GUEST BLOGGER: Jennifer Covello, Author, www.ParentingForPurpose.com
Article: Supermom Syndrome
Purposeful Parent Tip: There’s no reward in trying to do it all. Slow down Moms!
I’ve talked to moms for a long time during my mompreneur journey with my baby gift business, Frittabello, and I’ve witnessed a variety of parenting journeys. Stay-at-home moms vs. working moms (ok – that just seems wrong to call moms who work outside the home ‘working moms’…as if moms who stay at home don’t work. I’ll try to come up with a better term) vs. mompreneurs.
While the day-to-day may be different for all, one thing remains clear. Moms are overworked, overwhelmed, overtired, overstressed, and just plain over. They are trying to juggle so many balls, that when one drops, another one rises to take its place. Guilt pours in from not being able to do it all. Feelings of failure arise from not being perfect.
I know how they feel. I used to be the same way. When I went to work, I felt guilty that I wasn’t home. When I was home, I felt guilty that I needed more stimulation than my children could provide. When I heard of other mother’s activities with their children, I lamented that I was not like them. When I saw new moms coming back to work having already lost their baby weight, I felt bad that mine was still hanging on well through the toddler years.
It was a continual cycle of never feeling like I was a good enough mother. There was always something I was doing wrong. Despite my efforts to “be all things to all people”, I ended up being nothing to nobody including myself.
In my efforts to be SuperMom, I was giving to everyone except one person. Me! With no time for me, I was continually stressed, continually guilty, and continually exhausted. Even my kids sensed how unhappy I was. I was so exhausted all the time that I went to the doctor to see if I had chronic fatigue syndrome.
When the tests all came back negative, I took a hard look at my parenting journey and my life. I realized that I didn’t have chronic fatigue syndrome or any other mysterious disease. I had, what I am calling, “SuperMom Syndrome”, – the never-ending, people-pleasing, go until you drop, do it all for everyone else and ignore yourself, never saying “No” to anyone, schizophrenic parenting journey that many moms travel each day. Or as I define in my SuperMom Syndrome Workshops:
“SuperMom Syndrome is a disorder that compels intelligent, capable, able-bodied women to think they need to be all things to all people at the expense of THEMSELVES leading to a stressful, guilt-ridden, overwhelming state of exhaustion, and joyless parenting journey.”
If you’re a mompreneur, you can triple the amount of exhaustion and overwhelm that a “regular” SuperMom goes through each day. How do I know? I’ve been a solo/single-parent/mompreneur now for nearly four years and let me tell you, if I didn’t do something fast, my hair colorist was going to retire before me!
Something had to change. And fast!
But I knew that I could not change everything all at once. It’s like when you go on a diet. If you take away all of the foods you love, it’s a guarantee that you’ll be cheating before the first day is over and you will fail. I knew I had to make this manageable for me and my crazy mompreneur life!
I began to take some baby steps towards my recovery starting with simple things, like taking 10 minutes for myself each day to write. I began to say ‘no’ to activities I didn’t have time for or that didn’t mean that much to me. I started to delegate some of the household chores to my children and let go of things needing to be perfect.
Whew! What a relief! Immediately I could feel the difference. The daily stress I felt throughout my body began to subside. I started to get my energy back. Even my kids noticed because I also saw the return of an old friend. My laugh.
I’d lost my laugh while trying to be SuperMom. And for someone like me who adores belly-laughs, I missed this part of my life. Today I try to laugh every day – it soothes the soul.
I made a decision that I would take the tips I’d implemented myself and help other moms who were also struggling with SuperMom Syndrome. It’s amazing to me the unrealistic expectations moms place on themselves and how hard they are on themselves when they don’t meet these expectations. It is also sad that they are not enjoying their parenting journey as much as they should be, due to them trying to be SuperMom.
When I am asked “how do you do it?”, I always respond with the words my mother told me when I asked her how in the world did she raise six children. She said “You do the best you can every day.”
And that’s what I do…the best I can every day.
GUEST BLOGGER: Rachel Teichman, Freelance Writer & Blogger Tots & Plans
Article: How To Write A Press Release
Press Release Sundae by Rachel Teichman
I scream. You scream. We know they all scream for ice cream. But how do you get them to start screaming for something new? With a sweet press release of course! Follow the recipe for this Press Release Sundae, and you will have them drooling at the thought of your new product.
Cherry on Top: Logo
Nuts: Contact Info & FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Whipped Cream: Title & Subtitle
Hot Fudge: City & Date
Ice Cream Scoop #1: The News
Ice Cream Scoop #2: About the Company
A WITTY TITLE THAT GIVES THE PRESS JUST ENOUGH OF A SCOOP!
A little more information sprinkled in to pique media interest.
