We've been hearing so much depressing news about the job market, it's a refreshing change when there's actually something good happening out there for hard-working moms.
Recently, career expert Dr. Laurence Shatkin Ph.D. appeared on CBS' The Early Show on Saturday Morning to talk about the five fastest-growing jobs right now. (He knows what he's talking about, having helped research and develop the book, 100 Fastest-Growing Careers.) He highlighted these jobs because of their high rate of growth and plenty of openings.
If you're in one of these careers, it looks like great things await you! And if you're considering a switch, these might be some food for thought.
- Home Health Aides and Personal and Home Care Aides
- Computer Network, Systems, and Database Administrators
- Registered Nurses
- Medical Assistants
- Accountants and Auditors
You can search for flexible jobs within these professions and others using the Mom Corps Job Search tool. In particular, you'll find lots of opportunities in Accounting & Finance and Information Technology. Here's to more positive jobs news in the weeks and months ahead!
Forbes just released its second annual "Best Cities for Working Mothers" list. They take into account safety, schools, healthcare, job opportunities, high earnings potential and budget-friendly cost of living in major metropolitan areas. Then, Forbes crunches the numbers and identifies top locales in the U.S. for moms to work and raise kids.
Whenever these types of lists come out, aren't you always a little curious to see where your town ranks? Well, go ahead and satisfy your curiosity with the full list of 50 cities on Forbes.
As a bonus, we've compiled a list of Best Cities for Working Mothers that also have a local Mom Corps franchise.
Don't see your town on here? Maybe you should start a Mom Corps franchise in your city! (That would definitely help your area become a great place for working moms.)
Want to become the next big "mompreneur"?
You might want to put the Super Mom Entrepreneur Conference & Expo on your calendar for Oct. 30, 2010. Just think of it as a prime opportunity to realize your business potential--and enjoy a little "me time" in New York City while you're at it!
Super Mom organizers crafted this one-day conference to encourage all mom idealists, mom creators and newbies in business to discover their unique and authentic purpose, create their economic futures and create a lifestyle business they love, while supporting their family in all sects.
If you attend, you can look forward to:
- Keynotes by Savor The Success’ Angela Jia Kim, Count Me In/ Make Mine a Million’s Nell Merlino, and Mompreneurs® Online’s Ellen Parlapiano.
- 16 workshops designed to teach moms how to start, build, & grow their businesses, led by powerful speakers such as our own CEO Allison O’Kelly (woot!), the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur Mike Michalowicz, the Entreprenette Sarah Shaw, Self Made Millionaire Bonnie Marcus of the Bonnie Marcus Collection, and more.
- A B2B & Mom2Mom Expo allowing both the opportunity for moms to highlight their own businesses and for moms to access products and services to grow their businesses.
- Numerous networking opportunities, including a pre-conference networking mixer on Friday night, designed to build lasting connections and support between attendees.
- An Awards & Grant Cocktail Hour, featuring the announcement of the winner of the Super Mom Entrepreneur Fund grant, a small grant designed to help a mom start or expand her business.
Get all the details about the Super Mom Entrepreneur Conference & Expo and register here. Maybe we'll see you there!
When was the last time you felt truly rested? Most of us work so hard on a daily basis (at the office, at home and everywhere else!), we simply don't enough rest.
And we suffer the consequences, battling exhaustion from morning till night. Award-winning sleep, rest, and body clock expert Matthew Edlund recently shared with us an hour-by-hour plan for working moms to combat workday exhaustion and become more productive on the job. See if these tips from "The Rest Doctor" can help you power through your day more efficiently.
Right before you arrive at work, put a happy, fast-paced song on your headphones and walk in time to the music, feeling the beat throughout your body. This can boost your energy and improve your outlook within one minute.
When you get to your desk, take thirty seconds and breathe deeply. Breathe in to the count of four, out to the count of eight – really open up those lungs. Now think of your first priority of the day – the task you really need to get done. Figure out a time and place in your schedule to get that one thing accomplished.
Take your first break. Get up and move around. If possible, stop by to visit a coworker for a brief chat—short social connections help us switch gears and are a powerful rest technique. When you get back to your desk, consider your to-do list and visualize yourself accomplishing the two most important tasks on that list.
