CWAHM Devotional

Do Life DifferentDo Life Different
Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing blogger

Money management is one of those topics many virtual assistants and small business owners routinely put off and hope for the best. It’s front and center on the mind on April 1st in anticipation of the April 15th tax deadline, but then it goes straight to the back burner for the rest of the year. Bookkeeping and money management are best practiced year-round. When done this way, it gives you rewards of more money, more peace of mind, and above all else, a happy IRS!

Smart business owners know the importance of good money management and apply tactics in their business to actually help them. The following tips are sure to help:

Be Smart And Continually Learn More – Learn as much as you can from the get go. It’s often said it’s not how much money you earn, but what you do with it that counts. Totally applies to business decisions regarding money management and budgeting. Follow those you know on social media who offer business and money tips. Read all you can and know that especially in March and April many will be posting more business tips. When you see a tip you like, keep it and see how it can apply to your own business.

Track Your Income and Expenses – Seems silly to state the obvious here, but you’d be surprised at the number of business owners who haven’t got a clue about their operating costs, net income/loss, cash flow—none of it. It’s easy to see all of the income and expenses you incur on a regular basis if you keep records and write everything down. Don’t close your eyes (and your Quickbooks file) and hope things works out. By writing everything down or entering it into accounting software, you are well aware of your business status and can then plan business finances and make smart decisions on a regular basis.

If you don’t have accounting software that’s okay… log it all in a binder or Excel spreadsheet. For large purchases (anything over $100) include item description, use in business, date purchased, what you paid, and any model or serial numbers. Then you have an accurate accounting of items for tax purposes, an insurance record, and for software user licenses.

Budget for The Year Ahead & Start Making Good Choices – Create a budget and stick with it as best you can. Be honest and know that each year you will get better at this. Put away money for taxes. Save for expenses. And don’t buy things you can’t afford. Review this budget throughout the year. Honestly nothing beats looking at your budget and realizing how well you are doing.

Also, know that with your virtual assistant business, income might differ month to month. On those rock’n months, put extra away to compensate for any slower months or invest it back into your business.

Review Your Books Monthly – How much did you make? How much did you spend? Were these smart decisions or are there ways you can improve. While many business owners review their accounts monthly, they don’t spend time looking for ways to improve. That’s where the magic happens. By reviewing and analyzing them you also see if you need to make major business adjustments and also can identify trends so you can plan accordingly for upcoming years.

This cannot only save you money, it will also allow you to see if there are any mistakes. Yes, mistakes happen. For example, were any automatic payments taken out that shouldn’t have and more? While you are reviewing these, take a minute to consider if you are fully utilizing the services you are paying for. Is there a cheaper alternative that can still give you similar results?

Pay Yearly When Possible – If you know you have ongoing expenses, whenever possible pay for the year instead of making monthly payments. This can save you a considerable amount of money as normally businesses give discounts for annual payments. Web hosting is a good example of this. Look for other cost saving tips as well. Read More→

 

I had fun making this quiz!

Let me know which type of mama you are!

1. What food do you let your children help to cook?
A. Cranberry Sauce. They only have to open a can.
B. Green Bean Casserole. The dish is easy to make and looks so pretty when finished.
C. Mashed Potatoes. I don’t want to peel all of those potatoes.
D. Stuffing. My child can break up all the bread and go nuts with the spices and broth.

2. Choose your favorite Turkey day dessert:
A. Chocolate Cream Pie
B. Pecan Pie
C. Pumpkin Pie
D. Apple Pie

3. What is your favorite scripture to read before diving in to all that turkey and stuffing?
A. Colossians 4:2 “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
B. Psalm 100:4 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!”
C. Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God.
D. Psalm 50:14 “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High.”

4. Pick a veggie to add color to the table:
A. Peas
B. Corn
C. Asparagus
D. Brussel Sprouts

5. What will you be drinking once your belly is full of turkey?
A. Coffee. I need the caffeine to stay awake.
B. Apple Cider. There is always room for cider.
C. Pumpkin Spice Latte to fill my pumpkin fix until the pumpkin pie is served.
D. Black Tea for a moment of relaxation.

6. How will you use the leftovers?
A. Turkey Sandwiches
B. What leftovers?
C. What? Put the leftover on a plate and stick them in the microwave.
D. Turkey Bone Soup

7. What movie will be on in the background as you cook up some deliciousness?
A. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
B. Whatever is Playing on the Hallmark Movie Channel
C. A Christmas Story
D. Ha! Like my husband is going to let me have the TV when the game is on!

