A Tale of 2 WAHMs

Ramblings of 2 WAHMs - Anita DeFrank and Kara Kelso. Partners in business discuss how we manage successful websites and young children at home.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

The party was great!

I had a lot of fun last night at the party hosted by NetworkWAHMs, and can't waite until our Christmas party on November 19th. Yes, of course Anita and I are going to have a Christmas party this year! We've been working quietly on the party, and have a list of vendors that will be there offering some great products for the holidays.

Stay tuned for place and times!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Masquerade Ball Celebration

Happening today online, October 30th, from noon to midnight. I'll be there as a vendor for Soy Wax Candles and supporting WAHMs. There are a lot of great vendors and games being played all day, so I hope to see you there!

To enter the party and see the vendor tables, just click here!

Update on Punishing our Children

Phew! I am oh so very happy to say that YES! The notebook did come home. But, can you believe after this whole week and everything we went through this is how it unfolded...

She came home from school and the very first thing I asked her was if she had brought the notebook home. She just looks at me with this "I dunno" kind of look on her face. I was shocked! I'm thinking if this were me in her shoes I'd come running through the door with the notebook in my hand waving it for the world to see. (Maybe halloween means more to me than it does her??) So, she proceeds to dig through her back pack still not sure if she brought it home?!?

Oh well...at least it came home. We'll have to see what next week unfolds for us.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Free day with a lot accomplished

I always think of Friday as somewhat of a "free day" for me. I don't usually use a to do list, and basically set out to just do some "scanning" of message boards and what not. I do non-business things like pay bills and play games even. Well today it seemed like I got more done that normal and the day isn't even over yet. I think sometimes we need those free days, with loose scheduals, to discover things we may not have if we were trying to get something else accomplished.

As you know from reading the blog, I've been putting some major focus on Soy Wax Candles. More specificially right now the catalogs, partially to see what kind of return I get and if it's worth the cost. That was this week's major task, and I may just start on some new task next week like seeking those to do catalog shows for me. I would need to put some more thought into good incentives though, and put together a little packet of information.

I would say that my week of promoting the free catalogs has done quite well, since I've gotten a total of 6 catalog requests in the past 3 days. Today I posted to a few freebie sites and catalog directories and am waiting for a reply. I found a short list of catalog directories here. You will have to weed through them, as some don't have a submission option and are purely for the owner's profit, but some do allow you to submit your catalog for just a link exchange. I also did a quick search on "freebies" and submitted to a few freebie websites. They also just required a link back to their website.

Posting to the freebie websites got me thinking of other low cost advertising I could do on websites like this, such as offer free coupons and whatnot. This may be something I work on another week.

Focusing on just one task for one website has proven so far to be a very good thing!

Punishing our Children

This hurts me more than it hurts you.

Remember when our parents used to say that to us? You don't ever really believe or understand it till you're a parent yourself and your children inevitably make you punish them.

My 8 year old has a special notebook that she's supposed to bring home every single day. This notebook keeps me and her teach in constant contact with each other to help my daughter with some of her problems she's having in school. There's been a handful of days here and there that she hasn't brought the notebook home and she's basically just gotten 'the look', reminded that it must come home every day and mention that if she continues not to bring it home we might have to find a suitable punishment for the crime. But this past week has been horrible.

Monday - No notebook...just 'the look', a reminder and a nice little mention that a punishment may be in order if she continues to not bring the notebook home.

Tuesday - No notebook...I've come to realize that the 'mention of punishment' is no longer being taken seriously and its time to put it into action. So, once the home work was finnished she was made to clean her entire bedroom. (A task that is usually left for the weekends but, she had little homework because it was in the notebook.)

Wednesday - No notebook...Okay, I thought for sure implementing a punishment was definitely going to handle the problem. Obviously not. So, this time I made her do some extra chores around the house and I made up my own homework for her. I'm sure she would have much rathered do the homework that was located in her notebook from her teacher. This should definitely be a good reminder to bring the notebook home the next day.

Thursday - No notebook...Ugh! I am now at my very wits end! I've run out of chores that she'd be able to do in a reasonable amount of time (because we don't have that much 'extra' time in the evenings). Now it's time to take away a priviledge. Thursday evenings she's usually allowed to stay up later and watch Survivor with her father and I. I decided that tonight she wasn't allowed to stay up. I was even so angry with her that I also made mention that if she didn't bring the notebook home on Friday she wasn't going to be able to go Trick-Or-Treating this weekend. (Don't speak when you're angry! Think before you speak!)

So here's when "This hurts me more than it hurts you." comes into action. First of all, I enjoy our "Survivor time" together. It's just her, me and her father spending time together watching tv. Her little brother isn't allowed to stay up and watch (mainly cause he won't stay quiet long enough, LOL!) So, I tend to enjoy this time with just her.

AND...I really, really, really must say that I hope like crazy she brings that notebook home tonight! The last thing I want to do is take away Trick-Or-Treating. This is something we all enjoy because the kids have fun dressing up (of course the added benefit of the candy!) and we enjoy visiting friends and family. This is only a 'one-time-a-year event' and I don't want to have to take it away.

Of course I have my husband breathing down my neck all the time about 'threatening' and not following through. And of course, he's right too. If I keep telling them I'm gonna do something and don't follow through, they'll never take me seriously.

