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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Author Archive

Apr
24

Saving Money To Stay Home

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Usually when I write something having to do with working from home, it’s about how to create an income. However, making money isn’t the only necessary ingredient in the stay-at-home recipe. The flip side of the coin is making some sacrifices and finding ways to save money.

When my husband and I first made the decision that I would leave the corporate world in favor of working from home, we knew it was going to take more than just me finding a way to bring in money from home. The amount that I would be making was half – or maybe even less – than I made at my corporate job. We needed to find a way to make it on his Air Force salary and my very small financial contribution.

Get Rid Of Non-essentials

In order to cut out some of our living costs, we sold one of our cars and for the next several years I drove around a lovely (I use that term loosely) car that had been my grandmothers. It certainly wasn’t my dream car, but it got me around town and we also saved a LOT of money when the time came around to pay tax and licensing fees.

We also cut out cable and anything else that we could find in our budget that we could live without. It’s amazing what things we consider “essential” that truly aren’t.

Keep Things Simple

Another aspect of our life that received serious cutbacks was eating out. This was a hard adjustment for me at the time. When I worked full-time outside the home, it seemed easiest many nights to just stop and pick up supper on my way home. And once I began staying home every day, I still wanted the ease of fast food.

I wish I could tell you that I found a way to make that work, but of course that’s not the case. Instead I began working on my cooking skills and learning to make easy, simple meals that kept us within our food budget each month. Read More→

Apr
21

Easy Steps For An Easy Move

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moving

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Moving house is one of the most stressful things most people ever go through. That wonderful feeling of knowing you’re moving to a home that you’re absolutely in love can quickly be snuffed out by the awful realization of all the stuff you actually have to get from A to B. However, by applying these simple tricks, you can take a huge amount of stress out of the whole process.

Account for the Essentials

When the big day comes around, you don’t want to have to run from box to box, rummaging through all your stuff looking for a runaway phone charger. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and no family home was unpacked in a couple of minutes, so do your best to make sure you have all the essentials close to hand. A day or two before the move, pack an overnight bag including fresh clothes for everyone, any electronics you’ll want, their chargers, and the toiletries you’ll need to get through the day. Some snacks and drinks can also be very handy, especially if you’re not even close to having a functional kitchen in the new place!

Don’t Strain Yourself

One of the most common moving mistakes people make is assuming that they’ll be able to move any big, bulky item as long as they have one extra pair of hands. However, when you and your partner try to get a heavy washing machine out of a cramped kitchen, you’ll quickly find yourself wishing that you had asked for a more comprehensive service from the movers you spoke to! If you’ve gone the DIY route and simply rented a moving van, the one tool that can be a total lifesaver is a sack truck. These will save you a lot of time and physical strain, and will also stop you from getting your fingers trapped in any doorways! Aside from large appliances, they can also be helpful for moving around awkward stacks of boxes. You just need to secure these to the sack truck with some strong bungee cords, and you’ll instantly save yourself many more trips to and from different rooms.

Mark your Boxes

So, you’ve packed the whole home up, got everything to the new place, and you’re ready to start the unpacking process. The only issue is that you’ve got a load of identical boxes, filled with all kinds of things from your old home, with no certain way of knowing where each box is meant to be going. You can make the unpacking so much faster by staying organized through the packing process. Get a nice, bold permanent marker or some colored tape, and mark each box that you pack with an indicator for the room it’s meant to be going to. This way, you can save hours of remembering where this remote or that ornament was, and swiftly get all your things to where they need to be. If you pack in a hurried, disorganized way, getting settled in the new place can be even harder than the move itself!

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Apr
20

Caring For The Blind

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I don’t talk a lot on CWAHM about health or specific health conditions. Some of you may remember that I have a thyroid disease from past posts where I’ve discussed it.  However, I try my best not to “live my diagnosis.” It’s part of my life, and it certainly affects my life, but it doesn’t consume my life.

In our culture we hear a lot about staying fit and being healthy.  However, we don’t often talk about keeping our eyes healthy. Not long ago I came across the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) and it touched my heart.  My husband’s family has several members who either are legally blind, or who have become legally blind as adults.  So, I was excited to hear that FFB is working every day to educate people on how to keep their eyes healthy and to help them find resources that are available to them if they are struggling with sight issues.

