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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jill-new14blogBlogging is a favorite for small business marketers, mainly because of the amazing results they received when they blog consistently. And publicity isn’t the only benefit to blogging. There are many ways that blogging can add merit to your business. In fact, The Wall Street Journal once featured CWAHM in an article on how blogging can help small businesses create a buzz for their products and services. The results from this were amazing and prove that blogging truly works.

Here are ten ways to use blogs to increase your business revenue:

1. Ad Revenue — Offering paid advertising on your blog is one of the easiest ways to see tangible evidence of the benefits of blogging.

2. Link Swaps – Swapping links with other like-minded bloggers increases your standing with search engines. One of the biggest blogs available, problogger.net, recently completed a survey in an attempt to find where bloggers get the most traffic. The overwhelming response? Google at 46%. This shows us how important search engine rankings are. Link swaps are just one way to improve yours.

3. Reviews — Another growing trend online is that of the customer review. People appreciate reading the thoughts of others before they purchase a product. It doesn’t seem to matter how big or small the product, either. Posting reviews of books you’ve read, CDs you love, etc, is a great way to generate traffic for your blog.

4. Free Offers — Who doesn’t love a freebie? There are many ways of using freebies to your advantage.You can offer a free e-book when someone signs up for your newsletter is an easy way to build your subscriber base. Many blogs also offer contests for those who post comments or interact in other ways on the blog.

5. Social Media — Having a strong social media presence is one of the best ways to promote your business. You can make this a bit easier on yourself by connecting your blog to automatically feed posts to just about every major social media site out there. You can also add links to easily allow your blog readers to share you content, making this a great free way to gain visibility.

6. Networking — It goes without saying that building relationships with people is one of the oldest ways of gaining long-time, loyal customers (or in this case, readers). Taking part in the comments discussion on blogs and social media sites is a great way to do this. The key, though, is to be authentic. Don’t simply blast places with the link to your blog; take part in the discussion and provide useful information — not just your business pitch.

Read More→

Terri Seymour - Making Marketing Work bloggerSince 2004 social media has been booming and there is no indication of any lapse in its strength. If for some reason you are not yet taking advantage of the intense growth and popularity of social media for your business, now is the time to get started.

10 Faux Pas to Avoid When Using Pinterest by Terri SeymourOver 72 million people use Pinterest and many of them can become your customers. Businesses make money from Pinterest users and you can too. But learning and building an effective social media network takes time and a lot of work. As much as you should learn what to do, you need to learn what NOT to do. Below are 10 mistakes you might be making on Pinterest.

1. Dead or Broken Links – Be sure to check all of your posts to make sure the links are working and actually lead to the intended information. Sending your followers to dead or non-existent pages is a good way to lose them.

2. Ineffective Images – Images are everything on Pinterest. Images without human faces get liked and repined much more than images with faces. You also want to have multiple colors in your images. Images with red, orange and brown get repined many more times than blue. You do not want a lot of background or whitespace in your image. The less background, the more repins. Less than 30% will get the most repins. Smooth texture gets repinned much more often than a rough texture. Medium lightness does the best as opposed to very light or very dark images. Details matter and paying attention to your image details could make all the difference.

3. Unorganized Boards – Pinterest has a very good format for organizing your pins and information. Take advantage of that. Separate your pins into categories and create more boards for easier navigation. But do try to keep the number of boards you have under control. If your boards are too specific and only have a few posts, consider merging them with similar categories to make fewer user-friendly boards. Place your most interesting sand intriguing boards on top to get more followers. You need to get their attention immediately especially if you have a lot of boards to scroll through.

4. Not Commenting on Other People’s Posts – Look for popular posts and share your thoughts, opinions or ideas. Get involved. Don’t just say “Nice pin” or “Love it”. Also, mention others in your comments, when it is appropriate. Be on guard on how much you comment, however, as Pinterest strict spam rules. Keep your commenting down to a few times a day.

