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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Feb
21

Taking Your Church On Vacation!

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country churchAs a church, it can be hard to work as a unified group when you only see each other once a week. Of course, their are council meetings and other occasions for people to meet. But, these are usually out of reach to the wider congregation of the church. This poses a problem when trying to get things done as a group effort. Or, simply for members of the church to get to know one another. Thankfully, there’s a way to solve this problem. And, this post is going to be going through exactly how you can do it.

A lot of churches take their congregation on regular retreats. These retreats are like short vacations for the church. You spend a long weekend in a beautiful location with loads of things to see and do. This is an excellent chance for members of the church to get together and plan for future events. It also enables church leaders to get a good amount of time talking to their flock. This all helps to build a stronger church. The members will form friendships that they wouldn’t have had outside of church. And, you will be able to get an idea of how the church is going. This also gives everyone a chance to go on a vacation. And, of course, who wouldn’t want that?

Of course, at something like this, you’re going to find loads of church related activities. You will have sermons on most days. And, you’ll even find some fun things to do. The activities that you will find will greatly vary between places. Some of these retreats will have swimming pools and wooded walks. Others will have sports like golf available. This will depend on the place that you go to. Thankfully, most of these places are designed with families in mind. So, they will have things for people of all ages to get involved with. This can be an excellent chance to get away from the kids for an afternoon; without having to have them too far away.

Finding one of these places shouldn’t be too hard. Most cities have options. And, a lot of towns have them, too. Finding a christian retreat center that will suit your church may take some time. So, it’s worth getting ready to do some research. It’s important that you make sure that the place that you choose suits your church members. It would be unfair to choose somewhere very expensive if most of your church-goers are low income families. Likewise, having to travel a very long distance will also put a lot of people off of the idea. You have to make these considerations when thinking about something like this. It’s important to make sure that as many of the church members are included as possible.
Hopefully, this will inspire you start working on a retreat for your own church. It can be hard to make sure that you’re doing something that everyone will enjoy. But, once people are out there, they will struggle to complain about what you’ve prepared for them. So, don’t worry; just enjoy the break.

Categories : Family and Finance
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Feb
20

Changing Your Definition of Success

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As a Christian Business Coach, one thing that I work on with all of my clients is their definition of success. We live in a society where a successful person is defined as one who makes money and influences others. God’s economy, and His business practices, are upside-down when compared with the world’s. We’re told in Scripture that it’s better to give then to receive and in order to best the greatest, we must be servants just as Christ was.

God’s definition of success then, must be much different than what the business books say.  We never see the Almighty God of the Bible congratulating one of His followers on their financial success. The concept itself even sounds silly. And yet, isn’t that the standard that we hold ourselves up to? God must not be pleased with me, because I’m not successful financially. I must be doing something wrong.

But God’s definition of success isn’t monetary, it’s personal. As Mark Batterson says in his book, The Circle Maker, “God’s primary concern is who we’re becoming in the process.” He isn’t concerned with how many widgets we sold this week or the balance of our bank account. He isn’t honestly all that concerned with what we’ve done this week – business or otherwise. He is more concerned with WHO WE ARE BECOMING.

I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Romans 12:1

We can do things left and right. We can accumulate wealth and possessions. But, in the end – in eternity – none of it will matter. No one will care.

What will matter then, and what matters MOST now, is who we have become during our journey on Earth.

So, what is your definition of success? In his book (mentioned above), Batterson challenges readers to jot down what success will look like in their life when done God’s way. He shares his three definitions in the book, but I’ll share mine with you here: Read More→

Feb
13

Embracing the Me God Made Me to Be

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Meek & mild. Calm, cool, and collected.

These are all words that I wish described me.

But they don’t. At all. Just ask my family or friends. I would get they would use words more like stressed out and energetic (said somewhat sarcastically.  Sarcasm runs in our family).

I have always carried a deep desire to be like Mary. To sit at the feet of Jesus and listen.  To sit and soak up the wisdom of the Jesus-like women in my life.

However, I am truly bad at sitting to listen.  The sitting aspect I have down – it’s just the sitting AND listening that I can’t seem to manage.  I’m more like Martha – I need to be DOING.

