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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

Jan
11

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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by Chris Carroll

For many direct sellers, January brings that terrible fear regarding the growth of our direct sales business. Many of us want to grow our business and make a big impact on sales as well as income in the coming year.

January also bring that dreaded business planning back into focus. Yes, you should have been doing it all along, but now is the perfect time to start planning and making small changes in your business that over the year will bring you big impact.

If you simply make a weekly, monthly & yearly plan for your business and focus on adding one customer a week and/or one recruit a month, you will see your business grow by leaps and bounds in the coming year. One customer a week is 52 new customers. If you are in a direct sales business, you know those dollars will add up, especially if those customers remain loyal and place a lot of re orders with you.

One recruit a month can also add quite a bit to your income. That is 12 new team members. What will that do to your income level? If your team members also follow your plan, will they also be adding members? You bet. How can that impact your income? In a big way! Read More→

Dec
28

A 10 Point Checklist for Choosing Your Domain Name

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wwwWhen getting started with a new online business one of the first things you need to do is choose a domain name. This step is much more important than you might realize. An appropriate and effective domain could decide your website’s fate.

Unfortunately many people will be so involved in the design and set-up of the website they will overlook the importance of selecting the proper domain name. Your domain name will be your website’s identity and it will also be the doorway for people to purchase your products and/or services.

The following checklist will guide you and help you keep in mind some of the things you need to consider when choosing your domain.

1. Keep It Short and Simple – Keeping your domain name short, simple and easy to remember will make it easier for people to get to your site. You want a domain that is easy to spell and type. Don’t use big fancy words or commonly misspelled words such as believe, amateur or collectible. You can find lists of the most commonly misspelled words and if they are in your domain, consider using a thesaurus to find an alternative.

2. Use Your Name – In my opinion, it is a good choice to use your name in your domain. This will be a binding agent for your website your business and you. If your last name is long and hard to spell, consider using your first name. This way if people do not remember your entire URL, they will be likely to remember your name and can still find you. I have had many people who did not remember my specific URL search for me by using my name.

3. Don’t Try to Be Cute and Clever – Cutesy and fun work with some things but it is not appropriate for your domain. Don’t use puns or a “clever” play on words. For example: Flickr.

Using this trendy name probably sounded like a good idea at the time but they finally had to purchase the correct spelling domain flicker.com Doing this will just make your domain hard to remember and/or it will more than likely get typed incorrectly and you lose the traffic.

4. Hyphens and Numbers – There are actually a couple of advantages to using hyphens but in my opinion, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Hyphens actually make it easier for the search engines to distinguish your keywords. Hyphens could also make it possible for you to get the domain you want if the regular version is already taken. But, hyphens will more than likely cause you to lose traffic because people will not always realize your url contains hyphens.

If your domain is beautiful-jewelry.com and you tell people to check out your site, Beautiful Jewelry, you will lose traffic. It is easy to lose the hyphen when spreading the word about your site. And it will make it more complicated for people to remember. It’s the same with numbers. BeautifulJewelry1.com will be much less remembered and found then BeautifulJewelry.com Read More→

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Dec
17

Successfully Growing a Family and a Business Under One Roof

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Identify the highest and best use of your time. If you’re in direct sales, the highest and best use of your time is probably when you are setting appointments or actually selling. If you’re a tutor, you make money tutoring. If you teach piano lessons, your teaching time is most profitable. Identifying the highest and best use of your time is essential so that you know which actions create income for you—and which actions don’t. This is essential for profiting from the next tip.

Hire help when possible. Early in my work-at-home career, I asked a successful Realtor® this question, “If you had one piece of advice to give someone who works for herself, what would it be? She was so certain of her answer she didn’t even pause to think. “Never do yourself what you can pay someone else to do,” she responded. Read More→

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Dec
03

Let God Invade Your Business

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A few years ago I had one of those “lightning bolt” moments. Each year I sit down to write out goals and dreams for my business. This particular year, as I sat and thought through what I hoped to accomplish in the upcoming year, how I hoped to help people, it hit me. Where does God fit in to all of this? Does He fit comfortably in the “Spiritual” categories or is He a part of everything that CWAHM is and does?

Whoa. Talk about a challenging question.

As I wrestled with this I came to realization that God wants to invade our lives – and that means our businesses, too. In the gospels we see Jesus meeting people right where they were. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and taught the seeking. He met their physical needs as well as their spiritual needs.

He wanted to be a part of their everyday lives, not just the days they went to the temple (the Old Testament equivalent of church). He wasn’t afraid to hang out with the sick, the hurting, the “sinners.”

He wants to be a part of our everyday life, too. He wants to invade our families, our marriages, our businesses. He wants to show us that there is a different way of doing things. A better way. A way that points to the divine even in the midst of most basic business task.

He wants to be in:

* The decision to be kind to the difficult customer.

* The decision to give a sale price when we could charge full price to someone who isn’t aware of the sale.

* The decision to give a product away to someone we know is struggling or hurting.

It’s our choice.  We can choose to do business with Jesus. Or we can choose to do things our own way…usually the way we’ve been taught by people who seem to know how to “do” business, how to make money. And yet, in the end … is really about making money?

