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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According to a Nerdwallet poll conducted by Harris Poll, 64 percent of Americans have accumulated some amount of credit card debt. But the reasons why people overspend is enlightening. In fact, the poll found that only 10 percent of Americans say the most common reason for credit card debt is that their income doesn’t cover everyday necessities.

There could also be psychological factors at play for overspending, like indulging in retail therapy when feeling down and out or having a bad day. But old-fashioned financial sense — like separating wants from needs in your budget — are also factors in overspending. It may seem like a no-brainer that needs are crucial for survival and wants are not. But is your grocery cart full of snack foods and ingredients you could do without?

Take a moment to reevaluate your needs from wants and take the next step toward financial health with these tips.

Focus on the Function

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea that you need a new house or car in order for your life to function better. But take a closer look at the issues. If your house has adequate space, but you’re feeling cramped, it’s probably worth waiting it out until your finances are in a place so you can upsize your lifestyle. Or, consider putting a little money into fixing up the attic into a new space instead of buying an all-new home.

The same goes with a car. Your car may just need a new timing belt and set of tires to get it running better. At the same time, don’t be tempted to keep driving a clunker without considering the dangers involved. Thin tires prone to poor air pressure can burn up more gas than a set of new tires. Get creative on ways to save by visiting a site like Tirebuyer.com for deals on tires and direct delivery to your mechanic.

Think About Cross Categories

It’s possible to have wants and needs on your list that blend together. For example, Internet hookup could be a need if you’re trying to grow and run a business from home. However, you may not need the most robust package to make it happen.

It’s easy to overspend on Internet hookup costs if they’re bundled into a phone and cable package. But dropping your landline phone service in favor of a low-cost cell phone plan through Republic Wireless could save you money. You can also cut cable altogether by streaming shows from Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu directly to your TV with a service like Apple TV or Chromecast. Read More→

Apr
25

Take Control of Your Thoughts

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PrayerFrom the time, we wake up in the morning till we go to bed at night, thoughts are coursing through our minds. Not just one thought but many. In fact, according to Dr. Leaf we can think 4 to 7 things are the same time.

One day last year I remember feeling gloomy all day. I didn’t want to talk to the kids, I was feeling a lot of anxiety and discouragement over business and finances. I didn’t know why. Life wasn’t that bad but I couldn’t seem to get my feelings out of the gutter. I stopped myself and looked back at the week asking, “What has happened that is leading to me feeling this way?”

It took a while for me to sort through my thoughts to recognize the underlying problem. I realized that earlier in the week I had gotten a phone call about a job I had done that needed to be corrected. It was a minor thing, but from that little incident my thinking had been spiraling downward for several days. I was negative about my abilities in work, which snowballed into worrying about finances (since work is a livelihood in my mind a bad job mean less money).

Things like this happen to all of us. The problem is that we can’t let our thinking spiral because of it. Rather than just knowing that we are grouchy, we must get to the root of the issue.

In 2 Corinthians 10:5 we are told how to take every thought captive. It says, “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

The verse says to demolish arguments and pretensions which are not in alignment with the knowledge of God. Here is why it is so important to know who we are in Christ and to know His promises.

An example in this situation would be that my thoughts were saying I’m never going to make it as a business woman because I made a mistake. However, that is not what God says. God says, “My ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9) He also says that He knows the plans He has for me to give me a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) And He says that He loves me and calls me His child, reminding me that I will be like Him if I continue to hope in Him. (1 John 3:1-3)

God has given us the ability to separate from our thoughts and take authority over them. In His Word He has given Read More→

Apr
24

Saving Money To Stay Home

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Usually when I write something having to do with working from home, it’s about how to create an income. However, making money isn’t the only necessary ingredient in the stay-at-home recipe. The flip side of the coin is making some sacrifices and finding ways to save money.

When my husband and I first made the decision that I would leave the corporate world in favor of working from home, we knew it was going to take more than just me finding a way to bring in money from home. The amount that I would be making was half – or maybe even less – than I made at my corporate job. We needed to find a way to make it on his Air Force salary and my very small financial contribution.

