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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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Archive for Home Business Articles

Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggerSelf-published your book and not sure how to get others to notice it?  No problem these tips will help you market like a pro. Many of these tips work for home-based businesses, too!

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

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

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

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

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

Make Customer Service a Top Priority

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

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

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

An old-fashioned work ethic!

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

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

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

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

These tips work!

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

 

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

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

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

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

Your childhood!

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

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

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

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

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

Oct
04

PR and Marketing Tips – Becoming and Staying the Expert

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Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggercoffee and computerOne of the best ways to get known as the expert in your field is to regularly send out articles to targeted databases showcasing tips that you know best.   Seems simple enough, but so many just don’t do it.  And because of that, they are missing out on major opportunities, clients, and most important of all exposure for their business.

Articles are known to inform and educate.  These can be especially beneficial when changes are made that people need to be aware of. And in business that happens frequently.  People then look to you for guidance on topics when new changes happen and you become the hero always having the answer.  

So absolutely write on new topics and wear that cape.  However, don’t just write articles on new things that are happening.  Write articles on what you do daily in your business.  To you it might seem like the same ole’ same ole, but to others it can be just the information they are seeking. And when they do a google search and you routinely come up with what they need, guess what, they will want to do business with you.

I personally love top tips articles … say for example, 5 ways to get more PR for your business or 5 ways to 5 ways to build your brand.   I usually write these articles with the following guidelines

  • Awesome engaging title
  • First paragraph that describes the article and clearly grabs the attention of your audience.
  • The five tips I’ve mentioned – bulleted or numbered.
  • Closing paragraph that wraps it all up
  • Bio – shows your website, contact, media mentions and also any links to programs you run.

What is especially great is when you pitch these informative articles out, often times a publication will run the entire article.  So consider this, instead of a publication adding a sentence or two with your quote, the entire article is written by you and every tip is yours.  That is prime real estate baby!  It doesn’t always happen, but when it does it’s magical.

But to send it out to the media, you need to create a pitch.  They need to know why they would be interested in that article and who you are.  So let’s break down the pitch.  The pitch consists of a killer subject line that will have those who receive it, want to open it and know more.  Also, I often include the word “Article” with the Name of Article in the subject line.  This allows those who receive it to know what to expect.   Read More→

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Oct
02

October Featured CWAHM

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We love featuring CWAHMs from some of the best work-at-home opportunities available! This month’s CWAHM spotlight introduces you to:

Myndi Shafer
LuLaRoe Retailer
Website
Email

Tell us a little about your business:  I schedule pop-up parties, either online via Facebook; or in women’s homes; or in my own home, which I love! If you’re interested in scheduling a pop-up with me, or just learning about the perks of hosting a pop-up (they. are. AWESOME!), feel free to shoot me an email or message me on Facebook. If you just want to join our Tribe and lurk a little bit, that’s totally cool too (and you should, because Rising Tide Tribe is a group of fun, supportive, positive women. You’d fit right in!).

What do your days look like? I am a LuLaRoe retailer, which on the surface means I sell clothes. Ridiculously comfortable, super cute clothes. So that’s great, but that’s not where my passion lies. My passion for this business is in helping women embrace their own personal beauty–just as they are. It’s in creating a community that lifts each other up and does good. It’s in creating a safe space where the seeds of new friendships can be planted and nurtured into bloom. It’s in creating financial freedom for my family and enjoying myself in the process.

Why did you choose this particular business? I chose LuLaRoe because their business model is unique. Most people assume LuLaRoe is a typical MLM, but I liked that I could do well for myself without ever building a team. That’s not to say that I don’t want to build a team, but I wasn’t interested in making team-building my #1 goal right out of the gate. Another thing that attracted me to them was their point margin–as the wife of an entrepreneur, I understand the necessity of a decent point margin in order to turn a profit, and LuLaRoe’s point margins are very good. Demand for their product is high, and word-of-mouth about the brand was rampant and generally positive.

