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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 Mixing Faith & Business

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→

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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Sep
04

Why Bother?

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In the midst of all of the chaos of being a work-at-home mom – the business issues, the kids’ squabbles, the laundry (ugh!), I often find myself wondering why I bother.  Why do I push reading a bookmyself to write, to speak, to work at all? Why not just sit around and do as little as possible?

One reason, of course, is because we need the extra income. But somehow it’s deeper than that. Even when I try to take several days off in a row, I find myself actually WANTING to work. I find this strange, how about you? Do you find yourself thinking, planning, dreaming about how to improve and grow your business or job?

In his book, Work Matters, author Tom Nelson says that there is a very good reason that we may, in fact, enjoy work. (I know – crazy, right?) J. Nelson points out that from the very beginning of Scripture we see an active God, a God at work.

“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground. ”

Genesis 1:26-28

I love the thought that we are created in God’s image – our creative, active God who not only tells us to get to work, but who models the concept for us as well. In the Genesis account, God isn’t worried about Adam and Eve messing up His creation. In fact, God gives man dominion over the animals of the Earth.  He made humans the stewards of the Earth and in that same fashion we are also stewards of whatever work God has given us.

We sometimes think that NOT working would be more fulfilling, but the truth is that sloth and laziness will never make us happy – and it certainly doesn’t make God happy.

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

Proverbs 13:4, ESV

I had several days this past winter where all I really wanted to do was sit and read a book. While I can technically count this as work (see RadiantLit.com), it was actually me trying to escape doing some hard work that needed done. The first day I gave in and read all day. It was fun for a bit, but after a while the guilt set in. But, I was determined not to let the guilt stop me … so I kept reading.

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Aug
28

5 Tips for Working From Home

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Woman working from homeI have worked from home, in one form or another, for nearly twenty years. (GOOD GRIEF that makes me feel old!) The work-at-home world, and technology itself, is every changing. However, there are a few basic principles that stay the same, and these can help you work efficiently and productively.

1. Use Lists

I know not everyone is a list-lover like I am, but I believe lists can help keep you organized and on-track. I tend to make a daily list each evening for what needs to be accomplished the next day. I rank the tasks and work hard to complete at least the top 3.

This allows me to feel as if I accomplished something, but gives me the flexibility to change things around if necessary.

2. Do Your Research

This is something I preach for anyone looking to work from – always do thorough research on any company that you are interested in working with. This used to be more difficult, but nowadays you can google a company, or ask about it on Facebook, and get a multitude of answers. Then compare these answers with what you know to make an informed decision.

However, research continues to play a part in business even after you have things up and running. You must continue to do you research to stay on top of trends and new tools that can aid you in business.

3. Be bold! ASK

Again, this is something I say often to those I’m working with who are just starting out. But, again, it holds true for all business owners, no matter how long you’ve been in business. You must continue to be bold and ask for you want. You may get some “no” answers, but you’ll also get those “YES” answers that you could not have gotten any other way. Never be afraid to ask – you’ll never know until you ask.

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Aug
14

But I Need To Make Money … Now!

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I often hear from people who are looking to work from home asking me about how to get started making money.  This can be a tricky question because there are simply so many factors to take into account.  Most times I attempt to gently steer them in the right direction, giving them tools that will help them make their way in the work-at-home world.

However, from time to time, I am contacted by someone who is looking to work from home out of sheer desperation.  These emails break my heart, as I sense their need and wish I could do so much more to help them.  Unfortunately, there are few (if any) ways to make money from home without putting in some solid time and effort. Even the people who claim to make “passive income” have often spent years putting those systems into place.

Like so many other areas of life, we must put forth the effort to receive the reward.  A person may be able to push there way into a business and even begin making sales rapidly. However, this, in the end, won’t lead to the lasting peace they are truly seeking.

You see, if I’ve learned anything over the last 17 years of working from home and helping others find ways to work from home, it’s that money isn’t an answer. At least, not a long-term one.

Money might be able to fill in some gaps and pay a few bills, but you can trust in money.

We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. Which means that while money CAN be a quick solution, it won’t prevent hard times from coming. Not even the wealthy are immune from things ilke

  • Earthquakes
  • Stock Market Crashs
  • Death of a Loved One

So, what do we do instead? Read More→

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Aug
07

How to Find “Enough”

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When I ask women why they want to work at home, I generally get the same type of answer – something to do with being at home with their family. It may be preparing for a new baby or the desire to come home from a corporate job to be more present and available to their children. However, the answers always seem to have one thing in common – they are always about relationships.

