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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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Archive for Articles

Jul
18

How to Create a Happy Customer

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As the owner of a business, you know that keeping your customers happy can make or break your bottom line. The importance of customer satisfaction cannot be overstated, especially when recent surveys suggest that by the year 2020 customer experience will surpass price and product as the main element that sets your brand apart from competitors.

While we know customer experience is vital in growing a successful business – what steps do businesses need to take to ensure customers stay satisfied? Here are a few key ways you can nurture your customer relations and keep a smile on their faces:

Listen to What Your Target Market Wants

We’ve all heard the adage, “talk less, listen more.” There’s a reason this phrase continues to be used in everything from sales training to customer relations because it’s true and it’s the first key to keeping your audience happy. Customer feedback can come in many forms such as social media comments, observation, surveys or email and web forms. Make sure you are having a two-way dialogue, not just spouting off about how great your product or company is. Really listen to what customers are asking for and make the necessary changes. Taking the time to listen to your customers and following through on their requests is a great way to build brand loyalty.

Provide a Secure Platform

If you’re working in an e-commerce business, data security is critical to building customers’ trust. You must provide your clients with a secure website and payment platforms or risk a data breach and the possibility of irreparable damage to your business relationships.

Using an identity theft protection service as part of your employee benefits plan is a great place to start. Employees are often targeted by hackers to access proprietary information about your company’s systems which can lead to corporate identity theft. Read More→

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Jul
16

What Chores Can My Children Do?

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Do Boy with Choresyou have children over the age of four? Then you have children old enough to do chores. Children need play time, trust me they will find the time to play, but chores are necessary for them and for you. Remember one of our jobs as parents is to raise children up to be adults that are an asset to society, not a debt. Teaching responsibility is one of the most important parenting functions. How do you teach responsibility? By putting your children in charge of cleaning up after themselves and others. Teach them young, so they will understand they will need to clean more than just their messes. When they become parents, if not sooner, they will be cleaning up after children and their spouse.

Here is a list of age appropriate chores children should be doing. They live under your roof, do not teach them their room and board are free, or they will expect life to be free.

0-1 year – Not a whole lot you can do at this age for chores. Let them learn to use their bodies, chores later.

2-3 years – This is the magical age where children want to use their new-found abilities to help so they can be a big kid and are capable of the biggest messes. Hand them a few plates to put by the sink, let them help unload unbreakable dishes. Let them retrieve the condiments for dinner and put them on the table. Most importantly, teach them to pick up the stuff they pull out. Many kids this age will want to follow mom or dad around and help because it seems big and they want to be big. Promote the idea of being big.

4-5 years – This age can clean their room without help, not well, but they can. Expect to go in and help organize every once in a while, kids this young seem to not understand organizing, make sure they see your organizing and understand why you’re organizing. Other chores include:
Sweeping up the dust after you sweep with a handheld dustpan and broom.
Cleaning the toilets
Cleaning the counter tops in the kids bathroom
Clearing the table after dinner
Picking up shoes around the house and putting them away
Picking up toys and trash in the backyard
Dusting furniture
Emptying the bathroom trash

The possibilities are endless. Do not put them in charge of a whole chore, instead a portion of a chore. Expect to send them back several times to do the job right, do not forget this step. You remember the old saying, “Any job worth doing, is worth doing right.” While they may need several tries and your head may actually combust from the sock they still missed on the third go picking up the backyard, they really can find that sock. Tell them the sock has chocolate in it, then they will find it, trust me. Read More→

Jul
10

The Complete Guide To Becoming A Nurse

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nurses_tote__31782.1354915757.1280.1280Nursing is one of the most rewarding careers there is and there are so many great reasons to get into it. You can work flexible hours, no 2 days are ever going to be the same and you can make a real difference to people’s lives. Even though it’s a very tough job and it can be incredibly demanding at times, it’s still the perfect career for somebody that wants to give something back. If you think that nursing might be right for you, here is everything you need to know about getting qualified and finding a job.

