Smart Mom, Rich Mom

Product DetailsSmart Mom, Rich Mom: How to Build Wealth While Raising a Family
by Kimberly Palmer
Retail Price:  $14.95
Amazon Price:  $6.94

Book Description:   Of all life’s financial shocks, few compare to bringing home an infant. Just one tiny person costs $250,000 to raise– not including college! How will you pay for it? That agonizing question fuels mothers’ choices about their careers, budgets, and families. Some lean in, some scale back or seek new opportunities–there are no easy answers . . . but lots of rewarding possibilities. “Smart Mom, Rich Mom” explores how women today are navigating the financially challenging career/parenting years. Written by a national money columnist and mom of two, the book chronicles people who have stayed in the game–full-time, freelance, self-employed, and more–and emerged more prosperous and empowered. “Smart Mom, Rich Mom” mines their experiences to uncover both career advice and spending and savings strategies that everyone can use. Stories, checklists, action steps, planning tools, and more explain how to:

– Prepare financially for parenthood–whether you’re expecting your first child or your third

– Balance thrift with generating income and investing wisely

– Find flexibility at work while safeguarding your earning potential

– Save for both college and retirement despite increased expenses

– Plan for unexpected events, like a layoff or illness

– And much more

Kids change our lives, adding joy but draining bank accounts. “Smart Mom, Rich Mom” helps you adopt healthy habits–and make hard decisions–that pay off in abundance.


This is a fantastic book for mom’s who not only want to stay in the game, but make the best financial decisions for their family.  While I am an “empty nester”, I lead a group of entrepreneurial women in a monthly class. Most of them are young mom’s trying their best to take care of their kids and still contribute financially to their household.  I purchased this book for them to read and was very pleased with it.  I wish I had this advice when I was a young mom. It’s direct, applicable and gives practical advice for mothers on how to be smart about money. Thrift is the best use of all your resources — including money AND time — so mommy savings tips need to expand from coupon-clipping and into longer-term investments.  Moms can feel overwhelmed thinking about and planning for the future, but the author makes it “doable” by sharing her own experience, while also drawing on others’ stories.  The best part is that you can walk away from this book with clear ideas about how to take better ownership of your family’s finances. This is  must-read for women, mom’s and mom’s-to-be and even an old timer like me found so much to learn!

~Reviewed by Allie B.

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    The Coaching Habit

    The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever
    by Michael Bungay Stanier
    Box of Crayons Press
    Retail Price: $14.95
    Amazon Price: $10.56

    Book Description:   Coaching is an essential skill for leaders. But for most busy, overworked managers, coaching employees is done badly, or not at all. They’re just too busy, and it’s too hard to change.

    But what if managers could coach their people in 10 minutes or less?

    In Michael Bungay Stanier’s The Coaching Habit, coaching becomes a regular, informal part of your day so managers and their teams can work less hard and have more impact.

    Coaching is an art and it’s far easier said than done. It takes courage to ask a question rather than offer up advice, provide an answer, or unleash a solution. Giving another person the opportunity to find their own way, make their own mistakes, and create their own wisdom is both brave and vulnerable. It can also mean unlearning our ”fix it” habits. In this practical and inspiring book, Michael shares seven transformative questions that can make a difference in how we lead and support. And, he guides us through the tricky part – how to take this new information and turn it into habits and a daily practice.

    -Brené Brown, author of Rising Strong and Daring Greatly

    Drawing on years of experience training more than 10,000 busy managers from around the globe in practical, everyday coaching skills, Bungay Stanier reveals how to unlock your peoples’ potential. He unpacks seven essential coaching questions to demonstrate how—by saying less and asking more–you can develop coaching methods that produce great results.

    – Get straight to the point in any conversation with The Kickstart Question
    – Stay on track during any interaction with The AWE Question
    – Save hours of time for yourself with The Lazy Question, and hours of time for others with The Strategic Question
    – Get to the heart of any interpersonal or external challenge with The Focus Question and The Foundation Question
    – Finally, ensure others find your coaching as beneficial as you do with The Learning Question

    A fresh, innovative take on the traditional how-to manual, the book combines insider information with research based in neuroscience and behavioral economics, together with interactive training tools to turn practical advice into practiced habits. Dynamic question-and-answer sections help identify old habits and kick-start new behavior, making sure you get the most out of all seven chapters. Witty and conversational, The Coaching Habit takes your work–and your workplace–from good to great.


