MIH 048:Interview with Urbana Chappa


On this week’s podcast, I enjoyed speaking with mompreneur, Urbana Chappa.

Interview with Urbana Chappa at Mompreneurs In Heels Podcast
Urbana is  fashion designer and celebrity stylist. She began her company Maison de Mini, which is an eco-friendly children’s fashion line which focuses on creating from bamboo, soy, and hemp. Her husband is a songwriter for Bruno Mars and has written many songs such as “Just The Way You Are”. They have four adorable children together and she is an advocate for childhood cancer awareness and giving back to many children causes. Urbana is raw, real, and authentic.

On today’s podcast she gives an unhindered transparency of her experience with postpartum depression and how she overcame it through finding her passion in the fashion world. We also talk about the realities of balancing life as a mom in business and what it means to take care of and make yourself a priority.

What we talked about:

  • What lead her into the world of fashion design and styling
  • Her struggles with postpartum depression and how she managed and overcame it
  • Where she got inspiration for her designs
  • How she developed her different clothing lines
  • Some of her favorite style clients   (Diane Warren, her husband songwriter to Bruno Mars Natasha Henstridge from Species)
  • Her biggest passion in life and how her fashion lines reflect her life mission
  • How having a family affected her career on a day to day basis and how she balances motherhood with running her company
  • Urbana’s words of advice for mompreneurs out there wanting to live their dreams, but who also really care deeply for family and being a great mom

Encouragement Takeaways

As women we should… Be comfortable in our skin! Embrace ourselves! It’s all about being okay with who we are in each season of our lives.

How to reach Urbana Chappa

Maison De Mini UrbanaChappa.com

MIH 047:What Makes a Perfect Blog Design?

You might think…”What an odd title for this blog post”. Really, can a blog post really be perfect?

Elements of a Perfect Blog Design

What is a perfect blog design?

Calling a blog design “perfect” is a far stretch, I know. Perfection is a relative as beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. But on today’s blog post and podcast I want to discuss a few elements- namely 12- of what I believe a perfect blog design will entail.  There can be more or less, mind you, but these are 12 elements that I believe will round out the development of your blog and make it as user friendly as possible.

Simple color scheme

I believe a simple scheme for your blog is optimal. The amount of colors you can have in your color palette are completely up to you, but I usually shoot for no more than 4 or 5.  You want to have a few mainstay colors that are consistent with your brand, and just keep it simple. If a turquoise blue isn’t found anywhere in your color palette for your site and logo branding, it’s probably best not to awkwardly throw in this color on your social media accounts.  It just throws people off, and they wonder if it’s the same brand they’re seeing on Facebook versus Twitter.  Keep things consistent with colors and simplicity in your branding.

Simple navigation

There is nothing quite like the confusion that happens when visitors can’t find anything on your site. Usually this is a result of having too much in your main navigation. We want to avoid information overload as much as possible and give our readers a great place to start finding our content. Make the navigation easy to navigate by reducing your blog into just a few distinct topics and placing those topics in your main menu.

Organization

A nicely organized website makes all the difference for your site visitors.  Think about the flow of your traffic as a reader lands on your blog.  Is it easy for them to navigate your site? If your navigation menu is cluttered, try simplifying it.

Your bio

In a perfect blog design world, your viewers will want to get to know you better.  It’s always a great idea to include a “who am I” section. Your bio tells your audience a bit about yourself and a lot about your mission all in one compacted paragraph. Your bio shouldn’t be extremely long as it usually goes in your site sidebar with your headshot. Having a bio in your sidebar as well as a bio page gives your readers a chance to get to know you and become familiar with your mission. Plus, it’s always nice to way connect a friendly face to a blog.

Social sharing buttons

You want your readers to share your content. Word of mouth is the best way to spread the news of your offerings. One of the best ways to do that is by using social sharing buttons. Many of these are free plugins. Just do a quick search for free social sharing buttons and pick from a variety of styles.  I’m currently using WP Social Sharing.

Yoast SEO

Probably the only reason I’m able to write quality posts that fly through the Google “good post” detector is completely due to Yoast SEO.  This plugin has helped to guide me through making sure my keywords are in my metatags and throughout my post and title as many times as needed to have a quality SEO-rich post. For SEO help when creating blog posts I highly recommend this plugin.

Beautiful images

It’s no mystery that blog readers love great images. Readers want to not only read but see pictures sprinkled throughout the post. It helps to break up the lines and paragraphs to make reading easier. Additionally, images are paramount for Pinterest users. If you want to bring a nice dose of traffic to your website with an image only, you’ll need to begin creating catchy images for your blog which you also pin on Pinterest.  It’s a nice deal!