Maybe I’m uncomfortable with the solitude necessary at times to hear what God is trying to tell me.  Maybe I’m trying to avoid the conviction of the Holy Spirit, so I keep moving, moving, moving; hoping I can DO more, BE more, and prove myself worthy.

I have tried to stuff myself into a meek and mild skin many times.  However, it just never sticks.  I tell myself that the next time such-and-such situation arises, I’m going to handle it with calm reserve.  And then the situation comes to pass and I FREAK OUT and start doing, managing, organizing.  The calm reserve I promised myself has flown out the window and I feel like I’ve blown it yet again.

Just As I Am

Recently I was watching some videos online of two Christian women speakers. The first was quiet and meek, the epitome of a Mary in my mind. That’s what I need to be like, I thought.  I started a fresh list of personality changes to get to work on that would make me more like this woman that I admired.

Then, the next speaker stood up, and took center stage. She loudly announced that she was about to get all fired up. Oh here we go, I thought. This gal is like me. My eyes were rolling before she even had a chance to get started.  I assumed that if she was loud and excited she couldn’t possibly be a good teacher, because that is how I feel about myself. However, as she spoke, something within my was drawn to her.  Her excitement was catching, her passion was inspiring, and it was obvious that she was God’s woman through-and-through. Even though she was loud and a little zany and … a little like me.

I saw myself in her. But, more importantly, I saw Jesus in her.

And I realized that God can use me exactly as I am. Don’t get me wrong, He’s continually making changes within me. But my personality, who He created me to be, is EXACTLY what He meant it to be.

He can use my crazy, kooky, loud personality to glorify Him, just as he can use a mild-mannered sweet girl.  It’s not our presentation that matters. It’s our hearts.

That realization has given me freedom in a whole new area. The freedom to be myself, to share Jesus in my own kooky, zany way.  That realization has brought me JOY as I realize that God truly loves me and uses me just as I am.

 

Hallelujah!

Sing to the Lord a new song,

His praise in the assembly of the godly.

Let Israel celebrate its Maker;

let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.

Let them praise His name with dancing

and make music to Him with tambourine and lyre.

For Yahweh takes pleasure in His people;

He adorns the humble with salvation.

Psalm 149:1-4

Twitter BirdSocial Media is quickly growing into one of the most-used marketing tools for work-at-home moms. One of the largest social media websites, Twitter.com, can be an effective way to spread the word about your business and learn from other top representatives in your business niche. However, it can take a lot of time to determine the best ways to use Twitter effectively for business. Below are ten tips to help shorten that learning curve.

1. Choose a Meaningful User Name
If possible, grab your business name as well as your own name for use on Twitter. Having an easy-to-find and easy-to-remember username is essential.

2. Brand Your Twitter Page
Don’t leave your Twitter page boring and plain – spice it up. Make sure you add your logo, contact information and any other information that will be helpful for customers and visitors to your page. You can use a website such as TwitBacks.com to create a free or very low-cost background to bring life to your page.

3. Learn the Lingo
Twitter can be very useful, but it can also be very frustrating … especially if you have no idea what all those little symbols mean that fly across the screen. Take the time to research the meanings of the tags most often used on Twitter. One great place to do so is right on Twitter itself.

4. Follow Industry Leaders
Veteran entrepreneur Diana Ennen shares this tip: “I love to follow industry experts on Twitter and gain all their business insight.  It’s almost like being right there in their office and getting in on their trade secrets.  Not only do they post tips and how to information, they often share their business successes and mistakes and that allows me to learn from them.  It’s so worth it!”

5. Interact
Don’t be shy! Take a few minutes each day to comment on what others are discussing or to throw out a question or idea. You never know when a topic is going to spark a response and help you build relationships with customers and your fellow Twitter users. Read More→

Jan
30

Be Green: Work from Home

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jill-new14housegreenI don’t know how most people do it, but when I brush my teeth I like to rinse using a cup. I prefer the little dixie paper cups because I can toss it and there’s no mess. As a mom, I love disposable items – no washing necessary. Sounds harmless enough, right? I thought so, until recently when my husband began giving me little “hints” about throwing away so many paper cups. He finally won me over when he explained that he and the guys at work had been discussing what they could do to be more ‘green’ and this was one of the ways they’d come up with.