    This is a fantastic book for managers that presents a  coaching methodology that they can use to guide employees to achieve higher levels of skill, experience greater engagement with organizations, and promote personal development. It is clearly written and without jargon and gives specific coaching techniques that help readers apply the principles in their own lives.   The author shares practical advice broken down into simple steps that will help you become a coach to your team naturally and successfully.

    ~Reviewed by Rich W.

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      Three Skills for Direct Sales Success


      Direct-Selling-Skills-Logo-200-Large-PNG_d600One of the appeals of direct sales is that it doesn’t require any specialty skills to get started. You don’t need any technical aptitude. You don’t need a degree. The only real thing you need to succeed at direct sales is motivation. The remainder of the skills can be built over time. However, before you get into direct sales or as you grow your business, some skills will help you succeed. They include:

      Sales Skills

      Sales are 90% enthusiasm and 10% know-how. If you’re enthusiastic about your products, then you’re most of the way there. The rest may come naturally. You’ll want to be able to position your products to solve your customer’s problems. You’ll also want to be able to demonstrate the benefits of the products you’re representing.

      Benefits are different than features. Features are things that the product has. Benefits are what the product does for your customer. For example, if you’re selling a candle then a feature may be that it burns for 100 hours. The benefit is that you don’t have to replace it often. It saves money over time.

      If you’re comfortable talking to strangers (and groups of strangers) about your products, then direct sales is perfect. If you love to meet new people, share ideas and help them solve their problems, then direct sales is for you. If you love helping people, laughing, celebrating, and of course making money by promoting your products, then direct sales is for you.

      Leadership Skills

      As a direct sales consultant you may have the opportunity to build a team. This offers you the chance to earn a lot more money. If you’re building a team you’ll want to be able to not only recruit good team members, you’ll also need to lead them. The more successful they are, the more successful you are.

      Business and Organizational Skills

      There are a number of support responsibilities you’ll need to manage. They include:

      * Maintaining an inventory

      * Tracking sales

      * Organizing parties

      * Taking orders

      * Marketing your business and website

      * Planning parties

      * Managing cash

      * Bookkeeping

      * Budgeting

      * Building and maintaining your website

      * Shipping

      * Communicating with customers, party hosts, vendors, and direct sales team members

      As you grow your business, you may also learn copywriting and website design skills. You may be creating your own advertisements, catalogs, flyers and promotional materials. Some companies provide these materials so you may not need to learn copywriting or website design. However, if they do not, that’s okay. You can learn and master these skills in no time.


      Many of these skills are trained or covered by your company. You may also have a mentor to help guide you. The remaining skills you’ll most certainly learn over time. The faster you learn and master them, the faster you reach your goals.

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        Three Keys to Selling with Confidence

        salesSales is a field with many ups and downs. Some days may feel overwhelming and unproductive. Other days may feel like you’re the best sales person on the planet. How you get through the bad days and celebrate the good days depends on your motivation and confidence. Here are three keys to selling with confidence.

        #1 Be enthusiastic

        It’s really important to be enthusiastic and excited about:

        * Your business – You have a unique opportunity to make something completely yours. You get to set the goals and achieve them on your own terms. This is something to celebrate and be thankful for. Each day presents new opportunities.

        * The products you sell and the company you represent – You chose this company and their products for a reason. Hopefully, you feel one hundred percent confident and proud to represent them. If not, consider a new company to work with. If you’re not confident about the products it will be tough to sell them.

        * Your selling opportunities – Each new connection you make is a selling opportunity. It’s important to celebrate them. Maximize them with enthusiasm. Be grateful for the opportunity and share the joy.

        * Your prospects and customers – Your customers and prospects are to be treasured. Each one offers the potential for income today, tomorrow and ten years down the road. Treat them with the enthusiasm they deserve and they’ll reward you.

        * Your abilities – You have tremendous business-building abilities. While some days may be more difficult than others, celebrate your strengths and embrace them with joy and enthusiasm.

        #2 Know your products

        It’s essential to know your products thoroughly. Know all the features of each and every one. Know the benefits of each and every product too. Know how you can use one product to upsell or cross-promote another. For example, if a customer is interested in a mixing bowl, perhaps they’re interested in some professional mixing tools too. When you know your products inside and out, you’ll be able to sell with confidence.

