Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Less Coffee…Are You Kidding Me?


You're a busy entrepreneur with many things to juggle at the same time: meeting new clients, attending networking events, upgrading your skills, launching new products or services, marketing your practice, and the list goes on. It's understandable that many days, you probably feel tired, if not exhausted. Do you find yourself jump-starting your day with a cup of coffee, and visiting the coffee maker a couple more times during the day, just to keep up and feel energized? You're not alone. Many busy entrepreneurs depend on their daily "fix" to get them through the day, and keep on top of all they need to do. Coffee delivers: it gives us that much needed boost to keep juggling all the balls in the air, and let's be honest…it tastes good too!

However, what we often don't pay attention to (or, perhaps are unaware of), are the health risks that come with drinking large amounts of coffee, and yes, there are health risks. Did you know that coffee prevents the absorption of very important minerals that our body needs, such as: iron, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins? Did you also know that coffee dehydrates, robbing water from our bodies? As a busy entrepreneur, you are probably very familiar with what stress and overwhelm means, but did you also know that coffee adds to your stress? Let me explain…

Coffee is part of a stress cycle. When you consume coffee, your body produces a hormone called adrenaline, which tells your body that you're in stress mode. Although you may feel energized and alert, it's not because your body created these feelings naturally. The coffee acted like a 'false alarm' on your body, causing it to be 'on alert' unnecessarily. Over time, this stress on your body begins to weaken your immune system (which you need to prevent infections and disease).

Busy entrepreneurs like yourself need energy to take you through your day successfully, while you manage your business and your home life. Since you now know about the relationship between coffee and stress, what should you do about it? In my health coaching practice, I am a strong advocate for a concept called "adding in" when working with entrepreneurs who have addictions to coffee. Rather than giving up coffee cold turkey (and suffering from coffee withdrawal symptoms like headaches and mood swings), focus on "adding in" healthier alternatives in the form of foods and/or activities to give you a natural energy boost. Here are some suggestions:

*Increase your water intake each day *Eat healthy snacks throughout your day (such as nuts and fruit) *Engage in simple physical activity (playing with your kids during a break, going for a walk)

As you begin to "add in" these healthier alternatives, try reducing your coffee consumption slowly and pay attention to how your body feels. You might be surprised to find out that these healthy alternatives are beginning to push out your coffee cravings and energize your body in new ways without depending on your "fix" like you used to.

Milissa Harding is a Certified Holistic Health Coach who teaches new entrepreneurs how to maintain healthy energy levels needed to grow their business and create the lives they truly desire from the inside out. Visit http://www.healthystartcoaching.ca to receive your free copy of "6 Steps to Become a Healthy and Energized Entrepreneur".

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Behind the scenes in a Mompreneur household

In the mompreneur world, there is lots of talk about outsourcing, getting help - everything from a virtual assistant, nanny and cleaning lady so that you can focus on your business and do what you do best. Entire businesses, webinars and seminars have been created around this topic. But ...as Entrepreneurial Moms of Toronto leaders DoinaOncel, Bonnie Chan and I, Tereza Kumric found is that with all the help in the world there are still some days when kids and responsibilities may overlap with business. Our recent Entrepreneurial Moms conference call is a funny example.

The call was set for 9pm. The plan was that the kids would be asleep, other work done and we could dedicate a half hour to strategize. Hmmm, not so easy.

Picture this.

Bonnie's husband had a client over. Bonnie's 2 year old son was still up. Bonnie, her husband and the client were entertaining the 2 year old while doing business!

Doina is on the call too. She is interrupted by her two daughters - also failed to go to sleep on time. Doina is firmly trying to deal with her daughters while also focusing on the call.

Me -  I was successful at getting my little ones to bed but I still had two attention seeking, needy teens lurking around asking where this is and where that is and when I was going to be off my call. What did I do? The only logical thing... I locked myself in the bathroom.

Did we have a productive call... absolutely! How?

We were honest with each other. We are moms. We made sure that we were all on the same page. We knew there were going to be some disruptions, we came with an agenda and we did the absolute best we could.

How can you make these situations work?