Never – NEVER – has someone said to me, “Jill, I want to work at home so that I can buy more stuff.

So why, once we get home, does being with our kids not feel like enough?

I know for me, I constantly feel as if I’m not doing enough … or maybe it’s that deep down I don’t believe that I AM ENOUGH.

Ouch.

And I wonder – will we know when we hit the “enough” stage? Will a day come when we think to ourselves, “I’m here. I made it. I have enough. Now I can sit back and relax.”

Maybe the problem is that we’re thinking about this backwards. Possibly, a better way to think about it is that “enough” is an attitude that is cultivated. We can choose to look around and simply decide that we have enough.

We can also build actions into our lives to give us reminders that we have (and ARE) enough:

1. Give some of your “stuff” away.
2. Don’t let your pocketbook be the end-all for your business – there are MANY ways to measure success.
3. Be present with your children – find ways to truly enjoy their company. (I know this isn’t always easy!)
4. Be in the Word. God’s Word is full of reminders that we are enough, because HE is enough. <3
5. Cultivate an attitude of contentment in your life. This doesn’t mean that we stop striving for me. It simply means that we ALSO choose to be content where we are in the moment.

What do YOU do to remind yourself that you are enough?

Share in the comments below!

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Jul
31

Work-cation: A guide for Traveling CWAHMs (Part 2)

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at the beachTraveling with your family is one of the best parts of summer. However, when you run a business, you can’t always drop everything for a week or more at a time. Below are a few more tips to help make your trip a stress-free success.

Be Realistic
Each time we go on a trip as a family, I expect to have extra time to work (where I think this extra time will come from, I’m not sure). So, I tend to take a bundle of work with me in hopes of coming home ahead of the game. And every time, I come home further behind. 🙂

Set realistic expectations and don’t push yourself. Let yourself relax when you can and be okay with getting done as much as you can while you’re traveling.

Plan Worktime
As you might guess, it is important to set aside time to complete any tasks which absolutely need to be completed, especially if you are on a deadline. If you have calls to make, emails to answer, and/or orders to place you’ll want to be sure to find time where you can work in a quiet environment.

I’ve found that late at night – or early in the morning – when everyone else is snoozing away is a great time to work. There have also been times when my husband will take the kids to the pool for an hour or two in order for me to have some work time. We’ve found that this allows me to not only get my work done, but to then be able to focus on my family and relax.

Plan Downtime

Even more imperative is finding time to relax and actually enjoy your time away! Plan in specific times (even if you must do it day-by-day) where you will set aside your work and be truly present with your family. Leave your work in the car or hotel room and head out for a hike or a great meal!

Traveling while running a business that needs your attention can be stressful. However, if you plan ahead you can create a plan that will allow you get any necessary work done while still carving out time for some R&R.

Have a great trip!

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Jul
28

Work-cation: A guide for Traveling CWAHMs (Part 1)

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Traveling with your family is one of the best parts of summer. However, when you run a business, you can’t always drop everything for a week or more at a time. Below are a few tips to help make your trip a stress-free success.

Plan Ahead
A week or two before your trip, begin making a list of everything you’ll need for both business and family. Be sure to think big AND small – things like laptop chargers (which are small) make a BIG difference when you’re miles from home and I still seem to forget mine every time!

Also, try to think of things that may cause you trouble or have caused problems for you in the past. For example, if you’ll be in a fairly remote location and a cell signal is hard to find, make arrangements ahead of time for how you’ll handle this.

Pack Well
Now that you’ve thought through everything that you’ll need for your trip, be sure it all gets packed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made lists upon lists, but still missed getting something important INTO my luggage. 🙂

Be sure to pack any business necessities as well as kid necessities in an easy to reach place – in the top of your suitcase or on top of the pile in your trunk. Bring along activities, snacks and other things to keep your children interested.

And what about a notebook, pencils, and anything else that will allow you to work on the go?

Use Travel Time Wisely
I found on our last twiddy beach house vacation that travel time was a great time to get work done if I planned ahead. I would pull out my notebook as my husband drove and jot down ideas for blog posts and articles. It helped pass the time and even my husband got into it, helping me brainstorm ideas. Bonding and business all in one!

