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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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Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggernew year new startThe new year is nearly upon us  … a time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future.  A time to see everything as a new beginning.  And a time to be proud of everything you’ve done, even the small things.

If you know me well, you know one of the things I do a lot of is CELEBRATING!  Not the dance on the table with a lamp shade celebrating, but more the “Yeah, my pitch worked and I got my client in Inc Magazine.  Or after months of trying, I finally landed that client.  Bring out the bubbly, we are going to party!  I always try to celebrate the big wins and the little wins. Why? Because then when I have a “bad” day, I can reflect on the better days ahead.

The New Year is a great time to starting thinking about building your business.  Funny how January has that power.  Everyone is in the “grow” mode.  So with that, here are my top tips to increase your profits in 2018.

Tips to Increase Your Profits in 2018:

  • Do a website review – while you are changing that footer on your site from 2017 to 2018, spend some time and do a quick review of your site.  Read over it like you just put it up, and check those links, contact forms, etc.  Review the SEO and keywords to ensure you are still good to go. Review the services or products page.  Can you improve upon that?  Does it still represent all you do today?  Is it easy to purchase your products? Remember making it easy for your customers to order, will allow them to purchase more.  Now check your website on your phone.  Is it mobile-friendly or do you get a few sentences per screen?  Do whatever it takes to represent you in the best way possible.
  • Conduct a social media review – Devote a week each month in January, to reviewing your social media and make changes.  One week focus on Facebook.  The next week on Twitter.  Then LinkedIn, etc.  Now naturally you want to keep all your social media efforts going throughout the month, but if you focus on one each week, hopefully you can accomplish so much more.  You know the usual, add more content, etc., but what you want to do is plan out 2018.  Use that week to come up with a 3 month plan.  At the end of the three months you can review, and broken down into 3 months segments help.
  • Create passive income streams– Take some time and consider what you can do to get some passive income in each month.  Can you convert that webinar into a product you can sell?  How close are you to writing a new ebook?  Can you connect with those you have associated in your industry and see what they are offering?  Sign up for affiliates.  Just see what you can do to bring in income that doesn’t require you to do it.

Read More→

Nov
27

Entrepreneur Tips – Things to Consider Before Starting Your Business

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Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggerHere are several things to consider before starting your business

1) Costs – Know it all. Research and ask questions. Find out not just about the normal operating costs, but what else might be required. Write it all down and plan accordingly. Have money for several months or plan to work part-time. Too many fail because they don’t have the money to succeed.

2) Marketing – Most businesses don’t work without marketing effectively. Be sure you know how you will market this business and also that you have the expertise to do it. If not, get reading or be prepared to hire someone. Be prepared before you start and have that plan ready to go.

3) Be passionate – That’s the only way to keep going and face those odds, exhaustion and temptation to throw in the towel. You aren’t going to love what you do every day, but on the whole you have to believe in it and want to continue doing it. Read More→

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Nov
20

Money Management Tips for Virtual Assistants & Small Business Owners

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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→

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Nov
13

My Best Marketing & VA Tweets Throughout the Years

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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→

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Nov
08

PR Success Series – Marketing Tips 101

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Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggerSocial MediaWho’s ready to get back into marketing their business?  It’s time to get busy and there’s no better way than with tips from a pro, like me!  Here are some of my best tips to market your business and build your brand.

Marketing Tips 101

  • Define your business. In order to do this, you must know and understand who you are and who your clients are. Then you get to talk their language with all your marketing.
  • Make sure your “brand” is fully developed. Take a minute here.  If people were to ask what you do, what would you tell them?  This should come off your lips as fast as ice cream melts in the hot summer sun in S. Florida.
  • Create a complete “Marketing Plan.” This is a plan that you will follow.  Nothing fancy, just some good old fashioned ideas that makes your company stand out among the competition and brings those clients and cash (cha ching!)
  • Become an expert and use Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, etc.) to prove you are a rock star. Don’t boost, just provide great tips that show you know your stuff.   Also, be mindful of postings that are inadvertent brags.  Most see right through those.
  • Use images that show you as the supreme entrepreneur! Don’t just put an image out there to have new content.  Review those images and make them reflect the real you – you know the professional that will make other businesses shine when they work with you.
  • Network, Network, Network! Hi Ho, Hi ho, a networking we go.  – Online, offline, here an event, there an event, everywhere an event …. Okay, a little corny, but you get my drift.  Get out there and have some fun.  Network and meet new people, whether online or in person that can be your clients, refer clients to you, or just build relationships with.
  • Get involved in “virtual events” or host your own. These are often events where 5 or more entrepreneurs get together with a common theme and share what makes them awesome.  It’s great because not only do you get to connect with these entrepreneurs and build relationships, but you also get introduced to their tribe.  Win/win.  Just go in knowing that it takes time to promote.  Many a virtual event has not succeeded because no one took the time to talk about it.  The more you do, the better your results.
  • “Pitch” the media…and do it right! Write articles on your expertise.  How to articles work best.  Then create Cision databases and send them out.   Then announce on your social media when accepted.  Don’t have Cision?  No problem, email me and let’s see what we can do.

