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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 Mixing Faith & Business

Jan
04

Jumpstart Your Home-Based Business This New Year

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jillThe jumpbeginning of a new year can be a great time for your home-based business. There are many ways that you can use this time of year to begin new growth and continue the rush from the holiday season.

For many people, this is the time of year that they reflect upon their lives. New Year’s resolutions are made and goals for the New Year are set. Many women in our society are unhappy in the corporate world and seeking to make a change and enter the home-based working world. What better time of year to be presenting your home-based business opportunity as often as possible?

There are many ways to go about the task of increasing your business and recruiting. Take time before the New Year begins to make a list of strategies that you can implement to get your name out there. Also, think about what small changes you can make to increase customer loyalty, repeat business and other business aspects like these.

If your goal is to increase recruitment for business partners, consider finding a Leads program in which to take part. Many times these programs can provide you with interested home-based business seekers with which to share your business opportunities. Look for a program that is suited to your particular business or beliefs. There are many different types of Leads programs available on the internet – take the time to find the one that suits you, your business and your budget best.

A great recruiting tool is to sponsor contests. You can do this both online and in your local area. This can create a “buzz” about your business and provide you with names of people who might be interested in your business opportunity. One “out of the box” way that I have heard of the contest sponsorship idea being done is to put contest entry boxes in local women’s fitness clubs or places that would fit your particular business. Use “Customer Care Cards” as the entry forms so that you can collect the name, address, phone number and email address of the person entering your contest. Follow up with a phone call to each and every entry. Some may be interested in hosting a party for you or in hearing about your business opportunity.

Maybe your goal this New Year isn’t recruitment, but sales growth. Make a list of creative ways that you can encourage customers to consider your products. You can jumpstart this year’s sales by offering “After Christmas” specials, after-purchase freebies, contests and more.

One way that many home-based business owners online neglect to take advantage of is the signature line in emails and when posting in forums. This can be a great tool to advertise your business, specials and contests. I receive many emails from business owners who do not include a signature line with their business name, and sometimes they fail to even put their name at the end of the email! This is not only unprofessional, but makes it much more difficult to find out more about their business. Every email sent this way is a potential sale lost.

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Jan
01

Organizing Your New Year

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jill-new14new year new startThe New Year is here!

I look forward this new beginning each year with a great deal of anticipation. It’s time to shake off the things of last year and look to the days of head and all of the opportunites they hold.

To help you start your year off right, here are a few thoughts for organizing your business and household for the upcoming year.

BUSINESS 

1. Files – Now is a great time to go through your files and make sure all is in order – labeled and put in a place where they are easily accessible. Take the time to throw out anything that can go and put old tax and business files into storage.

2. Desk –  A clean desk is a great way to kick off the new year. Find a place for everything and put everything in it’s place. It will help motivate you to sit down and get to work – no distractions.

3. Calendar –  Buy yourself a new calendar and/or planner and start filling that baby up. Make sure to mark in the days when there is no school (or early out days), and other items that you’ll need to keep you organized in both business and family tasks.

HOUSEHOLD 

1. Drawers and Closets – With the cold weather keeping you indoors, this is a great time to clean out those drawers and closets that need your attention. It’s also a great time to donate your gently used items.

2. Books – Just like clothing and other household goods, books can be donated to your local homeless shelter. Our local shelter has a library available to all of it’s residents. So, take time this new year to go through your books and donate those that you can part with.

3. Storage Spots –  Now that it’s time to put the Christmas decorations away, you might as well tidy up those storage areas as well. I’ve found that adding shelving to our small storage room makes it much easier to keep things organized and accessible. Also, nowadays you can buy colored totes to make separating out holiday decorations – or other items – easy.

SPIRITUAL LIFE

1. Hello/Goodbye Workbook (by Jo Saxton and Stephanie O’Brien – “The ‘Hello Goodbye’ process is a tool in response to New Year’s resolutions – it is not about fixing yourself, but intentionally, prayerfully turning away from certain things, whether good or bad, and turning towards other things.  Those things might be fun (like working out!) or they may be uncomfortable like embracing grief or forgiveness, but the focus is finding ways to be healthier emotionally, spiritually and physically.”

