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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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Mar
12

3 Ways Online Platforms Have Improved Customer Service

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Online platforms have redefined the consumer experience and raised the bar for what it means to deliver satisfactory customer service. Last year, Amazon once again topped all companies on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) with a ranking of 86. Overall, internet retailers scored an 83 on ACSI’s scale, illustrating that Amazon’s success is shared by other online platforms. Temkin Group tracking shows similar results, with the retail industry including e-commerce outranking all industries except supermarkets and fast food chains for customer experience.

What are e-commerce companies doing that is delivering such superior customer satisfaction? And how can other companies emulate their results? Here’s a look at three ways online platforms have improved the customer service experience that other companies can learn from.

Better Informing Consumers

One way online platforms have changed the customer service experience is making consumers better informed. Online information assists consumers in researching products and comparing prices. Nearly seven in 10 consumers now research products online before buying them in physical stores, while almost half research products in-store before buying them online, a Harris poll says.

The biggest thing customers use online platforms to research is prices, with 52 percent using mobile devices to check prices while they’re in stores. Helping customers check product information and reviews is another way online platforms help consumers, with 50 percent of in-store shoppers using their mobile devices for this purpose. Online retailers who recognize these consumer habits can use their websites to attract buyers by providing the information they’re looking for. For example, o-ring manufacturer Apple Rubber assists customers in their research by providing online information and tools for selecting the correct size and material for their sealing needs.

Providing Faster Service

Another way online platforms have raised customer service standards is by providing faster service. The most efficient service option for both customers and businesses is self-service tools such as FAQ listings and knowledge bases, which has made this the most popular online service option. A Dimension Data study found that 73 percent of customers prefer to use a company’s website for self-service instead of using other support channels. Three in four customers say faster service is the biggest attraction of self-service, according to a CMO Council survey.

Online platforms are also using automation to deliver faster service. One of the most popular automated service tools today is chatbots, which can manage routine text inquiries while forwarding questions that require human assistance to a representative. Chatbots are both faster for customers and more cost-efficient for companies, which is why 57 percent of businesses are already using them, Inc reports. Leading chatbot platforms include Chatfuel, Botsify and Flow XO.

Offering Faster and Cheaper Delivery

Online platforms have also raised customer expectations when it comes to delivery. Amazon’s fast and free shipping options have led consumers to expect similar service from other companies. Shopping cart abandonment rates rise progressively if shipping will take longer than two days, with abandonment rising to 40 percent for eight days, says Conveyco. Customers also expect shipping to be reasonably priced, with 63 percent cancelling purchases if they deem shipping excessive.

While Amazon relies on a huge national infrastructure to offer fast and free shipping options, smaller retailers are also finding ways to compete when it comes to delivery. FedEx now offers two-day shipping services for small businesses to 98 percent of the United States. You can also offer free shipping by using strategies such as requiring minimum order values to qualify for free shipping.

Providing consumers with better information, faster service, and faster and cheaper delivery are three ways online platforms have improved customer services. Both online and traditional retailers can boost their customer satisfaction as well by studying these strategies and adapting them to serve their own customers.

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Feb
13

Don’t Forget These Expenses If Hiring Employees

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When you become an employer, there are various costs you need to consider. Apart from paying your employees a fair wage, you also need to think about additional expenses that might be required too. There are those that you’re required to pay and the minimum costs to keep your business running, and then there are expenses that can help you to improve your company and treat your employees better. If you’re starting to hire people, you need to plan for any costs that you might incur on top of their salaries. Start with the expenses below to work out how much you might be paying.

 

Taxes

It’s your duty to pay Social Security/FICA expenses for your employees. In 2018, employers pay 6.2% on the first $128,700 of wages. Medicare tax or Hospital Insurance is paid at 1.45% on the first $200,000 of wages and 2.35% over that amount. There’s also unemployment insurance tax to take into account. Worker’s compensation is also essential to consider, but the costs will vary depending on the jobs your employees carry out. These expenses are essential to think about when you hire someone as an employee, before you start considering any other costs. You can find out more at irs.gov.

 

Benefits

There are various benefits you might choose to offer to your employees. While they’re not essential, an attractive benefits package will help you recruit and keep better employees. You might consider offering health insurance, disability insurance, a retirement program and other beneficial things. It’s also worth considering benefits that might be less practical but can still be attractive to potential employees. For example, some employers choose to offer gym memberships to their staff. These kinds of benefits aren’t essentials, but they can help you stand out from other employers and demonstrate the kind of work culture you have.