        #3 Know your prospect

        Who is your customer or potential customer and what do they want? People buy for emotional reasons. They buy because a product is going to solve a problem for them. It’s going to make them look/feel better. It’s going to make their life easier. It’s going to give them more respect, authority, and credibility and so on.

        When you study your prospects you’ll be better able to position your products to them. You’ll know what benefits to stress and how to pitch them. You’ll be able to sell with confidence.

        Confidence comes naturally – sometimes. Other times you have to fake it ’til you make it. Find your strengths, be prepared and remember to celebrate your successes. Be grateful and enthusiastic about all you have going for you.

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          Ten Ideas to Market Your Direct Sales Business

          direct-marketingMarketing is an integral aspect of any small business success. As a direct sales consultant, marketing your business and website helps you achieve your sales goals. The more people who are aware of your business and products, the more success you’ll have. Here are ten great marketing ideas to help you get started.

          #1 Offer a free newsletter – On your website or off you can offer a newsletter. You can email it or print and mail it. Email is a better option generally. It’s inexpensive and can lead to immediate click-through sales. In your newsletter, provide information that helps your recipients. Include promotions or special offers and link to your website.

          #2 Advertise – Online or off you there are a number of advertising options available. You can take advantage of classified ads, online banner ads, text ads and pay-per-click (PPC) ads.

          #3 Social networking – Social networking has become a really effective marketing tool. You can use it to drive traffic to your website. Announce special promotions or invite people to attend online or offline parties.

          #4 Publish – You can write and publish articles for your local paper, online newsletter or article directories. If you’re publishing on line, make sure to include a clickable link to your website. If you’re publishing offline, make sure to include contact information including your website address. What do you write about? Anything that’s relevant to your industry. For example, if you sell outdoor gear then write articles about outdoor fitness or survival.

          #5 Printing – Make flyers, brochures and business cards and post them around town. Post them in coffee shops. Ask physicians, dentists and other service providers if you can leave them for their clients. Post them on community boards and in places of worship.

          #6 Partnering – Partner with other direct sales consultants and promote each other. You can even have double parties.

          #7 Charity – Participate or host charity drives or fundraisers. Donate a portion of your profits to charity.

          #8 Swag – Use your own products and use them blatantly. Don’t hesitate to share the swag. Help your customers promote you by offering them conversation pieces. For example, a nice tote bag with your business name on it can help spread the word. Also the happier your customers are, the more likely they will be to spread the word.

          #9 Referrals – Consider offering customers rewards for referring new customers. Maybe they receive a free product or credit on their next purchase. Additionally, offer incentives for referring a party host.

          #10 Networking – Don’t forget the value of your local small business association, chamber of commerce and other networking groups. These groups are great for making connections and learning better ways of doing business.

          When it comes to marketing your direct sales business, use your imagination. Take advantage of your resources too. These ten ideas are just the beginning.

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            Is Direct Sales Right for You? Five Questions to Ask and Answer

            direct salesDirect sales is a great business model for many people. It can be a way to own your own full-time business. It can also be a nice way to supplement your income. Part time or full time – being a direct sales consultant does require a few interests and personality traits. It’s not for everyone. Answer these five questions to be sure direct sales is a smart choice for you.

            #1 What motivates you?

            Many direct sales associates are motivated by money. It’s a great motivator, to be sure. However, you don’t have to be motivated by money to really enjoy direct sales. You can also be motivated to help people live better lives. Your products solve problems and provide a benefit.

            You may also be motivated to help others succeed. When you recruit other direct sales team members, you’re providing a career opportunity to them. You can mentor them to be successful. So, what motivates you?

            #2 Are you independent or a team player?

            If you’re independent then direct sales is a great business model. You are able to work on your own to grow your business. You’ll work with party hostesses so there is a social element. However, for the most part you can work on your own.

            If you’re a team player then consider looking for a company that offers a tiered system. You can recruit teammates and enjoy the benefit of working with others. Of course, you’ll also spend some time on your own developing your own business.

            #3 Do you enjoy selling?

            In order to be successful as a direct sales consultant you’re going to want to enjoy selling. As a direct sales person you’re going to get the opportunity to sell in a party environment which can be very different than a typical retail environment. You’ll also market your business online and off through various means. However, your profits will come from your sales.

