Why You Need to Stop Feeling Guilty About Being Ambitious

Let’s dispel the myth that women, especially young mothers, need to refrain from ambition or feel guilty if they are ambitious. If you ever feel you might be doing something wrong because you believe you have business or creative potential and want to do something about it, read on. Time to kick those limiting beliefs to the curb!

be ambitious

“Ambition” seems to be a loaded word for women. Does ambition collide with feminine virtues of motherhood? Let's take a look: The dictionary defines ambition as “a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.” That sure sounds admirable to me!

There is room for “ambition” in every area of our lives. You can be ambitious about raising kind, contributing humans. There’s nothing that takes more effort over the course of decades than raising kids. You can be ambitious about improving your marriage, a serious effort for the committed of heart! You can be ambitious about improving your health, which requires you to make changes in your day-to-day nutrition and exercise habits. All of these meaningful efforts require determination and hard work.

At The Mama Ladder®, we empower women at the intersection of mamahood and entrepreneurship. Believe this: You are absolutely allowed to be ambitious about growing your company, creating more opportunities, and making more money. Be as ambitious as you want!

I’ve had to work through my own limiting beliefs about being ambitious in my career. For years, I hid my ambition from different people in my life, trying to gauge how they would react. I would be quiet about exciting achievements because I was afraid of others’ responses. Looking back I think, “What a waste of energy!”

I’ve learned I don’t need to to waste my precious time and mind power worrying about what other people think. Being out of the corporate ladder really helps because I’m not constantly surrounded by others’ limiting beliefs. I “create my own ladder” as a business owner and it’s incredibly liberating to set BIG, beautiful goals, and climb after them boldly without needing to hold back due to other people’s fragile egos.

If you find yourself thinking you need to rein in your ambition, here are some truths to keep in mind:

Progressing, growing, and learning are your innate right and potential.

This ability to move towards your goals has many names, like “the pursuit of happiness” in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Nature shows us examples of this: Fruit trees are always seeking to grow and create as much fruit as they can. Do they hold back for fear the other fruit trees will feel inadequate? No! They are naturally created to seek sunshine, nutrients, and every possible resource to help them progress. The same goes for you. Progress, grow, and feel good about striving towards your potential!

The desires and wild dreams you hold in your heart are there for a reason.

Whatever your belief system (God, the Universe, Muse, etc.), know that the quiet whisperings of your heart are there to guide you towards what you can become and who you can help. If you have a deep desire to do something good or meaningful, listen to it. This could be finally writing that book you’ve always want to write, or collaborating with other brands for a big campaign, or launching new services that will make a real difference in people’s lives.

See your ambition as a clue to the good you (and only you) can do for the world.

Doing good is not limited to non-profit organizations or church groups. There are countless ways to be big-hearted as a for-profit business. It’s the reason we give $5,000 to a promising mom entrepreneur in our HIGH FIVE grant program twice a year. It’s our dream to truly empower mom entrepreneurs, and we’re happy to put money behind that dream!

When you allow yourself to dream and ACT big, you give others permission to do so as well.

This includes your child(ren). By showing your kids you believe you are worthy of greatness and your dreams deserve your attention, you teach them they can believe the same for themselves. What an incredible gift to give your children, friends, community, and anyone who your life touches!

If you feel ambitious about growing your business, congratulations. That’s a sign you deeply care, and have the ability to do and BE more than you currently are. Listen to that desire, and allow it to motivate you to take bold action. You’ll be happily surprised to see what you can create, thanks to your ambition and hard work to back it up.

Want help to climb after your ambitious business goals? Let’s do it, Mama! We specialize in working with women of action who are committed to their babies and their business. Join us and other like-minded mamapreneurs at #MamaSpringBreak.

Announcing Summer 2018 #HighFiveGrant Winner: Leesie & Pip

Bust out the confetti! For the one-year anniversary of The Mama Ladder® today, we're celebrating with a BIG announcement. We're pleased to share the voting tally is in for our inaugural HIGH FIVE Grant for Moms™ business competition.

Drumroll, please ... congratulations to Ellyse Harris, grant winner of $5,000 to grow her business, Leesie and Pip. Leesie and Pip creates whimsical heirloom dolls that are handmade from quality materials produced in the United States. For every doll purchased a book is donated to a child in need.

Read on for details on how Leesie and Pip was selected, what Ellyse has learned in business, and where she plans to lead her company (and share her darling dolls!) with this grant.

How Leesie and Pip was selected

For our Summer 2018 grant, hundreds of applications came in from mama business owners in 37 states in the U.S. and countries around the globe: Canada, England, France, Jamaica, Korea, Nigeria, and Spain. See the beautiful WHY behind their businesses with the #HIGHFIVEGrant hashtag.

A Judging Panel of experienced entrepreneurs chose eight finalists for their originality, clarity, market potential, and future vision. See more about the eight mom-founded companies who were selected by the Judging Panel here.

The Leesie and Pip journey so far

"Starting my company Leesie and Pip has been an amazing ride! I have created a brand that reflects my love for play, childhood, and children's literature. I feel a deep sense of purpose and accomplishment in my commitment to donate a book to a child in need for every doll that is sold. My dolls truly have blessed hundreds of lives! Through social media I have connected and collaborated with many talented shops, influencers, and customers, who have all helped me to grow a following of almost 10,000 on Instagram. Through hours of hard work and dedication I have taught myself how to use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to simplify my process of creating and designing dolls. I am so happy when I see the many pictures and messages from customers telling me about how much they love their Leesie and Pip dolls." 

What Ellyse has learned in business

"I have learned so much since starting this business! The biggest thing I have learned is to be patient with myself. It isn't easy creating this little doll business while balancing being a mom. Time is definitely my biggest constraint and I haven't been able to grow as fast as I'd like because I haven't been in a position to invest in manufacturing. But I look at my business and I feel proud, I have worked so hard to create a product and brand that I love and others love too! I know that if I keep at it, I'll be able to scale the business while still keeping time set aside to be a great mom."