 

Uniforms and Work Tools

Your employees are likely to have various things they need to do their jobs. There are some costs you might be able to ask them to take care of themselves, such as uniforms, but it’s important to check what you can and can’t ask them to pay for. If you do buy supplies for them, ordering from specialist stores like UniformsAndScrubs.com will help you get quality products and save money. You might need to ensure your employees all have computers and software, or stationery and other necessities.

 

Workspace

If you’re hiring people to work onsite, you need to have enough space to accommodate them. This might mean paying more for a larger workspace so that you can provide deskspace or other facilities for everyone. You might also need extra equipment or furniture to make sure everyone can do their jobs. These costs might need to be considered long before you hire new people so that you can be in an appropriate workspace when you welcome them onboard.

The costs of hiring a new employee involve more than just paying their salary. It’s essential to think about the other expenses it incurs.

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Feb
09

Believe It Or Not, These Offline Businesses Can Be Run From Home!

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If you’re looking for a business to run from home, you might think that your options are limited. Specifically, you are probably considering some version of an e-commerce company or rather any business that can be run by offering a product or service online. You might be pleased to hear that actually there is an abundance of possibilities for home run companies where online services and products don’t even enter the equation.

You probably haven’t thought of most of these because people, in general, seem so obsessed with the idea that e-commerce is a money-making machine. While that is a possibility, it is certainly not your only way to make a fortune or at the very least, a solid income working from home.

So, what possibilities should you consider aside from the typical online home run company?

 

A Lesson In Education

If you were an academic achiever in school or you even excelled in higher education, you might consider starting a business as a private tutor. A lot of parents these days want their children to have extra tuition to that which they receive at school. They want to make sure that their kids get the best grades because they know, as you probably do, that without the right grades their children will not be able to obtain a decent career on the market. This has left a massive gap in demand that anyone who has the skill to be a teacher, can fill.

There are many benefits to this type of business model. First, you will be able to work however many hours and as often as you would like. Second, you can within reason decide how much you want to charge for your services. Third, you’ll be able to choose who you provide these services too. If you don’t want to cater to parents with little tots, you don’t need to because there is almost definitely students in college also looking for tutoring and academic guidance. You can provide this if you have that level of skill and knowledge.

It’s not even that difficult to become a tutor. First, think about marketing and make sure that you get the word out about your little private company. If you are handy online, your best tool will be social media profiles. With social media profiles, you’ll be able to quickly let keen customers know about the service that you are providing and get their attention.

If you don’t have a great level of knowledge or a huge following on social media, then you may just want to put up a flyer on your town billboard. You might not get the same reach but you will gain some attention and if you provide a good service word will certainly spread.

Do bear in mind that it is not necessary to get a qualification to be a tutor. Although it will certainly benefit you because your service will be more attractive to both students and parents. A professional qualification shows that you have both the knowledge and skill to help them succeed in whatever subject you are teaching. While perhaps most common for previous teachers, it’s true to say that anyone with a knack for teaching can be a tutor.

 

Bakery

You might think that to run a bakery you will need an entire business property. But it depends on what you’re baking, on what utilities you have and the size of your kitchen. A modest kitchen could provide you with more than enough space and all the appliances you will need to run a successful home bakery. All it takes is the right schedule, a commitment to quality and a complete focus on baking enough goods to reach a substantial profit. It’s important that you do treat this like a business rather than a hobby which will undoubtedly be your first instinct.

When you’re setting up your baking company, make sure that you are balancing your costs effectively. This includes the energy it takes to bake the goods, the ingredients that you need to buy and of course, deliveries.

Getting the word out about a business like this is likely going to be the same as creating a buzz around your tutor business. You can either do it online, through social media and blogs or you can opt to instead run an offline marketing campaign with flyers, perhaps posted through the doors of homes in the local area. If you really want to create a great first impression that you can rely on for future profits, you might want to think about offering your services voluntarily. For example, you can bake goods for a charity cause or at something like a school event. This will help get the word out about your products and will allow you to build up a solid customer base.

If you really want to make profits, you need to ensure that you have a USP built into your business model. This will be a specific baked good that they cannot buy anywhere else. Or, an exciting secret recipe and a spin on an old favourite.

