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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

Over and over again, I see the same story with business owners. They create a product or service and then as an afterthought put up a logo. Or they have somebody from Fiverr design the logo. And there is no analysis, no strategy. Just something that looks “cool” or “pretty.” I end up having to correct the work and the client has wasted time and effort with cheap and free services.

So how do you create an effective logo? What do you need before the design is even attempted?

Here’s seven questions to get you started in the right direction:

1. What does your business and you personally do well? Not do well?

2. What is the attitude you have toward your target market?

3. What is your target market? Who are you in business for? Who is your audience?

4. How do you want your business to be seen/perceived? How is it perceived by your audience or your target market? Read More→

calendar-agendaAt the beginning of a new year we tend to contemplate our lives and try to find a way to improve our situation. We set goals and make a promise to ourselves to achieve these goals.

The same should be done with our business. We need to take some time to look over the last year to see how we can improve our business performance. What goals can we set for our business that will result in growth and improved results?

Here are some New Year’s resolution ideas for your online business growth and success.

1. Refine Your Social Media – Social media is a very important marketing tactic for today’s online business but it can be very time consuming. You need to set a schedule for your social media participation. Use tools like Hootsuite, Buffer and TweetDeck.

They can help you free up time that is needed for other tasks. Allow so much time per day for your social media activity. These sites can become addictive and can cause us to neglect other areas of our marketing and business management.

2. Learn New Skills – The many areas and facets of owning and running an online business can be very overwhelming. The techniques, tools and formats are constantly evolving. We need to always be learning and never settle into a routine with our online business. There are tons of resources online that can help you keep up with the ever-changing internet business world. HubSpot Academy is a great place to start. You can also try Moz for search engine optimization, LearnVest to help you manage your business finds and countless quality blogs to help teach you the newest and most productive marketing trends.

3. Get a Grip on Your Finances – If you do your own money management and record keeping for your business, be sure to analyze and plan accordingly. There are some great software programs to help you keep meticulous records of your business funds. A good example would be Quickbooks or Quicken. You need to know where your funds  are going and if you should keep them going in that direction. Go over your advertising budget. Are you getting the results needed? Should you go down other avenues with your advertising budget? What are your regular expenses and are all of these expenses necessary or productive to your business? You need to go over all these questions and more to see if you are delegating your funds for maximum results.

4. Analyze Your Marketing Tactics – As above with your finances, you need to analyze all aspects of your marketing plan. Are your methods yielding the results you expected or needed? What tactics are working and which ones are not? Some techniques might need to be upgraded or even terminated. Read More→

Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerBusiness Plan by Dana BeasleyThe New Year is an excellent time to make a business plan for your home business. If you want to succeed in branding, writing a business plan is essential!

If you already have a business plan, now is a great time to update it.

Why create a business plan? Because if you don’t have some measurable goals, how do you know what to aim for? As the Bible says, without vision, people perish.

And without a plan, your business could fail!

So if you want to take your business seriously and really experience branding success, here are seven must-have items in your business plan to skyrocket your revenue!

1) Mission, Vision, Goals
If you are going to succeed in your home business, you need to understand why you exist. Having clarity on this one issue will help you grow more and more, as a business owner and as a person.

Your vision is where you want to be in the future, what you want to accomplish through your mission. This takes imagination and wisdom.

Goals need to be measurable and time-based, specific and directly related to your mission and vision.

2) USP
Your Unique Selling Proposition is what makes you stand out above the competition. It’s the reason why your customers will be drawn to you rather than another company. It’s your particular strength that you do better than anyone else out there. USPs are often used for slogans and taglines.

For instance, when my husband was planning his architectural business, we came up with the slogan, “Safeguarding lives through strong and robust building design.” This is based on his unique strength of designing quality buildings made from reinforced concrete, not studs.

3) Marketing Objectives/Analysis
You need to understand what problems your market has and what solutions you offer. You need to know who your target market is and where they are. You also need to strategize on how you are going to reach them. These objectives and analysis can be fleshed out in greater detail in a marketing plan.

