Work at Home Profile: Janice and Susan/5 Minutes for Mom

janice-susan-blogher08 Name and type of Business:
Winter Marketing Inc. (DBA 5 Minutes for Mom)
Winter Marketing USA Corp. (DBA Pedal Cars and Retro Collectibles and A Rocking Horse To Love)
We have two corporations: a Canadian corporation that owns our 5 Minutes for Mom blog network and a US Corporation that owns our ecommerce stores, Pedal Cars and Retro Collectibles and A Rocking Horse To Love.

How long have you been in this business:
We started our stores early 2005 and 5 Minutes for Mom in early 2006.

What is the biggest challenge about having your business and family under the same roof?
Screaming kids while you’re on the phone! LOL
But no, seriously, it’s just as you’d imagine… work never ends and your family experiences you constantly running to your computer to do one more thing.

How have you managed child care (if applicable):
Until 2007, when Janice and I both had babies within 2 weeks of each other, we juggled our business and our kids with only a few teenage babysitters helping us. One of us would work while the other looked after Julia and Jackson.

Once Olivia and Sophia arrived, we knew we needed full time help. Now, we both have nannies that help with our children during work hours.

What is your favorite part about being in business for yourself? Least favorite?
For me the best part of being in business for myself is being able to think up an idea, decide to execute it, and then go for it! I’ve never considered myself creative in an artistic sense — I can barely draw a stickman. But I’ve discovered that I am creative after all.

The least favorite part of running my own business is the accounting. We have a bookkeeper, but still, the details of the financial side of the business bore me.

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made as a work at home business owner/employee?
My biggest mistake is one that, unfortunately, I am still making every day — not outsourcing effectively. It is a constant struggle to try to grow your business. You need people to help, but you need the cash flow to pay them. And not only is the cash flow tricky, trying to find the right new employees and contractors and manage their tasks is a full time job in itself. There are no easy answers to this challenge and we’re constantly struggling with it.

What is the best decision you’ve made as a work at home business owner/employee?
To team up with my sister and my mother and create our Corporate structure right from the beginning.

What advice do you have for anyone considering starting a work at home business or job?
Decide up front if you are going to be in business for yourself or if you want partners. If you are considering a partnership, be very careful who you choose. Even if you are confident your relationship will never turn sour, set out the partnership details in writing and determine how you would proceed if one of you chooses to leave the business.

In 2006, identical twin sisters, Janice and Susan, created 5 Minutes for Mom and it quickly became an essential, go-to site for moms that entertains and informs, while promoting the online mom community.
Janice and Susan’s backgrounds in writing, software development, business consulting, and ecommerce store management, along with their experience as mothers of young children, help them deliver their high traffic mom blog.
The twin sisters work at home managing 5 Minutes for Mom and the network of sister blogs as well as their two online stores: Pedal Cars and Retro Collectibles and A Rocking Horse To Love.

DONT’T FORGET to enter to win a FranklinCovey Planning System and free online session with LiveClick. Read more information and find out how to enter here.

Mom Jeans That Totally Aren’t

Several months ago, I was approached about becoming a Lee (Jeans) Fit Ambassador. Apparently, they enjoyed my write up that went along with my giveaway last year and decided to entrust me with writing nice things about them.

The nice thing is that it is really easy for me to do that. All of the jeans I have owned for the last 4 years have been Lee Jeans. Before that, I just didn’t wear jeans very much because I couldn’t find any that fit me comfortably around the waist. I am high-waisted, and most jeans wanted my waist to be lower, resulting in a super uncomfortable, “get-these-freaking-things-off-of-me-NOW”, misery-inducing fit.

I got my first pair on sale at Kmart for $15.00. And not only did they fit, but they were boot-cut as well. I still have them. I still wear them. And they still look and fit great. (ok – there was that loooong period after birthin’ babies that I couldn’t wear them, but I used them as my gauge for my weight loss)

Back to the current season: Lee has introduced their new Colorwash Collection, which comes in a rainbow of colors and styles for every body type. They sent me these beauties. If I hated them, I’d let you know.

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(Lee Colorwash bootcut pant in Riviera Blue, $44)

I didn’t.

I’ve worn them to church. Worn them to dinner. Worn them to grocery shop. Worn them to a hockey game.

They were the punch of color that my wardrobe needed for the spring. The color is fabulous. The cut is oh-so-stylish. The fabric has some give and stretch. And best of all: They FIT COMFORTABLY!

