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Automation, Business

5 Automation Strategies For Mamapreneurs

Automation is a buzzword these days and for good reason. With automation, you can take simple tasks that you do daily, weekly, or monthly, and set them up so that they happen around the clock without your input. As a mamapreneur, I’m sure we can all use the extra time that doing this can save us.

5 Automation Strategies For Mamapreneurs - Jenn Elwell

Getting The Internet To Do Your Work For You

When we set up automation, we are essentially getting the internet and services that have been created for this purpose, to do our work for us. You will n
o longer have to manually open various social media platforms after you publish a blog post to get it publicized on each one. You won’t even have to open something like Buffer to schedule those posts. It will all happen behind the scenes thanks to a one time setup you did to get it all automated.

There are a variety of services out there that can get you set up with automation. The one that I prefer and use the most is called Zapier. And I love it because not only does it have a large number of pre-made automation routines (aka “zaps”) but it also is connected with over 750 apps and its easy to request a new connection if I need it.

Automation gets the internet to do your work for you. Click To Tweet

You can automate just about anything these days if you work hard enough, but there are five things that are essential for mamapreneurs and their busy lives. We don’t want to just work faster, we also want to work smarter. And the best way to do that is to implement automation into your business.

5 Ways To Automate Your Business

Share Your Blog Posts Everywhere At Once
WordPress to Buffer

You spent a lot of time creating a blog post that was meaningful and helpful for your ideal client. So the last thing you want is for that post to never get seen by those you’re wanting to help. But you can’t manually share the post on every platform multiple times to g5 Automation Strategies for Moms In Business - Jenn Elwellet the post the exposure it needs. With Zapier, you can connect WordPress to Buffer to automatically add it to your Buffer queue (or schedule it at a certain time). You can also use a multi-step zap to add your one post too all of your different Buffer queues or to add multiple postings of your post at different intervals to your queue.

Create Tasks Based On Your Emails
Gmail to Asana

I love using Asana to keep track of my ongoing tasks. But creating a new task when I get a new order or client takes time. So I set up a zap to create an Asana task when an email from a particular email address or with a specific phrase comes into my inbox. You can do this with a simple one step zap that simply maps all the data to Asana or you can take it a step further and use the Zapier Parser create a task in Asana with only the information you need. And if you don’t use Asana or Gmail, Zapier also interfaces with apps like Trello, Outlook 365, and more.

Keep Track Of Your Brand On Social Media
Twitter mentions to Google Sheets
Tagged posts on Instagram to Google Sheets6

The number of social media platforms is expanding with, it seems, every day. And there’s no way as mamapreneurs that we can spend time checking our brand out on each platform every day. But when someone does something like retweets your tweet, mentions you in a tweet, or uses a company specific hashtag, you can add the information to a Google Sheets worksheet so you can recognize the action. This worksheet could become a place where you find new warm leads for your business, keep track of who is being an exceptional brand ambassador, and, overall, stay on top of your brand positioning online.

Add Customers To Your Mailing List
Acuity Scheduling to ConvertKit
Paypal to ConvertKit
Paypal to MailChimp

No matter if you’ve been in business 1 day or 10 years, you know that you should have a mailing list and be adding current customers to it. But when you process orders in various ways like through a scheduling service, through your financial accounting system, or in person getting those new customers onto your mailing list can slip through the cracks. With a zap linking however you process orders to your mailing list provider, you can quit even thinking about having to manually add customers to your list and can simply process orders.

Create One Place To Store Curated Content
Liked tweets to Google Sheets
Pocket items to Google Sheets

Staying present on social media can be a daunting task and coming up with content to share can be time consuming. When you create one place to store curated content (like in Google Sheets) you can set up automations to gather all of the content that you’re interested in in one place making it much easier to sort through it and find content to share. For instance, you can set up a zap to add the tweets you like to your spreadsheet so that all you have to do is skim through Twitter liking tweets that interest you to store that content. You can also save content from Pocket to your Google Sheet or from other areas throughout the web.

With these five automation strategies in place you’ll find yourself with more time to work on the parts of your business that you enjoy and that make you money. In addition to these five areas, I’m putting together a Zapier resource just for my clients. If you have a question about automation in general or Zapier in particular, send me an email and I’ll make sure to cover it in this new resource that will be available in late July. You can get first access when the resource is available by signing up for my mailing list below.


