CWAHM Devotional

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

Apr
10

Revealed: What It’s REALLY Like To Work From Home

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When you’ve got a growing family, you’ll want to spend as much time as possible with them. While many people feel they have no choice but to go out and get a full-time job, others are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work from home. For those individuals, it makes sense to become a stay-at-home entrepreneur. Sure, there are some jobs where you can do all your work from home. But, it’s a more flexible choice to work for yourself.

As you can appreciate, working from home gives you the chance to see more of your family and not have to spend many hours each day elsewhere. Many parents feel like it can be a dream come true if they decide to quit their regular 9-5 jobs and work at home instead. But, there are some things you don’t always get told about being a stay-at-home entrepreneur.

If you’re thinking of working from home, you might wish to read this article to help you make an informed decision about your future career path.

You might find it hard to separate your personal and work lives

As a stay-at-home parent, your priority will be to look after your growing family. When your kids go off to kindergarten, you’ll have a few hours to dedicate to your work. The trouble is, when you’ve got young babies to look after, you’ll seldom have the free time you need!

Of course, it helps to have a supportive spouse and family to take on caregiving duties from time-to-time. Still, you should just be aware that you can’t dedicate eight hours a day straight towards your work when you’re working from home.

The good news is that many people find creative ways to split their personal and professional lives while working in their homes. It makes sense to dedicate a room in your house as your “office” of sorts. In essence, it’s a place that is child-free and only gets used for the purposes of your work.

 

You might forget to build up a retirement fund

When you work for an employer, you will usually have the opportunity to pay into a retirement fund. That way, once you retire, you can enjoy a comfortable living when you are no longer working. However, when you are an entrepreneur working from home, you have to organize all of that stuff yourself.

With a business and family in tow, it can often be hard to find the time to research and set up a retirement fund. When you do decide to work for yourself from home, it’s vital that you put aside some time to get that ticked off your to-do list.

Fortunately, there are many ways to set yourself up for retirement, and you don’t have to just consider a pension plan. Take a look at some articles over at fortunateinvestor.com to see examples of how you can invest for your financial future.

 

You’ll feel guilty about not getting on top of your household chores

Even if there isn’t any pressure on you from your beloved, you’ll still feel like the onus is on you to keep your house immaculate. That might be a task you can easily achieve if you don’t need to do any work. But, juggling childcare, work, and household chores can often be a real struggle!

You will most likely put pressure on yourself. Why? For the simple reason that you are at home for the majority of the time! When you had a full-time job working elsewhere, you never felt guilty about not being at home to keep it clean and tidy.

 

You are the boss

Okay, so we’ve talked about the things work-from-home parents never really tell those thinking about doing the same thing. It’s now time to look at the advantages of quitting your day job and become a home-based entrepreneur!

Perhaps the most obvious one of all is that you answer only to yourself. Well, you also answer to your clients, but you ultimately dictate what work you will do, who you do it for, and how long you do it. Few full-time occupations allow you such freedom and flexibility.

You’re free to follow your dreams

If you’re quite passionate about a subject, the chances are high that you’ll want to work in the niche that represents it. When you work for one employer, you will seldom have the freedom to “do your own thing” because there are set tasks you get paid to complete.

As a work-from-home entrepreneur, you’re free to follow your dreams and decide how you wish to make a living. Thanks to the Internet, it’s easier than ever to do all kinds of things; especially working in roles where you would have traditionally needed to outlay a lot of capital.

Take a look at this brilliant article over at entrepreneur.com for examples of the kinds of things you could do if you ran a business from home.

 

You’ll probably make a better living

If you’ve only ever earned the minimum wage when working for other people, it could come as a shock to you how your earning potential could now skyrocket! Of course, money isn’t everything as we all know. But, when you’ve got a growing family in tow, it’s important to ensure you earn enough money to contribute towards your household costs.

Another bonus of today’s digital age is that you can do all kinds of work from home that pays quite well. In fact, it’s not hard to find work that pays more than the equivalent minimum hourly wage in your area!