8. What time will you serve your feast?
A. At 3 pm sharp, whether everyone is there or not.
B. When the food is done.
C. Regular dinner time. I need all day to work up an appetite as big as this meal.
D. When everyone gets here and all the food is ready.

9. Appetizers to prep for the big meal?
A. Why would you do that? Did you see how big that turkey is?
B. I put a cheese and cracker plate out but why would you waste your stomach space on pre-game eating?
C. Bring it on. I can handle tons of appetizers, three full plates, and two pies by myself!
D. Well, I mean we have to have deviled eggs…

10. What do you eat first?
A. Gotta eat the stuffing first. I don’t save the best for last.
B. Turkey so I can swirl it around to catch tidbits and gravy.
C. Dinner roll, its like a pushup for my belly.
D. A mountain of mashed potatoes smothered in a volcano of gravy.

11. What meat needs to be on your plate?
A. Dark meat so the force will be with me.
B. White meat because, duh.
C. Why waste precious space on turkey when I can eat stuffing?
D. Tofurkey because we need a little healthy on this day of indulgence.

12. Who says the prayer before you tuck in?
A. The whole family takes a turn saying what they are thankful for and a quick thanks to God for providing.
B. I do. Short and sweet. God can smell the food and is welcome to grab a plate.
C. We each say a silent prayer, but no one eats until everyone is done praying.
D. One of the Grandparents says a thirty minute prayer as the food gets cold. Read More→

Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerWhat to Do When You Lose Motivation by Dana Susan BeasleyLet’s face it. Building a business isn’t easy. There really is no magic pill out there.

So how can you keep motivated to keep increasing your brand recognition when you feel burnt out?

First of all, take a look at your marketing plan. Does it include tasks that you dread? Do you have enough tasks in your plan that you truly enjoy?

For me, I’ve found that I need to concentrate my marketing plan on what I’m really passionate about. That includes Facebook, writing articles, radio shows, and producing videos, just to name a few. It’s easy to get so spread out with all the marketing options available that you spread yourself too thin! Try concentrating on what you really love to do and apply yourself wholeheartedly to those projects. You might find yourself having new motivation to do the work of increasing your brand awareness.

Training is another key way to keep motivated. Is this something you are investing in on a regular basis? Training is an investment in you. Gaining new skills is so important when building a business. The Internet is full of many opportunities for training. In fact, several years ago I decided that I was going to create my own home study course. I have learned so much! And the exciting thing is there is still so much to learn!

You may want to go even deeper than training and find a coach. A coach can help you grow by leaps and bounds! Again, there are many, many coaches that “hang their shingle out” on the Internet!

You may want to take a step back. Be sure to create time for yourself. Be with your family. Enjoy life. So often as entrepreneurs, we get caught up in our work so much that we forget to live! Take a breath and enjoy the process! I did this very thing a few weekends ago. I attended a woman’s retreat in the mountains far from my home. I felt at first that I was missing out on an opportunity to work. After all, my projects don’t get done by themselves! But I found I needed the time to reconnect with the Lord. He did some major work in me that I know will help me in my business. He also brought about some divine business appointments that I could never bring about myself! Read More→

Nov
15

Professionalism at Home

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One of benefits of working from home is the ability to have a relaxed atmosphere. You can set your own schedule, work around your family and even lounge in your pajama pants from time to time.

However … one of the drawbacks of working from home is the ability to have a relaxed atmosphere. Yep, you read that right. As much as I love working from the comfort of my home, there is a serious side to my business as well. There are times when I must set aside my comfort and ensure that my clients get the very best from me.

The question that comes to mind then is how do we retain professionalism while we’re working at home? Here are a few ideas:

Take a shower– I smile as I write this because I know how basic this tip is. However, I know firsthand that it can be difficult to get motivated to get up and shower as if you were heading to an office for the day. Some days it can be hard just to find the time to shower (if you have small kids at home, you’re nodding as you read this). And don’t stop with a shower – put on a cute outfit, add a little makeup and get yourself feeling good. You’ll be surprised what a difference feeling good about yourself can make on your attitude, which will in turn impact your family, your business and all those you come into contact with throughout the day.

Clean your room – While it may or may not be true that “cleanliness is next to godliness,” it has certainly proven true in my life that cleanliness helps me to focus. When my office is a mess and my desk is piled high with stacks of paper, I seem to get less done. Take 15 minutes each morning and clear your space as much as possible. Not only will you think more clearly,  you will also be saved from embarrassment if unexpected company (or a client!) stop by.

Read More→

Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerThis past week the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said to me rather casually, “I guess you know today is November?”

She’s always joking with me and I assumed this was one of her jokes.