How To Take A Real Vacation From Your Business

I spent time recently taking a complete break from my business. I handled one time sensitive task over email but had done all of my work for the task ahead of time so that all I had to do was forward an email to my printer. I spent my time hanging out with my family and enjoying being with them. I read a lot of books (I think 5!). And I slept late since I wasn’t trying to fit work in when the kids were asleep.

It was amazing.

Family Vacation - Jenn Elwell

When I got back I did have some work that required my immediate attention but taking an actual, 100% break from the business meant that I was refreshed and excited about getting back to my tasks and wasn’t still worn out like I was before I left. I found myself working much faster yesterday than I have been lately just because I had more energy.

I want to encourage you to take some time this summer to step away from your business too. Whether it’s simply totally disconnecting for the weekend or for a week or two while you go on vacation, try to take time to rest and take your mind off of the constant pressures that you face when you run your own business.

To help you disconnect I’ve got three tips that will help you step away if you simply do a little planning.

Take A Real Vacation From Your Business - Jenn Elwell

Prepare your clients

Your clients should want you to be your best self which requires taking a step back from your business every once in a while. As long as you fulfill your responsibilities to them they should only be happy for you (and if they aren’t, maybe you should find new clients!). But you don’t need to just announce that you’re leaving for a seven day vacation tomorrow and expect them to be happy about it. Bring it up in a client meeting a few weeks before you leave and explain how you will fulfill your commitments either before you leave or when you return to keep their project on track. If you don’t have ongoing clients but work on a quicker turnaround, post an image to your social media accounts, update your status in your Etsy shop (or put it in vacation mode or extend your turnaround times), and send an email to your list to manage their expectations. You don’t have to tell them that you’re leaving your house unless you want to (there are privacy concerns, of course) but simply announce that you’re taking some time to recharge and will be back at work on a certain date ready to put some exciting new plans in place!

Plan your email strategy

We probably all have our work email on our phone which can be a blessing and a curse. Before you leave plan your email strategy. Take advantage of the tools that most email servers have like auto-filtering and archiving messages. If you set it up to put the emails that you know you’ll need to deal with first when you get back in one folder and put everything else in another then you’ll know where your sorting needs to occur first when you get back. This will not only allow you to not be overwhelmed with your inbox when you get back, but always keep it under control! You can also leverage tools like vacation mode or an autoresponder to let anyone who emails you know that you’re currently out of the office but will reply by a certain date. This will take care of managing expectations for any new clients that email you while you’re gone.

Find a solution for anything that can’t be deferred until you get back

Take a look at everything that you have going on for your business and figure out a way to handle anything that can’t be delayed until you return from your time off. This might mean setting up automation systems or hiring someone to outsource those tasks to while you’re gone. There are a variety of ways that you can handle these types of tasks without having to do them yourself manually. (If you need some help setting these types of things up I currently have an offer that does just that for only $99.) And, in reality, unless your company is really large there should only be a few things that absolutely can’t be put on the back burner until you return from vacation.

I know that I feel like a new woman after taking a solid week to myself and my family. I love my business but working on it every day takes a lot of energy and dedication and it was nice to let those things go while I was gone and just focus on enjoying time with my family.

If you have any questions about how to implement the things that I’ve discussed in this email or want to chat more, please feel free to email me. I love talking with moms in business and would love to talk with you. And, as a bonus, you’ll get back my autoresponder that’s always on for my inbox and you’re welcome to swipe the copy and make it work for you!


How To Survive The Summer As A Work At Home Mom

The season that kids love and moms have a love/hate relationship with is here. It’s summer. And while your kids probably have a long list of activities and projects that they want to do to make their summer fun and enjoyable, you might be sitting back and wondering how in the world you’re supposed to get all of your work done with your little ones underfoot.

Survive The Summer As A Work At Home Mom - Jenn Elwell

You’re not alone. This is a problem for all work at home moms and can be solved in a variety of ways. One, you can hire a nanny or someone to take care of your kids during the day and sequester yourself in your office. Two, you can move your work hours to the early morning or late night and only work when your kids are asleep. Or three, you can figure out how to balance work and having your kids home.

No matter which option you choose your role as Mom is secure. I’m a big believer in “You do what you gotta do” and that still applies here. You’re not a better or worse mom no matter how you choose to handle the summer. And you’re doing the best you can regardless. So don’t let a fear of not measuring up cause you to miss out on a chance to enjoy the summer season.

So how can your survive no matter how you choose to approach the summer?

Get clear on your priorities.

Does it have to get done this summer? Does it have to be done by you? What can you outsource or automate? What are your priorities for the summer and how can you make them a reality? By asking yourself these kinds of questions you can get clear on exactly what is important to you this summer and what is only on your to-do list if there’s extra time.

