As Christian work at home parents, we have a unique opportunity to bring Christ into our businesses. For me, it’s the ultimate reason why I am in business in the first place. I look at my company, AngelArts, as a Business As Mission.
Think about this: we have an opportunity to share more about Christ than most pastors! You and I will rub shoulders with people that will never talk to a church professional.
None of us is exempted from the Great Commission, to make disciples of all nations. And He ends this commandment with a promise: He will be with us!
But how can we practically bring Christ into our businesses?
Every month, my husband and I attend a meeting at Glen Eyrie Conference Center (owned by The Navigators) to discuss this very question over breakfast. Business owners give their testimonies to share their stories of how they brought Christ into the workplace, or how they discovered Christ in the workplace.
It can be as simple as taking an interest in someone; in developing a friendship and guiding them to the path that leads to eternal life.
That was the particular story of a gentleman, Rob, who was involved in the banking industry, that I recently heard. A colleague invited Rob to a Christian networking meeting and demonstrated he cared. When times got tough, this man was there for Rob. Today, Rob is a successful mortgage banker and Christian business leader actively engaged in bringing Christ into his workplace.
Integrity matters. It demonstrates Christ in the workplace most of all.
A story by a man named Charles was especially encouraging. Throughout his life, he acted with integrity. He would make very tough decisions with the desire to please Jesus. Sometimes he had to say no to opportunities. While this hurt at the time, he found that God used him in unexpected areas, even sharing the gospel at the World Cup in Brazil! Read More→
You’ve probably seen them. Sponsored ads in Facebook. And you have probably noticed this creepy phenomena where you go to a Website (like Amazon), then when you go to Facebook, that same product shows up!
You might think it’s strange, but it really is no mystery. It’s called retargeting or pixeling. It’s all done by grabbing a pixel and inserting it into your website.
It’s an extremely effective and cheap way to get the word out about your brand. After all, it’s repetition of seeing your offer that makes a difference in sales.
So how can you take advantage of retargeting ads in Facebook?
First of all, be specific in your offer and who you are offering it to. This will give you the best results.
Facebook Website Custom Audiences lets you make the right offer to the right audience who already knows you! Now that will really help you increase brand awareness!
Facebook Website Creation lets you create a list and run ads to audiences who have visited your website.
This is powerful because they have shown interest in your website and they have shown interest in you. They showed that by visiting your site.
How? Use your content to build focused lists and offer them what they want.
Here are the steps to take:
1. Segment your website content based on your audience and niche
2. Create keywords that will go into every URL that you produce in the future
3. Organize your existing content into a spreadsheet
4. Go into Facebook
5. Log into ‘Create Audience” button
6. Choose “Custom Audience from Your Website”
7. Accept Facebook’s TOS and click “Create Audience.”
8. Set up your website custom audiences.
9. Insert Custom Audience Pixel into your Website’s code (do this only one time).
10. After you click submit, the custom audience will display in the audiences tab in ads manager.
11. Create ads that target this category. That could be a blog or a lead magnet (freebie).
12. Do this over and over again! Test and test! Learn from your failures and build on your successes! Read More→
Creating a bestselling book on Amazon. A laudable goal that many business owners aspire to. It’s perfect as a Christian work at home mom or dad to publish a book because it brings credibility. But what’s the number one factor when self-publishing a book?
Yet many business owners skimp on this by doing it themselves or outsourcing it out to someone who is sub professional. This results in less sales and less exposure, which does damage to your brand.
Let’s face it: a prospect will take seconds to decide whether or not to click on your link, and that is highly dependent on the quality and relevance of the graphic of your book cover.
So how can you create a book cover that not only stands out, but helps you skyrocket sales? Here are five graphic design secrets that will help you!
1. Think of the book cover as an art poster
As a graphic artist, I have always approached designing book and magazine covers this way. Would you want to hang up your book cover as art?
When I was in college, one of my favorite magazines was The New Yorker. They always had such intriguing art! I saved many of them and one of these days I am going to put them up on my office wall!
What about your book cover? Would you want to hang it up on your wall or are you embarrassed by it?
If you don’t know what constitutes a good art poster, check out some art galleries or go to your local library and peruse through the periodical section. Get inspired by some ideas (but don’t steal them), and your cover design will improve!
2. Make the title readable
This is the first and primary rule of graphic design. Your font selection needs to be readable! It’s amazing how many people overlook this essential principle.
After all, if your audience can’t read the text on your cover, what’s the point? Read More→
Awkward. The moment I sat in front of a brick and mortar service provider and told him that his logo missed the mark when it came to expressing his brand.
As I came in the building that morning to give him a presentation on my branding programs, a mix match of signs greeted me. One on the building and a different one inside. Okay, that’s confusing!
