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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 Jill’s Blog

Mar
01

101 Tips to Help Your Budget (and YOU) at Home – #7, 8 & 9

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101 Ways to Help Your Budget and You at Home

7. Shop Thrifty

One fun way to save money is to buy second-hand. Shop thrift stores for great deals on home decor, kids clothing, all kinds of things! I was looking for new lamps for our guest room a few weeks ago and didn’t want to spend a fortune on a room that only gets used a few times a year. I stopped in at our local Goodwill and found a set up lamps for less than $10. I plan to spray paint them to freshen them up and add some matching lampshades that my parents gave me. Wah-lah! Less than $20 for a set of pretty lamps for my guest room.

 

8. Learn To Sew
Clothing can be very expensive, especially as often as we have to buy our kids clothes as they grow. In addition, sewing can allow you to create your own gifts, cleaning cloths – all kinds of things! If you don’t know how to sew, consider asking one of the women at your church to show you the basics. A few quick lessons can open up a whole new world for you.

 

9. Make Your Own Candles
Another great way to add items to your own home, as well as create gifts for others is to create your own candles. You can find directions online and even how-to videos on YouTube. A sweet friend of mine makes her own candles. She uses them for gifts and even brings in some income by selling them.

 

Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of 101 Tips To Help Your Budget (And You!) at Home.

 

Read the entire series here!

 

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Feb
27

101 Tips to Help Your Budget (and YOU) at Home – #4, 5, 6

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101 Ways to Help Your Budget and You at Home

 

4. Sell Used & Unwanted Items
Another way to save some money is to sell your unused and unwanted items and use that cash to buy groceries or other necessities. This can be a little time consuming, so if possible, set aside a day each month to make returns.

 

5. Cut Out A Car Payment
When I first began working from home, we quickly realized that we had more bills than we had money for. 🙂  One solution that we came up with was to sell one of our fairly-new cars to get rid of the car payment. Now, I still needed to be able to get around during the day and so we opted for the cheapest (yet still reliable) car that we could find.
I drove that 97 Oldsmobile – peeling paint and all – until it just wouldn’t run anymore. And by that time it was several years and we were able to finance a car to replace it.

 

6. Buy Ahead
Christmas & birthday shopping can be detrimental to your family budget. I’m still working on this particular skill, but I have friends that shop all year for these occasions in order to get the best deals possible. They also say that it helps by giving them additional time to come up with unique/creative gifts. Instead of rushing around at the last minute, let’s challenge ourselves to shop ahead this year and save some $$.

 

Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of 101 Tips To Help Your Budget (And You!) at Home.

 

Read the entire series here!

 

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Feb
25

101 Tips To Help Your Budget (And You!) at Home

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101 Ways to Help Your Budget and You at Home

Contrary to what many believe, working at home isn’t all about making money. A big part of being a work-at-home mom (or dad) is finding ways to save money. For the next 30 days or so, we’ll be sharing ideas to help you keep more money in your wallet.

1. Cut Cable
One of the first ways that we began cutting costs at home was to go through all of our bills and see which of them we could eliminate. Cable was one expense we found that we could cut out fairly easily. We did eventually add it back in years later, but have now cut it out again because it’s just not an expense that makes sense for us. This past Christmas, our kids had trouble even making Christmas lists because they said they never saw commercials, so they didn’t know what they wanted. 🙂

2. Cook More
Another way we helped make ends meet when I first began staying home full-time was to eat at home for as many meals as possible. I found it helped me to want to cook if I tried out new recipes from time to time. There are lots of websites where you can recipes and websites like MarthaStewart.com even offer cooking lessons via video.

3. Homemade Cleaning Products
Making your own cleaning products may sound like a chore (pun intended), but it can be easy and effective. A couple of weeks ago I accidentally melted some wax paper onto a cookie sheet (that I had just gotten for Christmas…). My mom advised that I sprinkle baking powder evenly over the cookie sheet, then pour a layer of vinegar on and then let it sit. Worked like a charm and cost me $0 as I already had both ingredients in my kitchen.

You can find lots of ideas and “recipes” in places like Pinterest. I also found some recipes here (but haven’t had a chance to try them out yet).

 

Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of 101 Tips To Help Your Budget (And You!) at Home.

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Feb
18

Entrepreneur Tip – The Challenging Clients and Best Tips for a Great Relationship

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Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggerAs entrepreneurs working with clients is absolutely what we have the pleasure to do day in and day out. And 99% of the time, that works splendidly. However, there are those one percenters who without taking charge could derail the whole process. Here’s a list of challenging clients and what you can do to keep your business running smoothly.