Where Leesie and Pip is headed

"I am currently unable meet the demand for my dolls by hand. In the future I would love to get my dolls manufactured or hire a team of seamstresses to create the dolls so that I can meet demand. This will also enable me to focus on growing the brand through design development, marketing and building relationships with additional distribution channels. I will use the grant to produce them at larger quantities and a lower price point. This will enable me to sell through boutiques and other distribution channels to grow the brand. My ideal is to have them still be handmade in the United States." 

More about the HIGH FIVE Grant

HIGH FIVE Grant™ for Moms is a semi-annual $5,000 business grant empowering mom entrepreneurs to make massive impact. This grant provides economic empowerment for promising mom entrepreneurs to build their business. The Summer 2018 grant is hosted by The Mama Ladder® and sponsored by Belly Bandit, and coaches Katie Richardson and Lady T. See more about the next opportunity to apply for our grant in winter 2019 at highfivegrant.com.

Meet the Summer 2018 #HighFiveGrant Finalists

HIGH FIVE to all the incredible  mom entrepreneurs who applied for our first semi-annual grant. We are so pleased to announce the finalists for your vote!

How they were selected

For our Summer 2018 grant, hundreds of applications came in from mama business owners in 37 states in the U.S. and countries around the globe: Canada, England, France, Jamaica, Korea, Nigeria, and Spain. See the beautiful WHY behind their businesses with the #HIGHFIVEGrant hashtag.

A Judging Panel of experienced entrepreneurs chose eight finalists for their originality, clarity, market potential, and future vision. From June 11 - 20, YOU can vote to select the grant winner! See more detail about each finalist below.

High Five Grant for Moms Finalists

Listed in alphabetical order by business name, here are more details about each promising mom-founded business:

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Ketler Dog Treats

Founder Kellie Thayne looks to serve pet owners who are adventurous, traveling, and on-the-go. "When stopping at gas stations to fuel up and get snacks, we noticed there are never any good options for the dogs," says Kellie, who is a mother of two. "Grocery stores usually only have large or expensive bags of treats. We want to be able to grab our dog a small healthy affordable treat while traveling or just out for a drive with the family." See more at www.ketlerdogtreats.com.

high five grant for moms leesie and pip

Leesie and Pip

Mama of one, Ellyse Harris creates whimsical heirloom dolls that are handmade from quality materials produced in the United States. For every doll purchased a book is donated to a child in need. "The biggest thing I have learned is to be patient with myself," says Ellyse. "It isn't easy creating this little doll business while balancing being a mom. Time is definitely my biggest constraint and I haven't been able to grow as fast as I'd like because I haven't been in a position to invest in manufacturing. But I look at my business and I feel proud, I have worked so hard to create a product and brand that I love and others love too! I know that if I keep at it, I'll be able to scale the business while still keeping time set aside to be a great mom." See her dolls at www.leesieandpip.com.

High Five Grant Finalist Love Powered Co.

Love Powered Co.

Based in Canada, mamas Lindy Sood & Anna Lozano are all about the power of love. The mission at Love Powered Co™ is to power the next generation of mindful leaders (our littles!). To fuel them with positive self-talk, confidence, self-love and self-worth. To empower them, so that they may take the torch, lead with love, and light the way for others. These mamas have created simple, meaningful, beautiful tools to remind our future leaders of the POWERS that exists within them. Their first product, Love Powered Littles, is a gorgeous box set of affirmation cards for kids. They also offer affirmation prints, digital versions, downloadables, and will launch Love Powered Teens in just a couple of months. Feel the love at lovepoweredco.com.

Mommi

high five grant for moms mommi

Mommi, led by mama of three, Erin Schurtz, creates supplements that improve the experience and quality of nutrition for women in all stages of motherhood, whether they are trying to conceive, pregnant, breastfeeding, or recovering postpartum. "I am definitely most proud of getting Mommi on Vitamin Shoppe and Sprouts shelves several months after having the idea for Mommi," says Erin. "I feel extremely proud of the product we have on the market today, the Chocolate and Vanilla Mommi prenatal protein shakes." Meet this mom behind Mommi at mommi.com.

High Five Grant for Moms My Kindness Calendar

My Kindness Calendar

My Kindness Calendar, built by mama of two Maran Stern-Kubista, is a new tool to actively engage kids and support parents in practicing kindness. They make premium-quality reusable kindness calendars that help to instill kindness, compassion and gratitude in children, making it easy and fun for people young and old to strengthen their "giving" muscles by practicing daily acts of kindness. Their signature product, My Kindness Advent Calendar, helps kids countdown to Christmas during the month of December, but instead of getting the usual chocolate or toy as in a traditional advent calendar, each day is an opportunity to give an act of kindness. Spread the kindness at mykindnesscalendar.com.

HIgh five grant for moms pilloplush

PilloPlush

Creator and mama of two, Alison Carlile is on a mission to share her blankets that double as a beautiful (washable) decorative pillows. She pitched her product at the American Dreams program through the Home Shopping Network to the VP of HSN and Randi Zuckerberg. "It was a success," says Alison. "I have been working with HSN to prepare my business and product for its debut and a grant would be incredibly helpful as I work toward that goal!" See her designs at pilloplush.com.