Well, let's just cross our fingers (really hard) that the notebook comes home tonight. If not, I don't know what I'll do.

Halloween For Moms

This article was supposed to be in this past week's ezine issue but I forgot. I really wanted to share this with all you other moms who I know do almost the exact same thing. Besides, it's nice to take a break and smile once sometimes. It does a business good! Hope you enjoy!

Halloween: The Kick-Off of the Holiday Candy Season
By: Debbie Farmer
[excerpt from "Don't Put Lipstick on the Cat!"]

I didn't want to tell you this, but the fact of the matter is I dread
Halloween. Oh, it's not because of the scary costumes or pumpkin
carving or the arrival of fall or anything like that. Halloween is the
annual kick-off of the holiday candy season which, every parent knows, lasts
straight through winter and ends shortly after Easter.

Every year I plan to cut down on my family's windfall of candy by
taking my children trick-or-treating to only five houses. Six tops. So it
always comes as somewhat of a surprise when, two hours later, we find
ourselves wandering up and down unfamiliar streets three towns over.

"Just one more house," they beg. "Please? I bet they have the really
good candy there."

Then I watch as my children, who are usually scared of pin-head sized
spiders and sleeping in the dark, charge straight through rubber witch
heads, howling ghosts, and Styrofoam headstones for the sake of free

Mind you, this is just the kind of at-all-costs attitude that always
lands us at home with enough candy to keep everyone in a sugar coma until
mid spring.

So this year, as an educated, conscientious parent, the first thing I
did after sorting through the candy for potential hazards, was to stash
it all in the freezer.

"Wha-at are you doing?" my daughter asked, horrified. "We can't eat
frozen candy."


You see, every parent knows that the most important thing about holiday
candy left hanging around the house is that you need some kind of a
system to dole it out. Left unguarded my children wouldn't rest until
every last piece was gone.

"You can eat a few pieces a day." I explained in my best take charge
type of tone. "But that's it."

They were outraged.

Of course, one of the big drawbacks to being a good role model is that
you're expected to adhere to your own rules. It would be both unfair
and hypocritical if I ate any of the Halloween candy while they were

Which is exactly why I considered the Twix bar, which I ate the next
day while they were at school, more of a reward.

The same goes for the Hershey's kisses that I popped into my mouth
after I folded the laundry. One for each sock.

For lunch I sampled two bags of chocolate covered raisins (more of a
health food than candy, really). Then, after that, I washed down a
miniature Three Musketeers bar with a pack of malt balls as a reward to
myself for ironing.

Of course this would've all been fine except minutes before my children
were due home from school I realized most of the A-list chocolate candy
had somehow disappeared. And how, I ask you, could I explain that?

So, in desperation, I figured out a simple plan: I called my neighbor,
Julie, who loves chewy candy.

"I'll give you a seven boxes of juu juu bees for a Snickers bar and a
package of Reeses Peanut Butter cups." I hissed into the phone.

"Toss in a few tootsie rolls and it's a deal."

Then I called Ellen next door, who likes gum, and traded a pack of
jawbreakers for two bags of peanut M & M's.

Luckily, life being what it is, everyone's A-list candy is different.
Which means that with a little tenacity I'll be able to restock my
children's candy supply before they get home.

Oh, sure, there's a message in here somewhere.

Maybe it's that parents shouldn't implement rules that they can't
follow. Or maybe it's that holidays should be celebrated in another, less
tangible, way. Or maybe, just maybe, it's that parents should stick to
eating only the candy that no one in the family will miss.

Whatever the reason, I can't worry about it now. I only have five
minutes to exchange seven packets of Candy Corn for three rolls of
Lifesavers, then trade up for a half dozen Pixie Sticks which should just
about equal the one Butterfinger bar I accidentally ate while walking down
the driveway to the mailbox.

I just hope that Easter comes early this year.

Write the author at: debbie@familydaze.com
subscribe to column: http://www.familydaze.com
Hey, if you enjoyed this essay, there are plenty more like
them in "Don't Put Lipstick on the Cat!" A sturdy hardback book (247
pgs, Windriver Publishing))
great for short naptime reading or propping up a wobbly end table.
You can get your copy at BN.com, bookstores, or you can just Click

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Progress on Soy Wax Candle Promotion

I posted earlier this week that I decided the push I needed to increase my income was to set a goal. What I decided on was to see my candle website grow to the point where it was getting at least one sale per day. So this week I've been working mostly on Soy Wax Candles. Last week I added a catalog request form, and have been focusing a bit on it this week. I sent out a press release, networked while focusing on that website, and sent out a "spam ad" on a few good groups. So far I've gotten 4 catalog requests in the past two days (2 yesterday and 2 today). While sending out catalogs yesterday I realised it only costs 60 cents to mail out these catalogs in an envelope, so that made me very happy. Of course the real test is going to come from how many sales I see from the catalogs I've sent out so far. As we go along I'll also be adding some other features like buying incentives or referal incentives. I may go so far as to add some new products to the website (such as bath and body products). We will see, we will see.

Candles are no easy market, so if I can run a successful candle website that means I can run any website successfully. It's an exciting feeling that's for sure!

Networking at Ryze

Ryze is one of those oh-so-important networking places. One of those places where business men and women can get to know YOU as a person, not just your website, which of course is so very important in business.