1) Same as above. If you are faced with a situation like this and meeting with your team or even a client - be honest. 
2) Don't force it. It if just "aint gonna work", don' t force it. Reschedule rather than appear totally unprofessional and unproductive and waste everyone's time.
3) Whenever possible, have a back up plan. Someone else to watch the little ones or find a hiding place like me! 
4) Whenever possible, schedule at a more convenient time!

I'm all for getting help. I believe that when doing business you need to be professional and that sometimes business needs to be business but sometimes when stuff happens that you really can't control, make the best of it and roll with the punches.

Tereza Kumric

Tereza Kumric is an entrepreneur and founder of The Inspira Connection. , on the leadership team  of Entrepreneurial Moms of Toronto . She is also part of a thriving Mortgage brokerage at terezakumric.com  Tereza is all about those outrageous goals and providing you with the tools and resources to achieve them!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hate technology but still want clients?

Do the words social media elicit a sneer from you? Have you set up your LinkedIn profile out of guilt and never logged in again? If your passport picture is more recent than your Facebook profile shot, you might just be a tad opposed to using technology and social media to get clients.

There is hope
Yes, there is a world out there for you—the tech challenged-wanna stay in the old world entrepreneur. You too have many potential clients who feel exactly as you do and shun the internet.
Your personality and skill set is exactly perfect for the right kind of client who is looking to meet you face to face or by the good old fashioned phone. There is no stigma to that, it still works!

What you do need
As a small business growth coach, I’ll give you a pass on having to market yourself on social media but there are a few rules you still need to follow so you can get clients:

Fish where your fish are
If you’re not speaking, networking or reaching out in some way to your target audience, you are missing the client boat in a big way. How are they supposed to know they need your help if they don’t know you?

Have a clearly defined niche
If you help everyone and offer them every service, you don’t have a defined niche. Ruthlessly focusing on a specific segment of the population (ie. I help service based solopreneurs) and talking about only one thing that you can offer them (ie. I offer them marketing coaching) will ease the crease between the eyebrows (ie. confusion) of those who were kind enough to ask “So what is it that you do?”

Speak to your target’s pain
If the minute you open your mouth and your ideal client thinks “this guy gets me and can help me”, then you’re probably talking about your client’s pain and how you can help relieve it instead of just talking about yourself. I don’t care if you’re not on social media but if you’re not talking about your client’s pain, you’re just using up air.

Be visible
Social media and technology allows us more access to people’s lives, so if you’re going to cut off this channel for your visibility, make up for it by being everywhere that your target is—on the radio show they listen to, in the magazine they read and in the trade show they attend. Be ubiquitous.

If you’ve got all these above bases covered, I’m sure you’ll find that even tech haters and nay sayers can have a thriving and booming business and will put those bloggers and tweeters who never come out from behind their computers to shame.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let's talk!

Bio:Chala's mission is to help entrepreneurs overcome fear and embrace the joy of marketing themselves to share their gifts with the world. Chala is the person you go to if you want to jump quickly to the next level of your business potential. A certified business coach, she cut her corporate teeth as a marketer at companies such as Pepsi, Pizza Hut, Frito Lay, Diageo, Playtex and lastly BIC Inc. With a lifelong desire to use her corporate experiences to help managers and business professionals to increase their productivity, Chala has a practice supporting small business owners who want to get more clients through marketing and branding more effectively

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Snack Attack

There’s no denying that everyone, at one time or another, has had a snack attack.  Views on snacking differ.  Some feel that snacking is bad and that eating between meals leads to weight gain.  Others believe that eating many small meals and snacks throughout the day is healthy for maintaining energy levels and optimal weight.  If there were only one way of snacking that was right for everyone, we would all be doing it!
To alleviate snack attack guilt, try to understand why you are snacking and what snacks work best for your body.  Perhaps you snack because your daily diet is missing nutrition, or because you are eating too little at meals.  You might be snacking to soothe jangled nerves when you are emotional, or to entertain yourself when you are bored.  Whatever your reason, acknowledge it and start thinking about how to create a life that is nourishing and truly satisfying.

