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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 Jill’s Blog

Mar
13

Holding Steady

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Not long ago I was talking with a coaching client about her fears and doubts in regards to leaving the corporate world and working from home. She was sharing with me her concerns about bringing in enough money, making the right contacts and how just getting her new business off the ground was causing her to feel completely overwhelmed.

As we talked, a verse that I had read earlier in the week, 1 Corinthians 16:13, came to mind and I realized that it can be applied to our work-at-home fears and doubts as well as our spiritual ones.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13

Be On Your Guard
I think it’s imperative that we remember that we must be on guard. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the concerns of this world – our business, our family, etc – and take for granted that we are in a spiritual battle. If we’re doing what God has called us to do, our enemy does NOT want us to succeed. We must be aware of the lies he feeds us, the worry he works to create in our lives and the utter hopelessness that he tries to convince us is reality.

Stand Firm
When we’re aware of the battle raging around us, we can cling to God’s truths and stand firm in our faith. There are days I find myself repeating hope-giving verses out loud to help me stand firm. Verses like these:

I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Be Courageous
When I have God’s truth on my lips and in my heart, I’m filled with courage. The key here is that being courageous is a choice. We can choose to sink into the defeated mindset that the enemy tries to create. Or we can choose to rely upon the Holy Spirit and be courageous even in the face of overwhelming odds.

There will be times in business when it seems like no matter what you do, you can’t succeed. But, we know that isn’t the truth. We must be courageous and walk through these times, trusting that God will provide and that He has our best in mind – even when we can’t see it. Read More→

Mar
10

5 Ways Your Small-Business Data Can Cause Disaster

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business, office, school and education concept – stressed businesswoman with computer at work

Your business can’t afford to lose potential customers due to downtime, data loss and diminished reliability. Unfortunately, far too many business owners fail to safeguard their data from corruption, theft and loss. Do you know the leading causes of data loss and how to prepare? Here’s a round-up of what to look out for.

Backup Failure

Using a computer without a backup or recovery system is like driving without automobile insurance. Your valuable data is likely to be corrupted or lost with no viable way to retrieve it. Backup failures are an unfortunate part of computer and device use, but testing your data’s recovery is crucial to ensure success. However, not everyone has the time or inclination to regularly test their data to ensure everything is working smoothly.

Fortunately, you don’t have to employ a dedicated IT team to keep your data secure. Save money by outsourcing your data backup to the cloud with a service like Mozy. Create a set-it-and-forget-it system for backing up your data at your discretion. From there, Mozy does the rest without needing to log in and check the process. If data is lost, users can quickly restore the files they need or their entire computer.

Hardware Damage

Damage to your servers, computer and devices can cause instantaneous and unrecoverable data loss. It’s not enough to find the best durable and waterproof cases. Regardless of how well-protected your laptops and smartphones are, internal systems can still go bad without warning. After all, drives and operating systems don’t last forever.

Hardware repair is sometimes possible, but doesn’t always guarantee your data is recoverable. That can mean a lot of time and money spent on trying to fix an unsolvable problem. Ultimately you’re left with a broken device, irretrievable data and facing a loss in revenue.

Ransomware

Ransomware is on the rise, and victims can fall prey to this type of hacking when they find themselves locked out of their devices and are unable to retrieve their data without paying a hacker. At times, hackers are known to retaliate and send compromising information to the contacts in your device.

Your only protection against ransomware is a two-step process. Back up your data to a third party cloud provider that focuses on preventing downtime and malicious attacks. Most reputable providers will provide encrypted technology to keep your data safe and ready for retrieval. Next, perform a factory reset on your device and create new passwords and pins. Read More→

Categories : Jill's Blog
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Mar
09

Where in the World Does Time Go?

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run out of timeI remember my grandfather telling me that the older you get the faster time flies. Laughing at him at the time I thought it was another of his little stories he loved telling.

Just the other day I caught myself telling one of my grandchildren, “The older you get the faster time flies.” Then it occurred to me. I am my grandfather. I am not sure how I got here, but here I am.

It is hard keeping up with things, especially when time ticks by so fast. Just when you think you are all caught up, you realize you have to start it all over again.

