The Blogging Advice that will Change Everything!

It's no secret that blogging has changed my life.

To be honest, I felt trapped in the career I went to university for [teaching]. I loved the kids and being in the classroom, but I just couldn't imagine it being the only thing I did in my life. Then I found blogging and it changed everything. 

If you think I'm exaggerating  then check out this video about how mom blogging changed my life. 

Now, seven years in, I think it's time for me to share some of the lessons I have learned in blogging. 


There are so many schools of thought when it comes to blogging. I've spent a lot of time listening to others talk about what it takes to become successful in the blogging world and got such mixed and varied advice.


"Experts" will tell you to focus on advertising and affiliate marketing. "Experts" will tell you to work your connections for sponsored posts. "Experts" will tell you that they have the secret to making your posts go viral [they don't. I promise]. "Experts" will give try to suck you into 'get rich quick with blogging' schemes. And I have to admit that I've gotten sick of seeing "experts" suck people into the belief that blogging is a sure-fire way to become internet famous and internet rich. Some of them might be right, some of them might be wrong. But here's one thing I know for sure:


Blogging is not a get rich, get traffic, get popular QUICK game.


In fact, most people who start a blog won't keep it up because they don't see a dime off of it or very much traffic for that matter within the first few years. 


That's why it's so important to me to start talking about my blogging journey. It hasn't been a straight path to any type of success. It still [even after 7 years] doesn't earn me a full time income. There are periods of time where I make exactly NOTHING off my blog.  


However, I got some fantastic advice early on in my blogging career and it was a game changer for me. 






Your blog in and of itself is not likely to ever be your main money-maker.

Say WHAT?!?!?!? Mind. Blown.

But it is SO, SO, SO true.

The amount of clicks and traffic it takes to make money off of advertising and affiliate links is generally not worth it if you haven't been in the blogging game for years [and even if you have been in the game for years that doesn't guarantee blog income!].

And that advice helped change everything about the way I looked at my blog and how it makes me money. 

So here's the real deal. Blogging itself doesn't make me much money - maybe a couple hundred dollars every few months. 

But I do make money BECAUSE of this blog. 

And that is absolutely replicable for you. 

I'm really excited to talk about how blogging has changed my life, my career path, made me new friends [real life ones too!], and opened doors that I could have only dreamed of 10 years ago. 

The truth is that every single opportunity I have had for financial gain and opportunity over the past years can be directly linked to my blog. 
Every. Single. One.

So, yes, I don't make much money off my blog but I make money BECAUSE of my blog. 

Because I have built a true readership, real connections, and authentic relationships I have been able to have life-altering opportunities.

It hasn't happened overnight but it can really happen - I'm living proof of that. 

To help me tell you my story, share my experience and create success for you [however you perceive success], I have created a YouTube channel. There, I will be giving you all I've got from my years and years of trial and error. Some of it is advice, some of it is actionable "do this now!" content, and some of it is just heartfelt and real - but I know that it's valuable and will make a real difference in your blogging journey - new blogger, seasoned vet or somewhere in between.  I've called it Mom Blogging 101 and it is a growing collection of everything I know and can share with all of you.

I've embedded my Mom Blogging 101 playlist below. 

Check it out and let me know what you think. Let me know what kind of content YOU want to see me cover on there and how I can help you as you set out to make your mark in the blogging world! 


And hey, if you like it, I would love to have you follow me over on YouTube as well!


The Reality of Being a Mompreneur [Guest Post]

The following is a guest post by Melissa Haddad, mompreneur and owner of MH Virtual Assistant Services, who inspires me daily! As you read, I am sure the story of how her business came to be, and came to be successful, will inspire you as well!

***

Do you remember when you were younger, going to the park and jumping on the teeter-totter, but you were the only one sitting on it until your friend hopped on for a minute and then left to go down the slide? This is what it feels like running my own business and still being mom and running a family and all the things that come with it.  

