Archive for Mixing Faith & Business
Usually when I write something having to do with working from home, it’s about how to create an income. However, making money isn’t the only necessary ingredient in the stay-at-home recipe. The flip side of the coin is making some sacrifices and finding ways to save money.
When my husband and I first made the decision that I would leave the corporate world in favor of working from home, we knew it was going to take more than just me finding a way to bring in money from home. The amount that I would be making was half – or maybe even less – than I made at my corporate job. We needed to find a way to make it on his Air Force salary and my very small financial contribution.
Get Rid Of Non-essentials
In order to cut out some of our living costs, we sold one of our cars and for the next several years I drove around a lovely (I use that term loosely) car that had been my grandmothers. It certainly wasn’t my dream car, but it got me around town and we also saved a LOT of money when the time came around to pay tax and licensing fees.
We also cut out cable and anything else that we could find in our budget that we could live without. It’s amazing what things we consider “essential” that truly aren’t.
Keep Things Simple
Another aspect of our life that received serious cutbacks was eating out. This was a hard adjustment for me at the time. When I worked full-time outside the home, it seemed easiest many nights to just stop and pick up supper on my way home. And once I began staying home every day, I still wanted the ease of fast food.
I wish I could tell you that I found a way to make that work, but of course that’s not the case. Instead I began working on my cooking skills and learning to make easy, simple meals that kept us within our food budget each month. Read More→
One of benefits of working from home is the ability to have a relaxed atmosphere. You can set your own scheduled, work around your family and even lounge in your pajama pants from time to time.
However … one of the drawbacks of working from home is the ability to have a relaxed atmosphere. Yep, you read that right. As much as I love working from the comfort of my home, there is a serious side to my business as well. There are times when I must set aside my comfort and ensure that my clients get the very best from me.
The question that comes to mind then is how do we retain professionalism while we’re working at home? Here are a few ideas:
Take a shower – I smile as I write this because I know how basic this tip is. However, I know firsthand that it can be difficult to get motivated to get up and shower as if you were heading to an office for the day. Some days it can be hard just to find the time to shower (if you have small kids at home, you’re nodding as you read this). And don’t stop with a shower – put on a cute outfit, add a little makeup and get yourself feeling good. You’ll be surprised what a difference feeling good about yourself can make on your attitude, which will in turn impact your family, your business and all those you come into contact with throughout the day.
Clean your room – While it may or may not be true that “cleanliness is next to godliness,” it has certain proven true in my life that cleanliness helps me to focus. When my office is a mess and my desk is piled high with stacks of paper, I seem to get less done. Take 15 minutes each morning and clear your space as much as possible. Not only will you think more clearly, you will also be saved from embarrassment if unexpected company (or a client!) stop by. Read More→
For me, every day is filled with voices. There are the sweet voices of my children, the warm voice of my husband and even the near-silent voice of or gecko.
And then there are the voices in my head. Do you know the ones I’m talking about? The voices that urge you to quit; that ask you why you bother trying … you’ll just fail anyway. The voices that say things like, “No one cares about what you have to say or what you’re working on. You’ll never succeed at this.” Some of these voices are echoes of things that people have said to me. Some of them are echoes of things I believe about myself deep down. And some are lies from the enemy wh is bent on our destruction.
When I spend time in God’s Word I find another voice – one that encourages. “I can do anything through Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 4:13).
It’s not something we think about or talk about often, but one of the major hurdles that must be overcome to be successful in working at home (or in anything really) is learning which voice to listen to.
There will always be naysayers telling you that something cannot possibly be done. There will always be the creeping doubts in the back of your mind, where you secretly wonder if you really CAN do any of these things you dream of. And there will always be the lies of the enemy, trying to throw you off track and get you to do ANYTHING other than what God has for you.
There will always be these things.
But there is also a forever truth that stands above all these. A redeeming truth that we can hear whispering to us if we choose to shut out the din around us.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. – 1 Chronicles 28:20
I can do everything through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13
Which voice will you listen to today? Will you sit in defeat, listening to the naysayers and the mocking voices? Or will you stand firm in God’s truth and walk forward in faith?
If you feel a pull toward a business or a ministry, chances are the negative voices will get louder. You will have to make the daily, sometimes hourly, choice to stand firm in what His Words tells us to be true.
God loves you. You are forgiven. You are redeemed. You are chosen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jill Hart founded Christian Work at Home Ministries (CWAHM) in 2000 to assist other Christians who desire to work from home. She is the author of the devotional book, Do Life Different and co-author of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom. Jill is working to complete her master’s degree in Professional Counseling.
