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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 Articles

May
10

Managing the Time Monster

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Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerWhen I first started out as virtual assistant I struggled with time management. After all, I had always been the employee, never the employer. As a business owner, I quickly realized that the buck stops with me and if I don’t keep track of things, i.e. not practicing good time management, I was cheating myself out of money. I cannot stress how important it is to properly manage your time. Here’s a few tips from my personal experiences.

Schedule Your Time: Do you have a specific schedule or scheduled time in which you get your work completed? If not, you will find yourself in your office every waking moment and spending less time with your family. Schedule your family time, break time and work time. Don’t keep the schedule in your head, but write it out and post it. Post the schedule for you AND your family to see. More importantly, stick to it (especially the scheduled family time).  An additional perk to scheduling your time is that not only will you feel less guilty about family time, but also you will find yourself to be more productive during your scheduled work time. This takes time, but stick with it!

Keep Lists: Start making lists and writing things down. Yep, it actually helps. If you are like me, you tend to forget things, not because they hold little importance to you, but because they just slip your mind. Keep a small notepad in your pocket and write things down. Even at your desk…keep a list. In keeping lists you will spend less time looking for a client’s task request or trying to remember what it was you were supposed to do. Read More→

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May
09

I Enjoy a Mess, Especially Mine

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerIt's My Mess and I Love It, by Dr. James SnyderThe Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I were in a little bit of a tussle this past week.

Normally (whoever said I was normal) I stay away from such activity in our very humble domicile. Sometimes it is completely unavoidable. This was one of those times.

I was in the study area of our home doing some kind of work when my wife came in, looked around with both hands on her hips and said, “What is all of this mess about?”

At first, I didn’t quite understand what she was talking about. In fact, I usually don’t understand what she’s talking about first off. Experience has taught me that if I just nod in the affirmative and smile the problem will go away. This time it didn’t go away.

“I’m referring to,” she said rather sarcastically, “all of this mess in this room!”

The problem I was having at the time was her definition of “mess.” I have found throughout my married life that we differ on definitions.

It is true, we use the same words, but those words have different meanings to her then to me. My wife has the habit of finely defining her words to the letter. I, on the other hand, just generalize.

If you ask her how much money she had in her purse, she would say, “I have $21.19.”

If you asked me the same question (eliminate the purse) I would say, “I have around $20.”

She is precise whereas I don’t care about the exact numbers.

When she said, “All of this mess in the room,” it had a different meaning than what I understood it to mean.

If, for example, one book is slightly out of line with the rest of the books, the room is a mess.

I look at my room as “my room,” and I should be able to have it, as I wanted to be. If I want it to be messy, then I’m going to let it be messy. My idea of messy is having my things surrounding me. Nothing is more cozy than being surrounded by what my wife calls my “mess.”

Continuing her conversation, she said, “What are we going to do about this mess?”

When she said the word “we” I was confused. I knew I wasn’t going to do anything about what she called the mess in my room and I didn’t know if she had somebody that was going to help her do something about the mess in my room. She just looked at me as though she was expecting a response from me. I’m assuming a positive response.

Stuttering for a few moments as I was trying to collect my thoughts and when thoughts wander as much as mine do, it is very difficult to get them lined up in order. Read More→

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May
08

Excerpt from Everyday Holy by Melanie Shankle

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In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We
do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit
himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

ROMANS 8:26

Now that I’m more than a decade down the motherhood road, I’ve realized that being a good mom doesn’t mean being a perfect mom. A perfect mom puts sand in a plastic box so her toddler can have a meaningful sensory experience and doesn’t care about the mess. A perfect mom plays board games for hours on end and makes hot chocolate bars with candy cane stir sticks and makes sure the milk is organic and the chicken nuggets are made only from chickens who were allowed to roam free in sunlit barns. She never loses her patience, never checks her text messages while her child is around, and is the president of the parent/teacher association while managing a Fortune 500 company before returning home to prepare a delicious, nutritious meal for her family.

In short, the perfect mom doesn’t exist. And if she did, we would all hate her.

The perfect mom is a unicorn, mythical at best. But a good mom is the velveteen rabbit, a little worn from use. And while I’m not confident in a lot of areas of my life, I’m confident that I’m a good mom—because what ultimately makes a good mom is the part that requires showing up. I’ve held back hair as she’s thrown up over the toilet and, I regret to say, all over me. I’ve wiped her bottom and her feverish forehead. I’ve stayed in the school parking lot long after she’s walked through the school doors, praying and hoping that today would be a better day. I’ve sat in the rain and the cold and in heat that rivals the surface of the sun to watch her play soccer. I’ve cried when she’s overwhelmed by joy, and I’ve cried
when disappointments have her down. I’ve yelled too much, lost my patience, and seen how many mornings I can get by with Frosted Flakes for breakfast. I’ve driven more carpools than I can count, attended Taylor Swift concerts, and spent many weekend nights with my house full of tween girls with high-pitched squeals who think cleaning up after themselves means putting half-empty soda cans under the bed. I’ve looked at my phone too often, set the clock ahead an hour so I could tell her it was time for bed, and pretended to have an upset stomach just so I could have a few minutes alone in the bathroom.

