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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 Home Business Articles

babyWe had a dream.

Once, years ago, when we first became work-at-home moms, we envisioned happily typing away at our computers. Our adorable children would be frolicking at our feet – blissfully playing amongst themselves. Maybe they’d be reading, doing puzzles …

Then, we woke up.

Both of us had highly unrealistic expectations of the quality and quantity of work we could do with small children at home. Years later, with teenagers, we’ve found that not much has changed.

We still feel the continual tug of war between the piles on our desk and the needs of our families.

Because our kids, no matter what their ages, still need us. Beyond that, they want us. We’re wise moms to realize this and take advantage of it.

To be honest, most of the time we fail miserably at keeping up a good solid rhythm. Work happens in great spurts of creativity. A lot of times, it seems like the needs of home and family can be postponed. From bitter experience, we’ve found that too much of a “that-can-wait” mentality can come back to bite us.

So, how do we work with passion and purpose, free of that feeling that we should always be doing something else other than what we’re doing at that moment?

This is still a struggle for us. But we’ve made progress.

Whether you’ve just become a work-at-home mom or have been one for years, here are a few principles that we’ve found helpful when we follow them:

1. If we aren’t good at multitasking, then we shouldn’t try. We’re firm believers that multitasking is a myth. Something always suffers – at least at our houses. Focus on one thing at a time for as long as you can.

2. Ask God throughout the day, “What is the most important thing for me to do right now?” One definition we found for the word “balance” was “a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.” We think the key words in that definition are “correct proportions.” Often, that doesn’t mean equal. So how do we know what’s correct? We don’t. That’s why everyday we have to invite and depend on the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

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My first step into the work-at-home world was as a data extractor for a company in my local area. Believe it or not, I found that job in the Classified Ads section of the newspaper. That, however, was ten years ago. A lot has changed in the last ten years – the internet alone has grown by leaps and bounds. So, what are some of the best ways for people in today’s market to find a telecommuting opportunity?

Classified Ads
One good thing about the technology available to us today is that most Classified Ads are now not only listed in print newspapers, but online as well. Take a look through these to see if there are businesses in your area looking for local at-home workers.

Online Job Sites
Most online job websites now offer telecommuting listings. Use the search term “telecommute” to help give you the best results. There are even websites that cater to the work-at-home crowd such as HireMyMom.com. Remember – always be sure to read the fine print, and research each company/opportunity that interests you.

Freelance
More and more at-home workers are freelancing on a contract basis. Writers, web designers, graphic artists, and more are finding this a viable option to allow them to work from home. There are websites, such as upwork.com, that cater specifically to the freelance community and make it easy for freelancers to connect with companies and individuals looking to hire them.  If you are selling a service or digital product, take some time to checkout out fiverr.com – you can start offering your service for just $5, and then add additional options at higher prices as your business grows. Read More→

question markLife as a Christian work at home mom or dad is not always easy. In fact, from my experience it’s like swimming upstream. Sometimes it is downright hard, especially when there are so many duties and responsibilities and needs that need to be balanced and juggled.

Sometimes I feel that it is like pulling teeth. As a matter of fact, I DID have to have a tooth pulled recently, so when that picture came to my mind just now as I was writing this article, I can attest to the truth of that statement!

Often it is two steps forward and three steps back. Then you throw in running a household (in our case doing extensive remodeling) and homeschooling a special needs child like I do (or whatever your circumstance), it becomes all incredibly overwhelming.

Like riding on a merry-go-round or running on a treadmill endlessly.

Will there ever be a day when your hopes and grand dreams as a Christian work at home mom or dad are realized? Will circumstances ever change? Is there any hope? Why not throw in the towel now and forget it?

But before you do, ask these questions:

1) What is your life and business about? Living a great life or loving a great God? (From “Freedom From Emotional Eating” by Barb Raveling)
2) Why did you get into business in the first place?
3) Do you need to pull back and rebuild?
4) What Is working? What is not working?
5) What is God trying to teach you through this difficult time? Where is He in the midst of it and what is He saying to you?
6) Do you have a strategic marketing plan or are you just throwing promotions at the wall, hoping they will stick? Read More→

Sep
05

Top Considerations When Designing Your Home Office

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If you’re planning to start working from home, you’re going to need a space where you can have all your equipment and paperwork. Preferably, it needs to be in its own room so that you aren’t distracted by your family walking in and out.

