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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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Building a Healthy Mind

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By Salvatore VuonoMost would agree that we need to be spiritually, physically and emotionally healthy to live our lives to the fullest extent.

How do you build health physically? You work out and watch your diet right?

Some of us have health tendencies or weaknesses that come to us through our family line so we have to be aware of those tendencies. Perhaps this is a little extra weight, high blood pressure, or a fragile heart. Whatever it is- the wise thing to do is to pay attention to these things and to work to take care of a problem before it gets worse.

In the same manner how do you build spiritual health? Reading the Word, having quiet time with the Lord, prayer, fellowship with other believers, a heart of thanksgiving. Some of us may struggle with one area more than another and that takes more work. But in order to maintain spiritual growth it has to be a conscious effort of drawing close to the Lord and seeking fellowship with Him continually.

Since it takes work to cultivate physical and spiritual health, don’t you think it also takes work to cultivate mental/emotional health. Too often we give excuses for why we worry, why we dwell in negative thought patterns, and struggle with healthy relationships. There is nothing wrong with admitting that we have trouble in these areas, the problem comes when we condone this and do nothing to change. (Which is true both physically and spiritually as well – if you are obese and continue eating the wrong things, the problem will only grow worse)

We are wired in such a way that when we are unhealthy in one area (whether it be emotionally, physically or spiritually) our whole body is affected. Take worry for instance – the physical consequences could be high blood pressure and the spiritual consequences are the inability to trust God, which keeps us from enjoying fellowship with Him.

God designed us each differently with unique temperaments and family backgrounds so some of us have a greater tendency towards emotional/mental problems. Dr. Frederick Diblasio explains that just like some are born with the learning disorder of dyslexia, others have emotional and interpersonal dyslexia1. In both cases there is hope, but in both cases it takes work. Read More→

ChalkboardA brand, ultimately, is a unique reflection of you and your business. And your logo is a visual way to represent that brand.

So your logo should distinguish you from your competition.

But how can you make sure it stands out?

By being creative.

Creativity is the edge you need to be different, to be appealing, to draw customers to you.

So how can you be creative when developing your brand? Here are three ideas:

1) Enjoy nature. Many times when I am tasked with coming up with a new concept for a brand, I will take some time to enjoy nature. I will go on a hike, sit on a rock and revel in the beauty around me, or inspire a sunset with its soft hues of peach and light blue.

In each of these scenarios I described above, I came away with new ideas. Either fresh thoughts that I could apply in different ways or in discovering a pleasing color combination that fit perfectly.

I remember one time when I was creating a conference brand, I spent some time surrounded by the beauty of Garden of the Gods. Just this refreshing time gave me the space in my head, so to speak, that I needed to come up with a unique concept.

Another time a particularly beautiful sunset gave me an idea for a color combination that was perfect for one of my projects. When I was working on a project about the Caribbean, my imagination of the colors of the sea gave me inspiration.

2) Feed your brain with visual ideas. Go on a hunt. Find out what your competitors do. Are their logos mostly rectangle? Perhaps a circle shape will make you stand out! What looks do you like? What font combinations? What graphics? Start a “swipe” file of graphics you like or even ones you don’t like. It’s not that you will copy these. Your swipe file is a jump off point to help give you new ideas. Read More→

Jill Hart - Mixing Faith & Business blogcute girl playing with busy mom in backgroundOne of the benefits of working from home is the flexibility to work anytime and anywhere. However, that also means being able to shut out the distractions that surround you at any given time. For me that can mean tuning out the TV, letting the answering machine pick up calls or shutting down my email program – whatever it takes to allow me to focus on the project at hand. Over the years, I’ve found a few things that have helped me accomplish this on a regular basis:

Set Aside Time

Having set working hours or setting aside a certain amount of time each day is extremely important when working from home. The times when I’ve gone through my days hoping that I’ll find the time to get some work done are the times that I’ve struggled the most.

I know of many work-at-home moms that band together and create a co-op where they take turns watching the kids while the other moms in the group work. This way each mom spends a few hours a week away from work while babysitting, but in return is able to focus solely on her business during the times her children are away. Read More→

va-seriesOffering social media management and consulting services to clients is one of those things I sort of fell into. When I started working online as a virtual assistant social networks were in their infancy. MySpace was dying with Facebook and Twitter quickly gaining traction. Facebook spoke to the extrovert in me; couple that with working from home and social media soon became close to an obsession for me. It was a client’s prompting that had me looking at my near obsession through a different lens and started making money offering my social media knowledge and experience to clients as a service.

As an entrepreneur and freelance virtual assistant it is important to keep up to date not only on the latest programs, software and, in some cases, social networking sites. It’s important to also be up to date on the latest trends and advances within one’s industry. The following is how continue my education regularly.