 

You can still have a routine without needing to wear formal clothes

Last, but not least, you will no doubt have been used to wearing certain attire such as a uniform for your job. And you will have been familiar with your daily work and home life schedules.

You can still have a constant routine, but you don’t need to dress up for it. You could even do your work in bed wearing your pajamas if you wanted to!

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Apr
10

Listening To The Right Voice

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listeningFor me, every day is filled with voices. There are the sweet voices of my children, the warm voice of my husband and even the near-silent voice of or gecko.

And then there are the voices in my head. Do you know the ones I’m talking about? The voices that urge you to quit; that ask you why you bother trying … you’ll just fail anyway. The voices that say things like, “No one cares about what you have to say or what you’re working on. You’ll never succeed at this.” Some of these voices are echoes of things that people have said to me. Some of them are echoes of things I believe about myself deep down. And some are lies from the enemy wh is bent on our destruction.

When I spend time in God’s Word I find another voice – one that encourages. “I can do anything through Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 4:13).

It’s not something we think about or talk about often, but one of the major hurdles that must be overcome to be successful in working at home (or in anything really) is learning which voice to listen to.

There will always be naysayers telling you that something cannot possibly be done. There will always be the creeping doubts in the back of your mind, where you secretly wonder if you really CAN do any of these things you dream of. And there will always be the lies of the enemy, trying to throw you off track and get you to do ANYTHING other than what God has for you.

There will always be these things.

But there is also a forever truth that stands above all these. A redeeming truth that we can hear whispering to us if we choose to shut out the din around us.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  – Jeremiah 29:11
Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. – 1 Chronicles 28:20
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.  – Philippians 4:13

Which voice will you listen to today? Will you sit in defeat, listening to the naysayers and the mocking voices? Or will you stand firm in God’s truth and walk forward in faith?

If you feel a pull toward a business or a ministry, chances are the negative voices will get louder. You will have to make the daily, sometimes hourly, choice to stand firm in what His Words tells us to be true.

God loves you. You are forgiven. You are redeemed.  You are chosen.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jill Hart founded Christian Work at Home Ministries (CWAHM) in 2000 to assist other Christians who desire to work from home. She is the author of the devotional book, Do Life Different and co-author of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom. Jill is working to complete her master’s degree in Professional Counseling.

Jill has articles published in In Touch Magazine, P31 Woman magazine and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family, as well as across the web on sites like DrLaura.com. She speaks to audiences around the country about faith and business topics. Learn more about Jill at www.CWAHM.com and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Apr
07

8 Steps to Creating Financial Success with Your Brand

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money is tightWe all want financial success. But how do we get there? What proven methods in this digital age will lead us to that pot of gold just looming over the horizon, that Promised Land that we eagerly await? When will it ever get past a mirage and to the real thing that we’ve been dreaming for and planning for?

Here are eight proven steps, key lessons I learned from both the school of hard knocks, and Ryan Deiss from Digital Marketer in my pursuit of a Professional Digital Marketer certification which I achieved last year.

1) The first step to financial success with your brand is to plan a sales funnel strategy or sales process strategy.

Here are the key areas that you need to achieve in this area:

Map out customer stories
Write a statement of value
List all your products and/or services
Brainstorm three giveaways
Brainstorm three loss leaders (low cost products)
Brainstorm three core offer products
Brainstorm other products that can be added on
Make a plan to nurture your customers so they will return to you

2) The second step to financial success with your brand is to plan your content marketing strategy.

Here are some key activities to help you do that:

Identify your funnel content plans (top, middle, and bottom)
Plan or improve a WordPress Site
Plan a basic blog launch (or re-launch)

3) The third step to financial success with your brand is to plan your paid marketing strategy.

Research popular sites to refine your customer profiles
Choose which traffic stores you want to campaign in
Map your traffic system plan

4) The fourth step to financial success with your brand is to plan your social marketing strategy.

