We are self-employed parents and our institutional ethos is built around a common goal to provide for our children.

Whether you are looking for a valuable resource that supports making a change in your life, or you just feel like browsing around and laughing at some relatable mom and dad anecdotes, this blog was created for you and parents everywhere.

We are parents who are contributing to a vibrant change in the choices we make as consumers, and we appreciate the value of purchasing from parents who have chosen to stay at home.

Visit Our Milk Money for more information.

Posted in Member Contributions | Leave a comment

In-dad-equate Part 3: Lucky to be Alive

I never hesitate to write and laugh about embarrassing details of my life and experiences as a father, but I dreaded writing this one.  I knew I would have to in order to fill out this Bad Dad trilogy which was my stupid idea anyway so I could have just changed the rules and said,” Y’know what? This is the first trilogy to have two parts only.”, but then this incident would haunt me like a Tell Tale Heart so I’m just hoping confession is indeed good for the soul.

 It happened on a day a couple of months after the police made their early morning visit to my home, I finished my breakfast and got ready to go to work. My wife was asleep upstairs (she was still pregnant with our 2nd).  My two year old son was watching “Little Einsteins” on the downstairs television. Now this was usually the drill. I finish my morning activities and get ready to go to work. I pick my son up off the couch (he’s always been an early riser) and carry him upstairs, turn on the bedroom TV, and put him in our bed with his mother where he will watch quietly until his mom wakes up. I have no idea why I didn’t do that this time. Maybe he was really wrapped up in the episode or something. Maybe I didn’t feel like dealing with the two year old tantrum I was going to incur just from turning off the TV and moving him from one room to the other. Doesn’t matter now.  Anyway I told him very rationally like you would speak to any 30 year old adult. “Braden, when this show is finished, go upstairs and climb into bed with mommy. Okay?” “Okay, daddy.”  No problem, right? The onus is on him.  So don’t blame me. I didn’t walk him to our front door, unlock it and run him out of our house. No, no, he did that on his own.

Sigh…yup. See my oldest child is really smart. Even when he was two. He’s also very strong willed. He wanted to go outside. So he did. He walked right up to the door (It was locked, Judgey Judgersons!)…unlocked it and walked out. Now luckily we lived in a condo complex at the time so it wasn’t right on a busy street…but he did cross the street IN the housing complex and walked right into an open door of a neighbor’s house. Luckily the neighbor was a kindly old woman who gave him a juice box and, not knowing the neglectful parents in charge of the poor child, called the police. The police had no idea who this kid was and were getting ready to take him down to the station when Braden pointed toward our unit and led the police to our front door (stinkin’ rat). The cops walked in our open door just as my wife was coming downstairs looking for her toddler son. Luckily they weren’t the same cops from the incident a few months ago. My wife was completely horrified of course and explained that she was at a severe disadvantage because A) she was in her first trimester and therefore overly fatigued and B) She was married to a complete idiot. Anyway Braden was fine, nobody was arrested, and we met our new neighbor who actually did some babysitting for us later on. This time we asked her and took our son over to her place ourselves. See? Everything worked out.

I was fully expecting the call from Child Protective Services that came a few weeks after this particular incident. My wife heard the message on our voice mail and completely freaked out, but I just sighed knowing that it was inevitable and hoping they would find my son a good home. In fact when they called back the first thing I said was “What took you so long?” Well it turns out it was completely coincidental. Somebody gave our phone number as a possible witness to a child abuse incident at a local park and Child Services was following up. It turned out be a mistake. We didn’t witness anything, we didn’t recognize the name of either party. We’re not even sure how they got our number. It was just a big misunderstanding. However my wife “pleaded” our case by saying “Are you sure nobody called to report us because let me tell you about our summer” She pretty much sang like a canary (Apparently since I have the most Italian blood in my family, I’m the only one who knows when to keep his mouth shut!). The Child Services woman laughed at my wife and said, “Relax ma’am. No one has reported you and the fact that you’re this concerned means you’re a very caring and good mother. Your husband on the other hand…”

Look I’m not trying to make light of this. It was a very scary situation and I have never forgiven myself. The Universe was sending me a warning not to be so lax in my parenting. I put a chain on the front door that was almost too high for me to reach (which is not all that high anyway) and I’ve kept a much closer eye on both of my kids at all times…oh right except for that one time…and that other time…but this is only a trilogy so you don’t get to read those stories. I wrote the last three articles because while I’m a super involved presence in my sons’ lives, I screw up a lot too. I was always an insecure kid, teenager, and adult so it stands to reason that sometimes I’m gonna be an insecure father too. It’s kind of why I started this blog in the first place. I just hope I’m hiding it enough from my boys.  Anyway the police have never had to return (knock wood) so I guess I’ve gotten a little better. I still have to work on my stamina when playing “monster” though.

chris-headshot-034Chris Loprete, aka the father of Our Milk Money, began writing his experiences as a new father upon the launch of Our Milk Money, calling his work, appropriately, The Daddy’s Den. Chris is no stranger to comedy composition. He wrote and performed his one-man show You’re from Philly, Charlie Brown, having successful runs at Circle X Theatre, The Lonny Chapman Repertory Theatre and The Comedy Central Workspace in Hollywood, California as well the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Chris has performed all over the country in theatrical productions, television and film. He is an alumni of The Circle X Theatre Company and The Groundlings Sunday Company. Currently, he is a writer/producer for the Comedy and Reality Promo Team at ABC Television. Chris lives in Stevenson Ranch, California with his wife Ally, founder of OurMilkMoney.com and his two beautiful sons, Braden and Henry.

Posted in Chris Loprete, Dads | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Ignite Your Online Influence

online influence picActivate your authenticity

I never really intended to be a social media coach, but one day I just happened to crack a code on a social media platform. This simple equation allowed me to drive traffic with just a quick click of a button. Before I knew it I had completely reinvented myself and I had a wait-list of clients who were willing to pay me top dollar to share my secret with them.

The secret is that there really IS NO SECRET online or offline that you can’t figure out for yourself. The simplicity of what I discovered is no different than good old fashioned selling through authentic engagement and personal connection. Everything I know about increasing your bottom line in business through social media navigation is completely and totally visible.

These aren’t just numbers.  These are people.

There is something that feels very artificial about easily driving traffic through interpersonal connections, and yet contrary to how it must sound, every message I broadcast is generated from my genuine passion. NOTHING is sly or fraudulent about how I’ve increased my following or how I’ve taught others how to increase theirs.

I am willing to bet that if you were to separate the successful moments in your business from the not-so-successful ones, the BANKABLE moments DID NOT come from the manufactured tech messages that were sent from your automated services. They came from real conversations that grew from real relationships based on an equal give and take.

Stay connected digitally, but separate yourself from the marketing hype and connect on a personal level

We’ve all had negative social media experiences and therefore we ourselves know what we will not tolerate when it comes to buying into someone else’s hype on the internet. Yet when increasing our own bottom line in business and turning a profit, there is a disconnect. We often find ourselves committing the same bad behaviors that we resent in others.

“Everyone is talking but no one is listening”

This is the way that my clients often describe their experience in social media and networking platforms. They feel bombarded and overwhelmed by the LOUD and confrontational messages they see from other small business entrepreneurs – which can and often does result in feeling small and invisible. The thunderous and overbearing business agendas on these crowded platforms can be downright deafening.

Do we really need to play that game to have a chance at success?

Selling on social media might feel a bit…unnatural

Small businesses don’t always mesh with high impact and aggressive sales tactics, so what you think might be an aversion to online selling might actually be an indication that you have what it takes to form everlasting and solid relationships with your clients.

