Balancing Life as a Mompreneur

Balancing Life as a Mompreneur

Many women have the same struggle as I – balance owning a business with being a mom (not to discriminate, this can apply to dads too!).

We feel pulled towards giving 150% to our businesses while having children that need us to care for them, take them to school, dance, sports, etc.

#thestruggleisreal

My daughters are 9 and 13, and I am now the “mom Uber” going from school to dance four days a week (and multiple times each day) to church, all week long. I’m not complaining – I have looked forward to this since they were babies. However when they were born I never imagined owning my own business. The freedom and flexibility of owning my own business is something I won’t ever leave. I love being able to still be a mom and a business owner.

During the school year, it’s easy – work while they are in school, and while they do homework, and maybe a little after bedtime. The summer is something different. We have a slew of things on the schedule for the summer – VBS at church, dance camp, church camps, a trip to the beach, a trip to Texas – wow, I’m already tired just typing all of that! Working from a home office, I am fortunate that I can do more than some 9-to-5 office moms can do (props to them and how they fit in all in too!).

But all boils down to balance.

Let’s get something straight – there is no such thing as work/life balance. It’s a myth. Life is all about balancing and managing what season of life you are in and this is an ever-evolving thing. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa.

Here are some things I do to balance owning a business and being a parent, and maybe one or a few of these will help you!

Set a schedule.

This is very important. Know when you are going to work, and when you are going to put on the parent hat. This could be different every day of the week – and in the summer. Set the tone with your children so they know when mom (or dad) will be working. I will admit, there are times that I cannot do it all, so there are friends and babysitters that pitch in. It’s okay to admit that you have help. We’re not Superwoman (or Superman).

Set expectations – for both your clients and your kids.

If you are going to be on summer vacation or having to work different hours because of school activities, let your clients know.  Be upfront about it – they need to know when they can contact you. Also, tell your kids what you expect from them during school breaks, after school, and the summer. With your schedule, tell them when you need to be left alone (if they are older) for a period of time each day or what you expect of them if you have a conference call. They need to know that even though you are home, you still have a job.

It’s okay to bribe every now and then.

I do this more than I care to admit. We have a pool & waterpark we like to go to in the summer. I tell my girls, during the summer, if they let me get my work done, then we can go to the pool that afternoon. This especially comes in handy if I have a big conference call. The reality is that sometime we do what we have to do to get it done. It’s easier during the school year because they are gone from 8am-3pm, but if I am chaperoning a school trip, expectations need to be in place.

Enjoy the time.

Yes it may get crazy working with kids around, but your kids are only kids for so long. If you need to take a day and just be a mom (or dad), do it and don’t feel guilty. Next year your kids will be a year older and may not want mom or dad around, so soak it up as long as you can! Chaperone school trips, go to honors day and school parties, take a mental health day and go to the beach. Make sure to spend quality time with them. It’s so hard to believe how fast my girls have grown up in the seven years I have had ME Marketing Services. Blink and they will be all grown!

 

How do you find balance and manage it all? Share what you do so we can all learn from each other!

 

 

 

Why Not Everyone Succeeds in Social Media Marketing

Why Not Everyone Succeeds in Social Media Marketing

Social media (and digital) marketers are a dime a dozen.

 

They’re everywhere and many people think they can aptly manage a business’ social media accounts with no prior marketing experience whatsoever.

 

About 75% of the social marketers I got to know when I started my business seven years ago are no longer doing social media/digital marketing. Some were given other opportunities, and some just couldn’t cut it.

 

I hate to see businesses fail and people give up. I know how much time, energy, love and money go into running a business. However, there are some who just are not cut out to be business owners in any arena.

 

Harsh, but true.

 

But let’s circle back to area of social media marketing. This is an area of marketing that takes a lot of time – you have to dedicate time to always staying up-to-date with the latest changes (and there have been TONS in 2018 alone), what platforms people are using, and various ways to integrate into the overall business plan.