He wanted to know how he could attract more business, especially wanting to know how his clients could better understand what he provided.
And yet, when I mentioned that his logo needed to communicate the essence of his business and that perhaps it wasn’t doing the job, he rankled.
He had “designed” it himself. Or maybe a relative did it. The logo was cool, he said. I can’t remember, this meeting was so long ago. But I remember how I felt about his response: Oh dear, he is taking his logo personally! He was attached and couldn’t see it objectively.
This scene is all too common among business owners as well as authors or artists. Putting something up on the Internet because it’s pretty or you like it or it’s cool is not a good enough reason to choose a logo mark, book cover, brochure, or any other marketing material you are producing.
Why? Because your logo or any other product/marketing piece needs to communicate your intended message. In particular, a logo needs to communicate what you do and convey trust and credibility to your target market. Read More→
So, Christian work at home mom or dad, have you played with your kids lately?
Why is that important, and what does that have to do with branding your business?
Well, let me illustrate my answer with a story, if I may!
Before, during, and after Thanksgiving I worked myself ragged on a book promotion. After that, I was burned out. It took me a long time to recover. Then came Christmas, with all its family demands. I completely lost focus for awhile in my business. It didn’t help that I threw my back out because I had worked so hard!
As it says in Psalm 32 The Message version, “all the juices of my life dried up.”
Then my nephew, Nathan, and his wife came for an extended visit. A talented young man with many visions and dreams and with the support of his talented and enthusiastic wife, we started to dream and plan together that first full day they were guests in my home.
So it was at our favorite coffee shop that we brainstormed many ideas, including what activity to do in my homeschooling club. This led to us preparing for an amazing creative play experience for my son and a dozen other students.
What was it? We made medieval boffer swords and the children engaged in play sword skirmishes! The kids had a blast and we had a blast facilitating this!
But even more importantly, we had a vision. To continue this creative play not only in the homeschool club, but at home as well as part of our PE time. Read More→
Recently, a friend of mine messaged me horrible news. Her house had been robbed and along with that her electronic valuables. She had no backups! Thankfully, she had some files on Google Drive, but her story reminded me of the importance of always having a backup of computer files.
I’ve been caught several times, too. Not by theft but by the inevitable crashing of hard drives in laptop computers. It only had to happen to me a couple of times to realize–using a backup service is essential to running my business!
Also, years ago one of my external drives had failed. One company quoted me $3,000 dollars to recover the data! Thankfully, a computer whiz I knew managed to restore the data for $75. That was a bargain!
And computer backup cloud services are a bargain, also!
Sure, you can do it yourself. For Macs, there is Time Machine. Um, can’t remember the last time I did it. Besides, if there was a disaster or a theft, most likely your external drives would be history, too!
So if you don’t want to go to the expense of a cloud service, at least backup your computer to a drive you will keep off site!
But suppose you are sold on the idea of paying for a service? Where do you turn?
Here are three companies that can help:
This is the service I have used for years. It’s a no brainer in that it automatically backs up my computer as I work on it. For one or two computers, it’s reasonable. The payments start at $59.99 annually so it’s easy on my budget.
The negatives are that when I did have a computer crash, recovering the files was not as smooth as I would have liked. Some files didn’t appear to work. But I managed to download everything that was important so I don’t think I lost much.
The other drawback is that the charge is per computer. However, if you purchase the office plan you can get unlimited backup for computers, devices, and external drives for $269.99 per year.
One more negative–if you are working on a file and then realize later you need to restore it to its original, it will be too late. The backup is actually so fast that whatever’s on your hard drive currently is what will be on the Carbonite cloud soon after. For those projects that you are continually working on, it would be beneficial to periodically backup these files independently to another cloud service (like iCloud. See below).
iDrive promises to be much more competitive. I like that I can backup all computers (Windows, Macs, external drives, and devices) in one account. It starts at $69.50 for the first year (but there is a sale as I write this so it is even less). It will even do older operating systems. And it has a 5 GB offer that is free. So you can try it and see if you like it.
I did try the free account awhile ago and I found it a bit more complicated to use than Carbonite. But I’m not sure I didn’t give it a fair shake. Considering the amazing deal I will probably try again! Read More→
Blogging. It’s all the rage. It seems that everyone and their mother is blogging. As a work at home business owner, what are the step by step actions you need to take to get your blog noticed?
First of all, realize the power of blogging. Your goal is to get eyeballs on your brand. It’s all about leading with value. Giving helpful information that will help your audience. Once you have prospects reading your blog over and over again, you can ascend them up your sales funnel, meaning:
• Offering your target market an irresistible freebie in exchange for their email addresses
• Promoting a low-cost offer to acquire them as customers
• Present your main product or service
• Recommend additional products or services that will further help them
This is how you can MONETIZE your blog, other then ads on your page or affiliate links.