I was complaining about this the other day to the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Normally, I try not to do any complaining in her presence. She has the ability of turning my complaint upside down and confusing me to the extent that I have no idea what I am complaining about.

In my complaint I said, “Where does time go?”

“Where,” my wife said rather sarcastically, “do you want time to go?”

I had to stop and think about that one. In fact, I am still trying to think about that one. To be rather honest, I do not know where I want time to go. The only thing I do know is, I do not want it to go by so fast. Why can’t time slow down just a little bit, especially as I get older.

In my confused state of mind my wife said, “Would you do me a favor and go to the grocery store and pick up some items? I just don’t have enough time to do it myself.”

Whenever my wife asked me to do her a “favor,” I believe there should be some kind of a recompense for my time. After all, my time is valuable, at least to me it is. Read More→

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Mar
08

8 Work-At-Home Jobs for Moms

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If you’re a Mom with reservations about going back to the office and leaving your kids with child-care providers, you’re not alone! It can be hard to be confident and productive on the job, knowing that you’re away from home for eight or more hours a day while someone else largely raises your kids.

Mental and physical health varies for children brought up by stay-at-home parents versus kids sent to child care for at least several hours per day. Generally, children will be healthy in both situations, but kids raised at home with their mother are statistically more likely to perform well in school, graduate, avoid serious problems with drug and alcohol abuse, and feel self-confident.

About 60 percent of people agree that it’s better for kids when their mother stays at home. On the other hand, there is solid evidence that working mothers also contribute to raising healthy kids. They set an example of a positive work ethic and provide a more comfortable level of existence for their children.

So this is the great news: If you’re a mom, you can provide the best of both worlds for your kids by working from home. There are hundreds of opportunities to make money and personally show your kids what hard work looks like.

Here are some of the many options.

1. Customer Service Representative

Many companies turn to remote workers to do their customer service. Amazon and Apple, for example, have a fleet of employees around the world who answer queries and assist with online transactions from their homes.

It’s a pretty flexible position, since you can work while the kids are at school or after they’ve gone to bed. You can make between $8 and $18 per hour, depending on the firm, your geographical location, and your experience level.

2. Landlord

Being a landlord is a viable stay-at-home-mom job. Office tasks and addressing tenant requests involves flexible hours. You’ll rarely have to leave the office or your home; and if you do, your kids can come along. You can also subcontract property managers, which takes a lot of the work off your hands and lets you stay home more.

3. Medical Transcriptionist

Doctors vocally record their notes about a patient, and those notes must be typed up to make permanent records. This job is often outsourced to a transcription company that has a workforce of fast, knowledgeable typists who work from home.

If you fit that description and don’t mind taking a few classes to master the medical terminology, it’s a great job with the potential to earn $20+ per hour.

4. Writer/Blogger

Mommy blogging is a popular stay-at-home job if you can manage to get yours to take off. You could make more than $10,000 a month mostly writing about things you love. This job is extremely flexible, and you’ll be your own boss.

Writing a blog isn’t for everyone, though. It demands constant new ideas and material, and it’s not easy to attract the following you need to attain financial success.

But if you’re not prepared to launch and maintain your own blog, you could do ghost writing for others. If you have a knack for writing and grammar, you can make up to $50 per 500-word article.

5. Virtual Assistant

Many entrepreneurs don’t have the time to clear their inboxes, update social media, monitor client queries, and so on, so they outsource to a virtual assistant. It’s more affordable than hiring a secretary in house, and it means you can work at home in your spare time.

6. Teach English Online

Organizations such as VIP Kid and Toshuo hire native English speakers to teach English to kids in overseas countries such as China. A background in teaching is useful but not required, and you can usually learn everything you need to know about doing the job with a few hours’ training.

Because of the time difference, your working hours could be unconventional. Most start their day at about 3 a.m. and finish at 7 a.m., but if you can adapt to working in those early hours, it can be great for working around kids’ schedules, and you’ll receive $15 to $20 per hour in compensation.

7. Direct Sales

Some people can sell anything. If that’s you, find a company that pays its sales people on commission through direct sales. You can choose your hours and appointments thanks to the flexibility.