Authenticity feels right. Artificiality doesn’t.

A good business cannot survive on passion and enthusiasm alone. Sales MUST BE part of the equation, but online selling does not need to be mass produced and manufactured. Even your automated processes should be authentic, organic and compelling.  The trick is to adequately balance your online presence with a strategic system that keeps you engaged at a personal level.

ally_headshots_032Self -employed Parent Enthusiast Ally Loprete is the Founder of OurMilkMoney.com, a nationwide online business directory of self-employed parents, and the host of This Little
Parent Stayed Home, a live weekly radio show, on The Toginet.com Radio Group which can be downloaded on iTunes. Ally is on a mission to help other’s deal with the sometimes overwhelming prospect of leaving a full time job to start a new business, while running a full time household and raising kids. She is resolute about creating a haven in which parents across the nation will continue to thrive and obtain the support they need in their personal journeys. Self-employed parents, list your business for free at http://www.ourmilkmoney.com. Private coaching is available at http://www.thislittleparent.info.

 

Posted in Ally Loprete | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In-dad-equate: The Bad Parent Trilogy

Pt.2 : Nighttime Neglect

  There are two situations I never experienced as a child or a young adult that I’ve now experienced several times as a father. The first is an Emergency Room visit and the second is a home visit from the police department.  Now this was either due to luck or (more likely) an incredibly boring and sedentary childhood and adolescence.  It’s hard to break bones when you sit in front of a TV all day and there has yet to be a case of someone being arrested from reading too many books or playing air guitar in front of their bedroom mirror.  So in my first 35 years I never recorded one trip to the ER and never once had to open the door to “Sherriff’s Department!” Since becoming a father? ER visits: 3 (the most recent trip being at 3 AM last Friday) and police encounters: 2. Now the ER visits actually make me a caring father and that’s not the subject of this blog nor is it very funny so we’ll skip over that. By the way one of those visits is described in a blog I wrote a few years ago called “The Family that Laughs Together”.  Now as for the cop visits, I’m sure that would put me on some sort of bad parenting watch list. I mean it’s not like parents have never had to deal with cops when it comes to their kids, but their kids are usually teenagers who have gotten into trouble or been caught being stupid. The younger your kid is, the worse a visit from the authorities reflects on the parent. My son was two years old in both instances which puts me on par with Casey Anthony parenting wise. Okay I’m not THAT bad… and anyway she was found innocent (cough, cough)

The first visit from Santa Clarita’s finest was at about 2 AM on a sweltering night in August of 2008. My oldest son was two and my wife was pregnant with our second. I was woken out of a very deep sleep by a pounding on my front door. In fact it was the kind of thing where the pounding is incorporated into your dream and then your conscious brain realizes, “No this is actually happening. Wake up…now!” So I stumbled out of bed and ran-staggered downstairs bleary eyed and completely disoriented with very disheveled hair and wearing a rumpled dirty t-shirt and droopy boxers.

“Who is it?” I asked

“Sherriff’s Dept.” a calm voice responded.

 Nothing like hearing those two words to snap you awake.  I looked myself over and considered running upstairs and making myself more presentable. Then I figured the police probably knew they woke me up and didn’t expect me to answer the door in business casual wear so I promptly opened the door. Three police officers stood on my front step, service revolvers drawn while assuming a firing stance—okay maybe not. But there were three of them. One stood on my step while the other two stood behind him as backup. Not that backup was needed. While I’m sure to a casual observer this looked like a scene right out of Cops, I couldn’t have looked too intimidating in my checkered boxers and Six Feet Under t-shirt. At that point I really wished I had thrown on my white terrycloth bathrobe so I looked a little more Tony Soprano-ish. All I would need is the wife beater undershirt, a gold chain, and about 5 more inches of height.

“Sir, do you have a small child?” asked the lead police officer.

Quite possibly the scariest question I’d ever been asked. Every parent’s nightmare. A thousand scenarios went through my still-not-quite-awake mind. Did my little boy get out somehow? If I said “yes” was the cop going to pull him out from behind his back and say “Well, here he is!”  A lump formed in my throat and I squeaked out, “Yes I do.”

  “Well we got a call because he’s been crying for over an hour and no one is coming to take care of him”

Okay…now comes the time of the blog when I explain myself. Bear in mind I said “explain” not “excuse”.  It was a REALLY hot night. I have a real aversion to running our air conditioner at night because I’m a cheap bastard and I’m trying to save money on our electric bill. This by the way has driven my wife absolutely crazy for…let’s see we’ve been living together for 12 years so…12 years. Anyway every window in the house was open, we had 2 very loud fans going on high in our room, and our door was closed.  In both pregnancies my wife was always very fatigued in the first trimester. I know, I know. Everybody’s tired in the first trimester. No, no, no. You don’t understand. She was like the pregnant, female Weekend At Bernie’s. During the day I would put sunglasses on her, put her mouth in a smile and walk around holding her up and making her wave to people. You can only imagine what she was like when she was able to close her eyes and actually sleep. A stampeding herd of Wildebeest taking a detour through our bedroom wouldn’t cause her to turn over. (See the analogy here is that since the stampeding Wildebeest had to take a detour through our bedroom they would be even angrier thereby complaining to each other and making the noise that much louder.)  Now usually I’m an incredibly light sleeper. Always have been. It’s a blessing and a curse. Every other night when my son so much as sniffled, I would bolt upright in bed. This particular night however I was fighting a nasty head cold and reluctantly decided to take Advil PM or Nyquil or one of those other coma inducing medicines. So if you add two fans, a closed door, a comatose pregnant woman and her stuffed up comatose husband …it’s quite possible the sounds of a toddler crying may be heard by the neighbors in the adjoining condos….before his parents in the other room. For an hour. Sigh. Commence judging.

 So I’m still trying to sleepily process everything and now I’m horrified that my son has been crying for an hour but also a little confused because he wasn’t crying at that moment. This led me to believe that he had either given up finally and resigned himself to a life of neglect  or thought we were maybe letting him “cry it out” which we’d tried to do before but ultimately caved after 5 minutes OR…he was dead. I was pretty sure (hoping to God) it wasn’t the latter so I decided to make it all about me and explained to the nice officers that we probably couldn’t hear because of the two fans, the closed door, the pregnancy and the cold medicine…and the meth. To their credit the police listened but most likely couldn’t care less. They got the call, they responded, now they just wanted to move on. I however wouldn’t let them. Because of my insatiable desire to prove to everyone that I wasn’t a bad father ALL the time I invited the cops in to check on him with me.  “I’m sure he’s fine” I said giggling nervously.  I had no idea if he was fine or not. “Would you like to come in and see?” So much for Tony Soprano. Even the officers seemed surprised. I’d make a horrible criminal. “No, I don’t have any drugs in the house. Come on in and check. Just don’t look in that cabinet!”

They followed me upstairs to his room.  As soon as I opened the door, I saw my son sitting up in his crib making that hyperventilating noise indicating that he had indeed been sobbing for a long period of time. He looked at me and meekly said “Hi daddy.” Thank God the cops heard that so it was obvious he knew me and that this incident was not the norm but an anomaly. Oh and Thank God he was safe too. I picked him up saying “Hi buddy, I’m so sorry. I didn’t hear you” As I smothered him with kisses and hugs I turned to the cops so they could get a good look at my excessive displays of affection. They seemed unimpressed and said”…maybe just close your windows.” I sputtered, ”Yes, yes, absolutely. Thank you, officers. Sorry to bother you.” The police filed out the front door, I took our son into our room, put him next to me in bed, hugged him tight and everyone fell back to sleep. Except of course my wife who never woke up to begin with.