 

5. Not Using Buttons – Pinterest has all kinds of buttons and widgets you can use to help get people to your boards. Use a Pin It button on your website to make it easy for people to share your pages. Use widgets that show your pins to get people to follow you. Sprinkle these tools all over your website and if you use WordPress, look over all the best widgets available to you. Show off your pins and get more followers.

6. Incomplete Profile – Make sure you have a completed profile with all needed information available. Be sure to add your business info as well. An incomplete profile might give people the impression you are trying to hide something, making you untrustworthy.

7. Not Customizing the Description –Although the image does most of the talking, you need a good description included with your post as well. Add searchable terms and keywords. Add your call to action. Like, share, comment, repin – what do you want them to do. Be clear, straightforward and appealing to the senses. You could also use quotes from testimonials or reviews you have. Adding prices when appropriate could increase the response to the pin. Link back to your website when possible. Be sure to use Rich Pins which will include extra information on the pin itself. Find out more about Rich Pins at Pinterest for Business. Read More→

Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggercredit cardsEnjoying a casual evening at home, reclining in my favorite easy chair reading, while the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage was chatting on the telephone. I seldom pay attention to phone conversations. After all, I only get one side of the conversation, which may be misleading at the very best. I’ve been caught in that trap before with some pretty dire consequences. I am not going to get caught again, if I can help it.

Then an odd phrase caught my attention: “plastic surgery.” My ears perked up and I heard my wife say, “I certainly agree with that article and I’m going to do some plastic surgery myself.”

Well, you can imagine what thoughts were racing through my head. When she hung up the telephone, I queried her about it.

In my book, plastic surgery is a big step.

“You do support me in this plastic surgery plan, don’t you?”

There are times to disagree with your spouse, but as a husband for over 45 years, I have never discovered that time. Forcing a smile, I nodded in the affirmative and told her she had my full support in whatever she decided.

I had to admit that the “time” had finally come to our humble abode. Who am I to fight it? I go by this motto, “He who smiles and agrees with his spouse lives to smile another day.”

I plan to smile until the day I die.

I never really thought about plastic surgery, but perhaps my wife was right. Perhaps she could use a little face-lift. For me to get a face-lift, the surgeon would need a huge construction crane. Then comes the awkward part, what do they do with my face after it was lifted?

Women, more than men, are a little sensitive about their appearance. For a man, “appearance” means he showed up. A woman has an altogether different approach to the term “appearance.”

Some women look in the mirror and see where some improvements could be made. For example, they see bags under their eyes that could not get through the airport carry-on luggage size requirement.

Then there is the problem with their nose, which could stand a little tweaking. For all practical purposes, one of those double chins has to go. Moreover, what woman couldn’t use a tummy tuck and other snippings of the flesh?

Believe me; I never would have brought it up, but if that makes my wife happy, then whatever it costs, we can put it on a credit card. The only problem with putting something like this on a credit card is that by the time you pay it off you need another procedure.

But, she is worth it in my checkbook. I have no compunction whatsoever of writing out that check.

Each day I checked the appointment calendar hanging on our refrigerator to find out when she would be going in for the surgery. Day after day, I looked, but could never find any appointment.

I supposed she was a little sensitive about the whole thing and did not want it staring at her day after day on the appointment calendar. Whatever the reason, she had my silent support, for all it was worth. I am sure she would do the same for me. That is what marriage is all about. Supporting one another in the developments of life, whatever that development might be.

I decided to tuck this little bit in the back of my mind and, however it developed would be all right with me.

One day this week, I went to the Slurp N’ Burp Café for a quiet lunch. The issue was far from my mind as I enjoyed a delicious lunch. As I finished my last cup of coffee, the waitress brought my bill and I pulled my wallet out to pay for it.

In searching my wallet for a credit card I discovered, much to my chagrin, that there were no credit cards to be found. Somehow, I had lost my credit cards. Perhaps, in the morning when I was getting dressed they dropped out of my wallet as I was placing it in my trousers.

The problem with that theory was that all the other cards in my wallet were intact.

Fortunately, I had my cell phone and called my wife.

“Honey, I’ve lost all my credit cards. I’m here at the restaurant and I can’t find any credit cards in my wallet. Do you have any idea what I did with my credit cards?”