2. Joanna Weaver’s 2018 Utmost for His Highest Bible Reading Plan  –  Joanna Weaver is the author of several books, most notably Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. Joanna explains a little about her 2018 reading challenge: “Each day, after reading an assigned chapter from the Bible, you’ll be encouraged to also consider that day’s entry from Oswald Chambers’ devotional classic, My Utmost for His Highest .” Joanna will be sharing updates every weekday on her blog (and I’ll be contributing in April!). You can download the free workbook when you sign up (also free) on her website: JoannaWeaverBooks.com.

 

I hope you’re as excited about this new year as I am! I’d love to hear your tips for getting organized – post them in the comments below!

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Dec
26

Living as a Light

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“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16 NIV candlelight

How are you a light to those you work with? Do friends, colleagues and clients know that you’re a Christian? Can they tell simply by the way you live your life; the way you treat them?

I love this quote from the book (Work Matters) from sociologist James Hunter regarding the fact that Christ is faithfully present to us. “Faithful presence in the world means that Christians are fully present and committed in their spheres of influence, whatever they may be: their families, neighborhoods, voluntary activities and places of work.”

The question we must ask ourselves then is, “Am I fully present?” Am I engaged in my community, my church, my life? Or am I simply letting life pass me by as I muddle through each day with an attitude of defeat?

As my wonderful assistant, Pebbles Jacobo would say, “Be where you are.”

Such a simple statement, but when we live it out it has a massive impact.

Be fully present when you’re with your kids. Be fully present when you’re working. I know that switching between the two is incredibly difficult when you work from home, but it is a skill that can be learned. Or maybe a better way to phrase that would be it is an attitude that can be chosen.

When my kids were small I struggled to shut off work mode to listen to their excessive enthusiasm over things like Elmo. There were many days (and still are) when I had to force myself to close my laptop, look my kids in the eye and listen. Truly listen.

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Dec
14

Seasons of Finding Yourself

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We oftenWoman in worship position hear about “seasons of life,” especially when something tough happens in our life. As the years go by, I am also noticing what I like to call “seasons of finding myself.” This applied primarily to times in our life when a major shift has occurred, and we must readjust our view of ourselves – our identity – into a new normal.

Some of these major life shifts may include:

  • Becoming a wife
  • Becoming a mother
  • New life-stages of motherhood (infants, toddlers, elementary age, tweens, teens, adult children)
  • Transitioning home from the corporate world
  • Going back to school
  • Starting a new job

I have experienced each of these stages, and each one seems to throw me off while I sort-out what my new identity or role is. For example, when my children transitioned from toddlers to school age, I had to determine what my role would now be. My role as their mother hadn’t completely changed, but new role opportunities had been added – Room Parent, School Volunteer, PTA Parent, etc. I now had to decide what level of involvement I would have in my children’s day-to-day lives while they were at school.   Read More→

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Nov
28

Work as Worship

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Is your Monday different than your Sunday? Or, in other words, are you worshiping God through the week the same way you do at church on Sunday morning?

It can be hard at times to see our work as a form of worship, but Dorothy Sayers, in her Essay “Why Work,” says just that:

“Let the church remember this: that every maker and every worker is called to serve God in his profession on trade – not outside it … The only Christian work is good work well done.”

Isn’t that freeing? It isn’t supposed to be God OR work. We are called to worship God through our work. Every beautiful thing we create, every item we sell, every customer we interact with … it’s all meant to be well done – to the best of our abilities as an offer to God.

For many years I struggled with the pressure I felt running CWAHM. I felt that it was somehow “not good enough” no matter where I looked. In the eyes of the business world, I’m certainly small potatoes – not to mention that I have a Biblical Counseling degree, not a business degree. And in the eyes of the Christian world I wasn’t “Christian enough” because I talk about selling and marketing and business.

But, God has brought me to a place where I can see that by living out my calling – the calling that HE has given me – I am glorifying Him. I may never be “enough” in anyone else’s eyes, but I’m working for an audience of One and He is the only opinion that counts. Read More→

Nov
24

Thanksgiving Perspective

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Do you feel like a success?

As work-at-home moms it’s easy to get caught up in the “look what she has accomplished” mindset and fail to see all that God has done in our own lives and businesses.

We need to shift our perspectives from “What I want to accomplish?” to “WOW! Look what God has done!”

Thanksgiving is upon us and this seems like the perfect time of year to think about how God sees you and your success. Do you believe that He wants you to succeed?

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

Believe it or not, the sentence above is a quote directly from Scripture – Psalm 20:4. If our hearts are right with God, we are on track for success in life. Now, this may not mean that each of us can be a millionaire, but it does mean that God wants to lead us down the path to success.