Here’s four key activities that you need to do:

Assess your current social media
Plan out your social media topics
Create your social media listening plan
Plan your keywords

5) The fifth step to financial success with your brand is to plan your email marketing strategy.

Here’s some basic ideas to get you started:

Choose an email service
Identify your promotional assets
Create your promotional plans Read More→

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Apr
04

Serving God in Daily Life

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My days are busy. I’m sure yours our as well. At times I can feel discouraged, like I’m not doing enough to serve God. Serving God is not a lofty calling but simply has to do with loving people as Jesus loved them. Jesus loved people. He connected with them. It is His desire that we do the same.

Look at Matthew 25:31-46. Jesus speaks how when we serve people in need we are serving Him.

Think about your daily life. How many people do you encounter in a day? Maybe your children’s teachers, your clients, the postman. See these people as a ministry. Ministry is not all about preaching to someone. It also includes serving them, encouraging them, and connecting with them.

It is easy to go through life with our own agenda for the day, focused on what needs to be done to care for our needs like going to work, stopping at the grocery store, cooking dinner and paying the bills. All around us we cross paths with people – people that Jesus cares about.

Just because Jesus reached out to touch many people it didn’t mean everyone was in His close circle of friends. Therefore, connecting with people and touching their life doesn’t mean that you need to be their best friend. What you don’t want to do is to fall into the mentality that you are too busy, and your life is too filled with people, for you to reach out to someone else.

Ask God to bring people to mind who He would like you to connect with like

  • Your pastor
  • An acquaintance from church
  • A family member
  • A co-worker
  • An elderly neighbor
  • A distant relative

Once God has brought someone to mind ask God to show you what this person needs. It could be

  • Affirmation
  • Encouragement
  • An act of service
  • Taking the time to listen to their problem. Listening means you do just that. You don’t need to solve anything – they just need to be heard.

Affirmation and encouragement could include a positive text message to a friend saying “I’m so proud of how well you are doing in_______ area.” Or “I’m praying that God would fill you with His peace today” or simply “How are you doing? God brought you to mind today.” Instead of a text message you could even send a real card!

An act of service could be a homemade meal, a quick stop at the grocery store for a shut in, a cup of coffee for your coworker, offering to watch a friend’s kids, the list is endless. Read More→

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Apr
03

How To Keep Moving Forward When You’re Running On Empty

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It can be draining to work from home. Fitting work time in amongst household duties, family obligations, children’s’ schedules, church commitments … it can feel overwhelming at times. So, what’s a business owner to do when she feels her tanks drifting toward empty?

Hold Steady

The first thing I do when I begin to feel overwhelmed is to take a moment and just catch my breath. Depending on what’s going on in my life, this may be as simple as finding an extra fifteen minutes to spend with the Lord (if this is you check out Hebrews 10:35-36). Or it may take something more like hiring a babysitter for a few hours during the day (or calling grandma for help), so that I can accomplish the tasks that are burdening me.

Finding a holding pattern helps me to breathe a bit easier and grounds me so that I can make it to the next step.

Make a Plan, Follow It

The first step is recognizing that we’re sliding toward that empty energy tank. The second step is developing a plan so that we can either avoid the pit or at least dig ourselves out relatively quickly.

For me, this generally takes the form of work in shifts. I break my work tasks down into 20 or 30 minute increments and just try to push through and do what I can during that time. Then I take a break or reward myself somehow – 5 minutes on Facebook or maybe a Hershey’s kiss or two. Breaking the work into chunks not only helps me actually get things done when I’m struggling, it also helps me see the big tasks in a manageable form. This helps me keep pushing through.

One Foot In Front Of The Other

My go-to verse in times like these is 1 Chronicles 28:20:

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you.

