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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

I know firsthand was life as an angry mom is like. I spent almost two years trying to control my temper and failing miserably. It took a confrontation with someone close to me for me to really take a good, hard look in the mirror and realize that the problem was bigger than me. My anger was out of control. I had turned into someone that I didn’t recognize and my family was suffering because of it.

Living Life As a Mad Mom - Hope and Help For Angry Moms, by Jill HartSoon after that confrontation, my kids and I were in the doctor’s office because one of them was sick. After the check-up, as the doctor was getting ready to go I mentioned to him briefly that I’d been struggling with anger. I remember saying, “I’m not sad or depressed. Just really angry…all the time.” Having known us for quite a while (in fact he delivered my son), he gave me a prescription for an anti-depressant and wanted me to try it to see if it helped. I really wanted it to help. I wanted to be a good mom, a loving mom, and at the moment I felt an ogre.

Fast-forward a couple of years. I was no longer taking the anti-depressants and the anger was still an issue. One day, during an appointment with a med-student (I had gone in because my hands were swollen), she decided to check my thyroid levels because of some other symptoms that I described such as weight gain and exhaustion. It turned out that things that I assumed were part of a mom’s normal life (what mom isn’t over-tired? and many of us are still carrying around a little ‘baby fat’, right?) were actually a medical issue with my thyroid. I’m thrilled to tell you that after a year of treatment, I’m on my way to being “normal” again and the anger is no longer an issue. Read More→

Aug
19

Three Tips To Get You Started Blogging for Business

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creative-workOver the last several years blogging has become the foundation for social media campaigns of businesses big and small. Where Facebook and Twitter help keep companies in the limelight, spreading the word about special events, discounts and newsworthy items, blogs are the place where companies build their reputation and make sales. As popular as blogging has become, I often hear from home-based business owners who are trying to figure out exactly what a blog consists of and how they can use one to benefit their business. Below are three tips that can help maximize the impact of your business blog.

1. It’s All In The Name
Be sure to choose a name for your blog that is both descriptive and easy to remember. Try to stick to either your business name or the name of your star product/service. If none of these are available consider using your name or business tagline. Also, consider possibly adding in your keywords … such as Publicity Virtual Assistant.

2. Use Keywords Effectively
When you write posts for your business blog be conscious of the words that you choose. Pepper your posts with keywords relating to your business, products, services and brand. These keywords will trigger Search Engine results and help you reach the top of the results for your keywords. Be careful not to overuse keywords, though, because readers will get frustrated and the Search Engines consider that against the rules.

Also, consider keyword phrases – often called long tail keyword phrases (why, I’m not sure!). Long tail keywords are simply a sting of words that make up a phrase that represent your keywords. Think, what would people type in Google to find me. Examples, “how to start a business.” Think … how can I define my blog more (or this particular post). I wrote this blog post on … (fill in the blank), now what keywords do I need to put in so others can find me? Read More→

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Jun
21

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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Jan
28

Juggling Work & Family When Working at Home

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jill-new14HiResMany a mom longs to work at home so she can spend more time with her kids. But there’s a catch: actually getting that work done requires time away from your kids. Here’s advice on how you can work more efficiently and reduce frustration when have young kids and work at home.

QuestionI have been having my home based business for three years now and I still am struggling with how to juggle business and being a mom, wife and housekeeper. How do you juggle these? I want to make this a success, but so far it’s only been frustration.

My children are four and two years old and they are more challenging than most (not as in spoiled, but as in needing more time than the average kid). Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Answer: GREAT question! My kids are now seven and four, so I now have a little bit of help in my seven-year-old. But, I found something that I had written a few years ago. In it, I listed my kids’ ages as four and one. I could tell when reading it that I had been very frazzled. I think I lived in a state of frazzled during those years when they were both so small.

My main advice would be to cut yourself some slack. Things will get easier and more manageable as your kids get older.

My practical advice is this:

1. Plan out menus each week.

I literally spend about two minutes on this. I have a small magnetic dry-erase board that I keep on my refrigerator. Each Sunday, I write out the days of the week and what we’ll have for supper that day. (Lunches almost always consist of sandwiches or something easy like that since it’s just me and the kids.)