Read More→

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Nov
01

PR Tips – Best Ways to Pitch the Media & Build Your Brand

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Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggerOne of the ways to get great PR for your business is to write pitches that can be sent to the media and other places.  The goal is to become a regular contributor to those you send to and often times that’s exactly what happens.  It’s just that so many aren’t sure how to do it right.  So let’s break it down in bite-size tips!

So…exactly what is a pitch? Let’s discuss the many types of pitches:

  • A story to a reporter or editor – stories sell, just make yours relevant
  • A pitch to a radio show, TV program, etc., to be a guest
  • A pitch that accompanies an article to get your article accepted in major publications, websites, etc.
  • A pitch to book reviewers to ask for a book review
  • A pitch to accompany a press release and show why the release is newsworthy and of interest to who you are sending it to
  • A pitch for a blog tour asking to be a guest blogger. As a blogger you can see if they would be interested in posting your articles, being part of a contest, do a Q&A, host giveaways, and more.  Guest blogging is a great way to build long-lasting relationships and get in front of new audiences.
  • A pitch to secure speaking engagements letting them know why you would be the perfect speaker for their event or audience

Read More→

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Oct
19

25 Awesome Ways to Get PR for Your Book (or Business!)

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Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggerSelf-published your book and not sure how to get others to notice it?  No problem these tips will help you market like a pro. Many of these tips work for home-based businesses, too!

  • Get media attention – pitching the media. Securing interviews with various media is an excellent way to promote your book. Make sure your pitch is well-planned, clearly showing why you are the expert in your field, and outlines your experience appearing on radio, TV, and other media. Also, just because you wrote a book is not news, you need to talk more about how that book can make a difference or why their audience would love it. Be sure to pitch to the right editors too.  We use Cision to find those and it rocks!
  • Radio Shows – One way to get more PR for your book is to do radio shows. Fortunately there are so many shows available today and constantly are looking for great guests. In fact, it was recently mentioned in Entrepreneur Magazine that 57 million Americans are now tuning in. One benefit of doing radio is that you can do it from the convenience of your own home or office with no traveling required.    Remember pitch the shows that fit your book and you.  That show on benefits of going organic is not going to appreciate your book on building a business.
  • Write down sound bites that clearly discuss your book, you, the topic of your book, etc.  (The Q&A from your media kit can be used here.)  Remember when doing a show to keep it conversational and fun, always following the hosts lead.  And add these to your media page on your website and be sure to promote the show yourself.  Shows will have you back more when they see their numbers increase.
  • TV –Know that if you haven’t been on TV before, big named shows are not as likely to bite, so start locally and on a smaller scale. Build up to the bigger names one and always add any media you get to your press page, your bio, and any pitches.  Watch the shows so you have a good idea how they work.  Dress the part and be confident.  Yes, you’ll be nervous, but remember you did something sensational that not everyone can do … you wrote a book and are an author.  It helps!
  • Local Media – Connect with your local media and let them know you have a new book out. But be sure to give them a reason why they would want to interview you.  Again, the fact that you live in their area and wrote something isn’t enough. You need to pitch them on why their audience would be interested.  What unique angle can you bring to the plate?  Keep in mind too, you can often target these towards holidays or special events if you have a book that relates to these topics.  There always seems to be a day or month for something (i.e., talk like a Pirate Day.)
  • Book Reviews. Getting book reviews is so important. There are numerous professional book reviewers who review books professionally and it’s good to send pitches to them. Again, we use Cision to look for reviewers and all of our media, but there are others out there as well.  Just make sure it’s targeted and send exactly what they ask.  When you do your homework, it shows.

Also, it’s great to ask for those who know you as well to write a review, just don’t be that person that spams their friends.  Also, have a promotion strategy with a big push at the beginning, but then continue to seek and secure reviews on a monthly basis. It’s a commitment that will pay off by keeping your book in the public eye. Also, know timing is critical when securing book reviews as a few of the larger book review sites require the galley two to three months in advance. Read More→

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Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggerWant to get more engagement out of your social media?