If you’d like to learn more about FFB, you can download a packet that they have put together.  It’s all free and you don’t have to give your email address to be able to download the packet. It’s simply a public service announcement and education tool.  You can download the PDF packet here: http://bit.ly/2nAezey

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Setting up any kind of business from any kind of location is no walk in the park. Many would argue that setting up a business from home is one of the hardest ways to go about it. (Although it should be highlighted that businesses are starting from home at an extraordinary rate these days!) But there are certain home businesses that are a lot harder to get off the ground than others. Copywriting, accounting, or consultancy businesses tend to be pretty feasible pursuits from a residential location. But something like e-commerce seems like a much less feasible business to try running from home.

When people think about e-commerce businesses, they generally imagine the giants of the industry such as Amazon and eBay. That, or they imagine the online branches of established brick-and-mortar businesses. The online store of Barnes & Noble, for example. They don’t usually think about startups that are run by a few people – or even just one person – from home. And if they do, they usually think about fraudsters!

Running an e-commerce business from home is definitely possible, and it can bring you a lot of success if you do it right.

 

E-commerce isn’t as easy as it looks

It’s a little foolish to assume that any kind of business endeavor is an easy one, but a lot of people seem to imagine that starting up an e-commerce business is just that. These days, just about anyone can set up an e-commerce website. You don’t even need products – you can just set one up using the same drag-and-drop website builders that made website creation so easy and accessible about a decade ago.

A lot of the businesses that offer e-commerce platforms and website builders want you to think that the e-commerce game is a pretty simple one that anyone can profit in with minimal effort and financial input. This mindset is what keeps budding amateur entrepreneurs coming to these sorts of websites, after all. But don’t fall for it. E-commerce is something into which you need to be willing to invest quite a lot of money and time. Don’t assume that it’s easy just because starting an e-commerce website has been made incredibly simple. Actually building, marketing, and maintaining the business remains as daunting a task as ever.

 

The WFH attitude

Working from home successfully requires the right approach. You need to have a specific approach – one that features drive and a lot of discipline. As anyone who works from home will tell you, the amount of effort that you need to put into your pursuit to get good results matches or even exceeds that of what people would think of as “regular jobs”. And when you’re actually trying to start your own business, the amount of time and effort you’ll end up spending every day will end up being a lot. (So make sure you don’t burn yourself out too quickly!)

We have a recent post about maintaining professionalism at home that you should definitely check out. Those who are looking to succeed in building an e-commerce business from home need to be as professional and disciplined as they would be at a company’s office – otherwise, there may not be much point in even beginning. Read More→

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Apr
17

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 scheduled, 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 certain 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→

Apr
12

One More Step: Famous Christian Pilgrimages

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country churchSometimes, life can be pretty unfair whether you’ve been passed over for a promotion for work, the kids just aren’t behaving themselves and even though you’ve run every other day this week somehow you’ve still gained three pounds! You know what, it’s ok if you need to take some time out for yourself, have ten minutes where you don’t need to do anything else except breathe and make yourself a soothing cup of tea. We often think that the first line of defense against stress, worry and frustration is to eat better, get lots of sleep and try to exercise more frequently and while these are all fantastic ideas might there be a more adventurous solution?

While we’re not saying that you should embark on a three month Eat, Pray, Love style quest for enlightenment travel does tend to broaden our minds and open our hearts. So if you’re struggling with a big decision or emotional issue, take a trip even if it’s just to a different city for a couple of days. Having said that you could always save up for a few months, take on a couple more shifts at work or travel with friends to help split up the cost. Then visit some of the most inspiring, enlightening Christian pilgrimage sites on earth! Not only have thousands of people achieved real inner peace, come to life changing decisions and felt a renewed sense of faith here but have also been transfixed by the sheer beauty and quiet dignity of sacred spaces.

If you’re feeling stuck in a rut, have been sad and melancholy for a while or are struggling with feeling fulfilled at work it may be better to take some annual leave, pack your passport and non-judgmental attitude and visit some of the most spiritual places on earth. Don’t worry, though, wherever you choose to go God will be with you as you find your renewed faith.

Lourdes, France

Believe it or not, the Roman Catholic church has recorded sixty-six separate miracles at Lourdes, where shrines were built in homage to the mysterious figure that appeared over 150 years ago. It was a day just like any other, when 14-year-old servant girl Bernadette Soubirous stopped on her way to the market and saw a woman standing over her. On it’s own this wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary, but what made this moment unique was the fact the woman was floating above her, surround by a halo of radiant light and would appear to the young girl over seventeen times, changing the course of Bernadette’s young life forever. Today, millions of people flock to this small French town to pay homage to the rocks where the Lady Of Lourdes first appeared while Bernadette is now one of France’s most beloved saints.