So what are some of the steps you need to take? Here are the exact steps that I’m going to use to develop my husband’s blog about architectural design. I came up with this plan after going through an extensive certification course in digital marketing.
1. Keyword research
What is your target market searching for? What are some of the problems that they desperately need solutions for? What would they write in Google when searching for your product or service? Brainstorm some relevant keywords and identify the top 10 that your market would use to find your product or service. Use a keyword planning tool to analyze competition and volume of searches. You want to choose long tail keywords (a phrase rather than one word) that has highest volume possible at the lowest competition.
2. Brainstorm titles
Think about search marketing when you create a title for your blog. There’s great debate whether the title should be your “personal brand,” but if you are just starting out, how will they know who you are? A descriptive title that includes your main keywords will help you attract more readers. Make sure the title is easy to remember.
3. Reserve a domain
Make sure your title is available for your domain. The easiest site I’ve found to use is GoDaddy. There are many choices these days for an extension, but the most common one is .com.
4. Plan a silo
What is a silo? It is planning blogs around a hub of keywords. For instance, if your blog is about dogs, you might plan the keyword hub “dog training,” and then link a series of blogs to that hub with the keywords “dog training aggression,” “dog training collar,” “dog training at home,” etc. Read More→
In this Internet age, the color of your brand will make or break you.
How can I say that?
Because color communicates a message. You need it to accurately reflect the message of your brand, the essence of who you are as a business.
It’s more important than ever since the competition online is so fierce. You only have seconds to make that connection with your intended audience. If you have the wrong colors then you will be virtually invisible!
So what are the rules when choosing color? Here are some helpful hints so that your brand can stand out:
1) Generally it’s safest to have only two major color themes for your brand.
2) Choose complementary colors, contrasting colors, or a combination of both.
3) Colors from the opposite color families have a contrasting effect.
4) A dark color chosen with a light opposite color will give your logo superb contrast. It will stand out! Read More→
The New Year. It’s an exciting time because it brings with it new possibilities. It’s a chance to start over. A chance for improvement. It’s also a time when everyone rushes to make New Year’s resolutions. But how long do these ambitions last?
Well, I’m sure you’ve made the same observations I have. In the beginning of the year, there are tons of sales on gyms, exercise equipment, weight loss products, etc.
But what might you see if you happen to wander into a thrift store about the time of March? Discarded exercise equipment, of course!
So how can you make your goals stick? What can you do in 2017 that is different than previous years? How can you avoid the trap of useless New Year’s resolutions that are wishful thinking at best?
Here’s a few ideas to help you not only stick to your goals for the New Year, but to help you flourish in the process!
1) Set a few hours and/or days aside for this in late December.
Between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve is a perfect time to schedule some planning. You might want to do this for a whole day, several days, or set aside a couple of hours for a series of days. If you are able to get away for some kind of planning retreat, so much the better! Whatever you decide to do, schedule it in your calendar and make this a priority.
2) Include God in your planning times.
In fact, make Him the central focus. This may seem obvious, but instead of making your plan and hoping He’ll bless it after you have already written it , do this: Seek Him first and ask Him what He would have you do. THEN write your plan!
Because He is the ultimate CEO. Think about it. He owns a thousand cattle on the hills. He gave Solomon incredible wealth and wisdom. He had Peter catch a fish that had swallowed a coin so that Jesus and Peter could pay their temple tax. In fact, Jesus was a carpenter. He was a business man!
3) Choose a Bible verse and use it to write a mission statement for the year.
Writing mission statements based on Scripture has been hands-down the way I achieve the most accomplishment and laser-like focus. Not only does it motivate me to complete tasks necessary to reach goals, but it inspires me. Read More→
Value proposition. Brand positioning. It sounds like such fancy words, but what do they mean and why are they important?
Let’s face it: today’s world is full of cheap people. Everyone wants something for free.
Everyone feels entitled to getting something for practically nothing.
But is that really true? After all, why would there be iPhones, Lexus cars, or Macy’s? The truth is, there are buyers out there who are willing to pay more. How do you get them? It’s all in how you present yourself. That’s called your value proposition or brand positioning.
For instance, if you always compete based on price, you will always have to be the lowest bidder in order to win. But if you lead with your value proposition, you will attract more business.
Here’s a story I recently heard from a speaker at one of the local networking meetings I attend. The speaker described how he was looking for a bicycle to give to his son for Christmas. He went to a bicycle shop near his house and selected a bike in the mid-price range. The store owner went to the back to get his order and came back lugging a big box. It was a do-it-yourself assembly job.
The man, a busy business man who lived in Chicago, did not have a mechanical bone in his body! So he asked how much it would be if the store owner put the bike together and he was quoted $20. The man said he would think about it and left. Read More→