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40 Days to a Better Business

There came a time in my business when I simply couldn’t do it all. There too many tasks, too many emails and too many children that needed my attention for me to be able to do it all well. And as hard as it was for me to admit to myself that I needed help back then, I’m SO glad I did.

As work-at-home business owners, many of us with kids underfoot, we tend to think that we have to do it all. I remember thinking to myself that I had ASKED for this life, so it was out of the question to ask for help.  Thankfully, it was right around this time that a godly friend pointed out to me that even Moses had to be told when he needed help. And God provided that help when he asked. (See Exodus 18)

So, how do we know when it’s time to get help?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1. Are there enough hours in the day for me to accomplish what’s on my list (without losing my sanity)?

2. Are there tasks on my list that only I can do that are getting pushed aside by general tasks that someone else can do?

3. Can I find a volunteer/intern to train or afford to pay someone to help me? Read More→

40 Days to a Better Business

One of the most stressful parts of being in business is handling the difficult situations that arise from time to time. Hopefully writing your business plan has helped you identify some of the weak areas in your business.  Sometimes, though, you simply can’t see the potential problems that are looming ahead and so there is just no way to prepare for them.

To aid you in handling the tough situations that will crop up when you’re in business, it’s important that you write up policies and procedures. It’s especially important if you will be hiring employees. Your policies and procedures will help to make sure that all of your business contacts – clients and employees alike – are on the same page. They will also give you the foundation to stand on if some type of dispute arises.

Let’s get started:

Begin outlining your policies and procedures by pinpointing weak areas. Some of these can only be learned over time by dealing with them as they occur. However, you can look through your business plan and pick out any weak areas that you can address in your Policies and Procedures. Also, ask trusted colleagues for ideas and suggestions.  Try to think through what parts of your business may cause confusion for customers, especially if you do things differently than other companies of your type.

Over the years, it became clear that one area of confusion at CWAHM was the types of ads that we will (or won’t) post. After answering the same questions time and time again, I realized it made much more sense to simply post our advertising policies and procedures on the website. I still get questions once in a while, but I can simply give them the link. There’s rarely an argument since the policies are spelled out in black and white for all to see.

Define how you will address each area. Now it’s time to think through not only what questions need to be answered, but how you will lay the answers out for your clients and employees. If your business is primarily online, you may want to choose some policies to post online. You can also have a document with all of your policies and procedures that you can email if necessary. Read More→

40 Days to a Better Business

There are many ways to write a business plan. If you had the time, you could write up a 100 page document outlining nearly every idea that you have for making your business profitable. However, if you’re anything like me you’re looking for something a bit more simple and straightforward. (Actually, if you’re like me, you are completely overwhelmed by the thought of writing ANY business plan, let alone a 100-pager.)

Thankfully, you don’t need anything near 100 pages to create a solid business plan. In fact, you can summarize the necessities of a good business plan with these 6 basic components:

1. Executive Summary

Experts recommend that this be around two pages in length. It should be a synopsis of your business plan; an overview of what readers will find in the rest of the document. This section is overtimes written last so that it can summarize everything you include in your business plan.

2. Operating Plan

This section contains details of what products or services you’ll be selling and how precisely you’ll be them. It also lays out how your company will operate on a daily basis. You’ll want to include information about kinds of employees needed, inventory necessities, suppliers, and any other operating facts, such as a description of your manufacturing process. This section will vary for different types of businesses, so just include whatever information is applicable for your business. Read More→

40 Days to a Better Business

Before digging into your business plan, let’s begin by writing your business mission statement. We want it to clearly reflect WHY you’re in business and WHAT your business is all about.  Begin by making a list of things that you might want to include in your mission statement. Take a look at the mission statements of other companies or ministries to give you an idea of what might work for you.

Below are a couple of things to think through as you start jotting down ideas for your mission statement.

Short and Sweet

You want your mission statement to be concise, so keep it short and simple. There’s no need for big words or fancy language. You want it to give an overview of your business in words that anyone can understand.