Now that I knew my husband and ‘the guys’ were discussing the topic at work, I knew it was something I needed to take more seriously. As I began to take a look at our lifestyle I found many things that I could change to make our home a more eco-friendly place. I also realized that overall, working from home may be one of the best eco-friendly decision one can make.

Less Gas – Other than the occasional errand running, telecommuters use their cars much less frequently than their counterparts in the workplace. This, of course translates into less gas usage, less fumes and smog produced, etc. Simply by staying home, they are making the world a cleaner, healthier place.

Less Paper – Businesses today make it very easy to save paper by allowing home-based workers to do most everything online. When my husband does work from home, he’s able to log in securely to his corporate email account, log his time and even download his pay stubs online. I’m fortunate that as a website owner, very rarely do I make use of paper. The occasional document needs printed, but other than that my work-life takes place entirely on my computer.

Less Grease – Home-based workers tend to eat more meals at home than than employees in the corporate world. My lunches usually consist of something simple and easy to make – fruit, a quick sandwich, etc. Compared to the fat and grease of a fast-food meal, a healthy meal at home goes a long way in becoming ‘green.’ Read More→

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Jan
23

Let God Invade Your Business

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A few years ago I had one of those “lightning bolt” moments. Each year I sit down to write out goals and dreams for my business. This particular year, as I sat and thought through what I hoped to accomplish in the upcoming year, how I hoped to help people, it hit me. Where does God fit in to all of this? Does He fit comfortably in the “Spiritual” categories or is He a part of everything that CWAHM is and does?

Whoa. Talk about a challenging question.

As I wrestled with this I came to realization that God wants to invade our lives – and that means our businesses, too. In the gospels we see Jesus meeting people right where they were. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and taught the seeking. He met their physical needs as well as their spiritual needs.

He wanted to be a part of their everyday lives, not just the days they went to the temple (the Old Testament equivalent of church). He wasn’t afraid to hang out with the sick, the hurting, the “sinners.”

He wants to be a part of our everyday life, too. He wants to invade our families, our marriages, our businesses. He wants to show us that there is a different way of doing things. A better way. A way that points to the divine even in the midst of most basic business task.

He wants to be in:

* The decision to be kind to the difficult customer.

* The decision to give a sale price when we could charge full price to someone who isn’t aware of the sale.

* The decision to give a product away to someone we know is struggling or hurting.

It’s our choice.  We can choose to do business with Jesus. Or we can choose to do things our own way…usually the way we’ve been taught by people who seem to know how to “do” business, how to make money. And yet, in the end … is really about making money?

So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work…” Ecclesiastes 3:22, NCV

Where does God fit in your business?

 

About The Author

Jill Hart’s entrepreneurial career began in her teens when she spent a summer working with her father who ran his own business. When he put her in charge of a Coke machine and allowed her to keep the profits, she saw the benefits of being her own boss. She is the founder of the popular Christian work-at-home website, CWAHM.com. Jill has articles published in In Touch Magazine and P31 Woman magazine, as well as across the web on sites like DrLaura.com. She is the author of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom and speaks to audiences around the country about faith, business and leadership topics.

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by Jill Hart and Diana Ennen

Over the last several years blogging has become the foundation for social media campaigns of businesses big and small. Where Facebook and Twitter help keep companies in the limelight, spreading the word about special events, discounts and newsworthy items, blogs are the place where companies build their reputation and make sales.

As popular as blogging has become, I often hear from home-based business owners who are trying to figure out exactly what a blog consists of and how they can use one to benefit their business. Below are three tips that can help maximize the impact of your business blog.

1. It’s All In The Name

Be sure to choose a name for your blog that is both descriptive and easy to remember. Try to stick to either your business name or the name of your star product/service. If none of these are available consider using your name or business tagline.  Also, consider possibly adding in your keywords … such as Publicity Virtual Assistant.

2. Use Keywords Effectively

When you write posts for your business blog be conscious of the words that you choose. Pepper your posts with keywords relating to your business, products, services and brand. These keywords will trigger Search Engine results and help you reach the top of the results for your keywords. Be careful not to overuse keywords, though, because readers will get frustrated  and the Search Engines consider that against the rules.

