How to Create an Amazing Brand On a Micro Budget

How to Create an Amazing Brand on a Micro Budget

You’ve heard about it, read articles on it, and may have even done some of your own research on the subject. Building your brand is essential to the success of any new business venture, but it isn’t an easy task. This is especially true for those on a limited budget.

Several entrepreneurs find themselves turning to loans as time constraints tighten, having to use their profits to pay the amount and interest back. Instead of falling into this trap, the successful business person looks at what can help them build an effective brand without crossing over their monetary threshold.

Impossible? Not at all. Follow this guide and you’ll be well on your way to established business with a steady customer base in no time.

Keep it Simple

Your message should be straightforward and reliable. While you may be tempted to create something fancy for its aesthetic appeal, don’t. The most effective messages on the market are short, sweet and simple. (Think Nike, or Apple)

Excess clutter causes your brand to fall into obscurity. While it might seem clever, potential customers are only going see fluff. They don’t want to guess what you offer, they want to know off the bat. Consider the one thing you want the public to know about your company, then make it your brand.

The Right Ideology

What will your business do? Does it solve a problem, add value to someone’s life, or simply make a customer feel good about themselves? Placing these elements into your message relays who you are to your website and social media viewers. Combining them all into one statement can be challenging, but crucial to your success.

It might help to think about what you business is not, making a list of things you can’t stand about your competitor’s products or services. What makes your business different? How do you achieve that difference?


This is an area that’s hard to skimp on, as price often equates to quality. However, you can save a pretty penny by avoiding agencies and opting for a freelancer instead. Sites like Upwork and Reddit feature thousands of individuals who market their artwork to individuals just like you, all without the overhead you’d normally pay to an agency.

Your Brand in Their Hands

Having your brand on something tangible is a simple, inexpensive, and slick marketing tactic that can quickly build a cult following. Sites like The Tee Hive offer full customization on a variety of products from hoodies to koozies, so don’t feel like a t-shirt is your only option. Keep things cheaper by avoiding lots of color, and keeping your business’ design small yet legible.

Free Advertising

When sticking with a budget, you’ll need all the free exposure you can get. Thankfully, social media has made it easier than ever for startups to gain a little free marketing in the form of reviews. While people are more likely to rave about excellent service, they’ll also tell their friends about the exceptional products they’ve purchased from a new site.

Using the internet, you can easily host a free giveaway with a site like RaffleCopter. This boosts your brand recognition by placing products in your customers hands just by having them share your site across multiple platforms. The offer of something free also creates a warm familiarity with your brand.

Ashley Lipman

Ashley is a super-connector with Outreachmama who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing, but she also focuses on latest beauty trends and beauty insider tips.

My 2018 Planner

In years past, I have had a very involved planner. I've spent several hours each Sunday perfecting my weeks' schedule and to-dos. I have finally figured out something very important. That does not work with 2 children, homeschooling, running a business, helping with the family business, and working from home. I have to be more flexible and I have to stop scheduling myself into a frenzy. I have finally figured out how to do that and still have a pretty planner! This year, all I am scheduling is appointments and due dates. The rest goes as a "to do," except for my blog posts, but I'm not stressing about those either!

Without further ado, here is my 2018 planner!

This is just part of my previous frenzy... see all that chaos? I love love love the happy planner, but had to step down to force myself to chill a bit!

I'm still using my gorgeous Happy Planner Deluxe Cover in gold though (remember, I dream in gold- I have to have it around me). Do you see my Caffeine Queen cup there? That was my Christmas gift from my brother and sister-in-law. She picked it out and she knows me so well!

I love this inside cover. It's some of my favorite things. My MIL gave me the cauldron sticker forever ago, My owl bookmark reminds me that I'm teaching little minds, my magnifier because I'm getting old. I've had that sign language card for 20 years. Of course, I have a family photo, a lucky penny, flower from my kids, and a Dove chocolate piece of wisdom. That "Don't Let Anyone Dull Your Sparkle" paper is my work. Plus, I love those Lipton tea bag tags- "Specially blended for Sunday Afternoons" and "Specially blended for porch swings." I love opening my planner to find my favorite things!

I cut this folder down from a full size one. It holds lists, paperwork, flyers, and mail I have to keep up with. We can at least make the boring pretty! 

These two pages hold my world!