Designing your perfect home office needs good organization and planning. To help you, here are some tips to the perfect home office.

 

Your Office Equipment

It’s important to get this right, as this is where a lot of your budget will go. You need to think about what equipment you’ll need and if you have the space to put it anywhere.

A reliable wireless internet hub is a good idea because you can work in a room where the hub is far away. It means you won’t have to have the router moved into the office.

If you don’t do a lot of printing, then buying a printer might not be such a high priority. Is the one you already have for the family going to be good enough? You will, however, need another phone line to your office so that you won’t be interrupted by the home phone.

 

Lighting

Ideally, you want as much natural light as possible – because daylight is the most balanced light you can get, and also because it makes you feel more relaxed. You can have some additional lighting such as a desk lamp if you’ll be working late, but if it gets too dark, you’ll need a good quality main light, so your eyes don’t get strained.

You don’t want to have lights that will reflect off your computer screen or are in your line of vision. Try to place them, so they give light without any glare. Read More→

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Sep
01

Your Authentic Brand Identity—Where Truth and Perception Agree

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Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

When our pastor spoke from 1 John 3 over the summer, that verse struck out to me as a compelling one for business.

Because the best, most effective brand is built on authenticity. And the perception of your target market is the reality of what you have to offer.

What an amazing guideline! Right there in the Bible! Yes, it can be applied to your branding as a Christian work at home mom or dad.

But what is branding and do you need it?

Branding is the distinguishing mark that differentiates you from other businesses. It identifies you for who you are.

Effective brands build a relationship of trust and credibility with customers. This trust exists because their perceptions meet reality.

In other words, you deliver what you promise.

How many of us have experienced businesses that did NOT deliver what they promised? Did their words match up with their deeds? I imagine not!

I’m reminded of an airline trip I took years ago. Wow, the perception of that airline I am sure did not match up at all with the company’s advertisements.

In fact, a company can be negatively branded. I am thinking now of another airline company that has had series after series of bad incidents that have negatively impacted people’s perceptions of that airline.

So sure big corporations have branding but what about work at home business owners, especially those that may be involved in direct selling? Read More→

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Aug
28

5 Tips for Working From Home

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Woman working from homeI have worked from home, in one form or another, for nearly twenty years. (GOOD GRIEF that makes me feel old!) The work-at-home world, and technology itself, is every changing. However, there are a few basic principles that stay the same, and these can help you work efficiently and productively.

1. Use Lists

I know not everyone is a list-lover like I am, but I believe lists can help keep you organized and on-track. I tend to make a daily list each evening for what needs to be accomplished the next day. I rank the tasks and work hard to complete at least the top 3.

This allows me to feel as if I accomplished something, but gives me the flexibility to change things around if necessary.

2. Do Your Research

This is something I preach for anyone looking to work from – always do thorough research on any company that you are interested in working with. This used to be more difficult, but nowadays you can google a company, or ask about it on Facebook, and get a multitude of answers. Then compare these answers with what you know to make an informed decision.

However, research continues to play a part in business even after you have things up and running. You must continue to do you research to stay on top of trends and new tools that can aid you in business.

3. Be bold! ASK

Again, this is something I say often to those I’m working with who are just starting out. But, again, it holds true for all business owners, no matter how long you’ve been in business. You must continue to be bold and ask for you want. You may get some “no” answers, but you’ll also get those “YES” answers that you could not have gotten any other way. Never be afraid to ask – you’ll never know until you ask.

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Aug
25

The Number One Bible Passage that Makes a Difference in Your Brand

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Bible verse and branding? How in the world do they go together?

As a Christian work at home mom, I can tell you from experience they DO go hand in hand!

In fact, long before I started my business, I prayed that God would not let me have a ministry until I could put this into practice.

It’s important and vital not only to our businesses, but to our lives and walk with the Lord even more so.

So what is the Bible passage?

1 Corinthians 13.

How does that even work? Let me paraphrase for you:

“If you speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but you have not love (for your target market, keeping their best interest at heart), then you are a noisy gong or a clanging symbol.”

Think about it. When you come across a business that doesn’t care about you, how do you perceive that brand? When you work with a business that DOES care about you as a customer, how does that make you feel?

How do you make your target market feel?

Let me go on. “And if you (as a business owner) have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if you have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, you (and your business) are nothing.”

It doesn’t matter how super great you are about solving a problem or if you have amazing abilities to move heaven and earth to get the job done. Again, if you do not have love and respect for your target market, you are nothing! You will go nowhere!