But I have no doubt that she knows she is deeply loved because I have faithfully shown up for the job for the last fourteen years. It hasn’t been perfect, it hasn’t always been pretty, and nobody is likely to turn our story into an award-winning movie. Being a good mom doesn’t really make the highlights reel because there is very little glamour in packing another peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. It’s just about being faithful with what has been entrusted to you for such a short time. Read More→

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May
07

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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May
04

Closing Sales­­ – How It’s Really About Listening, NOT Pushing

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DanaSales. listenIt’s something we’ve got to do as business owners in order to thrive. But there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it.

Increasingly, consumers are wary of outright sales messages. The same tactics used in days gone by may not work in these times.

I think of telemarketing. Awhile ago, I received a phone call from a company in California.  This woman proceeded to give me her usual sales pitch, which included lots of flattery. Then, of course, she asked me to sign up for her service right away, after 20 minutes of talking to her. When I balked, she started berating me.

How stupid did she truly think I was? Of course, when she was talking nonstop, I was Googling the business, and what I found was not flattering to her. In fact, several past customers regretted their purchases and felt it was a scam.

So after her not taking no for an answer and my continual refusals, she rudely hung up on me. Twenty minutes of my time wasted!

Here is another scenario I experienced: long ago my husband and I had an insurance agent come give his presentation to us. So he goes through his spiel and explained everything to us. When we said we wanted to think about it (we have a policy that we do not make decisions on the spot but think through it and talk about it beforehand), he gathered up his stuff and walked out the door, never saying a word. My husband and I were shocked!

Now, a third scenario also comes to mind. I once had an online connection ask if she could share something with me that she was involved in. You know, I want to be helpful. But she never once checked to see if I had a burning interest in her product. She just assumed that of course I would have to love it. I didn’t, and I had to turn her down gently. So if these sales gimmicks or approaches don’t work, what does?

I would suggest LISTENING to your prospects and customers! This is a huge lesson I am learning. You see, I am not a sales person. There is nothing slick about me. I am down to earth and really, I don’t want to pester people. But obviously if I don’t make sales, my business will fail. What was I going to do?

I learned a different approach to selling. I learned how to connect with people and understand their needs, to ask what they are looking for. I learned how to handle objections, like not enough money and time.

Read More→

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May
04

Is Homeschooling Right For You?

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bored child waitingIf you have ever thought about homeschooling your own children, you will probably be well aware that there are many advantages of doing so.  Lot of children who are homeschooled do actually end up having some great qualities which might not be as easy to instill in children who go to a traditional school. However, it’s not fair to say that homeschooling is for everyone, and it’s necessary to look into whether you think it is right for you before you actually dive in. In this article, we are going to look at some of the things to consider if you want to begin homeschooling into your home and make it a real success.

 

Get The Training

You will need to be a good teacher yourself if you are to homeschool, and this is something which can be a lot harder than many people tend to think. It is not an easy task to be the kind of teacher who can really make some big changes to their children’s education, and you will need to spend some time getting the relevant training in order to ensure that you are capable of doing so. Fortunately there are plenty of ways of doing that, whether it is through taking an online ma education degree or attending some in-person teacher training classes. Get the necessary educational training, and you will be more likely to make as much of the situation as you possibly can and so improve your child’s education greatly.

Read More→

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May
03

Taking Care of the Environment from Your Home Office

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Going green in your home office might seem like a bit of a challenge, often we need to print out files, send a lot of postal mail and use a lot of electricity. However, there are some steps you can take to make sure that your carbon footprint is getting smaller year on year.

It can be challenging to work out just how much power you are using if your home office is in the corner of a room, rather than a separate place – however, there are a few things that you can do to ensure you are really taking the eco-friendly thing seriously. If you are in a while room before you leave the room each day turn off the power from the switches on everything, no standby modes here. Unless you have equipment that cannot be switched off for whatever reason. Be smart.

Try to go as paperless as possible. We are all in need of some notebooks and the odd printed out a file to take to a client, but in this day and age, most of the time it will be digital. Check out hosting fax services, cloud storage (with good data encryption), send invoices via platforms like Wave, Paypal, or just create them in Word or Pages and email them to your clients. Now would be a good time to create a digital signature on your computer, so if something needs to be signed, you can still do so without printing, signing, scanning and them likely – shredding.

If you do need things like business cards, pamphlets, booklets and other promotional materials, try and use a company that have 100% recycled options.