This is my brain. I'm using the "Dad Pad," from Denise Albright Studios. It is exactly what I needed to keep my week straight without scheduling myself into stress! I just clipped it over my stickies and Harley Quinn stickers. On the opposite page are some Happy Planner pockets with daily/ weekly to-do lists- I simply use a dry erase or wet erase marker to check off.

On the left is a yearly calendar so I can quickly find dates and see if they will work. On the right side, I inserted a dry erase pocket that holds my blog post checklist. I can quickly find it and make sure I do everything I'm supposed to do. I put gold washi tape on the edge, so I can quickly turn to it.

My color coded very busy monthly calendar. This only has appointments and strict deadlines.

This mini legal pad holds is home for my running to do list. That awesome pen is a bright pink felt tip marker and a glue stick on the other side (Smash Stick). The pink pocket holds my paranormal paperwork. I can easily get to it when I need it, but it is out of the way when I do not. I can also take it out and put it in my investigation pack if I need to. Pretty Handy!

I hope you got some organization ideas for your planner and I would love to see yours. Have you posted it anywhere? Drop the link in the comments and I'll take a look!

10 Valentine's Day Ideas For Your Homeschool

Disclaimer: As an Oriental Trading Brand Ambassador, I receive products to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

I've noticed that more than other holidays, Valentine's Day and St. Patty's day tend to be celebrated by classrooms alone. It isn't always easy to think of ideas to make our homeschool children feel like they are not missing out on what classroom children get to participate. I do as much as I can to make sure my children do not miss out. This year, we are even going to have a field day playdate, but that is another post.

Here goes- 10 ideas to celebrate Valentine's Day with your homeschooled children:

1. Exchange Valentine's Day Cards: This is something we do every year- without fail. Each kid gets to pick out their own cards, sign them, and address them. We give them to family, friends, and community workers.

2. What is the symbol of  Valentine's Day? The heart- so why not do some science lessons and learn about the heart. Make it more fun and add in some pretend play with a vest and stethoscope and let your kids listen to each other's hearts, pets hearts, and adult's hearts- how are they the same and different?

3. Science Experiments To Love: There are so many ways to work holidays into school lessons. Since my kids love the microscopes we have around, I like finding new things for them to "discover." Use those microscopes to look at flower petals, candy, and even the fur on a teddy bear. (The Learning Resources Primary Science Viewscope makes a wonderful microscope to explore with)

4. Surprise the kids with an activity bag on the Friday before Valentine's day- might be a great end of school day surprise. Use a treat bag, and put an activity book, mini crayons/ colored pencils/ markers, and a cup to color. It will keep them busy over the weekend.

5. These owl treat bags, or something similar, make wonderful Valentine's "mailboxes." You could even let them make their own with stickers and brown paper bags. Set them somewhere in the common area and have family members put Valentine's in them. That morning, let them read them and see how important they are to everyone around them.

6. I love surprising the kids with little gifts leading up to a holiday and that morning. Melissa & Doug Water Wow books (Bible Stories), Western Gun Playsets, and pretty plush sleep masks make great surprises (Oriental Trading has an amazing selection of gifts, candy, and cards!)

7. Using Sketch A Doodles, leave messages for your kids each day. I color coded the kids' (don't I always?) and leave them in different places for the kids to find. You could also put them in the school area, on their door, or on the fridge. Anywhere you put them, kids love getting special notes.

8. For younger kids, a sensory bin filled with Valentine's themed items will be a fun treat. Most of these you can find around the house and fill the bin with rice!

9. Start a new tradition- make Valentine's day a craft day! There are so many adorable crafts that you can do - even from items you have around the house. Be sure to stock up on paper bags, glue, twist ties, chenille stems, foam stickers, pompoms, and glitter!

10. Remember to say I love you- that's the easy one!!!

TEA-riffic #Giveaway for National Hot Tea Month

In honor of the 3rd annual National Hot Tea Month, the Tea Council of the USA is launching their 2nd photo sweepstakes.

The Tea Council of the USA encourages tea-lovers across the nation to take this opportuniTEA to share the unique ways they like to enjoy their cuppa. Whether you prefer tea steeped in tradition, brewed to perfection or with the spice just right, the Tea Council wants you to express your #IndividualiTEA through the second annual photo sharing sweepstakes. Entering is easy as 1-2-tea! Share your photo or video on Twitter using the hashtag #IndividualiTEA and tag @TeaCouncil for a chance to win $500 and a year's supply of tea.