4) Competition
It’s important to understand who your competition is, both directly and indirectly. You need to understand how saturated your market is. If it is saturated, how are you going to provide a needed product or service that people want and desire, and are in fact desperate for? What is different about you that people want to purchase through you?

Let me give you another example: I have a client in the essential oil business. Now, as of late I have noticed that oils are a very popular business. Many work at home moms especially are selling these. But my client found a passion of hers related to the oils to help a specific target market. That is how she is branding herself. That is how she is distinguishing herself above the competition. As she works out her plan, she is tremendously excited and motivated. Her business holds much promise and I know that her team is growing.

5) Financial projections
You will want to do cash flow projections, revenue and sales projects, expenses, etc. If you are looking for investors, this is especially important.

Read More→

jillThe jumpbeginning of a new year can be a great time for your home-based business. There are many ways that you can use this time of year to begin new growth and continue the rush from the holiday season.

For many people, this is the time of year that they reflect upon their lives. New Year’s resolutions are made and goals for the New Year are set. Many women in our society are unhappy in the corporate world and seeking to make a change and enter the home-based working world. What better time of year to be presenting your home-based business opportunity as often as possible?

There are many ways to go about the task of increasing your business and recruiting. Take time before the New Year begins to make a list of strategies that you can implement to get your name out there. Also, think about what small changes you can make to increase customer loyalty, repeat business and other business aspects like these.

If your goal is to increase recruitment for business partners, consider finding a Leads program in which to take part. Many times these programs can provide you with interested home-based business seekers with which to share your business opportunities. Look for a program that is suited to your particular business or beliefs. There are many different types of Leads programs available on the internet – take the time to find the one that suits you, your business and your budget best.

A great recruiting tool is to sponsor contests. You can do this both online and in your local area. This can create a “buzz” about your business and provide you with names of people who might be interested in your business opportunity. One “out of the box” way that I have heard of the contest sponsorship idea being done is to put contest entry boxes in local women’s fitness clubs or places that would fit your particular business. Use “Customer Care Cards” as the entry forms so that you can collect the name, address, phone number and email address of the person entering your contest. Follow up with a phone call to each and every entry. Some may be interested in hosting a party for you or in hearing about your business opportunity.

Maybe your goal this New Year isn’t recruitment, but sales growth. Make a list of creative ways that you can encourage customers to consider your products. You can jumpstart this year’s sales by offering “After Christmas” specials, after-purchase freebies, contests and more.

One way that many home-based business owners online neglect to take advantage of is the signature line in emails and when posting in forums. This can be a great tool to advertise your business, specials and contests. I receive many emails from business owners who do not include a signature line with their business name, and sometimes they fail to even put their name at the end of the email! This is not only unprofessional, but makes it much more difficult to find out more about their business. Every email sent this way is a potential sale lost.

Read More→

Ivette Muller - Direct Sales SuccessCongratulations on your new business!!!

Now what?  🙂

Deciding on a direct sales business was the easy part…now it’s time to market your new business and find customers.  But where do you start?  Finding new customers can be a daunting task if you start telling everybody you know and anyone you meet.  Trying to tell everyone about your business can be exhausting.

Finding Customers

Why you ask?

Everybody is not a potential customer – contrary to popular belief, you should not try to market your business to anyone that’s breathing or has a checkbook.  In order to be successful and manage your time and marketing expenses efficiently, you really need to find a “niche” of potential customers.

Finding out who really needs or can use your product is the key to finding customers quickly.  By targeting your marketing efforts to find the people who are best suited to use your products, you maximize your chances of them needing the product and therefore, buying the product or hosting a party.

For example:  let’s say you sell jewelry, what kind of jewelry do you sell?  Does it appeal to a younger generation or the successful business woman?  Is it reasonably priced or is it high fashion and it costs a little more?

Now that you have identified what kind of product you sell, who could use it?  Or a better question to ask is who doesn’t need it?  When you ask yourself “who” needs your product, you are identifying a group of people who could benefit from your products and services.

Once you’ve identified who can use your product, it’s time to start making a list of people to contact.  This will get you started on finding customers quickly.