Although snacks are no substitute for loving your life, they can be great energy boosters.  Many convenient snack foods are highly processed and full of chemicals, additives, damaging fats and refined sugars.  When a snack attack hits you, try foods that are filling and satisfying, but also nutritious.  Here are some tips:

*Snack on things that don’t come in a plastic wrapper or a box, like fresh fruit, leftover vegetables or rice cakes with almond butter and fruit spread.
*Make your own signature trail mix
You can also try “upgrading”:
*If you are craving something crunchy, upgrade from potato chips to raw carrots, apples or whole grain crackers
*If you are craving a candy bar, upgrade to a handful of nuts and dried fruit
*Instead of a cup of coffee, upgrade to green tea

Upgraded snacks are high in nutrition and give you a greater sense of satisfaction and fullness; you won’t feel physically or psychologically deprived, and you’ll have plenty of energy to sustain your activities for hours.
Snacking is enjoyable and there is a wide variety of healthy goodies for whatever you’re craving, be it sweet, crunchy, salty, creamy or spicy.  Dive in, be creative and enjoy your snack attack.

 Milissa Harding is a Certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She works with busy women to provide health and wellness support in a variety of areas, such as: improving nutrition, increasing energy, decreasing stress, managing sugar and coffee cravings and weight loss. She shares a weekly newsletter, “Time Out For Health” filled with lots of healthy tips and recipes, and she offers complimentary Health & Wellness Strategy Sessions. Milissa offers a variety of personalized Health Coaching programs, which are customized to meet individual needs. For more information, please visit: www.healthystartcoaching.ca or email Milissa at: milissaharding@gmail.com.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What’s YOUR score?

It’s something no one talks about but something people need to be better educated on. I am talking about one of your most valuable assets, your credit score. Most people walk around thinking they have amazing credit because they don’t charge purchases or they walk around not even really knowing what a credit score is. What people don’t realize is that your credit score is actually pivotal when it comes to taking one of life’s biggest steps, buying a house. Your credit history can make or break what kind of mortgage or loan you qualify for as well as what kind of lending institution you can go with. Most importantly it affects what kind of interest rate you can get. Your credit score is important when looking to obtain any type of financing whether it is for a house, a car or any other major purchase. If you are interested in learning a few basic things about your credit and how to nurture it than read on!

Christy Watt
A credit bureau is an institution that collects and keeps information on you. No matter what you do they are keeping track! Well, financially speaking that is! So if you missed your credit card payments for a month or two because you were backpacking through Europe, your credit report will show that and your choices are reflected in your score. You are responsible for your own credit history. A credit bureau keeps track of all of your monthly financial obligations and whether they are current or past due. It also looks at how much debt you have outstanding as well as your credit limits. Your report will also show any bankruptcies, or judgments that have been placed against you. The most common example of this would be an unpaid cell phone bill. Some people decide to fight their bill with their cell phone company on principle and what they don’t realize is that that company is more than happy to just place a judgment on your record which will eat away at your score and quickly bring your number down. The credit bureau compiles all this information and translates it into a number which is referred to as your score and that number is used as a numeric assessment of your risk level at any given moment. This number aids lenders in determining how dependable you might be when it comes to repaying your debts.

One of the biggest myths people fall into believing is that having no credit facilities (i.e. credit card, line of credit, and/or loan) is actually better than having some.  You can not build a credit history if you do not use credit.  So the key is using your credit facilities responsibly. A standard requirement that most lending institutions look for when looking at your credit report is that you have two active credit facilities reporting on your credit report. They believe that if you can keep a clean repayment history on two different items for more than two years that you are aware of the importance of your financial obligations and are (hopefully) not a risk to lend to. The best thing to do is to make sure you have two forms of credit at all times. You do not need to be using them constantly but as long as you use them periodically throughout the year, and pay them on time then you should be able to build a great score.