Get Rid Of Non-essentials

In order to cut out some of our living costs, we sold one of our cars and for the next several years I drove around a lovely (I use that term loosely) car that had been my grandmothers. It certainly wasn’t my dream car, but it got me around town and we also saved a LOT of money when the time came around to pay tax and licensing fees.

We also cut out cable and anything else that we could find in our budget that we could live without. It’s amazing what things we consider “essential” that truly aren’t.

Keep Things Simple

Another aspect of our life that received serious cutbacks was eating out. This was a hard adjustment for me at the time. When I worked full-time outside the home, it seemed easiest many nights to just stop and pick up supper on my way home. And once I began staying home every day, I still wanted the ease of fast food.

I wish I could tell you that I found a way to make that work, but of course that’s not the case. Instead I began working on my cooking skills and learning to make easy, simple meals that kept us within our food budget each month. Read More→

Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerSo many new business owners find an opportunity, seize on it, then realize they have no desire to promote it. It becomes a drag. Then they flit to one business opportunity after another, with no direction or knowledge on how to build a lasting business.

I made this mistake myself, in fact several times. When I first got into business, I became an associate of a very reputable network marketing business. Though I still have their service to this day and I will never do without it, I found that I had no passion to share the business with others.

Then I started identifying and pursuing my passions. That has made all the difference.

So why is this important? Creating a business around your passions is going to sustain you over the long haul. It’s going to help you define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). It’s going to motivate you to share your business, to overcome rejection, to keep going when times get tough.

And not only will it do all of the above, it will help you create a brand image that communicates the essence of who you are and what you do. Why? Because identifying your passions will give enable you to visualize your brand.

A brand is much more than a logo, though. A brand connects you with your chosen market. It encompasses how you treat your customers, the value you bring to your products and services, and the experience your prospects have when encountering you for the first time.

Identifying your passions will bring you success in your branding because you will have created an authentic relationship with your prospects and customers.

Consider Chick-fil-A. The founder, S. Truett Cathy, was passionate about homestyle cooking with chicken. He built a brand around that chicken, but not just the chicken. When you walk into a Chick-fil-A, the employees are trained to treat you, the customer, with respect, cheerfulness, and helpfulness. That is the atmosphere of every single restaurant. It is part of Chick-fil-A’s brand.

How Do You Identify Your Passions?

You need to spend time asking yourself some key questions. This would make a great devotional, quiet time, or extended time with the Lord. The Corinthian books in the Bible are extremely illuminating when it comes to this subject. Have a pen and journal in hand and be prepared to do some brainstorming.

What are the questions you need to ask? Questions like, “What are my dreams?”, “What are my goals?”, “What’s the vision for my life and business?”, “What are my gifts, talents, specialized knowledge, skills, life experiences?” All these questions serve to answer the question, “What am I passionate about?” Read More→

What is your marriage modelingOne thing I have learned throughout my life is sometimes speaking your mind only gets a piece of somebody else’s mind – and not the good piece.

The old saying goes that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. However, I’m surprised the old dog doesn’t know the old tricks. What good is a new trick if you have not really mastered and learned from the old tricks?

My experience in this area stood me in good stead for many years. An incident happened recently bringing to light how valuable this “old trick” really is. I may not be good in the new tricks, but I think I have mastered a few of the old tricks.

I really do not know when this incident started, but somewhere along the line I said something resembling a guttural “uh huh,” and forgot about it. What you say in these odd moments may determine your quality of life for many years to come. This points out the difference between husbands and wives.

The only way a husband can remember what he had for lunch is to look at his shirt. A wife’s memory, on the other hand, is so keen she can remember things that never happened.

In the midst of a mild domestic discussion, any wife worth her salt can bring her husband to his knees by simply stating, “But, Honey, you promised me.”

At that point, no husband has the equipment to counter that argument. He may well have promised, but there is no way to prove one way or the other.

About a month ago, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage got it into her mind to remodel the kitchen. During this time, I did a pretty good job of staying out of her way. When the rare opportunity came soliciting my personal advice on a matter associated with this remodeling project, I quickly and enthusiastically supported her decisions.

The man who carefully measures his words will add happy years to his life. I sure don’t know how long I’m going to live, but I want that time to be happy.

