because these are conditions that attack parts of the skin which are usually exposed, like the face and hands. So, if you are suffering from chronic acne and nothing seems to work, take a look inside and check your gut health.

In Conclusion
Our body is an incredibly intelligent machine and we’ve only scratched the surface of what it can do. Still, we know for sure that we should listen to our gut, and work on maintaining a healthy microbiome. Let’s not ignore it!



Stewart is the content and marketing manager at - a new project devoted to maintaining gut health. Being a passionate writer, he aims to raise the awareness of the importance of gut health to the overall well-being of any individual.

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February 7th, 2018

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As someone with an entrepreneurial mind, you’ve dreamed of one day opening your own business. But beyond becoming your own boss and potentially making bookoo bucks in the process, you know it takes more than opening a storefront and selling your wears to experience success.


The secret formula is different for every new and longtime business owner. But those who want to experience success in the short and long term know one thing: You need to sell a product or service that solves a problem or fills a hole in the market — and that can exist and compete with other like-minded businesses. Here are several ways to get started.

Find a Hole in the Market

Have you ever stopped to think how in the world entrepreneurs decided to go against the grain and start companies like Netflix and Uber? While video rental and taxi services had been around for quite some time, the innovators behind Netflix and Uber knew they can fill a void in the market by providing more efficient solutions.

In that same vein, ask yourself if there’s a product, tool or service you can create or fine-tune to make consumers’ lives easier and/or more enjoyable. Hootsuite is a great example of this type of product. As social media has become more and more essential for businesses to reach their target audiences, marketing teams no doubt have spent countless hours posting original content to their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages in a separate yet meaningful way.

But Hootsuite works to make this process more efficient. In particular, social media teams can quickly access the feeds of each platform they use, as well as schedule posts at specific times of the day from one user interface. They even can see analytics from each of their social media platforms directly in Hootsuite instead of sifting through each one separately, saving them untold time and effort. Indeed, Hootsuite has helped create greater efficiencies for many organizations worldwide.

Develop a Better Solution

If you’re encountering more than a minor problem or frustration in your industry, then it’s time to develop a better solution. That’s the approach tire manufacturers took when they created what we now call flotation tires. In the farming and agricultural industries, traditional tires on tractors and other equipment would sink into loose sediment and lose traction in the field.

In comparison, flotation tires are designed to float over sand, dirt or loose sediment in order to minimize soil disturbance in agricultural environments, as compared to other types of tires that dig in and damage the soil. But that’s not all. Flotation tires are also a crucial component for off-roading vehicles, as their traction prevents drivers from getting stuck in any dirt or mud.

Indeed, these tires illustrate you don’t have to stick with the status quo, but rather can develop a better solution.

Solve a Personal Issue

Some entrepreneurs never intended to start a business, but they quickly got to work after experiencing issues firsthand that needed to be resolved. Essentially, this is how Brett Heising’s company got off the ground. In particular, Heising was tired of calling hotels, restaurants, theatres and more to ensure they were handicapped-friendly — only to find out they weren’t upon arrival. Talk about leaving someone with limited options in a lurch.

Today, Heising’s website helps people with disabilities and mobility challenges travel with confidence by finding businesses and destinations throughout the U.S. that cater to those in need of greater accessibility. Think of as something like Yelp, as visitors to the site use a similar rating system to appraise specific businesses from the standpoint of accessibility.

In the end, if you have a personal issue that no one wants to address, take it upon yourself to create a product or service that finds a solution.

Ultimately, Look for Ways to Stand Out

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in business for decades or are just starting out. If your products or services don’t solve a problem that consumers routinely experience, then you’ll have a hard time competing against other companies with more resources. Ultimately, to ensure your business experiences success, look for ways to stand out, listen to your target audience, and develop a great product or service that makes their lives easier; after all, that’s what entrepreneurship is all about.

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January 5th, 2018

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When it comes to technology, small businesses often lag behind the curve. Forty-five percent of small businesses didn’t have a website in 2017, a CNBC survey says. Only 36 percent use a website to communicate news to prospects and customers. Nearly one out of five businesses are still doing their bookkeeping manually, according to Viewpost research. Half of business owners say their top tech challenge is staying ahead of technology trends, a Microsoft study reveals.