Free Consult Client – We all get them. Those potential clients who set up a call to discuss working with you and before long it’s quite evident (probably from the 10 billion questions on how to do what they need done) that they are more interested in picking your brain than working with you. Another clear sign is when they ask you for examples of numerous things to “check you out.” I’m no dummy. I know you want those examples of “all I do” so you can cut and paste and fill in the blank your business information. You then can make your own, especially with the information you just hijacked from me.

The key here is to still be professional without giving away the farm. You truly can’t call them out, but you can take control. When you see it heading in this direction, start providing half answers such as “oh yes we love to do that for our clients and it’s so easy to do when you (and then provide one tip.) I’ve actually had calls where they want to know exactly how I write a press release and pitch as well as review my databases to make sure it’s a good fit. I knew and took control. You can also limit these by saying, my next call starts soon, and cut the call short. Don’t get me wrong, there are many times clients truly want to chat to make sure I’m experienced and I’m happy to share my processes and examples. But I can tell the ones who aren’t and try to remedy the situation as promptly as possible.

The Get More Out of You Ploy Client – Yes, we all have these clients who indirectly try and get more out of the working relationship than what is discussed and agreed to. For entrepreneurs this can be a big issue because we always want to do our very best and want to have happy satisfied clients. And definitely you want to continue to do that. What you don’t want to do though is fall for this trap so that you’re giving double, triple or even more to those clients who are clearly hoping you’ll do more to please them. Again, take control. Absolutely I have given more to clients and I actually make it a practice to do. However, when I see things going south badly and them start asking for the moon for the same amount of time, I politely take charge and let them know. A “I’d love to help with that. I believe it might take an additional five hours. Does that sound good?” works most time. You might have to reinforce it too at times. Also, be very polite and let them know when you see it turning into a problem. Don’t wait too long where you already are feeling the pinch.

The Nights, Weekends & 4:55 Clients – It’s critical in business to set your boundaries. The main reason for this is you do better when you do and are refreshed and also because you tend to get resentful if you end up working nights and weekends consistently. Now, I’m not taking an occasional email or two back. I’m happy to do those! I love my clients and I know they value me and my time and rarely do they take advantage. This is for those other clients who think the evening and weekends are the same as work hours. It’s when they send you work at 4:55 or later in the evening and expect it back by 8:00 a.m. the next morning. Or they send you a ton of work late Friday afternoon and expect it back first thing Monday morning. These require you actually working the nights and weekends. Once again, take charge and set your boundaries. Let them know you are happy to do these and provide a reasonable timeframe to return the work. Plus beware of the “only this timers.” Those often turn into the “only this time every nighters.” Not good. Not good at all. Read More→

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Feb
14

Growth Spurts – Another Annoying Kid Habit

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Finding Simplicity as a SAHM by Adrina PalmerMy son goes to a charter school and has to wear khaki’s and a polo shirt. His uniform had about two inches of growth room in the legs and about the same in the waist and arms. He’s thirteen, so he grew. Overnight. First his legs grew along with his waist. He had to shimmy into his pants one weekday morning. I saw all of his socks and they were not even close to white. Boys are nasty. 

A week later, he grew another inch. The next morning the sleeves on his long sleeve polo shirts looked long enough for a four-year-old and not even close to long enough for a teen. Then his feet grew this weekend he went from a size 8 1/2 in mens to a size 9 in mens. His feet are bigger than mine. So are his hands. He has a few inches on my height too. I knew this would happen someday but why did it need to happen so fast? Time, the real speeding bullet. 

My problem with my son’s growth spurt is less about his inevitable aging, but more a practical issue. I wasn’t ready. Usually, I keep a Rubbermaid container full of clothes in the next size waiting or the inescapable development. As boys get older though, fewer clothes get passed down from friends or family members and I was not prepared. I thought he still had room for a jump in size but I was wrong. Here are some tips to help you avoid being caught off guard. 

 

  1. Walk past the boys and mens clothes section in Walmart. Often you can find some pants on sale, some tee-shirts, and even jackets. When there is a sale, grab a couple of items cheap a size bigger. 

 

  1. Use birthdays as an excuse to shop for your boy. No, boys don’t want clothes for their birthday but a new PlayStation game wrapped in a sweater is a good idea. Buy a size up. 

 

  1. Shop the thrift stores. Second-hand stores carry a ton of mens clothes but not near as many men shop at thrift stores as women. Stock up on some clothing in each size and put it in the Rubbermaid container I forgot!