            If you would enjoy talking to people about how they can benefit from the various products you represent, direct sales may be your best decision ever.

            #4 Do you have good business and organizational skills?

            As a business owner there will be a number of things to organize and track. The more organized you are, the better and more efficient your business will be. You’ll want to track sales and profits, inventory and expenses – just to name a few items.

            #5 Do you have a positive mindset?

            Owning your own business can be challenging. Because you’re an independent sales person, you’re solely responsible for everything. You have to be self-motivated. A positive mindset will help you push through any challenges that may arise. It’ll keep you motivated to achieve your goals.

            Direct sales isn’t for everyone. However, for many it can be a dream come true. Do your answers to these questions support a direct sales career? If so, the next step may be to find the right company for you. To your success!

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              Five Steps to Direct Sales Success

              Interested in becoming a direct sales consultant? It’s a great business successroadmodel choice for many. It provides a number of the benefits of owning your own business without many of the drawbacks. Before you sign up with a direct sales company, take these five steps. Once you’ve worked your way through this process, you’re ready for your own direct sales business and tremendous success!

              #1 Analyze your strengths and weaknesses. What are you good at? What are you not so skilled at doing? What do you find uncomfortable? Where are you in your element? Spend some time answering these questions either on paper or in your head.

              The answers may surprise you. They are also incredibly important to your overall success as a direct sales entrepreneur. For example, if you love talking in front of groups but dislike administrative tasks, then you’ll know better how to position your business. You’ll know that the party aspect of your business will be great. You’ll also know that you may want to hire an administrative assistant to manage those tasks.

              #2 What are you interested in? There are direct sales businesses for just about every type of product. Make a list of your interests before you start searching for your ideal company. The more enthusiastic you are about your products, the better you’ll sell them.

              #3 Attend direct sales parties. Spend some time attending various direct sales parties. In fact, if you can connect with other direct sales consultants this is a great learning opportunity. You can learn the ins and outs of the business. You can learn more about particular direct sales companies. And you may find a good mentor in the process.

              #4 Brush up on business-building skills. Spend some time reading not only about direct sales but also about owning your own business. There’s a lot to learn. Study selling skills. Study time management advice. Study organizational information like cash management and bookkeeping too. Setting your business up right in the beginning will help you avoid mistakes later on.

              #5 Take a look at the money. How much do you have to invest? How much do you want to make? You’ll likely need a small investment to get started as a direct sales consultant. Do you have money set aside? If not, start saving now. You’ll probably only need a few hundred dollars to get your starting inventory. Once you’re up and running, how much do you have to invest in new inventory and products?

              Also take a look at your income goals. This is important. Setting financial goals helps you stay motivated. It also helps you plan. For example, if you know you want to make $24,000 in your first year and you know that the average party earns $1000 then you know you need to have at least two parties a month. This is important information.

              Once you’ve worked your way through these five steps and are confident with your answers and what you’ve learned, it’s time to find that perfect opportunity. Start researching direct sales companies and find the one that’s right for you.

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                Finding the Right Direct Sales Company for You – Three Steps for Success

                Direct-SalesDirect sales has been a successful business model for decades. However, within the past ten years it has really grown. You can now find a direct sales company that sells just about anything. From power tools to kitchen gadgets, there’s a direct sales company that support it. This can make it difficult to find the right company to choose.

                Here are three crucial steps to help you narrow your choices and find the right direct sales company for your ultimate success.

                Step #1 What are you interested in?

                Take a look at your own passions, interests and hobbies. What do you like? What direct sales products, if any, do you own? Make a list of potential items you’d enjoy selling. For example, if you’re a fitness enthusiast then you may enjoy selling fitness gadgets, nutrition supplements or outdoor gear. Make a list of 5-10 products you think it would be fun to sell. Remember, fun is important. If you don’t like the products they’ll be tough for you to sell.

                Step #2 Research direct sales opportunities

                Now that you have a list of potential products you’d like to sell, it’s time to research. You can find direct sales directories online. You can also visit the Direct Sales Association,, for information. Write down the companies that offer products that match your interests.

                Step #3 Compare opportunities

                Not all direct sales companies are created equally. In fact, they can be quite different. Visit the website of each direct sales company you’re interested in. Compare:

                * Company growth and history – How long have they been in business and how successful are they? Is the company growing?

