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Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggerSelf-published your book and not sure how to get others to notice it?  No problem these tips will help you market like a pro. Many of these tips work for home-based businesses, too!

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

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

Oct
18

Fallout From Divorce: The 4 Fs

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No, heart-brokenthis isn’t about final grades, although I know we’re close to the end of the school year.

This blog is about the Fallout From Divorce. So, I’m going to talk about divorce in a marriage blog. Weird, huh? But as I’ve talked to so many people over the years, I’ve learned that is is actually quite good to talk about divorce in order to strengthen one’s marriage. Let me explain.

Most unhappy people think something like this: “I’m unhappy in my marriage; I’m tired of my husband. No one else has it as bad as I do.” So, they entertain the thoughts of leaving, of divorcing their spouse. They may or may not try counseling. And that counseling may or not be ‘successful.’ They start the divorce proceedings. They break the news to their family: The first F.

People do not have any idea how their family or their in-laws will respond to their announcement. Sometimes they think “It’ll be fine; they know how much we fight. They’ will understand where I’m coming from. It’s no big deal.” What they don’t realize is is that it will change their Family’s structure, how they relate to one another. People usually shy away thinking they don’t want to take sides and all. So they inadvertently ignore you. You stand to lose 2 families! Your great sister-in-law may now feel obligated to withdraw from you, especially if you’re the one initiating the divorce. Blood is thicker than water they say, and weddings, funerals and divorces will attest to that in some cases. If there’s kids from a previous marriage involved, what happens to them? Am I now called “my ex-stepmother”?

Holidays will be difficult.

The 2nd F: Your friends, or at least, couple friends will also change. You’re the odd woman out now. You’re divorced so it’s awkward to go to a party where’s there’s only couples.You may even NOT get invited, so as to spare you the pain of rejection. But it’ll still be painful and lonely sitting at home alone. Work parties where spouses are usually invited are now difficult. Our culture is still built on traditional family: husband, wife, and children. Read More→

Oct
17

How to Transform Your Small Business Operations

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Do you want to create a more innovative, inspiring and profitable company? A few little changes to your company could allow you to enjoy big results for your business. We are therefore providing some top tips on how to transform your small business

business, finance, tax and people concept – close up of woman hand counting us dollar money with calculator

operations for the better.

Upgrade Your Technology

Technology is growing at a rapid rate month after month, year after year. Your business should therefore take advantage of the many tools at its disposal to improve efficiency and profitability. From contactless payments to 3D printing, there are a million and one technologies that can help grow your business. You simply need to identify the best technologies to catapult your company into the future.

Marketing Automation

Monotonous tasks can not only take up a great deal of time, but they can also decrease employee morale. Take control of your promotional campaigns with marketing automation, which can schedule your email marketing campaigns in advance. As a result, you can turn your attention to other aspects of your organization.

Organize Your Business

Are you regularly sifting through various piles of paperwork? It’s time to say goodbye to documents and papers piling up in the office, and say hello to the cloud. Scan and save all your important business documents onto a cloud platform, so you can access the files from any location at any time – and you can easily share them with your employees or clients. Not only will it boost efficiency in the workplace, but it will provide a backup of the important documents should you misplace an important file.

Start Networking

Networking will allow you to connect with likeminded businesses and entrepreneurs, which could lead to a unique collaboration that could yield fantastic results for your business. Utilize networking platforms, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, to reach out to industry leaders, inspiring entrepreneurs and innovative companies. You could even go one step further and host a networking event to connect with business professionals to meet once a month to share inspiring stories and advice. Read More→

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foodHave you ever had the feeling that any good deed you try is counteracted by a good swift kick in the pants?

I recently grabbed a quick lunch at a local restaurant. I don’t like eating at fast food restaurants, but, occasionally, I don’t have much choice. Then, once in the restaurant the menu doesn’t give me much choice, either.

I ordered my lunch and settled at a corner table. About halfway through my lunch an older couple took the table next to me. Being a “people watcher,” which is a fancy way of saying, “I’m nosy,” I watched this couple out of the corner of my eye.

I noticed right away the woman got her things situated immediately. Not so with the man.

He struggled to unwrap the plastic fork. He fumbled trying to break the plastic wrapping and free his fork so he could begin eating. Nothing he did seemed to advance his cause.

Without missing a beat, his wife reached over, took the wrapped fork from her husband, popped it open in one easy motion and handed it back to him. Without saying a word, he took it and began eating.

This incident reminded me of something that happened the week before.

A friend phoned, asking me if I could help a friend of his who was moving from Florida to Virginia and had nobody to help him. Immediately I agreed to help all I could. After hanging up my phone, I wondered what I had gotten myself into.