“You can’t fool me,” I said quite sarcastically, “I know it’s October.”

With that, she led me to the refrigerator where she had a calendar and pointed to me that today was the first day of November.

It was hard for me to believe it; I thought she had made that calendar up herself. After thinking for a few moments, I concluded that she was right. After all, she’s always right and I’m always left holding the bag.

With a little bit of sadness in my voice I said to her, “Where in the world did October go? I’m not finished with October yet.”

“Finished or not,” she said laughingly, “October is over and it is now November.”

I like to enjoy my time and I did not believe I had fully enjoyed all of October yet. That’s just the way life is. Here today, gone tomorrow. October yesterday, November today. When will all of this nonsense stop?

I should have noticed it was November because the whole house smelled of roast turkey in the oven. It is in November that we celebrate Thanksgiving. My wife had already purchased the turkey and was in the process of cooking it for Thanksgiving.

The only turkey we’re not really grateful for is Yours Truly.

When Fall comes, you would think I would be prepared. Fall brings a different attitude in things. All of the nice warm weather is gone and now we have a little bit of Chilly Willy weather.

Summertime is the time to be a little lazy and not get too worked up about anything. The attitude I have during the summer is, “There’s always tomorrow.”

The attitude of the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is, “There’s only today.”

Summertime cultivates a sense of laziness in my bones. I can get away with doing the summer because I can always complain about the heat. “It’s too hot to do anything today.” I usually get away with it.

Tripping into November that attitude and excuse goes out the window. Read More→

Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggerTwitter BirdRecently I found a way to download all my Twitter posts. It was so easy. All I had to do was log into my twitter account – click on Settings – go down to your twitter archive – click request and BAM — It’s done. You then get a Excel Sheet with all your tweets.

Then what you want to do is in the column with your tweets, do a Sort by A-Z and then all your tweets will be together by hashtag and description so you can easily see them and review.

This is so great because now you can create new material (I’m making images from some of my tweets,) and also get a feel for the tweets you’ve done. This sparks the creative juices to write new and improved ones as well.
Now that I have year’s worth of tips, I thought I’d share some of the best with you.

#PR Tips:

#PRTip – When you see a title of an article that really captivates your attention, write it down. That can lead to a great title or subject line down the road. In fact, keep a list of titles you like. You’ll be so glad you did when the time comes to come up with a new title for your article or blog posting and you just tweak from your list.

#PRTip – Keywords are so important and consistency is too. Use the same keywords repeatedly in order to improve your SEO rankings. Be sure to use those same keywords in the blog titles.

#PRTip – Getting an award is definitely newsworthy enough for a press release. It’s good to “shine the light” on your accomplishments. And remember share these releases with your followers so they can see all you are up to.

#PRTip – Always double-check your website links and preview your release before you hit send. Also, when possible, add in a keyword-driven description under your logo.

#PRTip – Keep samples of the releases, articles, media, etc., you write in a spiral-bound notebook or three-ring binder. Often the language can be similar and it really helps to see the previous ones to help write new ones.

#PRTip – Don’t put too many website links in your press releases. Only add the main supporting links. Too many links can distract those reading the release! Also, all these links should be yours.

#‎PRTip‬ – My top recommendations for sending out a press release are eReleases, PRWeb, OnlinePRNews and 24-7 Press Releases. It’s important when you write a release to get the most traction from it and I find these work the best.

‪#‎PRTip‬‬ – Need ideas for headlines for your blog postings, articles, newsletters, etc, check out major magazines and their headlines for their stories inside on the covers. Which ones catch your attention right away? These magazines have mastered the art of getting you to look inside so see how you can apply the same principles to your marketing.

#PRTip – Don’t be a one-pitch wonder. Keep in mind, often people need to see you numerous times in order to connect and recognize you. Build those relationships.

#Book Marketing Tips:

#BookMarketing Tips – Avoid having your book launch too close to a holiday or other event that might take attention away from it. Also, if planning ahead on dates, consider all that needs to be done prior to the launch and plan accordingly. Be sure to add in a little extra time for those unexpected delays!

#BookMarketing Tips – Some books are perfect for different holidays. Remember…the media likes to interview unique guests and, if you have that book and are that special guest, get out there and let them know about it!

#BookMarketing Tip – Remember, marketing begins way before the book is finished. Complete most of your marketing before that book launch so, when the book is ready, you are too!

