She is… alone. World turned upside down, securities shaken, questions unanswered. Somehow, each day, she must survive. Breathe again. Scrimp and save and make a way. Somewhere, in the midst of it all, she must find something … or Someone … to be her Rock.
The nameless widows of Scripture – don’t overlook them. The Lord included their stories for our benefit, and He knows each of these women intimately. He didn’t see anonymity or ambiguity. He saw hearts, lives, faces. He heard their groans and cries and saw in each one the potential to reach us today. While each account holds multiple truths, let’s glean a single nugget that we can cling to from a few examples of extraordinary widows of faith.
Widow #1: The Zarephath Widow (I Kings 17:8-24) – When God Makes A Promise
She is asked to feed the prophet Elijah when she could barely scrape together enough to make a last meal for her and her son. But God speaks to her through Elijah, and something in those words moves her to obey without reservation. She makes a withdrawal from her last reserves of flour and oil and prepares food for the prophet and then for herself and her son. When God makes a promise, you can afford to give your all. And her supplies never run out. When God makes a promise, you can bank on it. He supplies her physical needs and her spiritual needs. And when life is snatched from her son, God hears her heart’s cry and returns the son to her. When God makes a promise, He doesn’t leave your side. Your famine may not be physical but spiritual. Revisit the promises of God. Find life and hope and every need met. Read More→
It is unavoidable. Feelings of discouragement will be experienced as an entrepreneur but learning how to handle them is vital to the future success of your business. Discouragement if allowed to linger too long, can take you off your path. It can make it easier to throw in the towel on your business dreams. Discouragement can also shake your confidence to its’ core and make you second guess yourself.
So what does it mean to be discouraged?
Inside the word discouragement is the word courage. Courage is the ability to be fearless; to face anything that is dangerous, painful or difficult. Discouragement then is to be without courage. The courage that you once had has now gone away. You no longer approach your business from a place of strength and faith, but instead from a place of fear and hesitation.
But… it can come back. Discouragement can turn to Courage again.
In business your courage will at times wane. There will be moments and situations where feelings of discouragement are so overwhelmingly strong that you may not know what to do.
But God always know what to do. He can deliver us from the discouragement we sometimes feel. We can also do some things to help ourselves through these moments of uncertainty.
So what do you do when you feel discouraged? How do you handle it and not get stuck in a pit of potential despair?
Here are five ways to handle feeling discouraged: Exodus 6:6-9
Let go of what has happened. Perhaps you made a major decision for your business and it did not turn out as you had expected. Or maybe you have experienced multiple setbacks that have left doubting your abilities, questioning if being an entrepreneur is the right thing for you.
What you may not recognize is that the feeling of discouragement is an opening for God to bless you in a new way; a way you may not even have imagined. That decision that now seems like it was the wrong one, perhaps is God’s way of creating room for what is to come. Read More→
When you run a small business, you’ve got a lot on your plate. From marketing and product development to finances and HR, there’s very little time to stress about the small stuff like sending out emails. However, it’s often the small stuff that can give you the edge over your other small business competitors. So to help give your small home business a leg up, here are three ways you can make your email correspondence more professional by understanding some basic principles in email etiquette.
Use A Dedicated Business Email
While small business owners want to work hard to keep costs low, always choosing the free options can be detrimental to your business, especially where communication is concerned. This is why, according to John Hebron, a contributor to BigCommerce.com, setting up a dedicated work email using your domain name is a great way to show your clients or customers that you’re a serious business. By choosing to use your domain name as the address for your work email, you also have more consistent branding and name recognition.
A Simple Signature
For business communications, it’s important to give the recipient of your correspondence as much information as possible with regards to your contact information. While email may be your preferred form of contact, that may not be the case for all your clients or customers. For this reason, Lily Herman, a contributor to TheMuse.com, recommends having a simple yet effective email signature at the end of each email you send that consists of a few alternate ways to contact you. This could include an alternative email address, phone number, or even a Twitter handle. By including this information, you appear more professional as well as giving yourself a greater chance of having your outreach reciprocated. Read More→
There are many nights that I lay awake long after my husband begins snoring lightly beside me. My mind whirls as I think of all the ways I’ve failed that day. Phone calls and emails that didn’t get returned; laundry that didn’t make it from the basket to the drawers; and worse yet time I could have spent with the kids that I whittled away working or collapsed in a chair trying to catch my breath.