This verse reminds me of a sales call I received years ago. This Web SEO company called attempting to convince me to use their service. They started out the call with much flattery. Oh you have a great Website, etc. etc. But as I was talking to them I was also searching the Internet and I found bad reviews. So when I insisted that I was not going to make a decision right then, the sales person called me stupid and an idiot!

Now THERE’s a new way to make a sale!

Read More→

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Aug
18

Is Print Dead and What Do You Need to Know About It?

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerdana-printdeadIn these days of Internet marketing, is print really dead? After all, more and more newspapers are going out of business and magazines are rushing to become digital. Is there a place for print collateral and advertising?

Absolutely! Let me explain why and how you need to make print part of your strategic brand strategy.

1) Business cards. Hands down, business cards are the most economical, efficient way to get the word out about your business. These are great for networking meetings or just as you go through your regular day. You never know who you are going to run into that might be interested in your business.

2) Postcards. These are effective for marketing and very cost efficient. You can, for a relatively low cost, create postcards and buy a list, such as new business owners. Online printing companies can even take care of every aspect of this direct marketing, including the mailing.

3) Bookmarks. This is another low-cost way to get the word out about your business. I have found it particularly effective in “goodie bags” for conferences. I use the leftovers and hand them out at vendor fairs.

4) Brochures. Yes, brochures are still a very effective way to share your business with others.

5) Flyers. These can be an appealing, inexpensive way to get your message across, especially if it is for an event.

6) Thank you cards and Christmas cards. Customer retention is very important in business. Sending thank you cards and annual Christmas cards with your unique brand imprinted on the back is a very effective way to increase your brand awareness.

Read More→

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Aug
15

The Top 3 Analytics Platforms For Websites and Blogs

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website scrabbleby Trey Donaldson

Have you ever wondered why some seemingly beautiful websites fail and some inexpensive ones flourish? It appears that the amount of money put behind a website does not matter a lot. The success of a website or blog depends on how well engage with the content. Sites fail to live up to expectation because they overlook business objectives. Similarly, measuring online marketing is something modern businesses (big or small) want to do. We all agree that tracking data and numbers, without a dedicated tool, can be one tedious journey. Whatever your business is about, analysis software will always come in handy in getting performance data and stats. Here are a few platforms to consider for an enhanced marketing strategy.

Google Analytics Platform

Google Analytics may be a free tool, but do not think it does not serve the purpose. We have placed it first on this list for a good reason, that it is easy to use, but super effective. Sign up to the site, get a tracking code and get going. There are many ways of using this platform. For instance, you can get about page views, whereby you determine the popularity of individual pages. If you want to get information about different marketing mediums, view the pages by source.   Are you interested in referral traffic information? Google Analytics will give this information too.

It will also provide demographic reports, weighted sort and social referrals. That is why we say you should try out this platform. The platform should be around for a while, considering that it is from Google and that its updates and tweaks are regular.

 

Sumo Content Analytics

Sometimes you want a wide range of tools to add to content analytics, all in one package. Sumo is that kind of platform. Millions are already using this tool, so it is definitely adding value to websites and blogs. Sumo brings loads of benefits including higher website traffic, more social-shares and more subscribers to email list.  

Does it cost to get Sumo? You can still install the tool free, but this only for the branded version. However, cost is likely to increase with increase in traffic. The good thing is that this tool is good value for money, considering it comes with numerous apps, responsive support and timely updates. It is also easy to use.

 

Piwik

Like the previous two tools, Piwik is easy to use so you can download and start using it immediately. When you first use this platform, you will notice many similarities with other top solutions. It is compatible with almost any server you bring, updates data in real time and has numerous user-friendly features. Piwik offers advanced privacy for your data.  Do you want all the information as one package? You will love this platform for its detailed full report and back ups.

There is a pricier version that charges $29 per month, but if you are technically shrewd, you may stick to the free software.  That is why they say the software is sometimes uncomfortable to some people. However, considering the tools ease of setup and installation, flawless performance and richness of data, this platform is definitely recommendable for any website or blog owner.

In conclusion, the good thing with analytics platforms is that using them is usually very simple, yet the meaningfulness of the data provided is unquestionable. Once you get the intelligence and act upon it, there is no reason your website or blog should not improve over time. In an era when online marketing is so challenging, even the slightest improvements are worthwhile. So, get one of these awesome analytics platforms and take your business to the next level.

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