I also loved that they don’t charge a ‘fat tax’ on their plus size clothes–any plus size gal knows what it’s like to shop and see the prices gouged because of their size. Also, in doing research for my business plan, it because clear to me that in spite of the occasional bad press, the company has its stuff together–a vision for their long-term future and the capital to implement it.

What do you love MOST about your business? There are three things that I adore about this business. The first is the women I interact with. My Facebook group Rising Tide Tribe has grown from 40 people to 350 in just two months, and it is a crazy, fun, positive place to be. These women–most of them didn’t know each other at all before the Tribe–lift each other up and join hands to do good together. It’s amazing. We’ve donated money to hurricane relief. We’re currently doing a month-long blood/platelet drive. We are selfie-crazy because we feel good about ourselves and want to encourage each other to be kind to ourselves! And it’s a joy and privilege to be brought into their lives–I’ve had so many messages of requests for prayer, or notes of how wearing LuLaRoe has helped them deal with chronic pain, or how looking forward to our online pop-ups has given them a little ray of light in their struggle with depression.

I expected selling LuLaRoe to be fun. I didn’t expect it to be so important, and that is beautiful and humbling. The second thing I love about it is that I can work from home. I know that seems obvious, but truly, that’s a gift that I don’t take lightly. To be able to pull in a decent part-time income from home is such a blessing. And the third thing I adore about this business is the culture of the company. There is a sisterhood among most retailers and a sense of care from corporate. Anytime I have felt lost or like the learning curve was too much to overcome, someone has always come beside me, grabbed my hand, and said, “How can I help?” That’s pretty freaking cool.
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Sep
29

5 Essential Ingredients to Building a Successful Brand

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerWhat ingredients make up for a successful brand? Some of them may surprise you!

1. Desire

This is where it must start. You have got to WANT to build a successful business. You must want it with every fiber of your being.

Because face it: hurdles are going to come. Something worth having is something worth fighting for. There will be times when you want to give in, to throw in the proverbial towel. But DESIRE to achieve your goal will keep you going despite feeling tired, discouraged, or having setback after setback. This is a lifelong journey so think of it as a marathon, not a race!

2. Pursue Your Passions and Callings

An old saying that I like comes to mind: “Do what you love, and the money will follow.”

God gave you talents, gifts, and life experiences. He has a calling (or several callings) planned for you. After all, He put you on this earth. He is the provider (Matthew 6). You are here for more than just making a living. What is it? What’s your destiny?

That’s why the Parable of the Talents is just as relevant today when Jesus taught it. Jesus invested in you. Are you going to invest in what He gave you to get a return or are you going to bury it?

The ROI in this case is so much more than business profits. The real desire that God has for you is that you invest in others so that they will come to the Kingdom.

And also, your passions will bring you more vibrant life, more desire, and fulfillment.

I think of the other day when I gave my first ever Kingdom Entrepreneur class here locally in Colorado Springs. As I stood up there giving my introductory presentation, I felt that I belonged in front of that class. I knew there was “fire in my belly.” Ideas came rushing into me and I talked with animation and excitement. I inspired my students. What’s more, all my experiences came to bear, even my childhood ones.

I could deliver that well because I had a passion on the topic.

When you follow your passions and callings, then you will attract more people to what you’re doing AND most importantly, you will stick with it when you have setbacks. Again, it gets back to that desire. When you know your why, you will have inspiration, not merely motivation.

3. Define Your Target Market

If you aim at nothing, you will hit at nothing. The more you define the group of people or niche who can benefit from your programs, the more you will attract customers and clients.

Even as I write this, for instance, I am keeping in my mind one PERSON, who is a Christian Work at Home Mom or Dad. That is the market of this blog! I’m not writing to everyone in the universe. Just you.

It’s the same with your business. Who is your ideal client? What is their gender, age, economic status, education level, location? What do they like to do in their spare time? What are their problems?