As an epilogue…for the next two weeks I walked around trying to suss out who of my neighbors ratted us out. I never found out, but I think it was the people across from us. They were nice folks, but they always kind of looked at me as if to say “You’re doing it wrong”. Also their bedroom window and my son’s were directly opposite each other.  I’m sure whoever called the authorities didn’t do it out of anger. They were probably concerned that a baby was crying and the fact that nobody was coming to tend to it meant the parents were severely injured or dead. Why else would anyone let a baby cry for an hour at 2 AM??!!!

My 41 year old defense mechanism of humor is thinly covering up the fact that I did and still do feel horrible. The good thing though is that even though my son was crying, he was never in any danger. He wasn’t hurt; he was in his crib in a room with the door closed. There was no way he could have gotten out. No, that would come a few weeks later…

chris-headshot-034Chris Loprete, aka the father of Our Milk Money, began writing his experiences as a new father upon the launch of Our Milk Money, calling his work, appropriately, The Daddy’s Den. Chris is no stranger to comedy composition. He wrote and performed his one-man show You’re from Philly, Charlie Brown, having successful runs at Circle X Theatre, The Lonny Chapman Repertory Theatre and The Comedy Central Workspace in Hollywood, California as well the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Chris has performed all over the country in theatrical productions, television and film. He is an alumni of The Circle X Theatre Company and The Groundlings Sunday Company. Currently, he is a writer/producer for the Comedy and Reality Promo Team at ABC Television. Chris lives in Stevenson Ranch, California with his wife Ally, founder of OurMilkMoney.com and his two beautiful sons, Braden and Henry.

Posted in Chris Loprete, Dads | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

OMM Member Spotlight-Tracy Shields of myResQProducts

(Repost)

Meet Tracy Shields of MyResQProducts.  Following is the story of her business, how it came to be and what the future holds for her and her business.

1. Business name, description and what makes it special
bot_1250plusRes-Q, All-Natural Heart Healthy Products to Believe In. Our products are designed with superior quality in mind. That means that our natural supplements are the purest, most potent on the market. And, we’ve been in business nearly 30 years. We are a brand to trust.
2. ‘Ah ha’ moment that led to launching this business:
Actually, my father started this business in 1985. His father died of a heart attack when he was only 33 years old, so my father was determined to find a way to help eradicate heart disease. What he found was the extraordinary power of omega-3s and how really potent doses can actually reverse arterial damage. When my brothers and I took over the company in 2004, our collective “ah ha” moment was in recognizing the value of what my father had started through all the great customers and their testimonials. http://www.n3inc.com/testimonials.html
3. Tell us about how you got your first customer.
Our first customer was our grandmother. When my father started the company in 1985, she paid him $27.00, retail price, for what was then called Res-Q 1000. He insisted she could have it for free, but she insisted he was going to make money…and he did. 
4. How do you measure success?
I measure success by customer satisfaction. If our customers are not happy, we’re doing something wrong. Our customers shape so many of the decisions we have made a long the way, and they are who make us stronger and more successful. 
5. Ever felt like throwing in the towel?
YES! Many times. But the driving force behind what I do is the reward in knowing that people are living healthier, longer lives. 
6. One thing I wish I would have known…
I wish I would have gotten my MBA, with an undergraduate degree in Nutrition. That would have quelled a lot of the frustrations I now have regarding business insight and knowledge. 
7. The absolute best part of being self-employed is…
Creating my own schedule, working from home and being available for my kids when they need me. 
8. The absolute best part of being a parent is…
Enjoying the time I spend with my children and being part of their lives as they grow. I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoy this age in particular (I have two sons, 12 and 14). And they are already turning into amazing people!

9. I never imagined…

that my life would be as fulfilling as it is. Lately, I have been grappling with the idea that my life is “too good to be true.” I have to keep telling myself that I worked hard to be here, and I am deserving of this life.

Posted in Julianne Wish, Member Contributions | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

OMM Member Spotlight-Trish Grinnell of I’m Ready to Work From Home

(Repost)

Meet Trish Grinnell of I’m Ready to Work From Home.  Following is the story of her business, how it came to be and what the future holds for her and her business.

1. Business name, description and what makes it special

im ready to work from homeImReadyToWorkFromHome.com.  A real business, generating real income for hardworking families.We’re special because we’ve partnered with a $1B manufacturer of science-based wellness products and we teach families to switch stores to safer products and partner with those that want to work from home.  Our business model is proven and is cash flow positive the first month.  There’s no debt or financial risk at all.  We’re the company built for average hard-working families that want to get ahead in life, but don’t know how.

2. ‘Ah ha’ moment that led to launching this business:

My daughter was diagnosed with Precocious Puberty at the age of 6.  After multiple visits to Children’s Hospital, we learned about all of the chemicals in the environment that can interfere with our Endocrine system.  We vowed to become more educated and help other families learn too.

3. Tell us about how you got your first customer.

My fist customer was a good friend I used to work with in Corporate Telecom.  She’s open-minded, but very smart and thorough.  I knew if she saw the authentic business, I’d earn her loyalty.  She’s been a customer for just shy of 8 years.

4. How do you measure success?

I measure success by reputation, retention and income.  We only have 1 reputation.  If we represent a company that is unethical, or causes people to lose money, they never forget that.  Retention is the measure of customer satisfaction and I’m thrilled to earn customer retention of over 95%.  Finally, my business model provides true residual income and income of over $100K annually.  I love helping families earn significant income from home!

5. Ever felt like throwing in the towel?

Only for a minute.  Never seriously.

6. One thing I wish I would have known…

Treat your business like a business.  Don’t dabble.

7. Moving forward…

I’m focused .

8. The absolute best part of being self-employed is…

Complete time freedom and the ability to choose with whom to work.

9. The absolute best part of being a parent is…

Staying connected to my kids daily.  They are now 17 and 14 and they say don’t ever remember a time when I didn’t work from home!

10. I never imagined…

I could have it all.  I thought it could only happen to others.

Posted in Julianne Wish, Member Contributions | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

OMM Member Spotlight-Tania Mulry of DDx Media

(Repost)

Meet Tania Mulry of DDx Media.  Following is the story of her business, how it came to be and what the future holds for her and her business.

1. Business name, description and what makes it special
DDx Media is a mobile marketing agency, specializing in helping small, local businesses and experts create and launch beautiful, useful and profitable mobile applications to deepen their connections with their customers. We also created a wonderful, award-winning school fundraising app called edRover.
2. ‘Ah ha’ moment that led to launching this business:
I was working as an executive at a larger marketing agency, helping gigantic retail brands with mobile marketing, when I realized I wanted to help smaller organizations and businesses take advantage of the benefits of a huge tidal wave of mobile marketing opportunities. Mobile is the fastest growing communication channel of all times, and you can just walk down the street, look around a restaurant, or glance around your own home to see the cultural and behavioral shifts we are all making.
edroverOur phones are like a new organ of our body. We rely on them for contact with the outside world, with thousands of friends, family members, coworkers, and near strangers on social media. The help us keep time, schedule appointments and manage our To Do Lists. They entertain us with music and games. They help us find directions and choose where to shop. They can even help us save money, and now with edRover, raise money for our favorite cause.
I knew I could create a great mobile app that would serve both local businesses that needed foot traffic and sales as well as consumers who were tired of traditional fundraising methods like selling junk food and trinkets to friends and family. That is how the edRover idea was born.
Then I realized I could repeat this success for other businesses, and that’s how my agency was born.
3. Tell us about how you got your first customer.
 