Jill has articles published in In Touch Magazine, P31 Woman magazine and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family, as well as across the web on sites like DrLaura.com. She speaks to audiences around the country about faith and business topics. Learn more about Jill at www.CWAHM.com and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
It can be draining to work from home. Fitting work time in amongst household duties, family obligations, children’s’ schedules, church commitments … it can feel overwhelming at times. So, what’s a business owner to do when she feels her tanks drifting toward empty?
The first thing I do when I begin to feel overwhelmed is to take a moment and just catch my breath. Depending on what’s going on in my life, this may be as simple as finding an extra fifteen minutes to spend with the Lord (if this is you check out Hebrews 10:35-36). Or it may take something more like hiring a babysitter for a few hours during the day (or calling grandma for help), so that I can accomplish the tasks that are burdening me.
Finding a holding pattern helps me to breathe a bit easier and grounds me so that I can make it to the next step.
Make a Plan, Follow It
The first step is recognizing that we’re sliding toward that empty energy tank. The second step is developing a plan so that we can either avoid the pit or at least dig ourselves out relatively quickly.
For me, this generally takes the form of work in shifts. I break my work tasks down into 20 or 30 minute increments and just try to push through and do what I can during that time. Then I take a break or reward myself somehow – 5 minutes on Facebook or maybe a Hershey’s kiss or two. Breaking the work into chunks not only helps me actually get things done when I’m struggling, it also helps me see the big tasks in a manageable form. This helps me keep pushing through.
One Foot In Front Of The Other
My go-to verse in times like these is 1 Chronicles 28:20:
Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you.
This is such a great reminder that God is with us, but also that there will be times that we will have to fight fear and discouragement and push through to do the work that He has called us to. So, keep pushing forward, one foot and then the next, trusting that God will uphold you and see you through. Read More→
Working from home can be challenging. You must be a self-starter and willing to really push yourself, set deadlines for yourself, and make things happen. Here are some ideas on making the best use of your time:
Get A Plan
Planning is my favorite stage of organization. I get to brainstorm and dream about what God may have for me in the coming weeks and months. One of the ways that I plan best is in talking things over with someone – a friend of colleague who is willing to listen and give ideas.
I know other business owners who keep a whiteboard in their office. On the board, they list dreams that they have for their business, action steps they can take to get there and even sometimes a timeframe of when each step needs to be completed.
Write It Down
I’ve learned over the years that my plans never get anywhere unless I write them down and give them a timeline. This can be done online with tools like Google Calendar, Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) or collaborative tools like PBWorks.
While I do use these tools, I’ve found that what works best for me is the good old paper planner. I pick one up in the dollar section at Target at the start of each year and use it to keep appointments straight. I use a Monthly Planner because I can see the whole month at a glance, which keeps me from overbooking myself. It also has a place in the sidebar to keep notes, which comes in handy if there are specific things that I need to remember throughout the month. The planner fits in my purse so I can easily pull it out and add new appointments wherever I am.
Keep a List
I love lists. I have stacks of tiny pieces of paper and notebooks full of lists I’ve made to track projects that I want to complete and things I need to do. Unfortunately, a mound of paper doesn’t help me stay on top of tasks.
I’ve found that having one big notebook – the kind that has dividers – is the simplest way to keep track of my lists. I have a section for each major project I’m working on. Then, I can keep a list of regular tasks (sometimes a daily list, sometimes weekly) stuck to the front page of each project’s section. Once those tasks are done, I simply remove the sticky note, make up a new list of tasks and stick in where the other was. This keeps me focused and I get the satisfaction of crossing each task off the list. Read More→
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.
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
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→
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→
Every business owner has times of frustration. When nothing seems to go right and every customer seems to be displeased. So, how do we find inspiration to move forward during these times? Here are a few ideas:
1. Talk To Someone
Sometimes the best way to get the frustration out is to simply talk about it. That may mean coffee with a close friend or it may mean making an appointment with a counselor. Either way, find a trusted person to talk with and who will give you godly advice.
2. Listen To Inspiring Music
There are certain songs that lift my spirits when I find myself “in a funk.” For me, tunes from Christian artists like Toby Mac, Britt Nicole and Lecrae are what get my foot tappin’. Find what works for you and make a point to really listen to the words and enjoy the music. Let it lift you out of the doldrums.
3. Do Something For Yourself
I know this goes against the grain for many of us, but there really does come a time when it’s okay to do something for yourself that you enjoy. It may be getting a pedicure, going out to lunch with a friend, or even grocery shopping by yourself (you moms out there know what I mean by this one).