We must, however, keep in mind that God’s idea of success in our lives may not look exactly like the version we see in our heads. God first and foremost wants us to be the person that He created us to be; to live a life of sacrifice, obedience and love. We can’t simply hoard our money and resources for ourselves, living in fear that we won’t have enough,  hoping that God will bless that. God calls us to a much bigger belief than that!He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless.

This proverb (see Proverbs 2:7) is a powerful reminder that our God is a God of justice. He “holds success” for the upright.

Does that mean wicked people can’t be successful? No.

We must look at the sentence following and be reminded that God is our shield – if we trust in Jesus. Only by trusting in the person and power of Jesus can we be seen as “blameless in God’s sight.” (1 Corinthians 1:8)

You see, God looks at us much differently than we look at ourselves. We see our sins, failures and shortcomings. However, when we believe in Jesus as our salvation, God sees us as blameless. What freedom there is in that truth!

There are other areas of life where we need a perspective change as well. You see, many of us, especially Americans see ourselves as poor.  We makes comments like, “I’m so broke.”  I’ve been guilty of this more times than I can count. But I recently had a wake-up call as to how God sees my financial status. Read More→

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Nov
15

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 schedule, 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 certainly 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.

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Sep
25

Five Steps to Landing a Great 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 struggling 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.

1. 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.

2. Prepare 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.

3. Prepare For the Interview – 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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Sep
18

Four Ways to Find a Telecommuting Opportunity

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My first step into the work-at-home world was as a data extractor for a company in my local area. Believe it or not, I found that job in the Classified Ads section of the newspaper. That, however, was ten years ago. A lot has changed in the last ten years – the internet alone has grown by leaps and bounds. So, what are some of the best ways for people in today’s market to find a telecommuting opportunity?

Classified Ads
One good thing about the technology available to us today is that most Classified Ads are now not only listed in print newspapers, but online as well. Take a look through these to see if there are businesses in your area looking for local at-home workers.

Online Job Sites
Most online job websites now offer telecommuting listings. Use the search term “telecommute” to help give you the best results. There are even websites that cater to the work-at-home crowd such as HireMyMom.com. Remember – always be sure to read the fine print, and research each company/opportunity that interests you.

Freelance
More and more at-home workers are freelancing on a contract basis. Writers, web designers, graphic artists, and more are finding this a viable option to allow them to work from home. There are websites, such as upwork.com, that cater specifically to the freelance community and make it easy for freelancers to connect with companies and individuals looking to hire them.  If you are selling a service or digital product, take some time to checkout out fiverr.com – you can start offering your service for just $5, and then add additional options at higher prices as your business grows. Read More→

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Sep
11

Work Is Not About Money

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 First and foremost, work is not about economic exchange, financial remuneration, or a pathway to the American Dream, but about God-honoring human creativity and contribution. Our work, whatever it is, whether we are paid for it, is out specific human contribution to God’s ongoing creating and to the common good.”  – Tom Nelson, Work Mattersmoney jar

I love that quote! Isn’t it true that we so often view work as simply a way to make money. The truth is that it is SO much more than just a way to help pay bills.

I can’t tell you how often I get caught in the trap of thinking that my end goal is how much money I bring in. If I go a day or two without selling some advertising space I begin to wonder if God is mad at me. How silly is that? I believe that while God does care about me and my business, He isn’t all that worried about whether or not I sell ads each day just to make myself feel better.

When I look past the monetary expectations I have for my business and focus on what I see God doing through CWAHM, I am humbled and reminded that this business is so much more than just a way to make money.

And when I keep my eyes focused on Christ and moving in the direction that He is leading me, I work in an entirely different way because I’m coming at things from a Christ-centered perspective. And boy is that a beautiful place to be! (and if I ever figure out how to KEEP myself there I’ll let you know – I’m constantly finding myself back in the worry-about-money boat and having to heave myself overboard into Trust God Lake!)

Our work, or maybe more specifically the WAY we work, is an expression of our love for God. It is one of the main ways that we can glorify Him while we are here on this Earth. It is one of the ways that He has given us to contribute to what He is doing in the world.

Whether our work today consists of

  • * Raising our children
  • * Running a business
  • * Working for an employer
  • * Volunteering somewhere

Everything we do contributes to the kingdom of God if we do it to honor Him above all else.

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