Christian pilgrims stand quietly in line, waiting for their chance to touch the rocks, leaving candles, flowers and other offerings as well as drinking the water from a nearby spring that’s said to be infused with healing properties. Pilgrimages to Lourdes usually began at Easter, going all the way through to October as Christians come to sing hymns to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Torchlight processions, extended services and group prayer circles are common as are songs dedicated to Massabielle rocks. In the niche where the vision first appeared stands a statue of the Virgin Mary, dressed in white as she was said to have been clothed originally. Her hands clasped in eternal prayer she looks towards heaven.

Camino de Santiago, Spain

Another famous Christian pilgrimage site is the tomb of the apostle St James in Spain’s Santiago de Compostela. It’s a beautiful city, so much so that it appears on Unesco’s World Heritage register as well as being one of the major Christian pilgrimages that are still accessible. Having said that it starts near the French border and ends at the Atlantic coast so it’s certainly not an activity you can accomplish in an afternoon. Most people tend to either drive, walk or cycle the 783 kilometers turning the pilgrimage into the focal point of a vacation in Spain. The full journey, if you choose to walk it, will take around a month but there are plenty of inns, hotels, and albergues, or pilgrim hostels that you can stay in. Be aware, that many of these pilgrim hostels will be Spanish speaking, you may need help getting a prayer card, and you’ll require special credentials, or a pilgrim passport to prove you’re undertaking the great walk to the Camino.

Jerusalem, Israel

Even the smallest child knows the story of the nativity and how Mary, Joseph and their unborn baby had to travel from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to be counted for the upcoming census. However, on the way Mary went into labor, and so Jesus, the first Christian and Son Of God was born in a lowly stable instead of an inn. Despite a turbulent history, and the constant threat of low-level violence between Palestinians and Israelis many Christians still feel the need to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to see the biblical birthplace of the man they revere. One of the most popular sites is Bethlehem’s Church Of The Nativity, where in a small underground grotto, a silver shining star marks the site near where Jesus was said to have been born. Close by also lies the Manger Square, surrounded by several other churches of great significance.

For Christians, a visit to Jerusalem is not complete without paying a visit to the Church of The Holy Sepulchre, the site where Jesus is buried after supposedly ‘dying’ on the cross only to roll the stone away from his own tomb three days later. Those looking to God for strength, love and support often like to make the trek to the Mount Of Olives where it’s believed Jesus prayed on the night that Judas betrayed him. However, perhaps the most sacred site are the cracked, stone steps of the Via Dolorosa, the route Jesus walked to the cross and one that countless people have taken to better understand what it means to sacrifice everything for love.

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Apr
10

Revealed: What It’s REALLY Like To Work From Home

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When you’ve got a growing family, you’ll want to spend as much time as possible with them. While many people feel they have no choice but to go out and get a full-time job, others are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work from home. For those individuals, it makes sense to become a stay-at-home entrepreneur. Sure, there are some jobs where you can do all your work from home. But, it’s a more flexible choice to work for yourself.

As you can appreciate, working from home gives you the chance to see more of your family and not have to spend many hours each day elsewhere. Many parents feel like it can be a dream come true if they decide to quit their regular 9-5 jobs and work at home instead. But, there are some things you don’t always get told about being a stay-at-home entrepreneur.

If you’re thinking of working from home, you might wish to read this article to help you make an informed decision about your future career path.

You might find it hard to separate your personal and work lives

As a stay-at-home parent, your priority will be to look after your growing family. When your kids go off to kindergarten, you’ll have a few hours to dedicate to your work. The trouble is, when you’ve got young babies to look after, you’ll seldom have the free time you need!

Of course, it helps to have a supportive spouse and family to take on caregiving duties from time-to-time. Still, you should just be aware that you can’t dedicate eight hours a day straight towards your work when you’re working from home.

The good news is that many people find creative ways to split their personal and professional lives while working in their homes. It makes sense to dedicate a room in your house as your “office” of sorts. In essence, it’s a place that is child-free and only gets used for the purposes of your work.

 

You might forget to build up a retirement fund

When you work for an employer, you will usually have the opportunity to pay into a retirement fund. That way, once you retire, you can enjoy a comfortable living when you are no longer working. However, when you are an entrepreneur working from home, you have to organize all of that stuff yourself.

With a business and family in tow, it can often be hard to find the time to research and set up a retirement fund. When you do decide to work for yourself from home, it’s vital that you put aside some time to get that ticked off your to-do list.