“I cut them all up.”

“You did what?”

“You said you supported my plastic surgery plan, didn’t you?”

“But, I thought…”

“You, thought what?”

Oh boy.

Dear reader: please disregard the first part of this column. If you happen to read my obituary in next week’s newspaper, you will know that my lovely, vivacious, eternally youthful wife did not disregard the first part and I’m currently Resting In Pieces. Read More→

jill-new14mgyUUaeStarting down a new career path can be both exciting and terrifying, especially if your chosen “career path” is being an entrepreneur and running a home-based business. Below are five questions to ask yourself to help you determine what type of business might be right for you.

1. What is your passion?

Answer this question with the first thing that comes to mind: If money were no object and you could do anything, what would you do? You might have answered “be a writer”, “speak at conferences,” “bring my product idea to life” or any number of things. Whatever your answer, this most likely is your passion. I challenge you to take the time to ponder this and see if there is a way to bring your dream to fruition.

2. What types of things did you like to do as a child?

Many times the toys and games we loved as children give us a glimpse into who we have become as adults. If you loved climbing trees, you may now be an “outdoorsy” type of person. Think about how this might be incorporated into your business. For instance, you might enjoy setting up outdoor birthday parties for children or selling herbs from your backyard garden.

3. What type of products would you be interested in representing?

If you’re looking in the direction of direct sales, whether that be your own product or an established home-based business option, you need to think through what types of products you’d be comfortable presenting to your customers. Take the time to do some research and find a product that truly excites you. Your customers will see your sincerity and that can sell a product just as easily as a fancy presentation.

4. What skills and experience do you bring to the table?

If you’ve left the corporate world in favor of working at home, you’ve undoubtedly brought with you a set of skills. There may be a way to market those skills in a new way and turn them into a profitable business. For instance, if you were an executive assistant you may be able to type 80 words or more per minute. You could set up shop as a Virtual Assistant and help other business owners in processing orders, transcribing documents and much more.

5. Are you thinking outside of the box?

Most of us have a fear of the unknown. We many times assume that if we haven’t done something before it is simply out of reach. This carries over to the business world as well. We take our products or services and market them in the same way that we see other business owners using. However, it can be much more effective to find new and innovative ways to market. One home-based business owner I know sells stuffable toy kits. Instead of using the usual home parties and birthday party events, she works almost exclusively with children’s hospitals doing fundraisers. She makes a great living and helps not only the hospitals, but the children as well. She is a great example of unique marketing and overcoming the mundane marketing methods that so many business owners resign themselves to.

Read More→

Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerThese days, it seems that more and more companies do not care about their product or service and they are apathetic toward their customers. But as a work at home Mom or Dad, you have an excellent opportunity to stand out. And as a Christian, by striving for excellence in all you do you can be a shining light in the business world.I see people promising way too much and not coming through. This hurts a brand.

Have you noticed this trend toward mediocrity? Have you ever had lackluster customer service? I wouldn’t doubt it! I know that my husband, Travis, and I have been fighting our former mortgage company for months. My husband practically had to tell the customer service agents how to do their jobs and it was only until we threatened legal action did they come through with our request, which was by the way what they had to do by law.

This lackluster customer service reflects badly on a brand. In fact, companies can become “branded” in a negative way.

But as a work at home business owner, you can choose to be different. From your marketing to your identity collateral to your product and/or service to your customer service, you can strive for excellence.

So how does that practically look? Here are some ideas:

1) Look out for your customer’s interests, not your own.Does that sound slightly biblical? It certainly is! I think of my husband’s potential client, a restaurant owner. My husband could tell this client that he needs this and he needs that done and it would bring us a lot more money. But we know that the client wants to keep this project simple, so Travis is going to bat for him with the city. It’s not about how much we can get from him, it’s about providing excellent service at the level he needs it.

2) When you say you’re going to be somewhere, be there! So this seems really simple, right? Yet more and more I see people promising way too much and not coming through. This hurts a brand. It’s called over promising and under delivering. You always want to be careful about your commitments and make sure you can be counted on. This is a huge way you can stand out. Under promise and over deliver.

