WAHM Wednesday: Inspiring Entrepremom – Danielle of Hook Smart



Age: 30

Location: Georgia
#of Kids: 1

What do you do for a living?

I teach freshman composition/literature courses at both a local university and an online university. In addition, I recently opened an etsy store called, Hook Smart. I consider it crochet for the modern nerd, so I like to make things that people don’t think of when it comes to crochet.

What is your business’ name and link?

How did you choose your business?

My business sort of chose me. I started crocheting again, as a means of relaxation when I was incredibly stressed while studying for my doctoral exams. Well that quickly turned into friends requesting items and suggesting I start my own Etsy store.

Please give us a quick snapshot of an average day in your life:

On a good day, I get up about an hour or two before [my son], to try to work on teaching things (responding to emails, lesson plans, grading, etc). My son wakes me up usually no later than 9 am, and I spend some time cuddling and playing with him after he eats breakfast and before his afternoon nap.
Now that he’s older, I do activities with him to help stimulate learning, but nothing too structured. I make him lunch and then put him down for his afternoon nap. I then try to get in my 25 minute workout and a shower before making my husband lunch (he comes home for lunch most days). If there’s time I try to start a crochet project or order for the day.
I usually have to take a break to start dinner, unless it’s a crockpot meal that I started that morning.  In the evening, I have dinner with the family and if I have an order to send out soon I work on that while our son has daddy time. If not, I browse Ravelry, Pinterest, and Etsy for new ideas.
I usually stay up a couple hours after the guys to get work done either orders, teaching, or writing since I work better at night.

Please show us your work area?

My official work area is our guest room/office, but I spend a lot of time crocheting in the living room, so I can watch tv with the guys and not be in my room away from them.

What are the pros of being an entrepremom?

The biggest pro is being able to stay at home with my son. I also like the fact that I can make my own hours and work in my pajamas.

What are the cons of being an entrepremom?

Balancing the amount of work I get done while still being a present parent. Struggling to do my own marketing and build my brand.

How do you balance your business and home life?

I try to always put my family first, but it helps to have a supportive partner. He understands that sometimes household chores won’t happen that day.

What do you do for me time?

  • I sleep in on the weekends.
  • Stay up late after the guys are sleep, in order to unwind alone.
  • Give myself a manicure.
  • Oh and curl up with a good book.

What 3 things are essential for your success as a WAHM?

  1. Supportive partner
  2. Passion for my work
  3. Knowing when to take a break

What do you wish you knew before you started your entrepremom journey?

I wish I had known more about the importance of branding and building partnerships from the very beginning.

What are your best tips for other WAHMS?

  • Choose something you love to do because even when you work for yourself if you’re not passionate about it you will hate your job.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask others who are successful for advice and networking is important.
  • Don’t just share your work with your customers let them into your life as well. I often post about things from my daily life or even television shows I enjoy, and those posts get lots of responses.

What are the best resources you’ve found for business/life or both?

Hmm… there are so many resources on the internet. If you’re into crafting, there are tons of forums and websites dedicated to them. I’ve found ideas and help on Pinterest, Raverly, and the crafting communities on Facebook. I also utilize the opinions of my friends and family. I know they’ll be honest with me and let me know what I need to improve.

What’s next for you?

I’m really working on moving from custom order only to a shop that carries ready to ship items and does custom by request. I’m also researching ways to get into wholesale, so that my items are featured in local boutiques.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m always open for new ideas, so if there’s something that you see and you want it recreated I’ll try my hardest to make it happen.
I also have some new ready-to-ship items added up on the site just this week.


You can find Hook Smart on:


Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/HookSmart

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/HookSmart



Inspiring Entrepremom: Garcelle Beauvais


I’ve been a fan of Garcelle Beauvais since her days as Fancy on the Jamie Foxx show and have followed her career as an actress. Now she’s adding author to her list of accomplishments!  It was a huge honor to be able to get an advance copy of her new children’s book I AM MIXED, part of the I AM series of books.

Clearly, you know Roey’s mixed and I’m always grateful when I find books that honor his biracial goodness. She’s mom to two gorgeous mixed sons so I know this was a special project for her to do.

It was an even huge-er honor to be able to sneak in a quick Q&A with her about her project and being a kickass entrepremom. *squeal!*

Here are some snippets from Garcelle:

(I can call her by her first name cuz we’re cool like that… *COUGH*oknotreally*COUGH*)


How do your boys feel about the book?

They love the book and took it to school so their classmates and teacher could read it. Made me proud.

Do you have other books on the horizon? In the “I Am” series or otherwise?

Yes, our next book is I Am living in 2 homes, which is focuses on kids  from a divorced family, and having 2 homes, of course from a kid’s perspective.

I’m raising a biracial son, and many of my readers are raising biracial children as well. What have been some of the highs and lows of dealing with the multicultural realities of this for you?