With edRover, we started getting customers once our app was posted in the App Store. Keeping them coming was the big trick! We needed to do a lot of outreach on the web and in person to get more consumers to download the app and use it to benefit their school. We really hit success when we found a local champion that wanted to lead the promotion of edRover within their own school. Now we seek out those influential parents to lead the charge.
With our agency, we reached out to a few influential businesses in town and gave them great deals to be our charter customers. They’ve really helped us open doors to new business opportunities.
4. How do you measure success?
We are all about impact. Are we helping schools with edRover? Are our apps generating new business for our clients? We know if we are serving our customers well, they will be great referral sources for new business.
5. Ever felt like throwing in the towel?
Sure! The app business is actually really hard! It looks awesome and glamorous to have an award-winning app, but every day, you have to stay in the trenches to improve the app, respond to customer feedback, tweak the business model, find new sources of traffic to keep growing.
Then I remind myself that most people wouldn’t even know where to begin! That knowledge helps keep me going and helping other people realize their own app dreams.
6. One thing I wish I would have known…
You need to spend at least as much on marketing your app as you did on building your app to get the success you desire.
7. Moving forward…
I can’t wait to offer a new version of the edRover platform to other charitable organizations so that they can benefit from a new way of fundraising. This vision has me so inspired!
8. The absolute best part of being self-employed is…
The flexibility to participate actively in my children’s lives is priceless. I used to work for a big company and had a three hour commute daily, if I weren’t on an airplane to the far reaches of the earth most of the time. I had a nanny, a work from home husband and a live in grandpa helping with the kids, but I could never be there for school parties, for drop off and pick up, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I felt tremendous mommy guilt which definitely outweighed my desire to progress in my career, even though that was extremely strong! I knew I needed to follow a path to becoming an entrepreneur to reinvent my life, and I finally feel like it is paying off. My kids love having me at home when they are home, I have the best commute ever (strolling downstairs to my office), and I can help my kids in their classrooms, sports, church and scouting.
9. The absolute best part of being a parent is…
My kids are entering middle childhood (7, 10, 12) and it is amazing to watch them turn into funny, smart, disciplined, ambitious, helpful and sweet young men. I’m glad they still want to hang around with and hug and kiss mom although I know this phase may not last long!
10. I never imagined…
The feeling of seeing your app “baby” for the first time in the App Store or Google Play is such a thrill. The fact that your kids think you are cool for having an app is even better!
Posted in Julianne Wish, Member Contributions | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

OMM Member Spotlight-Janelle Alex of Inward Oasis

(Repost)

Meet Janelle Alex of Inward Oasis.  Following is the story of her business, how it came to be and what the future holds for her and her business.

1. Business name, description and what makes it special

 Inward Oasis is the parent company of Reconnect w/Your Soul, Sexy Challenges, Sexy Challenge Heartbeats and Intimate Adventures.  Dr. Janelle Alex teaches practical spiritualityoutside the box.  And, for those amazing women wanting torecover their sensuality Dr. Janelle teaches how to combine the sacred and the sensual.  Via programs and/or private guidancewith Dr. Janelle, you can uncover your inner light, manifest the things you want into your life and live life more powerfully, confidently and while having a blast.  Live ALIVE!  
2. ‘Ah ha’ moment that led to launching this business:
 
I have been a business owner since I was 19; therefore launching this company was not a huge leap for me.  
Throughout the years I taught dance (my first company was my dance studio and I taught for 20+ years) I bondedwith my students and did a wonderful job teaching them, but I always had this inner knowing that something was missing.  It took me almost 20 years to figure out what that was.  During graduate school I finally learned howto have love and compassion for myself.  And, I learned a powerful Buddhist teaching of what a bodhisattva is.  I instantly said, “Oh My God!  That’s me!”  I had found how to access my inner light, my inner joy at any given moment.  I had reconnected to my Soul and I knew I had to go back and offer to guide others how to do the same. Sitting around in a blissful state by myself wasn’t going to benefit anyone.  :) 

3. Tell us about how you got your first customer.
 
Word of mouth has always been my powerful source for finding customers/clients.  My first official private client for Inward Oasis came via a book launch I promoted (and offered a free gift).

4. How do you measure success?
There are so many different types of success and many different ways to measure success within each type.  
Considering the four main aspects I will share my perception.
 
Spiritual success: Offering others a path to a doorway and offering them a key to step through that could
transform their lives.  Continuing to share this message with the world and continuing to reach
women across the globe is success.

Emotional success:  Experiencing my own inner joy and happiness when I see how other’s faces
light up and how their inner light shines brighter once their reconnect with themselves.  Knowing 
I have offered them a powerful and different  option is success to me.

Mental success:  Continuing to grow and expand my knowledge and awareness around business
and around the spiritual aspects of life is success to me.  

Physical success:  Ah, the money piece.  We each have an amount we would like to earn or a place we
want to be financially (comfortable, free, secure). Breaking six-figures a year will be the first step in 
feeling that Inward Oasis is physically successful. On one hand, it is the least important part of success.
On the other, I know that the more money it earns, the more beautiful and amazing women I can reach.
 
5. Ever felt like throwing in the towel?
 
Yep.  I went through a re-branding process recently. I had worked with my husband in regards to teaching
about the sacred and sensual, but something was missing.  I had to take a step back for a couple of months.
Regroup.  Pick up the towel (I never actually threw it in) and move forward with the individual piece of working with women in addition to working with couples.  We have to start with us as an individual before we can grow and expand with our partners/spouses/lovers within the sacred and sensual realms.
6. One thing I wish I would have known…
 
There is so much I have learned about having an online presence.  Knowing more about it sooner
could have been beneficial.  Knowing how important videos are for people to see my energy and see if
they resonate with me would have been a great  asset to have recognized sooner.
 
7. Moving forward…
 
I am speaking locally, facilitating a couple of local monthly groups.  I, also, love speaking on teleseminars, 
podcasts, radio shows; therefore, I am seeking more of those opportunities individually and with my husband.
I look forward to continuing to work with private clients as well as filling our programs. I am excited to see how our work evolves as technology continues to change and offer us different opportunities.
8. The absolute best part of being self-employed is…
 
As I said above, I have been self-employed for most of my adult life.  I have only worked for someone elsefor 16 months of my adult life.  I am a leader and LOVE being my own boss, setting my own schedule and being responsible for my income (bad or good).  And, a huge benefit is being able to be available for my kids whenever they need me.
9. The absolute best part of being a parent is…
 
The close bond I have with my sons.  Seeing them grow and change (and watching my oldest turn into a loving, compassionate man). Giving to them.  Guiding them.  Learning from them.  Giving and getting lots of love and hugs.
10. I never imagined…
I would be doing this work.  I knew I was meant to do more than just teach dance and run my studio, but I never thought I would have the opportunity to share my spirituality with the world.  And, I most certainly
never would have dreamed I would be teaching others how to combine the sacred and sensual and what an
amazing effect it can have on their lives.
You can find Inward Oasis on Facebook.

 

 

Posted in Julianne Wish, Member Contributions | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

OMM Member Spotlight-Michelle Gutierrez of Ms. Hoverfly

(Repost)

michelle gutierrezMeet Michelle Gutierrez of Ms. Hoverfly.  Following is the story of her business, how it came to be and what the future holds for her and her business.

1. Business name, description and what makes it special

ms hoverfly logoMs. Hoverfly is the name of my Virtual Assistant business. I specifically help small business owners with social media however, I also build websites, maintain websites, manage email lists, as well as a variety of projects involving everything from blog writing to surveys. I am a catch all for the small/online business owner. My VA business is unique in that I empathize greatly with each and every client; taking on their business as if it were my own. This month I started the first Ms. Hoverfly VA training course that has proven to be a huge success by not only the volume of women signed up but the wonderful feedback I am receiving from these future-parent-preneurs as well!