 

Some are good at it and some are just trying to keep their head above water. So, why is that? Here are five reasons social media marketers do not succeed – hopefully we can take these reasons and use them to show us how to succeed.

They do not take the time to educate themselves and fall behind.

Social media is ALWAYS changing (think Facebook this year alone!) and it is a lot to keep up with. If you are not dedicated to staying up on the latest trends, TOS (Terms of Service) changes and new features, you can bet your competitor is and they will take advantage of that. If you follow any of the big names in social media, you will see how they keep up with everything. Now, they may have a team that does it for them, but they do know what is going on.

 

Here are some great resources I use to make sure you stay on top of it:

 

They have no marketing or sales background/experience.

Okay, I know I’ll take some heat with that statement, but not everyone is a born marketer. I know people who have decided to start handling social media for businesses because they REALLY love to post on Facebook or Instagram. Next thing you know, they hit the streets running with no idea what they are doing or any sense of what marketing really is. Their graphics and captions are full of misspellings and grammatical errors. Out there in the world, I’m sure there are successful people in this industry with no marketing experience, but let’s admit it, that’s not common. Who I’m referring to are people who have no idea what to do in a sales call or that social media marketing is more than just posting to social accounts.

 

They could never figure out who their target market was.

This is something a lot of business owners struggle within this industry. Do you want to serve everyone or one particular niche? Many just float along until they just give up or get fed up. This is why you need to have a social media strategy and define your ‘why’ and ‘how’. Doing just those two simple things will set you on the track to success.

 

Something better came along.

This is the scenario that fits most. A better job offer came along and they completely abandoned what they were doing (including leaving clients high and dry). Who can argue with more money and a stable paycheck because, let’s face it, when you own your own business, there is no such thing as a steady paycheck.

 

Poor client management/relationship skills.

This, unfortunately, I’ve seen first hand from clients coming to me because they were unhappy with who they were currently working with. I can guarantee just about everyone working in the social media marketing world has had this happen to them – you get an inquiry from someone who is unhappy with their current social media marketing company – or marketing company handling this as a part of an overall marketing package. Communication skills are VERY important in this field. No communication skills = no clients.

 

To avoid this, stay in constant contact with your clients. Ask them what you could be doing better. Getting continual feedback from your clients will not only strengthen your relationship with them, but you will be killing it in the customer service area.

 

There are many reasons and circumstances that would keep someone from making it in this field. The five reasons listed above can actually be applied to more than just the social media marketing industry. I do truly wish all business owners the best and want everyone to succeed.

 

Why do you think people either don’t make it in marketing – or simply give up? I’d love to get your feedback!

 

The Struggles with Being “You” in Your Business

“There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a person being themselves. Imagine going through your day being unapologetically you.”  – Steve Maraboli.

 

Easy enough, right?

 

A while back I wrote about how to be more “you” in your business. Now that you’ve found a way, I imagine you might be finding an element of struggle with it. Being yourself in your business is not an easy task. There are roadblocks you are going to come up on and unpleasant discussions will creep up fast. Despite any bad there may be in being yourself, nothing can trump the feeling that comes with knowing who you are, knowing you are being genuine, honest and authentic in your business. There are four struggles I see with being “you’ in your business –

Struggle #1 – Will I be taken seriously?

This is something all business professionals deal with. Depending on the industry you work it, if you’re too rigid, then you’re a <expletive>. If you’re too fun or out-going, you’re seen as a flake. What you need to do is look at who you are. Don’t force yourself to be someone you’re not – you will only end up miserable. Do keep in mind your workplace – you want to be taken seriously, so you still need to conduct yourself in a professional manner, but you can do that and still be yourself by –

  • Being honest – don’t EVER lie.
  • Have fun, but still be serious and get the work done.
  • Respect those in authority positions. Don’t treat your boss like he’s your drinking buddy (even if he/she is after hours).

