CWAHM Devotional

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 CWAHM Blogs

Nov
06

Are you a happy CWAHM?

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Most of us know that we moms are the ones who set the tone of our homes (for the most part). Usually our husbands and children know when we aren’t happy.

But do you ever reflect on your own happiness? Or are you so focused on making sure that everyone else is happy that you forget to touch base with your own feelings. As moms it is easy to be continually giving to the extent that we sacrifice ALL, without taking care of ourselves. It is important that we consider our own happiness. When we take care of ourselves we are able to serve our families better.

There are times when I have felt trapped by the pressures of having children, working, cleaning house, and serving at church. I was giving, giving, giving but feeling negative about myself and my ability to get everything done.

In my reading I came found this acrostic in What Happy Working Mothers Know, which helped me put my own happiness in perspective.

Healthy – both physical and mental health

Adaptive

Proud of your family

Proud of your work because that’s who you are

Young at heart

 

Healthy

In what ways are you taking care of yourself physically? Are you getting enough physical activity? I have found that joining a gym keeps me accountable to remain active, when I do so my mind is clearer, I have more energy, and I feel better about myself.

Health carries over to what we eat as well. Are you getting the protein and nutrients you need to carry out our day? I caught myself falling into the habit of not making myself breakfast or lunch while I was feeding the kids because I concluded that they weren’t going to finish what was on their plates anyway, so I might as well just make my meal out of their leftovers which consisted of a few bites of oatmeal from one child and a few bites of honeycomb cereal from another, besides I reasoned that while spooning the baby his mashed banana and cereal, catching the spilled milk from the three year old before it engulfs the table, and reminding the older one not to blow bubbles in his milk, how was I supposed to eat anyway? I’m learning to make sure I eat something substantial as well. The spilled milk can wait, the baby can eat one bite and wait a minute while I take a bite, and does it matter so much that blowing bubbles in their drinks is so entertaining?

Adaptive

Life without children was predictable for the most part. I went to work and came home. It wasn’t a problem getting something done as planned but that doesn’t work anymore. I try to have a general routine for each day, but I never know when it may get interrupted by a refusal to take quiet time, missing children’s shoes when we are trying to get out the door, a urgent need for mommy to help dress a baby doll, and a myriad of other things. When these things arise I am learning to take them in stride, and not expect to be able to adhere to my plan complete but modify it for the day or the moment, just keeping in mind the definite goal of what needs to be accomplished each day. When I become too stressed about carrying out my schedule as planned I quickly become UNHAPPY. Read More→

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Nov
03

How to Approach Sales and Have a Successful Brand

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerHow to Approach Sales and Have a Successful Brand by Dana Susan BeasleyI’m going to be honest with you, I am not a sales person. But actually, I’ve found that to be an advantage. Why?

Because more and more, consumers are resistant to blatant sales pitches. They are looking to develop relationships. The truth is, people don’t do business with businesses. They do business with people they like, know, and trust.

That is why social media is key. By building a following, you are developing a relationship with your target market. By showing them you are a real person rather then slamming them with pitch after pitch, you are creating trust and credibility. Read More→

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Nov
02

Why Did I Get Up This Morning?

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question markAll day long, I’ve had this burning question in my mind. One of those questions you just cannot shake and as the day progressed, it loomed larger and larger until I had to address it. Personally, I would like to have addressed it, put a stamp on it and send it to Timbuktu. I just do not know the ZIP code.

It all began first thing in the morning. Some days try to trick you into thinking it’s going to be a good day by starting the day off perfect. Such was not the case with this day.

The amazing thing about this day was it started bad and just got worse as the day wore on. Some days start out bad and then improve by noon. These days I do not mind. I figure the day is trying to play tricks with my mind. I would not mind if I only knew the rules or if my mind could win at least occasionally.

The day began with me oversleeping. It really was not my fault; the alarm clock did not go off. When I looked at my alarm clock, the numbers were blinking indicating sometime during the night the electricity went off. It is my personal opinion the electric company does this intentionally. The electric only has to flicker and all of the digital clocks go on blinking mode. This is a cruel trick perpetrated by our friendly electric company just to show us who is really boss.

When I checked the real time, I discovered I was late. Have you ever noticed when you oversleep it is the day you have an early-morning appointment? Why is it nobody ever oversleeps on his or her day off?

As quick, as I could, I got ready. While I was shaving, however, I nicked my face. It was one of those little nicks that just does not stop bleeding, no matter what you do. I had blood all over my face even dripping down onto my T-shirt.