These tips work!

  • Have a Plan – Work that Plan – The key is to be consistent. Don’t stop, start, start back up again, etc. Be consistent in your postings.  For example, I share tips, reviews, images, articles from publications, any media I get, what events I’m doing, tips from others, etc.)
  • Review Your Plan & Make Changes – Constantly review your SM marketing and make changes .. Just one might be .. finding out when your people are on SM by reviewing your insights and then sending more during that time.
  • Use Your Profiles –Use appropriate keywords to describe what you do in your profiles. Does your LinkedIn Profile sound like the same person as your Twitter Profile?  It should! Don’t be two different people online!
  • Post #PRTips, #VATips, #BookMarketing tips – Remember to include those tips that will reach your target audience. Also, set up columns so you can see what others post under these hashtags and repost some of their tips as well.
  • Do not run the same postings over and over again. Yes, you can use ones you’ve used before, but don’t do same ones repeatedly.  It  makes you appear lazy!
  • Facebook Ads – They work!  You get to set the budget, target the audience & more. You get more people to your page & you get ads that promote your events or services.
  • Images count. Use a great image, compelling message, call to action, etc.  Start noticing the ads that you see.  What is it about them that stands out?
  • You can send people to your website OR your Facebook page. Decide which you want? I normally do a combination of both.
  • Use the editor to fine tune your audience. One thing I discovered is that you can “Type in possibilities” and it will show what’s available. Say .. Entrepreneurs, business owners, romance novels, etc.
  • Boosted Posts – Just hit “promote this post.” Bam…it’s done! More likes=more engagement. Promote the posts that get the most responses and the ones that mention your newsletter, your specials, etc. (Not the ones that Facebook recommends.)
  • Promote the good stuff!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Diana Ennen, President of Virtual Word Publishing, www.virtualwordpublishing.com offers PR and Marketing services, book marketing services, and PR and Virtual Assistant Coaching.  Sign up for her PR Success Series Webinars at www.prsuccessseries.com. ollow her on social media at https://www.facebook.com/VirtualWordPublishing/ and https://twitter.com/DianaEnnen

Oct
04

PR and Marketing Tips – Becoming and Staying the Expert

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Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggercoffee and computerOne of the best ways to get known as the expert in your field is to regularly send out articles to targeted databases showcasing tips that you know best.   Seems simple enough, but so many just don’t do it.  And because of that, they are missing out on major opportunities, clients, and most important of all exposure for their business.

Articles are known to inform and educate.  These can be especially beneficial when changes are made that people need to be aware of. And in business that happens frequently.  People then look to you for guidance on topics when new changes happen and you become the hero always having the answer.  

So absolutely write on new topics and wear that cape.  However, don’t just write articles on new things that are happening.  Write articles on what you do daily in your business.  To you it might seem like the same ole’ same ole, but to others it can be just the information they are seeking. And when they do a google search and you routinely come up with what they need, guess what, they will want to do business with you.

I personally love top tips articles … say for example, 5 ways to get more PR for your business or 5 ways to 5 ways to build your brand.   I usually write these articles with the following guidelines

  • Awesome engaging title
  • First paragraph that describes the article and clearly grabs the attention of your audience.
  • The five tips I’ve mentioned – bulleted or numbered.
  • Closing paragraph that wraps it all up
  • Bio – shows your website, contact, media mentions and also any links to programs you run.

What is especially great is when you pitch these informative articles out, often times a publication will run the entire article.  So consider this, instead of a publication adding a sentence or two with your quote, the entire article is written by you and every tip is yours.  That is prime real estate baby!  It doesn’t always happen, but when it does it’s magical.

But to send it out to the media, you need to create a pitch.  They need to know why they would be interested in that article and who you are.  So let’s break down the pitch.  The pitch consists of a killer subject line that will have those who receive it, want to open it and know more.  Also, I often include the word “Article” with the Name of Article in the subject line.  This allows those who receive it to know what to expect.   Read More→

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Mar
28

Pregnancy Tips – Recommendations for Eating Right While Pregnant

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For a large percentage of women, the time when they gain the most weight is when they are pregnant. More than 25% of
women gain more than 40 pounds during pregnancy. Typically, 18 to 20 pounds are due to the baby and pregnancy changes, so the rest of the weight gain (20+ pounds) will stay on your body after childbirth.

The Institute of Medicine now recommends the following guidelines for pregnancy weight gain, depending on body type, with the average being 30.5 pounds for women in the U.S: Read More→

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