This makes grocery shopping a breeze because I know just what ingredients I need. It also alleviates the nagging thoughts of “what are we going to eat tonight?” If possible, have one or both of your kids help you decide what to put. You’ll be surprised at how much they like having a say in what goes on that board!

2. Set a day for everything.

My days look something like this:

Mondays – Housework and laundry (and business tasks as time allows)

Tuesdays – Grocery shopping and business tasks (this used to be during naptime, but is now during preschool time)

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Jan
11

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
03

Let God Invade Your Business

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A few years ago I had one of those “lightning bolt” moments. Each year I sit down to write out goals and dreams for my business. This particular year, as I sat and thought through what I hoped to accomplish in the upcoming year, how I hoped to help people, it hit me. Where does God fit in to all of this? Does He fit comfortably in the “Spiritual” categories or is He a part of everything that CWAHM is and does?

Whoa. Talk about a challenging question.

As I wrestled with this I came to realization that God wants to invade our lives – and that means our businesses, too. In the gospels we see Jesus meeting people right where they were. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and taught the seeking. He met their physical needs as well as their spiritual needs.

He wanted to be a part of their everyday lives, not just the days they went to the temple (the Old Testament equivalent of church). He wasn’t afraid to hang out with the sick, the hurting, the “sinners.”

He wants to be a part of our everyday life, too. He wants to invade our families, our marriages, our businesses. He wants to show us that there is a different way of doing things. A better way. A way that points to the divine even in the midst of most basic business task.

He wants to be in:

* The decision to be kind to the difficult customer.

* The decision to give a sale price when we could charge full price to someone who isn’t aware of the sale.

* The decision to give a product away to someone we know is struggling or hurting.

It’s our choice.  We can choose to do business with Jesus. Or we can choose to do things our own way…usually the way we’ve been taught by people who seem to know how to “do” business, how to make money. And yet, in the end … is really about making money?

So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work…” Ecclesiastes 3:22, NCV

Where does God fit in your business?

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Nov
19

Thanksgiving Perspective

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jill-new14Do 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.

In his book Weird, pastor and author Craig Groeschel shares:

If you earn $37,000 a year, you are in the top 4 percent of all wage earners alive today – certifiably rich by anyone’s definition. If you make $45,000 a year or more, you are in the top 1 percent of wage earners in the world.

How many of us can say our family income is $37,000 or more a year? Many of us easily fit into even the TOP 1 PERCENT of wage earners worldwide. That is a staggering truth. That makes us not poor, but RICH in the world’s eyes….and in God’s eyes. Sadly, we believe we are poor because we do not manage our finances responsibly, nor do we share much of what we have with those in true need.

Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

Ephesians 4:28 reminds us that have a God-given responsibility to share. This Thanksgiving, let’s change our perspective. Let’s see ourselves for who we truly are – children of the King, co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), people who have been given much and who need to look outside of ourselves and see the need that exists around us.

Let’s make this Thanksgiving a time of not only thanking God for what He’s given us, but going a step further and changing our lives to reflect our gratefulness.

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Nov
12

10 Ways to Make Blogging Work for Your Business

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jill-new14blogBlogging is a favorite for small business marketers, mainly because of the amazing results they received when they blog consistently. And publicity isn’t the only benefit to blogging. There are many ways that blogging can add merit to your business. In fact, The Wall Street Journal once featured CWAHM in an article on how blogging can help small businesses create a buzz for their products and services. The results from this were amazing and prove that blogging truly works.

Here are ten ways to use blogs to increase your business revenue:

1. Ad Revenue — Offering paid advertising on your blog is one of the easiest ways to see tangible evidence of the benefits of blogging.

2. Link Swaps – Swapping links with other like-minded bloggers increases your standing with search engines. One of the biggest blogs available, problogger.net, recently completed a survey in an attempt to find where bloggers get the most traffic. The overwhelming response? Google at 46%. This shows us how important search engine rankings are. Link swaps are just one way to improve yours.

3. Reviews — Another growing trend online is that of the customer review. People appreciate reading the thoughts of others before they purchase a product. It doesn’t seem to matter how big or small the product, either. Posting reviews of books you’ve read, CDs you love, etc, is a great way to generate traffic for your blog.