But even if your company isn’t keeping up with technology, your competitors are, which puts you at a disadvantage. It’s in your best interest to keep up with technology trends that can help you gain a competitive advantage. Here are three top technology trends that can empower your business you should consider embracing.

work at home

Business Intelligence Analytics

Business intelligence (BI) analytics is a key technology for competing in today’s market. BI analytics tools allow you to make data-based, objective decisions instead of relying on intuition and guesswork. You can use BI analytics to gather vital information about marketing and sales trends, identifying what products and services your customers prefer, who your hottest customers are, and what their buying habits are. You can also use BI to study your internal business operations so you can improve your efficiency. If you have a physical location, you can use analytics to study data collected from security cameras in your store so you can see which aisles get the most foot traffic, which products are most popular and where you should place items to get more attention.

Strategic deployment of business intelligence tools can yield a return on investment as high as 1,300 percent, a Nucleus Research study says.

Cloud-Based Accounting Apps

Cloud-based accounting software is another important technology tool that can give your company a competitive edge. Using a cloud-based accounting app enables you to reduce your bookkeeping load by automating the flow of data between your sales transactions, invoicing, expense reporting, payroll, inventory, accounting books, and tax forms. Cloud-based accounting tools also enable you to reduce the amount you spend on bookkeeping services. They can further provide you with real-time business intelligence insights into your financial data. For instance, if your revenue projections are falling short this month or your expenses are running ahead of your estimates, you’ll know sooner so you don’t run into a surprise cash-flow problem suddenly at the end of the month.

Cloud-based accounting apps deliver over twice the ROI of their on-premise counterparts, Nucleus Research shows.

CRM Apps

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is another technology tool you should have in your arsenal. CRM apps make it easy for you to digitally store information about your prospects and customers. They also enable you to analyze your customer data so that you can identify which prospects are most ready to buy, analyze individual buying habits, and determine which products and services will most appeal to individual customers. If you have a sales force, CRM apps also help you deploy your force more efficiently, identifying your best sales reps and helping you pair up your available reps with your hottest prospects.

Strategically implementing CRM can boost your revenue by an average of 37 percent, according to leading CRM provider Salesforce.

Business intelligence analytics, cloud-based accounting solutions and CRM apps are three technology tools that can increase the efficiency of your operations and boost your profit margins. Deploying these tools can help you gain an edge on your competition, cut your costs, increase your revenue, and grow your business.

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December 3rd, 2017

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Decorating a kid’s room can be a fun endeavor for you and your child, but it’s a task that presents a unique set of challenges. While kids’ bedrooms allow for a creative and daring design, they also have more functional requirements than other rooms in the home. You want the room to be a place to play, hangout and learn, but also a peaceful and relaxing oasis when it’s time to sleep. And of course, all your kid wants is for the room to be cool. Having a junior co-designer will give the whole project tons of more laughs (and possibly some tears), and allowing your child to have real input along the way will guarantee a space you will both love. Here are five steps to decorating a cool kid’s room that is fun, functional, and on trend.

Kid room designs

Choose a theme

The possibilities for kids’ rooms are endless. Both you and your child will probably have lots of ideas (read: too many ideas) about the overall design. Focus those thoughts by choosing a theme. Take inspiration from your child’s interests, keeping in mind that the theme is just a starting point and the end result doesn’t have to be a literal representation of that theme. Also remember that kids’ likes/dislikes can change fairly quickly and you want the room to be something that will grow with them.

Avoid choosing a television show or character theme — your three-year-old may love “Paw Patrol” now, but in a year will be on to something new. Instead, think about the theme more broadly; instead of “Paw Patrol,” take your inspiration from dogs and cats. For little kids, adventure themes are the current trend, from outer space to the jungle to ocean exploration. For older kids, the theme could be less particular interests and more design style — Scandinavian design, with clean lines and whimsical patterns, and geometric flair, a throw-back to the 80s, are both on trend this year.

Choose a color scheme

Choosing a theme should naturally lead to picking a color palette, which will help guide your subsequent design decisions. If you’re having trouble choosing colors, soft neutrals, particularly gray tones, are popping up as a base color in more and more children’s rooms. Grays are soothing and soft, and can be paired with bursts of brighter colors or metallic.

Pick out furniture

Furniture is the foundation that you’ll build the room around. These pieces will probably last through several décor changes, so you’ll want to spend time thinking about what you’ll need (a bed, clothing storage, seating, toy storage, writing desk, vanity, etc.) and what is right for the room size. The most important piece in the bedroom is obviously the bed. Start with a good quality mattress. Sleep is so important for kids of all ages, and this is one thing you want to get right. Next, choose furniture that coordinates with your theme. Current trends in furniture include beds with built-in storage and lofted spaces. You want larger pieces that are fairly neutral, making a statement with something smaller, like a retro egg chair, pouf or hammock, says Modernize.