This is such a great reminder that God is with us, but also that there will be times that we will have to fight fear and discouragement and push through to do the work that He has called us to. So, keep pushing forward, one foot and then the next, trusting that God will uphold you and see you through. Read More→

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Mar
31

3 Mistakes that Can Kill Your Business and Your Brand

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Facebook logoHas this ever happened to you? You mention something on Facebook, some sort of struggle, and then all of a sudden you get a message from a friend trying to sell you something?

Or maybe a friend pressured you to buy something from them. And because you didn’t, they stopped being your friend!

Or perhaps you got a message from a Facebook friend (more of an acquaintance) out of the blue that just seemed random. They had no idea what you liked, what you needed, or what your life situation is, they just wanted to sell you something.

Does this sound familiar? Has this happened to you? Or more importantly, have you done this?

Unfortunately, some network marketing companies encourage this behavior. But let me tell you a harsh truth–it is unprofessional and turns off more people than you gain!

I remember years ago when a friend of mine from work wanted me to join the latest network marketing rage–long distance cards. Remember those? They were really hot once. I was completely not interested.

And this friend stopped being my friend because I said no!

That hurts!

And that’s not the only time it has happened.

Here’s another trend that seems to occur a lot these days, and again it’s encouraged by networking marketing companies:

A Facebook friend posts a random question. You answer it because it just seems fun.

So a minute later you get a Facebook message asking you to buy something or for a referral for their recruiting efforts.

Smells kind of slimy, doesn’t it? Read More→

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Mar
28

Legitimate Christian Work From Home Opportunities

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Faith and religion play a large part in the lives of many Americans.  Many are focused on maintaining a positive home environment and do not wish to work outside of their homes.

It only seems right that we put together a comprehensive list of faith-based, work from home, opportunities.  Take a moment to check out a few of these real job opportunities that will not require a person to compromise their faith-based lifestyle.

Training From Home Opportunities

If a person is looking to expand their skill set to seek out better-paying work-from-home opportunities, there are plenty of options for online education.  One example is based out of Saint Louis, MO.  An education from Maryville online college will boost a person into the next level of employment.  There is no longer any reason why every stay-at-home mom or dad cannot build their portfolio.

Christian Job Boards

There are hundreds of reliable and reputable job boards available online, and a few of them are even faith-based.  They are not stellar, but they do provide some valuable leads.  Check it out.

  • Christian Job Fair – Extension of Christian Career Center.  They have a “work-from-home” filter option, but the job listings are hit or miss.  It behooves a person to do their due diligence in research before applying to a particular listing.
  • Christian Jobs – A job board that boasts their ability to “connect believers in the workplace.”  This platform not only allows a search option for stay-at-home employment, but they also provide the opportunity to post resumes for employers seeking out remote help.

If finding employment through a Christian job board is not a necessity, there are a couple of mainstream job boards that are known for their excellent employment success.  Indeed, Flexjobs and Up work offer all sorts of remote positions from a wide range of individuals.

Faith-Based Sales

Individuals interested in faith-based sales positions have quite a large range of options available online.  Here are a few of the most prevalent organizations offering remote sales positions. Read More→

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Mar
24

How Do You Bring Christ into Your Brand?

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggershadow crossAs Christian work at home parents, we have a unique opportunity to bring Christ into our businesses. For me, it’s the ultimate reason why I am in business in the first place. I look at my company, AngelArts, as a Business As Mission.

Think about this: we have an opportunity to share more about Christ than most pastors! You and I will rub shoulders with people that will never talk to a church professional.

None of us is exempted from the Great Commission, to make disciples of all nations. And He ends this commandment with a promise: He will be with us!

But how can we practically bring Christ into our businesses?

Every month, my husband and I attend a meeting at Glen Eyrie Conference Center (owned by The Navigators) to discuss this very question over breakfast. Business owners give their testimonies to share their stories of how they brought Christ into the workplace, or how they discovered Christ in the workplace.

It can be as simple as taking an interest in someone; in developing a friendship and guiding them to the path that leads to eternal life.