I've neglected Ryze for quite some time. I haven't even peeked in for MONTHS. Figuring it was about time to go back and see what was going on at a few networks I belong to, I first updated my Ryze home page. My how things change. I had quite a bit to add to it! Of course just taking a quick peek on some of the networks I use to post at I see a lot of new people that have joined. Good to know that some things haven't changed, and there are still some familiar faces there.

If you haven't been to Ryze lately, or haven't visited at all, it's definately worth a few minutes of your time. About a year or two ago I even wrote an article about Ryze which you can read here.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Promoting Your Blog and Wahm Tips

In this week's issue of Mommy's Helper - Mom's Market Ezine:
(Can be read at: http://www.momsmarketonline.com/issue-52.html)

~ Notes from Anita and Kara

~ Featured Mom of the Week
Tracey Westbury

~ Business Article - "Promoting Your Blog"
Blogs are becoming increasingly popular, so as the number of blogs increases, so does the amount of questions on how to promote them. Much like a website, you want your blog to be seen. There are many ways to promote your blog, a few of which I will discuss now.

~ Latest Message Board Topics

~ Childcare Article - "Get Ready for Fall Fun!"
Put down the remote control and get ready for some serious fall fun with your family

~ Humor Article - "10 Things My Preschooler Taught Me"


Read this week's issue at:


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Brainstorming & Research

Ever heard of information overload??

It's Tuesday and supposed to be my 'get down and dirty working day' because Tuesday's are the day that I've arranged for childcare for my son. And what am I doing?? Reading! I'm constantly coming across information that I just don't have the time to really dive into and it gets sent to a special little folder in my email. I make a note or two in my notebook of ideas that might have popped into my head in the meantime so I don't forget.

Have you even gotten to the point where you have way more ideas than you do time? Thats where I'm at right now and this happens waaaay more often than not. But, I LOVE it! Have I ever mentioned exactly how much I love my work?

My biggest problem is I have to teach myself that research and reading days are just as important and productive as the days that I actually have something to 'see' as an accomplishment. I guess that is where I can become a complex person. I absolutely LOVE to read and learn more (researching) but, I'm also a 'let's get it done kind of gal'. When I have an idea I just want to do it and get it done because I get so excited of maybe the 'potential' or how it looks when it's done. BUT...always remember that it is definitely better to learn to do it the right way first than to have to come back and fix it later.

Soooo, I guess I REALLY should continue with my research today instead of chatting here....off to do more research!

Candle Shopping Made Easy for Christmas

Prairie City, Ia - Local work at home mom is making it easier to shop for candles this Christmas

Seeing the need to make shopping easier, candle site owner Kara Kelso has added a new feature to her website, Soy Wax Candles ( http://www.soy-wax-candles.com ).

"I realise that not everyone is comfortable shopping online", says Kelso. "So the option has been given to request a catalog and order by mail".

Soy Wax Candles is an online store offering soy candles in a variety of scents. What makes this store unique from all other candle stores online is the one of a kind food and beverage candles, as well as the bucket candles.

Catalogs can be requested for free, and come with an order form with clearly stated shipping prices. Checks will be accepted with this form of ordering, which is not available when ordering online.

Catalog requests can be found at: http://www.soy-wax-candles.com/catalog.html


Monday, October 25, 2004

Working on Soy Wax Candles

I was sitting here on Friday, thinking of ways that I could increase my income. I thought of creating a new website, and wrote down some ideas for it until I realised that wouldn't be a wise move for me right at the momemnt. Why? Because I already have other websites that have a lot of potential, exspecially with it being so close to Christmas shopping season.

The website with the most potential right now, with the most work to be done is Soy Wax Candles. I have catalogs done, so the other day I set up a Catalog Request Form. I realise some do not want to shop online and like physical books to look from. So I'm offering free catalogs, and a very easy way to ask for them.

Next I set up a page for those to request information on doing an online party. I realise that online parties are popular now, and there is a whole untapped market outside of the wahm community. Most of my visitors (which the total daily visitors to this website isn't much right now, only 10 - 20) come from outside the wahm community. I've also started to get more involved in a networking community that does online parties every week like we use to do, only we got too busy to keep up with the advertising and organising. Sundays are usually family time, but I'm going to have to excuse myself at some point in the afternoon to join the parties and support those that are hosting. That's really what it's about - supporting eachother. Of course there's a great deal of networking as well, and it's about time I jumped back into that. I have been slacking a bit in that department.

Since today was Monday, I also took a few minutes and sent out a few "spam ads" to a few different groups that I belong to. I made mention in my ad about having the new catalog request form on the website. Of course this got me thinking - I need to do a press release to announce this. It's something that seriously needs to be done, and is being put on my "To Do" list for the week.

Finally while catching up on a networking group I belong to, I noticed a request for prize donations. Of course! How could I forget about prize donations as a form of promotion? I took a quick look at my budget, and decided I would make a point to donate 2 prizes this month. Actually I already have donated one prize this month, since I am participating in the WAHMs Maquerade Ball Celebration this Saturday. I donated a 10oz Jar Candle (winner's choice of scent). I hope to not only catch a few sales, but also do some networking and hopefully sign up a few to do online parties. If all I can accomplish is networking then I will be happy with that, since it's the most important part of this celebration.