 

Counseling

If you are hoping to use your new business to help people, you can think about setting up as a private counselor. Counselors are like lawyers, they can either work as part of a large company, or they can operate independently and this means it’s another business that you can run from home.

Being a counselor does require a certain level of skill and knowledge. However, with online masters in counseling programs, you can get the knowledge you need and learn the necessary skills in your spare time. You won’t even have to pay a big fee for a college course. Once you have a qualification like this, you will be free to represent and market yourself as an independent counselor. You can choose whether you have specialities such as family counseling or whether you would like to deal with specific problems such as confidence issues.

To become a counselor, you need to make sure that you are a good communicator and able to interact with individuals on a level where they feel comfortable and secure. This is often not as easy as it sounds. But, with the right course, you can get the training necessary to be effective.  As a solopreneur like this, you will be delivering a specialized service and as such can expect to gain substantial levels of profit.

You might be wondering why you would choose to run businesses like this or engage in freelance operations such as these over an e-commerce company or an online business. The whole point, or at least one of the benefits of running a business from home is that you can cut costs, keeping a business affordable and easy to run without assistance. However, people who do set up online businesses or e-commerce companies tend to find that the costs quickly build up with services that they need to pay for such as marketing, legal and accounting.

With the businesses that we have mentioned, you can avoid issues like this completely. Instead, you will be able to run a simple company model where you are your own employer and employee. This means that you’ll be able to keep all the profits, work whatever hours you want and the only real issue that you’ll have to worry about is tax.

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Jan
23

3 Ways to Save Time Running Your Home-Based Business

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When you run your own business, time is a precious commodity — and it’s often a scarce one. These days, the average business owner works nearly 50 hours a week, and more than 6 in 10 business owners work 50 or more hours a week, an Alternative Board survey found. Talk about working the midnight oil.

But one proven strategy to win back time is making better use of business technology tools. Here are three ways you can use technology to save time running your home-based business.

1. Simplify Your Communication Approach

Writing and responding to emails can be one of your biggest time sucks. Today, the average executive estimates they spend roughly 20 percent of their day checking and answering work-related email.

One way to reduce time constantly checking your inbox is by making better use of email tools. Filters can serve as your most fundamental email management tool, enabling you to keep spam from reaching your inbox and allowing you to automatically categorize incoming emails and file them in subfolders. Flagging emails can also help you prioritize messages that require a response — separate from the ones that can be filed away or deleted.

Dealing with email overload? Entrepreneur and time management guru Tim Ferriss recommends monitoring your inbox but not answering the bulk of your messages for one day. This way, you can take the time to identify what types of emails you typically receive and how often you should answer them. You can then schedule two peak periods a day to answer emails, saving the rest of your day to focus on other tasks.

Another way to save time is by adopting communication alternatives to email. Digital tools like Slack, Yammer and Facebook’s Workplace are designed to replace email and provide a more comprehensive avenue for chat and project management. These tools make it easy for workplace teams to view and respond to messages in real time, as well as keep shared files in sync.

2. Automate Your Bookkeeping Tasks

Bookkeeping is another drain on business owners’ time. Most business owners spend more than 40 hours a year — the equivalent of a full work week — on bookkeeping tasks such as payroll administration and tax preparation. This leads many business owners to dread bookkeeping, with 58 percent listing it as their least favorite aspect of running a business.

One way to reduce time in this arena is by automating your data entry through cloud-based accounting software. In particular, cloud-based accounting tools like QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks and Xero allow you to automatically pull data from your sales transactions, business expense reports, payroll and other areas of your business. This can save you tremendous time on tasks such as tax preparation. Read More→

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Jan
17

Home-Based Job Listings

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Gametime Is Hiring Remote Customer Service Workers

Entry-Level Transcribers

Ongoing Writer Needed for Writing YouTube/Social Media “How to” Advice Blogs Based off My YouTube Videos

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Jan
16

Read an Excerpt: Isaiah’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews

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Isaiah’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews

Isaiah’s Daughter (WaterBrook, Jan. 16, 2018reaches back to biblical times to unearth a rags-to-royalty story of the captive orphan, Ishma—meaning “desolation”—who rises to the glory of Judah’s beloved queen. When the royal prophet Isaiah welcomes Ishma into his home as a household servant, her spirit and intellect win the favor of Prince Hezekiah (Hezi). As the bond between Ishma and Hezi grows, Isaiah adopts and renames her Hephzibah (Zibah)—meaning “delight of the Lord”—qualifying her to marry royalty. Zibah and Hezi marry, but she discovers loving him will require more of her than she ever imagined.