City, ST (Month #, YEAR) – Big lead in to capture interest, and let the reader know what is new. Answers to the following: What is the new product? Why is the new product around? Who is it for? When will it be available? Use some puns and humor but don’t melt away the core content and message.
About Company Name: The company saw a need for something and decide to create something. Here is one sentence on how it got started, and who started it. They have received some kind of success and notoriety for something. Their news has been sprinkled throughout this and that media outlets. Their products can be found in more than some number of retail shops in these countries, as well as on their own website. More information on their new treats can be found at their website address.
GUEST BLOGGER: Stephanie Shaterian, Founder, FLO Content
Article: Social Media That WORKS
What’s exciting about social media and other online media tools is that they appear to be a
cost-free venture with nothing but reward to reap. However, recent surveys indicate that most
businesses are out there with no plan or strategy and no method of evaluating their efforts. This
may lead to frustration and the abandonment of what COULD be a very useful and cost-effective
tool if wielded correctly.
Ensure that the time, effort and resources you put in to your social media activities provide you
with some rate of return by thinking strategically. Here’s a simple methodology:
● Pick one audience to start. If you do not have a marketing department, you probably don’t
have the bandwidth to launch a multi-channel strategy right out of the gate. Pick one
audience to focus on and build. Once you are achieving results, it will be easier to justify
the added labor for additional targets.
● Research where that audience hangs out online. Google is your friend and you’d be amazed
at the articles and statistics available to you right here on the old internet. Don’t make
assumptions! Your audience may not be where you expect it. For example, we recently
worked with an environmental consultant targeting the mining industry. My thought going
into the project was that we’d be focusing most of our attention on LinkedIn. Surprisingly,
research revealed that the scientific community and mining industry use Facebook as their
main social media tool. The few hours spent researching that little nugget just saved us
months of potentially wasted energy on the wrong distribution channel.
● Check out what the competition is doing. Make a list of 3-5 of your direct competitors. If
you don’t have any direct competitors look at organizations that offer related services to a
similar audience. Steal great ideas and/or target areas that are not currently being hit. If no
one’s doing anything yet, now’s your chance to get in there and establish yourself first!
● Make a plan and stick to it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a written plan, but have a
concrete idea of what you want to achieve and how you plan to attain it. Social Media
requires regular, habitual activity to be effective so be sure to set an attainable goal and
timeframe that works with your schedule.
● Measure, Tweak, Measure, Tweak. Social media is a slow burn. Set targets for measuring
your effectiveness – and think beyond numbers here. It’s not the amount of likes or
followers you have- it’s the quality of the likes and followers. Are they engaging with
your content in a meaningful way by leaving comments? Are they coming into your
establishment with the special offers you issued? Are they sharing your content on their
pages and accounts, spreading the word about your amazing business?
Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to using social media in the most
effective and efficient way possible for you and your business.
Stephanie Shaterian is the consummate online actress. Able to take on the identity of any brand and create winning, witty content that helps companies and non-profits build customer loyalty and top-of-mind awareness among clients and prospects. fLO Content Marketing, started in the fall of 2010, was in the black after one year in business. Stephanie has worked with a diverse range of clients including: consulting, advocacy, retail, greentech, commercial furniture, medical, performing arts and animal boarding(?!). Recent successes include tripling an organization’s Facebook fan base within a 3-week event-based campaign and increasing lead generation by 10% for another via a longer-term engagement strategy. When she is not tweeting on the behalf of others, she’s organizing the San Francisco Chapter of the Founding Moms exchange- a meetup for Mom business owners which has grown from 10 to 100 members in the 6 months under her stewardship.
INTERVIEW WITH …
You may recognize our first guest Public Relations expert. I interviewed Rachel Florio-Urso of Rachel Florio PR Firm to learn what a “Celebrity Baby Trend Expert” actually does and how she has created and grown her brand over the last 10 years.
How did you build your own brand/create your own image?
My brand did not create itself and it did not come easy. I have spent much of the past 12 years working around the clock to gain a strong presence in the media world. The testimonials and recommendations that I have received from clients, producers and editors come from the tight relationships that have taken a great deal of time and effort to create (and keep).
How did you find your niche/focus – Baby Celeb Expert?
I love the niche market that I’m in! As a mom, consumer, producer, on-air talent, and a publicist it came naturally to start focusing purely on maternity, baby and children’s brands. When I first launched my firm I was known for running Bryant Park runway shows. One day a baby brand asked me to place their onsie collection on Miranda’s baby from the hit show “Sex and the City” and I never looked back. Soon after that success I had 21 maternity, baby and child brands on my roster!
How did you make celebrity connections? How do you reach out to new celebrities? Are certain celebrities more receptive?