Personal Is Good

You want your mission statement to connect with your customers and clients. It should give them the sense that your business is more about THEM then it is about YOU. Think through questions like:

“What have I been called by God to do?”

“Who have I been called to serve?”

“Why am I starting this business?” Read More→

3 business womenMany companies know the importance of a collaborative environment, but some still do not actively encourage it due to factors such as cost and access to suitable training. Keeping a healthy balance for employees and working relationships is key to driving business success and reducing negative effects on a working environment. Team-building or bonding sessions have traditionally been focused corporate events with a sense of forced fun and uncomfortable activities. This type of session does not have the necessary benefits for any business and can make employees feel uncomfortable in group situations. Team building should be an informative yet fun experience, which brings people together in different ways. It doesn’t have to focus on business goals or how it will directly affect the workplace as soon as your return to work but should highlight everyone’s skills and strengths when working together on tasks. Team building should look beyond what the company can get out of it, and value sessions as an opportunity to build relationships with co-workers and give everyone the chance to relax.

Efficient team building can have a host of benefits for companies and provides a great way to bring a team together in a variety of ways. Take a look at some of the reasons why team bonding should be a significant investment for business success.


Promoting positive relationships

For many people, co-workers are just the people that you know because of work, and the fact that you all possess skills necessary for the job. On a basic level this is correct, but looking further into this, when people are hired, they are often tested on their personality, and how well they can fit into a team. This important factor is determined by a brief interview and meeting process and is sometimes flawed, but in general, businesses want to work with people that will gel with other members of the team. After this process, the individual takes over and although you may not get along with everyone you work with, the majority of people you will enjoy to be around on a daily basis.

Team building is known to help strengthen a working relationship. When employees see past the fact that they merely work together, this gives everyone an opportunity to open up and communicate better. Encouraging conversation and co-working spaces so employees can bounce ideas off each other ensures people start to interact on a deeper level. This promoting of positive working environments and better relationships also helps everyone to relax, and not feel embarrassed or scared to have an opinion or thoughts about specific projects.


Improves communication

Sometimes teams can become fragmented due to project pressures and departmental segmentation. This type of working environment is not healthy and ultimately results in the different teams working toward different goals. Promoting communication in these instances has benefits, not only team relationships but also productivity. Team building can help push people together in a natural way and get sections of people working together that may not have regularly communicated in a work environment. When all teams know what the end goal is, and stop thinking about just doing their job, this, in turn, can have enormous benefits for companies and the efficiency of projects. Team building can also encourage co-workers to become more confident in constructively expressing their thoughts and feelings and breaks down barriers that may have been previously present.

Read More→

Categories : Jill's Blog
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40 Days to a Better Business


Over the next few days we’ll be talking about how to put together a business plan. Before you tune out (or nod off to sleep), let’s talk a bit about WHY it’s important to bother with a business plan.

Testing Out Your Business Idea or Product
When you’re first starting out, it’s important to know whether or not your idea is truly feasible. You need to spend time doing market research – figuring out who your target market (those your product or service is aimed at) is as well as who your competitors are.

This is a chance for you to give your idea a test-run. Consider doing a survey online or via email. Make up some samples of your product or offer your service for free or at a reduced to rate to a couple select clients. This will give you an idea what what works about your business … and what needs to change.

Organization and Clarity
Being organized as a business owner is very important, but so is the organization OF the business; how your business is structured. A business plan helps you lay out exactly who will be involved in each aspect of the business as well as what the specific necessary components of your business will be.

Seeing it all laid out on paper can help clarify business strengths and weaknesses. It will help you see where improvements need to be made. Read More→


40 Days to a Better Business: Days 5 & 6 – Homework

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40 Days to a Better Business

This week we’ve covered the true basics of business that will help you to be effective and efficient:

* Scheduling

* Office Organization

* Prioritizing

* Budgeting


What have you learned? What do you need to put into action?


Your homework over the weekend (next 2 days) is:

1. Assess what needs to change in your business in the above areas.

2. Put together an action plan for each item to get you started.

3. Start taking the steps that you’ve laid out on your action plan.


Now, don’t get overwhelmed. These changes don’t have to happen overnight – this will be a process. Just take one step at a time and eventually you’ll find yourself having completed them all!


