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Do Life DifferentDo Life Different
Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
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Archive for CWAHM Blogs

Feb
23

Running Your Business from Home

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Many entrepreneurs and freelance workers long for the chance to run their businesses from their own homes, without the stress and expense of commuting and renting office space. If you are wondering about the possibility of doing this yourself, you need to look behind the dream and get a realistic assessment of how this would work for you. There are several key requirements for working from home, plus considerations about whether this is a model that would be appropriate for your business.

Your home

Before you start planning your wonderful new life, you need to look at your house and decide whether there is somewhere suitable from you to work from – ideally a spare room that you can close off from the rest of the house. If you are running a business, you can’t work productively with interruptions and distractions. You might have a beautiful office area set up in your living room, but if your family is constantly walking through or wanting to watch TV in there, you are going to find it hard to concentrate. One alternative would be a loft conversion or extension, or even an outside office; a dedicated building in the backyard with all the facilities you need to run your business in comfort and seclusion.

Your business

If you run a retail business and are tired of going to the store every day, you need to ask yourself why; is the business failing to perform? Does it not interest you anymore? Maybe you need a new challenge? Whatever the cause, if it’s not something you wish to tackle, you could consider transferring to an online business model, where you sell via a website with no retail outlet. It could then be run from home, providing you have sufficient storage for your stock or can drop ship your orders. Losing the convenience of working in town might also be a concern, for example, you might be used to popping out to a local supplier for sundries and marketing materials. There are very few requirements you’ll have that can’t be dealt with online though. For example, if you always get your business brochures from the local print shop, when you work at home you can use a brochure maker to design your marketing materials, which you can then use online or email out to have professionally printed.

You

Working from home requires self-discipline; you need to be able to apply yourself to complete a full working week. Your partner can’t expect you to help with chores or go out shopping during those working hours, and you need to be able to resist the temptation to do something else when you should be working. Having said that, if you work from home you can make your own schedule. You don’t have to work 8 am to 5 pm; you could work whatever hours suited you, providing they added up to the equivalent of your office-based job.

There are significant advantages regarding time and costs savings, flexibility and comfort associated with working from home, and with the interconnectedness of technology, you can communicate with suppliers, employees, and clients with ease. If you want to make the transition but don’t have the facilities in your current home, it might be time to consider relocation to a property with the accommodation you need to make your dream a reality.

40 Days to a Better Business
So, over the last couple of days we’ve talked through scheduling, finding a dedicated working space and getting organized. Now we need to turn all of that effort into accomplishment. No matter what business you’re in, no matter what season your family is in, learning to prioritize tasks is what will help you succeed.

So, let’s jump in and get started.

1. Get out your daily list of tasks (see Day 1) and your planner/calendar.

2. Add any additional tasks and errands to tomorrow’s spot in your planner.

I always use pencil to write in my planner so that change/add/delete easily. Other work-at-homers that I’ve talked with use colored pencils and assign a different color to each different kind of task. For instance, home tasks (laundry, cleaning) are written in blue; business tasks are written in green. Read More→

40 Days to a Better Business

 

You wouldn’t think this to be true, but finding a good place for a workplace when you’re working from home can be one of biggest obstacles to overcome.

I’ve worked everywhere in our home from the family room to the furnace room to a spare bedroom to the kitchen table. Anything can work. It will all just depend on what season your family is in and what works for you at the time. Be flexible and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. In our book, So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom, Diana Ennen and I tell the story of a woman who transforms a closet into an office. Truly, you can make the most of whatever you have.

As your business grows, however, it becomes more important for you to have a dedicated space to work. There are, of course, business tax benefits and in order to receive the full deduction, you must have a separate space that your business can call its own. (Please contact your tax professional for details.)

No matter what your work space looks like – big or small – it’s imperative that you put together a system for keeping your business organized. My husband often teases me about the fact that my online business generates so much paperwork. But it’s true. There are receipts to keep track of, tax documents to store; the list goes on and on. Read More→

40 Days to a Better Business

 

One of the questions that I get most often about working from home is how to get it all done. How does one person manage a household and a business at the same time?

I’m here to encourage you that it CAN be done. It’s a stretch at times, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy, right?