I've also decided on somewhat of a goal for this website - one sale per day. Rather small, but it's a start and I think I can do it. There's just so much potential with this website, I can't just let it sit idle anymore. I won't stop working on it until I see at least one sale every single day. What about the other sites? Well, Mom's Market promotes itself, and is ALWAYS included in my signature line regardless of where I am networking at. It's my original site, so it's my baby. My new blog, Shopping for Toddlers, is tagging along behind Mom's Market in a way, because it's promoted by links from Mom's Market. There's various pages it appears on, and also it's being picked up very quickly by the search engines. I will still continue to post a new product on it daily, as well as take time every day to read blogs on BlogExplosion. As Anita mentioned we added a new feature here, and I've done the same on my other blog, so BlogExplosion will remain the main form of advertisement for the blogs right now. Blogs require a different form of marketing than websites, and honestly I think they are a little easier to promote. I could start a brand new entry all about website and blog promotion, and maybe I will another day. Right now I need to get back to working on Soy Wax Candles!

What is the Best Form of Advertising?

Now there's another million dollar question, isn't it? I do believe it's right up there with how do I increase online traffic (which I guess they also do come hand-in-hand together too). I'm not going to tell you best place to advertise which also is an often asked question however, I can share one of the best forms of advertising.

Some of the best paid advertising available online would be getting listed in directories. This doesn't mean submitting to search engines. If you write quality ad copies and build a quality site; the important search engines will find you.

What I am talking about is directories that you pay to be listed in. These types of directories you pay to be listed in for a certain about of time. Some are weekly, monthly, yearly and even lifetime listings. This is also an excellent way to get those 'back links' to help you rank better in search engines.

It is a proven fact that 'back links' help increase online traffic. But, the back links that are most effective are links to your website without a return link. Take Link Exchanges for example. With Link Exchanges you request one website owner to place a link to your website on their site with a link on your website to their in return. These are effective however, most directory listings that you pay for do not require a link in return and these are a more effective form of backlinks.

Hope this helps!!

P.S. And of course I can't help but post this...If you're looking for directories to be listed under you can view some examples here: http://www.mommyshelperonline.com/why-purchase-directory-listings.html

Catalog Search Function now on Google

Still in the testing stages I'm sure, but I found this research today while working on Soy Wax Candles. While I'm not sure if they are accepting catalogs from individual reps from various companies, if you own your own business be sure to read more about this new form of advertising:

Halloween Promotions??

Are you using Halloween for any promotion this year? I'll be working hard this week on my mom packs that I intend on passing out this year to moms (yup, I'm busted...I AM a procrasinator!) We've had a couple of good conversations rolling over at the message boards on some ideas some of the members are going to do...Take a peak...Maybe you'll find something of interest to you!



Feel free to post any ideas you have too (here or over there)!

Keep Track of your Domain Names!!

Wow, last week was such a mess and I wouldn't want anyone to have to go through this! Make sure you always keep track of your domain names and know exactly when they expire. The safest way to handle this is have all of your domain names auto-renew. Here's what happened to me...

First of all, a little back ground...
Last year I had bartered with a gal. She bought/gave me the domain name wahmstatedirectory.com and I in return gave her some free advertising. (Keep in mind she is a reseller for a domain name service so she was able to get the domain name much cheaper which is a great thing about bartering.)

When I bartered with her I wasn't too familiar with how domain names, hosting and all those things really worked. Thankfully, she had set the domain name up in my name. But, I never recieved an announcement/email that this domain was about to expire and of course forgot that it was getting to be that time. I was going to update something on my site to find out that the domain name had expired.

I tried going to the website where the name had been purchased from only for them to tell me that my account and name had expired.

I tried emailing the reseller that I had bartered with to see if she knew of something I could do. To this I hadn't recieved a response.

I tried to re-purchase the domain name only to be told that it wasn't available.

I tried emailing the company the name was purchased through. Their response back was that I needed to either contact the reseller OR wait 45 days to be able to re-purchase it. I had already told them that I tried contacting the reseller and that I was the owner of this name! To this I repsonded to them in a 'not as nice way' that I was the owner of this name and if they would kindly check the Who Is information I would be found as the owner. Why couldn't I renew my own name myself and that I wasn't hearing back from the reseller.

I guess sometimes getting a little huffy is in order because luckily then I recieved a reply from another customer service representative and she gladly helped me get the domain going again.

Unfortuantely, my site was down for 7 days :( but, it was taken care of. I don't know about you but I go crazy when my site is down for more than 10 minutes. Not alone 7 days and I dreaded the thought of it being down for 45. One lost visitor could cause you to loose that potential client/customer/visitor for life.

I also did run into another small problem while renewing this name that is much needed to comment on for those who don't know any better. My purpose of this post is not to bash the company ... so I won't go into dirty details. Just ALWAYS remember that you can purchase domain names at very reasonable prices. For example at Mommy's Helper's Domain & Hosting Services you can purchase a domain name for only $7.95 a year. Not $29.95 a year that I had to pay to renew this domain! Of course there are many other options out there and they may even be cheaper than the $7.95 too. But, there's a HUGE difference between $7.95 and $29.95 a year. If you come across a site with the name you're looking for with a price tag like that...search elsewhere! Save yourself a buck or in this case...quite a few bucks!