For me it’s been all highs from my perspective but sometimes people see me and my kids and they’ll ask if they’re both mine. Someone once mistook me for my boys’ nanny!


What tips do you have for new moms like me who are raising bi/multi-racial children?

The best tip is to make them feel special and to be proud of all the things that make them special.

My blog discusses raising a family while building a business. How do you balance being an awesome mom with being an awesome career-woman?

It’s a struggle and a juggling act most of the time. I am currently working on a film and the boys had their last Tball game so I begged the director to  switch lunch time so I could make their game or at least go for a couple of innings. My most important role is being a mom.

My readers would kill me for not asking this as we are (slightly) hair obsessed: What do you do to keep your hair looking so gorgeous all the time? And…are you natural?

Yes I am natural! No relaxer,  which I haven’t had in 3 or 4 years now.
Of course when I’m working people take care of my hair but when I’m not working especially in the summer I have extensions in so I can jump in the pool with my kids and not worry about it!

Thank you so much for your time, Garcelle!

If you’re interested in checking out her book “I AM MIXED” simply click on the image below to pre-order from Amazon!


Inspiring Entrepremom: Debra Cohen of HRNBiz.com



Debra Cohen




Long Island, NY

#of Kids:


What do you do for a living?

I own a Homeowner Referral Network (HRN) business that pre-screens and refers local home improvement cotnractors. Contractors pay a pre-negotiated commission for work secured and my service is free to homeowners.

I’ve also helped 300+ other women launch HRN businesses like mine nationwide.

What is your business’ name and link?

Home Remedies of NY, Inc.

How did you choose your business?

My husband and I had just purchased our first house and–like many homeowners– we were struggling to find reliable home improvement contractors. When I finally found a responsible contractor, I felt compelled to share his name with other homeowners in our community. That was my “Aha!” moment and I realized that if we faced this challenge then other homeowners must as well. So, I decided to try to create a business to fill this need in our community.

I’m a networker by nature and love renovating and decorating so this business really seemed like a natural fit for me because it capitalized on my talents and what I loved to do.

Once my business took off, I was approached by other entrepreneurs/moms who were interested in starting a business like mine in their area so I wrote The Complete Guide To Owning And Operating A Successful Homeowner Referral Network©– a Business Manual that documents all of the “how to’s” of launching an HRN. I packaged it with forms, website, consultation time, etc.other moms start HRN businesses. There are now more than 300 operating nationwide and a few internationally.

Please give us a quick snapshot of an average day in your life

I get up at 6 and get an hour of two of work done before my kids leave for school.. I generally check my calendar for jobs pending, follow up with contractors before they leave for the day and respond to e-mail inquiries.

I take a break to help get my kids off in the morning and spend an hour at the gym. From about 11-2 I’m generally in my office responding to e-mails and phone calls. About 90% of my work is done online or by phone. (If I’m out of the office for longer than an hour, I call-forward my business line to my cell.)

I generally come back to my office in the evenings after dinner and finish up work.

Please show us your work area?

Home Office Photos 002

Home Office Photos 001

I hired a few contractors from my network and converted our front porch into my office. The exposed stone is the exterior chimney of our Tudor. And, one of my cabinet makers built the custom wrap around desk.

My old office was in the basement next to my children’s playroom so that I could watch them while I worked.

What are the pros of being an entrepremom?

So many! No commute, no stockings, flexibility, sense of fulfilment, time with my family, financial independence….

What are the cons of being an entrepremom?

One of the cons for me is that, since I work from home, my work is always there. Sometimes I feel like I can’t escape it especially on the weekends.

And some days, when I’m feeling a bit uninspired, it would be nice to just get a paycheck!

How do you balance your business and home life?

As a mompreneur, you have to wear a lot of different hats and it’s impossible to be an expert at everything.In order to work as efficiently, I outsource all of the periphery services associated with my business. I have a virtual assistant, web designer, accountant, software developer, etc. Having experts handle these jobs frees me up to focus on the most important aspects of my business.

And, regardless of how busy I am, my family is my priority–we eat dinner together every night and I never miss a sporting event or after school activitiy. I think I work more efficiently during the day because I know that my family will come first after 3pm.


What do you do for me time?

I also go to the gym every day which is my time to completely relax and do something for myself.

What 3 things are essential for your success as a WAHM?

1. Identify your talent and make it the cornerstone of your business.
2. Be passionate about your product or service.
3. Be disciplined with your time and don’t get distracted by other responsibilities.

What do you wish you knew before you started your entrepremom journey?

I wish I knew to not try and handle everything on my own. I wasted valuable hours and time on details that could have been efficiently handled by a professional. That’s one of the reasons I decided to write the HRN Business Manual–so that I could save other moms from making some of the mistakes that I made and give them a roadmap to follow.

What are your best tips for other WAHMS?