I quickly dressed and scampered into the kitchen to grab a cup of hot coffee. In my grabbing, I managed to spill the hot coffee on my shirt. Now that I am running late, I have to stop what I am doing, run back to the bedroom and put on a new shirt. It was a good thing because not only did my shirt have coffee stains on it there was a nice splash of blood on it as well.  Read More→

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Nov
01

PR Tips – Best Ways to Pitch the Media & Build Your Brand

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Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggerOne of the ways to get great PR for your business is to write pitches that can be sent to the media and other places.  The goal is to become a regular contributor to those you send to and often times that’s exactly what happens.  It’s just that so many aren’t sure how to do it right.  So let’s break it down in bite-size tips!

So…exactly what is a pitch? Let’s discuss the many types of pitches:

  • A story to a reporter or editor – stories sell, just make yours relevant
  • A pitch to a radio show, TV program, etc., to be a guest
  • A pitch that accompanies an article to get your article accepted in major publications, websites, etc.
  • A pitch to book reviewers to ask for a book review
  • A pitch to accompany a press release and show why the release is newsworthy and of interest to who you are sending it to
  • A pitch for a blog tour asking to be a guest blogger. As a blogger you can see if they would be interested in posting your articles, being part of a contest, do a Q&A, host giveaways, and more.  Guest blogging is a great way to build long-lasting relationships and get in front of new audiences.
  • A pitch to secure speaking engagements letting them know why you would be the perfect speaker for their event or audience

Read More→

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Oct
30

Have a Vision

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Msuccess or failureost of you are working from home because you had a vision.

What was your vision when you started?

To be home with your small children, or to have a flexible schedule in order to have time for your family?

For extra finances?

As an outlet for creativity?

Mine began with the desire to be a stay-at-home mom. A year before I got married I was in a friend’s wedding. She had a family she knew make the dresses for the bridal party. When I went for the fitting for my dress I saw this family’s home sewing business setup. A vision birthed within me. I could do this too!

At the time I was working in convenience store management. Though I had received many promotions at work I knew this was not what I wanted once I got married and started a family. However, due to health and financial issues with my mom I had only completed one year of college, therefore I felt my options were limited because of lack of education.

When I returned from the wedding I shared this vision with my mentor and future husband. At that point it was just an idea. A year later, soon after I was married, Love Stitches by Naomi was birthed. It was a slow start. I kept my day job for the next three years until our first child was born. Then I cut back my work for the stores to 20 hours a week, as my business grew. By the time my second child arrived 19 months later I cut my hours at my day job down to 10 a week. Today, after more than 7 years in business and with the addition of a third child, the business has grown into more than what I had dreamed possible. Read More→

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Oct
27

No More Excuses! Make Social Media Work for You

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Pebbles Jacobo - Social Media BloggerI LOVE social media. In fact, I log several HOURS per day on various social media networking sites. Granted, most of that time is for my clients. I figure it’s a good thing when you can turn something you are knowledgeable and passionate about into a service, which is why I decided to be a social media marketer, managing the social media profiles for clients.

Social Media MarketingOver the last couple of years I’ve heard all kinds of excuses from clients with regards to why they have decided to cut back on their social media marketing efforts. Here are just a few:

  1. It doesn’t work for me!
  2. I’ve seen no real increase in traffic to my website.
  3. It takes too much time.
  4. Facebook is just a place where people goof off and ‘act’ like they are working.

Social media is not a quick fix. Consider the fact that people are literally bombarded with hundreds of ‘buy now’ messages constantly – and that’s BEFORE we enter the buying season of Trick-or-Treat, Gobble-Gobble and Merry Christmas!

Consider all the fan pages you like on Facebook. Of the truly successful fan pages with loads of active followers (who like and comment on posts) how frequently are they posting “buy my stuff” updates and links? How much more often are they creating a relationship with their audience and interacting?

Social media marketing is social. It’s not posting then running off. It’s interacting and getting to know your audience, creating relationships with them and adding value to their life through your posts. A single post is not going to drive traffic to your website UNLESS you have already built up a relationship with your audience.

Here are a few tips on improving your social media marketing efforts:

Read More→

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Oct
26

How to Write a Business Plan for Your Brand

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerWriting from the heartThe New Year is an excellent time to make a business plan for your home business. If you want to succeed in branding, writing a business plan is essential!

If you already have a business plan, now is a great time to update it.

Why create a business plan? Because if you don’t have some measurable goals, how do you know what to aim for? As the Bible says, without vision, people perish.

And without a plan, your business could fail!

So if you want to take your business seriously and really experience branding success, here are seven must-have items in your business plan to skyrocket your revenue!