The Creator's Law Firm and Revolutionary Creative

high five grant for moms creator's law firm

With a son (and daughter on the way!), mama and attorney Ticora E. Davis helps online entrepreneurs protect their smarts in these internet streets by producing culturally relevant legal content that empowers creatives to take some serious action. She's affectionately called "legal bae" as she helps business owners, large and small, secure their trademarks and copyrights to protect their brands and build generational wealth. "I am moved to tears by the trust that I've been able to gain in such a short time," says Ticora. "I have a wonderful community called "Revolutionary Creative with Ticora Davis" that encourages online business owners to make rebellious moves in their business. We can show up in the world, be unapologetically ourselves and make an amazing difference in the lives of people we touch." She more at www.creatorslawfirm.com.

high five grant for moms soul gems club

The Soul Gems Club

Alexis Belliston, mama of one (and one in the oven!), has a soft spot for people who love sending and receiving thoughtful mail, love learning about nourishing the soul & mind and appreciate fine art. Her business, the Soul Glems Club, is a postcard subscription featuring original art and meaningful quotes to encourage meaningful, handwritten connection and soul-deepening thoughts. "I started the club as a way of sharing my passion of art and design while also encouraging people to connect to others through thoughtful handwritten notes," says Alexis. "I have had many customers share similar experiences where their mailed postcards have helped others feel loved & remembered (more than a text or online message can do)." Experience her art at www.thesoulgems.club.

Now that you've met the finalists, go vote on your favorite business! Voting is open between June 11 until June 20 at 5 p.m. MT.

More about this grant

HIGH FIVE Grant for Moms™ is a semi-annual $5,000 business grant empowering mom entrepreneurs to make massive impact. Hosted by The Mama Ladder® and sponsored by Belly Bandit, and coaches Katie Richardson and Lady T, this grant provides economic empowerment for promising mom entrepreneurs to build their business. See more at highfivegrant.com.

5 tips for writing your first book

Do you dream of writing a book? Writing a book is a huge way to set yourself apart as an expert, to share your message on a broader scale, and attract clients to your business. The word “author” has the same root as “authority” for a reason.

I believe if you’re feeling prompted to write, sharing that book inside you is one of the reasons you’re on this planet.  

I’m in the final publishing stage of my first book, the most transformative professional project I've taken on yet. (We’re talking, my-life-will-never-be-the-same kind of stuff, and a catalyst for why I cofounded www.themamaladder.com.)

write your first book tips by Crystalee Beck at The Mama Ladder

Writing this book was more challenging and rewarding than my master’s thesis, which I wrote during maternity leave and I thought would kill me! So yeah, this 300-page baby means a whole lot to me.

FIRST, THE BACKGROUND STORY ON THIS BOOK

In summer 2016 I was commissioned to write a biography for Alan E. Hall. He’s well-known in northern Utah and beyond as serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and philanthropist. He has influenced thousands and thousands of people around the world as a caring employer, generous philanthropist, and inspiring leader.

We spent a year and a half meeting regularly for interviews for the book. There’s something sacred about hearing someone’s life stories like that. I got to know about the kid, teenager, young adult, and mature versions of Alan through his memories. And what I loved most of all was how he’s dedicated his life to GIVING BACK after finding his own business success.

5 TIPS TO HELP YOU WRITE A BOOK

His lessons have become intertwined into how I view the world, family, business, philanthropy, and most of all, myself. I’ll share some of those insights in another post, but for now, here are five tips to help YOU write your own book.

1.  BE PREPARED FOR SERIOUS MENTAL BLOCKS.

Any time you do anything important, you will have an internal struggle. It’s so much easier NOT to finish something hard. To tune out deadlines and binge on Netflix. To fill your life so full of commitments there is no room for creativity. For me, this internal struggle was painful. I fought with self-doubt, procrastination, and self-sabotage I couldn’t really understand.

 Thankfully, I read Stephen Pressfield’s landmark book, “The War of Art” during this project. I cannot recommend it more highly. Pressfield so eloquently identified my daily battles with inner Resistance—and then gave me tools to fight it. Some days Resistance won the battle. But I won the war.

2.  FOCUS. FOCUS. FOCUS.

The hardest part of writing a book was NOT the writing. It was forcing myself to focus. To carve out uninterrupted chunks of time where I could lose myself in the process. I deemed 2017 my year of “FOCUS” specifically because of this project.

I found a quiet, beautiful location in my local community without Internet where I couldn’t be distracted by email notifications, whining kids, or taunting piles of laundry. I’d go there, put in earplugs, and time myself for a three- or four-hour chunk of focused writing time.

3.  DOUBLE HOW LONG YOU THINK IT WILL TAKE.

Originally, I told Alan I thought I could write his book in nine months. That date came and went. Alan was patient with me, and happy with the chapters he’d seen so far, but I felt behind.

To give me some credit, I really didn’t know what I was in for. (And I made lots of mistakes. Once I accidently didn’t save a chapter, and 20 hours of work was gone!) It took 18 months before I sent Alan the final chapter to review. If possible, I highly recommend giving yourself ample time.

4.  SET MINI MILESTONES ALONG THE WAY.

During this process, the sheer personal effort reminded me of running a race. When I compete in triathlons or half marathons, I bring my whole self to races: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Writing a book was the same. For me, each of the 19 chapters was like passing a mile marker, one mile closer to the finish line. Without chunking it into mini milestones, I would have felt much more overwhelmed. Make sure to have little victories along the way.

5. BELIEVE YOU’RE WORTHY OF WRITING A BOOK—AND JUST START.

This is closely tied to mental blocks, but important enough to have its own bullet point. Sure, having a paying client forced me to face my own dreams (and demons). But now that I’ve written one book, I believe I’m worthy of it and hungry for more. It feels SO GOOD to get those words down.

I struggled with the thought, “Me? Are you sure you want me to write this?” but working through every page, paragraph, and sentence helped me see those insecurities for what they really are: excuses. The truth is, WHY NOT ME? And the same goes for you: WHY NOT YOU? Just start. Commit to finishing, and have someone important in your life hold you accountable.

Want to read Alan’s biography? For right now, it is not available for the public. It was written as a memoir for his family first, with the possibility of publishing in the future.

However, I’m currently working on my second book. It is written for YOU, the mom entrepreneur climbing after business dreams. This book “baby” is a labor of love and I can hardly wait to share it with you. (But first, let me double the time I think it will take me!) Sign up here for updates and to get a free chapter in the coming months.