 

  1. Do you have a friend with a son a year or two older than yours? Ask for hand-me-downs. Most moms are happy to get rid of anything that is no longer useful and taking up space. Or anything she has to clean! Maybe you have another child who is older than one of her and you can swap clothing. 

Read More→

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Feb
11

Some Thoughts on Power, Prayer, and Pleasing

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Pam Bass, When Marriage Matters bloggerSome Thoughts on Power, Prayer, and Pleasing by Pam BassI’ve been reading in 2 Chronicles lately, through my daily bible reading plan. It always amazes me amidst all the wars and violence of the Old Testament there are verses tucked away that speak to me. One verse in ch. 25 is, v. 2: “Amaziah did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, but not wholeheartedly.”  It appears he started off well, but it didn’t stick. [he didn’t finish well?] He did seek God via a prophet and in verse 9b it states: “The man of God replied, “the Lord is able to give you much more than this!” But it seems that God’s abundance wasn’t enough for him. His son Uzziah then becomes king at age 16 and “He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight, just as his father, Amaziah, had done.” He rebuilt towns, he sought God, and listened to Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of the Lord. And as long as the king sought the Lord, God gave him success.” (v26:4-5).

What’s amazing is I think we’re a lot like him: we start off well in our marriages, saying to ourselves, ‘I’m gonna be respectful, wise, kind, and loving; I’m gonna be the modern version of the Proverbs 31 lady”. And bless our hearts, we try and try. But then he does something stupid or unkind, or totally thoughtless, etc. and we stop trying. We stop seeking God on our marriage, on ourselves. We think, ‘well, he’s not doing his part, I’ll just quit doing my part and wait for him. After all, he’s supposed to be the leader (head) of our family. This is not good, ladies.

Read More→

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Feb
07

10 Ideas for Promoting Your Online Events

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Terri Seymour - Making Marketing Work bloggerplanning2In my last article, I listed ten ideas for business events on your blog or website and in this article, I would like to offer ideas for promoting those events.   By holding various events on your blog or website you are giving people an incentive for visiting your website and you are also stirring up more interest in what you have to offer.

Events are an excellent way to get people to interact with your site and business.  And by creating more interaction, you are making your site much more memorable.

Below are ten ideas for promoting your event.

Read More→

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Feb
06

Now, Do You Feel like a Big Boy?

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerbeach vacationVacations mean different things to different people. For me, the vacation means I am vacating one place and going to another place to do nothing.

Recently, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and me vacated the parsonage to go to some place where we could major on doing nothing. We have mastered this over the years.

My definition of “nothing” is quite different from my wife’s definition.

My definition is simply that I spend the day doing nothing.

My wife’s definition is simply that she will spend the day doing nothing but thrift store shopping.

At this point, I am not quite sure who has mastered their “nothing.” We might be equal at this point. As long as each of our “nothing” activity does not collide with each other.

One of the aspects of getting to that “nothing” point is travel. The older I get, the less fond I am of traveling especially long distances. But if we are going to get to our destination, travel is part of the activity.

A long time ago, I made the decision, that on our vacations would use my wife’s van. Henceforth, she does all the driving.

How I got to this point was simply that if she is going to go thrift shopping she will need space to put the stuff that she buys. Hence, she needs to take her van, and consequently, she needs to do all the driving.

I have long ago come to my point of manhood that I do not have to do all the driving. My father was quite different. He felt that because he was the man in the house, he should do all the driving. I am not my father’s son. At least, in that respect.

If my wife is going to go thrift store shopping, she will need her van and so this problem has been worked out quite nicely, if you ask me.

On our travel I can either do some reading or log sawing, at which I am pretty good.

She’s a very good driver; after all, I trained her. I remember the time training her to drive a car, I would not say anything now, but there were some very anxious moments. So, there is nothing she could do now that would in any way cause me to be anxious.

This past vacation time I did see something that startled me to no end. We were driving down the main street in St. Augustine when we passed an old man riding his bicycle. That in itself is not an unusual sight, after all a lot of people ride bicycles. As we passed him, I noticed his trousers were down to his knees and I saw something that I am not supposed to see under any circumstance. My eyes burned for the next two days.

Then, the next day as we were driving and I saw this large Cadillac coming in our direction and there was nobody in the driver’s seat. Believe me, I was a little excited about that for sure. When we passed this car, I looked over and behind the steering wheel, barely able to see through the steering wheel, was a little old lady sitting.