You can start with the F.R.A.N.K. list:  friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbors and kids associations.  Now that you have a list of the people you know, prioritize them based on who needs your product – think about how you can make things easier for them.  Identify what problem your product solves so that you can create a targeted conversation piece to introduce your new business.

Example: “Hi Sally, this is Julie.  How are you doing?   How are the kids?  I was thinking about you today because Spring Break is coming up and I know you are going to California for your brother’s wedding.  When we talked last week, you mentioned that you didn’t have any nice jewelry to wear with your dress for the dance.  I thought you might still need some jewelry to finish off your wardrobe for the different events and I just started selling xxx jewelry and we’ve got some great pieces for day wear and evening wear.  When would be a good day to stop by and drop off a catalog with some recommendations?”

Using this type of script helps you to introduce your new product in a way that will help the person you talked to.  By offering personal shopping services to help your friend get what they need, you are offering more of a service rather than just trying to sell something.

People want to do business with people they know, like and trust.  So if someone already knows you and realizes that you have taken time to listen to their needs, they will be more receptive to what you have to offer.  The key to that script is personalizing it to your style of conversation and tailoring it to each person’s needs.   Here are the 3 components you need:

  1. Introduction – if the person sounds busy, ask if it’s a good time to chat
  2. Reference – mention a previous conversation that triggered you to call, why they need your service/product
  3. Ask when you can get together – try to avoid a question with a yes or no answer because it makes it difficult to follow up.  If you ask, “Can I stop by to drop off a catalog?” and the person says , “No”, then what?  You can’t ask why not or if another day would be better.  It stops the conversation.

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Jan
02

How To Create a Focused New Year

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new year new startA new year is here. We all want to begin with fresh resolve.

When I look at the present and where I want to be I get overwhelmed. It seems like I have so far to go, as if trying to reach a distant destination. There is nothing wrong with my life at present. But I tend to push myself toward growth, being my own toughest task master. When I look at everyday life I say I want to clean better, cook better, tidy better, be more organized, be diligent at putting away my papers and making sure my desk is straight. I want to pursue excellence in my business, in writing, in motherhood and in spiritual growth. I want to have better relationships, to spend more quality time with each child and with my spouse.

As I look at all these things none of them are a destination but all of them are areas of growth.

When I look at my list it would appear that I feel like I’m “just not there yet” in any area.  This could lead to feelings of failure and discouragement (and sometimes does.)

I don’t know whether this blight of wanting to achieve a certain standard is all just built into my personality or if it is something that many of us moms struggle with. We are people with many hats; the business woman, the wife, the cook, dishwasher, dog walker, event planner, disciplinarian, moral instructor, teacher and so much more. And somehow I just want to do them all perfectly. In the back of my mind I have the false hope that if I could just perfect all of my duties I would be satisfied that I have accomplished a goal, or goals.

In thinking back over this past year, I see areas of steady improvement but I don’t see that I have mastered anything I my list.

I pursued some areas with vengeance.

For instance early in the summer I read Read for Your Life by Pat Williams. Williams discusses his method of reading through at least one book per week. He reads at every given opportunity, at stop lights, on airplanes, in the grocery store line. I love to read and have longed to read more but have found it a challenge with children and the many other aspects of life which consume my time. With enthusiasm to put these new found techniques into practice I began to read again.

For the first few weeks I was almost able to keep pace but then my reading dwindled off as I got into the bestselling book The Magic Art of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo.  The picture of such a tidy house seemed a dream come true so with gusto I attempted to carry out all of the things mentioned. I sorted my clothes, organized them and gave away huge bags worth. I was just getting into the groove of learning this art of tidying when the school year started. I was overcome by this new task of homeschooling and the art of tidying in went by the wayside.

I have failed at reading one book per week.

I have failed at the magic art of tidying up.

This looks like a bleak projection of what my goals should be for this coming year.

I had started a list of things I wanted to accomplish in 2016 but stopped.

I asked the Lord to quiet my heart.

Slowly He is teaching me that is doesn’t matter how fast we get to our goals.

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Jan
01

Organizing Your New Year

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jill-new14new year new startThe New Year is here!

I look forward this new beginning each year with a great deal of anticipation. It’s time to shake off the things of last year and look to the days of head and all of the opportunites they hold.