It is important to understand what affects your credit score. As mentioned before any judgments placed against you will lower your score. It is not a one time deduction either. It will continue to lower your score as long as it sits there. This is where it is very important to know what is on your credit report. It is often where people realize they have fallen victim to identity theft. Having your credit score checked repeatedly can also lower your score. Many people do not realize that every time they are looking to get a new credit card or are shopping for mortgage rates and filling out numerous applications that their credit is likely being checked each time. The more times it is checked the lower your score gets. Last but not least paying your monthly obligations late will also affect your score. Your credit report will show how many times you have been over 30 days late on a bill. The more late payments you have the lower your score gets which as a result makes you considered a higher risk.

Another important thing to know is that it is not impossible to rebuild your credit after going through a rough patch in life. If you have fallen behind on your credit facilities or find out you have some judgments placed against you, the most important thing to do is to correct them and work at rebuilding your credit history. One thing to consider is doing a debt consolidation loan or refinancing your mortgage if you already have one. The best thing to do is to consolidate everything into one monthly obligation so that you will find it easier to keep up with. Another reason that debt consolidation is an important step is that you are generally going to have a lower interest rate on your new mortgage or loan overall than you would if you were carrying those balances on your credit cards which often have interest rates that sit in the double digits. Once you consolidate your debts you can work on reestablishing your credit history by making sure you have two credit facilities reporting on your credit bureau and making sure you pay them each month.

There are many resources online that allow you to find out what your credit score is and give you the opportunity of looking at your credit report. You can contact one of Canada’s credit bureaus to receive a copy of your credit report by mail for free. If you want to look at it online you can do so if you are willing to pay for the service.
For more information you can contact one of the credit bureaus directly at:

·         TransUnion Canada: 1-800-663-9980 www.tuc.ca
·         Equifax Canada: 1-800-465-7166 www.equifax.ca

An important thing to note is that most mortgages do not report on your credit report so this will not help in rebuilding your credit. With mortgage rates as low as they are today it is often the best step for you when looking to consolidate your debt, however, this might not be an option for everyone.

Christy Watt is a mortgage lender with Dominion Lending Centres and she is also a member of Entrepreneurial Moms of Toronto. She is always happy to answer any questions about whether or not this is a smart financial choice for you. Additionally she is available to talk about credit report and ways to improve it as well as help figure out what her clients qualify for ahead of time. To find out more about Christy Watt fell free to check out her website at www.wattchristy.com or she can be reached anytime at 647 781 2474.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Smart Business Practices

Spring is here! Yes, it is a sign of relief to know that we do not have to put our kid's big and heavy jackets on when they go to school or daycare. This time of the year is also a time when everyone is doing Spring cleaning and trying to get rid of their stuff by having a yard sale.

Today I decided to check one of them out. It was on my way home when I spotted a yard sale so I thought I would be a good neighbor and support young entrepreneurship by making a purchase. There was a young lady and her mom that was holding this sale. I was quite impressed by their determination to sell everything they had by the end of the day and make some quick cash on a sunny Spring day. I have found a few books which I thought it will be a great gift for my daughter as she loves books more than she loves food. I asked how much the books cost. 5 books for $2.50 was a bargain in my opinion. I took out a $20 bill from my wallet. That was all I had on me. The woman that was holding the sale told me that she cannot break the $20 therefore she cannot sell me the books. Although there was a store around the corner where she could've changed the big bills, her solution to this was not to make the sale. There is a lot to learn from this incident when it comes to business.

  • Be prepared before you set up a business. In this case have enough change from the night before when the banks are open so that you will not turn business away.
  • Make it easier for the customer/client and eliminate negative responses from your business vocabulary. In this case make the sale and go get change after for future customers.
  • Provide good customer service. In this case the example above also applies.
  • Ensure you will teach the younger generation of what good business is. In this case when you turn customers away you will not reach your goal of selling all items on your list.
These examples exist in other businesses as well and therefore we, the consumer feel frustrated. But in the end is the business that will suffer because we will not normally support them and turn to another business that will meet our needs and serve us with integrity. In this case the yard sale is not a sustainable business but how about a business that is? Have you ever been served poorly while trying to make a purchase? What was your reaction? Please share...