So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work…” Ecclesiastes 3:22, NCV

Where does God fit in your business?

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Nov
30

Why Mission Statements Matter

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerMission statements. Nonprofits use them frequently. Churches use them all the time. Corporations use them as well.

But what about you? Have you created your mission statement? And why is it important?

A mission statement helps to make sure you stay on target with your business. It answers the question, “Why do you exist and whom do you serve?”

Mission statements are part of your brand. In fact, they are the foundation of your brand. A well thought-out mission statement will give you visual clues as to what your brand image should look like.

A well written one will also help you discover your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). What is it that distinguishes you from your competition? What makes you different? What benefit do your customers get when they purchase from you?

Jesus gave us a mission statement to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Corporations and organizations know that mission statements are part of their branding. They make sure that every employee knows the company mission statement. In addition, corporations and organizations will often write vision and values statements, too.

I experienced this when I worked for a Christian para-ministry in Colorado. It was drilled into my head. I often designed the mission, vision, and values statements.

In fact, it was drilled into my head so much that I decided to create my own mission, vision, and values statements! I designed it into a chart which also included my callings. Read More→

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Nov
26

54 Marketing Mediums: Where Do Your Customers Expect You to Be?

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Ruth Martin, Life as a Virtual Assistant bloggerruth-marketingMarketing, or advertising, may feel awkward or like some obscure creature that’s hard to understand or tame but I promise it’s not. With so many various mediums to use, the decision often boils down to which to use that connects with your customers plus testing what is working.

I suggest selecting between one to three methods to begin with and track those results. Tracking the results can be as easy as asking readers to “mention this ad,” “respond by a specific date,” “use this code,” or “use a specific page URL” and noting the unique hits to that URL. Put something in your advertising that can be measurable and tracked. Your overall message can be similar but vary the tracking element.

For my clients I recommend that if using three mediums for a specific marketing focus that each contains something uniquely identifiable. For example: on Twitter or Facebook we would use a hashtag (#). For article marketing we would include a URL link to a free download that has a counter to record the number of times it’s been downloaded. And for the third medium we’d ask readers to reply with a code word in the subject line or to mention seeing this ad to track how many saw the message.

Run your marketing for a minimum of three months, review the results you’ve collected during that time, and make some slight tweaks to enhance the results you received during this time. Marketing is all about testing, tracking, and tweaking. If you’re not tracking your marketing efforts then you won’t know with certainty what’s working.

Online Marketing Options

1. Press Releases

2. Article Marketing

3. Article/Blog Commenting

4. Guest Blogging

5. Video Marketing/Blogging

6. Blogging

7. Podcasts

8. Online Radio Show

9. eCourse

10. Workshop

11. Email Marketing

12. Social Media: Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Google+/Pinterest, etc.

13. Forums / Online Chats

14. Networking Groups

15. eZine/Digital Newsletter

16. Pink Spoon Marketing

17. Affiliate Marketing

18. Joint Partnership Marketing

19. Social Bookmarking

20. Word of Mouth Marketing

21. Referral Marketing

22. Infographic Sharing

23. eBooks

24. Paperback/Hardback Book

25. Pay Per Click Ads

26. Facebook Ads

27. Google Adwords

28. Host an Online Contest

29. QR Codes

30. Website

31. Customized Email Signature Block

32. Free Reports/White Papers/Checklists

Offline Marketing Options

1. Newsletter

2. Postcards

3. Brochures

4. Business Cards

5. Newspaper Ads

6. Radio Ads

7. Television Ads

8. Sponsorship Ads or a Team Sponsorship or Sponsor Gift Bags

9. Auction Donations

10. Conference Attendee

11. Conference Vendor

12. Trade Show

13. Note Cards/Greeting & Holiday Cards/Thank You Cards

14. Public Speaking

15. On-Site Training Workshops

16. Handouts/Flyers

17. Premium Marketing (pens, tote bags, t-shirts, etc.)

18. Marketing Wrapped Vehicle or Vehicle Magnets

19. Cold Calling

20. Coffee/Dessert Meetings

21. Provide a Prize for a Local Contest

22. In-Person Networking Events (Chamber Meetings, Business Mixers, etc.)

It’s not mandatory to market in each of these mediums. It IS crucial for you to know who your customers are, what their interests are regarding their business, and where these customers would anticipate seeing your advertising.

While it is a good community gesture to sponsor an ad in the local high school yearbook, the reality is that you probably won’t get a customer from someone reading that ad. So do you say no to a yearbook ad? It’s entirely up to you. The parent who is co-chairing the yearbook committee may be a business owner you’ve been trying to reach. This may be a way to strike up a conversation over a common interest point that over time, and relationship building, could lead to bigger business. But the reality is that it most likely is a feel-good type ad that won’t have strong conversion possibilities. Only you will know if you should spend part of your marketing budget here. Apply this same type of consideration to each medium.

Try a using a combination of these 4 core fundamentals to marketing:

Advertising: you are calling attention to your own products, services, and needs your business answers for others.

Publicity: securing public notice to your business offerings by being in the news, by word of mouth or other communications. The key is others talking positively about your business on your behalf.