1) Mission, Vision, Goals

If you are going to succeed in your home business, you need to understand why you exist. Having clarity on this one issue will help you grow more and more, as a business owner and as a person.

Your vision is where you want to be in the future, what you want to accomplish through your mission. This takes imagination and wisdom.

Goals need to be measurable and time-based, specific and directly related to your mission and vision.

2) USP

Your Unique Selling Proposition is what makes you stand out above the competition. It’s the reason why your customers will be drawn to you rather than another company. It’s your particular strength that you do better than anyone else out there. USPs are often used for slogans and taglines.

For instance, when my husband was planning his architectural business, we came up with the slogan, “Safeguarding lives through strong and robust building design.” This is based on his unique strength of designing quality buildings made from reinforced concrete, not studs.

3) Marketing Objectives/Analysis

You need to understand what problems your market has and what solutions you offer. You need to know who your target market is and where they are. You also need to strategize on how you are going to reach them. These objectives and analysis can be fleshed out in greater detail in a marketing plan.

4) Competition

It’s important to understand who your competition is, both directly and indirectly. You need to understand how saturated your market is. If it is saturated, how are you going to provide a needed product or service that people want and desire, and are in fact desperate for? What is different about you that people want to purchase through you?

Let me give you another example: I have a client in the essential oil business. Now, as of late I have noticed that oils are a very popular business. Many work at home moms especially are selling these. But my client found a passion of hers related to the oils to help a specific target market. That is how she is branding herself. That is how she is distinguishing herself above the competition. As she works out her plan, she is tremendously excited and motivated. Her business holds much promise and I know that her team is growing. Read More→

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Oct
25

Have You Seen My Glasses? And Other Trick Questions

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The only person who asks more questions than a lawyer is the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. I am not saying that questions are bad, at least not all of them. What I am saying is, some questions can be trick questions.

To know the difference between a legitimate question and a trick question takes years of practicing being a husband. If the husband learns anything in his marriage, it is this.

I know people ask questions in order to get information. Not all people ask a question in order to get information. Some people ask questions in order to trick somebody into saying something that is compromising.

Of course, we all know the old joke about Honest Abe and his wife when she asked him, “Does this dress make me look fat?”

What does a person do in a situation like that? If a person is honest and tells the honest truth, it may not fare too well with him. It is not so much the question being asked as it is the answer that goes along with that question.

It is the smart husband who is an expert in this “answer” scenario. How he answers his wife’s questions will determine the quality of his life. To ignore the question is only going to induce more questions and what husband really wants that?

The art of answering a trick question is the only thing that keeps some people on the positive side of marital bliss. If, for one moment, the husband thinks his wife is simply seeking an answer, he is in for a lot of trouble and heartache.

I certainly would not have liked to have been in Honest Abe’s shoes if he ever was presented with such a question from Mrs. Lincoln. Personally, I would have loved to hear how he dealt with that question, after all he was known as Honest Abe.

This past week I was presented with such a question, it caught me a little bit off guard, and I did not know how to deal with it.

I noticed my wife was walking through the house looking at everything. It may be curious, but I tried to keep out of that situation.

Finally, she came to me and said quite sincerely, “Have you seen my glasses?”

It sounds like a very simple question and it should deserve a straightforward answer. But I did not know what to say. What kind of trouble would I be in if I told her where her glasses were?

I stuttered a little bit, and she being very nervous at the time, turned and started searching the house again. What do you do in situations like this?

I knew that her glasses were very important to her, but I was in a position where I did not know if this was a trick question or if I was in serious trouble.

Trying to do the right thing, I said to her, “No, I don’t know where your glasses are? Where did you have them last?”

I thought if I said that it would solve the problem and I could go on with a very happy afternoon.

Looking at me, she said rather smartly, “If I knew that I wouldn’t have to ask you where my glasses are.”

That sorted cued me in to the reality of the situation. I was rather sure this was a trick question and I knew I needed to play this very carefully. One wrong word from me, and my boat was sunk for the day.

She came back into the room and I looked at her and smiled very cheerfully, hoping that that would kinda solve the problem. She looked at me and said, “What are you smiling about?” Read More→

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Oct
24

Get Your Tickets

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My children are obsessed with electronics, which is completely understandable in a digital world. Most of us carry powerful computers masquerading as phones in our pocket. Everywhere you look are screens, screens, and more screens. Even billboards are digital now. You know everyone who says they have to work or go into the office are really saying, ‘I’m going to go stare at a screen for eight hours.’ Even as a stay-at-home-mom, I am staring at a screen right now. The difference between us parents and the children is we can have some semblance of self-control, our children not so much. Enter tickets to earn electronics.