Your compensation varies with the product, but you’ll usually see between 25 and 50 percent commission on all sales. Avon, MayKay, LulaRoe, Jamberry, Lipsense, and The Pampered Chef are all examples of direct selling associations.

8. Tele Nurse

You can get your nursing degree from home through online medical degree programs. There are dozens of reputable institutions. Upon graduation, look into tele nursing.

There are hotlines and online clinics where nurses from all over the country get paid to answer questions and give medical advice. The compensation is great ($50,000 + for full-time work), and you can often set your hours to complement your mom schedule.

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Mar
07

My Virtual Assistant Toolbox

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What toolsis a craftsman without the tools of their trade? What is a carpenter without his saw? What is a chef without good food and the proper utensils, pots and pans?  As virtual assistants our box of tools and bag of tricks are seemingly endless. I have found the following tools to be the most valuable, no matter what you specialize in as a virtual assistant. Okay, so they are more ‘skills’ than tools, but hey, they’re still in my toolbox and they still get the job done!

Problem Solving.  No matter your position as a virtual assistant, be it a business owner, mentor, partner or subcontractor, your ability to problem solve and find solutions, in my view, the mightiest tool in your toolbox.  I don’t know about you but my VA business basically got its start by helping clients work through various issues and finding viable solutions. Even today, problem solving remains my bread and butter. Clients want to implement something new but don’t know where to start. That’s where the virtual assistant comes in. Your client doesn’t have the time to sift through research and how-to’s, that’s why they hired you! Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves, work through the issue or problem at hand, do a little (or a lot) of research and then make things happen. Your ability to problem solve and implement workable solutions will have your clients coming back for more, time and time again.

Organization. There’s more to organization than just putting the blocks in one tub and the pyramids in another tub. You can organize a client’s calendar for better usage of their time. You can organize their website for a better flow of information. I’ve even done this for a client’s devotional to ensure her devotions flowed in a specific manner. Sometimes it’s just a manner of organizing information in a spreadsheet for a better grasp of the overall picture.

Follow Through. This one can be a toughie but is important. First of all, think of contacts you have made. Just because your new contact CURRENTLY needs your services as a virtual assistant doesn’t mean that down the line they won’t need your services. In fact, I was at an event just this week in which I made multiple contacts. It wasn’t for the purpose of growing my business, but regardless, still follow through with your initial meeting of them with a quick email or note within a day or two of meeting. My services have been referred by clients and contacts alike, meaning they don’t have to use your services to know someone else who needs your services.

Secondly, the same goes for proposals, projects and tasks. When you submit a proposal to someone, be sure to follow that up by contacting them within a week if you don’t hear back from them. They could have been busy or just somehow missed your email. (I’ve actually had emails VANISH in the great vastness of the internet and never make it to its destination, so it does happen.) Don’t assume just because you have not heard back that it’s a no-go. Follow through and confirm before making assumptions.

Boundaries. Oy! So many of us struggle with the issue of not knowing where to set boundaries, I know I do. It’s hard to say ‘no’ when your bank account is low, but what good will it do if you work yourself into the ground? Decide on how many hours you can realistically work AND STILL HAVE A LIFE OUTSIDE OF WORK. Nobody expects you to work 24/7 just because you work from home. Okay, maybe some clients are out of their head and not always realistic, but those are the clients to step away from anyway. You are allowed to take a day off – even a weekend – so do it and do it regularly. Read More→

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Mar
06

Five Tips For Landing a Legitimate Work-at-Home Job

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According to the latest American Community Survey data, there are approximately 2.8 million people, not including the self employed or unpaid volunteers, who consider home their primary place of work. The current American economy has created the need for companies to cut back as much as possible. This has created growth in the work-at-home industry as it allows companies to save on expenses like office space, equipment, and insurance costs.

However, the telecommuting world can be a hard place to get your foot in the door. Linda Dickerhoof, Public Relations Director at VIPDesk, one of the leading virtual concierge and virtual customer service providers in the United States, reports that they receive as many as two hundred resumes a day. With that kind of competition, it’s imperative that you stand out from the crowd.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when applying for telecommuting employment.