Make your surroundings greener too. Get some office plants. Not only are they great to look at but are proven to boost productivity, and they do their part for keeping your office air cleaner too. Check out succulents, small rose bushes, spider plants and rubber plants.

Maximize your natural light. This one will not only keep you healthier (even while sitting in your office) but stops the need for bright screens, lamps, lights and other sources of human made light. Saving money, saving energy and giving you a bit of a peep up.

PLUS, people who sit near natural light are up to 15% more productive. Read More→

Categories : Articles, Jill's Blog
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May
02

My Somber Longing for Summer

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerMy favorite time of the year is summer and I don’t care what the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage says. Summer is what I live for especially here in Florida.

As soon as Fall arrives in full steam I am looking forward to summer with uncontrollable anticipation.

One thing that attracts me to summer has to do with the weather.

I don’t like cold because I’m growing too old now to shiver properly. When it is cold and I am supposed to be shivering, I don’t have the energy. I admit that I don’t have the energy I had a few years back. Let’s not talk about how many years back. Shivering now is really not part of my exercise program.

I think God created winter for someone like me to appreciate summer. I have had enough winter now so that I can appreciate summer for the rest of my life. I wonder if heaven is going to be like summer?

Another thing I don’t like about being cold is having to wear sweaters and sometimes coats and hats and mittens. When it’s really cold outside by the time I get dressed to go outside I’m either too tired to go outside or I can’t remember why I wanted to go outside in the first place.

It takes me “forever” to get dressed for cold weather.

Another thing about being cold is my brain doesn’t function 100%. When it is cold, parts of my brain have to be used to deal with the cold weather on my body. Don’t ask me how that works, I just know it works.

I have a brain and I take care of my brain and feed my brain so I can use my brain for my things and not for things like the weather!

What I like about summer is that it is hot. I love hot, contrary to the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Don’t let this get around, but she doesn’t like when the weather is hot outside. She complains and complains about how hot it is outside.

I remember one time she was complaining about how hot it was outside and I was sitting there smiling. I try not to let a smile break out on my face when she is complaining about something. This time, the smile broke out on my face and I could not control it.

“What are you,” she said rather snarly, “smiling about now?” Read More→

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May
01

3 Ways to Surpass Customer Service Expectations Even With a Small Staff

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One advantage of running a small family-based business from home is that you can give your customers highly personalized service. In the beginning, you may know each of your customers by name, and your customer base is small enough that you can give personal attention to each service inquiry. But as your business grows more successful and scales up, you begin to attract more customers, and your customer service workload increases proportionately. You find yourself more pressed for time, with customer service vying for attention with other parts of running your business and your home.

At a certain point, to maintain the quality of your customer service as well as your own quality of life, you will find yourself needing to adopt new support strategies. Here are three ways you can continue to deliver superior customer service as your home-based business scales up, even if you have a small staff.

Leverage Automation to Free Up Time

A proven way to save time on routine work tasks is leveraging automation. However, automation can be tricky when applied to customer service, since you don’t want to gain efficiency at the cost of losing a personal touch with your customers. The trick is to strike a balance between automated, efficient handling of routine service tickets that don’t require live help and manual support for tickets that do need a human touch.

A key to striking this balance is to choose cloud contact center software that allows you to integrate automated and live customer service options through a single interface. A cloud contact center provides a digital service center that manages all your customer tickets no matter what support channel they come in on, whether via automated channels such as knowledge bases, chatbot and IVR or live channels such as live chat and phone. When a ticket is opened, the contact center’s software automatically compares the ticket information with your customer database to gather data relevant to the customer’s needs. In conjunction with artificial intelligence, this can be used to rapidly identify whether the individual’s issue can be handled by automated tools or whether they need to be routed to human support. It can also automatically determine which human agents are available and which represent the best skills match for helping the customer. Read More→

Categories : Articles, Jill's Blog
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Apr
30

‘I Can Only Imagine’ Giveaway!

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Want to hear more of Bart Millard’s incredible testimony after watching I Can Only Imagine? This 4-Episode Video Series features Bart Millard, lead singer of MercyMe. Bart shares his true testimony of redemption and hope, along with the lessons God has instilled in him. Contains select scenes from the I Can Only Imagine movie. Each episode is approximately 12 minutes.

DEVOTIONAL
Find hope and purpose in this 28-day study of Jesus’s life and ministry. This beautifully designed 28-day study journal is effective as a standalone study or as a participant’s guide for the I Can Only Imagine Video Series. Embark on a journey through the Gospels to discover Jesus’ encounters with broken people. Each day will include scripture, reflective questions, and prayer— all working together to reveal God’s incredible heart for you.

 

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Purchase here: https://cityonahillstudio.com/shop-3/i-can-only-imagine

Enter to win this giveaway here:  https://www.blessedfreebies.com/indescribablestudygiveaway.html

 

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