Walk with a co-worker to lunch. The physical activity and exposure to sunlight will help keep your energy up, while the social interaction helps relieve stress.
For most people the early afternoon is a period of low energy. If you are feeling a bit sluggish, stand up and practice mountain pose: Align your ankle, knee, hip and shoulders along the same imaginary line, breathing in deeply and slowly.
If possible, take a short nap of 15 minutes or less. Studies prove that short naps improve work performance – however, if your employer doesn’t approve, you can try the “UnNap” nap technique or a brisk walk outdoors in sunlight to help wake you up.
Take a coffee or tea break (drink decaf if you have trouble sleeping at night). Again, try to engage with your coworkers. Not only is the social connection important, it’s also better for overall productivity if colleagues have a chance to casually check in with each other and discuss any issues or challenges they might be facing in their work
Before you leave the office, practice deep breathing for fifteen seconds and then think of your first work priority. Did you accomplish it? If not, plan how you might get it done tomorrow. Take stock of your day and think about what you learned—perhaps a new technique from a colleague, or a better way to interact with your boss. Congratulate yourself on what you have accomplished.
Matthew Edlund, M. D., M.O.H., is an award-winning expert on rest, body clocks, and sleep. Dr. Edlund’s work had been featured in O, the Oprah Magazine, Prevention, Shape, Redbook, Real Simple, More, PsychologyToday.com, and hundreds of other magazines, newspapers and websites. He founded the West Coast Regional Sleep Disorders Center, and now runs both the Center for Circadian Medicine and the Gulf Coast Sleep Institute in Sarasota, Florida.
By Jennifer Dennard
Not that we need another chore to take on, but moms who are active on the Web must remember to keep online profiles up to date to maintain relevance in the social networking world.
Summer is upon us, but it’s not too late to do a little spring cleaning of the various online profiles you’ve got scattered around the World Wide Web. An up-to-date profile can be the key to maintaining fans/followers/hangers on, attracting new ones and establishing valuable professional connections.
Just as I do for the corporate social networking sites I manage, so too must I occasionally make sure that my online profiles are reflective of my most recent passions and professional endeavors.
Let’s take it step by step:
I recently came across a tweeter with the phrase “social media marketer” in his bio, prompting me to follow him. Would he do the same for me? Did my bio include the same phrase? I immediately went to my Twitter page to check and made the appropriate changes.
If you’re veering into a more professional voice on Twitter, you may want to consider changing a cutesy Twitter handle (like mine, @SmyrnaGirl) to your more formal full name, assuming it’s available. This further establishes your online identity, especially when you make it consistent across all the social networking sites you use.
The same principle can be applied to your profile picture. Your image is the first impression visitors have of your personal brand, so choose it wisely. Which reminds me I need to update my Facebook pic right now. For some reason it differs from the one I use on LinkedIn and Twitter. Back in a sec.
I know this is going to sound snobbish, but don’t use a personal MySpace account anymore! When asked for a website address, use a personal blog, LinkedIn profile page or personal website address. Pick a site that you update consistently and/or are actively engaged with. (LinkedIn’s always a safe bet. Make sure you have a few connections first, though!)
Depending on what you use Facebook for will determine how much of an online profile you want to have on your Facebook account. I’m rarely on the site for personal reasons, so I concentrate only on maintaining my contact, education and work profile sections.
For more information, especially with regard to keeping track of your digital footprint and maintaining privacy settings, check out “Managing Your Online Profile” at PewResearch.org.
It’s important to remember that your personal profile information – image, website, user name, etc. - is often the first snapshot social networkers have of your brand. So the next time you’ve got a few free minutes - whether it be waiting in the carpool line, hanging out during a tumbling class, or just before you go to bed - do a little social media housekeeping to manage your mommy brand.
This article originally appeared on the Atlanta Working Moms Examiner blog.
Jennifer Dennard, a full-time working mother of two, is currently adjusting to life after maternity leave. In addition to being Internet Content Coordinator at Billian Publishing, she enjoys blogging for Mom Corps and Mamapedia Voices.
Bitten by the entrepreneurial “bug” early on, Sharon Vinderine always knew she was going to run a company. The business spirit simply runs in her blood (nurtured by entrepreneurial parents), even now, in her ability to create, transform, and lead people and companies. Her passion for business is now a huge boon for families and kids throughout the United States and Canada.