If you’re traveling by plane it may seem like you don’t have as much travel time, but think about using the time while you wait in the airport or while flying for reading, checking voicemail or catching up on emails.

Tune in tomorrow Monday more tips!

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Jul
07

When The Inspiration Won’t Come – Ideas To Help You Get Going

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Jill Hart - Mixing Faith & Business blogI love those days where I can lie down at night and think back over all I accomplished throughout the day. Unfortunately, those days are pretty few and far between.  Many days I stare at my to-do list feeling completely overwhelmed trying to figure out how I’m going to get something – anything – accomplished.

Not long ago, I got so frustrated with this process that I decided to make a list of things that helped me get my forward momentum back when I feel stuck. Here are a few ideas that I came up with.

Make a New List

We all have a to-do list, but how about making a things-I-love list? Or maybe a things-I’m-grateful-for list? Sometimes just changing our perspective can help kick start our productivity. When I’m looking at a list full of what needs to be done, it can be hard to remember all the good things happening around me. But when I take the time to look beyond my to-do list I am flooded with gratitude for all that God has given me. Those blessings become the inspiration to get back to work and to do the next task on my to-do list … with a better attitude.

Borrow a Brain

When I’m working on something new or trying to come up with a solution to a problem in my business, I often find that I simply can’t do it alone. When times like these hit, I dial up a friend or colleague and schedule a brainstorming session. Whether we meet over coffee, on the phone  or via Skype, I always come away from meetings like these with great new ideas and inspiration. Talking with others when you’re stuck is a great way not only to help solve the problem, but to gain motivation and determination as well.

Glean Excitement

Watching the successes of others has always inspired me. When I began working on weight loss, I often read stories of people who had gone before me and conquered their weight. Not only did I learn how they did it, it also helped motivate me to do the same thing. The same principle holds true for me in business. When I watch videos or read stories of other entrepreneurs and their successes, it makes me want to dream bigger and work harder.

Change Directions

Another way that I “trick” myself into getting to work is to completely ignore what I’m working on. That’s right. I change direction and work on something new. There’s something about changing my focus that helps my mind relax and (sometimes subconsciously) think about the project that I’m stuck on. Sometimes I start a fresh project, other times it’s as simple as checking and answering email. Anything to job my brain in a new direction and get those creative juices flowing.

So, if you find yourself stuck today or simply overwhelmed by your to-do list, try these tips and tricks to get your motivated and inspired!

 

About Jill
Jill is the founder of Christian Work at Home Ministries (CWAHM.com). She is the author of Do Life Different and co-author of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom and speaks to audiences about faith, business and leadership topics.

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Jun
28

The Art of Starting

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Jill Hart - Mixing Faith & Business blogMany times the hardest part of working from home is simply getting started. This is true in the bigger sense of choosing a business, getting everything in place and making that first sale. However, it’s also true in the day-to-day grind of working from home. Some mornings the art of starting is much harder than others.

On those mornings where I’m struggling to get going, I’ve found a few ways to “trick” myself into starting.  One of the first things I do each morning is remind myself why I do what I do. One of my favorite verses has also become a challenge to me to do the work that God has placed before me:

“Be strong and brave, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, because the Lord God, my God, is with you.”
1 Chronicles 28:20

Once my attitude is on the right track, then I can begin the task portion of my day. Here are a few ideas that I use to get in gear:

Get Organized – I have learned over the years that when it comes to my To-do List, I can’t simply write out big tasks and expect to accomplish them. Those big tasks overwhelm me, so I avoid them. Instead, I write out the steps necessary to complete the big tasks and accomplish those one by one.

For instance, if I need to market my business I don’t simply write on my list “Market Business.” I break it down into manageable tasks such as “Call two referrals” or “Outline new article.” These are things I can do, cross of my list and move on to the next thing without needing to spend an extraordinary amount of time deciding what to do or how to do it.

Challenge Yourself – Within my to-do list each day, there are always a few things that I dread doing. So, I’ve taken up challenging myself to do at least one of these “horrible things” each day.  I’ve also found that doing the hardest thing first sets me up to feel like I’ve accomplished something big, so I can easily handle the other items on my to-do list. It also helps motivate me to keep going, to press on and see how many things I can cross off my list each day. Read More→

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