Get Qualified

Before you do anything else, you need to get the necessary qualifications that all nurses need. You’ve got a few different options here; if you’re entering education for the first time then you can do a bachelor’s degree in nursing which takes around 4 years to complete. If you’ve already got a bachelor’s degree in a related area then you don’t need to go back into full-time education, you can do an msn degree online instead. This is a good option for people that want to change career later in life because you don’t need to bear the financial burden of going back into education, just complete the course in your own time from home.

Once you’ve got the relevant degree, you then need to take some more exams before you’re fully registered as a nurse. After you graduate, you’ll need to get in touch with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to apply for your NCLEX-RN exam. The exam is taken on a computer and usually consists of around 120 questions which you need to complete in six hours. The things that you learn during your degree will prepare you for this exam. If you don’t manage to pass it (70-75 percent is the usual pass rate) then you’ll have to wait 45 days before you’re eligible to take it again.

Get A License

Now that you’ve got all of the qualifications that you need to be a nurse, you need to get a license to practice. The process varies from state to state and certain places will require extra steps so make sure you get in touch with your local authority to see what you need to do. Most of the time, you’ll have to do a background check before getting your license.

Find A Job

After getting your license, you’ll finally be able to start looking for nursing jobs. Working in a hospital is the obvious choice but there are other options. You should be able to land a job in a hospital fairly easily because nurses are in high demand. But you could also consider working in a nursing home, or for a company that provides home care. The hours are often better in those kinds of jobs than they are in a hospital which is a much more demanding environment.

Once you’ve got your first job, you can start to learn new skills as you work and even seek more education and training to help you progress to more senior positions.

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Jul
09

Six Ways to Make Your Marketing Count

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jill-new14According to the National Center for Policy Analysis there are nearly 17 million home-based businesses in the U.S. today. As the number of business rise, it becomes increasingly more difficult to effectively market a small business. And when the small business is run by mom with a minuscule advertising the budget, the challenge becomes even tougher. As moms trying to make our way in this billion dollar industry, how do we best focus our marketing efforts?

Do Your Homework
The best way to get good results from your marketing efforts is to research the sites you’re considering. Look for websites that are aimed at your target market, that have premium ad placements and that are willing to share their traffic statistics, number of subscribers, etc.

Be Bold
Statistics show that the bigger the ad, the higher the response. Double Click, a digital marketing firm, did a study in 2006 that showed a “strong correlation between the size of ads and their clickthrough performance.” So, whenever possible, choose a banner size larger than the standard 468 x 60. It may be pricier, but the results should be worth the extra expense.

Think Fresh
Try to find innovative ways to reach your market. Consider trying a rich media campaign that includes a video advertisement, banners formatted in Flash, and other interactive ads. By finding new ways to present your business or product, you’ll catch the eye of viewers who might not normally have noticed your advertisement.

Be Personal
The potential customers who view your ads want you to connect with them. They want to know how your product or service will make a difference in their lives. Write your ad copy in such a way that it brings the viewers need for your product to their attention.

Another way to make your advertising more personal is to use images – especially real-life photographs. You can find royalty free photos online on various websites.

Be Unique
Make your ad stand out by creating something different and unique – something that represents your company well. Diana Ennen, a publicist and president of VirtualWordPublishing.com states, “With so much competition out there today, it’s important to make your ad stand out and speak directly to your target audience. No one knows your business and clients better than you, so create the an ad that tells everyone why they should buy from you.”

Read More→

DanaIn stand outthis Internet age, it is more important than ever to stand out above the crowd. You can get literally lost in a sea of choices these days! So how can you get noticed?

One very important way is through having a professional brand image. Many home-­based business owners make common mistakes when it comes to their logos that detract from their brands. As a graphic designer and brand expert, I see these mistakes often. If you know what they are, you will have an edge up on your competition and you will get the attention you need for your business to thrive!