To help you start your year off right, here are a few thoughts for organizing your business and household for the upcoming year.

BUSINESS 

1. Files – Now is a great time to go through your files and make sure all is in order – labeled and put in a place where they are easily accessible. Take the time to throw out anything that can go and put old tax and business files into storage.

2. Desk –  A clean desk is a great way to kick off the new year. Find a place for everything and put everything in it’s place. It will help motivate you to sit down and get to work – no distractions.

3. Calendar –  Buy yourself a new calendar and/or planner and start filling that baby up. Make sure to mark in the days when there is no school (or early out days), and other items that you’ll need to keep you organized in both business and family tasks.

HOUSEHOLD 

1. Drawers and Closets – With the cold weather keeping you indoors, this is a great time to clean out those drawers and closets that need your attention. It’s also a great time to donate your gently used items.

2. Books – Just like clothing and other household goods, books can be donated to your local homeless shelter. Our local shelter has a library available to all of it’s residents. So, take time this new year to go through your books and donate those that you can part with.

3. Storage Spots –  Now that it’s time to put the Christmas decorations away, you might as well tidy up those storage areas as well. I’ve found that adding shelving to our small storage room makes it much easier to keep things organized and accessible. Also, nowadays you can buy colored totes to make separating out holiday decorations – or other items – easy.

SPIRITUAL LIFE

1. Hello/Goodbye Workbook (by Jo Saxton and Stephanie O’Brien – “The ‘Hello Goodbye’ process is a tool in response to New Year’s resolutions – it is not about fixing yourself, but intentionally, prayerfully turning away from certain things, whether good or bad, and turning towards other things.  Those things might be fun (like working out!) or they may be uncomfortable like embracing grief or forgiveness, but the focus is finding ways to be healthier emotionally, spiritually and physically.”

2. Joanna Weaver’s 2018 Utmost for His Highest Bible Reading Plan  –  Joanna Weaver is the author of several books, most notably Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. Joanna explains a little about her 2018 reading challenge: “Each day, after reading an assigned chapter from the Bible, you’ll be encouraged to also consider that day’s entry from Oswald Chambers’ devotional classic, My Utmost for His Highest .” Joanna will be sharing updates every weekday on her blog (and I’ll be contributing in April!). You can download the free workbook when you sign up (also free) on her website: JoannaWeaverBooks.com.

 

I hope you’re as excited about this new year as I am! I’d love to hear your tips for getting organized – post them in the comments below!

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Dec
29

How Your Brand Can Effortlessly Draw Your Audience

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerdana-attractionClient attraction. It’s a buzz word these days that if you’re like me, you see everywhere.

And we see it everywhere because it is, indeed, a very important strategy. And that is where branding comes in.

A good brand distinguishes you from the crowd. On the Internet especially, it is so easy to get lost. It’s kind of like cookie cutter homes. Every time I drive through one of these neighborhoods, I get disoriented because every house looks alike!

Think about a custom house, though. Doesn’t that stand out in your mind? Aren’t you unconsciously drawn to it? Isn’t it more memorable in your mind?

This is just an analogy but a very effective one. Your brand needs to be customized to your business, to your Unique Selling Proposition. A one-size-all logo that looks like everyone else’s logo is not going to help you distinguish yourself from your competition. You will be lost in the crowd!

So when you have a customized brand, tailored to your mission, vision, and values, then you will attract customers to you.

This is because you will understand your target market and you will create a brand image that appeals to them. But a brand is more than a logo. It is the message that you are communicating. When you have clarity in your message to your audience, then what you have to say creates a resonance. You become attractive and they want to find out more.

It’s the difference between pushing and pulling, between a rubber band and a magnet. A good branding program will serve as that magnet that will attract prospects to you rather than you having to pull them in.

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Dec
26

Living as a Light

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“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16 NIV candlelight

How are you a light to those you work with? Do friends, colleagues and clients know that you’re a Christian? Can they tell simply by the way you live your life; the way you treat them?