I am married with two children, my daughter is 9 and my son almost 6.  My husband is an amazing father, he is attentive, playful and there for me and our children…he is my rock.  He works two jobs, his full time job as an IT professional in a law office in downtown Toronto and he also officiates hockey.  He has a third job of being my “IT guy” for my business, although he doesn’t get paid for that…he was “voluntold”.  So going back to my point about the teeter-totter, my husband is the friend who hops off to go down the slide.  He is there when I need him, but has to leave to do other things.  During the winter we refer to myself as, “the single married mother of two”.  I always love when he is around as he helps me with the kids…he is that second pair of hands, eyes and ears, but as with all great things, they don’t last and I am left alone to fend for myself.

I started my business as a Virtual Assistant after my second layoff in 6 years. Just before my first layoff, I only had my daughter and life was much easier with just one child.  She was young, my in-laws watched her all day while my husband and I carpooled together into Toronto.  

When I lost my first job and landed another one a mere 5 weeks later and only 10 minutes from home, I knew I found a job for life…until it wasn’t.  

At the time of my second layoff, I had my son and my daughter and they were just about to start school, my daughter going into grade 2 and my son just starting JK.  I had made plans through the school to have after school care for both of them which I had until 6:00pm, but when I was laid off, I began to worry…so many thoughts and it all revolved around the unknown.  “I can’t go downtown to work, my husband works downtown, the school pick up is at 6:00pm, there are GO train delays and then what about paying for daycare, I’ll have to pay for GO and daycare, I will only be working to pay for those things, not to mention the time spent travelling and the rushing of the day to get dinner, then homework and then bed…okay what about retail, can’t do that because my husband referees hockey most nights and weekends and then I have to work nights and weekends with no time for the family…”  Yep, all of those things made me consider all my options…downtown, retail, in-home daycare and finally my own business.  The only best option was my own business; everything else had MANY downfalls.

So, fast forward to February 2, 2015, I had taken the leap to start my business and by the grace of God, I got into a government funded program called the Ontario Self Employment Benefit Program.  This paid me Employment Insurance benefits for 42 weeks and taught me how to run my business and I was able to keep any money that I made from the business and not have to declare it through EI.  Unfortunately this is not an option in Ontario anymore.  Having said this, my group was the 56th group out of 58 and many of the people from the groups had to go back to a part-time/full time job.  This was not an option for me, so I took the bull by the horns and have rode it to success.  



Now it hasn’t been without a lot of work and A LOT of time spent planning and working on the business, so much so that my daughter within my first year said to me, “Mom why do you sit at your computer all the time?”  I wish I could say she was exaggerating, but she truly wasn’t.  I worked most evenings and weekends, but it was truly a give and take.  I was able to get the kids off to school in the morning, start working at 8:30am and pick them up from the bus in the afternoon and continued to make dinner and help my daughter with her homework after all, they are the reason I started my business, so any available time was going to have to be spent working in order to make this work and not fail.

Just before I hit my first year anniversary, I decided, I have worked hard enough and positioned myself well with my clients to be able to take the weekends off.  Not all the time, but it was a work in progress.  Since my husband is gone most evenings in the winter and many weekends too, I had to be with the kids on the weekends and work during the evenings when the kids went to bed.  The first summer of being in business, I had no idea what things were going to be like and since I was getting money from the government, I decided to put the kids into day camp.  It was for 6 weeks and my in-laws took them for another 2 weeks.  

I wasn’t that busy with client work, but busy enough with building my business, so when this summer came around, I was thinking that I didn’t need to spend the money, I would keep them home and work around them…not a chance.  Have you ever tried to do some sort of home renovation, whether it was painting, renovation or evening gardening, with kids around?  Yes?  How did that work out for you?  Well, it was a disaster for the first 3 weeks of the summer.  I was busier than I ever thought I could be…on most days I was working the same amount of hours on client work as I did when the kids were in school.  So, I looked at my options which were each set of grandparents and they helped me tremendously…many people don’t have that to fall back on, so I am VERY grateful.  It really does take a village.

I have learned many things with running a business and a family…it’s a balancing act.  

A business coach said to my mastermind group many times, when you run your own business there is no work/life balance like when you were in a corporate job, it’s all life.  This is so true.  

There are days that I am busy, some days that I am pulling out my hair and going to cry because the crap is hitting the fan and there are days that I can do some work and then sit on the couch to catch up on my favourite TV show.  No matter what type of day it is, I still get up in the morning, get the kids ready for school, walk them to the bus and then pick them up after school from the bus stop, make dinner and help them with their homework.  They are the reason why I started my business at home and they are the reason why I continue.  