Read the entire series here.

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The Solution to the Problem of Not Getting Noticed

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DanaGetting iStock_000002807197XSmallnoticed above the crowd for the home business owner can be very frustrating and cost much in profits, time, and money. And very often, home business owners run on thin margins and even non­existent marketing budgets. How can you get the word out about

what you do when there is so much competition out there and very little money?

Well, here are some ideas to help you with two common problems when it comes to getting noticed:

1) Very little customer engagement.

You may be heavily involved in social media yet you get little response. What might take you over that hump is customer testimonials. Have none available? Then you might want to consider giving some copies away in exchange for reviews. Bloggers are always looking for content and they love to get free stuff! If you offer an affiliate link in exchange for promoting your work, then you will have the benefit of somebody else who believes in your product or service and who is motivated to help you.

When a customer is satisfied with your product or service, be sure to ask for a testimonial. Make sure that that testimonial is results oriented. Want a really powerful testimony? Ask your satisfied customers to make a video! And be sure to offer a link to a website so they see the benefit in taking the time for you.

2) Nobody knows you exist.

Without a marketing budget, you don’t have the means for advertising. Therefore no one knows you exist out there. How can you overcome that? Read More→

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Setting Up Shop as a Virtual Assistant

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Diana Ennen, Virtual Marketing bloggerSetting up a virtual assistant business is relatively easy, but it’s important to have a complete plan of action set out in advance. I’m a firm believer that the initial planning phase of a business is crucial to its success. This ensures that you don’t leave any vital steps unaddressed and also prevents any unexpected surprises down the road. Therefore, I recommend first writing a complete business plan for your business. This plan doesn’t need to be anything technical, just how you plan to operate your business including advertising methods, pricing, business hours, equipment and supplies needed, etc.

The next step is to select the appropriate name. Take your time here as you want your business name to be an asset by appealing to your potential clients. Your name needs to clearly express what services you provide and not limit you if you choose to expand your business into other areas. Decide on a name that people would want to call if they have virtual assisting needs.

To operate a business you are required by law to have the appropriate licenses. This is your permit to do business locally. It’s a simple procedure that doesn’t require a considerable amount of time. Contact your city and county officials under occupational licenses for complete details or go online. Most VAs start out initially as a sole proprietorship and then might change later.

Now it’s time to set up your bookkeeping. I find that the most important ingredient to keeping good books is keeping it simple. If it’s easy to do, and doesn’t require a lot of effort, I tend it do it more regularly. You will want to keep track of all your income and expenses. Save all receipts and pay all your expenses out of your business checking account. A software program such as Quickbooks is ideal for our type of business. Not only does it allow you to keep accurate records, but it also enables you to track exactly where the most money is coming from. This enables you to target your marketing efforts more in that area. Read More→

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Tips for Working from Home as a Realtor

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pc: pixabay

Do you have a love of real estate that you want to translate into a lucrative career? But do you also want to be able to work from home, on your own time and on your own terms, while taking care of yourself and your family? Then consider a job working from home as a real estate agent. Check out the tips below so that you can prepare to dive into this exciting career with the right expectations.

Find a Location That You Are Passionate About

Like any other job, when it comes to working as a real estate agent, knowing your niche is key. So find a geographical area that you want to sell homes in and really get to know the properties in the area and what they have to offer. Whether you are a real estate agent in a small town in California or you are a Carrollwood real estate agent in Florida will be entirely up to you, but if you are passionate about the houses in a particular area, your clients will see that and they will value your expertise, allowing you to become even more competitive.

Be Disciplined

If you are hoping to work from home as a real estate agent, it might be because you want the freedom to be a great parent and attend every school event, sporting event, and talent show that your kids will be involved in. Plus, you get to be home to drop your kids off at school and pick them up from school every day, and you can be there when they aren’t feeling well. But even though working from home comes with all of this flexibility and all of these perks, it is important that you be a disciplined realtor. Read More→

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