Fortunately, there are many ways to set yourself up for retirement, and you don’t have to just consider a pension plan. Take a look at some articles over at fortunateinvestor.com to see examples of how you can invest for your financial future.

 

You’ll feel guilty about not getting on top of your household chores

Even if there isn’t any pressure on you from your beloved, you’ll still feel like the onus is on you to keep your house immaculate. That might be a task you can easily achieve if you don’t need to do any work. But, juggling childcare, work, and household chores can often be a real struggle!

You will most likely put pressure on yourself. Why? For the simple reason that you are at home for the majority of the time! When you had a full-time job working elsewhere, you never felt guilty about not being at home to keep it clean and tidy.

 

You are the boss

Okay, so we’ve talked about the things work-from-home parents never really tell those thinking about doing the same thing. It’s now time to look at the advantages of quitting your day job and become a home-based entrepreneur!

Perhaps the most obvious one of all is that you answer only to yourself. Well, you also answer to your clients, but you ultimately dictate what work you will do, who you do it for, and how long you do it. Few full-time occupations allow you such freedom and flexibility.

You’re free to follow your dreams

If you’re quite passionate about a subject, the chances are high that you’ll want to work in the niche that represents it. When you work for one employer, you will seldom have the freedom to “do your own thing” because there are set tasks you get paid to complete.

As a work-from-home entrepreneur, you’re free to follow your dreams and decide how you wish to make a living. Thanks to the Internet, it’s easier than ever to do all kinds of things; especially working in roles where you would have traditionally needed to outlay a lot of capital.

Take a look at this brilliant article over at entrepreneur.com for examples of the kinds of things you could do if you ran a business from home.

 

You’ll probably make a better living

If you’ve only ever earned the minimum wage when working for other people, it could come as a shock to you how your earning potential could now skyrocket! Of course, money isn’t everything as we all know. But, when you’ve got a growing family in tow, it’s important to ensure you earn enough money to contribute towards your household costs.

Another bonus of today’s digital age is that you can do all kinds of work from home that pays quite well. In fact, it’s not hard to find work that pays more than the equivalent minimum hourly wage in your area!

 

You can still have a routine without needing to wear formal clothes

Last, but not least, you will no doubt have been used to wearing certain attire such as a uniform for your job. And you will have been familiar with your daily work and home life schedules.

You can still have a constant routine, but you don’t need to dress up for it. You could even do your work in bed wearing your pajamas if you wanted to!

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Apr
10

Listening To The Right Voice

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listeningFor me, every day is filled with voices. There are the sweet voices of my children, the warm voice of my husband and even the near-silent voice of or gecko.

And then there are the voices in my head. Do you know the ones I’m talking about? The voices that urge you to quit; that ask you why you bother trying … you’ll just fail anyway. The voices that say things like, “No one cares about what you have to say or what you’re working on. You’ll never succeed at this.” Some of these voices are echoes of things that people have said to me. Some of them are echoes of things I believe about myself deep down. And some are lies from the enemy wh is bent on our destruction.

When I spend time in God’s Word I find another voice – one that encourages. “I can do anything through Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 4:13).

It’s not something we think about or talk about often, but one of the major hurdles that must be overcome to be successful in working at home (or in anything really) is learning which voice to listen to.

There will always be naysayers telling you that something cannot possibly be done. There will always be the creeping doubts in the back of your mind, where you secretly wonder if you really CAN do any of these things you dream of. And there will always be the lies of the enemy, trying to throw you off track and get you to do ANYTHING other than what God has for you.

There will always be these things.

But there is also a forever truth that stands above all these. A redeeming truth that we can hear whispering to us if we choose to shut out the din around us.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  – Jeremiah 29:11
Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. – 1 Chronicles 28:20
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.  – Philippians 4:13

Which voice will you listen to today? Will you sit in defeat, listening to the naysayers and the mocking voices? Or will you stand firm in God’s truth and walk forward in faith?

If you feel a pull toward a business or a ministry, chances are the negative voices will get louder. You will have to make the daily, sometimes hourly, choice to stand firm in what His Words tells us to be true.

God loves you. You are forgiven. You are redeemed.  You are chosen.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jill Hart founded Christian Work at Home Ministries (CWAHM) in 2000 to assist other Christians who desire to work from home. She is the author of the devotional book, Do Life Different and co-author of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom. Jill is working to complete her master’s degree in Professional Counseling.