Also, consider keyword phrases – often called long tail keyword phrases (why, I’m not sure!).  Long tail keywords are simply a sting of words that make up a phrase that represent your keywords. Think, what would people type in Google to find me.  Examples, “how to start a business.”  Think … how can I define my blog more (or this particular post). I wrote this blog post on … (fill in the blank), now what keywords do I need to put in so others can find me?
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Jan
09

Why We Must Talk About Failure

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success or failureFailure.

Just thinking about that word makes me cringe. I think I can honestly say that there is nothing that I hate more than failing. And sadly, I fail a lot…

…every day it seems.

I set goals for myself – to eat right, treat my spouse with more kindness, not get frustrated with my kids. But it seems like the bar is constantly moving and I am consistently failing.  And my business life is no better. I set many goals each month and I may meet a few of them, but I regularly fail to meet goals as well.

So, what do we do with all this failure? Is there anything GOOD about failing?

Well, after years of failing, I’m happy to report — there is HOPE in failing.

I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s true. God uses our failures to develop our perseverance in life, allow us to practice patience {thanks, God!}, and to mold us into the people He wants us to be. Each failure in our life is a notch on our…

…’becoming-more-like-Christ’ belt.

1 Peter 3:15 tells us, “…we must be always ready with an answer when asked the reason for the hope that we have.”  I don’t know about you, but each failure that God has walked me through has become part of my answer.

A couple of years ago I put my business up for sale. I was convinced that it was what I wanted and I was pretty-almost-sure that it was what God wanted, too. We caught the eye of a buyer and thought the sale was for sure. A week later the deal fell through.

I was devastated.

The failure to make this deal made me feel like I was, at my core, a failure.

But, as God walked me through that failure, He began to open my eyes to beauty in the midst of the loss. God used the failure I experienced to reignite a passion within me for my business. As my passion grew, my business grew – and it has doubled in size since that time.

Without that failure and that precious time with God as He walked me through the pain, I’m not sure where my business would have ended up. I can tell you, though, that I’ve had the opportunity to share that experience with many others who have found themselves in a place of failure and disappointment. I’m able to share with them the hope that can be found shining through…

…in those moments of despair.

And that is exactly why we MUST talk about our failures. Stuffing them down and hoping no one ever finds out we’ve failed is a losing battle.

We all fail.
We all face disappointments.
We all mess up.

And it’s ok.

The apostle Paul was a Christian killer before God met him on the road to Damascus. Talk about failure! He thought he was pleasing God when in fact he was doing the very opposite. And yet in Phillipians chapter three, Paul explains how he handled that failure:

“…forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 3:13-14

We all fail.

Let’s get a dialogue going and admit our failures to one another with the purpose of building each other up in the faith, encouraging each other to “strive toward the prize.”

Question: What has been your biggest failure? How has God redeemed it and used it for His glory? Share you comment below.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jill Hart is the Founder and President of CWAHM. Jill’s entrepreneurial career began in her teens when she spent a summer working with her father who ran his own business. When he put her in charge of a Coke machine and allowed her to keep the profits, she saw the benefits of being her own boss. She is the founder of Christian Work at Home Ministries and the co-author of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom. 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.

Jill has appeared on national television and radio talk shows and can be heard every Monday morning on KGBI, 100.7 FM. She speaks to audiences around the country about faith and business topics. Learn more about Jill and connect with her on Facebook , Twitter, and Instagram.

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Jan
06

LendingTree Launches $50,000 Grant Contest for Small Businesses!

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Lending Tree $50,000 Small Business Grant Contest!Small business owners face a long list of challenges, and for many, the obstacle of securing financial resources needed to grow a business claims the top spot on the list. That’s the driving force behind LendingTree’s inaugural $50,000 Small Business Grant Contest, where LendingTree will present the winning small business a $50,000 grant to help fund future growth.

“Since LendingTree launched its small business loan marketplace, LendingTjree has been committed to helping small businesses thrive by simplifying the loan shopping process and matching the right businesses with right lenders to meet their financial needs,” said Doug Lebda, Founder and CEO of LendingTree. “We wanted to take our commitment one step further by granting $50,000 to help one small business achieve even more success.”