2. ‘Ah ha’ moment that led to launching this business:

The day that I knew I needed to start my own business was the first day I had to drop my son of at the sitters when he was only 5 weeks old.

3. Tell us about how you got your first customer.

My very first client was a referral from a friend I met through a networking group I started called, Dynamic Business Moms.

4. How do you measure success?

I feel successful when I feel balanced. If my home and family are running well, and my business is growing either by gaining new clients or helping other moms learn how to build their own VA business.

5. Ever felt like throwing in the towel?

NO. I have failed many times but giving up has never been an option. I just took my “failures” and turned them into learning experiences.

6. One thing I wish I would have known…

One thing I wish I would have known is how very hard it would be to run a business while caring for 2 young children. The learning curve has been a long one but no regrets.

7. Moving forward…

 I want to grown the training side of my business. Since teaching was my first love, I find that being able to combine my business with teaching others very rewarding

8. The absolute best part of being self-employed is…

The absolute best part of being self-employed is I am in control of my children’s lives and daily activities. I get to see them grow daily and be a part of their education that is a magnificent feeling of accomplishment.

9. The absolute best part of being a parent is… watching them enjoy life and all that it has to offer. Just getting the chance to be a part of their lives and see them grow is such a blessing.

10. I never imagined…that I would ever want something more than I wanted to teach, but I did when my son was born. I wanted him more than any career or thing in this world. I would gladly give it all away again if it meant I would get to be a part of this incredible journey!

You can find Ms. Hoverfly on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted in Julianne Wish, Member Contributions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

OMM Member Spotlight-Kara Anderson of Maids on the Run

(Repost)

Meet Kara Anderson of Maids on the Run.  Following is the story of her business, how it came to be and what the future holds for her and her business.

Image1. Business name, description and what makes it special- I do so many things and that is the mind of a self employed person. I started Maids on the Run after I lost my job to just put food on the table and now  we have 14 other cleaners that work with me and do about 100-125 homes a week, I invented The Bag Holder when I was a personal chef to make freezer meals easily with no mess and I wrote Santa’s Secret Elf while dealing with breast cancer. As my 5 year old sat on Santa’s lap all he asked for was to make his Mommy better. The next night I woke and wrote the story of Merryam and how she helps Santa with all those requests asking for things he can’t make.
 
2. Tell us about how you got your first customer.  Maids on the Run was easy to market. I offered free bathroom cleanings to everyone on my email list and if they loved us get rid of their housekeeper and keep me and if they didn’t just enjoy a clean bathroom. I got 4 new clients the first week in late 2008. The other product based things I do are not so much. People listen to other peoples opinions so trying to get someone to love The Bag Holder and the book and then share it is difficult. I need a group of friends to spread the word for me since that is on a tight budget. I can see how great it is and of course your first reply Yeah Yeah, everyone trying to sell somethings says that…LOL… but it really is🙂
 
3. How do you measure success? By how many people I make happy each week and how many activities I am able to enjoy with my family with out getting calls from the office. I f I don’t get calls that means all is going well and that we planned the week perfectly for staff and clients and fans.
 
4. Ever felt like throwing in the towel? NO way! I had cancer at 39 so dying would have been me throwing in the towel. I have been blessed to be here so I better make the most of it and do as much as I can while I can.
 
5. One thing I wish I would have known…I would love to have known more about connecting with others to grow and not just rely on myself and my research.
 
6. Moving forward… I hope to have build a brand with Merryam and big things to come for families and to franchise Maids on the Run, we are ready just timing and The Bag Holder we still hope it will be a household kitchen item. We all store leftovers and this is time saving and less mess making.
 
7. The absolute best part of being self-employed is… My schedule allows me to be available for all the activities my children have and knowing that something I created is making a difference in the lives of many.
8. The absolute best part of being a parent is… Being the one person that shows my children that if you think you can do it. Never be the one to say I wish I could…. I will  and I do.
 

9. I never imagined…Getting cancer would give me the confidence to do all that I wanted not just dream about it. I believe God gives us a wake up cal now and then and we better make the most of it. I live life with sense of urgency and this is what I would like to share. Courage, confidence and commitment are the only three things you need to know. Courage to actually take the leap and follow through with the ideas you have, confidence that it will be successful and that you will make it happen, commitment that even on bad days you remember than any day that you are your own boss is better than the best day of being someone else’s employee. They are the Three C’s to Success in my book.

You can find Santa’s Secret Elf, Bag Holder and Maids on the Run on Facebook.

Posted in Member Contributions | Leave a comment

Why Do I Need to Brand My Products?

There are literally millions of products on the market today.  What makes yours stand out from the others?  If the answer is nothing, you need to brand your products.

Branding is a way of getting your product in the minds of customers all over the world.  You could walk up to someone in Europe and they would know what Pepsi was.  Or, better yet, ask someone to name a soft drink and they would think of popular brands like Pepsi and Coca-Cola.  That is how much we are into those two sodas.

Whatever you are selling, there is someone else selling a variation of that product as well.  What hope do you have of gaining a share of the market?  Your hope is in branding your product.  

To brand your product, you will need to ask yourself a few questions.  First, what is the business all about?  There must be a reason that drives you to sell your product.  If it is to provide good quality socks or soap or radios to the consumer, then let that be the key to your brand strategy.

All products need a logo.  Without one, that shirt you are trying to sell is just another shirt.  The logo will remind people of your products and also say something about the company’s mission.  For instance, a logo for plush toys wouldn’t be a creature with fangs.  You may have always wanted to create such a logo but this is not the appropriate product.  

Do you have a slogan or tagline?  When people talk about Verizon wireless service they hear, “Can you hear me now? Good.”  For Visa, they hear, “It’s everywhere you want to be.”  Those slogans say something about the service.  You can depend on their wireless service to keep you in touch with the world even in remote locations.  As for Visa, you can use it anywhere credit cards are accepted.

Determine what sets your product apart for others of its kind and play to that strength.  Being unique is difficult in business, but it can be done with a good branding strategy.  The uniqueness will get your product noticed through a marketing campaign.  It won’t benefit your business if you have a good product and no one knows how good it is or can find it.

Without branding, your products are just one of a hundred or a thousand others on the market.  If you can back up the claims about the product, use a brand to get it into households and businesses around the globe.

Branding your product will make it stand out among the competition.  Branding is not an exact science but it can boost the sales of other lesser-known products in your inventory when your premier product catches on.  In business we are always looking for a way into the inner sanctum of profit, and branding is the beginning.  

JuliImageanne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

Posted in Member Contributions | Leave a comment

Masters of Mommy Muscle Marketing

Moms across the country are contributing to the family income from their kitchen tables and if you’ve thought about joining the movement there is no better time. The age of internet marketing has brought opportunities galore! Learn to be your own boss, how to maximize your impact and be seen as the amazing business women that you are, all from the virtual world. Creating a brilliant plan – with actual content and resources that you can use immediately – will help you increase the quality of paying customers. Developing an organized process is important because it allows you to ASK for what you are worth. Here are some hot tips that will help you to achieve amazing results as a first time business owner:
1. As the CEO you’ll wear many hats, but the biggest job you’ll have is to market your business.  How else will people know to find you?
2. Commit to 1 hour of marketing each and every day, broken up into two 30 minute segments.  Market in the morning before breakfast and again after dinner.
3. Go Viral! Take time to build a marketing team of fans that will talk about you when you are not there.
4. Engage your community and your fans with educational tips and tricks that will help you to stand out as an expert in your field (as well as at your kitchen table!)