Jill has articles published in In Touch Magazine, P31 Woman magazine and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family, as well as across the web on sites like DrLaura.com. She speaks to audiences around the country about faith and business topics. Learn more about Jill at www.CWAHM.com and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Apr
06

Recognise When Your Home Business Needs Help

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Everyone needs a helping hand sooner or later. It could be something simple, such as asking if your neighbour has a moment to look after your children while you run to the grocery store, or asking a family member to help you move home because they own a truck or a van. However, in the world of business, it can be hard to tell if you’re in a position that needs help or not.

So we’ve compiled a list of different situations in which you’ll need a helping hand in business. Whether it’s the help of a new employee, a freelancer, or even just an advisor, you’d be wise to look for help during these situations.

 

Growing your business

Growing a company isn’t an easy task. There are a lot of moving parts involved due to the complexity of a business growth. You’ll mainly need to hire a few extra employees, or perhaps enlist the services of an outsourcing company or a couple of freelancers. If you’re unsure about what employees you need, then here are a couple of examples.

First of all, you’re going to need a dedicated accountant. Many business owners spend a lot of time managing their finances, and it’s time that could be spent more wisely. You might start off using cloud accounting software, but you’ll quickly realise that you still spend time on it. Thus, hiring an accountant is a great start on your list of must-have employees.

Next, you’ll need to have sales experts. The line between marketing and sales can be blurred, and it might even include social media duties. However, most people can be turned into sales gurus with a program like SalesHub. So whether it’s a role you want to take on yourself, or whether it’s something you’d prefer to hand to your first employee, remember that having a sales expert is important.

 

Legal troubles

The last thing you want is to have your business taken down because of a disgruntled freelancer you worked with or an angry customer. Most legal advice can be obtained by contacting a local lawyer. However, you need to keep in mind that lawyers specialise in different fields. For instance, you need to speak with a copyright lawyer if you have an open dispute with someone who is copying your products. Lawyers can be quite expensive, so it’s best not to hire in-house. Instead, hire lawyers on a contract, case or freelance basis.

 

Technology troubles

Technology can be an overwhelming subject for most business owners. In order to remedy this, you’d be wise to contact a local tech company to get help. Alternatively, you could speak with friends and family members in order to get advice. Tech troubles usually come in the form of computer repairs and upgrades. For instance, you might require a more powerful computer to do video editing for your online business. You could look at software recommendations first, then you can contact an IT specialist or a computer store to get information on how much the hardware will cost.

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Apr
06

Business Hacks That All Good Employers Need To Know

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Lots of business owners dream of growing their company to the point where they need to hire a team of employees. This shows that you have successfully developed your company so much so that you can now afford to bring new people into it. Congratulations! While this is certainly a time to celebrate, it is also necessary to take some time to ensure that you are still on top of the business so that it continues to grow and develop in the way that you had always envisioned. This can be tricky when you are also trying to manage some new staff.

To make this period easier for you to handle, here are some insightful business hacks that all good employers need to know.

Streamline The Recruitment Process

You will now have had to introduce a recruitment process in order to ensure that you are hiring the best possible applicants for each open position. This whole process will no doubt be a very new system for your company and, as a result, you could find that there are some initial teething problems with it. The best way to try and iron these out is to keep the whole process as streamlined as possible. For example, there is no point of having more than one round of interviews, as it will unnecessarily lengthen the whole recruitment process.

 

Outsource Certain Tasks

It’s always important that you carry out your own bookkeeping, payroll, and arranging business checks every now and then so that you can make sure your finances are still right on track. However, it is also worth outsourcing some of these checks, especially when they are related to your taxes and HR. You will find that hiring a freelance accountant to carry out your bookkeeping and taxes often works out a lot more cost effective compared with doing it yourself. HR contractors can also help you figure out an efficient payroll method and can also take over part of your recruitment process.

 

Get Technical With Your To-Do Lists

All good business owners have a to-do list. This makes sure that they can work through their daily tasks without forgetting anything. But these days it is a good idea to move away from the traditional method of just writing down your list and, instead, entering it into one of the many to-do list apps that are available for smartphones and tablet devices. Lots of these apps can help you improve your productivity by setting reminders for you and syncing with your online calendar.

 

Don’t Forget About One-On-One Time

As your company starts to grow, you will find that you start to lose track of one-to-one meetings with your employees. Don’t! You need to make sure that you try to always make time for your employees whenever they need to. Ideally, you should employ an open-door policy and allow them to pop into your office to see you whenever they like. This will do wonders for their morale and motivation.

These hacks will really help you to improve your growing business. They’ll also keep employees happy at the same time!

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