One thing that has helped me manage all of the laundry, cleaning, cooking, blogging, social media and other home and business chores is creating a schedule. Now, some of you reading think this is a no-brainer as maybe this comes naturally to you. Others of you are like me – kicking and screaming that the whole reason we work from home is the flexibility. We threw the schedule out the window when we quit the corporate world!

However, businesses and families alike work better with at least a rough outline of a schedule. Kids especially benefit from a more scheduled environment. When I began scheduling our weeks a bit, my kids responded to that with better attitudes and less acting out.

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Laura Markham says, “Children, like the rest of us, handle change best if it is expected and occurs in the context of a familiar routine.   A predictable routine allows children to feel safe, and to develop a sense of mastery in handling their lives.”

Just as kids respond to routine, I’ve found that my business behaves better with a schedule as well. The key is to find what works best for you, your business and your family. Don’t compare yourselves to everyone around you. Your life and your business will never look like theirs – because they are YOURS.

We spend too much of life trying to make ourselves fit into the perfect picture we think we see around us. What we really need to be doing is seeking Christ above all. And then working within how He created us to be the best stewards of what He has given us.

One thing that I have found works well for me is to set a day for everything. I’ve adapted this over the years to fit the seasons of my business and family life. Currently my days look something like this:

  • Mondays – Housework and laundry, writing in between, email catch-up from the weekend
  • Tuesdays – Grocery shopping and business tasks, writing and speaking prep
  • Wednesdays – Bible study (in season), marketing tasks
  • Thursdays – Business tasks as much as possible with playtime in between (when my kids are home from school)
  • Fridays – Take it Easy Day. Lunch with my husband or a friend. Business tasks as time allows.
  • Saturdays – Laundry … again. Cleaning with the help of my family.
  • Sundays – Church and a good, long nap Read More→

Beginning tomorrow on CWAHM, we will begin a journey called “40 Days to a Better Business.”

As you join us on this journey, I would encourage you to spend today in prayer, preparing for what God has for you and your business.

Here are some ideas on how you can be praying and preparing:

* Ask God to show you what He would have you do better for your business.

* Ask God to reveal to you things that you may be unknowingly doing that may be harmful your business.

* Create a place to take notes and journal during this process. A document on your computer will work or you can buy a special notebook to keep your thoughts and ideas in.

* Make a list of things that you would like to see change/improve in your business.

Begin each day of our 40 day journey:

* In quiet time with God – as little as 1 verse in Proverbs.

* In prayer – ask God to open your eyes to what He has for you to do and learn that day.

* With a blank sheet of paper (in your notebook or computer document) ready to make note of what God reveals and ideas that come to mind.

* With a great attitude and a desire to make a change!

40 Days to a Better Business

Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerDefining Business by Dana Susan BeasleyThe Bible says that without vision, my people perish. Now in your work at home business, why should it be any different?

Because if you don’t understand what your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is, or what value you bring to your customers, your brand will suffer and your business could even fail.

Even if you are a direct seller or network marketer, you need to understand why you are in business and who you are in business for.

One of my clients sells essential oils. After taking my course that helped her define her business, she made a plan to concentrate on a certain niche. This has resulted in incredible growth for her business and it has empowered her to help other members of her team.

The more clarity you have about your business, the more refined your brand will be. This requires careful analysis and planning. Sure, it is a lot of work up front, but the rewards are worth it.

I think of my husband, who spent much time defining his business long before it was started. Through this process, he positioned himself as an expert. When he was ready to launch his architectural business, the opportunities came to him. Because he had done the work beforehand. He was ready.

Read More→

Feb
15

Fight the Flu

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina Palmerheart in snowWith the flu season in full gear, us stay-at-home mom’s have the convenience of making a wonderful pot of homemade soup to help our children (and husband and ourselves) get well faster. Not just the flu, but Strep, and bronchitis, and mono, and all the other illness that like to keep our kids home on school days coughing, feverish, and miserable. I will share with you my simple and tasty chicken soup recipe along with a few other tricks I use to combat the woes that come with winter. 