Self -employed Parent Enthusiast Ally Loprete is the Founder of OurMilkMoney.com, a
nationwide online business directory of self-employed parents, and the host of This Little
Parent Stayed Home, a live weekly radio show, on The Toginet.com Radio Group which can
be downloaded on iTunes. Ally is on a mission to help other’s deal with the sometimes
overwhelming prospect of leaving a full time job to start a new business, while running a full time household and raising kids. She is resolute about creating a haven in which parents across the nation will continue to thrive and obtain the support they need in their personal journeys. Self-employed parents, list your business for free at http://www.ourmilkmoney.com. Private coaching is available at http://www.thislittleparent.info.

Posted in Ally Loprete | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

March Member Spotlight – Jennifer Marko

Meet Jennifer Marko, President of Bottle Snugglers. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida and is married with one son who is now 4 ½.  Continue reading to learn how she took an everyday problem experienced by most moms and turned it into a great product and successful business that now helps moms!

  1. Please tell us about your business and the service that you provide: I own a baby product business called Bottle Snugglers Feeding Helpers. They are a third hand for Mom when life’s little emergencies happen during baby’s feeding time. Now Mom can continue to cuddle and feed baby and have one occasional hand free to take care of another child or herself!
  2. What motivated you to start your business? When I had a baby, I owned a very busy public relations practice, and I soon found that sometimes I didn’t have enough hands to serve all of my masters, i.e. I couldn’t meet media deadlines, communicate with clients, and feed baby when they all happened at the same time.
  3. What kind of background or expertise do you have in your field? None! I was in PR for 10 years, and when I decided to get into retail and manufacturing, it was a giant leap of faith with a serious learning curve.
  4. What trends do you see in your current industry? I love that Moms are inventing products out of necessity and then introducing them to the market.
  5. What are the most demanding aspects about your business? I think it’s all about perspective, but one can really spend an inordinate amount of time working on launching a product. In my mind, it’s all about the amount of hours you put in and the number of “No’s” you get that lead you to the “Yes”, so I can burn the midnight oil or be more realistic in ticking off those hours.
  6. What are the most rewarding aspects about your business? When I get a great email from a customer who is so relieved to have a little help when she needs it via the Bottle Snuggler, that is perhaps my greatest reward.
  7. What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a business like yours? Find someone who is already in the industry, and ask them for advice. You can save many hours of research and avoid some big mistakes this way. You may have a great idea, but if the market circumstances are not right for it, you want to know this BEFORE you invest!
  8. What are you most proud of as a parent-preneur? I have had a home office since before my son was born, so it’s all he knows. I was very relieved when we had a nanny for him in our home from age 2 months to 18 months that I could always walk downstairs to check on him or just spend some quality time during the day. That is a huge benefit of having a home office.
  9. How have you been able to balance your time between work and your family? It’s never fully balanced, but as long as I have productive time at work AND productive time with my family each week, I consider it a success. I think it’s too much to think that we can do it all and do it well all the time. I just try my best every day, and I’m happy with how it has turned out so far.
  10. What has been the most effective way for you to promote and market yourself? For Bottle Snugglers, SEO (search engine optimization) has been the key. We don’t have a large advertising budget, so we really rely on optimizing our website to bring new customers to the site.

Finally: What does your “Milk Money” provide for you and your family? Being a parent-preneur allows me to provide a stress-relieving and problem-solving product to other Moms; it allows me to fulfill the business-oriented side of my personality; and it shows my son that Mommies are multi-faceted and multi-talented people who can do anything they want in life.

You can also find Bottle Snugglers on Facebook and Twitter.

Posted in Julianne Wish, Member Contributions | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

March Member Spotlight – Kim Curran

Meet Kim Curran, mother to Jack 4 & Isabelle 8, wife to Richard for 11 & a half years. She worked as an account executive at a large publishing company before becoming pregnant. In preparation of the arrival of her new baby, Richard bought a digital camera. As a child, she had a passion for photography. The birth of her baby girl ignited that passion once again. She began photography playgroups & her business was born.

  1. Please tell us about your business and the service that you provide: Modern child photographer: I do photo shoots & offer a variety of photo products that include prints, albums, cards & announcements and more. I am also planning to offer classed to teach parents to take better portraits of their kiddos
  2. What motivated you to start your business? It seemed the natural thing to do…I couldn’t stop it
  3. What kind of background or expertise do you have in your field? An education in art & 8 years on the job training.
  4. What trends do you see in your current industry? Colorful, urban settings are popular. Also less fussy, a bit more childish is favored.
  5. What are the most demanding aspects about your business? Scheduling & editing.
  6. What are the most rewarding aspects about your business? Creating beautiful art that is treasured. Being told my work is what they would grab first if their house was on fire. LOVE THAT
  7. What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a business like yours? If you have the passion for photography, go for it! Start with your mommy groups, charge a little until your skill gets better. Look at professional sites for inspiration but do not compare your work to theirs, you will go crazy. Take a business class.
  8. How have you been able to balance your time between work and your family? I have a maid 2x a month, that really helps!
  9. What has been the most effective way for you to promote and market yourself? Word of mouth
  10. Finally: What does your “Milk Money” provide for you and your family? Peace of mind & flexibility.
Posted in Julianne Wish, Member Contributions | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turning Your Lemons into a Lemonade Stand

Okay, so life didn’t give you lemons, but it gave you something else.
The most common challenge I hear from the parents who are searching for a new avenue that will allow them to earn an income from home is this:

“I don’t know what I can do.”

The amount of times I hear that phrase is staggering.

It’s time that we dive into this common issue. Why is it we feel so inadequate and
unaccomplished? Are we still all searching for our purpose in life? Is it possible you were really branded with no such talent to offer the world?

Start with realizing what kind of lemons you were handed in this lifetime, and where you are under-utilizing yourself. Remember those career assessment tests they made us take in grade school? This is a little bit like that, only it isn’t so broad as to try and fit your square peg into a round hole. Start by making a list of your skills. What have people paid you to do in the past? Do you make a mean lasagna? Know a foreign language? Sew? Play an instrument? These are all gifts just waiting to be recognized by you.

Its time for you to discover the gift life has given you, but more than that, its time for you to share your gift with the world.

Self -employed Parent Enthusiast Ally Loprete is the Founder of OurMilkMoney.com, a
nationwide online business directory of self-employed parents, and the host of This Little
Parent Stayed Home, a live weekly radio show, on The Toginet.com Radio Group which can be downloaded on iTunes. Ally is on a mission to help other’s deal with the sometimes overwhelming prospect of leaving a full time job to start a new business, while running a full time household and raising kids. She is resolute about creating a haven in which parents across the nation will continue to thrive and obtain the support they need in their personal journeys. Self-employed parents, list your business for free at http://www.ourmilkmoney.com. Private coaching is available at http://www.thislittleparent.info.

Posted in Ally Loprete | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Look Out. Here Comes Tomorrow.

The last time I checked I wasn’t a fifteen year old girl from the 60s, but I was surprised at how affected I was by the death of Davy Jones last week.  Then again I guess it makes sense. I was a Monkees fan before I was a Beatles fan (and anyone who knows me knows there ain’t no bigger Beatles fan). My brother and I used to come home from school and watch the reruns of the Monkees show in the 70s. Then we would play the Greatest Hits album and transform ourselves into the band playing in front of thousands of screaming girls. My brother was a Mike Nesmith fan so he would play the guitar (on a tennis racket). I was a Micky Dolenz guy so I would play the drums (on my hamper). I know the Monkees are seen as a bubblegum “fake” group, but the show and their music is brilliant and still holds up 45 years later. That band sparked my love of comedy and music, two things that still play such a big role in my life to this day.