Keep climbing,

Crystalee

Announcing $5,000 HIGH FIVE Grant for Moms™

Your business dream, meet our BIG grant. We are thrilled to announce the opening of our $5,000 grant for promising mom entrepreneurs. Starting May 11, mom business owners from around the world are welcome to apply for this grant.

HIGH FIVE Grant for Moms™ is a semi-annual $5,000 Business Grant empowering mom entrepreneurs to make massive impact.

Hosted by The Mama Ladder®, this grant provides economic empowerment for promising mom entrepreneurs to build their business. 

At The Mama Ladder®, we see motherhood as your greatest advantage as an entrepreneur, and running a business as powerful training for leading at home. You can find more information about this grant on our oh-so-official press release.

High Five Grant for Moms Application

WE BELIEVE MOM ENTREPRENEURS CAN DO ANYTHING WITH THE RIGHT TRAINING, POWERFUL MENTORS, SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY, AND A HIGH FIVE.

Summer 2018 Grant Timeline 

MAY 11 - JUNE 1, 2018

Applications open May 11, just in time for U.S. Mother's Day! Mom entrepreneurs from around the world are welcome to apply.

JUNE 2 - 10, 2018

A judging panel of successful entrepreneurs (soon to be announced) who support mom-founded businesses will narrow down entries from around to world to just eight (8) promising finalists.

JUNE 11, 2018

Eight (8) finalists will be announced, featuring their business story. (Great way to promote your brand!) From June 11-June 20, 2018 the public will vote on their favorite mom-founded business.

JUNE 21, 2018

The winner of the HIGH FIVE Grant for Moms™ competition announced here! On the one-year anniversary of The Mama Ladder®, we're celebrating by giving $5,000 to a promising mom entrepreneur. Will she be YOU?


POWERED BY MOM FOUNDERS

Thank you to our incredible sponsors, who help make this grant possible. They are moms who turned big dreams into reality. You can too!

Katie Richardson

Katie is a wife, mother of four, business owner, author, speaker and coach. She cofounded www.Puj.com with her husband from their garage and built it into a globally recognized eight-figure brand. She has been featured on the cover of Entrepreneur magazine, and  her products have been seen on Ellen, Raechel Ray Show, The Today Show and several other national media outlets. Now she's passionate about helping others do the same thing. She coaches an exclusive group of committed men and women who want to want to take their business and life to the next level. See more about this leader of leaders at katierichardson.com.

 
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Author, leadership expert, motivational speaker and mompreneur expert empowers women to become their grandest self! “Anybody can be a mom entrepreneur, but a mom entrepreneur extraordinaire is a woman of balance and focus,” states Lady T. As a corporate trainer and motivational speaker, her client list includes United Way, Fred Pryor Seminars, Bell South, Indianapolis Power and Light, Delta Airlines and Kent State University. Her biggest claim to fame is homeschooling her five children for 22 years. To learn more about Lady T’s services and publications, visit www.thebusinesscoachformoms.com.

We want to see you have big MOMentum in your business. Apply and let's see what you can do!

High fives from here,

CRYSTALEE BECK, MPC 

Why Fear Can HELP You Progress in Business

Fear. It's a four-letter word. But then again, so is hope.

And FEAR doesn't need to stop you from starting or growing your business. No, Mama! 

In my recent interview with fabulous Monica Packer of the About Progress podcast, I shared my (ongoing) journey through fear as a mama business owner. 

She asked great questions and I was radically open and honest about what I've learned about fear, money, business, and motherhood ... addressing a lot of points from our 37-page, packed-full-of-goodness eBook, "The Mama's Guide: How to Embrace 7 Big Business Fears." (Which listeners get as a free gift!)

Listen in to hear:

  • Why fear is a GOOD thing -- and you need to listen to it
  • My biggest fear I am working through (even now!)
  • Why money is not good OR bad 
  • Practical tips on how you can embrace your fears and BE, DO, and CREATE more in your life

Listen here to the interview on the About Progress podcast >>

What fears are holding YOU back in business? Share below. There's power in telling your truth.

Why your kids need you to protect your work time

The constant triage of mamahood never really goes away—do I finish making dinner, or stop my boy from wiping Vaseline on our suede couch? (My boy really did this. Ahh!) Do I watch my pregnant friend’s kids for her while she goes to the doctor or take my girl to dance practice?

These kinds of questions get more complicated as a business owner, especially if you work at home part (or all) of the time: Do I play outside with my kids or stick them in front of the TV while I work on marketing content? Do I finish the laundry or schedule meetings with clients?

Your attention will always be desired by more people, activities, and goals than may seem humanly possible. Even for a super mama like you!

But fear not. What you CAN do is protect your time by scheduling specific “chunks” that are dedicated to your business.

It may seem counterintuitive, but when you protect work time, you’re also protecting time for your family.

why kids need you to protect work time

Why is this?

We’ve met with moms who feel overwhelmed with the time required to run a business. It feels like they are constantly checking their email or on social media. And they want that to change.

They want to be present, happy moms. They also want to climb after business dreams. We fully believe BOTH are possible. But it requires protecting your time.

When you protect your work time, you are showing your kids:

·         Your work matters to you.

·         You set healthy boundaries.

·         You honor the creative process.

·         You value what you’re sharing with the world.

·         You will be available to them when your work time is over.

That last one is important – without setting specific times to work, you risk blending business and family so there’s no intelligible difference between the two. That’s “anything goes” territory becomes an exhausting, overwhelming downfall for too many mamas in business. It’s not fun for you, your partner, or your kids to have an overworked mama.

So don’t let it happen to you. Schedule work time, and stick to it.

Does this make you selfish? No, Mama. Think about the commitments your kids have. For example, if your son is on a soccer team, you both know he’ll spend Tuesdays from 4-6 at practice and Saturday afternoons at games.