 

Struggle #2 – Will it be seen as “bad marketing” and hurt my brand?

There are some individual brands (think: celebrities) that attempt to “be themselves” to the point you can see right through the publicity stunt. Being yourself will only attract the ones you want to work with and deter the ones you don’t want. If you are genuine, people will see that and work with you because of it. Rarely is being yourself seen as “bad marketing.”

 

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”  – Bernard M. Baruch

 

To keep being yourself and not have it backfire or hurt you, keep these things in mind –

  • Be tactful.
  • Be conscious of who you are and what you represent. Don’t ever waver from your core beliefs.
  • Watch your language. You can still be yourself without using cliches and foul language.

 

My friend Brooke Ballard of B Squared Media wrote a great post about when being yourself could be seen as “bad marketing.” I suggest you check it out.

 

Struggle #3 – Will people find me offensive?

This is something I struggle with personally. There are things I want to say or discuss publicly, but I won’t because I know I’ll offend people. Petty, yes, but you do not want to alienate your community. You can still be yourself and interject your thoughts and beliefs without offending people.

 

A typical cop-out is when someone says “I don’t mean to offend, but…” Almost always an offensive sentence follows. Don’t post that. Ever. I’ll be honest – when you are yourself, you will offend someone. It’s going to happen, but how you react says a lot about you as well. Don’t apologize for standing up for your beliefs (whether it’s political, religious, parenting-related, etc.), just recognize that sometimes people just have to agree to disagree. I’m not going to touch on offending someone by posting slurs and other slanderous statements. There simply is no place for that online or really, anywhere.

 

“Never complain, never explain. Resist the temptation to defend yourself or make excuses.”  – Brian Tracy

Struggle #4 – How do I keep from crossing the line of “too much”?

We’ve all seen the celebrities and athletes who share pictures that probably shouldn’t be shared, in the name of personal branding. Being online, there’s a temptation to reveal all. You shouldn’t, not because of bad business, but because of personal safety. It’s risky putting yourself out there – however rely on your instincts when it comes to being yourself. You’ll know what feels right and what doesn’t.

 

To keep from crossing the line, do the following –

  • Ask yourself if the post helps to further your business.
  • Ask yourself if your grandma would be okay with it.
  • Sense what your gut is telling you – are you leery about posting it? If you feel the slightest off about it, don’t post it.

 

It’s tricky to be yourself in your business. I see it as walking a tightrope – you have to be open, yet guarded. Open-minded but not abandoning your beliefs. I think I’m doing a fairly good job at it, how about you? What do you struggle with in being yourself in your business?

Why You Need to be Vigilant About Social Media and Your Kids

Why You Need to be Vigilant About Social Media and Your Kids

What would you do if you knew your teenage son or daughter was sending nude photos of themselves to teens of the opposite sex? What if those photos were posted to Snapchat or Instagram?

 

If you’re like me, you would be absolutely furious and enraged.

 

But this is happening each and every day in small towns, large cities, public schools, private schools, and yes, even Christian schools.

 

You think you raise your children right, teaching them right from wrong, but once they get a smartphone and social media in their hands… well, sometimes what you teach them fades into the background in favor of acceptance and validation.

 

Four years ago I wrote an article about how withholding social media from your children does not make you a bad parent. I thought it was time to revisit the topic of children/teens and social media.

 

My oldest daughter is 13. She has Snapchat and Instagram. However, we set the passwords and she has to leave her phone available for us to check it spontaneously whenever we want. That was the deal. I can log in to her social accounts on my phone and see what’s going on. So far, so good.

 

However not all parents are vigilant like that. They give their kids smartphones and let them open social media accounts and never take a second look. Many of the girls in my daughter’s seventh grade class have ‘Finstas’. Not familiar with Finstas? They are fake Instagram accounts where they hide their identities and post horrible, derogatory things about their classmates – or posts that are inappropriate for their public-facing accounts. They are selective in who they let follow them because of what they post. And their parents have no clue.