Lee will be sending me more pants to try throughout the coming year. And I will be giving my honest opinions on them. They are not paying me, only sending me pants to try and give honest feedback on. Be sure to be on the lookout for my reviews.

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One year ago today, I was answering some of your questions about myself.

Two years ago today, I was again doing something fabulous offline. Like wiping hineys.

Three years ago today, I was trying to upload a photo of Quinn.

Seeing God in a Basket

A couple of months ago, our cat (kitten, really) got outside and was gone overnight . We had not yet had a chance to have her spayed and were concerned that we would end up with a litter of kittens. We confirmed her pregnancy one day when she rolled over to have her tummy rubbed.

As her discomfort progressed and her “talking” increased, we knew that it was imminent and we found ourselves looking forward to, hopefully, getting to experience the birth of the kittens.

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In spite of the basket we had prepared for her, yesterday she decided to birth under my daughter’s bed.

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She had already had 3 by the time we realized she was missing.

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6 hours later, she had delivered 6 kittens (only one didn’t make it) and had managed to get them and herself all cleaned up and relaxing.

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The only drama was when this orange one was delivered. We think she must have delivered the first three so quickly and couldn’t keep up with all that was required. The orange one was still in its sac and she had moved on to delivering and cleaning a different one. My dad removed the sac and I cut the cord after it was apparent that at that moment she had no interest or ability to work on it at that time.

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But she soon took to it and was nursing them all.

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She is a good mama. And watching her maternal instinct kick in and the care and gentleness she shows her little ones softens my heart to all of the ugliness in the world around me.

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Once again, I am reminded that there is hope and that life is a gift.

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One year ago, today, I was writing about Capturing Motherhood in a Photo.

Two years ago, today, I was wondering What More Could We Possibly Need.

And three years ago, today, I must have been doing something really cool, like spending the day at the spa. Or changing diapers.

Keep A Private Online Diary

A blog is what people typically think of when they are considering writing and keeping a journal online. But what if you are wanting to keep a journal that allows you to insert photos and easily share your entries, while also allowing you to keep it private and secure?

Penzu is one such site. Not only is it super secure (if someone were to obtain your login and password, they’d also have to enter a password to read any entries you have locked), but it is easy and fun to use. (I love the notebook paper background) And? It’s free.

When I first came across Penzu, the concept seemed a bit odd. The idea of typing all of that info out and then saving it where no one can see it struck me as a waste of time. But, I am a blogger because I am comfortable with putting personal thoughts out on the web for others to see. If I wasn’t comfortable with that, my options would be:

  • pen and paper (shoot me now. I hate writing with a pen and paper. plus my handwriting has gotten horrid since college)
  • using a word processing program (cumbersome)

So I can see how a site like Penzu would be worth a second look.

Another plus is that it is easy to insert photos and, if you choose to, share your entries with others.

Be sure to take advantage of the “Print” feature. You wouldn’t want to risk losing all of your memories to a server disaster.

For more info:
Why use Penzu?
Penzu – FAQ

Another option:
Google Docs: free; easy to use. Docs can also be shared with others. However, not password protected/locked

Share: Do you journal? If so, do you use a blog? pen and paper?

photo: incurable_hippie

So, once again I’ve been MIA (with a side order of exciting news)

I know several of you have asked where I have been and commented that you miss my regular posts. I’m really trying to make an effort to get back to posting daily. Even if it’s just a short nugget of info.

I’ve been trying to get Modern Media Mom off the ground; it seems to be doing well – it’s been very well received and I get compliments on it daily. Now if only I could get companies to take me seriously and give me products to review and try as well. (helloooooo, Apple!) But until then, I’m focusing on having great content that is relevant to people who are just like you and me: not computer engineers, not professors of software design. Regular folks trying to glean as much as they can from this crazy internet.

Now – in the “totally out of the blue” department: I found out on Friday that an essay of mine is going to be published in a real live book. With pages and a cover and everything!

I was approached about submitting something awhile back, but didn’t hold my breath.

So now, my release papers are in the mail. And I will give you more details as they are released and announced.

I’m still shocked and amazed. I have never ever ever thought of myself as a good writer, but I’ve felt nudged in that direction many times over the past year.

On the day that I left Blissfully Domestic, I had three separate people, with no connections, ask me if I had thought of writing a book.

I’m beginning to sense that the Lord has a story that He wants told through me. I have no idea what it is yet. In fact, I want to vomit a bit when I think about writing more than 700 words about anything.

At this point, I need to pray about it more; to seek direction. So keep me in your prayers, if you would.

And be on the look out for more frequent posts from me.