Read More→

Working from home has many advantages that can really bless your life and that of your family. But because you work from home, it can feel hard to switch off, as your home is your office, and your office is your home. In other careers where they work out of the home, people walk in the door and know that they’re home and their mind will switch off from work. But when you work from home you don’t get that same thing, as you could be tempted to just check your emails or log on your computer once the children are in bed.

With a family and working from home, it can be hard to get a good work and life balance. So here are some of the things that you could start to do, to make sure that you are able to achieve and switch off. When you’re able to do, you can really enjoy the time at home, and be more productive when you’re at work. Would you add anything else to the list?

 

Drop Habits That Drain Time

There can be so many things that can drain our time, both at home and at work. So it is a hard lesson, but learning to drop some of those habits or things that waste our time on can really make a difference in our work and life balance. Things like scrolling on Facebook or TV shows that we just watch for the sake of it, are all things that could be ditched so that we are able to use our time more wisely.

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Categories : Articles, Jill's Blog
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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerroad through treesI must confess that in the Parsonage there are times of confusion. It has nothing to do with age; it has everything to do with the human brain that is undernourished.

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage can say one thing and I can say something completely different. There are those rare occasions when we are on the same page, the same sentence and almost the same words. Those occasions do not come as often as I would like.

The good news is, we are all on the same book, which makes the difference.

The other day, for example, I was in a panic mode. I was trying to get stuff done and was not making progress. Finally, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said, “What are you in such a fuss about?”

“Well,” I said rather exhaustively, “it’s Friday and I’m trying to get my work done.”

My wife just stood there looking at me with one of those “looks” she is most famous for. Then, placing both hands on her hips, she said, “Silly boy, don’t you know it’s Thursday?”

It is quite disconcerting when you get something wrong. You think you are doing the right thing, but it turns out you are not. I think it is one day and it turns out to be another day instead. Sometimes one day looks exactly like the other.

As we were eating breakfast the other day, my wife stopped and said, “Do you know this is the first day of autumn?”

I had to stop and think about that for a while. That means summer is over and fall is in the air.

“If it’s autumn,” I said quite seriously, “why is it still so hot outside?” The last three weeks the temperature has been in the 90s and the heat index was over 100. That is really hot.

Looking at her, I said, “It sure doesn’t feel like autumn does it?” She agreed with me, which was quite an accomplishment on my side of the table.

A song says, “And the beat goes on.” I would like to change that a little bit and sing a song, “And the heat goes on.” Simply put, I found no difference between the first week of autumn in the last week of summer. After all, if it is autumn then the weather ought to act like it is autumn. Read More→

Categories : Articles, Humor, Jill's Blog
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Oct
30

Why Do Kids Ask So Many Questions?

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina Palmerquestion markI began writing this blog five or six times trying to avoid asking questions because my annoyance stems from my children’s questions. When you think about it, asking questions is a normal part of everyone’s day. At grocery stores they ask, “Did you find everything you need?” Or “Will that be all?” But not us moms…

As a stay-at-home mom, I do not hear the same questions my husband does. No one asks me if I finished a report, if I am ready for the next presentation, or if I want to join them for lunch.

I spend my day with non-verbal questions from the cat for more wet food and the dogs yipping to go outside. Then my kids come home from school. 

Wait a minute, back up. I forgot about the mornings!

As I stumble out of bed to the fresh cup of coffee, which my husband has waiting for me on the counter, my thirteen-year-old comes around the corner asking, “Hi mom! How did you sleep?”

I think I manage to grumble in response, which I hope Rick knows means, “I’m still asleep.” My girls, Bri and Alex, focus on getting ready for school, like they realize I should not be forced to deal with words until the bottom of my coffee mug is visible. Then the deluge starts:

“Mom, can I get on the computer after school?”

“Mom, can I take two juice boxes today?”

“Hey mama, can I put candy in my lunchbox?”

“After school can we go to Walmart so I can spend my report card money?”

