Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Hiatus!

Hello brilliant ladies! Just a quick hello to let you all know we have not forgotten you, but are taking a short break for the Holidays. Beginning in January, we will have our first book give away!!! The first book will be Style Statement by Carrie and Danielle. Carly will be doing a book report at the first of the month so that you all know just how fabulous it is. Please stay posted for our very first give away, as well as more fantastic business and parenting ideas to come!!! We'll be back shortly-

Here's to a rockin Christmas and a prosperous New Year!!!!!

Edited To Add: If you would like to take part in our first free book give-a-way, please sign up as a follower. We will be drawing our winner from that group. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mission Statement

We've been posting a couple of months now, but haven't had a chance to post our mission statement. We both feel it's truly important that you all know the passion that we have for what we do and for what you do.

The Accomplished Mommy Mission Statement

We are here to assist fellow mothers and women in following their life's path and destiny. In a world where mothers have less of a choice between working their lives away at a job they don't enjoy or keeping the focus on raising amazing people, we want to show you there's a third choice; Putting your brilliant ideas to work for you, raking in the prosperity, AND raising amazing people. The first step is defining your passion. It can be as specific as you want it to be. Maybe you just want to be a business owner, but you don't know of what sort of company. Perhaps you want to be a freelance make up artist. Perhaps you want to write novels. The second step is faith. Believe that you have a path in this lifetime that involves you prospering (whatever that means to you), as well as being blissful in what you do. I don't believe we were meant to suffer day in and day out doing something we don't enjoy for money. It's not a fair exchange of energy. Third is execution. We want to help you find ideas to make your dreams a reality. If it's your true path, I believe it will work out, with a little faith and execution.

We promise to stick on the topic of helping you and your children flourish. We want to hear your ideas and feedback, as we're learning too. If you want more information on a specific topic, please don't hesitate to contact us at

Here's to your success, and happiness!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Marketing Tips Part 2

Keep in mind that the more people see your logo and company name, the more familiar and trustworthy your business will seem. So get visible!

The general guideline is that 3% of the business' gross income should be applied toward marketing. Try out different methods and adjust as you go along.

Logos are key to creating a memorable business personality. I used and I'm very happy with them. It's only $199 for a logo design, and upgrades are available. I recommend them highly.

They say old clients are the best new clients. Keep in contact with your old clients. Send a thank you note after meeting for the first time, another after completing your transaction, and after receiving referrals or positive reviews online/ letters of recommendation. Send Christmas cards, birthday cards, anniversary of the service ("your new kitchen is a year old!")... Give good clients a gift after completion, such as logo imprinted items (tee shirt, water bottle, etc.), gift cards, anything that seems appropriate. My maternity photographer included two photo magnets with our print order, which not only seems warm and fuzzy of her, but of course I'm going to use it because it's a photo I love. She has her web address tastefully printed on it. Everyone who sees my fridge sees a great photo and her contact info. She essentially put up an ad in my house and I love it! Sweet but sneaky.

Offer customers referral discounts or gifts. Offering an incentive gets people motivated to spread your name (and if it's a gift certificate for your business, even better! Odds are they'll spend over the certificate amount).

Compile a beautiful, professional portfolio, whether you're selling design services or homemade soap! One great way is to scan in any letters of recommendation (ASK EVERYONE FOR THESE!!!) and pair them with photos of your work (you are taking lots of photos, right?) in a printed photobook from one of the many online photo printing services. Keep the design simple and polished.

Donating your services (or even just time and money in your business' name) can sometimes get you a mention in the paper if you're donating it to a real need. Silent auctions are also good to watch for. The full value of your goods or services are tax deductible, people will see your name, and you have very good odds of upselling. I won a photography session at a La Leche silent auction, which included the sitting fee and a $50 print credit. I got it for $20 and I was thrilled, but the photographer is really who won. He was exposed to his target market (young families - oh the little ones grow so fast we need a million pictures!), he got free advertising, he gets a tax deduction, he gets a new client who wouldn't have heard of him otherwise (who could be recurring), and he'll get a sale (as expensive as prints are, I'm sure we'll spend over that $50 credit). Donations are great for everyone involved!