Visit the Tea Council of the USA or follow @TeaCouncil on Twitter to learn more about the many unique characteristics of tea.

IndividualiTEA Photo Sharing Sweepstakes Details

Entering is easy! Simply:
  • Share a photo, video or explanation of the unique ways, times, and places you like to cook with or sip your favorite tea (it can be as unique as you'd like!) on and on Twitter with the hashtag #IndividualiTEA and tag @TeaCouncil. Y
  • You'll be prompted to finalize your entry for a chance to win at 
  • The sweepstakes runs through January 31, 2018. A copy of the official rules can be found here. Enter as many times as you'd like and don't forget to tag and tell your friends! We're excited to hear your tea stories!

Win a gift basket from the Tea Council of USA

The Tea Council of the USA wants to send you a gift basket to enjoy during these crazy cold months. It is filled with tea goodness, accessories, and treats! To enter, comment below and tell me how you like to enjoy hot tea.

A winner will be chosen January 31, 2018. Good luck!

10 Reasons To Use A Planner

I will say that without my planner, I am good for nothing! I cannot remember anything- I mean anything. I am a total and utter failure without my planner. Over the years, I have found what works and adjusted tremendously. The main thing I have learned is that in my life a planner is a must!

Not sure if a planner is a must for you? Here are 10 reasons it may be. 

1. Even if you only use a monthly version, you will always know what is ahead. 
2. If you write everything down, it is hard to forget to do something.
3. Feel more put together by being able to know when anything is by opening it. 
4.  There are planners in every size and budget- no need to be intimidated. You can even use a digital version on your phone/ tablet/ computer and sync them!
5. Why not use a planner, or at least try?
6. If you make a grocery list, stick it in your planner, and take your planner everywhere, you will never forget your grocery list!
7. Have everything at your fingertips.
8. You can personalize it.
9. Keep track of goals.
10. Cool Girls Use Planners ;)

Bear On The Chair: Special Needs Toolbox

Disclaimer: I received a product to review. All opinions are my own.

Having 2 special needs children in one home sets up a need for a completely different strategy for everything from cleaning, organizing, to discipline. It takes a while to find what works, but once it is found, you would be amazed at how the family and children will benefit.

It didn't take long into the Christmas Season for me to realize that our elf (Christopher Popinkins) really made a difference in the kids' behavior. They didn't argue as much and they were determined to make the elf happy, especially after he sat on their tablets, so they couldn't play them. - The elf is a genius!

I came across Bear On The Chair and reached out, hoping to find a solution to my problem of finding a way to get the kids to do what they need to without constant discipline. They were happy to join my special needs toolbox and sent me a bear.

The kids named him Cutie and he has found the perfect place for his chair. He is now sitting on the top of the lizard aquarium. (They have 2 bearded dragons named Allie and Carnage). He keeps an eye on the kids when mom isn't in there, but we know that moms always know what is happening.

What I have found that the bear really stays on top of is them keeping their room clean. He has even turned that smile upside down because they didn't clean up their books in the morning. When they didn't put toys away, he changed to the frown. The kids do not like seeing the frown, so they try much harder to keep their room clean. It would also help with eating problems, school problems, and manners.

I was also able to give one bear to Snapper's therapist and she was really excited to try it out with the kids she works with!

The Bear On The Chair comes with an adorable bear, a chair, velcro happy/ sad faces, and a story that introduces the bear to your child. They even get to pick the name, hug it, and put it in a special place. There is an adoption certificate on the website that you can fill out. I love that the bear works by reinforcing positive behavior. It points out negative behavior without bringing attention to it so that the good is noticed more than the bad- always a good psychological move!

 Bear On The Chair has been used by teachers, therapists, children's hospitals, pediatricians, parents, counselors, dentists, psychologists, daycares, and babysitters. It is a great year-round motivator (similar to the elf) and has been shown to help by teaching empathy, encouraging creativity, improving communication, assisting with ASD, and it gives instant visual awareness of actions.

Some other ways that the Bear On The Chair creator encourages the bear to be used are:

  • Fun approach to positive reinforcement
  • Helping with potty training
  • helps children express themselves
  • Benefits teachers to motivate good classroom behavior and work toward classroom goals
  • Pediatric surgical recovery rooms can have children use the bear to convey how they are feeling after surgery. 
The Bear On The Chair is such a wonderful tool for children and families. It would be worth it to try it in your home, classroom, or office. Visit their website