I told him to have this person call me. I figured if he doesn’t call, I wouldn’t have to help. No sooner had this thought rambled through the little gray cells, then the telephone rang. It was this person requesting my assistance.

I invited him to church on Sunday and we would see how we could help him. I hoped the “we” did not mean “me.” After hanging up the telephone, I told my wife the incident and she reassuringly said, “He may not even come to church.” I took comfort in her suggestion.

On Sunday morning, an hour before services, this person showed up at church. He introduced himself and we got acquainted.

“All I have,” he assured me, “are 25 boxes of books that I need to take to the post office so I can mail them to where I am going.”

Well, I mused, this may not be as bad as I thought.

On awakening Monday morning, second thoughts about the whole project bombarded my empty head. I was trying to think of some way to graciously bow out of the whole mess.

I have a problem pronouncing the word “no.” You have no idea the trouble this has brought me. I’m thinking of consulting a speech therapist to help me.

My watch told me I was running a little late. I wish my watch would tell me how to get out of such predicaments. But when I inquired, it didn’t give a tick. Then an idea burst in my noggin. If he said anything about me being late I will get mad, turn around and go home. Or, if he wasn’t ready to move the boxes when I got there, I would, in a huff, turn around and stomp off and go home.

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The benefits of forging strong customer relationships are clear: When done right, this approach improves customer retention, creates a competitive advantage for your company, and builds unparalleled brand loyalty. Plus, it’s a cost-effective way to land new customer referrals.

Now, you’ve likely heard the stats on poor customer service — and they’re not pretty. So why should your company invest in creating an exceptional overall customer experience? Simple answer: Your customers have a big voice, and money talks. In fact, 95 percent of all consumers have taken action as a result of a poor customer experience. And, of those same individuals, 85 percent wanted to warn others about doing business with a particular company.

Many experts find it difficult to show a connection between improving the customer experience and growing revenue. But market research company Forrester Research has demonstrated how investing more in customers drives revenue growth through increased loyalty. Indeed, the payoff of cultivating strong customer relationships cannot be overstated. Here are a few ideas to help your company get started.

Make Customer Service a Top Priority

Do you have an unwavering urge to resolve customer service issues quickly and effectively? How well do you provide online customer support? Providing excellent customer service is not only a common business principle that has withstood the test of time — it’s also the best way to boost customer relationships and stand out from the competition.

Like anything in life, consumers make future business decisions based on first impressions, so going the extra mile from the outset must be a priority. Moreover, customers’ expectations must be met and exceeded as often as possible. Airbnb founder Brian Chesky knows this firsthand. His company, valued at $30 billion, focuses on providing seven-star customer service. Read More→

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerdana-work-ethicWhat one tool can help you distinguish yourself above the crowd, above your competition?

An old-fashioned work ethic!

These days, the entitlement mindset has infected business after business. Sometimes, business owners will think that work is just owed to them or it will come magically. They will over-promise and under-deliver. They will say anything to get the job, but not follow through. If it’s not quick and easy, then why bother doing it? That is the mindset of this microwave generation where instant fixes are the expectation.

I have experienced this kind of mindset in my own business, with people I’ve hired to help me. I was particularly amazed by the attitude of interns who thought that they should automatically get the best jobs because they were college students studying to be graphic designers. If I had had that attitude when I was just starting out in my first job, I would have been fired! I gently pointed out to them that you have to earn the more desirable kind of projects by proving yourself!

But you can be different. The Bible is full of exhortations to work hard. Those who don’t work, don’t eat. Those who work diligently reap rewards. When you sow generously, you reap generously. And then think of the Proverbs 31 woman. She was a very hard worker indeed!
Read More→

Oct
11

What Kind of Farmer are You?

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I farmerhave been seeing too many couples lately, who have been married 25+ years, and who are ready to divorce.  The problems have been there for a long, long time.  They are reaping what they have knowing or unknowingly  sowed. It is a bit hard to think that they did not know what they were doing, but in my office, the sad but truthful facts are right there. Painful and in plain view, for us to see.  I am no farmer, but I do know that if I plant lettuce, I will not reap tomatoes!  If I sow beans, I will not grow corn!

How do they not know? you might ask me.  My guess is that

1. they (or one spouse) saw and ignored it;

2. they tried once or twice to uproot it;

3. they thought it was NBD (No Big Deal) at the time;

4. they lied to themselves about #1-3.