So here are the three common design mistakes:

1) Using Inch/Foot Marks

Now, you may be wondering, what in the world am I talking about? Foot marks and inch marks are symbols that stand for measuring length. They are straight up and down and they look UGLY. Due to the limitations of the Internet, these symbols have to be used for quotations and apostrophes. But you should not be using them in your brand images and marketing materials! Instead, use what’s called “smart quotes” or “curly quotes.”

Before the advent of desktop publishing, typesetters had the job of turning copy into columns of type. There were standards that were adhered to and widely known in the industry. Upon the introduction of computer layout software and image manipulation software, graphic designers became in effect typesetters. Professionals knew the standards.

But these computer programs became so widely used that amateurs had no idea about the difference between these marks. The typesetting aspect of design got lost.

Why does this matter? Because the image created with smart quotes looks professional and the foot/inch marks look amateurish. A professional image sets your business apart from the competition. That means you will be noticed if you follow these standards.

So how do you use smart quotes? Most software programs have a toggle switch in the preferences window that allows you to turn on smart quotes. There are also keyboard shortcuts, but they are different between PC and Mac. It’s not too hard to find out just by doing a little research.

2) Lack of Aesthetic Design

Making a brand image, a logo, is graphic design. This is an art unto itself and there’s a lot involved in it. Experienced graphic designers understand the elements that go into creating a logo. Basically, these elements are the same principles used in fine art. These range from color balance to aligning of objects, which is a very important standard in graphic design. Images need to be grounded, not floating on a space. There needs to be proportion and evenness.

Understand the elements of design and your brand image will be professional and that will mean it will get noticed!

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Jul
02

Market Your Business This Summer And Show Your Best Self

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Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggerSummer is often a time when things slow down a bit.  Between vacations, holidays, and just wanting that relaxed pace, more and more clients require less time.  What’s good is that means more time for you to cha chill too.  But, unfortunately, it can have a negative effect on the paycheck.  That’s why it’s critical to keep marketing over the summer and we’ll show you ways to do just that!

Here are my top summertime tips for marketing your business:

Social Media Magnify – Step it Up!  – Keep your social media marketing consistent and running throughout the summer.  So often you can see lapses in content when the business owner goes on vacation and even when they just slow down and get “out of the mood to post.”  It’s hot, we feel you!  And if you go on vacation, you know that the week prior and the week after can be just as busy, so a slowdown there often happens for extended periods of time. What you need to do is prepare in advance and schedule posts or hire someone to help.  Also, know you can actually do this early on (like even in May, although we’re a little late on that for this year).  That way at the last minute you aren’t saying, “Man I need to write these posts, because guess what … you probably won’t!  But even if you do slow down, don’t go total ghost and disappear.  It’s better to have some postings than nothing at all.

With your social media too keep in mind that people are more cha chilled during the summer, which rocks.  It’s good to give your postings more personality because of that.  Share more fun videos.  Write more fun tips. Share pics of you out having fun.  Just keep it professional.  And yes, even on your business page, it’s AOK to post a pic of you enjoying the summer.  We just recommend keeping those bikinis off the page.  (Although we know you look marvelous in it!)

Content Marketing Magic – Make it Happen – There are those frazzled business owners and entrepreneurs who are looking at taking a vacation and thinking, I’ll never survive send help!  Well guess what, when your content shows up right at that right moment, it might be just what they need to take action and check you out.  (In a good way of course.)  So write that awesome content to show all you can do.

Write articles & blog postings specially addressing services you provide and especially ways you can help an overwhelmed business owner survive and thrive.  An awesome article outlining how you can help with the summertime blues and overwhelm and adding specific things you can do might just do the trick.

Paid Advertising – Do It – Do It Now – Let’s face it, it’s summer and more people are on social media relaxing than most times of the year.  This is a great opportunity to connect with those you might not otherwise get the opportunity to.  And why not make it easier by paying for ads and targeting your marketing directly to those people. Now you don’t want to throw off their chilled mojo, but you absolutely can advertise in a way that promotes your products and services, and has them clicking to find out more without spilling their beverage of choice.