F R E E Mailing List for Your Blog

You may have noticed a new feature on the right-hand side of our blog today. This is a neat feature that I recommend placing on your blog. This is great for your visitors that just haven't stepped into the 'feed realm' of blogging to subscribe to blogs. With this subscription box your visitors can sign up for a FREE account to recieve email notifications of updates on your blog. This will keep visitors up to date and coming back. Signing up for a free account is simple and all you have to do is copy and paste a code into your blog template.

Sign up at Bloglet.com for your F R E E account.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Handling those bad wahm days

Let's face it, even those of us that are living out our dream and working at home still have those days where we feel like running out and getting a job just to get away from the stress that goes along with working at home. Yesterday was one of those days for me. The house was a mess, the kids were in constant trouble, my internet connection kept dropping, family problems were flying, and other issues were popping up from everywhere. It was just "one of those days" where what CAN go wrong WILL go wrong, and I'm not exagerating in the least.

So how do you handle those days? Well here's what I did - I shut the computer off, took my kid to school (and if you don't have one in school, locate someone that will take the kids off your hands for a few hours), and sat down to watch a movie. When it was time to pick up my son from preschool we didnt come home, but instead went out to Walmart then out to eat. When I returned home sure it was late, but my partner was more than understanding and had no problems letting me finish up a few tasks I had been trying to accomplish all morning.

If I would have kept on trying to finish what I was doing around all the stuff that was being thrown at me, it would have took me the rest of the day. I would have been stressed out to the max (well, more like thrown compltely over the edge), and it would have been reflected in my work. So walking away for several hours THEN comming back to finish what I needed to do was exactly what I needed to do.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Shopping for Toddlers

I'm pleased to see how well my other blog is doing as far as visitors go. Just a few weeks in and I'm already seeing visitors comming in from search engines. It may be the time of year or the words I'm using, either way with just a handful of posts it's actually doing really well. I hope to see it get even better and generate sales as we get closer to Christmas.

Actually all our blogs are getting a good amount of visitors from all places and I'm pleased to see it. It makes me never want to build a regular site ever again! :D

Happy blogging!

Niche Marketing and Preschool Fun

In this week's issue of Mommy's Helper - Mom's Market Ezine:
(Can be read at: http://www.momsmarketonline.com/issue-51.html)

~ Notes from Anita and Kara

~ Featured Mom of the Week
Lori Davies

~ Business Article - "Defining the Marketing Niche"
Ever wonder why some business seem to be more successful than others are. Why do some business flourish even in tough economical times? The answer is quite simple. Successful business owners define and target specific niches to sell.

~ Latest Message Board Topics

~ Childcare Article - "Preschool Fun - Pots & Pans And Numbers"
Matching numbers is a great way for your pre-schooler to learn their names. As you roll the dice and count the spots on each of the six sides he will soon be counting from 1 to 6 with ease.

~ Humor Article - "Four Boys, Two Grocery Carts and One Suicidal Mom"
I dream about grocery shopping. The art of quick grocery shopping that is. I have watched other couples with no kids shopping and noticed single shoppers as well as the elderly shopping. They are in and out of the store in minutes with one grocery bag, maybe two. Then I wake from my dream and come to reality of the mom style of shopping.


Read this week's issue at:


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Christmas Cards

For those of you that actually send Christmas cards (I'm embarrased to say I'm not one that gives anyone cards - shame on me!!), I thought I would pass this website on: Christmas Notecards.

One of my dear WAHM friends designs these cards, and they are just too cute not to mention here! It says right on the site, but thought I would also mention that personalization is free.


Loving BlogExplosion

I may even be a bit addictive to BlogExplosion, but it's a good thing. We've seen some good traffic come to our little blog here, and picked up some really great resources. I just added Blog Roll today (A nifty link exchange type program but without the pressure to "exchange") and located some new directories to submit our blog to. I've also been enjoying reading all the different blogs there are out there - business to personal and everything in between.

So far I'm giving BlogExplosion a big thumbs up!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Spyware, Scumware, etc = BAD!

The amount of spyware is really starting to worry me.

Recently I downloaded something "free", and now it looks as though I'm going to have to run another spyware check. The amount of pop ups annoy me, as does the way my computer runs when it's infected. But most of all it irritates me to know that these are the people stealing my commissions.

Yes you heard me right - spyware steals my commissions.

How do they do it? Well without getting to "techi" here (because let's face it, I'm not a computer genius - I can't even spell), all those pop ups aren't just annoying people. It's setting cookies on computers so that when a visitors comes to my site and clicks on one of my affiliate links, the commission goes to the spyware company and not me. Now does that sound right to you? I built the site, I provided the link, and I did the advertising to get the visitor there ..... then this other company gets the commission. What?! How is this legal?? WHY is this legal? I know I'm not the only one that's hopping mad about it, there are thousands (if not millions) just as mad as me. Honest, hard working individuals that are trying to make a living providing a service that people need. When someone else gets paid for my work, I call that fraud.

To check your computer for spyware, I HIGHLY recommend these two programs:
http://www.safer-networking.org/en/download/index.html (see "spybot")

For more information on Spyware, Scumware, and to see what programs are infecting your computer, visit: http://www.doxdesk.com/parasite/

Friday, October 15, 2004

Do you Yahoo?