The most amazing thing is, I have clients that understand that.  I get to choose my clients just as much as my clients choose me, maybe even more so because I am upfront about having my children and the responsibilities and obligations I have and if they don’t understand or have other expectations, then they are not the right client for me and vice versa.  When I was in corporate, I didn’t have a choice about anything, everything had to “fly up the flag pole” and things were stressful…all the time.  Now, of course there is stress, but I can make my own decisions because if I don’t like how something feels, I drop it like a hot potato.


Working for yourself and being a business owner/entrepreneur is a lot of hard work and a lot of doubt, but if you are a tenacious person and are willing to deal with short term discomfort for long term gain, then do it.  I have always wanted to start my own business, but it was never the right time.  After being shown the door a couple of times within a large corporation, I decided I didn’t need another invitation, I was going to do it.  My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner in life, but we all have a road that was paved for us and we travel down it and we learn things along the way…I learned all that I needed to know to do what I do now, so really this was the path I was supposed to be on at this time.  My children were supposed to be this age and in this stage of their lives, we had made our plans the way they were supposed to be planned to prepare me for this endeavour…not to mention my last position ensured that I met all the people I had to meet to ensure I started off on the right foot.  

Just know that it’s scary and some days you may not make enough, but if you keep pushing and overcoming the obstacles you will be successful. IF I CAN DO IT, SO CAN YOU!

***
Melissa is a real-life mom and business owner who runs MH Virtual Assistant, a virtual business that inspires clients to transform their business by creating efficient ways to conduct administrative tasks and documenting those ways for use by others, while building relationships with clients and their customers.

Want to hear more about Melissa & her business?

Reach her online at: 

On Instagram at:

On LinkedIn at:

On Facebook at:

Top Podcasts for Mompreneurs

Obviously I am setting out to age myself, but I have a new love affair with podcasts. I would listen to a podcast over the radio any day of the week. 

I have always been a fan of listening to experts - ask my husband, I'm constantly putting on my earphones and listening to a new webinar, Facebook live, or podcast. I truly believe that learning from those who have been there (and succeeded & failed) is the best way to ensure your own path to success. 

What I love about the internet is that it has opened learning up to all of us. None of us have to fumble in the dark when we have a great idea. There are so many stories of success out there that will guide new entrepreneurs through the difficult process of getting their product or information off the ground and into the hands of consumers. 

While not every podcast listed below is specifically focussed on entrepreneurial moms, they all provide the information, support, confidence-boost, and motivation that budding mompreneurs really need (and I should know, since I am one!).

So if you're like me and you crave information and inspiration from the best of the best, then these podcasts are for you:


This is Your Life - Ok, not specifically for mompreneuers but the takeaways from these podcasts are simply gold. I am huge fan of Michael Hyatt and his advice for working smarter, achieving success, and motivating yourself and others to soar high. I *may* have listened to every single podcast he has put out to date... 
Listen to this podcast if you're looking for actionable tips on productivity, marketing, and best practices.

Build Your Tribe - You and I might know her from TurboJam (oh ya, that was my fav at-home workout for years!) but Chalene Johnson is a crazy good social media marketer and I have learned a lot about just putting yourself out there with consistency and good content from her podcast. Added bonus? Short episodes - great for a quick listen when you grab a few minutes to yourself!
Listen to this podcast if you're looking for real life inspiration and social media tips & tricks that have been proven to work. 

Femtrepreneur - This is my newest podcast obsession. These girls are whip smart, full of killer information, and have some real life experience to back it up big time! If you are working as a mompreneur online, maybe even selling an online product, then this is the podcast for you!
Listen to this podcast if you're looking for advice from two current online entrepreneurs who are absolutely killing it and willing to share their success and mistakes!

Crazy Ambition - How to spend more time with your family, ditch overwhelm, go from frazzled to focus, and learn from some of the best. I firmly believe that learning from others is the absolute best way to grow yourself. This podcast brings you ideas and advice that can truly change your mompreneur life!
Listen to this podcast if you're looking for motivation and inspiration from real-life mompreneurs who have hit it big against the odds. 