Content then sidebar on right

I love sidebars for so many things. I place my bio there, a search bar, affiliates and sponsor information, and sometimes it’s a great place to add popular posts. I find that when I place my content first and sidebar on the left of my content, readers find my content easier to surf through.  The eyes automatically land on the content without distraction. Here’s a post I wrote a few years back on creating content your readers will love.

Header and logo

Every great blog should have a nice logo and header. Branding is very important, and as I’ve learned over the years, it’s not enough to throw up an image and call it a day. Taking the time to craft a catchy logo that speaks volumes of what you offer will make a huge difference. Be sure to hire someone who understands your brand because your logo or header will practically follow you everywhere!

Related posts

I like plugins that allow your readers to view related posts. This gives readers a chance to NOT hop away from your blog so quickly. Once they reach the bottom of one post they’re more likely to click through and read more of your related posts served up through the one of the many “related posts” plugins.

Sidebar opt-in

Check with your mailing list provider for the newsletter signup script and be sure to place one in your sidebar as well as other places throughout your blog.  Having a sidebar opt-in that’s always visible no matter which page your reader is on might make a difference in a new signup…or not.

Search box

I always love giving my viewers a chance to search for something on my site. You might be surprised at the types of content your readers want to look for on your blog, so providing them a way to search for a blog post you’ve written is a service you want to offer. It’s free and very easy to add. I usually add mine to the sidebar. That’s all for this podcast. I hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to subscribe in Itunes for additional episodes.

MIH 046:5 Ways to Set Yourself Up as an Expert

Are you an expert? If not, what’s stopping you?

Mompreneurs: How to set yourself up as an expert online.

Setting yourself up as an expert online isn’t rocket science, but I admit it takes some leg work.  Running an online business might seem pretty intimidating if you’re unsure of your digital marketing strategy– or how you plan to get known online.  It’s one thing to own a website, another thing to keep it updated, and an entirely different program to use your blog as a platform to display your expertise.

So, what’s stopping you from  setting up yourself as an expert?  Is it fear of the unknown?  Lack of information on how to go about doing it exactly? Fear that maybe you’re not actually an expert?

Let me calm your fears a bit- you don’t have to do much to be an expert. You just need to know yourself.  Know your business. Know what you bring to the table.  And most of all, be confident in your field and in your expertise.

If you’ve done any of the initial groundwork and the laid the foundation for your business it won’t be so difficult to know what your expertise is.  This groundwork includes discovering your passions, setting up your online presence, developing your pricing model, discovering your customer avatar, and maintaining relationships with your tribe. You can find out more in my book. The first step is to acknowledge that you are, indeed, an expert. Then you’ll be ready for the following steps.

1. Crank out awesome content!

Developing an online presence that matters means cranking out awesome content, and on a regular basis. I shared about batch scheduling a few months ago, and it’s one way I manage to keep content rolling at my three blogs.

You’ll need to do a bit of research and find out what your audience likes. You want to give them the kind of content they’re looking for, so keep their questions answered and keep them happy and looking for more from you. There are more ways than one to deliver content (as you’ll see in my following points), but blogging is definitely a great way to start building your expertise online.

There are a few steps to creating a great blog post and it’s necessary to make sure you follow a decent format so that your audience knows what to expect when they read your blog. After a while, once you start getting pretty comfortable with blogging, you might even feel confident enough to reach out to sponsors for support and partnerships which can definitely further your brand a do a lot for your business!

2. Give your audience good visuals.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to maintain consistency with branding and to create visuals that flow well with your brand. I haven’t always done this and I’m guilty of brand conflict.

What do I mean by this?

Well, typically it’s a good idea to have your social media profiles all match with your business brand being the same throughout. I haven’t always stayed on top of this in my own social media profiles and just so you know, it is confusing to viewers who come to my Twitter page and see an entirely different logo than the one they see on Facebook.  So, I’ve gone through a cleaning spree this year to ensure that I get a lot of this brand mix-matching cleaned up.

Another important thing about visuals to note is that when you are blogging you have an important opportunity to capture an audience of image lovers- right there on Pinterest! So, including a Pinterest-friendly image with each post you write is going to be of paramount importance if you plan to incorporate Pinterest into your digital media strategy.  (By Pinterest-friendly, I just mean images that are the best size for Pinterest so that they are more likely to be re-pinned and give you that extra boost of traffic to your blog.) I can affirm that Pinterest works for traffic-building and good visuals make the difference. Your images definitely connect your audience to your brand and help them to connect to you as an expert in your field.

3. Consider public speaking, podcasting, or both!

Public speaking in front of a live audience isn’t my thing, but it might be yours- in which case, you should start booking some speaking engagements! This is probably one of the best ways to establish your expertise.  You’ll have an audience at your fingertips who want to hear from you and they are eager to hear your words.  This makes you an expert.