Sales Promotions: giving your current and potential customers advance notice of a service, product, or need that your business provides that they can use, buy, recommend, or share with others. You are encouraging others to take action during a specific time period.

Personal Selling: having 1-on-1 contact with a prospective buyer where you can personally address their specific needs and offer tailored responses, services, and answers via your product offerings.

Before venturing into any marketing medium determine if your preferred customer would typically be seeing this type of advertisement. Let who your end customer is, determine where you place your marketing efforts and marketing dollars. Your customers will drive your marketing presence, and in turn, your marketing frequency will drive your customers [to you]. Read More→

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Nov
19

Thanksgiving Perspective

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jill-new14Do you feel like a success? As work-at-home moms it’s easy to get caught up in the “look what she has accomplished” mindset and fail to see all that God has done in our own lives and businesses. We need to shift our perspectives from  “what I want to accomplish” to “WOW! Look what God has done!”

Thanksgiving is upon us and this seems like the perfect time of year to think about how God sees you and your success. Do you believe that He wants you to succeed?

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

Believe it or not, the sentence above is a quote directly from Scripture – Psalm 20:4. If our hearts are right with God, we are on track for success in life. Now, this may not mean that each of us can be a millionaire, but it does mean that God wants to lead us down the path to success.

We must, however, keep in mind that God’s idea of success in our lives may not look exactly like the version we see in our heads. God first and foremost wants us to be the person that He created us to be; to live a life of sacrifice, obedience and love. We can’t simply hoard our money and resources for ourselves, living in fear that we won’t have enough,  hoping that God will bless that. God calls us to a much bigger belief than that!He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.

This proverb (see Proverbs 2:7) is a powerful reminder that our God is a God of justice. He “holds success” for the upright. Does that mean wicked people can’t be successful? No. We must look at the sentence following and be reminded that God is our shield – if we trust in Jesus. Only by trusting in the person and power of Jesus can we be seen as “blameless in God’s sight.” (1 Corinthians 1:8)

You see, God looks at us much differently than we look at ourselves. We see our sins, failures and shortcomings. However, when we believe in Jesus as our salvation, God sees us as blameless. What freedom there is in that truth!

There are other areas of life where we need a perspective change as well. You see, many of us, especially Americans see ourselves as poor.  We makes comments like, “I’m so broke.”  I’ve been guilty of this more times than I can count. But I recently had a wake-up call as to how God sees my financial status.

In his book Weird, pastor and author Craig Groeschel shares:

If you earn $37,000 a year, you are in the top 4 percent of all wage earners alive today – certifiably rich by anyone’s definition. If you make $45,000 a year or more, you are in the top 1 percent of wage earners in the world.

How many of us can say our family income is $37,000 or more a year? Many of us easily fit into even the TOP 1 PERCENT of wage earners worldwide. That is a staggering truth. That makes us not poor, but RICH in the world’s eyes….and in God’s eyes. Sadly, we believe we are poor because we do not manage our finances responsibly, nor do we share much of what we have with those in true need.

Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

Ephesians 4:28 reminds us that have a God-given responsibility to share. This Thanksgiving, let’s change our perspective. Let’s see ourselves for who we truly are – children of the King, co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), people who have been given much and who need to look outside of ourselves and see the need that exists around us.

Let’s make this Thanksgiving a time of not only thanking God for what He’s given us, but going a step further and changing our lives to reflect our gratefulness.

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Nov
16

Not Where You Want to Be? Maybe You’re Out of Alignment!

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DanaFeeling stuck? Like nothing you try is working in your business? It may be that you are out of alignment.

What do you I mean?

Let me tell you a personal story. In my married life, there were some misplaced priorities that prevented me from reaching the goals I had set for myself. Because our marriage was out of balance and we had stopped putting Christ in the midst of it, this spun off into our businesses. Everything was dried up. We experienced failure after failure.

At the core, when you peel away the layer of this onion, it’s because we trusted in money, not God. We believed we were slaves, not heirs, and we took on burdens that were not ours to hold. In addition, we did not ask for help but instead tried to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.

Our lives were spinning out of control, all because the foundation was sinking. We were building our household on a lie.

So God, being the loving Father He is, would not bless us. Since we were stingy with each other, others were stingy with us.

Being a work at home mom or dad is a journey of faith. When we replace that faith with trying to do it all on our own or working out of desperation, joy is sucked out of us. We burn out quickly. Frustration ensues and we can’t seem to make those breakthroughs that we so keenly need.

But when we are in alignment, with Christ, in our marriage and in our family, we have joy, energy, love, and confidence. We stop swimming against the tide, but instead wait for God as He tells us what the next step is and how to complete it.

It’s so easy to put off happiness until we get that perfect pot of gold we are seeking. For instance, saying you will be happy when you lose 50 pounds, or you will be happy when you make a certain quota in your business. In our case, we put off getaways and dates because we had to work and we couldn’t “afford” it. In effect, we put off loving each other and as a result we almost lost everything we had, including our marriage.

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Nov
12

10 Ways to Make Blogging Work for Your Business

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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→

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