That was the particular story of a gentleman, Rob, who was involved in the banking industry, that I recently heard. A colleague invited Rob to a Christian networking meeting and demonstrated he cared. When times got tough, this man was there for Rob. Today, Rob is a successful mortgage banker and Christian business leader actively engaged in bringing Christ into his workplace.

Integrity matters. It demonstrates Christ in the workplace most of all.

A story by a man named Charles was especially encouraging. Throughout his life, he acted with integrity. He would make very tough decisions with the desire to please Jesus. Sometimes he had to say no to opportunities. While this hurt at the time, he found that God used him in unexpected areas, even sharing the gospel at the World Cup in Brazil! Read More→

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Mar
21

3 Tips For Homeschooling Your Children And Working From Home

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perfect childMaking the decision to educate your children at home is a big commitment and shows that creating an individual and tailored approach to your child’s education.  It requires a lot of work and life balance since it requires such an amount of attention and detail. Preparing your child for getting a college education is the main goal.

It can be extra challenging when you also work from home.  Even though the convenience is undeniable of not having to drive your child to a school every day or having to get yourself to an office, there are certainly challenges that come with working and teaching your children in the same place.

Here are some of the best tips for being able to balance work and your homeschooling without feeling overwhelmed.

Create A Schedule

Without a schedule, your day runs the risk of everything happening at once.  Studies show that people are more productive when they focus on one thing at a time rather than double tasking.  Try to sit down and create a schedule which separates each activity throughout the day in order to simulate a traditional school setting as much as possible.

It is crucial to set timeframes for each activity in your day in order to be as productive as possible.  Since flexibility is definitely required of you when you have kids, it is important to not stay too rigid in your scheduling, but still having a sense of structure in order to avoid chaos.

Extracurricular Activities

Kids can start to get bored and distracted if they are in the same setting for too long of a period of time.  They need a change of atmosphere and activities every now and then to keep them stimulated.  Not to mention you need time to be able to get your work done without having to entertain them constantly.

Consider signing them up for an extracurricular activity which is outside of the house.  This way you know that they are still getting something beneficial out of their time while you step away from your teaching role to get your work done. Read More→

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Mar
20

Organizing Your Days

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Working from home can be challenging. You must be a self-starter and willing to really push yourself, set deadlines for yourself, and make things happen. Here are some ideas on making the best use of your time:

Get A Plan

Planning is my favorite stage of organization. I get to brainstorm and dream about what God may have for me in the coming weeks and months.  One of the ways that I plan best is in talking things over with someone – a friend of colleague who is willing to listen and give ideas.

I know other business owners who keep a whiteboard in their office. On the board, they list dreams that they have for their business, action steps they can take to get there and even sometimes a timeframe of when each step needs to be completed.

 

Write It Down

I’ve learned over the years that my plans never get anywhere unless I write them down and give them a timeline. This can be done online with tools like Google Calendar, Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) or collaborative tools like PBWorks.

While I do use these tools, I’ve found that what works best for me is the good old paper planner. I pick one up in the dollar section at Target at the start of each year and use it to keep appointments straight. I use a Monthly Planner because I can see the whole month at a glance, which keeps me from overbooking myself. It also has a place in the sidebar to keep notes, which comes in handy if there are specific things that I need to remember throughout the month. The planner fits in my purse so I can easily pull it out and add new appointments wherever I am.

 

Keep a List

I love lists. I have stacks of tiny pieces of paper and notebooks full of lists I’ve made to track projects that I want to complete and things I need to do. Unfortunately, a mound of paper doesn’t help me stay on top of tasks.

I’ve found that  having one big notebook – the kind that has dividers – is the simplest way to keep track of my lists. I have a section for each major project I’m working on. Then, I can keep a list of regular tasks (sometimes a daily list, sometimes weekly) stuck to the front page of each project’s section. Once those tasks are done, I simply remove the sticky note, make up a new list of tasks and stick in where the other was. This keeps me focused and I get the satisfaction of crossing each task off the list. Read More→

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