“Mom, when you were my age did you like going to PE class, or did you think it was pointless exercise too?”

“Is it raining outside?”

“What’s for dinner tonight?”

The coffee pot is groaning at this point because it knows I will lean on it for my sanity. I should tell you, I am not a morning person. I am a night owl, so questions in the morning is a big fat no-no. This is the reason my husband has my coffee ready because he doesn’t to kiss me until I drink my magic elixir. Moving on. 

By school’s end, my kids, who are stuck at desks all day, are ready to bombard me with more questions. These tend to be similar to the morning questions. However, by dinner time, their question take a creative turn:

“Mom, what is your favorite meal EVER?”

“When you were my age what was your favorite dinosaur EVER?”

“If you opened a restaurant what type of food would serve?”

“What is your favorite part of the song Bohemian Rhapsody EVER?”

“When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

“Did you EVER want to be an actor?”

 

If the questions were not enough, every sentence that is not a question has an adverb or the word never:

“I literally never want to eat onions.”

Seriously, I never tried that before.”

“I really really want to eat ice cream tonight” 

Actually, I would love some cake tonight.”

By the time dinner is over I am ready to put a cease and desist order on the kids’ foreheads. One time I got so overwhelmed with their questions, I made a question cup and they had to write all of their questions down or I would not respond to the question. The method did not work, I had to find a pen and respond on paper. More work.

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Oct
29

Is ‘Tooting Our Own Horn’ in Our Direct Sales Business … Christian?

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hornWe know that in our direct sales businesses continuous networking is vital. Our reach needs to be far beyond the people we already know or the client base we have already built. Growing our client base may seem like a daunting task, and as Christians we may struggle with the concept that “tooting our own horn” is very UN-Christian. Can we righteously market ourselves or our businesses?

In our culture, marketing our businesses and self-glorification can easily run together, but they need not be the same. Proverbs does not discourage praise, only self praise (Proverbs 27:21). It is more fitting for someone else to place the crown on the ruler’s head. Besides, if you are good, there is no need to tell people. They will know it. And if you need to tell someone you are good, how good could you be?

This is a key reason why we must always conduct our businesses ethically; with honesty and integrity being at forefront in our mission statement. Those with whom we do business are our greatest resources for continued growth. Positive client feedback, and word of mouth referrals are the backbone of our continued growth.

When it comes to promoting our businesses, how do we get our names and our products in front of new people, on a daily basis? More importantly, can we do this without sounding prideful and self-serving?

I believe the answer is a resounding, YES.

As an independent sales rep, don’t fear the word “promoting”. It’s OK to be proud of the products or services we represent. It’s necessary to get our names out there and take advantage of the different public platforms we can utilize that will help us market ourselves. Here are some suggestions that have worked for me . Read More→

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Oct
26

10 Low­-Cost Vendor Booth Ideas to Rocket Your Brand Recognition

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DanamarketAs Christian work at home business owners, we need to get out in the community on a regular basis. I have found the best way to get out in front of my target market is to participate in vendor fairs.

But signage can be extremely expensive. And how can you make your booth appealing instead of drab and boring?

This is an area where I’ve put much thought into. While I have a long ways to go, I have also made great strides, all while being on a limited budget. Let me share some ideas with you:

1) Make a banner with CafePress.com

This is where I had my large, full­color banner made. It was extremely affordable, I believe less than $50. It didn’t take me long to get it and I could fully customize it to my branding. Their banner fits easily on a typical vendor table and it comes with grommets. It is durable vinyl. I have had mine for a couple years now and it is in good shape.

2) Use presentation boards from Hobby Lobby.

Hobby Lobby seems to have the best variety of tri­fold presentation boards at the best price. They have many colors that will fit within your brand.

3) Use fabric to cover up the boards to make them look even more unique!

This is what I did with a couple of boards I had. I spruced them up with fabric. Actually, they were curtains that I got for cheap and I cut them to fit. It made for a very unique presentation. I had to use a very sturdy tape to glue the posters onto the board, so be aware of that! Read More→

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