While I haven't been pleased with Yahoo's search engine from a webmaster's stand point, I have to admit I use Yahoo's services more than any other company online. It's my personal email, my calendar, where I read my horoscopes, my home page, how I keep in touch with friends though messenger, and where I start from every day. Not long ago Anita discovered the RSS Headlines can be added to your personal "My Yahoo" page. Since I've had my home page set to "My Yahoo" for as long as I can remember anyway, I of course use this feature when I see my favorite blogs and message boards that use it. (If you look to the side you will see we use this feature at this blog and Anita's message boards, as well as at several other of our blogs)

For me, it's a form of keeping myself organised. First thing in the morning I scan through the lastest posts on Internet Based Moms, Self Starters Weekly, Mommy's Helper Community, and several business and wahm related blogs. Let me tell you, it's definately a time saver! It's quickly become a daily habit for me, and I love it!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Tracking Stats

I've just spent almost the entire day placing trackers on my two newest sites. Ugh, don't ask me why I didn't do this as I was building the sites! I know better! Luckily, neither site is that big to begin with each of them I belive had under 50 pages each. (Which really isn't that bad when tackling a task like this...unless you're like me...stuck in dial-up land with no other option!)

While working on this daunting task I thought back to some past advertisers that have mentioned that they hadn't recieved 'anything' from advertising with me. I always quickly apologize and ask them if they actively track their stats. The typical response from those types are no. Hmmm...then how can you possibly be sure that you recieved 'nothing'??

Too many times people think that the only good outcome of advertising is a sale. That however, is so far behind the truth it's not funny. Seriously, think about it for a moment. How often do you purchase something after the very first ad you recieve? If it really is something that you're interested in, you probably go to the site and check things over first, right? Then maybe you're still not sure so you decide to sign up for a mailing list. After a few ezines/newsletters from this person, you get to know him/her a little better therefore forming a trust, right? Then maybe later you decide to go ahead with your purchase. Now, I'm not naive in thinking this is the only way things work but, more often than not it is. It's a proven fact that an ad needs to be seen 7 times before it's acted upon.

As a matter of fact, I'm gonna tell you a little test that I ran just yesterday (and I'm gonna tell on myself a bit too!) We have paid ad solo ads that we send out every week with our ezine. I wanted to test exactly how effective our solo ads were and get a good example of how many people are reading and the type of response it gets. So I sent out my own solo ad. (Please keep in mind that whatever my results are doesn't necessarily mean you would get the same results. Remember, how well your ad copy is written has a lot of play on the outcome too!)

My results so far...
I had a total of 103 click throughs and 57 leads. Leads being they either asked for more information or took the free offer (which could also turn into sales later). Now, also keep in mind that we have over 800 subscribers and about half of them probably even opened it yet. 103 click throughs. Not too bad. Must not be too much wrong with my sales copy.

57 leads. Thats the one I want to focus on. The 57 leads. Did I recieve any sales? Nope. Do I feel as though this was a successful campaign? Yes, definitely! Those 57 leads means they will be recieving something that has my affiliate link written all over it and could easily persuade them to purchase. Did I expect a sale already? Nope.

So, anyway...thats a little off the topic. My biggest point I wanted to get across is track those stats! Just because you didn't get a sale has nothing to do with whether or not an ad campaign was successful.

By tracking your stats you can tell...

--->Where your traffic is coming from?
--->What pages they looked at? (What are your visitors interested in?)
--->What page did they exit?
--->What page did they enter your site?
--->What keywords did they use that led them to your site?
--->Did they sign up for your newsletter?
--->How many daily unique visitors do you recieve?

Depending on the tracking system you use there could be way more features available. The tracking software I use is free and I have been very happy with the results. AddFreeStats.com Use trackers and visit them daily!

Happy Tracking!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


I think every day I sit here and think "boy I've got nothing done today", when in fact I have and just don't realise it. I think if I haven't accomplished alot of things, then it seems like it was a waisted day. Why is that I wonder? Why do we not give ourselves a pat on the back for doing things so simple as getting through our email or writing a single article? That's doing something isn't it? It's productive right? So let me give myself a pat on the back for the small things I accomplished today:

- Checked business email account
- Sent out one special to my "Specials and Discounts" newsletter list.
- Sent out Business Ezine with the help of Anita of course. We added some new features too which I'm pleased with.
- Posted a new product to the newest blog, Shopping for Toddlers
- Surfed and read some blogs on BlogExplosion (so much fun, I love reading blogs!)
- Wrote half of a post in this blog (well, by the time this is read will be a full post of course!)

I think every now and again we need to take a minute and see what exactly it is we do every day. It's amazing how much we DO get done, even when it seems like we haven't done much. I think we also need to take a step back and see how each task moves us closer to our goals. If it doesn't, well then I think we shouldn't be doing those tasks in the first place. Obviously just checking email probably wouldn't, but reading newsletters, answering questions, etc is productive. It's learning, and keeping a good standing with visitors, customers, readers, etc.

Looking at what I've done today, I do believe that each are doing something that earns me money or will earn me money. Sending out specials and posting to my shopping blog are of course direct ways to make money. I'm making an offer to readers, and giving them the opportunity to buy. They buy, I make money. Basic business of course. Surfing and reading blogs serves two purposes - the reading part is learning and/or entertainment (hey we all need breaks!), and the surfing earns me credits and gets my own blog read. While those that read the blog may not earn me money right away, subscribing might eventually. Plus of course there's the chance of being recommended, so yes it's definately productive.