Do the same for yourself. Schedule a babysitter for the hours you want to commit to your business, and show up. Get your work done. Then when you get back to your kids, you’re fully present. And we think a mama who values herself and what she’s sharing with the world is the best gift she can give her kids.

We’d love to help! To identify your best time blocks and create an ideal life/work situation that works for your work, schedule a PowerStep Session.

7 Free Business Apps that Save You Time

One of the most-asked questions we get from mamas in business is, how do I make the TIME for business while raising my babies?

It’s a legitimate question, especially for a go-getter mom like you who wants to do it all, and do it well. (Right?) The truth is, we all have access to the same number of hours each day. But there are ways to multiply yourself with a team and with tools that maximize your time.

free business apps that save you time

So, without further ado, here are seven FREE apps that save us time—and sanity—so we can spend more time with those we love most, and that's what we call a h(app)y hour!

All of these apps are free—some start with a free trial, but at least you can getting a taste and know if it works for you. For full disclosure, some of these are affiliate links. But that just means we both benefit from sharing them!

7 time-saving apps for business

1. Freshbooks

Wanna make invoicing easier and even, dare we say ... FUN? For two years I've relied on Freshbooks for invoicing clients. It's sleek, easy, and the support team is super helpful. You can a free 30-day trial by clicking here.

2. Typeform

Typeform lets you build beautiful online forms & surveys with great completion rates. Click here to try it out. If you upgrade, we both get 10% off for life!

3.  Doodle

Doodle is a free polling app, specifically for setting meetings with multiple people. Instead of sending out an email, “Let me know a time that works for you in the next two weeks,” and being bombarded with emails to sort through, you set up options and your attendees pick their preferred date/time. Once you’ve Doodled, there is no going back!

4Later

A social media scheduling tool, we’ve been using Later to plan our Instagram account for more many months now. As of this writing, Instagram does not allow pre-scheduled posts. But clever Later lets you write posts in advance and be notified when you’d like them posted. With a quick click, it’s shared. We love that Later gives us an advance peek of what our Instagram grid will look like. 

5.  Calendly

This free scheduling app gives you a slick way to automate appointment scheduling. We use it to have mamas schedule 90-minute PowerStep sessions for clarity on their ideal Life/Work Vision and baby steps to climb after it. 

6.  HelloSign

As the name suggests, this easy-to-use app helps you send agreements and get signatures easily. We use this for our #MamaSpringBreak Alumni to sign our Event Waiver before our amazing retreat.

7.  Asana

We could just HUG the team at Asana because we use this project management app all the time in our business. You set up projects and invite contributors to those projects. Everyone has visibility into upcoming deadlines. You can upgrade for more permission-based access, but for our purposes, the free version has worked really well.

And here's a bonus No. 8, just for you!

8.   MileIQ

We’d rather eat last week’s burnt leftovers than sit down and track business miles. MileIQ is the #1 mileage tracking app, trusted by hundreds of thousands of users every day! It’s just not our thang. So, when we found MileIQ, we were pretty happy to find an easy solution that pays us back at tax time. Try it for free and get a 20% discount when you upgrade.

Which of these apps have you used? Any others you recommend? Pop in a comment below. 

Check out how we can help you MULTIPLY YOUR TIME with a talented business team here.

10 Reasons Why You Need a #MamaSpringBreak this year

It's your year. Your year to face your business fears, try something new, and surprise yourself with what you can accomplish. 

Why not you? And why not 2018? 

You'll find just what you need at #MamaSpringBreak Business & Adventure Retreat. Here are 10 reasons why this special event is made especially for the adventurous mamapreneur. 

When & Where: It will be March 15 - 17, 2018 in gorgeous St. George, Utah.

 1.  Get business training from experts.   In one weekend you'll learn how to protect your business legally, be smart with business finance, set up processes, master your leadership mindset, and take notes on marketing strategies. We've lined up  a keynote you'll adore  who is gonna let you know why being a woman and a mother are your biggest assets!  2.  Adventure outside in gorgeous Zion's National Park.  Forget a stuffy seminar. No, Mama! This retreat is about fresh air, happy vibes, and climbing greater heights. What better way to do that than with a hike? We'll see the sights from atop  Angel's Landing , a famous hike in the southwest.  3.  Forge lasting friendships with like-minded mamapreneurs.  You'll meet women who love their babies AND their business at #MamaSpringBreak. They are coming in from across the U.S. We've got mamas signed up from Illinois, California, Utah, and Oklahoma ... all there to learn with you.  4.  Attend a Pat Benatar rock concert at the gorgeous Tuacahn Amphitheatre . Because who doesn't want to rock out to "Love is a Battlefield" from the legend herself?  THIS  will be so rad.  5.  Give yourself a kid-free getaway that's a  business expens e . Because we all need breaks from diapers, dishes, and laundry that never seems to end ... right? It's just three days, and they will sure be glad to see you when you get back.  6.  Bring home more than $200 of sponsor gifts!  Our sponsors are ahhh-mazing and you'll get gift cards and products from:  Chatbooks ,  RadSwim ,  Baby Cubby ,  Modern Piggy,   Mommi,   Brightbox ,  YNAB ,  SmartShyp , and more!   7.  Bring home an exclusive #SeeMamaClimb t-shirt.  Designed only for event attendees, you can show the world you're climbing after your business dreams. (Because you are!)  8.  Enjoy having your food taken care of!  No cooking or cleaning for you, Mama. We've got you covered. All meals and healthy snacks are included.  9.  Shake what yo' mama gave ya.  We'll have our own dance party, just for attendees. Woot.  10.  Relax in a soothing yoga session.  We've got an incredible instructor coming who will get you feeling serene.  Convinced you need a #MamaSpringBreak in your life this year? Sure, we'll have a really, really good time. But we'll also stretch our hearts, bodies, and minds so that we can all climb (literally and in business) in 2018. Invest in yourself, and your business. See you there, Mama.

