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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

Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerWhat to Do When You Lose Motivation by Dana Susan BeasleyLet’s face it. Building a business isn’t easy. There really is no magic pill out there.

So how can you keep motivated to keep increasing your brand recognition when you feel burnt out?

First of all, take a look at your marketing plan. Does it include tasks that you dread? Do you have enough tasks in your plan that you truly enjoy?

For me, I’ve found that I need to concentrate my marketing plan on what I’m really passionate about. That includes Facebook, writing articles, radio shows, and producing videos, just to name a few. It’s easy to get so spread out with all the marketing options available that you spread yourself too thin! Try concentrating on what you really love to do and apply yourself wholeheartedly to those projects. You might find yourself having new motivation to do the work of increasing your brand awareness.

Training is another key way to keep motivated. Is this something you are investing in on a regular basis? Training is an investment in you. Gaining new skills is so important when building a business. The Internet is full of many opportunities for training. In fact, several years ago I decided that I was going to create my own home study course. I have learned so much! And the exciting thing is there is still so much to learn!

You may want to go even deeper than training and find a coach. A coach can help you grow by leaps and bounds! Again, there are many, many coaches that “hang their shingle out” on the Internet!

You may want to take a step back. Be sure to create time for yourself. Be with your family. Enjoy life. So often as entrepreneurs, we get caught up in our work so much that we forget to live! Take a breath and enjoy the process! I did this very thing a few weekends ago. I attended a woman’s retreat in the mountains far from my home. I felt at first that I was missing out on an opportunity to work. After all, my projects don’t get done by themselves! But I found I needed the time to reconnect with the Lord. He did some major work in me that I know will help me in my business. He also brought about some divine business appointments that I could never bring about myself! Read More→

Nov
15

Professionalism at Home

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One of benefits of working from home is the ability to have a relaxed atmosphere. You can set your own schedule, work around your family and even lounge in your pajama pants from time to time.

However … one of the drawbacks of working from home is the ability to have a relaxed atmosphere. Yep, you read that right. As much as I love working from the comfort of my home, there is a serious side to my business as well. There are times when I must set aside my comfort and ensure that my clients get the very best from me.

The question that comes to mind then is how do we retain professionalism while we’re working at home? Here are a few ideas:

Take a shower– I smile as I write this because I know how basic this tip is. However, I know firsthand that it can be difficult to get motivated to get up and shower as if you were heading to an office for the day. Some days it can be hard just to find the time to shower (if you have small kids at home, you’re nodding as you read this). And don’t stop with a shower – put on a cute outfit, add a little makeup and get yourself feeling good. You’ll be surprised what a difference feeling good about yourself can make on your attitude, which will in turn impact your family, your business and all those you come into contact with throughout the day.

Clean your room – While it may or may not be true that “cleanliness is next to godliness,” it has certainly proven true in my life that cleanliness helps me to focus. When my office is a mess and my desk is piled high with stacks of paper, I seem to get less done. Take 15 minutes each morning and clear your space as much as possible. Not only will you think more clearly,  you will also be saved from embarrassment if unexpected company (or a client!) stop by.

Read More→

Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggerTwitter BirdRecently I found a way to download all my Twitter posts. It was so easy. All I had to do was log into my twitter account – click on Settings – go down to your twitter archive – click request and BAM — It’s done. You then get a Excel Sheet with all your tweets.

Then what you want to do is in the column with your tweets, do a Sort by A-Z and then all your tweets will be together by hashtag and description so you can easily see them and review.

This is so great because now you can create new material (I’m making images from some of my tweets,) and also get a feel for the tweets you’ve done. This sparks the creative juices to write new and improved ones as well.
Now that I have year’s worth of tips, I thought I’d share some of the best with you.

#PR Tips:

#PRTip – When you see a title of an article that really captivates your attention, write it down. That can lead to a great title or subject line down the road. In fact, keep a list of titles you like. You’ll be so glad you did when the time comes to come up with a new title for your article or blog posting and you just tweak from your list.

#PRTip – Keywords are so important and consistency is too. Use the same keywords repeatedly in order to improve your SEO rankings. Be sure to use those same keywords in the blog titles.