Recognize that “balance” is impossible.

Especially in the summer you’re never going to get a perfectly balanced life. What you want is to create a sense of equilibrium so that you work is getting taken care of and is in a good place when you’re having fun with your family and your family is well taken care of when you’re working. Don’t try to keep up the same schedule you had while they were in school, everything will need to be adjusted during this season.

Acknowledge that there are benefits to your kids seeing you work.

I think it’s really important for our kids to see us making time to pursue our dreams even if it means they have to take a back seat for a little while. It’s also important for our kids to know how to entertain themselves. After all, that’s when they get to really use their imaginations and strengthen that muscle that might have gotten rusty during the school year. So don’t be afraid to set aside some time when your kids are awake as work time. Just make sure to explain the “rules” to them ahead of time like what they can interrupt you for and what you expect them to be doing while you’re working.

Don’t forget to take care of you.

Whether you trade out babysitting duties with a fellow mom or talk to your husband about taking more breaks once he gets home from work, don’t forget about yourself over the summer months. You need time not only to keep your business going but also to recharge and refuel yourself. Make a plan at the beginning of the summer and then stick with it throughout the months. You’ll be glad you thought to schedule time in for yourself especially as the summer days seem to drag on.

The beginning of summer can be a huge adjustment to moms who go from having their kids in school a lot of the time to having very little kid free time. While we all love our kids, we know it’s not easy being a mom and when you add in working on your own business the stress can be astronomical. But I know with a few minutes taken to evaluate and plan what your ideal summer will look like, you’ll be much more likely to enjoy the gift that this time with your kids is instead of enduring it.


Mamapreneur 101: The 5 Areas Of A Solid Business Foundation

When I decided to start my own business back in 2013 I was so ready to get started and so overwhelmed with the thought of making a formal business plan that I just jumped in where I thought I wanted to be without setting up a foundation. While this is understandable, especially for mamas whose time is short, it left me with little ability to scale and no clear direction of what I needed to do to set my business up for success. The longer I spent in business the more I realized that while a formal business plan wasn’t necessary, a little bit of planning and a firm foundation were. Over the past years, I’ve identified five areas of a solid business foundation that need to be addressed in order for your business to not only survive but thrive.

Mamapreneur 101 - Foundation - Jenn Elwell

The 5 Areas of a Solid Business Foundation Are:

  1. Legal and Financial
  2. Values and Mission
  3. Client
  4. Product or Service
  5. Communication

Why do these areas matter?

Just like the house you live in requires a well defined and strong foundation, so does your business if you want to continue building and growing your business. While it’s possible to grow with a shaky foundation, it will take significantly more effort from you to keep everything upright than it will if you have a steady foundation on which to balance everything else. And as mamapreneurs we not only want to succeed but we want to do it as quickly as we can with as little extra effort as needed — after all, our strength and time reservoirs are tapped pretty dry to begin with!

One way our foundation can affect our progress is that a firm foundation gives us a clear direction. With a clearly identified foundation, you know the direction you are headed and can keep your focus there which allows you to advance as quickly as possible. By articulating who and how you are serving you can easily avoid “shiny object syndrome”  and not get distracted by outside pursuits that you could do but that don’t align with your business objectives.

A strong foundation also allows you to bring in outside help which is the quickest and easiest way to increase the time being spent building your business. When you know the details of your business foundation it’s easier to get contractors, employees, and consultants up to speed on your business so that they too can help propel you forward. Delegating tasks that you don’t enjoy or don’t have time for is one of the simplest ways to improve your efficiency in your business. But you can’t tell someone else what your purpose is or what to do if you don’t know yourself!

Mamapreneur 101 - Foundation - Jenn Elwell

Finally, having a clearly defined foundation means that all vital aspects of your business are easy to understand. When you understand your goals and purpose for your business your customers will be able to understand that with less effort as well which will naturally draw them to you. By solidifying these five areas in your business everything that you do will begin to appeal and draw in your ideal customer allowing your business to build upon itself.

How can you define your business foundation?

Solidifying the foundation of your business is ideally done before you get started but if you’re like me and skipped that part in your rush to get your business going already then it’s never too late to go back and define these areas. The best way that I’ve found to do this is to work through the five areas of your foundation purposefully. I’ve found that reviewing these areas in this order lets each area build upon the previous so that when you’ve clearly articulated each of these areas you are left with a foundation that can support the growth of your business.