1. Get business training from experts.  In one weekend you'll learn how to protect your business legally, be smart with business finance, set up processes, master your leadership mindset, and take notes on marketing strategies. We've lined up a keynote you'll adore who is gonna let you know why being a woman and a mother are your biggest assets!

2. Adventure outside in gorgeous Zion's National Park. Forget a stuffy seminar. No, Mama! This retreat is about fresh air, happy vibes, and climbing greater heights. What better way to do that than with a hike? We'll see the sights from atop Angel's Landing, a famous hike in the southwest.

3. Forge lasting friendships with like-minded mamapreneurs. You'll meet women who love their babies AND their business at #MamaSpringBreak. They are coming in from across the U.S. We've got mamas signed up from Illinois, California, Utah, and Oklahoma ... all there to learn with you.

4. Attend a Pat Benatar rock concert at the gorgeous Tuacahn Amphitheatre. Because who doesn't want to rock out to "Love is a Battlefield" from the legend herself? THIS will be so rad.

5. Give yourself a kid-free getaway that's a business expense. Because we all need breaks from diapers, dishes, and laundry that never seems to end ... right? It's just three days, and they will sure be glad to see you when you get back.

6. Bring home more than $200 of sponsor gifts! Our sponsors are ahhh-mazing and you'll get gift cards and products from: Chatbooks, RadSwim, Baby Cubby, Modern Piggy, Mommi, Brightbox, YNAB, SmartShyp, and more! 

7. Bring home an exclusive #SeeMamaClimb t-shirt. Designed only for event attendees, you can show the world you're climbing after your business dreams. (Because you are!)

8. Enjoy having your food taken care of! No cooking or cleaning for you, Mama. We've got you covered. All meals and healthy snacks are included.

9. Shake what yo' mama gave ya. We'll have our own dance party, just for attendees. Woot.

10. Relax in a soothing yoga session. We've got an incredible instructor coming who will get you feeling serene.

Convinced you need a #MamaSpringBreak in your life this year? Sure, we'll have a really, really good time. But we'll also stretch our hearts, bodies, and minds so that we can all climb (literally and in business) in 2018. Invest in yourself, and your business. See you there, Mama.

#SeeMamaClimb Series: Finding your forever body (and your brand)

It's new year's resolution season, and if you're like millions of other moms out there, you might be thinking more about your body this week. Am I right?

And did you know 91 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies? #sadface

Looking to change those statistics, I'm really excited to introduce this month's #SeeMamaClimb interview.

Author and body love coach Kimberley Record shares how to change your relationship with the scale … forever.

Finding your forever body book

Kimberley's a mom on a mission to build a business that helps women love their bodies. Her new book, “Finding Your Forever Body,” breaks down why most diets don’t work—and how to love the skin you’re in.

At the moment of publishing this post, I have Kimberley's book on my bedside stand. I know her in real life, but it's been such a pleasure to get to know her writing voice. I've personally enjoyed her insight, humor, and research-backed tips that have changed my paradigm about the scale. She's got a really powerful message.

Enjoy this interview (and her book) and let me know what you think!

10 tips for faster, better business writing

Let's give your business writing a one-two punch. Here's your pep talk for better, faster business writing.

First, let's establish that words have incredible power to connect. Writing is the core of building business relationships. When you use them right in your business, you establish thought leadership, build brand credibility, and ultimately attract your ideal clients. 

As a professional writer and editor, I've lassoed sentences for companies like HP, Sony, and Microsoft in my former corporate life. I lead a writing team in my own business. I've also been a university adjunct instructor for communication classes ... so you can say I've picked up a few tricks for punchier business copy. Here are 10 for you!

10 quick tips for better business writing

1. Power-punch your first words. With an attention span less than that of a goldfish, people don't stick around for words that don't grab them immediately. Hit it hard in the first line.

2. Picture your people. Who is the audience for your blog post, email, Insta post, etc.? How can you speak in their language?

3. Stick to your purpose. Don't know why your reader should care? Neither will they. Be clear and deliberate about your message.

4. Catapult ideas with strong verbs. The trick to punchy writing is NOT in adjectives, or the describing words. It's avalanching sentences with verbs that matter. (Notice what "avalanching" does in that sentence?")

5. Write tight. Every word counts! Cut out fluff.

6. Say less whenever possible. Enough said.

7. Type your thoughts. For speedier writing, whip out those words as fast as they come to mind. You can tighten them up after they're on the page.

8.  Pay attention to punctuation. Getting grammar right really matters. Know when to break the rules, gracefully.

9. Dish out to your best ideas. Give, give, give and you'll be surprised at how your writing generosity pays off. People are drawn to caring thought leaders. 

10. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Everyone needs an editor. Double check everything you write before publishing and if it's especially important, have a second set of eyes review it.

Let me know: Which of these tips will you use for your business? Any writing tips YOU would like to share?

Why appreciation needs to be part of your business: Send a ripple of gratitude with #MamaMailLove

You know those people in life who make you feel truly appreciated, and how you’d do anything for them? This post is about how you can BE one of those people as you lead your business.

In another phase of my career, when I was working my way up the corporate ladder, I noticed something intriguing about leaders. Some are exceptional at offering gratitude, winning their team’s trust, loyalty, and hard work. Other managers miss the mark on appreciation, and drive their people away.

We’re not talking about some soft-skill bumbo-jumbo. Appreciation is tied to monetary outcomes. A study in Psychology reveals gratitude is one of the most accurate predictors of job satisfaction. When individuals feel appreciated they are more engaged, and highly engaged organizations are 21% more profitable.

On the flip side, when managers get gratitude wrong, organizations pay for it. As this Tedx Talk shares, a mighty 64 percent of recently departed workers left their jobs because they didn’t feel appreciated. That’s an expensive mistake!