Brilliant Business Moms - Two fab sisters interviewing some truly fab momprenuers. They are so relatable it feels like you're hanging out in your kitchen with friends, all while you're soaking in some really great mom/business knowledge!
Listen to this podcast if you're looking to learn from the best about running a business and a family and succeeding at both!





Want more inspiring parenting advice? Check out my list of top TED Talks for parents!

To The Mama... [A Love Letter As School Begins]

To the mama with the crying kid. The one with tears streaming down his face, holding you with all his might and begging you not to leave him at school. The one with screams rising in his throat and you turn to leave, calling your name over and over again through his tears. The one who is being coaxed into the room by his teacher, carried even, as his tear-filled voice fills the hallways.

I see you.  I support you.

To the mamma with the with a cling-on that won't let go. The one that furrows her brow while having a death grip on your hand, and begs you not to leave her. The one with the sweaty palms, currently wrapped around your leg, saying she won't go into the classroom without you. The one who started telling you she wasn't going to go back to school way back in July when summer break began.

I see you.  I support you.

To the mama with the new child. The one who looks around and doesn't see a single familiar face, and swallows hard with fear. The one who has no one running up, after months of not seeing them,  breathlessly recounting their summer of fun. The one who looks at his shoes, scuffing them back and forth, maybe even leaning up against you for a bit of moral support.

I see you.  I support you.

To the mama with the excited little one who is just bursting at the seams to get back to school. The one who is first in line, excitedly waiting for her friends to arrive. The one who skips and bounces into the playground happy as can be, without a care in the world. The who doesn't look back, even when you call her name, even when you beg her for a hug goodbye.

I see you.  I support you.

To the mama with the one who has become too cool for school. The one who doesn't want you to walk her there on the first day. The one who would rather die than admit you are his parent. The one who has all but stopped the hugs, kisses & 'I love you', even when you're alone at home. 

I see you.  I support you.

To the mama who turns her own head and wipes away her own tears. The one who swallows hard, letting her child go and turns her back despite her child's tears and pleas. The one who still sees her growing child as the baby they were not that long ago, relying on their mama for their every need. The one who wants nothing more than to wrap her arms around that baby, holding her close, telling him that everything will be absolutely fine. The one that takes a deep steadying breath and closes her eyes in a silent prayer, simply hoping and praying that things will go well. The one that races to her car to cry and simply release it all.

I see you.  I support you.

Know, mama, you are not alone. Know that I see and understand that tears that well up in your eyes as your child turns away. Know that I see and understand that pain in your heart, that longing to be with your child, the desire to scoop them up and just run home with them. Know that I see and understand the fear of letting go, of allowing your child to begin the journey of finding their own wings and learning to fly in this world. Know that I see and understand your heart - your mother's heart - and hold you closely in my own silent prayers. 

You are not alone.

Know, mama of that child, that you are not alone. Letting go is hard. Sending this baby that you have poured yourself into out to the world is so hard, no matter how capable the hands you pass them into. Know that they will gladly [at times] still need to hold your hand and steal your heart. Know that they will [yes, it's the truth] stop the tears & the fears eventually, and learn to hold their head high. 

You are not alone.

Take solace in the knowledge that you are not alone, dear mama. Take solace in knowing that you have joined a sisterhood of moms who understand that letting your baby go [no matter their age] is harder than you ever could have imagined.

You are not alone.

Hold your baby [even if they squirm] a little tighter when they get home. Listen to their stories - even if they involve tears - about their first days back at school. Kiss their forehead and tell them that it will be the best year, that they will be the happiest they have ever been, that their success will be greater than it has ever been before.  

And hold back your own tears, mama, until they've rested their head for the night. You've done a great job, you've prepared them as best you can, and it really truly be a wonderful experience for them. 

Know that they know you are by their side, you are their biggest cheerleader, you are their constant rock, a solid foundation of support. 

And pat yourself on the back mama, for a job well done. You got them here. You have raised them well. You have shown them love and compassion. They will be ok. You will be ok.

Take a deep breath and exhale it loudly.

We are all in this together.