Following the kitchen remodeling my wife proceeded to remodel her bathroom. At this point I should have had some suspicions, but I didn’t. As a husband, I am not equipped with a “suspicion detector.” Experience should have taught me that if one project is done successfully it only inspires another project.

When a wife gets it in her mind to remodel part of the house that thought gets stuck and there is no stopping her. After each remodeling project is completed, my wife always asks my opinion of the job she has just done. Read More→

Setting up any kind of business from any kind of location is no walk in the park. Many would argue that setting up a business from home is one of the hardest ways to go about it. (Although it should be highlighted that businesses are starting from home at an extraordinary rate these days!) But there are certain home businesses that are a lot harder to get off the ground than others. Copywriting, accounting, or consultancy businesses tend to be pretty feasible pursuits from a residential location. But something like e-commerce seems like a much less feasible business to try running from home.

When people think about e-commerce businesses, they generally imagine the giants of the industry such as Amazon and eBay. That, or they imagine the online branches of established brick-and-mortar businesses. The online store of Barnes & Noble, for example. They don’t usually think about startups that are run by a few people – or even just one person – from home. And if they do, they usually think about fraudsters!

Running an e-commerce business from home is definitely possible, and it can bring you a lot of success if you do it right.

 

E-commerce isn’t as easy as it looks

It’s a little foolish to assume that any kind of business endeavor is an easy one, but a lot of people seem to imagine that starting up an e-commerce business is just that. These days, just about anyone can set up an e-commerce website. You don’t even need products – you can just set one up using the same drag-and-drop website builders that made website creation so easy and accessible about a decade ago.

A lot of the businesses that offer e-commerce platforms and website builders want you to think that the e-commerce game is a pretty simple one that anyone can profit in with minimal effort and financial input. This mindset is what keeps budding amateur entrepreneurs coming to these sorts of websites, after all. But don’t fall for it. E-commerce is something into which you need to be willing to invest quite a lot of money and time. Don’t assume that it’s easy just because starting an e-commerce website has been made incredibly simple. Actually building, marketing, and maintaining the business remains as daunting a task as ever.

 

The WFH attitude

Working from home successfully requires the right approach. You need to have a specific approach – one that features drive and a lot of discipline. As anyone who works from home will tell you, the amount of effort that you need to put into your pursuit to get good results matches or even exceeds that of what people would think of as “regular jobs”. And when you’re actually trying to start your own business, the amount of time and effort you’ll end up spending every day will end up being a lot. (So make sure you don’t burn yourself out too quickly!)

We have a recent post about maintaining professionalism at home that you should definitely check out. Those who are looking to succeed in building an e-commerce business from home need to be as professional and disciplined as they would be at a company’s office – otherwise, there may not be much point in even beginning. Read More→

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Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerpebbles-startLooking to start out as a virtual assistant but don’t know where to find any paying projects and jobs? Here’s a shortlist of my personal favorites when I’m looking for VA work:

Upwork
Freelancer
Guru

iFreelance

In addition, here are some of my favorite sites found to be most informative, especially when I was just starting out as a VA:

Virtual Word Publishing
Google (there were LOTS of times I didn’t know how to do what was being asked of me, so I simply looked it up…)

Depending on the specific type of work at home work you are looking for, there are loads of sites out there. Read articles. Join message boards and forums. Buy and download audio books and ebooks. Educate yourself and the top of the hill is yours for the taking! Read More→

Apr
18

Busyness is not Next to Godliness

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerBusyness is Not Next to Godliness by Pam BassI’ve been hearing people say over and over, “I’m too busy” “We wish we could, but we’ve got something going on”.  I wonder, why are we Americans SO busy?  What’s the point, really?  Going at breakneck speed drains us, stresses us out, makes us grumpy—or at least it does me!

How can I reasonably expect to hear God’s voice if my head is overloaded with stuff? My to do list, my fears, worries, prayers? My head is overflowing with noisy thoughts! I believe I need to go on a walk, dump out all my feelings, thoughts, concerns, you-name-it. And then wait.  And wait some more.  God is not going to jump in my head when a few seconds opens a space.  I believe He’ll wait ‘til I have a receptive heart. And I think to have that, I need to clear my head first.  Sometimes, I think God speaks to our hearts through our heads.  So, ergo, if my head is overflowing, how can I possibly hear God’s voice?  I need to make room for Him. So, I need to get rid of stuff in my head first.   I need to invite Him in so that I can listen to Him, not for me to dump all my stuff on His lap. (Although at times, that’s a good idea too!)