But, it didn’t start with families and kids. In 1997, Sharon launched the first wireless company in Canada. Quite a start for a young entrepreneur! The venture was a smash hit, very innovative and a huge success. After that, she felt the “pull” and drive to develop business success even more fully.
Then she had kids. Two of them!
Her interest in the wireless industry, which she thought would be a lifetime occupation, disappeared. Her perspective on the world changed entirely. How could it not? Sharon’s passion for business didn’t disappear at all though, in fact, it tuned into a fascination with the parenting industry. Any and all products for kids and families became her first priority (okay, second after the kids) and the wheels started turning.
Was there a moment of inspiration for this mom and successful business owner? Yes--lifting slippery and squirming wet babies out of the bath. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? By the time the kids are safely out of the tub, you’re soaked, the bathroom is soaked, the kids are still wet and so is anyone or anything standing near you. We’ve all been there. Sharon knew there had to be a better way, so she invented it.
The Kangaroo Towel was born. While the introduction of wireless to Canada was great for the business world, the Kangaroo Towel was even greater for parents and kids everywhere. Such a small product to meet such a huge need…and the consumer response confirmed it. The Kangaroo Towel became an award-winning product; it allows parents to cover themselves and baby after bath time keeping everybody dry, safe, and cozy. Launched in 2007, the towel was a turning point in Sharon’s passion for everything and anything kid and family related.
She quickly noticed a serious void in the family product market. After buying and trying product after product for kids and families, Sharon grew increasingly disappointed not only with the quality of the products she had purchased, but also with the unfulfilled promises companies made about their products. How could parents know which products were best and avoid spending money on useless or low-quality items trumped up with pretty packaging and lovely marketing pitches? Was there a way to help parents buy the right product the first time? Again, the business wheels turned. She envisioned family product testing, done by unbiased parents, in their homes, with awards given to products that made the grade – the family grade, a stringent one at that. After all, isn’t the best recommendation you can get for a product from a friend or a fellow parent who has tried and loved a product?
Sharon launched PTPA Media, Inc (Parent Tested Parent Approved) in 2007 and ran the first parent testing campaign in 2008. It’s been growing like mad ever since. Why? It’s a consumer-driven company that recommends products if, and only if, they receive the now coveted PTPA Media Award and Seal of Approval, after rigorous parent testing and evaluation. Companies large and small, from Disney and Vtech to Mabel’s Labels and ShadyBaby, are sending their products in for parents to test at home.
PTPA Media, Inc. gives consumers a direct voice to manufacturers about their products. Sharon is especially sensitive to giving new companies a chance to get in the game with the big companies. A winner is a winner (no matter how small) and the media coverage delivered by PTPA, from press releases, television, print and online exposure, and social networking coverage works wonders for companies of all shapes and sizes. The focus is on the quality of the product and whether or not parents find that it lives up to its promises, is useful, enjoyable, sturdy, fulfils its desired role in the category it represents, and would garner a recommendation from them to another parent.
When a product wins a PTPA Media Award and uses the PTPA Seal of Approval, they’ve got a direct line to parent loyalty and companies both want and need this consumer confidence—especially in today’s economy. Sharon Vinderine is all about kids and family products and testing in a real-life atmosphere, where parents and kids live, grow, play, sleep, eat, bathe, and have fun. Combine this passion with deep business experience and her very firm belief in the power of great customer service and you have another winner on your hands: PTPA Media, Inc.
Find out more about how PTPA Media and PTPA parent product testers work by visiting us at www.ptpa.com.
What does PTPA Media recommend for Mom Corps' busy moms?
Thought Spots Encouraging Peel & Stick Notes
Thought Spots are an innovative new product created by a Canadian FT mom. They are MESSAGES that stick mess-free with static cling to mirrors, windows, water bottles and other clean, shiny surfaces. Available in a variety of Thought Pack themes and Big Thoughts, they are a tool for parents to teach, motivate, inspire, praise and share good thoughts with their kids or other family members. With Thought Spots, you can spark a new perspective or create a smile and make someone's day!