#BookMarketing Tips – An aggressive press release campaign can be one of your best and most cost-effective ways to promote your book. It not only brings exposure to your book, but it rocks your SEO results and backlinks! Your release can cover the launch of your book, any great reviews you received, an upcoming book tour or book signing, any speaking engagements you have up and coming, any radio appearances, and so much more! Remember the most important basis for a press release: It has to be newsworthy. Be sure to include in your press release all calls to action—buy my book, do a review, come to my book signing, etc.

#BookMarketing Tips – Be sure your website is set up to accept orders correctly. And, be sure that your message is clear before you market (review this frequently). Once you drive potential customers to your site, you want your site to do the rest and sell those customers!

#BookMarketing Tips – Blogging is a great way to get PR about your book. It allows you to connect with your readers, as well as those who are just curious about you but haven’t yet taken the plunge as a devoted fan. Blogging builds relationships, allows you to share more about yourself than just what appears in your book, and is the perfect place to post your book reviews or ask for reviews. Be consistent with your blogging and, whenever you add a new blog posting, mention it on all your social media channels.

#BookMarketing Tips – Radio and TV interviews are great ways to promote your newly released book. Plan for these the week of the release and schedule in advance so that all the particulars are set up and ready to go!

#BookMarketing Tips – Don’t do all your marketing when your book launches and stop. So many authors do this. They go out with a bang and then slitter back to the background in the upcoming months. Be committed to market for best results.

#BookMarketing Tips – Know your target audience. No, not everyone would love your book. Then be sure in your Facebook ads, and all marketing that you talk to them!

#VATips (Virtual Assistant Tips):

#VATip – Always have clear payment guidelines outlined in writing with clients. Everything works better when everyone knows what is expected!

#VATip – If you are available to your clients, they will trust that you have their back. Not saying be there 24/7 for them at all. Just if they have a quick question, respond ASAP. They will appreciate it.

#VATip – Let a VA Coach can help you establish your pricing. Have you ever sent out a proposal and thought, “Wow, that was too high, they will never hire me.” Or, worse yet, “Man, I’m working for nothing…I totally bid that wrong. Why did I do that?” Even the best of us have done this. But, with the right plan and review of your clients, services, skills, experience, etc., you can feel good about your pricing and know it’s right for you. Plus, I’ll bet you find that you will charge quite a bit more than you thought you could (or may be charging currently) once you have that “pricing discussion” with your coach. Read More→

By Amy Nelson Hannon

Oh my word. Y’all, it’s finally Fall! Fall is my favorite! If I had to list all the things I love about Fall in order of what I love best, it’d be nearly impossible. Football, crisp mornings, jeans and boots, apple everything, pumpkin everything, adding more blankets to the beds, and the anticipation of the holiday season! I mean, how’s a girl to choose?!

One other favorite of mine during this season is sturdy soups – a bowl full of earthy, warm goodness that gets at my soul. What’s the difference between regular soup and sturdy soup you might ask? Sturdy soups have girth. They are spoonfuls of hearty bites. And they fill bellies way up. You know, they’re sturdy. They can stand alone served with only a few fixins on top. Have I got a sturdy soup for you!

This recipe is an adaptation of one found in my church cookbook. Y’all know that if you can ever get your hands on a church cookbook, then it’s a keeper. Church cookbook recipes are those tried-and-true, time-tested, crowd-pleasing dishes. I know, because I’m a pastor’s wife, and I’ve been feeding people for more than 20 years. So you learn what’s good, what people come back for, and what people request recipes for. And this White Chicken Chili meets the criteria for sure! It is so creamy and loaded with flavor, and the texture is divine with hearty bites of tender chicken and white beans. Sturdy. This recipe is the first soup that my family asks for when the weather officially turns cooler and there’s football on TV. Here’s to fall! And here’s to full bellies and full hearts! – Amy Nelson Hannon, author of Love Welcome Serve: Recipes that Gather and Give

 

WHITE CHICKEN CHILI WITH CILANTRO AND LIME

{serves 6-8}

 

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ – 2 cups yellow onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, chopped

3 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

3-4 cups chicken stock

½ cup dry white wine like Chardonnay (optional)

1 bay leaf, broken in half

3 cups cooked, shredded chicken

3 cans white beans of your choice, drained

3 jalapeno peppers, minced

3 cups fresh grated Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Salt to taste

3 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped (plus more for topping)

The juice of 3 limes

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven (around 5-6qts). Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until they’re tender and just starting to get color.  Add the garlic oregano, cumin, and ginger, cooking for one more minute. Stir continuously so the garlic doesn’t burn!  Add stock, wine (if using) and bay leaf.  Cook uncovered for 5 minutes over medium heat until somewhat reduced.  Add chicken, beans, and jalapenos. Simmer uncovered for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.  Read More→

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