Go to Walmart (or any other store that sells offices supplies) and find the raffle ticket rolls. I got one roll per child. Alex gets red, Bri gets blue, and Rick gets white. I almost attempted some convoluted method of ticket distribution but decided it was better for all involved if we kept the ticket system simple. I like my sanity, what can I say? So the system is simple:

Do something right and get a ticket.

Go above and beyond and get a ticket.

Do what you are supposed to do and get a ticket.

A ticket gives you 10 minutes of electronic time.

The kids choice of which electronic to spend their time on: iPad, TV, video games, etc.

We do not take away tickets for bad behavior. The only negative from this system is if you don’t do it right, you don’t get a ticket.

That’s it. Simple. We don’t allow our kids electronics on school nights. We want this to be time for homework, chores, playing, and reading, so on Friday night after dinner the kids can start using their tickets. Once they are out of tickets, they are done with tickets for the weekend. It’s our money system. And my kids are going to be hurting this weekend because they have not done their chores properly at all this week and have barely earned any tickets. Their problem, not mine. They had plenty of opportunities to be responsible and earn tickets.

Here are reasons my kids can earn a ticket:

They put their lunchbox and backpack away.

They did their normal daily chore right, without being told.

Their room was clean.

They didn’t leave their stuff downstairs.

They picked up after themselves.

They cleaned something without being told.

They helped each other.

They finished their homework.

They are passing all their classes with no low graded assignments.

I caught them doing something nice.

 

The options are endless for them to earn hours and hours of electronics. But it’s up to them to take the initiative and earn their favorite free time activities.

Now recently, I went to do a load of my daughters’ laundry and was annoyed to find I couldn’t walk into the laundry room without stepping on stuff. Clothes, shoes, and other random stuff was all over my beautiful laundry room floor. I spent a lot of money at Ikea to get the laundry room of my dreams and my kids were messing it up! On top of that, in the laundry basket I had to dig out hangers, books, toys, and clean folded clothes just to find the dirty clothes to put in the wash. I had enough. Now my kiddos have to wash their own clothes between Friday and Sunday. They have to wash, dry, fold and put away their own laundry and it costs them two tickets for the use of my dream laundry room. They think I am mean, but I don’t care. They were mean to my favorite room, and I was done. This wasn’t a one-time offense, this was a constant daily struggle. Now I can walk into my laundry room and walk on the floor, not stuff.

Parents have many jobs as a parent. The most prevalent is teaching your children to be an asset to society and not a drain on society. Moms, we need to make our children so independent that we put ourselves out of a job. Because someday our children are going to be all grown up and they are going to need to take care of themselves. That’s the job, to teach our kids to take care of themselves. Hopefully having to earn their electronics, and pay for the privilege of using my laundry room, will help my kids be a step closer to becoming independent children who will become independent adults.

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Oct
23

Run Your Business: Don’t Let it Run You

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How many of you have had times when it begins to feel like your business is beginning to run you rather than you running your business?

There have been times when I find myself stressing that I have all this work to do  and I feel like I am not getting it done as fast as I would like to. I feel driven by the deadlines of clients rather than pacing myself out.

Or there are days with lots of interruptions from children, unexpected clients and the telephone. I have to guard against frustration because I tend to judge my day by how much work I am able to get done which translates into how much income I produce.

Let’s look at these situations in light of my vision (For more on having a vision for your business)

  • Feeling pressured by clients. I find it is good to have a healthy amount of pressure because it helps me to get a task accomplished. However, when I begin to feel overstressed I ask why am I feeling this way? Most of the time I realize that I am trying to please man rather than God. I have put myself in the place of saving everyone’s last minute needs because of lack of planning on their part. Or because I underestimated the amount of time it would take to complete a task.

If I gauge this situation by my vision for the business I realize that my desire to work from home was to have an income and be able to be a mom. I intended for my business to work for me not the other way around. Refocusing on my vision gives the courage to step back and evaluate my deadlines. Sometimes I may have to call a client to tell them it is taking longer than expected.

  • The days of interruption: These can be such a frustration because I start the day with an expectation of what I want to accomplish. When it is my children continually interrupting I find that I end up cross and grouchy. And again the question arises why am I doing this? Is it business first and mom second or the other way around? I am reminded that it was my intent to have my children come first. Some days they are needier than others, on those days I may not get as much work done but I have the opportunity to be the mom I want to be.

Read More→

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