So what does this have to do with a Daddy blog? Well, I got to thinking about memories and when they start to stick. My oldest will be six next month. I think I was around his age when I discovered The Monkees ergo music and comedy. My sixth year of life was when things really started to click. 1977: The year of my first obsession, “Star Wars”. First grade.  The year I started to make friends that I still have today. Six is still my favorite number because of that year. I swear. I remember at the time my mom asking me “What’s your favorite number?” I yelled out “Six!” My older brother looked at me and snarked, “Oh so is seven going to be your favorite number next year?” (jackass). I replied”uhh…no.” and so it stayed six.

So as far as my son goes, the window of “Oh he won’t remember this when he’s older” has slammed shut. This time when I screw up as a father, it’s very possible I’ll be doing some real damage. How’s that for pressure? I also gotta get my head in the game and start the wheels of influence. First up? I’m breaking out the season one DVD box set of The Monkees. (Yup. I own it.)

Chris Loprete, aka the father of Our Milk Money, began writing his experiences as a new father upon the launch of Our Milk Money, calling his work, appropriately, The Daddy’s Den. Chris is no stranger to comedy composition. He wrote and performed his one-man show You’re from Philly, Charlie Brown, having successful runs at Circle X Theatre, The Lonny Chapman Repertory Theatre and The Comedy Central Workspace in Hollywood, California as well the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Chris has performed all over the country in theatrical productions, television and film. He is an alumni of The Circle X Theatre Company and The Groundlings Sunday Company. Currently, he is a writer/producer for the Comedy and Reality Promo Team at ABC Television. Chris lives in Stevenson Ranch, California with his wife Ally, founder of OurMilkMoney.com and his two beautiful sons, Braden and Henry.

Posted in Chris Loprete, Dads | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

February Member Spotlight – Dionne Wright-Jones

Meet Dionne Wright-Jones. She is a wife and a mother of two. Her son is 7 and her daughter is 4. She has been a WAHM for 7 years. She started JH Custom Designs 5 years ago.

1.      Please tell us about your business and the service that you provide:

JH Custom Designs is a gift basket business specializing in custom theme gift baskets. We provide gift baskets and gifts for individuals and corporate clients primarily from our online store. We hand deliver locally in Baltimore, Maryland and ship anywhere within the United States.  You can also find us on Facebook.

2.      What motivated you to start your business?

About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with and survived cancer. At that time I was told I might not have children after chemotherapy treatment. I made a promise to myself and to God that if I was given the chance to have children I would do everything I could and work as hard as I could to be the best Mom I could be, and to me that meant being able to stay at home and raise my children myself. I felt like there had to be something I could do from home that would allow me to stay home and be a Mom while also contributing to the family’s income. I never returned to work after my maternity leave. I started working as a Medical Transcriptionist from home when my son was 6 months old. Being a Medical Transcriptionist helped pay the bills and allowed me to work from home, but it wasn’t rewarding. My husband, and biggest supporter, pushed me to start the gift basket business because he knew I had creative talents. 

3.      What kind of background or expertise do you have in your field?

I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I’ve always been known as the party planner, decorator, and creative one to go to. I’ve made gift baskets and towel cakes for years for friends and family as a hobby.

4.      What trends do you see in your current industry?

I think people are really starting to realize how important it is to keep current customers and build relationships especially in this economy. We provide a way to show appreciation while also strengthening those relationships. We’re trying to show people that gift baskets can be more than not just fruit in a wicker basket. Gift baskets have come a long way, and we are always looking for new and exciting products to add. I love to create unique designs specifically for the recipient. 

5.      What are the most demanding aspects about your business? 

It’s a lot of pressure running a business and also being a wife and mother. My business is one of strict timelines. We pride ourselves on delivering a quality product in a timely manner, but it’s hard being a one-woman show at times. 

6.      What are the most rewarding aspects about your business?

We’ve had customers place orders from as far away as Australia and Canada. Our customers put a lot of trust in us to deliver not only a nice looking gift but the sentiment along with it.  I love it when a customer calls to say thank you for doing a great job.

7.      What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a business like yours?

Make sure you do lots of research first on the best wholesale places for baskets and products. Seek out others in the industry for advice. Be ready for long hours and hard work.

8.      What are you most proud of as a parent-preneur?

I’m so proud that I’ve been able to stay at home with my two children. I am the one who picks my son up from school every day. I’ve been able to make all his field trips and see him star in his first school play. It’s Priceless!

9.      How have you been able to balance your time between work and your family?

My husband has always been very supportive and helps out a lot with the business. I couldn’t have made it this far without the help and support of my family. Many volunteer hours have gone into helping this business to grow.

10.  What has been the most effective way for you to promote and market yourself?

Most of our sales come from our website. We’ve decided not to go into a brick and mortar store just yet. Having a part-time retail office and home office allows me the time to focus on the website and get out and meet with our corporate clients face to face.

Finally: What does your “Milk Money” provide for you and your family?

My milk money has given me the opportunity to completely enjoy every special moment in my children’s lives so far. My husband works very hard to support our family, and being able to financially contribute helps to make it a little easier on him. I’m keeping that promise that I made and also being the entrepreneur that I’ve always wanted to be. I love it!

Posted in Julianne Wish, Member Contributions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

February Member Spotlight- Denise Galati

Meet Denise Galati.  She is a native Southern California resident of 45+ years. She grew up in the San Fernando Valley and relocated to the Santa Clarita Valley  in 1995 to raise her daughter and has remained there ever since.

1.      Please tell us about your business and the service that you provide:

I am a Realtor and a member of California Association of Realtors, National Association of Realtors and Southland Regional Association of Realtors.  My motto is to provide; 100% Commitment – 100% Of the Time.

2.      What motivated you to start your business?

I was in the corporate world for 30+ years and always knew that was not my calling. So I decided to bridge two things that I am interested in, people and real estate.  I truly care about people and love helping them find the right house for them to call home!  It is very gratifying.

3.      What kind of background or expertise do you have in your field?

I am SFR (Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource) certified.

4.      What trends do you see in your current industry?

Short sales will continue to be a big part of the real estate market but, having said that, standard sales are rebounding!

5.      What are the most demanding aspects about your business? 

The real estate market is constantly changing and keeping up with all these changes can be challenging.

6.      What are the most rewarding aspects about your business?

When my clients get the keys to their new home! It is such an exciting time!

7.      What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a business like yours?

Be aware that the real estate market is recovering and that making a living is  hard work.

8.      What are you most proud of as a parent-preneur?

That my daughter is a good, caring person and has a beautiful singing voice that is God-given!

9.      How have you been able to balance your time between work and your family?  

I plan ahead by structuring my time.  This enables me to run my business, take care of my clients and make sure I get quality time with my family! 

10.  What has been the most effective way for you to promote and market yourself?

Getting out in the neighborhood and talking to people!  Listening to their needs and offering my help, whenever possible.  Although we live in a technological world, I am old-fashioned at heart. I still believe that the best way of communicating is in person.

11.   Finally: What does your “Milk Money” provide for you and your family?

Because I am an animal lover, if any of my clients have a favorite pet charity/ rescue, I let them know that I will send a charitable contribution to that organization!

Posted in Julianne Wish, Member Contributions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can You Afford To Quit Your Job?

Can You Afford to Quit Your Job?

One of the biggest misconceptions that parents who want to quit their job make is in the financial preparations. If it takes at least a year to build a business from home, then logically that would mean you would need to save at least your full annual income to live off of in that year, right? WRONG.