Since I don’t currently do live speaking, I decided that my best ways to connect with an audience on a more personal level was through podcasting and vlogging.  These two forms of public speaking behind a camera and a microphone have been my way of connecting to moms and entrepreneurs for the past 10 years and it has worked for me. My kids were young and I couldn’t get out and travel so I made the decision to build my business from my laptop.

I LOVE podcasting and vlogging because it’s a significant way to connect to my audience, hear from them, and establish relationships with them (some of whom I enjoy phone chats with or get to see in real life).

4. Take advantage of social media.

I get it- social media takes time. But if you can, carve out a little time to batch schedule your social media posts, using nifty tools like Post Planner or Meet Edgar. With Post Planner I’m able to plan out weeks in advance of Facebook posts and tweets. I use Tailwind for Pinterest sharing also and that has been major for me in driving traffic to my site from Pinterest.

Other social media platforms that have been proven beneficial to me are YouTube (mainly for my homeschool platform) and I use Google Plus for SEO benefits only. The key is to find the social media platforms that work for you and work them.  I don’t especially like Twitter much, so I don’t use Twitter often. I only use what I love and what works for me. Using social media will help to draw your tribe and help you establish your expertise across many platforms.

5. Leverage the power of search engine optimization.

Last, but not least, is the power of SEO.

You don’t have to do it every time you write a blog post (although it’s optimal) but if you have strong search engine optimization habits you’ll land your blog in a better position of getting noticed in Google.

Remember your titles and header tags and to include pertinent keywords in each. Add your keywords in your blog post description and in your images as well. If you need a little help figuring this out, simply installing the Yoast SEO plugin can help you navigate through these steps.

You have an awesome piece of content- so why not ensure Google finds your blog post one of the relevant ones on the topic and rank your site high for it? Just doing a little extra prep work in advance and learning how to use your keywords effectively throughout your blog posts can be extra helpful and go a long way in helping you establish your expertise online.

That’s it guys! I loved sharing this podcast (and blog post) with you and hope that this episode helps you to see yourself as an expert in your field. Leave comments below if you’d like to add to this conversation! I always like hearing from my listeners 🙂

How to Beat Mompreneur Overwhelm!

Mompreneur overwhelm is a real thing! Over the years I’ve learned (and am still learning) how to set reasonable expectations for my life as both a mom and an entrepreneur so that I can wear both hats.  Or as I like to say: fill both shoes.  The slippers and the heels, that is.

How do I keep balance?  Honestly, sometimes I don’t.  But, here’s what I’m learning.

(If you’re a visual here’s a video for you!)

How I beat mompreneur overwhelm

Set small and realistic goals.

It’s so important that as mompreneurs we ensure our values and priorities in line.  Family and spirituality is first. Everything is else is second.

I do mean this. In my life, if I have to choose between spending a week digging into a project that will make me a nice income for the month but I must choose to ignore my family for the week…I’m going to choose my family first. It’s okay if you would choose to dig in for a week and catch up with your family later.  I just choose to run by a different beat and the thread of family life is the fabric of my life right now.  I must…no, I need to have the kind of balance in my life that allows for flexibility to be a mom and a wife.  Seasons are important, and in this season I am a mom.

So, in order to beat mompreneur overwhelm I set my goals small and try to remain realistic.  I have three blogs currently, with a fourth in the works. I also run two podcasts with a third in the works.  For many of you this might seem unrealistic.  For me, this is the bread and butter of what keeps sponsors and clients coming my way and is part of my marketing goals.

That said, I must set realistic goals if I expect to be successful at any or all of these blogs.  In my blogging life, this means that I don’t blog every day at each blog.  I don’t even blog several times per week, or even weekly on some of my blogs. On all but one of my blogs I post every few weeks with a podcast or tutorial and try to remain active on my Facebook groups.  If I tried blogging every day, posting to my social media accounts every day I would drive myself nuts.  So I don’t do it.  Which leads me to the next tip…

Don’t over schedule.

Why pack in so much at once when you have a lifetime to grow and achieve in your business? I’ve been there, done that when it comes to over scheduling and it just doesn’t feel worth it and the end of the day. Beat mompreneur overwhelm by not overscheduling.

Granted, there are those times when you’re just having a really busy week in business.  But as I mentioned in the video, if you’re attempting to launch your website and a membership site all in a month and post to all your social media 8 times per day all while developing your product line- things can get a wee bit crazy.  You’re stepping into a spin zone.

Don’t over schedule.  Take your life and your business at stride.  It will grow with you. You don’t have to do everything at once.

Embrace your season.

As mompreneurs we want to love the season of motherhood we’re in because it won’t last forever.  Our kids will grow up and we’ll have plenty of time to work and throw ourselves into our passions.