Legal and Financial

Ideally, this area is set up once and then you don’t have to worry about it anymore. That is why you should address this area first. This piece is the bedrock of your business and essential to continued growth. Details that you should define in this area are your business entity, legal operation within your city and state such as licenses and taxes, and beginning a relationship with a trusted lawyer so that you are prepared in the future for any unexpected problems.

Values and Mission

Your values and mission will define your purpose and where your business is headed so it’s important to be clear about them. You’ll start by defining three to five values that you personally place importance on and want your business to exemplify also. And once your values are clear then you can create a mission for yourself or your customers that will be the guiding principle for every decision that you make as a businesswoman.


While you want to serve as many people as possible, without identifying your ideal client you will, in reality, end up serving no one. You should be clear about exactly who your ideal client is and the easiest way to do this is to create a fictitious person modeling your ideal client traits. Once your ideal client is defined then  you’ll use this persona to filter every decision in your business by reflecting, “Would she be drawn to this?”

Product or Service

Once your client is defined then you can solidify what problem you are solving for her and how you are solving it. While some products are easy to find a problem that they solve (for instance accounting services) others may be difficult for you to articulate what problem they solve (like stationery). But if you can’t identify what problem you’re solving with your product or service then your client definitely won’t be able to identify it! And people don’t buy things that they don’t think they need.Mamapreneur 101 - Foundation - Jenn Elwell


Your communication is the most fluid of the foundational areas but the basics must be nailed down in order for you to change the particulars are the months and years go buy. While your methods of communication may change you need to be firm with how and what you are communicating with your customer. To do this you will need to know the guidelines that you’ll follow while communicating and what the best way to communicate with your ideal customer is.

Where do you go from here?

In order to review or create a firm foundation for your business, you should look at each of these five areas and make sure they are clear to you. By creating a business management binder or something similar you can keep all of the information that you define for these areas together and make it easy to reference them when needed. And if you want more details about these areas then you can join me for my next free masterclass on the topic by signing up below to receive notification when it is scheduled.


5 Questions To Ask As You Plan Your New Year

This year is almost gone and as most of us wrap up our holiday orders and look to taking a few weeks of rest from our entrepreneurial adventures, we’re also looking to plan out 2017. On Sunday I was featured in a write up in the local paper (I’ll share if it comes up online). As a part of that I decided to create a list of questions that I think we should consider before or as we are planning our new year.

5 Questions To Ask As You Plan Your New Year - Jenn Elwell

As mamapreneurs it does us no good to start planning our next year without giving some thought to what we want our year to look like. We can set big goals and not have a reasonable idea of how we’re going to achieve them or if they’re even possible for us to reach. While we all wish that tomorrow we’ll wake up and one of our posts has gone viral and we’re the hot new thing in our niche, the reality of that happening is slim and is not something that we should count on in order to achieve our goals.

Setting unrealistic goals and plans for the new year will only leave us disappointed when we don't meet them. Click To Tweet

We need to think about our available time, what our priorities are, and what have we already committed ourselves and our family to that is not flexible in 2017. Once we consider those things in-depth we can then begin to map out the time that we will be able to work ON our business and not IN our business to reach our goals. And that limited amount of time that we have as mamapreneurs to work on our business will determine which goals are realistic for us to meet and which ones are not.

5 Questions To Ask As You Plan Your New Year - Jenn Elwell

I encourage you to click on one of the images above or click here to download the five questions that you should ask as you plan your new year. They will help you visualize your schedule for the new year and help you gauge how much you should realistically strive for in 2017. Don’t downplay your strengths and abilities and aim too low but also don’t neglect to consider your time available and aim too high. Either of those actions will leave you disappointed at the end of 2017 instead of happy with the progress that you have made in your business.

Have questions? Want to talk to Jenn one on one? Want to join a community of mamapreneurs dedicated to helping each other succeed? Email Jenn today to discuss a one on one consulting session in January of 2017. Space is very limited so email today. Or join the Mastermind Mamapreneur Facebook group to connect with other women just like you. 

Gift Guides

Gift Ideas For Last Minute Shoppers

Christmas is just around the corner and while we want to approach the holiday with reverence and a focus on Christ, we also know that in order to devote the energy to the holiday that it deserves we need to get our shopping done! That’s why last year I started a series of gift guides before the holiday and I’m continuing the tradition this year. Today’s installment focuses on those gifts that you can still purchase and have ready for the holidays.