Chicken Soup

3 handfuls of angel hair pasta or egg noodles or potatoes (5 medium potatoes peeled and cut)

5 fresh garlic cloves chopped fine

1 medium white onion chopped fine

2 containers of chicken broth or stock 

1 can of cream of chicken soup (preferably the Aldi brand or one without creepy ingredients like MSG)

1 bag frozen mixed veggies 

4 cups of water

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

 

To taste, sage, thyme, garlic salt, onion powder, bay leaves, salt, and pepper

Start by sautéing the chicken in olive or coconut oil then add in the fresh garlic and onion until everything is a golden brown. Pour in the chicken broth or stock and mix in cream of mushroom soup and water. Add in spices and bring to a boil. Next, put in pasta or potatoes and bring back to a boil until cooked through. Add in the flaxseed and allow to boil for another minute or two. Serve. 

Other tips I swear by (to compliment traditional medicine or by themselves):

Anointing oil – I pray over my babies when they are sick. God can surely handle a cold!

Essential oils in a diffuser – I love eucalyptus to help open the nose and germ fighter (also called four thieves) to kill germs in the air. Oils can also be mixed with a carrier oil and put on the body. I suggest lavender for almost everything.  

Wet sock treatment – This is a new one in my repertoire been using for a few months and found to be quite effective (please talk to your doctor if you have any concerns before trying). The purpose of this treatment is to force your (or your child’s) immune system into overdrive. 

Take one pair of white regular socks and place in a bowl to soak of ice and water. Soak your child feet in warm water in the tub or in a foot tub for ten minutes. After ten minutes, put the wet socks (wring them out first) on the child’s feet and then put dry thick wool socks (if you don’t own wool socks, use two pair of thick socks or fuzzy socks) put the child to bed and make sure they are covered up in a blanket and warm pajamas. This has brought fevers down every time and stopped others in the house from getting sick.  Read More→

Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerDid you ever have a smile on your face that no matter what you did you could not wipe it off?

Well, that is quite a regular occurrence with me. But this past week was a “smile-on-the-face” to beat all “smiles-on-the-face.” My only regret is that I did not do a Selfie.

It all began in the morning when I suggested that we go out for lunch for a pre-Valentine’s Day celebration. Sometimes with our schedule we cannot celebrate a celebration on that celebration day.

Of course, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage responded in the positive.

“You,” she said rather sarcastically, “will be picking up the check?”

“It’s the least,” I said in response, “I can do for your Valentine’s Day present.”

Smilingly she said, “It sure is the least thing you could do.”

We chuckled simultaneously, which is something we rarely do, but this was a special occasion.

As a culinary whiz, my wife has served me some of the most delightful meals on the globe. No question about it.

So, going out for lunch at a nearby restaurant was a blessing to her, but not quite the blessing to me. Until this luncheon.

The host of the restaurant took us to our table and we sat down to begin our luncheon activity. At this point, everything was going fine.

The waitress took our order and we sent back to relax waiting for our meal to arrive. We filled the time with chitchat of which my wife is an excellent chit-chatter. I, on the other hand, am a great chitchat listener. In this regard, we make an excellent team.

The fun was just about to begin. If I knew how much fun was going to take place, I could have prepared myself a little better. But, you never know what’s going to take place.

Within a few moments, the waitress brought our order.

We both had hamburgers. I had fries with mine while she ordered a plate of vegetables.

The thing I hate about going to a restaurant like this is that I have to pay for the vegetables. I know vegetables are good for you, but do I have to eat them all the time?

We said our prayer over the food and then commenced eating. Looking back on the situation, I do not think my prayer was sufficient for the situation at hand.

My wife always orders her hamburger medium-well. I like mine cooked all the way through. No pink allowed in my burger.

As my wife cut her hamburger in two, that’s the way she likes to eat it, when all of a sudden red liquid leaked all over her plate.

“Oh, my goodness,” she exclaimed, “what is this pink stuff?”

I thought I knew what that pink stuff was, but I was not going to mention it in her presence.

When she pulled both halves apart, both sides were red and oozing pink juice. I could tell immediately that the hamburger was not cooked all the way through. I could have mentioned it to her, but I know better than to jump in where I don’t belong.

She called the waitress over and showed her that her hamburger was not cooked. The waitress immediately apologized, took the hamburger, went and got her another one and this time it was cooked all the way through just like she likes it.

One calamity fixed. So we set back and began to enjoy the rest of our lunch together.

I couldn’t help but snicker and she said, “And what are you snickering about?”

Then we both began laughing together. There is no sense in trying to grouch your way through a situation like this. There was a problem, the problem was fixed, now we could enjoy lunch together.

If I thought that was the end of our fun, I was to be surprised.