Pick layers like window treatments, bed linens, wall hangings, throw pillows and rugs. As long as you stay within your color scheme, you can layer as many different patterns and textures as you wish. Your theme and color scheme should guide these choices. Decided on a camping motif? Choose a cozy white faux bearskin rug, mountain throw pillows, prints of national parks and linens with a subtle evergreen pattern.

Finish With flair

Finish the room by picking one feature that will make the room truly unique and fun for your child. Bold trends include wallpaper in a busy pattern on one wall, stripes on the walls or ceiling, chandeliers and personalized neon signs, Elle Decor says.

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November 30th, 2017

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As a work-at-home mom, you likely spend your days juggling numerous work and family responsibilities. From finishing a phone interview with a client before your kids wake up for school to burning the midnight oil to tackle a huge project, you are literally busy from morning until night.


That’s simply the life you lead as a WAHM mom. Still, in order to stay on tops of things and be as efficient as possible, it’s important to utilize a number of business tools when working from the comfort of home. Here are four useful business tools that are essential for your at-home business to succeed and thrive:

1. Protection From Ransomware

Your computer — and everything work-related that’s stored inside — is likely your most invaluable investment and everyday useful tool. As such, the last thing you need to deal with is a ransomware attack, which targets vulnerable systems in order to gain access to important documents and files often through email or a social networking site.

To protect your computer or smart device from this sort of malicious attack, consider investing in a ransomware protection plan from a reputable company like Mozy. By keeping up to a year’s worth of previous versions of files, Mozy allows you to restore your files from any point in time prior to an attack.

2. Tools to Manage Your To-Do List

Whether you just landed your first freelance writing client or have been a WAHM for some time running a successful Etsy business, it is important to adopt and maintain a task management system that keeps track of your projects and invoices.

As Twins Mommy notes, Google Drive can be a lifesaver for a busy WAHM. In fact, the user-friendly project management system gives you a clear picture of your day-to-day tasks and what you need to accomplish. Use Google Drive to maintain a record of your clients, a list of projects and due dates, payment information and more.

3. A Calendar or Planner

You may pride yourself on your amazing memory. But if you don’t use any sort of calendar or planner to better organize your home-based business and family life, eventually something is bound to fall through the cracks. Of course. you definitely don’t want to miss an important deadline because it fell off your radar.

As The Ecommerce Mom notes, the best calendar or reminder system is the one you actually plan to use. Some WAHMs love a paper calendar or huge whiteboard in their home office, where they can jot down any looming work deadlines as well as family-related appointment reminders or planned vacations.

If you prefer a digital calendar you can access from your smartphone. The free and handy app, a three-time Mom’s Choice Award Winner, allows you to keep everyone’s appointments and activities in one place, create and share lists, note deadlines and more.

4. Email Marketing Tools

When you first launch your business, emailing a small group of customers may not feel like a big deal or cumbersome process. But as your email list grows to 100 or more people, it can quickly become overwhelming. Subscribing to an email marketing tool like Constant Contact will help you to better manage your list of contacts. In fact, this popular customer relationship management tool can be set up to automatically:

  • Add new prospects who visit your website and fill out a form
  • Send newsletters to clients on certain days
  • Manage your profit and loss statements

Your Time is Valuable, and These Tools Can Help.

By utilizing these four business tools, you’ll likely feel more comfortable and organized as a WAHM. And by staying on top of your many duties, you may be able to take on more clients and projects and help your at-home business to be even more successful.

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November 8th, 2017

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Juggling the responsibilities of career and family life can feel like working two full-time jobs at once. For moms who work at home, the lines between home and the office can disappear completely, making it hard to escape work mode. Is there a woman in your life who deserves a reward for all the hard work she does? Instead of buying her new clothes or a book she doesn’t have time to read, consider treating her to an experience and some time away from the daily grind.

Whether it’s a night of stand-up comedy, great seats to see her favorite team play or tickets to a big show, give the lady in your life a break from her routine, and a reminder that you appreciate her every single day. Consult our roadmap below to gift the work-at-home mom in your life with a little time to relax and have fun.

1)    Pick your location: Destination or nearby? Depending on your budget and schedule, you may want to whisk her away for a weekend in the big city. If you’re going all out, it doesn’t get any better than dinner followed by a Broadway show and a stay in a downtown hotel. And if the babysitter can’t cover a quick night to NYC to see an acclaimed musical, there are Broadway productions all across the country. Check out local venues to see shows, artists and acts that will be coming to town.