This is where a sweet spot comes in. When you identify your passions and callings and that product or service you provide can solve your target market’s problem, then you will attract customers like bees to honey! Read More→

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Sep
25

Five Steps to Landing a Great Work-at-Home Job

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According to the latest American Community Survey data, there are approximately 2.8 million people, not including the self employed or unpaid volunteers, who consider home their primary place of work. The struggling American economy has created the need for companies to cut back as much as possible. This has created growth in the work-at-home industry as it allows companies to save on expenses like office space, equipment and insurance costs.

However, the telecommuting world can be a hard place to get your foot in the door. Linda Dickerhoof, Public Relations Director at VIPDesk, one of the leading virtual concierge and virtual customer service providers in the United States, reports that they receive as many as two hundred resumes a day. With that kind of competition, it’s imperative that you stand out from the crowd. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when applying for telecommuting employment.

1. Do Your Research – This is, by far, the most crucial aspect of your work-at-home job search. There are many legitimate companies that hire at-home employees. However, in order to weed out at-home job scams, you need to know what “red flags” to look for.  A legitimate work-at-home opportunity won’t ask you for any sort of “affiliation fee,” nor will they send you any type of list of employers to contact.

A legitimate opportunity will also not offer an unrealistic salary. The ads that you see offering $5k/wk with no experience usually are just what they sound – too good to be true. Avoid work-at-home opportunities advertised via infomercials, signs taped to a lamp-post, stop signs or via spam e-mail. Always check with the Better Business Bureau to see what type of reputation the company you are considering has, then follow up with an Internet search to see what is being said about the company in blogs, on twitter, and in the mainstream media.

2. Prepare Your Resume – Applying for a working-at-home position should be treated just like any other job application process. The company may allow you to work from home, but they will not tolerate an unprofessional attitude. In fact, it’s highly unlikely that your resume will be selected if it’s anything less than top-notch.

In order to get ahead, put together a professional resume outlining your job experience and highlighting any special skills or training applicable to the position you’re applying for. Keep your resume to one page, if possible.

3. Prepare For the Interview – The interview process is more critical than usual in the work-at-home world because the interviewer will not be meeting you face to face. Most at-home employers have a strenuous screening process to filter out applicants who do not fit the professional standards required.

Prepare ahead of time for questions not only about your employment background, but also about what your home work environment will be like (they do not want to hear animals or children in the background). Interviewers will be listening intently to how you present yourself over the phone, so be as prepared and professional as possible. Read More→

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Sep
22

Your Brand and What You Charge

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerdana-chargeAs a brand consultant, one pitfall I have noticed time and again is a sense of guilt for charging customers.

Often my clients are so excited about what they do and love helping people so much that money is the last thing on their mind.

But there’s a huge problem with this thinking.

First of all, let me ask you this question. Does your mortgage company feel guilty in asking for your payment? Does your utility company make sure that they are being “sensitive” before they bring up the money issue and send you that cutoff notice?

Of course not! You agreed to a service or certain contract and they expect payment. They are not going to “play nice” or hope that you will get around to paying them. In fact, they are going to harass you until you do pay it and, if you don’t, most likely you will be sued.

So why do we approach money owed to us business owners in a willy-nilly fashion? The underlying reason is lack of self-worth.

If your customer sees the value in what you do, they will be glad to pay you. All you have to do is ask!

Of course you don’t have to be mean or obnoxious about it, but you do need to be clear and upfront about it. Just saying simple words like, “I’d be glad to get started on your project as soon as I receive the deposit” or “I’d be glad to send you the product as soon as I receive your payment” can have a powerful effect.

I just helped my husband do this very thing, as he recently started his architectural business. He was hesitant to ask for the deposit. Of course, as the one who pays the bills and does the invoicing for his new company, I urged him to ask for the check immediately. I helped him with the wording as stated above and the response from the client was immediate! The client was even apologetic that he had not paid yet.

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