The momAgenda Desktop is a day planner created for moms, by a mom. Its unique weekly layout provides separate planning space for mom and up to 4 children, making managing multiple schedules easier and much less chaotic. With our fun, feminine color, the momAgenda is not just practical, it is also stylish.
Shark® 2-in-1 Vac-then-Steam Mop
Introducing the Shark® 2-in-1 Vac-then-Steam Mop, the first bare floor cleaning solution that combines premium vacuum performance with chemical-free, steam mop technology to achieve a truly clean, sanitized and dry hard floor surface.
By Renee Martin
To paraphrase a well-worn idiom, annoyance is the mother of invention.
So, mompreneurs, if your revenues are dwindling and you need to develop new products or services, you might follow the example recently set by a group of "kidpreneurs" in Southern California. Jot down a list of everyday pet peeves and ask yourself: Is this an entrepreneurial opportunity?
That approach helped launch Sanitation's Solutions Inc., which pitched its I-Flush product proposal to a panel of venture capitalists on May 21. What does the I-Flush do? It provides a solution for one of the longest-standing annoyances perpetrated by mankind: the habit of leaving the toilet seat up. The I-Flush's pulley-based system prevents toilet users from flushing unless the toilet seat and lid are down. Sanitation's Solutions is made up of senior high school students at the California Academy of Math and Science in Carson, Calif.
As part of a class project, seniors at the school worked in teams of nine to design products, write business plans and develop marketing campaigns. The project culminated in a presentation to a panel of venture capitalists -- a group of local business people and investors who served as judges. This competition, developed by high school teacher Greg Fisher, was recently featured in the Daily Breeze newspaper.
This school exercise drives home a concept that every mompreneur needs to integrate into her everyday life: Pet peeves, whether they are yours or a prospective client's, can translate into entrepreneurial opportunity. You just have to train yourself to think that way, and to have the commitment and patience to take full advantage whenever it's feasible.
Consider the example that Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, set. The idea for Spanx first came to Blakely in 1998, while she was preparing for an open-mic appearance at a comedy club. At the time she was a 27-year-old office-supply sales manager who moonlighted as an amateur comic. Blakely was planning to wear a pair of white slacks and sexy sandals on stage. The annoyance she encountered while getting dressed: visible panty lines and the less-than-perfect contour of her backside. So she opted for a do-it-yourself solution. She grabbed some scissors, cut the feet out of a pair of control-top pantyhose and slipped them on. "That's when I had my epiphany," she says.
Blakely later researched and wrote a patent for footless pantyhose. That led to Spanx, a one-time home-based business that eventually outgrew the confines of her apartment and made her a multimillionaire. Blakely's story is featured in a new book, The Risk Takers: 16 Women and Men Share Their Entrepreneurial Strategies for Success.
As a mompreneur, you can also use your "annoyance radar" to develop ways to improve your existing product offerings. During sales calls, really listen to prospective clients. Pose questions that will draw out what irks them about the product or services they're already using. Use that information to exploit your competitor's weakness and make it your strength.
This approach can also help you tap an underserved niche. You can develop products and services that are much more tailored to meeting the needs of a specific group of clients. With some savvy marketing, you can ensure that customers in a particular field come to view you as a specialist. For example, if you're a graphic artist, you may discover a need for a bundle of products tailor-made for local architects, or restaurant owners, or ski resort operators.
Keep in mind that some market niches are just too specialized for large corporations to consider. But you as a small business owner can exploit that fact by identifying the needs and the pet peeves of people in that niche. Your business is nimble enough to quickly adapt to their specialized needs.
Remember this during your next sales call. If a prospective client starts whining, don't tune out. Tune in and use your creativity to develop a solution that gives you an edge over your competitors.
© 2010 Renee Martin, co-author of The Risk Takers: 16 Women and Men Who Built Great Businesses Share Their Entrepreneurial Strategies For Success
Renee Martin was a dynamic real estate broker when she switched careers entirely, to work in community service. She became a rape counselor, a court-appointed special advocate for The Children's Court (CASA), a director of community relations of a child abuse crisis center, and a public relations spokesperson for many community organizations. After publication of the book, she and Don coauthored, The Survival Guide for Women, she became a frequent and popular speaker at women's seminars across the country.For more information, please visit www.RiskTakersBook.com.