2)    Set the tone: Calm and relaxed or time to party? A night of ballet or theater would be the perfect escape from a busy life for some women. Others want to dance the night away at a rock concert. Fortunately, there’s an event for every taste. If you’re not sure what she’d like, ask her a few questions about what she’d do with a night off (and be prepared for her to tell you she’d like to sleep). You won’t ruin the surprise, and you’ll feel confident knowing you’re picking something she will truly enjoy.

3)    Choose the guest list. Will this be a romantic evening for two, a girls’ night out, or a mother-daughter bonding date? She might enjoy seeing her friends, but it would be special to see the show as a couple. Coordinate with her pals to meet up for drinks afterward and she’ll have twice the surprise.

4)    Don’t make it seem like more work for her. This one is huge. Work around her busiest work days, arrange for babysitters, and figure out a way to help her take a night off without falling behind or feeling stressed. Don’t hesitate to reach out to her friends or close family members to help you pull it off. They will be glad to pitch in and share the surprise.

5)    Consider leaving her at home alone. That’s right—for some busy working moms, a quiet, child-free night at home with a good book and a cup of tea might just be the perfect escape. If that’s the case, think about taking the kids to an event yourself while letting mom have the house to herself for a few hours.

Once you’ve chosen the perfect event for the hard-working mom in your life, consider how to surprise her with the news. Here are a few simple, creative ways to let her know she’s in for a treat:

  • Leave the tickets somewhere she’ll find them unexpectedly, like in her favorite coffee mug, next to her toothbrush, or on her car windshield.
  • Get the kids involved. Maybe a kiddo can bring home a “note from the teacher” that really details the plans for the big day.
  • Heading to see her favorite band play live? Buy her their newest album, and tuck the tickets inside.
  • Feeling bold? Find a sitter and invent an errand to run with her, then let her know that you’re actually going out to dinner and a show.

She’s passionate about her job and her kids, but every mom needs a break sometimes. No matter what event you choose, the lady in your life will be grateful for such a thoughtful gift. It’s the perfect way to show her you care, whether it’s for a birthday, anniversary or “just because.” Give a mom you love the gift of a little free time and a few great memories.


About the Author

Adam Young, the founder and CEO of Event Tickets Center, often surprises his loved ones with event tickets—and he doesn’t mind being on the receiving end of this thoughtful gift, either.

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October 3rd, 2017

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You’ve embarked on family road trips before, so you have the basics of planning down, but now you have a new X factor: a teenager. The very mention of a road trip with the family is enough to make most teenagers plug in their headphones and drown you out with angsty music. You know if you could just get their buy-in, your teen could not just tolerate, but really get into a family adventure.


One of the easiest ways to get a teenager excited about a trip is to have some really unique and exciting activities planned beforehand. Here are three activities to include in your next road trip that will have your teen racing to get into the car, rather than pulling the covers over their head.

1. Visit an Escape Room

There is a reason escape rooms are popping up all around the country; everyone from grandmas to grumpy teens loves them. On a road trip, an escape room is a great chance to be active, and interact with each other away from the stress of the road. Of course, not all escape rooms are created equal. If you’re passing through Kansas City on your trip, check out Tick Tock Escape Games. The completely immersive rooms use sound, video and other technology to make you feel like you’ve stepped into a movie. You can spend an hour in Uncle Beasley’s den, solving elaborate puzzles for a chance to win a portion of his estate in the Beasley’s Billions’ game, or get locked in an Egyptian tomb where you’ll need to decode clues and puzzles before the tomb door is sealed forever in Pyramid Paradox. Either way, this will be an experience both you and your teen won’t soon forget.

2. Go Wherever the App Takes You

One of the best parts of a road trip are those spontaneous stops, where you pull over just because something struck your fancy. Of course, technology has made finding those hidden gems much easier. Set aside a day where any and all stops are on the table.

Download the free Roadtrippers app and let it guide you to places like the Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley, Arizona, which is the only place where you can get close to a Titan II ICBM, a missile that could launch a nuclear warhead. Or Gene Cockrell’s yard art in Canadian, Texas, where you can see the impressively weird collection of concrete statues (from dinosaurs and aliens to Jesus) made by Gene himself. Make a rule that you’ll stop for anything that sounds interesting, no debate. Your teen will love the spontaneity and freedom (and, of course, the Instagram-worthy shots).