Do Your Research – This is, by far, the most crucial aspect of your work-at-home job search. There are many legitimate companies that hire at-home employees. However, in order to weed out at-home job scams, you need to know what “red flags” to look for. A legitimate work-at-home opportunity won’t ask you for any sort of “affiliation fee,” nor will they send you any type of list of employers to contact.

A legitimate opportunity will also not offer an unrealistic salary. The ads that you see offering $5k/wk with no experience usually are just what they sound – too good to be true. Avoid work-at-home opportunities advertised via infomercials, signs taped to a lamp-post, stop signs or via spam e-mail. Always check with the Better Business Bureau to see what type of reputation the company you are considering has, then follow up with an Internet search to see what is being said about the company in blogs, on twitter, and in the mainstream media.

Tailor Your Resume – Applying for a working-at-home position should be treated just like any other job application process. The company may allow you to work from home, but they will not tolerate an unprofessional attitude. In fact, it’s highly unlikely that your resume will be selected if it’s anything less than top-notch.

In order to get ahead, put together a professional resume outlining your job experience and highlighting any special skills or training applicable to the position you’re applying for. Keep your resume to one page, if possible.

Interviews Are Important – The interview process is more critical than usual in the work-at-home world because the interviewer will not be meeting you face to face. Most at-home employers have a strenuous screening process to filter out applicants who do not fit the professional standards required.

Prepare ahead of time for questions not only about your employment background, but also about what your home work environment will be like (they do not want to hear animals or children in the background). Interviewers will be listening intently to how you present yourself over the phone, so be as prepared and professional as possible. Read More→

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Mar
03

5 Secrets to Designing a Book Cover that Skyrockets Sales

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerCreating a bestselling book on Amazon. A laudable goal that many business owners aspire to. It’s perfect as a Christian work at home mom or dad to publish a book because it brings credibility. But what’s the number one factor when self-publishing a book?

Your cover.

Yet many business owners skimp on this by doing it themselves or outsourcing it out to someone who is sub professional. This results in less sales and less exposure, which does damage to your brand.

Let’s face it: a prospect will take seconds to decide whether or not to click on your link, and that is highly dependent on the quality and relevance of the graphic of your book cover.

So how can you create a book cover that not only stands out, but helps you skyrocket sales? Here are five graphic design secrets that will help you!

1. Think of the book cover as an art poster

As a graphic artist, I have always approached designing book and magazine covers this way. Would you want to hang up your book cover as art?

When I was in college, one of my favorite magazines was The New Yorker. They always had such intriguing art! I saved many of them and one of these days I am going to put them up on my office wall!

What about your book cover? Would you want to hang it up on your wall or are you embarrassed by it?

If you don’t know what constitutes a good art poster, check out some art galleries or go to your local library and peruse through the periodical section. Get inspired by some ideas (but don’t steal them), and your cover design will improve!

2. Make the title readable

This is the first and primary rule of graphic design. Your font selection needs to be readable! It’s amazing how many people overlook this essential principle.

After all, if your audience can’t read the text on your cover, what’s the point? Read More→

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Mar
02

I’ll Do It First Thing Tomorrow

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerYou would think being a husband as long as I have been I would have learned the fine art of negotiating with my wife. And trust me, it is an artistic creation.

When I got married, somebody told me that marriage was a 50-50 proposition, which being the naïve young man that I was, believed it entirely.

The problem I have discovered is that 50 from a man’s point of view may not necessarily be 50 from a woman’s point of view. If I knew then what I know now, I would have asked that person to define what they meant by 50.

Through the years, I discovered that at times it is a 25-75 split. Other times it is a 0-100. Nobody can be 100% right all the time unless of course they are married to a husband.

When men get together, they talk about sports, hunting, cars and so forth.

When women get together, they talk about how to deal with their husbands.

I know it does not sound fair, but then it is our fault as men for not getting our act together.

Although, I must admit that at this point in my life I do not have any regrets. The only thing that I have trouble with is the word “tomorrow.”