Denial is part of the problem usually.  Deception is right up there, beginning with myself:  I deceive myself, I think its NBD.  I tell my clients that that is a Red Flag Waving!  Jeremiah 17:9 states: “The heart is deceptive above all else; who can know it?”  Another Red Flag is when you start a sentence with, “It’s just a little problem” or “He’s just like that/he’s always been like that”. Or some version of that.  You can’t say, “she’s just a little pregnant”.  You look the other way.  You don’t want to deal with it now.  Later, you tell yourself.  You work around the problems, hoping they’ll “just go away”.  Resentment begins to build.  You begin to pull away or turn away from your husband.  You tell yourself lies and make adjustments and concessions.  “I’m taking care of the kids! They need me more!”  “It’s only for a little while, just til I get my business up and running, then we’ll take that weekend getaway”.  “It’ll get better after the kids ___________”.

Galatians 6:7 warns us that we “reap what we sow”.  Are we sowing words of affirmation into our husbands’ soul?  Are we sowing kind deeds?  Are we answering harsh words with a gentle response as Proverbs 15:1 tells us?  Am I going regularly to the Lord asking Him to cleanse my soul, so I don’t deceive myself?  What seeds am I watering today that will bring forth good fruit and not bad fruit?

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light through cloudsWell,” the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage sighed rather deeply, “now that the hurricane is over I guess we can all get back to normal.”

When she said “normal,” she looked at me and gave me one of “those looks.”

I am very much confused when it comes to this idea of normal. What in the world is normal?

Often when we go out somewhere she says, “Please try to act normal tonight.”

For me, normal is just the way I act. Furthermore, I am not acting.

I have never given the subject of normal much thought. I just assumed that is what I was, was normal and let it go at that. If I would pose such a question to my wife, I am sure I would catch a rather lengthy definition of what normal is. I can be sure her definition would in no way harmonize with my definition.

I do not know if I am normal according to her, but I am normal according to me. I just will not let this get out.

Perhaps this is one of the great problems in our society today. Nobody knows what normal really is. If I would meet normal on the street downtown, I am not sure I would recognize it. In addition, normal probably would not recognize me.

For example, what is a normal lunch for a normal person?

I believe a normal lunch would be the lunch that I would have on any given day. I am not outstanding in anything. I do not have gifts, personality or anything of that nature. I am just normal when it comes to everything about me.

Could it be that normal is what a person defines it to be?

Just the other day I walked into my favorite restaurant, sat down at my normal table and when the waitress came, I told her, “I’ll have my normal lunch.”

I have been going to this restaurant for a long time, so the waitress did not have to ask me what I meant. She knew that normal for me was what I usually got for lunch. One time I decided to go in and order something different, but I just did not have the strength to do that. When she came to my table I blurted out, “I’ll have the normal.”

There is nothing wrong with normal. It is usually something we have done before and so we are comfortable with it. Personally, I do not want to be anything more than normal. What advantage would that be for me to be abnormal? Moreover, what is the definition of abnormal?

I am comfortable being my normal self. I am not competing with anybody. I am not a person with multi-personalities and so I have to compete with myself. I am just a normal person with normal appetites and normal expectations of life.

I never gave it so much thought before, but perhaps the reason my wife has this thing about “normal,” is that she does not know if she really married a normal person. I would like to sit her down and explain to her that I am as normal as I am ever going to be. But, you know the outcome of that kind of a thing.

My aspirations in life are to be normal and to be accepted as a normal person. I never want to pretend to be something that I am not. Read More→

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

These tips work!

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

 

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

Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerSuccess. You want it. More than anything, you want a thriving work at home business. One that gives you the freedom to stay with your children, to be debt free, to enjoy life and most importantly, contribute to God’s Kingdom.

So how do you achieve this wildly successful business? Through authentic branding. Authentic branding is like a magnet that draws your ideal customer to you. Because you have a unique message to bring to the world. You have something valuable to offer that people want, need, and desire.

How do you find this authentic brand, your own unique identity? Here’s an unexpected clue that you may not have thought about:

Your childhood!

Let me explain. Years ago, after I had graduated from college, I purchased the book, “What Color is Your Parachute.” With this book’s guidance, I wrote about achievements from my childhood and turned them into skills for my resume.

This idea stuck with me when a few years later I participated in a career assessment seminar hosted by my workplace at that time, The Navigators. I realized that my childhood experiences were key in determining my passions and callings.

Looking back, I was always doing something creative or adventurous: I wrote plays and led my classmates into acting them out; I was writing a novel at age 10; by the time I was four, I had traveled the world in a camper with my family; I was making magazines; I was composing songs; I was holding lemonade stands and selling candy; I was playing school which included making a class roster, creating the assignments, doing the assignments and grading!

All of this makes sense to me now as a creative entrepreneur and homeschool mom. But there was one huge piece of the puzzle that until now had been untapped:

I was also a huge fan of Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings. In fact, by the time I was 16, I had created my own world, my own language, my own history and started to write a fantasy trilogy. When I was in grade school, my friends and I would go to the mesa behind our backyard and play Narnia. Read More→

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