And once again, let’s pump it up and make it fun.  You will catch more attention with a fun video, graphic, text, etc., than if it’s the same ole same ole boring content.  Let them see that “Hey, that’s the kind-of business I want to do business with.  I bet they are a hoot to work with.”  Now, of course, you don’t want to go overboard, but I bet if you try this out this summer, come fall you’ll like it so much that from now on, your ads will have more personality, which breaks down to more sales and $$$$.  That sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it?  You betcha.

Networking – Get Out There  – During the summer a lot of folks take off and don’t attend as many networking events as they normally would.  Now you would think that would be a bad thing if you want to get out and network, but it can have the opposite effect.  So often networking events have clicks (oh I so don’t like that term, but it describes what I need to say perfectly.)   And when you attend these events, it’s hard to break into these clicks.  (Oh gosh there it is again.) But when some of the regulars don’t attend, those newbies can often connect on a more personal level with those there. Plus, with smaller groups, the meetings can be more intimate. Now no nasty emails telling me about your group not being a click.  I don’t mean any offense to anyone.  My point being, get out there and network.  Don’t take the summer off.  Try and connect with a few new people and most of all enjoy yourself. Often times event organizers will reward summer-time attendees with more laid back events. Read More→

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Jun
29

What To Think About Before Starting Your Own Business

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coffee and computerIt’s more important than ever in this unsure economic climate that those who want to start their own business and make something of themselves are able to do it. However, simply having the idea and being excited to begin isn’t enough; you need to work out exactly how it is going to start and go on to success before you take the plunge. Without a plan and finances, starting your own business is going to be tough. So here is a short checklist of things you need to think about before you start your own business.

 

Are You Ready?

The first thing to consider is whether you are ready to start your own business. Doing so is going to involve a lot of hard work, and you may have to work incredibly long hours at the start. Plus you could come under a lot of stress; it’s a far different prospect than working for someone else who can deal with issues for you if necessary.

 

It’s also important to remember that starting your own business is not going to make you rich overnight. You will need to put a lot of time and effort into growing the business, as well as money from a variety of different sources. How much money and where it comes from will depend on the business itself and what you are planning for it.

 

You need to ensure that you are ready for this big lifestyle change. If all goes well, then it will certainly be worth it, but you need to be prepared for the new way of doing things that come with being successful. Once the money starts to come in, you can give yourself more free time, but until then you will be busy!

 

Not only do you need to be ready to begin, but so does your business. Everything needs to be in place before you start. If you’re starting a business as a tax accountant, you will need software from www.ultimatetax.com. If you’re going to be a contractor, you will need tools. If you’re planning to teach computing skills, you will need a computer, and perhaps even more than one.

Read More→

Categories : Articles, Jill's Blog
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Jun
29

What Does It Really Mean to Be “Authentic” with Your Brand?

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Dana“Authentic” is another buzz word heard a lot when talking about branding. I use it myself in my branding courses. It’s core to what I do and how I help my clients.

But what does it mean? And how do you be authentic?

Authentic is being real. It is being you, not a carbon copy of someone else. It is not fake. It does not promise one thing and not deliver.

Finding your authentic identity involves a thorough analysis of your talents, gifts, callings, vision, dreams, weaknesses, personality, strengths, and more. When you fully understand who you are and why you are in business, you can build a brand based on you and your uniqueness. It will truly be customized.

It’s kind of like this: Have you ever driven into a developer neighborhood and gotten lost? I certainly have! Cookie cutter neighborhoods look all alike. I cannot find my destination by memory. I have to work extra hard to know the address.

But when you go to a custom house, do you not remember it? If it is really well designed, is it not worth more?

It’s the same with a brand. When your look is cookie cutter (like from one of those cheap business card templates you can get from the Internet), you will lose customers. You will not be easy for your customer to find because you will not be memorable. There is nothing to distinguish you from your competition.