I mentioned to her several times how her hamburger was, and she just looked at me and smiled and I had to smile right back at her. Usually, I’m the one that gets the bloody hamburger. I like mine well done and there are times when it is not well done. This time the joke was on her.

We finished our hamburgers, I was eating my French fries and she was nibbling at her vegetables. I think a French fry is a vegetable, but I’m not going to contest it.

Then I heard her scream, “What’s that?” Read More→

Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggerVideos works! We know that, but too many just don’t use them. Why? Mainly fear. Fear that they won’t get the results they hoped for. Fear they won’t know how to effectively use them. Or fear that they are too expensive for their budgets. Some even fear needing to go in front of the camera. The good news is businesses have no reason to fear. Videos are not only affordable and easy to use, but also one of the best ways to market. And today, if you don’t want to go in front of the camera, there is no need to do so. It’s that simple!

When you realize stats like those mentioned recently in a recent SmallBizTrend article that state that “80 percent of users recall a video ad they viewed in the past 30 day,” you can see why you should be using videos. Another example mentioned in that same article stated, “According to 70 percent of marketers, video produces more conversions than any other type of content.” Can you see the power of video? You should!

So let’s face these fears and break it down.

Why Use Video:
• Videos provide a way to remain “top of mind.” What does that mean exactly? It means, when someone sees your logo, they think of you. They remember you from your video. They feel they know you because the video adds that level of comfort and confidence.
• Videos provide a visually robust way to evoke a strong emotion and get viewers to take action. If you’re struggling to get your audience to react to your content, video will solve this. So will you get results, absolutely!
• Videos introduce your company, business philosophy, and services/products and help to build your brand awareness. What better way to show who you are and what you do.
• Videos help with all your marketing. Videos should be used not only on your website, but in all your social media, emails, newsletters, and more.
• Videos provide a means to regularly stay in contact with clients through education-based, warm and friendly, non-sales content.
• Today videos are so affordable that having an ongoing commitment is easy to do and encouraged.
• There are so many methods to do videos, if you won’t want to get in front of the camera; there is no need to do so. For example, you can do an audio-only voice recording that will be used with other video clips, images, animations, text and music. You can outsource a video spokesperson to present the message on your behalf. You can use hand drawn whiteboard sketch or illustrated animations and characters.
• Videos provide a way to showcase the holidays. What better way to say “happy holidays” than with a video with your company logo on it! And this isn’t just for the major holidays, but throughout the year as well for all special occasions.
• And so much more

Who can most benefit with video? Truly any business can benefit by making videos part of their marketing plan. However, these businesses truly do gain traction: marketing companies, real estate agents, speakers, coaches, authors, virtual assistant businesses, and more. Read More→

Feb
09

Self-Confidence & Your Brand

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerSelf-Confidence and Your Brand by Dana Susan BeasleyIncreasingly, I am becoming aware that there is a direct link between success and self-confidence. If you don’t believe in you, why would you believe in your brand, and why would anyone else believe in your brand?

I also have found that self-confidence doesn’t cut it. What matters is God confidence! The more I trust in God, the more I trust Him with my business and the more steps of faith I am able to take!

Because I realize it is not about me, it’s about Him and bringing Him glory with what He has called me to do.

So how do you gain this God confidence?

First and foremost, you gain this God confidence by spending time with Him in the Word. Discover what your identity in Christ is all about. How does He see you? How did He make you? What unique talents and callings has He given you? What mission did He give you while you are on this Earth?

Additionally, spend time in soaking prayer. I have found this to be extremely helpful. I have realized that deep inside me are soul wounds that need healing. I have spent hours listening to meditative music while spending time in His presence. I have much more work to do in this area.

Being an entrepreneur can be a scary job at times. It brings you face to face with your weaknesses and insecurities. But that is exactly where God wants you to be!

Because that’s the business He is in–healing!

And the more confidence and trust you have in Him, the more you will be able to step out into who He has made you to be!

For instance, a month ago I decided to take a step of faith and publish a book to help Colorado flood and fire survivors. A year ago I would have been too scared to take this project on. Still, I find myself thinking old negative thoughts like “who am I to publish this book?” or “I don’t matter. Who cares about me anyway?” I constantly have to fight this thinking. I’m telling you it is not easy, especially when I know that rejection will inevitably come. Read More→

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