A few notes before I start sharing my favorite ideas. #1 – These items are exclusively from mama-owned shops. I believe in supporting other Mastermind Mamapreneurs and I want to make it easy for you to find them. A number of these women are featured in the first issue of Mama’s Black Book and others are new to me as well as you. But I encourage you to shop small as much as you can this season. #2 – Links in this series will occasionally include affiliate links or products that paid to be included. This means that my company gets a few pennies for each time you buy after clicking an affiliate link on my site link. Your price does not increase and I promise to only include links for shops and products that I love and, for the most part, have used before. Affiliate links will have a * before them to show you that they are affiliate links. #3 – If you have a small business I would love to feature you in the future so text GIFTGUIDES to 44222 to receive my 10 Tips for Getting Featured In Gift Guides and sign up for my mailing list. And, now, on to the good stuff: the gift ideas!

Gift Ideas For Last Minute Shoppers - Jenn Elwell

Gift Ideas For Last Minute Shoppers - Jenn Elwell

V.Paperie Gift Box Subscription from V.Paperie, $25/month

Give a gift that keeps on giving with this gift box subscription. Each month your friend will receive a lovely gift box in the mail full of paper and lifestyle gifts. Vanessa hand curates each box with quality paper and gift items centered around a theme each month. This is a gift that is perfect for anyone in your life!

Gift Ideas For Last Minute Shoppers - Jenn Elwell

*StitchFix Gift Card

StitchFix is a great way to do your clothes and accessories shopping and it is the rage for those who are busy with kids and work. You can give a gift card in any amount that your friend can then use on a “fix” to purchase clothes, shoes, bags, and more in just their style and size!

Gift Ideas For Last Minute Shoppers - Jenn Elwell

Rabbit Ear Teething Rings from Moose and Goose Studio, $7.99

These unique, handmade, teething rings are perfect for any baby! The natural wood ring provides an easy to hold toy while the fashion cotton and terry cloth provide absorbency. The ready to ship teething rings ship within 24-48 hours of payment so you should still have time to order for Christmas. And they’ll gift wrap and ship for you for free if you tell them that it’s a gift!

Gift Ideas For Last Minute Shoppers - Jenn Elwell

Letterpress Recipe Card and Box from 1Canoe2, $46

The perfect gift for any cook, this recipe box and card set is the perfect addition to a kitchen. The designs are straight from the sketchbook and the box is handmade.

Gift Ideas For Last Minute Shoppers - Jenn Elwell

*Make It Happen Book + Journal Bundle from The Cultivate What Matters Shop, $30

This book was the most recommended resource from those featured in the first issue of Mama’s Black Book and the book + journal bundle would make a perfect gift for any young mom. Plus 10% of the profits of the book go to the shop cause so not only would you give a great gift but you’d give back as well!

Gift Ideas For Last Minute Shoppers - Jenn Elwell

Soft Linen Blanket by Emory James, $69.99

There is only one of these blankets available so if you want it you need to grab it NOW but it looks like the perfect gift for your mom. Made of natural linen it will be warm in the winter and cool in the summer and the lovely shade will fit any decor.

Gift Ideas For Last Minute Shoppers - Jenn Elwell

Minimalist Bud Vases from Honeycomb Studio, $35

These three bud vases are hand made and each one is a little different. The gold leafing on the vases gives them an extra touch of shine and makes them the perfect gift for Christmas.

Gift Ideas For Last Minute Shoppers - Jenn Elwell

2017 Weekly Planner from Purple Trail, $44.95

This planner is ready to ship and would be perfect for your friend who wants to get organized in 2017. It’s in a weekly layout and includes some great extras for no charge.


*Junior Explorer Box, $19/box

These boxes are perfect for kids of all ages (I know that all three of my kids would love them, but they are designed for kids from 5-11). The child gets a box with a “mission” that gets kids excited to explore a new habitat. Once they do all of the adventures in their box they can go online to solve the mystery.

Gift Ideas For Last Minute Shoppers - Jenn Elwell

*LoomDecor Gift Card

I’ve just found out about LoomDecor and am anxious to try it (so anyone looking for a gift for me – this would be perfect!). Loom gives you the ability to create custom home furnishings like pillows and draperies at a fraction of the showroom prices. The Gift Package comes with their most popular swatches and would be a great gift for anyone with a new home or just looking to spruce up their home.




Don’t forget to text GIFTGUIDES to 44222 to receive my 10 Tips For Getting Featured In Gift Guides and sign up for my mailing list! And make every effort this holiday season to shop small. To read about more mama-owned businesses that might have the perfect gift for you, make sure you check out Mama’s Black Book.