3. Go Wild

You can’t truly get to see the country unless you get out into it. Have your teen help you find a few natural wonders along the way and stop as often as possible to smell the roses (and take in the view). Even a kid who isn’t outdoorsy can’t help but be impressed by the overlook on the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park in Maine, or Salt Creek Falls in the Cascades in Oregon, both of which can be reached by car.

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September 27th, 2017

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Understanding the ins and outs of on-demand software can be daunting for those just starting a home-based business or solopreneur venture. In fact, there are hundreds of tools at your disposal, and knowing which ones are essential can initially be difficult to identify. However, do know you’ll wind up paying for a handful of essential subscription-based services within a few months of building your business.


Because some of these software as a service platforms will be the lifeblood of your business, you’ll no doubt access them every day and become completely fluent with this technology. Meantime, your other SaaS-based apps will die a slow death: You’ll forget your login, dislike the interface, and get hassled by support reps when you try to cancel your subscription.

While these scenarios may be impossible to avoid, your best bet is to focus on the tools that will help support and leverage various aspects of your business. Here are some of the best SaaS solutions that moms who work from home can utilize to achieve better productivity, automation and financial success.

Productivity and Automation

  1. Pomodoro Technique apps: The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into more productive time intervals, typically 25 minutes at a time. Despite its intuitive benefits, using the Pomodoro Technique isn’t a common practice in most workplaces. But there are plenty of apps to get you started, including:
    • Focus Booster – This simple timer app is easy to use and customize for any work-related task.
    • PomoDonePomoDone – This popular app can connect with other tools like Trello, Asana and Slack.
    • Pomodoro Keeper – This app features a useful mobile timer option for iPhone users.
    • Marinara Timer – This app provides a unique URL after each use, creating more seamless workflows.
  2. IFTT: You’re likely familiar with the concept, “If this, then that.” Similarly, this free, web-based service allows users to create chains of simple conditional statements, called applets, which are triggered by the actions you take on other websites, including Gmail, Facebook and Twitter. By using this service on the following platforms, you can
    • LinkedIn – Automatically send welcome messages and meeting invitations to any new connection request
    • Twitter – Automatically send thank you tweets to those who retweet or mention you
    • Facebook – Automatically share Facebook posts on other social networks, or “like” content that meets certain requirements
  3. Zapier: If you master IFTT and want to create a more customized connection, Zapier is your go-to tool. This tool connects you with more than 750 apps, allowing you to create an easy customized workflow, as opposed to IFTT which has a limited bank of apps from which to choose. The tasks that take up the most time, but have the least financial value, should be automated whenever possible.
  4. Use case: If you use software to take calls via a cloud contact center, you can create what’s referred to as a “zap” that can transcribe your voicemails. That’s particularly useful when important and/or sensitive information is shared via voicemail and you don’t have the time or resources to jot it down.
  5. Email marketing – Your desire to have a better sense of your customers’ needs and wants can be achieved through this type of customized messaging. Whether your email marketing strategy has you sending two or more emails per week or simply the occasional newsletter, the ball is truly in your court regarding the frequency of your messaging. Of course, there are dozens of platforms from which to choose. Your best bet might be conducting a Google search or asking fellow work-from-home professionals about their experiences.

Financial Management

All the productivity and focus in the world won’t mean anything if you’re not managing your finances correctly. There are two main components of financial management for small and home businesses.

Accounting and Taxes - Software tools like Quickbooks, Freshbooks and Xero have exploded during the past decade, thanks in large part to the fact that more people are working for themselves. As such, they need basic accounting software to remain in business. Similar to email marketing, there are a core set of features — in addition to price and support — to keep in mind.

  • Reporting and analysis - All accounting software has its own spin on why it has the best reporting features. Make sure you understand the “how” and “why” behind the reporting and that there are visual breakdowns of everything.
  • Customization - Again, all accounting tools will offer customization, but making sure you understand how these features will apply to your business is the more critical element in all this.
  • Automation - The elimination of paperwork and human error is the basis for investing in new accounting software, so make sure to adopt a SaaS tool that requires very little in the way of manual entry.
  • Integrations - For successful automation, your software will need to integrate with your business tool set, such as tracking or calendar features.
  • Scalability and expandability - Switching software is tedious, so make sure your accounting system is ready to grow and scale with your business.
  • Security - Whenever financial data is involved, security is vital. With that in mind, look for certifications from the TRUSTe Privacy Program and VeriSign.
  • Invoicing and payment processing - Depending on your business, this category may require a separate tool. For instance, Stripe and Recurly are SaaS apps meant for business owners who offer a recurring payment option. There’s also a full market of invoicing tools depending on the complexity needed.

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