I have been working with A-list celebrities directly and indirectly for nine years. I know which celebs and reps are untouchable (i.e. Julia Roberts) and I know which celebs love getting “goodies”. I’m not new to the industry so celebrities feel safe with me. My credentials are all over my website, People Magazine’s website, the internet/SM and on T.V. Celebrities give me their personal home addresses because they know they know I am reliable and trustworthy. I have been working with the reps of Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Garner, Kate Hudson, Mariah Carey, Angelina Jolie, and many others for many years and I started gifting Tori Spelling, Sarah Drew among others more recently. If a hot A-list celeb is expecting or has just had a baby, chances are they have “goodies” from Celebrity Baby Trend Expert, Rachel Florio-Urso!
How do you use social media to promote yourself and your brands?
I only started getting into social media last year. LinkedIn has been the strongest tool when it comes to making professional connections with major players and bigger brands. Twitter helps me build a bigger fan base for my brand and the brands I work with. Most of my tweets are product pitches or press placements. Facebook is a quick and easy way to share up-to-the-minute media announcements and giveaways. Everything that is posted on my social media accounts come directly from me. I will not allow someone to post random messages or likes. I don’t believe in hiring a service to control my business dealings. If I “like” something or follow your brand it is because I truly like it. I am not a believer in the “follow me and I’ll follow back” approach. If you like what I am doing than I am honored to gain your “like” and if I “like” something I will let it be known. Anyone can gain 300,000 followers, but if they aren’t a fit for your business what’s the point?
How do you pick which products to represent/companies to work with?
I feel blessed to be able to pick and choose who I work with. It has taken a lot of hard work to become this established. I only take on new brands that I’m passionate about. The product or service has to be high-quality and it needs to be at the right price point with great customer service. The prospective client must be able to produce and there needs to be great communication between the brand developer and myself.
Is the brand logo and site clean? Does the tagline and mission statement fit what the brand is trying to sell? Is the concept smart and the design strong? I ask myself these and many other questions before I feel compelled to start a national media campaign for a newbie.
What realistic results can an entrepreneur expect if a celebrity wears their product?
Little Trendstar is a great example of a celeb-driven brand. Gwen Stefani and her boys were in a park where her son Zuma was photographed wearing their Clash t-shirt. Tori Spelling’s son, Liam, was also photographed holding up one of his favorite t-shirts by this brand. Brad and Angelina and many other celebrity children wear this brand as well. The end result was not overnight financial success for the Little Trendstar brand, but it started building repetitive brand awareness and SM buzz. Little Trendstar was always a hot brand, but now it’s even hotter!
What advice do you have for mompreneurs who don’t have a lot of marketing dollars to spend on publicity? What can they do to be noticed?
I love helping mompreneurs so a few years ago I stopped using long term contracts that were out of reach for these smaller, but deserving brands. I’m a month to month publicist, so many brands use my services for a month to start building a fuller press page. Most brands see how fast I build momentum so they wind up staying with me for several months. I have been working with Elegant Baby for over a decade and Wry Baby has worked with me on and off for almost 12 years. You can hire me for 30 days or for 10 years. You get to decide what is best for your brand and it’s ROI.
I handle all areas of public relations and integrated marketing. I have many years of trade show, T.V., PR, consumer sales, and SM experience. I advise my clients on every level, from their logo to their line sheets and everything in between. If you have a brand and you cannot afford a professional publicist I would suggest pitching your product or service to your local magazine editors and mommy bloggers. I would also create as many social media accounts that you can keep up with. Repetition is a key factor in gaining a household brand name. If you don’t post daily, you become stale and forgotten about.
I receive many questions about the cost of a publicist. Can you provide estimates of how publicists in general work?
An average PR firm charges $6,000 monthly. I have heard publicists in my niche market charge anywhere from $2,000 – $12,000 monthly. I’m less expensive than most and not as inexpensive as others. I would rather provide an intense month of service and help build up your press page than keep them on for a year and have the press coverage slowly trickle in monthly. I love doing what I do and I am told that my energy and results prove it. Editors rely on my having new brands weekly. I never let my own brand get stale so I like to have a good amount of turnover. I take on an average of 4 – 8 new brands each month.
What personal trait do you think has made you most successful in public relations?
Focus, determination, organization, and energy have all helped me get where I am professionally, but it is the love I have for people and products that makes me close the deals. Believing in the brand that I’m pitching is what has made me successful in public relations.
What advice to you have for the mompreneur out there?
It’s important to be ambitious and have passion about the work you do, and don’t let anything get in the way of success! You can do whatever you put your mind to. Don’t be afraid and don’t give up!
NOTE: Best Mom Products, LLC does not endorse any specific product, person or service and does not receive compensation from any of her interviewee’s.