Today I would like to introduce you to Shara from Mommy Perks and Personal Child Stories. I came across her inspiring story on her site, Personal Child Stories. She graciously answered these questions so I could share her story with you!
1. Kindly introduce yourself & tell me about your business:
My name is Shara. I have three children (I call them Mini Humans) and one great husband. We both work from home and share the duties J I am the owner of Mommy Perks and the Founder/Owner of Personal Child Stories. Personal Child Stories is a book business of sorts. I call my books “learning tools.” They are all hand-crafted from start to finish (I have my own equipment here at home). Every page contains personal photos of the child rather than clip art; personal photos are more effective as an emergent literacy tool.
I find out about the needs of my customers and then write a storyline to meet those needs (social emotional development, self esteem boosters, special needs, behavior modification…anything and everything). I then print, cut, laminate every page, cut again, bind and round the corners. Most books contain a writing page or a coloring page at the end so that the child can also practice their fine motor skill development. Each book takes anywhere from 6-12 hours to write, design and complete. http://www.mommyperks.com/
What inspired you to start it?
My first son was born with numerous medical complications. His right eye had to be removed. I made one story about his prosthetic eye and another about his glasses. Both books were fully individualized to his specific situation and worked wonderfully to modify his behavior (chewing on the eye and removing his glasses). You can read more about this here: http://www.personalchildstories.com/our_story.php
HoHow long have you been doing it?
I made the first books back in 2009 but PCS was not founded until 2007.
4. What is the most rewarding aspect of your business?
The feedback! http://www.personalchildstories.com/kudos.php
5. Do you have any marketing tips to share?Oh, gosh…so many! I think the main ones would be:
· If you love what you do, and are following a calling of sorts, stick with it. Don’t give up. It all takes time. Unless you have millions of advertising dollars to invest, your business will not soar within days or months. It usually takes 3-5 years for a small business to really get going.
· Find friendly and generous/kind people to network with. If you run into people who just “take, take, take,” walk away. It’s not worth your energy.
· Tap into as many free resources as you can: mom sites that offer a free listing, Google indexing, Facebook, Twitter, blogging, etc.
· Don’t be afraid to spend a little money when needed. When I first started out, I did spend money to advertise on a few websites. I was very careful about where I put my money because my business is not (and never will be) a big money maker. So I had to be wise about it. I mailed a few books to specific people, no charge, to get their feedback and to have them show the books to others (preschools, teachers, special ed teachers, etc).
· Don’t be stingy and expect others to do everything for you, no charge. That’s unfair. If you want to be paid for your services or products, assume that others want to be paid for theirs, as well J We all have bills to pay!
· If you can work trades that benefit both parties, that’s always something to consider.
· You will likely get lots of emails from people, asking you to advertise on their sites. I have learned that if they are totally un-interested in buying your product, the chances are…they just want your money. They won’t be getting to you know, what you have to offer, why you do what you do and they won’t be referring you to their friends and family. I view those as one-way relationships. I prefer the two-way. If you have the money to spare, though, you may not care. So weigh your options and priorities before sending money to someone. If you are seeking flat advertising and nothing more, spend the money! However, if you are seeking networking and word of mouth, be sure the website owner really cares about you and what you are doing.
6. Do you have any advice for new Mom-preneurs?
The 4 P’s of Business Success: Product, Price, People Skills and Personality : http://www.mommyperks.com/vip/?p=1279
Thanks for sharing your inspiring story w/ us today Shara!! :)
P.S. Click here to shop with & support other Mom-prenuers on The Gift Closet!