                * How they support their consultants – Do you get marketing materials? Do you have access to a mentor? Do they provide a website?

                * How much does it cost to get started?

                * How much do they pay? How are you compensated?

                * Do they offer a tiered system? Can you recruit new consultants and earn a percentage of their sales?

                * How often do they add new products?

                * What are their marketing rules? Can you create your own marketing materials? Can you have a website? (Some companies do not allow this.) Do they allow you to sell however you see fit?

                You’re likely going to find pros and cons for each company you research. If you need help narrowing down your choices, consider attending a party in your area. Getting to know other direct sales consultants who also represent the company’s products can answer your remaining questions.

                You’re going to invest a lot of time and energy into your business. Make sure you’re representing a company that is going to support you to succeed.

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                  The Innovator’s Hypothesis

                  The Innovator’s Hypothesis
                  By Michael Schrage
                  The MIT Press
                  Retail Price $21.95
                  Amazon Price: $9.95

                  Book Description: 

                  What is the best way for a company to innovate? That’s exactly the wrong question. The better question: How can organizations get the maximum possible value from their innovation investments? Advice recommending “innovation vacations” and the luxury of failure may be wonderful for organizations with time to spend and money to waste. But this book addresses the innovation priorities of companies that live in the real world of limits. They want fast, frugal, and high impact innovations. They don’t just seek superior innovation, they want superior innovators.In The Innovator’s Hypothesis, innovation expert Michael Schrage advocates a cultural and strategic shift: small teams, collaboratively — and competitively — crafting business experiments that make top management sit up and take notice. Creativity within constraints — clear deadlines and clear deliverables — is what serious innovation cultures do. Schrage introduces the 5X5 framework: giving diverse teams of five people up to five days to come up with portfolios of five business experiments costing no more than $5,000 each and taking no longer than five weeks to run. The book describes multiple portfolios of 5X5 experiments drawn from Schrage’s advisory work and innovation workshops worldwide. These include financial service approaches for improving customer service and addressing security challenges; a pharmaceutical company’s hypotheses for boosting regulatory compliance; and a diaper divisions’ efforts to give babies and parents alike better “diapering experiences” with glow-in-the-dark adhesives, diagnostic capability, and bundled wipes.

                  Schrage’s 5X5 is enterprise innovation gone viral: Successful 5X5s make people more effective innovators, and more effective innovators mean more effective innovations.



                  This book gives you a different take on innovation that goes against the grain, yet is becoming more popular in large businesses or corporations.  Instead of focusing on one idea at a time, the author suggests generating multiple ideas and working in teams for a limited time to conclude of an idea is feasible and deserves greater attention.  He does a great job presenting his theory and backs up his ideas with concrete examples, showing you where the rubber meets the road.  I found it inspiring.

                  ~Reviewed by Dave H.

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                    Fairness is Overrated

                    Product DetailsFairness is Overrated
                    by Tim Stevens
                    Thomas Nelson
                    Retail Price $14.99
                    Amazon Price: $11.43

                    Book Description: 

                    Profitable organizations require a healthy culture, and Pastor Tim Stevens knows the secret sauce for a vibrant and successful workplace. Drawn from his experience working at Granger Community Church in Indiana, where he leads a team of more than 130 people, and from growing a worldwide ministry—5,000 people in three locations in Granger and 1,800 churches in India—Fairness Is Overrated lays out a practical blueprint for success. Short, digestible chapters—fueled by practical bullet-points, discussion questions, and real-life examples—give lessons and practical advice few leadership manuals teach, such as how resumes are worthless and Facebook and Twitter shouldn’t be prohibited at work. Whether it’s the power of switching off the iPhone in a meeting, balancing the visions of artists and leaders, or how to fire people with grace, Fairness Is Overrated is packed with practical tips for real leadership, every single day.


                    If I had to recommend only one book on leadership for someone to read, this would be it.  All leaders, born or made, should read this.  The book is small and organized in small, bite-sized chapters.  The author’s insights are succinct and highly useful and he supports his advice with real business stories and leadership anecdotes, then he shows you how to apply his suggestions to your own situation.  If you are looking for principals that will work in your office culture to make it successful, look no further.  While the book is short and sweet it is packed full of good information.

                    ~Reviewed by David H.

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