My published study on gratitude in the workplace

This idea intrigued me enough to make it the topic of my master’s thesis and dedicate two years to researching, writing, and sharing about it. My published research, “Perceptions of Thanks in the Workplace,” became an internationally recognized study on the way employees receive expressions of gratitude from their managers.

I did an in-depth survey of 883 full-time employees and conducted three focus groups, digging in to find out, “What form of gratitude works best?” and “What mediums of gratitude should be avoided?” which led me to shining the light on seven dark sides, or ways that managers get gratitude wrong.

The results surprised me.

When asked about six different mediums (verbal one-on-one, verbal in a group setting, tangible gifts, handwritten notes, electronic notes/email, or monetary rewards), the most craved form of appreciation was not extra money.

Employees ranked VERBAL one-on-one as their MOST wanted form of appreciation. "Thank you" is free, but those two words are valuable!

You can see more about where I've shared this research here, and highlights from the study here.

Why appreciation matters in YOUR business

I’m climbing my own ladder now, so I don’t have a manager. I’m my own boss, and the fact that you’re reading this means you’re probably entrepreneurial, too. As a mamapreneur, you can take what I found about gratitude at an organizational level and apply it to your growing business—and even your family.

Remember, people want to be recognized as important and valued. Everyone has their own appreciation preferences (think of it like their gratitude love language), but you can’t go too wrong when you’re being sincere. Sincerity comes down to being specific, timely, and personalizing your message.

When you give authentic appreciation to clients, partners, vendors—anyone who helps you in your business—you give them much more than mere words and a reason to feel good. You give them:

  • A reason to remember you and your business (because genuine gratitude is rare)
  • A reason to be loyal (they’ll want to come back for more)
  • A reason to share about you and refer business your way (who doesn’t want to work with a grateful person?)

The world needs more “thank you” cards: 💌  Introducing #MamaMailLove

Knowing how important appreciation is in business, I’m really excited to announce our free gratitude-centered campaign hosted by The Mama Ladder™ International: #MamaMailLove.

Together, let's start a ripple of gratitude at home and in small business. From November 13-20, 2017, sign up for #MamaMailLove and we'll send you a letter with a blank thank you card, so you can pass on the love. You'll also see instructions on how to invite your mama friends and receive up to 16 more free thank you cards.

Sign up here to join #MamaMailLove, and THANK YOU for reading!

(Feel free to share this post. The more, the merrier. Thanks!)

Love, 

Crystalee

 

The Problem with Perfectionism: Let it go, mama!

Have you ever held off starting something (like your dream business) because you were scared you couldn't do it perfectly? Or beaten yourself up emotionally because you made a mistake? Or spent so much energy trying to impress others that you aren't actually YOU?

I've been there. In fact, I call myself a "recovering perfectionist" because I used to be far too hard on myself. But I've learned as a mamapreneur to let go of perfectionistic tendencies. There simply is not time to focus on my failings, and I no longer feel I need to.

The problem with perfectionism is it stops us from progress. 

Perfectionism robs us of our potential. And that's tragic, because we can never get where we want to be if we don't take the first step.

It seems our picture-perfect culture is ripe with wanting to look/be "perfect." Filling little squares with posed images causes documented "compare and despair," yet it is still so enticing to put our very best face forward. 

We say, throw that perfectionism out the window. Shatter it, and be surprised at how refreshing it feels to be really YOU.

Listen up: Here's my not-so-perfect podcast interview on Plaid Radio.

In a newly released podcast interview with Plaid Radio, hear my uplifting conversation with Sarah Webb, president of Plaid for Women called, "Perfectionism: If you've got it all together, this is not for you." I think you'll love it. It's one I'm repeating for myself when those perfectionist tentacles try to reach for me.

There's no need to be perfect. Just be you. That is always enough!

 

 

 

Interview on Plaid Radio: Why I traded the corporate ladder for The Mama Ladder™

After several good years in the corporate world, when my first baby came along, I felt super torn. I'd worked hard at my career, earned a master's degree, won international awards for my work ... but this new precious person was (and still is) my proudest achievement. I refused to miss her babyhood.

Although I'd negotiated to work from home two days a week (thanks to a great manager), I felt constantly torn between being an employee and being a mom. I wanted to make a change, but wasn't sure how. Sometimes when we deeply desire something, surprise doors open.

I was unexpectedly laid off, due to corporate downsizing.

My girl was one and I was 15 weeks pregnant with my second baby at the time. Fast forward a year later, after having my baby, chipping away at self-doubt, changing my mindset, investing in mentors/training, and taking bold action ... I got a business license.

Now, instead of climbing a complicated, full-time corporate ladder, I’ve created my own ladder that fits my mamahood. My talented team of writers and I help remarkable people and organizations tell their story. We have a lot of freedom to work when and how we want, and deliver high-quality content for our growing list of world-class clients.

Listen to my recent interview on Plaid Radio to hear: 

  • How I work less, enjoy better compensation, AND enjoy the privilege of motherhood
  • My daily mamapreneur routine and why it makes me so happy
  • What I tell myself when things get tough in business (spoiler alert: it happens!)
  • My experience working with a business partner
  • Why shifting from employee to business owner puts you in the power seat

The Mama Ladder™ International is all about mamas helping mamas. Want help translating your corporate world skills into your own business? Let's connect.

Much love, 

Crystalee

 

On being BOLD as a Mamapreneur: Lessons from a Tech Summit

 
 

IT’S NOT EVERY DAY YOU MEET SOMEONE WHO’S TRANSFORMED AN IDEA INTO A $1.8 BILLION BUSINESS.

Earlier this year I did, and we shook hands.

Josh James, Founder and CEO of Domo, gave me a compliment every female entrepreneur wants to hear. Here's what he said and what I learned from it.