I love this quote from the book (Work Matters) from sociologist James Hunter regarding the fact that Christ is faithfully present to us. “Faithful presence in the world means that Christians are fully present and committed in their spheres of influence, whatever they may be: their families, neighborhoods, voluntary activities and places of work.”

The question we must ask ourselves then is, “Am I fully present?” Am I engaged in my community, my church, my life? Or am I simply letting life pass me by as I muddle through each day with an attitude of defeat?

As my wonderful assistant, Pebbles Jacobo would say, “Be where you are.”

Such a simple statement, but when we live it out it has a massive impact.

Be fully present when you’re with your kids. Be fully present when you’re working. I know that switching between the two is incredibly difficult when you work from home, but it is a skill that can be learned. Or maybe a better way to phrase that would be it is an attitude that can be chosen.

When my kids were small I struggled to shut off work mode to listen to their excessive enthusiasm over things like Elmo. There were many days (and still are) when I had to force myself to close my laptop, look my kids in the eye and listen. Truly listen.

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Dec
18

Constructive Activities to Keep Kids Busy This Christmas Break

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerChristmas TreeThe countdown has begun. My children are about to begin a two-week vacation, and yours may be, too. The second week of Christmas break most kids entertain themselves with all those lovely presents we spent weeks buying and wrapping. Week one is like a disease that causes kids to itch for gifts, which drives us (okay, me) up the wall. Why do schools let kids out before Christmas Eve? What do you mean ‘teachers need to shop, too?’ Let the children soak up their education and let moms finish getting ready instead of three or four days off before the big day. Ha!

My kids attend school Monday, early release on the 19th and 20th, no school on the 21st, and the winter break extends straight on into the New Year. That’s two half days and four days of three mini-me’s asking if it’s Christmas yet.

Lucky for them, their mom is terrible at math and overbought baking supplies for holiday gifts. This year the girls and I made cookie jars for the teachers, friends, and church family. As in, we bought quart-sized jars and filled them with the dry ingredients for butterscotch oatmeal cookies. My aunt had a book with the recipes and cards to attach to the jars for the gift-receiver. We put twenty-four jars together and had enough for neighbors, teachers, my husband’s co-workers, the pastors, and a few friends. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon with my little helpers. Thanks to my lack of math skills, we now own enough extra sugar, flour, baking powder, and baking chips for my mandatory holiday five-pound weight gain.

Along with baking, here are some constructive activities to keep the youngsters from ripping into the tree early:

  • Craft Fun – Hobby Lobby (along with other craft stores) has some wonderful ornament kits with all the stickers and decorations included. Every year I buy one or two of these kits and the kids contribute to the tree decorating. The shop even has little gingerbread decorating kids (not the edible kind) with tiny candy stickers. I admit I enjoy decorating them too.
  • Candy hunt in the backyard – Think Easter egg hunt. I live in Texas and see little snow but name a kid who doesn’t love candy.
  • Clearing out toy clutter – This activity isn’t much fun but is necessary and helpful to us moms. Give each kid a box and they can clear out all the toys and books they stopped playing with and reading, to make way for all the gadgets and gizmo’s under the tree. I would suggest the same for video games. Toys can then be donated and help the youngling’s get their rooms clean before the onslaught of toys move from the tree to their rooms.
  • Baking – Don’t forget the baking! My son Rick is better at baking than me. I’m not joking. If I don’t stand by the oven, I burn the cookies. Heck, if I stand by the oven I burn the cookies. He can walk off, sniff the air a few minutes later and pull the cookies out at the perfect time. His cookies stay soft for days! How did he get so good at baking? Practice. At first, they help measure ingredients and work their way up to cooking on their own.
  • Princess tea party – We have a full-service mismatch tea-set and with all those cookies Rick will bake, Bri, Alex, and I will require a sophisticated tea party worthy of the queen.
  • Games – Board games! And card games! Rick recently learned how to play war and then taught his sisters how to play. Think of all the old-fashioned fun! Clue, Catan (if you haven’t played this game you need to try it!), Scrabble, Skipbo, Checkers, Chess, Pictionary, Apples to Apples, Scattergories, Monopoly, Sorry, the list goes on! Make them put their electronics down and try some fun from the past!

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