 

Snapchat isn’t any better. I will say the majority of what they do is send daily streak snaps to keep days-long streaks going with their friends. Many of these are a blank screen with the word ‘streaks’. However, what gets sent via group snaps and individual snaps cannot be seen by the general public. That is where a lot of this takes place.

 

Why is all of this happening? Why are kids acting like wild college kids on social media? To put it simply – they have parents that are not checking behind them. They are not being held accountable to their actions. Parents want them to fit in so badly, that they let them do what they want on social media with no recourse.

 

Do they realize that some of things they post can get them suspended from school? Or hurt their chances of getting into college? Or even a job?

 

No.

 

Why is that? Parents are not educating themselves and their kids about the dangers of social media. My daughters are out of luck there. With a mom who owns a digital marketing company and a dad that is a Prosecuting Attorney for the state… let’s just say their every move is watched.

 

According an article from the New York Times last year titled The Secret Social Media Lives of Teenagers, “Even though 86 percent of teens say they’ve received general advice around online use from their parents, researchers at Common Sense Media found that 30 percent of teens who are online believe their parents know “a little” or “nothing” about what social media apps and sites they use. And yet, teens still say that their parents have the biggest influence on determining what is appropriate and inappropriate online.”

 

If parents would take the time to educate themselves on social media and the potential danger it can bring, most of what’s going on with children and teens on social media wouldn’t be happening. Parents are not being vigilant enough. These are our precious children and we should protect – and educate – them as long as we can.

 

Being vigilant may look like we are being nosy or being a helicopter parent, but if we are not monitoring their social actions, no one is. Here are five reasons you need to vigilant:

 

  1. You are protecting them from strangers and others who are out there to prey on our sons and daughters. Even with all the internet-nanny programs and account restrictions, that still wouldn’t stop a predator from seeking out your child. If you want to know if this really happens, I can let you talk to my husband. He’s prosecuted many cases over the years where the under-age victim was lured via social media. Just because that Instagram account says they are a 15 year-old from a high school in the next town over, it doesn’t mean they really are.

 

  1. You are protecting them from cyber-bullying. Being a teenager is hard enough without the technology, they don’t need the burden of the online bullying to hurt their still-building self-esteem. Our kids need to find their self-esteem and validation from their parents, their church, and healthy friendships. Not social media.

 

  1. They post content without thinking. Some of this content may hurt them (or haunt them) on down the road and/or hurt a friend’s feelings. Children and teens (and even some 20-somethings) are not mature enough to understand the long-term ramifications of posting hurtful content and inappropriate pictures.

 

  1. Social media can wait – it’s not going away anytime soon. Kids are only kids for so long. Let them be that. Let 9 year-olds ride around on bikes. Let 12 year-old boys play baseball or football. Encourage your kids to be active and social – without an electronic device. Remember back to when you were their age.

 

  1. Not using social media to communicate at this age allows them to be taught the proper way to carry a conversation with others. I know teens (and college kids) who could use a lesson in that. With a generation that is texting the person next to them instead of talking or Snapchatting pictures instead of enjoying an event, the lesson of how to hold a proper conversation is being lost. Not to mention their writing. I cannot count the number of times I have told my daughter that “k” or “ik” (that’s “okay” and “I know”) is never an acceptable way to respond to a text message from me or anyone else.

 

A study from Common Sense Media found teenagers (ages 13-18) use an average of nine hours of entertainment media per day and that tweens (ages 8-12) use an average of six hours a day, not including time spent using media for school or homework.

 

The world is a scarier place now than when we were all kids in the 70’s, 80’s, or even the early 90’s. The amount of information and the immediacy of communication at their fingertips is outright frightening.

 

But if we as parents are vigilant about our children and their technology – checking their text messages, checking their social accounts (that means logging in, not looking at what’s public), we can help our children navigate this and make it a more positive experience.

 

What are your thoughts/experience with this?

