Today it is my distinct pleasure to introduce you to Susan and Janice (pictured, in that order) of 5 Minutes for Mom.
Whenever anyone who is new to blogging asks me for advice, I always point them to 5M4M. I say, "5 Minutes for Mom is the mom blog powerhouse."
Susan and Janice have created a high-quality, fun, positive, and community-oriented site that draws thousands of readers every day. They offer product reviews, book reviews, parenting advice, contests galore, and incredibly cute photos of their kids.
Plus, they are hugely supportive of mom bloggers and mom-owned businesses. They have an encouraging, warm way of relating to people online - and they always seem to be "in the know" about cool things happening on the web.
Please give these ladies a warm welcome (actually, Janice is answering on behalf of both herself and her twin sister). ;)
ME: How many children do you have and what are their ages?
JANICE: I have one six year old boy, Jackson, and one five month old baby girl, Olivia. Susan has one (almost) three old girl, Julia, and one five month old baby girl as well.
ME: How long has 5M4M been around and what inspired you to create it?
JANICE: We started 5 Minutes for Mom two years ago. We had our two online stores - Pedal Cars and Retro Collectibles and A Rocking Horse to Love - that Susan and our mom, Joan, were primarily running. Susan had just had Julia, and I was mainly looking after Julia and Jackson while they ran the stores. After a miscarriage, I decided I needed to get back to writing and using my creativity. Susan suggested I start blogging and together we came up with the concept of 5 Minutes for Mom. (Susan came up with the name – which I love!)
ME: You post photos of yourselves and your little ones regularly. Do you have any safety concerns related to this?
JANICE: At first we didn’t plan on posting too many pictures of our kids. But we quickly changed our minds. Our kids are the most fantastic – and adorable – part of our lives. And I love photographing them. How could we not have them on our blog? Yes, it causes us some concern. But I don’t want to let fear rob us of sharing the joy of our children with our online friends. [Metropolitan Mama Says: I don't blame them for posting photos! Look how cute their baby girls are!]
ME: Do you generate income from 5M4M and, if so, how do you do it?
JANICE: We don’t generate much income 5 Minutes for Mom. We rely on the income from our stores to keep our business running. The income we do earn from 5 Minutes for Mom comes from advertisers. Since the goal of our site is to help mom entrepreneurs, we keep a special low rate for mom-owned sites.
ME: How many unique visitors do you get on 5M4M per day?
JANICE: It varies on which day of the week it is. But generally we average about 2,000 per day.
ME: What tips would you give to aspiring or current bloggers about how to build traffic and create a great site?
JANICE: Be involved in the blogging community – comment, build relationships, and work together. We have made some fantastic friendships with other women bloggers and continue to do so, helping one another as we grow our sites.
ME: Who designs and maintains the 5M4M site?
JANICE: Susan developed the structure of the site and, along with her husband, who is also a software developer, does all the maintenance. The first design, Susan and I did ourselves! But we quickly hired a designer friend of ours to fix the header we had made. Avie from Fritzer Designs is the creator of our current look.
ME: Tell us about your other two businesses.
JANICE: Along with our incredibly hard working mother, Joan Winter, we have two online stores: Pedal Cars and Retro Collectibles and A Rocking Horse To Love. Believe it or not, the stores were actually our mom’s idea! Our father had died suddenly of a brain aneurysm in 1998 and she was retired. She wanted to do something challenging and help us find a way to stay at home with our kids. She started to research online stores, came up with the concepts and then Susan and she started to study SEO strategies and got to work making our stores. Our mom has done a phenomenal job and we are so proud of what she has accomplished. She is now 67 years old and what she has learned and done these past four years is astonishing. With Susan and me both having babies this fall, things have been insanely busy for us. The only reason we still have our stores thriving is Joan. She is amazing!
ME: How do you find time to blog, run a home business, AND be a wife and mother?
JANICE: Right now, with newborns and young children, we are going a bit crazy trying to do it all. (Our chaotic houses are proof that we are certainly not superwomen!) Before we had our babies this fall, we did it all with minimal child care. Susan and I shared looking after our kids – one of us worked, while one of us was with the kids and then we switched. It made for very long days, but it worked. Then we had babies at the same time! We both had to hire full time help and, even with that help, we get way less done now then we used to. It is really hard and we feel stressed about all the work that is piling up on us. But at the same time we realize that this is an incredibly special time in our lives with our children and we want to enjoy every second of it.
ME: Is it easier to run a business or a blog?
JANICE: The warning we would want to give moms who want to start online stores is to be very realistic about how much time stores take to run. To have a profitable store takes so much time. The only way we have been able to do it is through team work. (Time-wise, blogging is far more reasonable of a project for a busy mom than running stores. Stores can’t wait for babies to stop crying. The phone rings and someone needs to answer it. Posts and emails can be written in between diaper changes and dropping off the kids at school.) If you are going to take on a big project, whatever kind it may be, if you are able to find partners whom you can trust and who have the same work ethic as you do, then that is a great way to go. As we teach our kids, it is all about team work! Even when the partnership isn’t formal or long term, we still work with other women all the time for the common goal of building our sites. When you can, partner up with other women. Not only will you have a ton of fun, but together you will get a lot more done!
ME: What are your top 3-5 blogs that you love to read?
JANICE: Boo Mama, Slurping Life, Adventures in Babywearing, and, of course, ProBlogger.
Thanks so much, Susan and Janice! You two are an inspiration to me and I wish you all the best with your blog, your businesses, and your sweet families.