All and all I belive I've had a productive day full of accomplishments, don't you?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Parnerships and Changes

The best part of the partnership that Anita and I have is we are able to still work separately on our own projects. We don't share a whole lot, basically just a newsletter and another project that, well, we are just both too busy with our own stuff to mess with at this time. Keeping things separate allows us both to come and go when we need to handle things at home, without needing the other to be here. A lot of the time we work on projects separately, then promote for eachother by weaving projects together after they are completed. I think I've even confused myself, so I'll stop. The bottom line is the partnership between Anita and I is a perfect one.

Like right now I've got a lot to handle at home, since my personal life has been turned upside down. This single mother has become un-single, and adjusting to a new person in the house is not easy. The kids absolutely love him and so do I, but the change has been a big one. Working at home is wonderful, but it can be extremely challenging when your focus isn't on work.

I've managed to work every day since the new addition to our household arrived, but only for a few hours. I pop in every morning, say hello to Anita and work on any small projects I need to with her before working on my own stuff on and off the rest of the day. We've also started remodeling this week so it's been extra hard to keep focus with everything going on. I have made a vow to at least post one new product review in my newest blog - Shopping for Toddlers. So far so good, it's now Tuesday and there's 2 reviews there. I do believe I may have to double up on some days with Christmas so close - I want there to be a good amount of products listed before it's officially Christmas shopping season. I know we have already entered it though, and wished I would have started this a little sooner. While I know I'll be catching some birthday sales, the majority of sales are going to come from Christmas. This blog was exactly what I needed for the Christmas season since there was that big Yahoo accident, so I'm happy with it. I do know I should do at least another domain name or two for some of the other products that were listed on Mom's Market that are now gone from Yahoo, just to boost my income up a little more before Christmas hits.

I think I'm done rambling for the day. Time to go surfing and reading a few blogs at BlogExplosion before calling it a day. I still feel like I haven't gotten much done, but I suppose it will get easier as we all adjust. ;)

Monday, October 11, 2004

Hired an Advertising Manager

After way too much talking and not enough doing I've finally hired an advertising manager to work on commission. I've been just so busy lately that I haven't had time to advertise/promote my own advertising. I think this has put a hurt on me financially as I strongly believe in online advertising.

I think this move will help me out tremendously both physically and financially. Sometimes you have to take a risk, right. Although working it out as her working on commission base I don't think its going to hurt me. I may get less per sale but, hopefully with her help I'll get more sales. Obviously this method works or else there wouldn't be so many sales people in this world, right?

I've had the opportunity to see first-hand how well hiring a 'sales person' person can work out. First a little 'background'. My husband works for a company and his father is a sales person there. Oh, and I can't go without saying he's one heck of a sales person. I swear this man could sell ice to an Eskimo! Sooo, ever since my husband's company had hired my father-in-law to sell kitchens, my husbands work has increase ten-fold and of course I've seen the benefits my father-in-law gets when he brings home those hefty paychecks too.

So, I think this arrangement is going to work out very well. Hopefully, her and I will both make a little more income and it will free up some of my time to work on other things to increase my income.

Oh, and who is it?? Nell Taliercio from MommysPlace.net!! Welcome Nell! Looking forward to having you as a part of the team here!!

Part-Time Childcare

Okay...so I'm still trying to get over the guilt but....

I've finally made arrangements for part-time childcare for my 4 year old son. I've been talking about doing this for a long time now but, do to some home arrangements, it wasn't going to work out. Things have been all straightened out now

For now this is only for one day a week. As it stands right now, my son has no other children to play with here at home all day long. I've been slowly trying to phase out my home daycare and there are no other children here during school hours. My opinion is that children need interaction with other children too.

The childcare that I've arranged for him will give him one day a week to play with other kids too. The provider is a very good friend of mine and they both love each other to pieces so the definitely helps in the guilt field.

I know that one of the main reasons I decided to work at home was because of my children (and still is) so this tends to make me feel guilty. BUT...

I was tired of someone else raising my children.
I don't think one day a week necessarily means someone else is raising my child.

I wanted to be available if one of my children got sick or had an event that I wanted to attend.
I'll still be able to do both of these.

We can't always be expected to run a home business, keep a household and keep the children with us 24/7. Besides, if I worked in "Corporate America" with a tradional job, I wouldn't be expected to have my son with me, would I?

Friday, October 08, 2004

Affiliate News

Well, I've finally done it!
(And yeah, I can mark another thing off my 'to do' list)

I've created yet another blog. This one has been brewing in the back of my mind for quite some time now and I figured it was finally time to get down to business. Soooo, for any of you all out there that just love the concept of affiliate marketing like me you'll wanna see Affiliate News

Here's a little info:

Affiliate marketing can be an excellent resource for income. Whether it be part-time with a supplemental income or full-time with a large income flow is entirely your choice. It all depends on the time and effort you intend to commit as goes with any other business. I have created Affiliate News to try and help you find who, what, when, where and why of it all. I have spent a lot of time researching affiliate marketing and everything you find here is only a very small example of what is available. Research, Research, Research is the key factor for Affiliate Marketing as with any other home business also.