#PRTip – Getting an award is definitely newsworthy enough for a press release. It’s good to “shine the light” on your accomplishments. And remember share these releases with your followers so they can see all you are up to.

#PRTip – Always double-check your website links and preview your release before you hit send. Also, when possible, add in a keyword-driven description under your logo.

#PRTip – Keep samples of the releases, articles, media, etc., you write in a spiral-bound notebook or three-ring binder. Often the language can be similar and it really helps to see the previous ones to help write new ones.

#PRTip – Don’t put too many website links in your press releases. Only add the main supporting links. Too many links can distract those reading the release! Also, all these links should be yours.

#‎PRTip‬ – My top recommendations for sending out a press release are eReleases, PRWeb, OnlinePRNews and 24-7 Press Releases. It’s important when you write a release to get the most traction from it and I find these work the best.

‪#‎PRTip‬‬ – Need ideas for headlines for your blog postings, articles, newsletters, etc, check out major magazines and their headlines for their stories inside on the covers. Which ones catch your attention right away? These magazines have mastered the art of getting you to look inside so see how you can apply the same principles to your marketing.

#PRTip – Don’t be a one-pitch wonder. Keep in mind, often people need to see you numerous times in order to connect and recognize you. Build those relationships.

#Book Marketing Tips:

#BookMarketing Tips – Avoid having your book launch too close to a holiday or other event that might take attention away from it. Also, if planning ahead on dates, consider all that needs to be done prior to the launch and plan accordingly. Be sure to add in a little extra time for those unexpected delays!

#BookMarketing Tips – Some books are perfect for different holidays. Remember…the media likes to interview unique guests and, if you have that book and are that special guest, get out there and let them know about it!

#BookMarketing Tip – Remember, marketing begins way before the book is finished. Complete most of your marketing before that book launch so, when the book is ready, you are too!

#BookMarketing Tips – An aggressive press release campaign can be one of your best and most cost-effective ways to promote your book. It not only brings exposure to your book, but it rocks your SEO results and backlinks! Your release can cover the launch of your book, any great reviews you received, an upcoming book tour or book signing, any speaking engagements you have up and coming, any radio appearances, and so much more! Remember the most important basis for a press release: It has to be newsworthy. Be sure to include in your press release all calls to action—buy my book, do a review, come to my book signing, etc.

#BookMarketing Tips – Be sure your website is set up to accept orders correctly. And, be sure that your message is clear before you market (review this frequently). Once you drive potential customers to your site, you want your site to do the rest and sell those customers!

#BookMarketing Tips – Blogging is a great way to get PR about your book. It allows you to connect with your readers, as well as those who are just curious about you but haven’t yet taken the plunge as a devoted fan. Blogging builds relationships, allows you to share more about yourself than just what appears in your book, and is the perfect place to post your book reviews or ask for reviews. Be consistent with your blogging and, whenever you add a new blog posting, mention it on all your social media channels.

#BookMarketing Tips – Radio and TV interviews are great ways to promote your newly released book. Plan for these the week of the release and schedule in advance so that all the particulars are set up and ready to go!

#BookMarketing Tips – Don’t do all your marketing when your book launches and stop. So many authors do this. They go out with a bang and then slitter back to the background in the upcoming months. Be committed to market for best results.

#BookMarketing Tips – Know your target audience. No, not everyone would love your book. Then be sure in your Facebook ads, and all marketing that you talk to them!

#VATips (Virtual Assistant Tips):

#VATip – Always have clear payment guidelines outlined in writing with clients. Everything works better when everyone knows what is expected!

#VATip – If you are available to your clients, they will trust that you have their back. Not saying be there 24/7 for them at all. Just if they have a quick question, respond ASAP. They will appreciate it.