Life with littles can make working business a bit tricky.  You’ll have to find ways to work around the kids’ routines and schedules.  Maybe nap times work out best for you.  Maybe you work late in the evenings or early mornings.  But the kids do grow up eventually, so…embrace your season. Being a mom is truly special.  Enjoy it!

Check out my interview with Stephanie who is raising four children while running a business.  And Andrea’s been able to figure out her sweet spot in balancing life with kids and blogging.  I hope these moms are able to encourage you.

And hey, I just started up a Facebook group for homeschool mompreneurs.  If that’s you, I invite you to come join my group!

 

 

MIH 045:Three Things a Successful Mompreneur Will Do In Her Business

We know how important it is to set goals for our business. Mompreneurs, we know what to do.  We just oftentimes have trouble following through on the “do” part of the equation (myself included!)

3 things successful mompreneurs will do in her business

There are 3 things I’ve noticed that successful people in their businesses overall.

  1. Successful people set goals.
  2. Successful people are consistent
  3. Successful people are relentless

So, in the spirit of hopping right into things, the let’s talk about what each of these three things mean:

Successful people set goals.

It’s not enough to have a dream or a desire.  We have to go after it and actually chase it.  We have to set a goal, then figure out a path to get us where we want to be.  Success is a process and it takes planning.

For me, that means planning out my block scheduling for the week. It means overcoming mom overwhelm and creating systems in order to work around my family.

Successful people are consistent.

In order to be successful at our goals, however, we can’t just stop shy of planning.  Now comes the hard part: getting to work!

Grinding is hard work, my friend.  And the hardest part of all is remaining consistent. If I start a new project, then quit, I’m not consistent.  This will, of course, show up in the lack of fruit of my labors. No labor, no fruit.  No labor, no pay. (Preaching to myself here!)

When we show up for the task, we’ve eliminated half the hard work already.  Simply showing up again and again with consistency proves that we are on the way to succeeding at our goals.

I know this is hard for mompreneurs because we just are so busy. We can’t help it- we wear all the hats (and shoes!) and it’s so easy to drop the ball on what’s not right in front of us. But if we can develop systems to remain consistent we’ll be helped tremendously.

Successful people are relentless

Don’t give up, ladies!  Be relentless by not caving in to the fears of not succeeding.  Being relentless means you sink your teeth into your project and you don’t give up until you see results.

Be fearless!  You can do this. Are you on your way to success?  Do you feel like you’re moving in the right direction with your business goals, consistency, and relentlessness?   Leave a note and let me know how you feel. Resources mentioned in this podcast:

MIH 044:Mompreneur Spotlight: Andrea Thorpe

This was one of my favorite interviews because Andrea and I share something in common as mompreneurs: we both homeschool!

andrea thorpe

Who is Andrea Thorpe?

Why she began her blog

  • She began her blog because  it was only natural to write about her current lifestyle of homeschooling
  • She was having a hard time finding homeschool materials and resources specifically for African American students and wanted to reach out to other moms who were looking for similar resources
  • It started with 12 moms and grew to over 2,000 people in just a few years

What she enjoys most about her blog

  • She loves being able to help and encourage people with topics on marriage, parenting, and homeschooling.  She feels it is important to give back to others and provide assistance to her audience in taking some of the guess work out of the research they are doing on homeschooling.
  • She also enjoys networking: meeting people and developing in-real-life friendships through her Facebook group.

About Andrea’s kids and a snapshot in her life as a mompreneur

  • Andrea has 3 girls: ages 12, 10, and 5.  She will be homeschooling 8th grade, 5th grade and 1st grade during her upcoming school year.
  • Her oldest daughter is an athlete and plays soccer and also plays piano.  Her middle daughter is artistic and enjoys sewing, art, and dance.  Her youngest stays busy!
  • In order to balance her day, she starts planning the night before with a decent bedtime. She strives for an earlier wake-up time and each morning she starts the day with prayer, devotions, and planning time.  Her next goal is to plan for her blog posts and graphics.
  • On a good day she can accomplish about 2 hours of private work time before the kids arise.  This is the time that most of her work is accomplished.
  • She also garners the support of her husband during his early day off from work to help with the children while she gets a bit of work done.

Additional advice for mompreneurs and work at home moms:

  • Write things down and look at your schedule. Be realistic about when you can really work.
  • Fit your blogging and work life around your kids’ schedule.
  • Keep your family priorities aligned.
  • Exercise discipline and stick to the schedule.
  • Limit your distractions from the computer. Keep social media and email for a separate time.

Ways to reach Andrea

EmbracingHim.com

AfricanAmericanHomeschoolMoms.com

African American Homeschool Moms Facebook Group

Instagram: andrea.thorpe

 

I enjoyed this chat with Andrea Thorpe- this week’s Spotlight Mompreneur!  What are some of your takeaways from this podcast?  

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