Where do people get their driver’s license? Who gives them their driver’s license?

The next day we were driving home and I had just about fallen asleep. The Sandman had just started his activity and I was fast approaching dreamland. Then I heard a noise…“Bah room boom boom boom boom boom. Bah room boom boom boom boom boom.”

I jumped out of my sleep and looked over at my wife and she was looking at me. At first, I thought we were entering the apocalypse and was tempted to get down and start praying. Read More→

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Feb
04

Absolutes, Absolutely

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerIf I haven’t mentioned before that I’m a geek, this article will surely prove it.

I’d like to start out by mentioning one of my great Star Wars quotes from the Bible.

“From the Bible,” you ask?  Yes.  And it has a great implication for Dads – especially as your kids enter middle and high school.

Some of you still aren’t convinced that Star Wars quotes the Bible.  If you’d like to stop reading right now and leave a comment as your guess what it is; then do it.  It’s the only way people will believe you if you’re geeky enough to get it right.

That was your chance.

Here’s what Jesus said (in Matthew 12:30):

30 “Whoever is not with me is against me, andwhoever does not gather with me scatters.

It’s a pretty plain, direct statement.  Some might even consider it a statement of absolute.  There is no grey area.  You’re either for Jesus, or you are against him . . .  and if you’re against him then you’re going to lose.

Here’s the quote from Star Wars Revenge of the Sith:

Anakin Skywalker: If you’re not with me, then you’re my enemy.

Obi-Wan Kenobi: Only a Sith deals in absolutes. I will do what I must.

Anakin Skywalker: You will try.

So, obviously the director was trying to make some sort of statement . . . probably against God.  But that’s Hollywood.

My concern as a Dad is that there are many venues for our kids where absolutes are shunned.  If I went to the local high school and said, “There are only two genders.” There would be drama.  Same thing if I made the statement, “3rd trimester abortion is murder.”  Or “You have to believe in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for your sins in order to go to heaven.”  Or “Homosexuality is a sin.”

Any one of those statements at a public school would get my kids disciplined or ostracized.  Same thing if they were said in a social setting – there would be an immediate issue with some people.  Unfortunately, even at many churches there would be the same level of drama if any of the above statements were said; especially from the pulpit.

The good thing is, very few people need to go around publically stating absolutes.  But, as Dads, we really need to make sure that our kids know the truth and know that there isn’t a grey area with most things God says in the Bible.

Much of our society has become a dichotomy (two parts) of people groups; the loud, and the quietly virtuous.  It pretty clear that there is a lot of stigma against absolute virtue from the media these days.  So I wouldn’t ever post on Facebook:  “Sex outside of marriage is wrong.” because my feed would immediately erupt in drama.  So, like most people, I share truth with people that aren’t going to turn into a Darth Vader when they hear an absolute.

Your kids are those people.  We’re not raising Dark Lords of the Sith (for you non-geeks, that means ‘villains’).  We want to make sure that our kids know right from wrong; they need to know the absolutes.  And of course we’ll temper the knowledge with how to live according to the truth . . . and how to avoid drama along the way. Read More→

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Feb
01

3 Ways to Streamline Customer Support on Your Website

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As a work-at-home-mom or dad, you’re excited about the launch of your new company and website. You have done your homework and know you’re offering great products and/or services at reasonable prices. Now, you need the customers and orders to start rolling in.

In order to assist as many potential customers as possible, it’s important to find ways to streamline customer support to your new website and company. While some of your clients may want to call you directly, others might prefer live chat, and others may love reaching out via social media.

With these important ideas in mind, consider the following tips:

1. Consider Using a Cloud Call Center

As you’re likely already well aware, juggling a new company with your family out of a home office can be both exciting and challenging. After all, while you’ll want to devote as much energy as possible to your new venture, it can be difficult to focus at times when the phone rings every few minutes.

To help deal with this challenge, you may want to consider using a cloud call center to handle customer service calls for people who prefer to use the phone.

For instance, the marketplace is saturated with a number of stellar of cloud center solutions that will allow you to optimize workflows, avoid fragmentation and allow you put your energies toward other company-related tasks, all while providing a superior customer service experience with less hassle.

2. Harness the Power of Social Media

In order to reach and connect with as many customers as possible, it’s important to create and be active on social media. Make it as easy as possible for customers to connect with you by including your company’s phone number and website on your social media platforms, and also link to your social pages on your website. Read More→

Categories : Articles, Jill's Blog
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