4. Free Offers — Who doesn’t love a freebie? There are many ways of using freebies to your advantage.You can offer a free e-book when someone signs up for your newsletter is an easy way to build your subscriber base. Many blogs also offer contests for those who post comments or interact in other ways on the blog.

5. Social Media — Having a strong social media presence is one of the best ways to promote your business. You can make this a bit easier on yourself by connecting your blog to automatically feed posts to just about every major social media site out there. You can also add links to easily allow your blog readers to share you content, making this a great free way to gain visibility.

6. Networking — It goes without saying that building relationships with people is one of the oldest ways of gaining long-time, loyal customers (or in this case, readers). Taking part in the comments discussion on blogs and social media sites is a great way to do this. The key, though, is to be authentic. Don’t simply blast places with the link to your blog; take part in the discussion and provide useful information — not just your business pitch.

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Nov
05

5 Tips For Choosing the Right Home Business

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jill-new14mgyUUaeStarting down a new career path can be both exciting and terrifying, especially if your chosen “career path” is being an entrepreneur and running a home-based business. Below are five questions to ask yourself to help you determine what type of business might be right for you.

1. What is your passion?

Answer this question with the first thing that comes to mind: If money were no object and you could do anything, what would you do? You might have answered “be a writer”, “speak at conferences,” “bring my product idea to life” or any number of things. Whatever your answer, this most likely is your passion. I challenge you to take the time to ponder this and see if there is a way to bring your dream to fruition.

2. What types of things did you like to do as a child?

Many times the toys and games we loved as children give us a glimpse into who we have become as adults. If you loved climbing trees, you may now be an “outdoorsy” type of person. Think about how this might be incorporated into your business. For instance, you might enjoy setting up outdoor birthday parties for children or selling herbs from your backyard garden.

3. What type of products would you be interested in representing?

If you’re looking in the direction of direct sales, whether that be your own product or an established home-based business option, you need to think through what types of products you’d be comfortable presenting to your customers. Take the time to do some research and find a product that truly excites you. Your customers will see your sincerity and that can sell a product just as easily as a fancy presentation.

4. What skills and experience do you bring to the table?

If you’ve left the corporate world in favor of working at home, you’ve undoubtedly brought with you a set of skills. There may be a way to market those skills in a new way and turn them into a profitable business. For instance, if you were an executive assistant you may be able to type 80 words or more per minute. You could set up shop as a Virtual Assistant and help other business owners in processing orders, transcribing documents and much more.

5. Are you thinking outside of the box?

Most of us have a fear of the unknown. We many times assume that if we haven’t done something before it is simply out of reach. This carries over to the business world as well. We take our products or services and market them in the same way that we see other business owners using. However, it can be much more effective to find new and innovative ways to market. One home-based business owner I know sells stuffable toy kits. Instead of using the usual home parties and birthday party events, she works almost exclusively with children’s hospitals doing fundraisers. She makes a great living and helps not only the hospitals, but the children as well. She is a great example of unique marketing and overcoming the mundane marketing methods that so many business owners resign themselves to.

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Oct
19

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 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. Resume Success  – 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. 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.

4. Know What To Expect – One of the best ways to succeed in any career is to know what your employer expects of you. Before your interview, put together a list of questions that will help you understand what to expect from the employer, and what they expect from you. Ask about things like training, support offered during work hours, and specific job expectations.

5. Get Set Up – Once you’ve begun the process of searching and applying for telecommuting positions, it’s time to make sure your home workspace is appropriate. Most employers will be looking for you to have a noise-free home office that includes: a landline phone, a computer (most companies will have specific computer requirements that will need to be met),  and high speed internet.

If possible, do your research ahead of time to ensure that your home office set up will work for a telecommuting opportunity. There are some employers who provide the necessary equipment, but most will require you to have these items in place.

Telecommuting can be one of the most rewarding career decisions available today. It provides flexibility and scheduling that many other types of employment are unable to offer. Prepare yourself to stand out from the job applicant crowd and you’ll find yourself with a remarkable new job in no time.

 

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