I am not quite sure what that word means from my wife’s perspective. From my perspective, the word “tomorrow” is just a way of putting something off and possibly not even doing it.

I never really thought anything of it until recently. To me the word “tomorrow” was just a casual word I used to postpone things. It was not until last week that it really came to the forefront.

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage asked me to do something for her. I was really busy at the time, I’m not sure what I was busy doing, but I was not paying too much attention. I smiled at her and said, “Okay.” Then, I went back to doing whatever I was doing.

The next day she approached me and said, “Did you do what I asked you to do yesterday?”

I really was not quite up to date on what she asked me to do yesterday, but I said, “No, but I’ll do it tomorrow.” To be fair, I actually forgot about it. I did not mean to forget about it, but it does not change the fact that I forgot about it.

The next day she queried me rather sternly, “Did you do what I asked you to do the other day?”

At this point I was marinating in that husband fog that seems to plague every husband and so I said, “No, but I’ll do it first thing tomorrow for sure.

If I thought that was the end of the conversation, I was thinking in vain.

Today,” she said as sternly as I have ever heard her speak, “is the tomorrow you promise to do it.

Now I am swimming in that husband fog. How in the world can today be tomorrow? At this point, I did not know if she was confused or if I was confused. To keep things safe, I will admit to being the one confused. Read More→

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Mar
01

Getting Your Ducks in a Row

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Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggercarnival ducksIn my last blog post I discussed assessing one’s skill set. Life, whether as a mom or office assistant, may have equipped you with the skill set necessary to be a virtual assistant. If you want to take the next steps towards the goal of working from home as a virtual assistant, there is a lot of work to be done in getting your ducks lined up.

You see, anyone can put up a sign and claim to be a virtual assistant.  The right way would be lining your ducks up before scrambling to convince potential clients your ducks are lined up. A little extra research, planning and preparation will make all the difference in getting started on the right foot. My goal with this blog series is to guide you through setting yourself up as a virtual assistant using my experiences as a trail map, knowing certain pitfalls to avoid.

At this point you may think you are ready to put out that sign and start taking on clients. I thought I was, too. Personal experience has taught me that the more research and duck lining I do, the smoother the transition. You seen there are so many things to consider, including your business name, your business and tax classification (i.e.:  Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Corporation, Incorporation), what account your funds are paid into and so on. All this can be completed while you prepare your resume and portfolio.

Your business and tax classification are important. Many virtual assistants are too eager to get started and neglect this important step. To their dismay they end up paying a higher tax rate on their earned income than they had to had they done their homework ahead of time and such is the case if you don’t protect your business by making it official either as an Limited Liability Corporations or forming your corporation as Incorporated. There are many factors to consider. As you consider what to do, read up a little on the differences, in fact, here’s where you can get started:  http://sbinformation.about.com/od/ownership1/Ownership_LLC_Inc_Partnership_Sole.htm. Read More→

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Feb
28

Six ways to set goals you can reach

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targetI struggle with staying focused.

It’s partly my nature. I’ve never been “officially” diagnosed, but the evidence is just too clear to ignore: I have ADD. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a short attention span and an inherent impatience when things seem to be taking too long to materialize. Finally, as an adult, I figured out there’s a name for it!

But it’s more than that. As a work-at-home mom, I find that I’m always trying to navigate the tricky balance between pursuing work goals and being flexible and available for the needs of my family.

I’ve had to be very deliberate about focused and realistic goal setting. Over the years, I’ve learned some strategies that help me to break down those goals into simple, manageable steps that don’t bore or overwhelm me.

Whether you’re a super-focused mom (bless you!) or one who struggles to keep from going down rabbit trails (like me!), I believe these methods will help you as you formulate your goals:

  • Go to the Boss. I’ve learned the hard way that when I pursue goals without consulting the Holy Spirit, I just spin my wheels. I make it a habit to go to Him and ask for clear direction. And He never disappoints. He either gives me a peace or a sense of uneasiness that serves as my guide.

Years ago, I found this verse and have been using it as inspiration as I seek His will in my work and ministry: “Whether your turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it. ‘” Isaiah 30:21 Read More→

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