Sometimes I wonder:  “What if, every God-fearing person really slowed down and listened to God’s voice and actually did that crazy thing they heard in their head?” Like, give $20 to that homeless man? Or join that mentoring teen program? Start a non-profit to bring shoes to shoe-less kids in Haiti? Or  to collect all their neighborhoods’ unused items and reuse, or give them to Goodwill, or to orphans in another country? Foster a child. Adopt an orphan. Go use your talents/skills and help provide clean water to the millions who don’t enjoy fresh, clean, uncontaminated water like we Americans do. Or whatever the crazy idea. It’s probably not that crazy and maybe God is calling YOU to do that idea. Everyone can have their own corner of “Crazy for God.”

This ties in with another thought about why we don’t do those ideas listed above.

“I’m too busy”  “I wouldn’t know where to start” “I can’t do that!.”  “What would so n-so think?”  Most of our excuses our fear-based, not love-based.  2 Timothy 1:7 states, that “For God has NOT given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind” (KJV) Shouldn’t I be motivated by the love of God? He is the One who first loved me (1 John 4:19) 1 John 3:18 states, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and truth”.  My love for others must be put into action.  I know some are saying, “But I’m  (we’re) just too busy!” Was Jesus “just too busy” to stop and help, heal, pray, or give? I don’t think so. Maybe we should stop and adjust our priorities. I know I have to at times! I don’t presume to say I’ve got my act together!

Our culture doesn’t help-it keeps pushing us to go, go, go and never slow down! I for one remember a time when Sundays were really a day of rest. NO, I’m not 100 years old, but old enough to remember stores being closed on Sundays. I for one, would support any team or league that purposefully CHOSE to NOT have games on Sundays. I’m just saying you might want to consider that. Jesus was never hurried or rushed.  He didn’t say, “Aw, come on Peter, James, & John! I have to finish this, and get moving. So hurry up!”

Here’s one take away point: quit one activity this week. If  you’re in your car driving your kids around, try and carpool with one of the other parents. Trade off babysitting  It worked great for ours and another couples’ marriage. No money involved and our kids loved it! And it help keep our marriage healthy and happy. Win win!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Pam Bass is a wife, mom, and licensed Christian counselor, who has helped hundreds of people over the last 23 years.  She desires wives especially to be cognizant of the way the American culture can influence our stated Christian values.  Through her blog, she hopes to encourage women (in particular) to know and trust what God tells us in His word.  Find out more at www.pambass.com   

Apr
17

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 scheduled, 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 certain 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→

Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success blogger sucessful branding requires careful planningIf you want a long lasting business and a brand that effectively communicates who you are and what you do, you need to do careful planning.

Initially, this requires analyzing information, like who your target market is, what makes you unique as a business, what solutions you offer, and what message you want to reach your audience.

It also includes writing mission statements, defining your goals, and thoroughly understanding your competition. You need to decide what your communication and marketing objectives are and specific benchmarks you will use to evaluate these objectives.

Successful planning for your brand encompasses three steps:

  1. a business plan
  2. a marketing plan
  3. a strategic brand strategy.

Business Plans

There are many ways you can do a business plan. Initially, I made my first one using a PowerPoint template. It had everything I wanted.

What should be included in a business plan? Your mission, your USP, your goals, milestones, target market, competition, strategies, revenue and expense projection, just to name a few ideas. Ask yourself, what is your business model? Is it online exclusively? Is it a party business? Retail? Wholesale?

Basically, you are writing this to prove that your business is viable. Think of your audience as investors and you are trying to convince them to be stakeholders.

Many companies offer business plan templates. You can find them off of the Internet, download an App for your smart phone or tablet, or hire a firm to help you.

You may need a business plan for investors to raise capital. If you do, you will want that business plan to be as professional as possible! Read More→