This is just my little spot in cyberspace to share everything there is about Affiliate Marketing. I'll be sharing resources, products, services and program reviews. If you enjoy Affiliate Marketing and the income made as much as I do, you'll fit right in!


Syndication Heaven!

Woo Hoo! I am literally in syndication Heaven! The fact that I'm able to cross two major things off my to do list is just icing on the cake! Let me tell you a couple of added features around here.

Mommy's Helper's Online Community
Special thanks to Kara and Lynn (from SelfStartersWeeklyTips.com) our message boards are now syndicated. You can quickly add the forum topics to your My Yahoo! page. You can see a little preview of what it would look like here My Yahoo Preview or for you Feed Burner lovers you can add it to your feed from here Feed Burner Preview Go ahead...take a look. Doesn't that look so cool??

Free Content Articles
I have list of articles that are available for free reprint that I've wanted to syndicate for quite some time now. Aside from starting an actual blog for them...the non-techie side of me didn't think it was possible. UNTIL Lynette from Bizdome.com released a cool little tool that with some very little HTML codes added you can take a regular HTML page and syndicate it. The page that I started out with is here Free Content Articles and was able to turn it into this My Yahoo Preview and this Feed Burner Preview. Now, that my friend is just too awesome!

Soooo, if you're a publisher looking for articles OR a message board member and would like to keep up. Thanks to these 3 ladies you can do it quickly and easily! Thanks a bunch ladies!!

Blogger having a bad day

Bleh. I hate when Blogger has one of those days where nothing with publish or waites several hours to appear. I just hope what I've posted today does show up in a few hours or I'm going to be upset. I did manage to get a new blog directed towards parents with toddlers set up at least SOMEWHAT. Shopping For Toddlers got created and a template set, but I wasn't able to save changes. Hopefully by the time this post shows up (IF this post shows up), I'll be able to see the changes and post I made over there.

Grrrrrr I think it's time for a break.

New Idea for a Blog

The idea hit me yesterday to do a blog in a store format, but I wasn't quite sure how or what to do. Today it hit me - a product review blog for Christmas. Of course the market is going to have to be a targeted one, so the niche I'm choosing is shopping for toddlers. More specifically the 2-4 age group. This of course is the best niche for me to work with because my children are in fact 2 and 4. We try out toys and products all the time so to post a new featured product every day would be a piece of cake. I suppose I could expand it to preschool products as well, since my son just started preschool and there's that older age group of toys. Not to mention I know a very high percent of parents have more than one child, so I don't want to limit this idea that much. Of course at the same time I don't want to make it too broad of a topic either.

With a little planning this idea should do good for Christmas. :D

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Submit Your Blogs!

WooHoo! This working with a 'to do list' is REALLY paying off! I've finally gotten around to starting AND finnishing what seemed to be an idea that wasn't going anywhere a couple of months ago. Wahm-Blog.com is officially open for business!

As you can tell blogging has become a really interesting topic for me. Ever since Kara and I started this blog I've been searching the net over for more and more blogging information. I'm loving all the research and everything I'm learning. Really, it seems as though I find a new resource everyday. And reading other's blogs ... well, thats just the icing on the cake! Blogging has also opened a lot of new doors to the business world. I'm having a blast.

Soooo, on to what this was all about. I had decided that I'd like to build a site/directory all around blogging (wahm blogging to be exact). Hence the birth of Wahm-Blog.com. Listings are free with only two requirements.

1) The blogs MUST be family friendly.
(We're all work at home moms...thats what we like!)
2) A reciprocal link is required.
(Have you seen the new purple button on the right we're sportin?)

So come on work at home moms...show us your stuff! Submit your blogs!

Spongebob site indexed in Yahoo

After a few weeks I decided to check and see if my newest website was indexed in Yahoo yet. Much to my surprise it was. Maybe I should give Yahoo a little more credit since it didn't take them all that long. The only flaw I see is that only the home page is indexed, and not the entire site. When I look on Google, I see there are 48 pages indexed. However, when I search for "SpongeBob Squarepants Merchandise" on either Yahoo or Google I don't see the website in the search results at all. No biggie, it's still a very new site so I am not worried in the least. The old pages on Mom's Market still show up on Google, so it shouldn't be much longer before the new site is not only fully indexed but ranked as well. At least I hope. :P

On the flip side, Mom's Market is still not ranked in Yahoo, and I'm having doubts that it ever will be again. It's possible it will be, but I won't be holding my breath or waiting for it anymore. Best to continue building an income using other means and just hoping that it does eventually come back and double my income. That would be one nice surprise. :)

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Promote Your Blog

Found an interesting resource the other day, and am currently testing it out. So far, so good - I like it. It's called BlogExplosion Normally when someone says "Traffic exchange program", I shudder and run the other way. While this new way to promote our blog IS in fact a traffic exchange program, it's for blogs only. There is even a approval period so the non-blogs and worthless blogs aren't annoying visitors with every click of the timer.

There are some interesting features, such as "Blogmarks", which works like a bookmark but stored in your BlogExplosion account.

The only thing I haven't seen and I wish it had was a way to only view certain types of blogs. Personally I don't care for politics and sports, and I've seen quite a few of those. I would rather see more business and personal blogs, as those tend to peek my interest more. Either way it's fun to sit and scan blogs while promoting my own.