We were at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit, a two-day event for Utah’s booming technology industry. The inaugural event was held at The Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, and nearly 5,000 attendees heard from tech and business experts. 

I walked in wearing an emerald green dress and new boots, ready to find new clients. I came prepared, with a curated target list of potential clients and business cards at the ready. I told myself, “I’m getting three new clients out of this. Ready, go!” 

Looking at the crowd, I’d guess only 1 in 10 were women.

THE PERK OF BEING A GAL IN A SEA OF DARK-SUITED MEN IS YOU STAND OUT. WITH THE GOAL OF MEETING NEW CLIENTS, I DIDN’T MIND BEING NOTICED.

In my first five minutes there, I practically bumped into Domo’s Josh James, a visionary business leader who took his company from inception to IPO to $1.8B sale. I knew his face from Twitter and had seen him in the news. He's something of a legend in Utah. Later that day I would see him on the main stage, interviewing the President of Pandora, but this was our 10 seconds together. I wasn’t going to miss it.

“Oh, it’s you. Hi, Josh James. I'm Crystalee,” I said, trying to sound brave as I extended my hand. 

“Well, that’s a bold dress,” he smiled at me.

It was such a simple sentence, but I walked away feeling as if he’d handed me a $100 bill.

How’d he know that’s the word I was going for?

BOLD.

That interaction spurred me to approach a CEO of another big company, one on my target list, letting him know about my services. I passed my card out to potential collaborators, clients, and old friends. It felt good.

More than a year in, business ownership is still a brave new world for me, but I believe in being fearless, even when fear may be bubbling under the surface. I believe we’re stronger than what frightens us. I believe that conquering fear is where the real fun starts in life.

Last year I decided I was done with letting fear stand in my way. It was time to spread my entrepreneurial wings.

 Letting go of fear leaves a wide open space for freedom. I’ve never been more excited about my work. I wake up on Mondays looking forward to helping my clients. I love what I do. I love the challenge of learning new things, the variety in my schedule, and living on my terms. I love that because I manage my time and talents, my kids get the best of me.

BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR HAS LIT A FIRE THAT LIGHTS UP ALL SORTS OF SPACES IN MY SOUL.

By no means do I have business ownership all figured out. I'm making mistakes and learning new things every day. I think that's part of the fun.

I DO believe in myself and my ability to help others creatively tell their story. I do this through the written word and strategic celebratory events. I feel confident about that, and others are noticing. Even a billion-dollar-company leader. 

So that’s the lesson for the business-owning ladies out there:

BE BOLD, GIRL.

Dress the part. Act the part. Show up like you mean it. Fake it for now if you have to.

You got this. And know that you don’t always need to feel bold. Sometimes it’s scary starting a business. We wrote an eBook to help you with that! Check it out here.

3 Rookie Advantages: Why You Don’t Need To Know Everything To Start A Business

 
 

Thinking about starting a business, but not sure how? No worries, Mama. Here are wise words from mama of four, and bestselling author and president of the Wiseman Group, Liz Wiseman, on how you can use being a rookie to your advantage.
 
Earlier this year, on the hunt for a helpful business title, “Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work” jumped off the bookshelf. It offered validation for my learn-as-I-go method.
 
I'd seen the author speak before, but imagine my surprise when I saw she'd be a keynote at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit, which I planned to attend. So I did the natural thing. I tweeted her.
 
To my delighted surprise, she tweeted back the next day, inviting me to lunch. WOW! What an honor. (Take note: Twitter works!)

The power of your “Rookie Smarts”

There’s liberation in not needing to know everything. Even more, Liz’s book argues it is better for business. Here are some takeaways for anyone who has a desire to start a business (or apply for a different work position or tackle a graduate program – whatever it is!) but isn’t sure how.

ROOKIES HAVEN’T BUILT UP A LAYER OF FEAR.

“People fresh to a problem haven’t convinced themselves that they can’t solve it.” (pg. 53) For those of us who are figuring out business as we go, there’s fearless freedom in admitting we don’t know it all. (Who does?!)


ROOKIES ACCESS MORE KNOW-HOW.

“Rookies, with little to lose and everything to gain, seek out help and reach out to experts who can guide them and augment their deficiencies.” (pg. 87) In fact, Laz shares how they ask many more people, much more often. “When you ask an expert, you get one expert. When you ask a rookie, you get a network of experts.” (pg. 79)

ROOKIES FIND WORK TO BE PLAYFUL.

“Perpetual rookies have a different mindset. When they grow up they want to be a kid—permanently young of heart and mind.” (pg. 160) My three-year-old is currently learning her numbers and letters and I see how thrilled she is to learn. It’s FUN. I'm also having so much fun learning new business skills.
 
Liz’s book isn’t just for those “new” to owning a business or working for a great brand. Those who’ve been at it for years can turn up the dial on their curiosity and become what she calls “Perpetual Rookies.” But that’s another post.

Lunch with author and executive advisor, Liz Wiseman

When you've admired someone from afar, it's always interesting to meet them in person. I watched Liz deliver her successful Silicon Slopes keynote, tweeting her many gems on leadership. Anyone with kids will appreciate this one: “Parenting is the ultimate leadership … you don’t get to hire or fire them.”
 
Afterwards, Liz was as enjoyable up close as on the keynote stage. I ate lunch with Liz, her husband, and a small group of friends from different stages of her life. She shared great stories. I noticed how she had learning apps on her phone, was fully present, and her ability to help everyone at the table feel important. She really lives her message. She’s a true multiplier.
 
Liz taught me to embrace being an entrepreneur rookie. I'm owning it! Business “mistakes” merely mean I’m taking action and learning. And learning is a lifelong pursuit I never plan to stop.
 
So carry on, friend, in whatever new business venture you want to try. Have fun! And don't be surprised if you discover real advantages to NOT knowing what you're doing in business.

Still feeling scared about starting a business? Check out our eBook, made just for you, Mama!