Before you decide to launch a business from home, do an honest self examination. Ask yourself what your strengths and weaknesses are, what you’re willing to invest personally and financially and what you hope to gain from your new business? Many women spend a lot of time doing market research and evaluating the competition but you should also evaluate yourself before starting to work from home.

What are the best resources you’ve found for business/life or both?

There’s a lot of technology out there today that makes operating a home based business more efficient than ever before. While I’m not a technological person, I do think using WordPress to create and update my website is a breeze. Also, autoresponder software allows you communicate with clients on a regular basis. And, the contact management software I created for my business, HRNMS©, is web based so I can work from any location

What’s next for you?

I’m constantly trying to expand and improve my business model to help other HRN owners grow their businesses. Right now, I’m looking into creating a strategic relationship with a national real estate firm so that we can offer the HRN model as the concierge arm of their business.

Anything else you’d like to share?

[Being an entrepremom] has afforded me an ideal balance between my career and my family. I think it’s also made me a better mother because I’m happy and fulfilled!

Thank you for participating Debra!!
If you’re an entrepremom and want to be featured email me at okaydani@gmail.com.

Inspiring EntrepreMom: Belly Bandit’s Lori Caden

Hi girls! I’m so excited to start a new feature here on OKDani! Quick Q&A profiles of inspiring Entrepremoms are coming your way!

Our very first is  Lori Caden, one third of the sister trio behind every new mom’s best friend, the Belly Bandit. (It is my one regret in life that I did not use a Belly Bandit after having Rohan…I wouldn’t be in the situation I am in now. ::sigh::)

belly bandit creators

How’d the belly bandit come about?

After the birth of my first child I was horrified of what I saw in the mirror, no one tells you what you are about to encounter after you deliver.  I was never told by my friends that you’ll still look pregnant weeks and possibly months afterwards.  To add insult to injury I was asked while grabbing cat food at a local pet store if I needed help because “a pregnant woman should not be lifting such a heavy package”.   Well, after I finally got back down to my fighting weight close to three years…..I got pregnant with my second.

That’s when my mind started really churning (I knew what I was in store for this time around), what could I do differently and what happens now?   There had to be a better way.  After working closely with my sisters for numerous years we put our minds together and with the help of my ob/gyn we came up with the Belly Bandit, many days and nights of research went into this idea as well as hundreds of prototypes.  I was the first Belly Bandit user actually, and by the time I left the hospital and walked into my house there was a huge difference in how I looked and felt from my first.  It was incredible.  I knew it was going to be a huge success because it really worked.

Best tip for using belly bandit?

Wear it as tight as you can without discomfort and wear it round the clock if you can, you will see a  big difference in just a few days.

3 best tips for post partum moms?

#1. Don’t stress about all the new changes with your body (I know it’s easier said than done).  Slow and steady always wins the race! #2. Get sleep whenever you can and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, sleep is SOOOOO important. #3. Make sure to wear your Belly Bandit, you get one shot for a limited time after delivery, do it right.

Any new products on the horizon?

Yes we are actually scheduled to launch 5 new products by the end of this year – they are all amazingly creative and women we’ve tested them on seem to be ecstatic about them!

Fave non belly bandit body-post-baby product?

My jeans that I fit into prior to being pregnant!  How’s that?!

How do you balance motherhood and business/entrepreneurship?

It’s a fine balancing act, I’m a self-proclaimed workaholic, it’s in my blood and there is nothing I can do about so I’ve learned to create time every day to relax with my family. Obviously nothing comes before my kids and husband but I do admit it’s hard.  My week nights are jam packed with homework and Charlee/Chase time while the weekends seem to be all about the kids latest hobbies and constant birthday parties.

3 best tips for moms looking to start their own biz

  1. Make time during the day, which means have a set schedule.  Those work better than just trying to find the time.
  2. Know you don’t know everything!
  3. Figure your out what you are best at doing and then hire people in all other areas.

What’s it like mixing family (3 sisters) and business?

Most days it’s awesome, we work as a trifecta.  We all have our own unique talents and we can rely on each other’s strengths so we flow really well together.  We know how to maneuver together as a unit but that also means nights and phone conversations are work time too!  But don’t forget we are 3 sisters so let’s just say sometimes its hair pulling, yelling and telling mom on each other!

Any time management tips for “entrepremoms”?

Yes, make sure you have the drive to put everything you have into your endeavor, because sometimes you’ll want to give up and walk away.  That’s when you need to stop, breathe and let go of whatever it is you’re doing until you get your wind back.  There are not enough hours in the day so make sure you use them wisely if you are stuck or frustrated – it’s ok.  Just walk it off and know that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

How do you get your “me time”?

I get weekly massages, it’s my escape and my time to think and regroup.  It’s my meditation!


Thank you so much to the Belly Bandit team for the interview!

Did you use a Belly Bandit after giving birth? If so, what were your results?