Online Groups – There are a few virtual assistant groups that I have connected with and regularly follow. Interaction with other virtual assistants is a great way of picking up other tips, tricks, and even skills. Facebook and Google+ both have excellent virtual assistant groups to join. One that I am a part of is Virtual Assistant Community. (Google+ calls their groups ‘communities.’) Read More→

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Writing from the heartWhen I was young, a saying went around, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words/names will never hurt me.” Supposedly it was to make me ignore people saying nasty things about me.

For the most part, I am not too impressed by the words/names people throw my direction, but I do duck when they throw sticks and stones at me. I ducked most of them. It is not the sticks and stones that I duck that I worry about; it is the ones that I don’t duck.

I know we live in a PC culture and it is a culture that I cannot keep up with. I am not sure anybody really keeps up with this kind of thing. Every day there is a new word you are not allowed to use or you might offend somebody. I try my best not to offend anybody but I must confess that it is almost impossible.

Some people just do not have anything bouncing between their ears. Like last week, for example. I was minding my own business and I am not quite sure what started the whole situation and I do not know who was responsible for it. If it was me, I really did not know what I did.

Suddenly, the man next to me started to scream all kinds of foul language. Believe me; I think foul language is for the birds. When this man realized what he had done, he said the inevitable, “Pardon my French.” And he smiled a greasy, slinky smile.

I was not very much impressed with this turkey’s gobbling. If I had an egg or two on me, I would have thrown it at him with all the strength I had.

I was supposed to forget all that foul language he used because he said the magic phrase, “Pardon my French.”

In high school, we had to take a foreign language and so I took three years of first year French. I must say I flunked each year, but that is beside the point. Even though I was not very good at French, I knew that what this man was saying was not in any French dictionary I had ever looked at.

I was tempted to look up my French teacher and ask her what these “French words” meant. But, I’m not a turkey.

If I was French, and I am not, I certainly would have been offended by him referring to this foul language that he used as part of the French language. It’s people like this that I would like to give them a little bit of their own medicine. Read More→

Multitasking mother with her daughterBeing productive is important because you cannot support yourself unless you are willing to work for your salary. Even self-employed business people have to work hard. Fortunately, working from home is now possible in certain professions. Freelance writers, data entry experts, artists, and bloggers are good examples of people who can work from home. Doing so has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, people who work at home are more likely to procrastinate than those who work in the office. This kind of behavior can limit their productivity severely. Here are the top five productivity tips for working at home.

  1. Plan Your Schedule Carefully 

A schedule is important because it keeps you focused on the task. You will not stray into something else when your schedule indicates what you should be doing. Make sure that it is realistic because you will not adhere to it if it is not. For example, it should take into account break times including breaks for lunch, supper, or breakfast. It should also make sure that you have enough time for rest. Do not overwork yourself.

  1. Be Strict With Your Family and Friends

Your home is a place where you would welcome visitors, make them tea, and then have a conversation with them for hours. An office is a place where visitors are the exception and not the rule. Your friends should understand that if you work from home, then your house is both a home and an office. That means visitors should only come on specific days and at specific times. Your family members should also give you the space you need to work because if you do not work then the overall household income reduces.

  1. Prepare Your Work-space

You may be working from an office desk at home. You may also be working at the kitchen table or on the couch. Just remember that your work-space is wherever you work. It should be clean, tidy, and free of distractions. For example, you should not have game consoles lying near you when you work. You should also keep you phone away from you so that you do not focus on chatting with your friends. You should also make sure that your work-space looks inviting so that it would be nice working from there. This kind of serene setting encourages you to sit down and work. Read More→

megaphoneWe all know that communication is key to a healthy marriage, but did you know it’s also key to your branding success?

My husband and I were reminded of that recently after he finished one of his architectural projects. We realized that some of the wording in his estimates was vague, which could have led to a dispute.

Thankfully, the matter is being cleared up with just a few “tweaks,” but we stood to lose a significant amount of money. We began re-working the wording on the estimates and are considering new policies to protect ourselves in the future so that this scenario is not repeated.

Crystal clear communication is something I learned long ago as a freelance graphic designer. A true professional will clearly outline estimates, terms, working agreements/contracts.

When I’ve not done this, I’ve regretted it. That’s when I am stuck with a client that costs me money.

But when I have clear communication, I weed the bad clients out. This saves me money in the long run.

So how can you clearly communicate to your clients? Here are some ideas to help you:

1) Clearly communicate about what they can expect from you.

2) Deliver on what you promise.

3) Do not hype what you deliver. This will result in dissatisfaction and refunds. Read More→

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