Sending out press releases is something that's often recommended, but honestly, I don't know how to do that! I'm determined to figure it out, and I'll let you guys know! If you know how, we'd love a comment with some info.

Sponsoring a Little League team in an area you'd like to do business is fairly inexpensive ($150-$300) and something we'll be trying out this next season. I'll keep you posted on the outcome.

Advertising in large papers is usually expensive and not worthwhile, but small local papers are a cheap way to spread your name. A one by one ad in our town's weekly paper is $72 a month. I placed the ad a month ago and haven't seen any leads from it, but I think I'll keep it just for the visibility. The more the prospective client sees your logo, there more they subconsciously "know" and trust you.

Car decals/ magnets. Vistaprint has really low prices on these! Again, visibility.

Get yourself a nice logo jacket and wear it EVERYWHERE! This raises your visibility and people will notice it and ask you about it. Even if you only get one lead from this (you'll get much more, though) your return on investment is huge. Keep your business cards handy when wearing your logowear!

If you have employees, consider uniforms or at least logo shirts. A professional appearance helps your credibility.

Pens - the higher the quality the longer they'll be kept. My escrow company gave me a nice pen and it's been in my purse for a year and a half, and I won't forget their name anytime soon because of that fact. Buy a huge quantity and "accidentally" leave them everywhere you go. Leave a few with every client or customer you meet. Sign your receipt at the store, leave one behind. Leave one (or two) with the bill at restaurants. I worked at a steakhouse for a bit and the servers were constantly complaining that customers swiped their pens. The server will appreciate a new pen being left behind, lots of people will see it, and odds are eventually someone will steal it and then your company name will circulate around a new group. A stylish pen design will make even more of an impression. Just be ready to say, "Oh, keep it!" when someone invariably says, "You forgot your pen!".

Networking: I'll discuss further in another post, but those who attend marketing groups are typically a good demographic to be friendly with. They're business owners or salespeople, they know lots of people, and they probably have money!

Contact papers, magazines, and websites about writing a column in your area of expertise. A personal organizer I know writes about organization in the Seattle P-I and (easy place to start writing articles - just create a free account and click My Account, My Articles, Begin Writing An Article) and this gives her a ton of "street cred", if you will. (Her name is Laura Leist and she owns the largest personal organization company in the state and was voted one of Washington's 40 Under 40 Entrepreneurs. She's remarkable.).

Imagine your ideal customer. Now walk around in their shoes. Where do they hang out, what do they read, what will catch their eye? We just placed ads at golf courses because 95% of golfers are homeowners. Then there's the trusty list notepad with magnet backing. We all love those notepads, don't we? So they get used, which means the recipient of that notepad sees your name on an almost daily basis. Understanding their point of view is essential to the success of your marketing.

The most important thing is to be creative. Some of the tried and true things work, but do what no one else thought of and you set yourself apart.

Finally, ask every single person who contacts you how they heard about you and keep a spreadsheet of this info. The trends will start to emerge and it will be clear where your marketing dollars are working and what to rethink.

More marketing tips to come!

The Importance of Setting Goals

It's become quite obvious to someone of my sort, that if you don't set goals you'll never get anything done. When I say my sort, I mean Carly's sort also- maybe even your sort! You know us, the kind that has five trillion great ideas but no execution. I wonder if any of you noticed we haven't posted in about...oh two weeks or so?

This is where goals come in. Write them down somewhere you will see them (please note the much earlier post about my yahoo). If you give yourself due dates for the things you'd like to complete (and tell other people that will help hold you to it!), you might complete one of those five trillion amazing ideas! Maybe one of them is your million dollar idea... you never know.

Look! You could be this guy!

Ahahaha. But really. If you find this hard to do, start small. Start making daily to do lists. Stick to them. When I'm feeling like I'm not accomplishing much, I write down something I've already done and cross it off! (Can we say denial?) Move on to setting goals for particular projects. For example, let's say you're a writer. Set a date that you want to be finished with chapter one. You can then set the next date, or you can schedule it out for the entire book. Join an online forum of writers (or whatever it is that you do- start a yahoo group if nothing exists), and share the same due dates with a buddy or a team. Hold yourself accountable.

As far as your long term goals (once you feel brave), you need to take some time and write out a 5-10 year plan. Lucky for you, Carly has grandtastic fantastic google-ing and/or web perusing skills and do we have a treat for you!

Working With Your Power

This is from last year (we've had it stashed back awhile), so add in the appropriate dates of course.

Fill this out, share it with your close confidants as well as your husband/partner! You need to make sure they're either on board with your plans or that you can find a way to convince them (if you need convincing techniques, feel free to post in comments. Carly and myself are both Geminis and I promise we know how to talk anybody into anything).

And for inspiration:

Billionaire Women

(And Carly- they talk about women in there that took over a construction business and are billionaires! Just sayin ladies, if you think your trade wont make you a billionaire, you haven't thought about it hard enough ;)

Happy Business Building!

Friday, October 24, 2008


I just ran across this handy tool on LifeHacker's blog. Read all about it here:

Basically, it's a timer on your desktop that can time up to 16 tasks at once, which is handy if you use the timer method of time management or just have things to remember.

Download it here:

Registering Your Business with Washington State

(I apologize for the rushed tone of this post. Today is a busy day for me!)

In Washington, these are the basic steps to registering your business:

Master Business License: Quick, easy to do online, application costs $15 plus $5 per trade name. Be sure to select the right business structure. Sole proprietorships are a good place to start for one person or a married couple, but you may consider becoming an LLC later, which has its pros and cons. We'll discuss that in another post.

The MBL will automatically register you with the DOR, to whom you'll be sending the sales tax you collect. Filing the returns is simple once you've figured it out the first time, especially if you take one of the free seminars they offer. There are also online tutorials, and they also offer to come to you and help you check that you're doing it right.

If you're an LLC, corporation, or non profit you'll need to register your trade name with the Secretary of State.

Register with the IRS and get your Employer Identification Number. Helpful guide here.

Register with the city you'll do business in.

If you have employees, register with Labor and Industries. Get your specialty license with Labor and Industries, if required for your industry.

Find the requirements for specific business activities here.

Don't hesitate to call the agencies with questions. They're always helpful and friendly, and it's better to take the time to ask than to get nasty fines for noncompliance!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Marketing Tips Part 1

The key to having a successful business is Marketing Marketing Marketing! With starting up a business, the money you invest in marketing may be less then you'd like, but you can still make it work! I came across some information indicating that the best way to keep your marketing rolling, is to occassionally splurge on those things that are more costly, and in between to do the less costly marketing tricks.

First tip- Always leave a business card. Always. Give them to your friends to give away, give them to your family members, leave them on cork boards (and another idea that Carly mentioned to me for those left on cork boards, is to get business cards made in post card size!!! Draws the eye right to them!) Put them in all outgoing mail. Leave them with the tip at a restaurant (assuming you didn't tick off the waiter for any reason). Leave them with past clients. A new idea I've just had- offer clients a rebate for passing along business cards to those who buy from you. A referral fee. Get it printed on that back of your business card. Or even offer a discount/coupon on your the back of your business card.


Redeem this business card before (enter date here) and receive a 15% off of your services/goods!

Second Tip- ALWAYS HAVE A WEBSITE! For the love of Pete, if you don't have a website, get one. It doesn't have to be elaborate, but it does have to be out there for people to find. Everyone and their monkey uses the internet to find businesses anymore, and if you're not available, you're missing out on a whole lotta business! You can do this for a relatively low cost. Microsoft Office Live offers free web hosting and they charge $15 a year for the domain name. Your first year is free. There are many other web hosts out there to assist you in building your website. Be sure to add Meta Tags to your site, and to add it to search engines (see the post below). Send it to everyone you know, link it anywhere you can.

Third Tip- Buy Leads. This wont be applicable to all businesses, but there are some that it will. Service Magic offers lead buying for many businesses that offer home improvement services (this is near and dear to our hearts since I run Peterson Tree Services and Carly runs Hayden Transformations). The company charges a set up fee (I believe service magic is $100), and then you buy leads from them. You can buy as much or as little as you'd like and you can set a budget. The leads vary in price (Tree Service leads for instance run around $10 each, while contracting leads run higher). The leads you receive are customers that are ready to buy what you have to offer. Check to see if there's a lead buying service for your business!

Please post your marketing tips in our comments box!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Can Search Engines Find Your Website?

If you haven't indexed your sites with the major search engines (or even know what the hell I'm talking about- ha!), your site may not be getting as many hits as it could be! To index your sites, follow these simple steps:

Go to each of the links below:

You then enter your site and sometimes a captcha (??? I may have spelled that wrong but you know what I mean- those annoying mixed up words with lines and blurriness that you can hardly read, much less solve and move on with your life. Those things.)

Voila! It takes until they crawl the web next to be added, but you'll be receiving more hits in no time!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Using Time Wisely

Whether you telecommute to an employer, are an entrepreness, or just make a little cash on the side selling knitted hats on Etsy, time management is the ultimate tool. It can make you or break you (or drive you insane!).

Some days you get to the end and go, “What happened?!” Or your husband asks the most irritating question you can ask a WAHM, “What did you do all day?” “I survived, alright!?!”

Other days you get to the end and say, “I took you DOWN, to-do list! Take that! I own you!!! Boo-yah!!!” (What, boo-yah isn't part of your vernacular? Maybe it should be, because you kick serious ass!).

Working from home while enjoying your children and managing all the aspects of your life and home can feel impossible sometimes. Things can get out of control really easily. By staying focused, you can get what you want from your day!

Setting an alarm, getting up at the same reasonable time each day, and directly showering and dressing as though you were going to a regular job is essential. I’m sure you’ve heard this advice before, but it is the cornerstone of taking control of your day. You ARE going to work, so act like it. Just because you do your work while breastfeeding or in between loads of laundry doesn’t make it any less of a priority.

Write out a daily schedule for yourself (and your children – structure makes them feel secure). Leave room for organized chaos and spontaneity, but give yourself plenty of time to take care of business. Include a real lunch break to hang with your kids and rest your "business brain".

Involve your kids when you can. They’re curious about what you’re doing and want to be with you. My daughter is still tiny, but while she nurses I catch up on my business reading by reading it out loud to her. Maybe she doesn’t need to know about trends in kitchen cabinets or the right insurance plans for small businesses, but she likes to hear my voice and be part of what I’m doing. I have a tiny extra desk in my office which I’ll set up with art supplies and a play laptop when she’s bigger. She can be my “coworker”. I’m not delusional enough to expect her to sit there for long periods, but it will buy a little time.

Set timers. This is especially helpful for distractable types (ahem, me), or when first learning how to manage a work at home atmosphere. Say you expect that responding to business emails will take 30 minutes of focused work. Set a timer, and remembering you're on the clock will help you stay on task. Timers are even more helpful when you're choosing to take a little "playtime" or when telling children what to expect. "Mommy will help you find Barbie's shoes as soon as the timer goes off." "Okay, Mommy's taking a break until the timer buzzes!"

Keep a Must Do and Want To Do List. Even numbering them by priority can help in focusing your efforts. Write it at night so first thing in the morning you can get straight to it. Include time estimates for each task (and note how long it actually took so you can have a better estimate next time). Be realistic in your expectations of yourself. Yes, you are Wonder Woman, but that doesn’t mean you need to wear yourself out and leave no time for fun!

Beware of Time Vampires! Surfing the net, chatting on the phone, meeting friends for lunch, obsessively checking your MySpace, clicking around Etsy glorious Etsy, getting sidetracked by unimportant projects… It all seems harmless bit by bit, but things like this can swallow your whole day if you’re not careful (social upkeep is very important to your sanity, though, and we’ll discuss that in an upcoming post). Keep focused and remember your purpose. If you attack your work right away and kill your to-do list, then you’ll have time to go play with your kids or lunch with a friend.

Set “office hours”. When the "office" is closed, don't answer the phone, don't check emails. Your business is very important, but your children are what really matters in life. Give them your undivided attention for a set time every day.

The best system I've seen is the Entrepreneurial Time System. Basically, you select Free Days to do as you please; then Focus Days, which are days where you really put on your work boots and kick some serious booty! Then you choose your Buffer Days, where you take care of the little tasks that would distract you on Focus Days (cleaning, making phone calls, etc.).

Be ready to spot stagnation. If your brain starts to get fuzzy and you're sitting there going " on brain", step away for a short time (this is a break, not giving up! Come right back!). Crank up the music and dance around the living room with the kids, take a walk, take a yoga break, whatever gets your blood pumping and your brain creating. Then tackle your tasks with new enthusiasm!

Those of us who are fortunate (or badassly talented and driven) enough to work from home should count our blessings every day. It is such a privilege to spend your days with your children and be a career woman at the same time!

Want more time management tips? Here are great articles from,, and

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wrangling Small Children- Things You May Not Have Thought Of

Sometimes with small mobile children, it seems like you'll never be able to catch them long enough and keep them in one spot to get anything done. I know I sometimes have my days where I feel like just keeping Eli (my spirited 2 1/2 year old) safe and happy could take a tribe of adults! With a little bit of planning ahead and a few good ideas in your back pocket, your day can flow much more smoothly. I spoke with a couple groups of wise women that have been there and done that, and got some great tips I'd love to share.

Tip 1: Always Give a Choice

Rather then saying, "Eli...What would you like to drink?" Say instead, "Eli...Would you like juice, or milk?"

You're then allowing your child to make decisions for themself without overwhelming them with too much information. They feel like they're taking an active role in what happens in their life.

Tip 2: Use Distractions!

If it's time to leave somewhere or time to stop doing something and your toddler isn't compliant, use distraction. Here's a great example from a mom I spoke with:

Whenever I have to leave somewhere with *my son (like the park or somewhere else fun), I always say, "Let's go see if we can find a fire truck (or a bus)..." and I'm not lying because we live in a city, so we will definitely see a bus and sometimes even a fire truck *My son is obsessed with the moon, so if we are at a friend's house and it's getting dark when we have to leave, I'll say, "Let's go chase the moon with our car!" and *my son loves it.

Another mommy had this great tip for diaper changes and distraction:

I have been wrestling my 14 month old *son through diaper changes for about 2 months now. I found that I could distract him with a "forbidden" toy long enough to change his diaper before he did the flip. After running out of relatively safe forbidden toys in the general area of the changing table I was at a loss! So I made a little basket of random things that he otherwise wouldn't play with and put it next to the table. In the basket I have: a hot pink elastic hair band, one of his old baby shoes that doesn't fit, some blocks, the cover to his thermometer, and his absolute favorite - a box of sterile pads. Once we are done diapering I usually say something about leaving the "toy" there for next time and I usually don't get too much of an argument. If I notice something throughout the day that is not really a toy but he has become attached to I put it in the box for next time. Works like a charm!

And here's a great idea for teeth brushing (I need to try this one!):

When they don't want to brush their teeth, pretend there is a green polka-dotted elephant in their mouth that you MUST find. I got this idea from another *mama and it has worked WONDERS.

Tip 3: Prevention, Prevention, Prevention!

I received this feedback from many mamas! Prevention and distraction almost go hand and hand. If you know your toddler isn't in love with a certain activity (diaper changes, bath time, getting dressed, going to the store, etc etc etc), have a plan of action beforehand! If you go into said activity empty handed, you'll have a mess on your hands almost everytime. This makes for an angry/upset mama and toddler.

Here's my example of prevention:

My son RUNS. That wouldn't be as much of an issue if he was my only child, but I also have an 8 month old. When I go grocery shopping (which I do often, I'm one of those weirdos that only buys food for a couple of days at a shot or else all my veggies go bad- I suppose that's a whole 'nother story), I MUST park next to a cart return. If I'm near a cart return, that allows me to immediately grab a cart to put Eli in before I even take him out of the car (I don't know if you've ever tried to pick up a toddler that's trying to run out into the street while you have a baby in a sling, but it's not so nice to the back). Eli goes straight into the cart, Asher (the little guy) goes into the sling, everyone is safe and strapped in where I can get to them, and no one runs in front of a car. Not only that, but when you come back to put your groceries in the car, you can easily return your cart without abadoning the children.

As for putting two small children to sleep (I know that's pretty specific), I still struggle and I'd love to get any tips you have in our comments box! I always try to put the littlest one to bed first, then cue the toddler a. jumping on the bed, b. screaming in his brother's face, c. wanting to "snuggle" with his brother (which is sweet, but he snuggles ON TOP of you practically, which doesn't help to keep a baby asleep long).

I was given the tip that I should put the toddler to bed first (the baby can't jump on the bed yet!) I'm going to try that out and I'll report back at a later date...

Tip 4: Offer Them Something Fun To Do!

If you have something important to do (take care of the baby, deal with wahm business, cook, clean, etc etc), give your toddler something fun to do in the meantime! (This also falls under distraction and prevention!)

If you're cooking, give your child something in the kitchen to play with! Eli panics when I gate him out of the kitchen and I'm in there, so I'll be utilizing this tip soon:

Flour and beans are a tots best friend. A layer of flour in the bottom of a pan along with some small cars/trains/wood animals can entertain one toddler for hours. Three bowls of different sizes, some spoons or scoops and some dried beans will give you enough time to clean the kitchen, cook supper, clean up after cooking and then some.

Please- If you have any tips you'd like to share, feel free to post them in the comments!

Good luck to all you fabulous mamas- I'm sure you need it as much as we do!

(* = quote has been changed slightly to make sense to those of you who may not speak the lingo.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Getting Organized Tip for October!

Life flows much more smoothly when we're organized. Unfortunately for me, that's not my strongest suit. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, right? I've noticed my children are a happier crew when I have a plan and I stick to my plan. My getting organized tip for October is sign up for My Yahoo! (No, I don't work for them.) I have fallen in love with my Yahoo. You can customize the look to suit your style. I've added a calendar and a notepad to help with my organization. It's my home page, so every time I open up my internet (which I do often...), there's another reminder of what I need to get done. I've tried using the calendar in my cell phone and keeping a day book with no success. I forget to look at it! Not this time friends- I promise I wont forget to get on the internet, and I have a feeling you wont either. ;)


Welcome to our new blog- The Accomplished Mommy! We're happy to have you here with us. Please feel free to add yourself to our followers off to the right. This blog is for moms of all sorts. We all work hard to be successful in our lives, and at the same time make sure that our children are flourishing and prospering. My name is Danielle, and I am a new work at home mom. I have a beautiful 2 1/2 year old and 8 month old. I run a doula business ( that I'm planning to grow into a photography and childbirth education business as well in the immediate future.

Here are the reasons I strive to succeed:

The Co-Author of this blog happens to be my best friend and very successful business woman/ wahm Carly. Her and her husband own Hayden Transformations, a general contracting business. She does all of the office work, lead development, payroll for employees, and the Universe knows what else! I know she's a busy bee and she's good at what she does. This is in conjunction with taking care of her very sweet baby girl (born last June- and yes, I was her doula ;)

Carly's reason for striving to succeed:

So we welcome you, mama's from all walks of life. Join us, follow us, read us. Hopefully you can find a few tips and tricks along the way to help you get organized and be more successful every day!

If you have any questions or suggestions you'd like answered, please feel free to shoot us an email at