4. Do Something For Someone Else
This one seems counter-productive. How can do something for someone else help ME? But it’s amazing how helping someone really does bless the giver as much as the recipient. If you enjoy cooking, make a meal for someone who is struggling. If you like to clean, help a new mom get some of her household chores under control.
5. Take Yourself To The Movies
This one seems almost silly, but movies truly can inspire. We recently watched Here Comes The Boom, a great movie with Christian undertones (see Kevin James’ interview about his faith in The Christian Post). It’s an inspirational movie that made me want to go out and live boldly. Find a movie that inspires you and allow yourself to soak it in. Read More→
As a Christian Business Coach, one thing that I work on with all of my clients is their definition of success. We live in a society where a successful person is defined as one who makes money and influences others. God’s economy, and His business practices, are upside-down when compared with the world’s. We’re told in Scripture that it’s better to give then to receive and in order to best the greatest, we must be servants just as Christ was.
God’s definition of success then, must be much different than what the business books say. We never see the Almighty God of the Bible congratulating one of His followers on their financial success. The concept itself even sounds silly. And yet, isn’t that the standard that we hold ourselves up to? God must not be pleased with me, because I’m not successful financially. I must be doing something wrong.
But God’s definition of success isn’t monetary, it’s personal. As Mark Batterson says in his book, The Circle Maker, “God’s primary concern is who we’re becoming in the process.” He isn’t concerned with how many widgets we sold this week or the balance of our bank account. He isn’t honestly all that concerned with what we’ve done this week – business or otherwise. He is more concerned with WHO WE ARE BECOMING.
I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
We can do things left and right. We can accumulate wealth and possessions. But, in the end – in eternity – none of it will matter. No one will care.
What will matter then, and what matters MOST now, is who we have become during our journey on Earth.
So, what is your definition of success? In his book (mentioned above), Batterson challenges readers to jot down what success will look like in their life when done God’s way. He shares his three definitions in the book, but I’ll share mine with you here: Read More→
Meek & mild. Calm, cool, and collected.
These are all words that I wish described me.
But they don’t. At all. Just ask my family or friends. I would get they would use words more like stressed out and energetic (said somewhat sarcastically. Sarcasm runs in our family).
I have always carried a deep desire to be like Mary. To sit at the feet of Jesus and listen. To sit and soak up the wisdom of the Jesus-like women in my life.
However, I am truly bad at sitting to listen. The sitting aspect I have down – it’s just the sitting AND listening that I can’t seem to manage. I’m more like Martha – I need to be DOING.
Maybe I’m uncomfortable with the solitude necessary at times to hear what God is trying to tell me. Maybe I’m trying to avoid the conviction of the Holy Spirit, so I keep moving, moving, moving; hoping I can DO more, BE more, and prove myself worthy.
I have tried to stuff myself into a meek and mild skin many times. However, it just never sticks. I tell myself that the next time such-and-such situation arises, I’m going to handle it with calm reserve. And then the situation comes to pass and I FREAK OUT and start doing, managing, organizing. The calm reserve I promised myself has flown out the window and I feel like I’ve blown it yet again.
Just As I Am
Recently I was watching some videos online of two Christian women speakers. The first was quiet and meek, the epitome of a Mary in my mind. That’s what I need to be like, I thought. I started a fresh list of personality changes to get to work on that would make me more like this woman that I admired.
Then, the next speaker stood up, and took center stage. She loudly announced that she was about to get all fired up. Oh here we go, I thought. This gal is like me. My eyes were rolling before she even had a chance to get started. I assumed that if she was loud and excited she couldn’t possibly be a good teacher, because that is how I feel about myself. However, as she spoke, something within my was drawn to her. Her excitement was catching, her passion was inspiring, and it was obvious that she was God’s woman through-and-through. Even though she was loud and a little zany and … a little like me.
I saw myself in her. But, more importantly, I saw Jesus in her.
And I realized that God can use me exactly as I am. Don’t get me wrong, He’s continually making changes within me. But my personality, who He created me to be, is EXACTLY what He meant it to be.
He can use my crazy, kooky, loud personality to glorify Him, just as he can use a mild-mannered sweet girl. It’s not our presentation that matters. It’s our hearts.
That realization has given me freedom in a whole new area. The freedom to be myself, to share Jesus in my own kooky, zany way. That realization has brought me JOY as I realize that God truly loves me and uses me just as I am.
Sing to the Lord a new song,
His praise in the assembly of the godly.
Let Israel celebrate its Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.
Let them praise His name with dancing
and make music to Him with tambourine and lyre.
For Yahweh takes pleasure in His people;
He adorns the humble with salvation.