You Can't Teach What You Don't Know

The Hero’s Journey of Parenting Hard to Handle Kids
Guest Post by: Stephanie Renaud B.A.Psych., B.Ed.  Energy Coach for Parents





So your kid is a screamer.  When he loses his cool, he loses control.  He’s defiant, angry, maybe even aggressive.  You’ve gotten calls from the school, maybe weekly, reporting that your child has gotten physical (again) with another student.  Maybe she has been disciplined, removed from the classroom or even suspended. 

Mama, have I ever BEEN THERE. 

I remember early on when this started happening, my instinctual response was to blame myself.  I mean seriously, where did I go wrong?! The feelings that accompanied this of guilt, shame, fear, and inadequacy were overwhelming.  They felt so TRUE.  It must be my fault, I feel it so strongly, and so it must be the truth.  That’s how it felt. 

I am here to tell you that IT”S NOT YOUR FAULT.

However.

It IS your responsibility.

You see, our kids come into this world as their own people.  They are their own beings with their own paths.  Who they are and what they choose to do has nothing to do with you.  As their parent, however, the response to their choices falls to you. 

How will you respond?

With anger? Rage? Shame? Punishment? Endless lectures?

These are not responses.  They are reactions.  A reaction is never considered and carefully chosen, it is ACTED, often in motion before we even realize what’s happening.  Ever had that experience of being in the middle of freaking out on your child and feel almost as though you are watching yourself from a distance? A reaction was in motion and your conscious mind was not in control. 

A response is a different things altogether.  It’s considered, chosen, and never comes from the heat of the moment.  It is never rooted in strong emotion and certainly never yelled at the top of your lungs.  It comes from a place of wisdom and love, never from a place of anger and shame.  When I say it is your responsibility, what I mean is that it is your duty to respond. 

This is the ground where you can begin to understand your child.  Why does she lose control? Why does he yell and scream and lose his mind?  Because he hasn’t learned how to tolerate strong emotions and maintain his self control.  Because she is acting from a place of anger, fear, guilt or shame and has no idea how to act otherwise. 

And you know what that’s like because you have been there too.  Parenthood is handy like that because it brings out your deepest self. All those parts of you that need to grow, mature and evolve are brought to the surface when you become a parent.  You will come face to face with your own shadow parent.

Because here’s the thing; you can’t teach what you don’t know. 

If you have no idea how to choose a different path than blowing up when you are angry, your child has no one to teach them how to do that.  If you are clueless as to how to handle your own blow ups with compassion and forgiveness, you will be completely unable to teach these skills to your kids. 

Parenthood is equally about raising yourself as a parent as it is about raising your children. 

Because when you freak out on your kids out of fear, or shame, and then beat yourself up for it, this will be mirrored in how to deal with your kids when they freak out. 

So, what to do?

For starters, realize that parenthood is one of the worlds most difficult and challenging roles.  There are so many expectations placed on parents by themselves, their friends, their parents and society as a whole.  And at the same time it is one of the least understood roles.  We all know what we are expected to do (everything right) and be (perfect). Do we really know who we are as  parents? Or who we want to be? We can’t know how to get there until we are clear on those things.  Like, crystal clear, with the most raw and authentic honesty available to us.  From this place we can begin to shape ourselves as parents, as we see who we are, and know deeply who we wish to be, we are empowered to make choices about the direction we take in any given situation. 

Like when that call comes from the school that your child has blown up, and you need to come in for a meeting.  Again. 

A parent who is in control, is in control of themselves.  They feel and are aware of their instinctive reactions, but they are present enough and clear enough on their desired outcomes to not allow those things to drive their choice of response. 

Mastery of this takes work.  It requires doing the work to train yourself and your mind to be present during difficult moments so that you are able to exercise your power of conscious choice. Work like daily meditation. It requires recognizing and healing your emotional triggers as they come up.  It also requires shameless and often uncomfortable emotional honesty about who you are as a person. 

It’s truly a hero’s journey. 
And it’s all possible.

* * * 


To find out more about meditation and beginning your own practice, join Waking Up Mama, a Facebook community of women doing the work of courageously and consciously raising themselves as parents. 

To read more about Stephanie, visit her Facebook page and her Blog

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