No wonder so many people think it is impossible and remain STUCK in a less than desirable situation. The good news is that you are NOT STUCK. The bad news? There are still sacrifices to be made.

Before losing all hope, create a financial spreadsheet. Cut out all of the expenses that go along with working outside of the home, such as daycare expenses, house cleaning, commuting, etc. With your spouse’s income, you should only be in the negative $200-$500 a month. That negative amount x 12 months will equal the more logical annual goal to have saved before you quit your job. $2400 is much more attainable to have saved than $60,000, and should minimize the fear of jumping without that safety net. Furthermore, this now gives you a new income goal as a first time business owner. Concentrate on earning that negative amount back to replenish your savings, and before you know it, you’ll be thriving as a self-employed career parent. For more support in preparing to make that leap, visit http://www.thislittleparent.info.

Self -employed Parent Enthusiast Ally Loprete is the Founder of OurMilkMoney.com, a nationwide online business directory of self-employed parents,  and the host of This Little Parent Stayed Home, a live weekly radio show, on The Toginet.com Radio Group which can be downloaded on iTunes.  Ally is on a mission to help other’s deal with the sometimes overwhelming prospect of leaving a full time job to start a new business, while running a full time household and raising kids. She is resolute about creating a haven in which parents across the nation will continue to thrive and obtain the support they need in their personal journeys. Self-employed parents, list your business for free at  www.ourmilkmoney.com. Private coaching is available at http://www.thislittleparent.info.

Posted in Ally Loprete | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

February Member Spotlight – Stacy McGuigan

Meet StacyMcGuiga, Party Conciege!

1.      Please tell us about your business and the service that you provide:

Special Events Company, provide invitations, theme ideas, centerpieces, favors, just ask and I will find (florists, caterers, DJs, etc…)

2.      What motivated you to start your business?

I have been giving people party ideas for years as well as throwing great parties not only for my kids but for my husband and our friends, it was time to get paid for my creativity!!

3.      What kind of background or expertise do you have in your field? 

I was the PR/Marketing Manager and Special Events manager for The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner.

4.      What trends do you see in your current industry? 

More home parties.

5.      What are the most demanding aspects about your business? 

Meeting your client’s budget and giving the WOW factor!!!

6.      What are the most rewarding aspects about your business? 

Seeing the person who the party is for, their face when they see the event all pulled together.  Seeing people have fun at the events I create and getting their feedback.

7.      What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a business like yours? 

Be specific with what type of events you want to do and go for it, put yourself out there, be positive and know that it takes a while for people to call you, but once they do, they will keep calling.

8.      What are you most proud of as a parent-preneur?

Showing my children that if you have a passion for doing something, take the chance, work hard and you can be very successful and happy at the same time.

9.      How have you been able to balance your time between work and your family? 

It is very hard but I try to work when the children are in school or when they are in bed.  If they can help me with a portion of the event, they do.  We are successful together and support each other in our family.

10.  What has been the most effective way for you to promote and market yourself? 

WORD of mouth and making “friends” with reporters in the local papers.  Within one year of being an official business I have had 7 articles written either about me or thanking my company.

Finally: What does your “Milk Money” provide for you and your family? 

As a new member, I hope more exposure for my company and potential new clients.

Posted in Julianne Wish, Member Contributions | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This Week’s Fantasy

I come downstairs and see my 5 year old practicing his piano. He’s practicing a song he wrote called “Riding the Waves”. It’s a little derivative of “Breathe Me” by Sia but he’s added some nice changes. If he can add a strong bridge, he’ll have a hit on his hands. And yes I know I sound casual, but I am constantly amazed that my five year old son made up a song one day and consistently plays it the same way every time. Then I turn and see my 2 year old who has just discovered singing. He is belting out “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” from The Lion King. He’s not just singing it however. He’s crooning. He’s bending the notes in a way that would impress Michael Buble. The emotion on his face makes me utterly convinced how eager he is to begin his reign over the Serengeti. This real life scene transports me into the following fantasy which is laid out instantaneously in my head…

My boys continue to develop their vocal and instrumental skills as they grow older. Braden, the older brother, becomes not only prodigious on the piano, but the drums and bass as well. He also becomes a brilliant songwriter. Henry, the younger, develops his singing voice and good looks while learning a little rhythm guitar.

At 13 and 10 respectively they cut a fun little video of an original tune and post it on YouTube. It quickly explodes into a viral sensation garnering millions of hits and the Bieber-esque journey begins.

The boys are signed by Hollywood Records and the band name officially becomes LoPrete. The P is capitalized so that it can have a more aerodynamic look on CD covers. Much like the VH in Van Halen

They make their national television debut on “Teens of 2018!” the new Disney Channel show. Their first CD “Meet LoPrete” goes multi-platinum and the ensuing world tour is the largest grossing tour of the year.

They begin work on a Disney😄 sitcom called “Brothers in Rock!” which quickly climbs to the top of the ratings. Critics call the Lopretes “charming….likeable….naturally talented.” Variety writes” The eldest, Braden, exudes a Lennon-esque bad boy confidence and rugged handsomeness while Henry fills the McCartney dreamy eyed gentle soul role”

Braden and Henry Loprete are named one of Barbara Walters Most Fascinating People of the Year. Miss Walters, who has ignored calls for her retirement and instead chooses to increase the soft filter effect on her camera, interviews the boys as well as their parents. Ally, their mother, is a celebrity in her own right as her 10 year old business and radio show has reaped national recognition as well as a multi book deal and reality show on the Lifetime network. Chris, their father, has recently recovered from a mild heart attack and looks aged and …well…just tired. He’s proud of the boys though and while he does take a small percentage of their profits to cover expenses and invest in a college fund, most of their money goes to them. He’s charming and funny, but at times borders on stealing the spotlight from the boys. Almost as if he’s making it about him. It’s not quite Michael Lohan but it’s still kind of embarrassing. Luckily the editor of the piece puts a stop to any grandstanding that takes place.

LoPrete enjoys continued success for 5 more years and two more albums. When LoPretemania begins to wane the boys decide to jump off the fame train and continue a normal adolescence. Luckily their father has not only been fiscally responsible enough to set enough money aside for college, but has made a number of smart investments that has made enough for the whole family to retire to the beaches of Hawaii where the father will host the morning show “Aloha Waikiki!” and-

HENRY! DON’T!

SLAM!!

I am hurled back to reality by an ear piercing scream and a cacophony of piano notes as my two year old has begun to bang away on the keys. My five year old begins to bang away as well…on my two year old. My wife tries to break them up all the while yelling at me, “DO YOU THINK YOU COULD WAKE UP LONG ENOUGH TO HELP ME WITH THESE DAMN KIDS?!” I move to intervene with a hint of a smile breaking out on my face. This will make a great story for the Barbara interview.

Chris Loprete, aka the father of Our Milk Money, began writing his experiences as a new father upon the launch of Our Milk Money, calling his work, appropriately, The Daddy’s Den. Chris is no stranger to comedy composition. He wrote and performed his one-man show You’re from Philly, Charlie Brown, having successful runs at Circle X Theatre, The Lonny Chapman Repertory Theatre and The Comedy Central Workspace in Hollywood, California as well the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Chris has performed all over the country in theatrical productions, television and film. He is an alumni of The Circle X Theatre Company and The Groundlings Sunday Company. Currently, he is a writer/producer for the Comedy and Reality Promo Team at ABC Television. Chris lives in Stevenson Ranch, California with his wife Ally, founder of OurMilkMoney.com and his two beautiful sons, Braden and Henry.

Posted in Chris Loprete, Dads | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment