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