Doina Oncel is a Social Media strategist and the founder of Doina's Infinite Solutions and she is also one of the leaders of Entrepreneurial Moms of Toronto.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Why Weight? Diets Don’t Work

Getting my weight under control has come from a process of treating myself as well as I treat others in every way. -Oprah Winfrey


Why Weight? Diets Don’t Work

You can’t turn on the TV, drive down the road or go to a party without being confronted with America’s hottest obsession: weight. Diets are a billion-dollar industry; companies spend millions and millions luring you to try the latest diet (low carb, high protein, low fat, no fat, you name it) with promises that this will (finally!) be the solution—your shortcut to a thinner body. Advertising efforts also deeply affect our children, who develop distorted body images and are often on diets as early as nine or 10 years of age. 

Our culture touts diet pills, celebrity workouts, convenience foods and trendy diets to help us achieve our desired weight, but these quick-fix solutions have backfired. America’s populace has reached its highest weight in history. About half of Americans are overweight; one-third are obese. Diets steer us away from our common sense and dip deeply into our pocketbooks while eliciting few, if any, lasting results. Why?

  • Diets don’t work because each person is unique, with different needs based on gender, age, ancestry and lifestyle; how could one diet be right for everyone?
  • Diets don’t work because they are extreme solutions. As in physics, if a pendulum swings to one extreme, it has to swing equally to the other. A diet might work for a short amount of time, but research shows that almost all diets result in a 10-pound gain once off the diet.
  • Diets don’t work because they are too restrictive. People who fail on diet plans are not flawed or weak. Diets by nature require discipline and restriction at levels that are unsustainable by a healthy human body.
  • Most people are disconnected from why they gain weight and see diet as the only culprit. For example, ignoring or discounting emotions is often the first thing to cause weight imbalances.

In our fast-paced world, we have lost sight of many aspects of life that truly nourish and balance our bodies, such as slowing down, eating a home-cooked meal and spending quality time with loving people. Eating consciously and making simple lifestyle changes will create positive results and release you from the endless cycle of dieting.

Given half a chance, your body will balance out by itself, but this is only possible by getting out of the diet mentality and listening to what you truly need. Imagine taking all of the outward energy you expend on diets, fads and gimmicks and turning it inward, so that you can listen to your heart and inner wisdom. There is no such thing as a quick fix; you already have everything you need within you. With careful thought and loving reflection, you can feed yourself in a nourishing way. Working with your body rather than against it will bring you increased energy, stabilized weight and sustainable health.

Food Focus: Asparagus
Now that spring is finally here, it is a perfect time to add some asparagus to your diet!  Here are some wonderful ways in which asparagus can benefit you:

Detoxifies our bodies
Anti-aging functions
Cancer-fighting qualities
Reduces pain and inflammation
Can prevent osteoporosis
Reduces the risk of heart disease
Reduces the risk of birth defects

Recipe of the Month: Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan       


2 bunches of asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
2 -3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Trim the tough ends off of the asparagus.

On a baking sheet, toss the asparagus with the olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread the asparagus on the sheet, side by side.  Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.

Roast the asparagus until tender and the cheese is melted, about 10-15 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Milissa Harding is a Certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She works with busy women who struggle to maintain healthy energy levels.  Milissa creates personalized coaching programs integrating both a nutrition and lifestyle focus to enable busy women to:  increase energy levels, reduce stress, improve eating habits and prioritize self-care. Request your FREE 25-page copy of “Feeding the Busy Mom: Nourishing Yourself from the Inside Out” and schedule an Energy Strategy Session by visiting www.healthystartcoaching.ca.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Happy Being Me