Here is an excerpt: https://waterbrookmultnomah.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/SNEAK-PEEK-Isaiahs-Daughter.pdf

Categories : Jill's Blog
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Jan
09

3 Key Features for a Successful E-Commerce Ecosystem

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In today’s mobile economy, having an effective e-commerce website has become more important than ever for companies to stay competitive. E-commerce made up 11.7 percent of total U.S. sales in 2016, bringing in $394.9 billion, Commerce Department data shows, an increase of over 15 percent over 2015. This increase reflects a steady trend that has held since, and today’s e-commerce share is on track to continue to grow.

If you want to attract your share of this growing e-commerce market, your website must have certain key features. Here are three things you should be sure to include in your sites e-commerce ecosystem.

Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly

The majority of website traffic now comes from mobile devices, and mobile traffic is driving all new growth in U.S. web traffic, with a 68 percent increase in mobile browsing since 2015 as Internet usage in general stays flat, Adobe Analytics data reports. This makes it essential to have a mobile-friendly site.

A mobile-friendly site should have a mobile-first, responsive web design that is geared toward the screen sizes used by smartphone and tablet viewers, but can adjust to PC sizes as well. Mobile-friendly sites should have large graphics, text and navigational features that are easily visible and usable on smaller screens. Your site should also load quickly on mobile devices, so you should minimize image file size by using strategies such as content delivery networks, compression, caching and minified JavaScript and CSS. Read More→

Categories : Articles, Jill's Blog
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Dec
06

Home-Based Job Listings

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American Express Is Hiring Work-From-Home Customer Service Reps For $15 An Hour (Plus Bonuses!)

Williams-Sonoma Now Offering Work-From-Home Positions

Jackson Hewitt Is Filling Several Work-From-Home Jobs Right Now

Categories : Telecommuting Jobs
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Nov
23

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Categories : Jill's Blog
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Nov
07

Review: ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS

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Photo: Credit: Copyright 2017 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Fred Hayes

Can you feel it? That little edge of crispness in the air and the undercurrent of excitement in the stores? The holidays are right around the corner and you know what that means. Decorations, baking and family? Uh…no. It’s time to tuck into snuggly pajamas, grab a steaming cup of cocoa and curl up on the couch with your favorite holiday movies!

Every year, Hallmark Channel outdoes itself on the family movie front and this year is no different. With TWENTY-ONE new holiday features premiering on the network’s “Countdown to Christmas” this season, there is plenty of sweet, family friendly goodness to go around.

One of these movies in particular has piqued my interest. It’s called Enchanted Christmas*. Here’s the description of the movie:

Young widow, Laura Trudeau (played by Alexa PenaVega) was a remarkable dancer. Now working as a project manager in LA, she is tasked to renovate a rundown hotel lodge, in her hometown of Rosemont, Utah and have it ready by Christmas eve. She is stunned to run into her former love and dance partner Ricardo Archuleta, (Carlos PenaVega) who she discovers is in rehearsals for The Christmas Eve shows grand finale, with his new dance partner Taylor (Chelsie Hightower, “Dancing with the Stars”).  When Taylor has an audition abroad, Laura once again finds herself back in Ricardo’s arms. Feelings are rekindled, and with both the hotel opening and the show in jeopardy, Laura has to make some difficult decisions, both personally and professionally.

You can check out the trailer here.   http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/videos/preview-enchanted-christmas

Doesn’t that look great? Who doesn’t love ballroom dancing? And you throw in Christmas? Seriously! 

If you thought you recognized the main character, Laura, you probably did. Alexa PenaVega skyrocketed to fame in the Spy Kids series of movies. Now she’s all grown up and co-starring with her husband, Carlos PenaVega. They even contributed their musical talents by recording one of the songs for the movie. Is there anything they can’t do?

Enchanted Christmas airs on November 12th on Hallmark Channel at 8:00 pm/7:00 central. Don’t miss it!

*Enchanted Christmas is a Mission Pictures International and Gabriel Productions, LLC production. Cindy Bond and Gene Davis serve as Executive producers. James Wilberger and Jarrod Phillips are producers. Terry Cunningham directed from a script by Rick Garman and Catherine Y. Friday.  #HallmarkChannel #EnchantedChristmas #CountdowntoChristmas #Missionpicturesintl

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