#VATip – Let a VA Coach can help you establish your pricing. Have you ever sent out a proposal and thought, “Wow, that was too high, they will never hire me.” Or, worse yet, “Man, I’m working for nothing…I totally bid that wrong. Why did I do that?” Even the best of us have done this. But, with the right plan and review of your clients, services, skills, experience, etc., you can feel good about your pricing and know it’s right for you. Plus, I’ll bet you find that you will charge quite a bit more than you thought you could (or may be charging currently) once you have that “pricing discussion” with your coach. Read More→

Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggerSocial MediaWho’s ready to get back into marketing their business?  It’s time to get busy and there’s no better way than with tips from a pro, like me!  Here are some of my best tips to market your business and build your brand.

Marketing Tips 101

  • Define your business. In order to do this, you must know and understand who you are and who your clients are. Then you get to talk their language with all your marketing.
  • Make sure your “brand” is fully developed. Take a minute here.  If people were to ask what you do, what would you tell them?  This should come off your lips as fast as ice cream melts in the hot summer sun in S. Florida.
  • Create a complete “Marketing Plan.” This is a plan that you will follow.  Nothing fancy, just some good old fashioned ideas that makes your company stand out among the competition and brings those clients and cash (cha ching!)
  • Become an expert and use Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, etc.) to prove you are a rock star. Don’t boost, just provide great tips that show you know your stuff.   Also, be mindful of postings that are inadvertent brags.  Most see right through those.
  • Use images that show you as the supreme entrepreneur! Don’t just put an image out there to have new content.  Review those images and make them reflect the real you – you know the professional that will make other businesses shine when they work with you.
  • Network, Network, Network! Hi Ho, Hi ho, a networking we go.  – Online, offline, here an event, there an event, everywhere an event …. Okay, a little corny, but you get my drift.  Get out there and have some fun.  Network and meet new people, whether online or in person that can be your clients, refer clients to you, or just build relationships with.
  • Get involved in “virtual events” or host your own. These are often events where 5 or more entrepreneurs get together with a common theme and share what makes them awesome.  It’s great because not only do you get to connect with these entrepreneurs and build relationships, but you also get introduced to their tribe.  Win/win.  Just go in knowing that it takes time to promote.  Many a virtual event has not succeeded because no one took the time to talk about it.  The more you do, the better your results.
  • “Pitch” the media…and do it right! Write articles on your expertise.  How to articles work best.  Then create Cision databases and send them out.   Then announce on your social media when accepted.  Don’t have Cision?  No problem, email me and let’s see what we can do.

Read More→

Nov
03

How to Approach Sales and Have a Successful Brand

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerHow to Approach Sales and Have a Successful Brand by Dana Susan BeasleyI’m going to be honest with you, I am not a sales person. But actually, I’ve found that to be an advantage. Why?

Because more and more, consumers are resistant to blatant sales pitches. They are looking to develop relationships. The truth is, people don’t do business with businesses. They do business with people they like, know, and trust.

That is why social media is key. By building a following, you are developing a relationship with your target market. By showing them you are a real person rather then slamming them with pitch after pitch, you are creating trust and credibility. Read More→

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Nov
01

PR Tips – Best Ways to Pitch the Media & Build Your Brand

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Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggerOne of the ways to get great PR for your business is to write pitches that can be sent to the media and other places.  The goal is to become a regular contributor to those you send to and often times that’s exactly what happens.  It’s just that so many aren’t sure how to do it right.  So let’s break it down in bite-size tips!

So…exactly what is a pitch? Let’s discuss the many types of pitches:

  • A story to a reporter or editor – stories sell, just make yours relevant
  • A pitch to a radio show, TV program, etc., to be a guest
  • A pitch that accompanies an article to get your article accepted in major publications, websites, etc.
  • A pitch to book reviewers to ask for a book review
  • A pitch to accompany a press release and show why the release is newsworthy and of interest to who you are sending it to
  • A pitch for a blog tour asking to be a guest blogger. As a blogger you can see if they would be interested in posting your articles, being part of a contest, do a Q&A, host giveaways, and more.  Guest blogging is a great way to build long-lasting relationships and get in front of new audiences.
  • A pitch to secure speaking engagements letting them know why you would be the perfect speaker for their event or audience

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Oct
27

No More Excuses! Make Social Media Work for You

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Pebbles Jacobo - Social Media BloggerI LOVE social media. In fact, I log several HOURS per day on various social media networking sites. Granted, most of that time is for my clients. I figure it’s a good thing when you can turn something you are knowledgeable and passionate about into a service, which is why I decided to be a social media marketer, managing the social media profiles for clients.