One of the steps that I coach my clients through in my program is called “Your Health and You Time”. As a mother, it is sometimes very difficult to take the time to take care of ourselves. If we have also left an abusive relationship, sometimes our mind cannot even wrap around that concept initially. We forget how it is to be “Happy Being Me“. We feel like we are being selfish.
 But, who determines selfishness? I would say that it is usually an outside source. Now, I’m not talking about buying a Gucci purse and not buying groceries for our kids~that is negligence. I mean doing something really nice for yourself.
Let’s examine something simple like getting your nails done, for instance. A manicure with a massage is $20-$30 tops. Perhaps you could push back on the grocery money by $5 without having a really noticeable difference in the whole budget. In five or so weeks, you can have a manicure with a hand massage. I am almost certain that your children will love the mother that comes home that evening! I call that “Cheap You Time”!
As Moms, we often don’t take care of our health, either. Although I am “Happy Being Me” in many ways, my weight is not one of them. I have been overweight for most of my life. At the beginning of January, I cut out sugar and simple carbs from my diet. I also had a colon hydrotherapy session to remove the crud from my system. I feel fabulous, but I now need to address my eating habits.
This time, I decided that I am going to use an accountability method. I have been on countless eating plans (aka diets), and have never been successful. There was no accountability for what I was doing, so whenever I felt challenged, I reverted back to my old habits. I have decided that I need to splurge on this for ME. What good am I to my kids if I cannot keep up with them? What example am I showing them if I am overweight? If I want them to eat properly and be healthy, I have to do the same.
To be “Happy Being Me“, I believe that we have to take care of ourselves. We need to put the correct food into our system, and give our bodies the exercise necessary to keep us fit and alert. But, we need a little pampering as well, because sometimes, we have been through a lot, and we deserve it.
May you have Water for Your Journey,
Stephanie, Emerging Princess

The moment we give up our excuses and fully accept responsibility for our own health and happiness, is the moment we harness our true power to change. ~Bill Phillips

Stephanie Titus-Andrews is a Speaker, Author and Recovery Coach to women who are going through divorce, especially if there was abuse.  Her mandate is to give women an injection of hope, direction and strength to help them thrive.  She has appeared on The Small Business, Big Ideas Show, That Channel, and in ShimmerZine Magazine.  Presently, she is working with the Canadian Women's Foundation Shelter From the Storm Campaign.  Her first book is expected to be released in September, 2012.  Stephanie can be reached at www.CreatedToExcel.ca or 6447.928.4728. Stephanie is also a member of Entrepreneurial Moms of Toronto.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

5 reasons why I’m afraid I’ll grow my small business

Surprising reasons why you’re not doing more to get new clients

A few nights ago at the Entrepreneurial Mom’s monthly meeting, a simple question was asked of the audience—“what is your biggest pain point?”
Unanimously everyone agreed that it was not having enough clients. That sounds like a no brainer answer right? Unfortunately in my practice of helping small businesses grow their client base, I run into a lot of people who are on some level afraid of succeeding. Here are some of the mysterious reasons why entrepreneurs are afraid to grow:

1.    “Things will change”: The fear of change is the deepest and oldest fear of all man and woman kind. It’s a big one to get over.
2.    “I’ll have to spend less time with family and on myself”: When success in business equals failure as a mom, daughter or wife, women are often guilt ridden and find it tough to make a decision to do things to get more clients.
3.    “I’ll have to do some things I hate (namely sales and marketing)”: Most small business owners love what they do but hate selling it. On some level, they know that when they decide to get more clients, it will mean that they’ll inevitably have to market and sell more than they are right now.
4.    “Wanting too much money is greedy”: In a lot of subconscious small business owners’ minds lies the thought that if things aren’t too bad for them right now, that to want more money, more clients and to want to play a bigger game is just plain greedy. Greed is not an attractive trait.
5.    “My friends and loved ones will think I’m a big shot”: Who would want anything if it meant estrangement and ruined relationships with loved ones? Who would pursue something that could cause their social circles to reject them?

If you’ve known for some time that you’d like for things to change for your business but are unwilling to do things differently or are paralysed by fears, you might want to ask yourself some tough questions and consider if any of these fears are true for you. Once you’ve made your decision for change—call me or anyone who can help you grow your business.

Need more chicken soup for your biz? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let's talk!

Bio: Chala is the person you go to if you want to jump quickly to the next level of your business potential. A certified business coach, she cut her corporate teeth as a marketer at companies such as Pepsi, Pizza Hut, Frito Lay, Diageo, Playtex and lastly BIC Inc. With a lifelong desire to use her corporate experiences to help managers and business professionals to increase their productivity, Chala has a practice supporting small business owners who want to get more clients through marketing and branding more effectively