The contest submission page, along with disclosures and details, can be found here: https://www.lendingtree.com/about/business-grant

Small businesses interested in participating in LendingTree’s $50,000 Small Business Grant Contest can submit their registration online from November 29, 2016 through January 13, 2017. The registration form consists of 20 questions, collecting information on historical business performance, future plans, why the business deserves the $50,000 grant and how the grant money would enable future growth. Once the registration submission period closes (5:00pm EST on January 13, 2017), LendingTree’s team of small business experts will evaluate, select and notify the winning small business.
 
About LendingTree 
LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE) is the nation’s leading online loan marketplace, empowering consumers as they comparison-shop across a full suite of loan and credit-based offerings.  LendingTree provides an online marketplace which connects consumers with multiple lenders that compete for their business, as well as an array of online tools and information to help consumers find the best loan. Since inception, LendingTree has facilitated more than 65 million loan requests. LendingTree provides free monthly credit scores through My LendingTree and access to its network of over 400 lenders offering home loans, personal loans, credit cards, student loans, personal loans, business loans, home equity loans/lines of credit, auto loans and more. LendingTree, LLC is a subsidiary of LendingTree, Inc.

For more information go to www.lendingtree.com, dial 800-555-TREE, like our Facebook page and/or follow us on Twitter @LendingTree.

Categories : Jill's Blog
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Jan
06

The Marketing Essentials Your Business Won’t Survive Without

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Marketing is one very important aspect of running a thriving business. If you’re thinking of starting your business or you just want to be sure that you have everything you need, here are the marketing essentials your business won’t survive without!

A Website

If you don’t have a website and you expect your business to survive and thrive, forget about it. The fact is, you MUST have a website in this day and age. You don’t need to trade online. Simply having a brochure site that explains a little about your company can be more beneficial than nothing. It’s up to you what it’s used for, but just make sure you have one. People may want to learn more about you, and they’ll likely want to do that from the comfort of their own homes. Make sure you have a professionally designed site that fits your brand, consistently updated with relevant content. You can’t really go wrong that way!

 

Social Media Profiles

Targeting your audience is really important. Knowing what social media sites they use is how to best find them. If you don’t think you’ll be able to handle multiple social media profiles just yet, start one that you think will be the most beneficial. This will depend entirely on what your business does, and how much time you have. Just bear in mind that when starting social media, you do not want to go stale. Posting consistently and replying to people is important for your exposure and success. This is why so many businesses choose to get a social media manager. It really does pay off!

 

A Blog/Vlog

Blogging and vlogging are two activities that can be valuable for businesses. Blogging can allow you to share information about your business, industry, products, and services. It can help your customers, for instance if you were to create ‘how to’ guides on your products. Vlogs are great too, because you can give relevant information in a shorter space of time, as well as show off your personality as you do so.

 

High Quality Content

High quality content on your site, blog, and social media is important. This is another reason many business owners choose to outsource this work, as they simply don’t have the time to produce the quality of content needed. If your content is good enough, it should get likes, shares, and help you to develop yourself as a boss in your industry.

 

A Mobile Site Or App

These days, you don’t just need a website. You need a website that is responsive to all kinds of mobile devices, so that everybody can view. Mobile browsing has overtaken computer browsing in recent years! If an app would help to make your customer’s lives easier, that could be even better for you. Not every business needs an app though, so be smart about this.

 

Business Cards

Contrary to what some people think, business cards are alive and kicking! You never know where you might meet someone who wants to know more about you. This is a way to easily give them your contact information and allow them to find out for themselves. You can learn more about how to create quality cards on a site like http://www.stay-a-stay-at-home-mom.com/vista-prints.html. Some people even like to leave them on tables in the coffee shop, and books in the library!

 

Posters, Brochures, and Flyers

Posters, brochures, and flyers can be beneficial even if you don’t have a physical store. They can point people towards your website, and you can even use them at trade shows to allow people to learn more about you in a quick and attractive way. Make sure you have these materials available for those who want them.

 

Branded Promo Products

Branded promo products are a brilliant way to get people to remember you. Some like to give stuff like this away at trade shows, but you can give them out for any reason. You can send something out with an order, or give it to somebody who enquires about your service. It could be a branded pen, mug, or something else you think the person will actually use. The great thing about branding a mug, for example, is that somebody can always use it. Plus, while it’s sat there on a desk, it bears your logo and a lot of people see it!  

Make sure you have these marketing essentials if you want to do well and make an impact!

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