Social Media MarketingOver the last couple of years I’ve heard all kinds of excuses from clients with regards to why they have decided to cut back on their social media marketing efforts. Here are just a few:

  1. It doesn’t work for me!
  2. I’ve seen no real increase in traffic to my website.
  3. It takes too much time.
  4. Facebook is just a place where people goof off and ‘act’ like they are working.

Social media is not a quick fix. Consider the fact that people are literally bombarded with hundreds of ‘buy now’ messages constantly – and that’s BEFORE we enter the buying season of Trick-or-Treat, Gobble-Gobble and Merry Christmas!

Consider all the fan pages you like on Facebook. Of the truly successful fan pages with loads of active followers (who like and comment on posts) how frequently are they posting “buy my stuff” updates and links? How much more often are they creating a relationship with their audience and interacting?

Social media marketing is social. It’s not posting then running off. It’s interacting and getting to know your audience, creating relationships with them and adding value to their life through your posts. A single post is not going to drive traffic to your website UNLESS you have already built up a relationship with your audience.

Here are a few tips on improving your social media marketing efforts:

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Oct
26

How to Write a Business Plan for Your Brand

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerWriting from the heartThe 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. Read More→

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Oct
23

Run Your Business: Don’t Let it Run You

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How many of you have had times when it begins to feel like your business is beginning to run you rather than you running your business?

There have been times when I find myself stressing that I have all this work to do  and I feel like I am not getting it done as fast as I would like to. I feel driven by the deadlines of clients rather than pacing myself out.

Or there are days with lots of interruptions from children, unexpected clients and the telephone. I have to guard against frustration because I tend to judge my day by how much work I am able to get done which translates into how much income I produce.

Let’s look at these situations in light of my vision (For more on having a vision for your business)

  • Feeling pressured by clients. I find it is good to have a healthy amount of pressure because it helps me to get a task accomplished. However, when I begin to feel overstressed I ask why am I feeling this way? Most of the time I realize that I am trying to please man rather than God. I have put myself in the place of saving everyone’s last minute needs because of lack of planning on their part. Or because I underestimated the amount of time it would take to complete a task.

If I gauge this situation by my vision for the business I realize that my desire to work from home was to have an income and be able to be a mom. I intended for my business to work for me not the other way around. Refocusing on my vision gives the courage to step back and evaluate my deadlines. Sometimes I may have to call a client to tell them it is taking longer than expected.

  • The days of interruption: These can be such a frustration because I start the day with an expectation of what I want to accomplish. When it is my children continually interrupting I find that I end up cross and grouchy. And again the question arises why am I doing this? Is it business first and mom second or the other way around? I am reminded that it was my intent to have my children come first. Some days they are needier than others, on those days I may not get as much work done but I have the opportunity to be the mom I want to be.

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Oct
20

Why Professionalism Still Matters In Branding

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerdana-profIs professionalism a dying art? Sometimes I think that, living out here in the West as I do! But professionalism can set you apart from your competition and bring success to your brand.

What exactly is professionalism? Professionalism is having “soft skills,” like dressing appropriately for a client meeting, or shaking a hand in a confident manner, or making eye contact when you talk.

Professionalism is following through with your promises. When you say you will call, call! When you say that you will get a project done, get it done! If it’s not possible, let your client know right away and explain the circumstances. If it’s your fault, offer to make it right in some way.

Professionalism is also communicating well. It’s making the effort to spell words correctly, to form grammatically correct sentences, to write a letter (even an email) that conforms to standards with greetings, introductions, and closings. Of course, you can’t be perfect, but making the effort to be correct will go a long ways, especially in today’s society.

Professionalism also means you act accordingly on social media. Whining over and over again in postings is not going to give you a favorable impression with your network! Neither is acting like everything is perfect. Be real, but be above board, and show yourself as a person who is honest and has integrity. These two values alone will propel your business to new heights. After all, the most successful businesses are ones that have integrity.

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