 

Is Now the Time to Rethink Facebook?

Is Now the Time to Rethink Facebook?

I probably shouldn’t confess this in public, much less put it in writing, but I hate Facebook. If I didn’t have my business, I wouldn’t be on it.

 

Why, when I built a business around it, you ask?

 

Despite the fact everyone is on it and businesses can benefit from that, Facebook is a place full of fake news, people portraying lives they do not live, ridiculous fluff posts, oversharing that goes beyond the boundaries of TMI (too much information)… I could go on.

 

Facebook is a wonderful tool for businesses to take advantage of to reach their target audience – that’s what I enjoy using it for. Helping businesses connect with people.

 

However I am starting to rethink the whole premise of that in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica breach. It’s all over the news, so I am not going to rehash all the details here, but in a nutshell, an analytics company got their hands on data from over 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge or permission and used it to influence the 2016 US election.

 

Your information. My information. Your mom’s information. Your child’s information (if they are on Facebook). And it was all exploited to create highly-targeted ads to serve certain purposes.

 

So let’s see, in the past two years Facebook has been overrun by fake news, Russian trolls have run millions of dollars of ads to allegedly influence politics, people were allowed to run ads that targeted racist groups, and now a massive data breach.

 

As a marketer, we naturally encourage Facebook because that’s where the people are. Is it time for us to rethink that? Is it time to take a hard look at the marketing strategies we are putting in place for not only our businesses, but for our clients, and use a strategy that does not involve Facebook?

 

Blasphemous, I know, but I think the day is coming where we will have to consider social marketing options that do not include Facebook. I’m already exploring other options with my own clients.

 

Facebook use is down for the first time ever. In my honest opinion, it’s about time. Social media addiction is real and Facebook is the culprit.

 

When working with businesses, Facebook is always the first platform we look at and go to. Why? It’s the biggest and it’s because it is where everyone is. And it’s where the most data is available to run highly-targeted ads. Why is that? Let’s think on that a minute.

 

Think about all the information you put on your profile.

All the pages you like.

All the meaningless quizzes you click on and take.

 

All of that collects data about you. And that data goes back to Facebook to allow us to create those targeted ads.

 

Scary on the personal side, amazing on the business side. That’s how I describe it.

 

In light of the data breach, can you really trust a company that allows that to happen? A company that’s so focused on making money it has a real internal struggle going on. Sandy Paralikas, a former Facebook employee who worked there enforcing privacy and other rules was quoted in the New York Times as saying, “The people whose job is to protect the user always are fighting an uphill battle against the people whose job it is to make money for the company.

 

Really? Making more money is more important than protecting information. Internally, Facebook is a hot mess. My friend and mentor Mark Schaefer had a great suggestion on how they can clean it up – go private. Everything that has ever gone wrong with Facebook all started when they went public and started having shareholders to answer to. As much as I do not like Facebook, I think this may be the right – and smart – move. They need to right the ship or they will sink, and sink fast and hard.

 

On Wednesday, March 21, 2018, Mark Zuckerberg finally responded to the data breach. You can read his statement below.

 

And then later that same night (March 21), Zuckerberg went on-air on CNN and apologized for the breach, saying, “”This was a major breach of trust, and I’m really sorry that this happened,” Zuckerberg said. “We have a basic responsibility to protect peoples’ data.”

 

Is his response too little too late? Or just another Facebook bandaid?

 

Personal feelings aside, I put the best interests of my clients first and if it’s in their best interest to market on Facebook, then that’s what we do. The day may be coming when everyone may have to branch out and away from Facebook and we need to be ready.

 

In the meantime, if you are not already diversifying your social media marketing strategy and using other platforms, this is the time to start. Look at where else your target audience is and start working on your presence there. You should never solely rely on one platform.

 

Will this data breach affect your Facebook activity or any strategy for your business?

 

If you want another great read on this topic, check out Mike Alton’s post on The Social Media Hat.

Send this to a friend