But when you customize your brand you are adding value to your business. That in the end means increased revenue.

That is why building a brand based on your authentic identity is so important. It has be to be who you are, who your business is, at the core. And part of that authenticity is delivering on your promises.

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Jun
28

Top 3 Attributes of a Successful Virtual Assistant

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Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerAttiributes of a Successful VA, by Pebbles JacoboIt takes a lot of hard work and discipline to be a good virtual assistant. Sprinkle in a little humility and desire to learn new things and you’ll be a rock star. What? You want to go further and be a very successful virtual assistant, big dog, top of the heap? Take the essential tools I mentioned above and add my top three secret ingredients. You’ll be a very successful virtual assistant in no time!

Problem Solving – Clients hire out virtual assistants either when they don’t have the skill set to figure out how to complete a particular task or project or they don’t have the time to do it themselves. You will prove yourself as a valuable asset to your client by figuring things out without bogging down your clients with the details. As my husband often says, “Make it happen.” As a problem solving virtual assistant, don’t be afraid to “google” things or research online. Not sure how to install a plugin in WordPress? Do a search, read the articles or message board threads and make it happen!

Personal Computer – Having your own personal computer as a virtual assistant will seriously make all the difference. Some people believe they can make money from home by utilizing computers at the public library. Yes, I’ve had more than one person say this to me. My response: SERIOUSLY?!! Having your own computer will open the world to you as a virtual assistant. A personal computer to a virtual assistant is as a warrior’s sword or a farmer’s tractor; without either they won’t readily accomplish their tasks. Sure, the farmer can use a hoe to prep and plant an entire field, but it will take so much more time than if he had a tractor. A successful virtual assistant has a personal computer at home. Period. BONUS: For additional flexibility, a laptop will suit you well and allow work anywhere you have an internet connection. Read More→

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When managing a business, you learn a lot about different people, departments and how they function. It is critical that you understand each department, especially if you happen to be in a managerial role. This is because a great deal of your business’s success is dependent on how well each department works independently as well as together. As a manager, there are many things that you can do to ensure each department is working to their maximum potential. To give you a few ideas that could ensure you have a head start, this article is going to list different departments and suggest ways to support them in your business.

Find Out Their Needs

To begin with, when trying to support teams in your business, finding out what each team needs is fundamental. As opposed to using a one-size-fits-all approach, you should find out each team’s individual needs instead. You can do this by getting individuals to fill out a survey or hold team meetings to discuss what their unique needs are. By doing this, you’ll be in a better position to find out first-hand what they need and how you can help meet those needs as a result. However, some fundamental things that every team need are kindness, faith, confidence, patience, respect, guidance, time, and compassion.

HR

Aside from moral support, another way of supporting teams in your business is by offering the right technology. In HR, you could do this by exploring which technologies would be best suited for their unique needs. If for instance, they needed software that could help keep their data in one place, minimize the time spent on administration tasks, and decrease the likelihood of errors, peoplexcd.com have suitable software where you have one-click reporting, real-time and automated workflows. The idea should be to find ways to make their tasks easier by eliminating the need to do the mundane ones repeatedly. In addition to this, you can also try non-financial rewards programs as well as help them improve their current HR strategy.

Content Marketing

In the content marketing department, there are several ways that you can offer valuable support. One of them includes offering tools to help them organize and time their social media posts, so that they don’t have to remember to post every day. Some tools that you can suggest for social media include Hootsuite, Buffer, SocialDrift, Unsplash as well as Canva. Each tool can help with different phases of the content marketing process so that they’re far more productive.

Finance

Another department that could do with your support is the finance department. Some ways that you can offer support include offering training and development, encouraging regular reviews, as well as rewarding their success. You could also try establishing process metrics that help measure that departments productivity.

 

Supporting each department in your business can go a long way toward making employees feel valued, appreciated and productive. For this reason, doing all that you can to help them excel should be a priority. Doing so could help ensure that your business sees exponential growth sooner than later.

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