How do we find the time to be a great parent amidst the chaos? The answer: we must realize we can’t do it all. As work-at-home moms, we need to relax and strive not for perfection, but for doing our best despite the circumstances. We need to strive to be parents who are:
Playful – Motherhood is a job that most of us take very seriously. However, the day-to-day life of a mom can be full of joy, laughter and fun as well. As moms, we set the tone for our household. When we have a positive attitude anything can be fun, even teaching times such as helping with homework.
My daughter began kindergarten recently. She now has homework to complete a few evenings each week. She is learning to read and becomes frustrated when she can’t figure out a word. I’m learning that by being patient with her, allowing her to express her frustration (in a calm manner) and encouraging her when she succeeds, even homework can be enjoyable time spent with her. Whenever possible, we turn homework into a game and have fun learning together.
Prayerful – The greatest part of a healthy prayer life is seeing God answer your prayers and sharing these experiences with your children. Answered prayer is a powerful spiritual teacher in the life of a child.
Jane Evans, author of Raising Children Without Going Insane, explains it well. “When you are lost and can’t find your way, stop and pray and ask God to help you. Teach your children the power of prayer in everyday situations…even you may be surprised, as I have many times, at the way God answers when you call!” Read More→
I received one of those annoying sales messages from a well-intentioned direct seller. It began with a trite hello and then plunged into a question about the product they are promoting, with the goal of hooking me into buying it.
Did they interact much with me on social media before then? Do they know anything about me?
This, as a branding expert, tarnishes the brand they are promoting. Did I ever express any need, any interest?
No, just a message out of the blue and I hardly know how to respond! I don’t like to be rude, but I’m flatly not interested!
Now contrast that to someone who is interacting with me on a regular basis, who sees what I’m posting, dialogues with me, and acknowledges my challenges.
For instance, perhaps on Facebook I posted that I’m having a hard time sleeping. Out of a genuine concern, a friend offers her solution, because she wants to help me and sees a need.
Here’s the truth many promoters do not realize: Social media is not for selling, not directly anyway.
When it comes to social media and branding, a strategy is needed. There are steps to take with your prospects and customers. Your first and primary goal on social media is to build relationships. You are not there to sell something. You are there to help people. If it can be with your product or service, great! But if not, that’s okay, too.
A successful social strategy consists of several components. Most importantly, you need to listen. You need to plan what you are listening FOR.
For instance, by listening in several Facebook groups about a need homeschooling moms have to start their own businesses, I founded and grew my own Facebook group to nearly 900 people. I am creating my own tribe and I have a ready-made platform to help my fellow homeschoolers grow their businesses! Read More→
She’s unnamed, unwed, and used up. She’s been rejected, overlooked and scorned. Marriage had always failed her (five times, for one reason or another), and so she’d given up on it, too (for the man she was living with was not her husband).
To the water, apart from the other women, alone. Daily duty calls, and she expects nothing more than the routine, silent, dusty walk to draw from the well. She can already feel the weight of the return trip: heavy pots of water and scorching, high-noon sun combining to burn her shoulders inside and out. Not to mention the commonplace, condemning stares that will greet her as she reenters the town.
But it’s not every day. At the well … could it be? Another person? A man? A Jew?!?! Little does she know that she is walking into a divine encounter, and her life is about to be changed forever.
He has gifted you with talents that weren't meant to be hidden, but used for His glory and to benefit others, like Peter writes in 1 Peter 4:10:
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
Rise above your difficulties and insecurities. Make a difference. It’s not easy, but it will let your critics know that their words will fade. But you won’'t.
And if nobody has told you today, God lavishly loves you, and you were designed for His beautiful purpose!