CWAHM Devotional

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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 Work at Home Resources

Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerA Good SloganCreating a buzz. Wouldn’t you like that for your business? Wouldn’t it be great if people were talking about you with excitement? After all, word of mouth advertising is the best kind of marketing you can get!

Creating a slogan is one of the best ways to do so!

Think about slogans we’re all familiar with:

“Just Do It!”

 “Got Milk?”

 “Have It Your Way.”

These slogans are part of our culture! It’s part of our everyday language. Advertisers use them again and again. The “Got Milk?” one especially. I don’t know how many times I have seen it altered to match another product. I’ve done it myself!

A good slogan is catchy and memorable. It’s like a poem—condensed and to the point. It further aids in defining your business.

I think of the slogan that my husband and I created for his architectural business. It helped communicate exactly what his business is about and what makes him different. People get it right away when they see his logo. There is never any question about what he does!

Slogans can also be created using keyword research. This will help you with SEO! It can be based on your elevator pitch, mission statement, or Unique Selling Proposition.

You can, like my husband, include it in your logo. It is a great inspiration for creating headlines for advertisements. Read More→

Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerA Successful Brand Requires a Target MarketThere’s an old saying I’m sure you’ve heard: “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it. Every time.”

That saying applies to choosing a market. Saying that you will market to everyone will actually diminish your brand and therefore your success.

Why? Because if you don’t have a particular person in mind as you develop and promote your products or services, you will be widely missing the mark.

How do you know, for instance, your audience likes a certain color? Or a particular font? How do you even know what they are looking for if you don’t know who they are?

Let’s take clothing stores. Going into a Guess outlet store is vastly different from going into a Dress Barn, wouldn’t you say?

Choosing a target market takes extensive research. But it’s worth the time!

You need to know what pain your audience is experiencing. What is it they fear losing? Most people want to stay in their comfort zones and will not make a decision, a change, until they recognize that if they don’t seek a solution, what they most value will be lost.

So How Do You Choose One?

The first question is, who do you have an affinity for? Who do you hang around with most of the time? For me, after I became a homeschooling mother, I realized that I had found my market. I have further refined it to include Christian homeschooling families, because I see the need for all family members to learn how to start and run a home business.

How Do You Do Research?

It really is all at your fingertips! It’s as simple as spending time on Google. Just Google your chosen audience. See how many results you get. Find out how many are in your chosen target, what their average salary is, education, age, etc. Do keyword research on your target market. A great tool for this is Keyword Spy. You can get an idea of how hot your market is by researching the keywords for that market. Read More→

Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggercreatingthebestbrandimageA name is the foundation of your brand. Your name is the single-most important clue as to what your brand image will look like. Your name helps you connect with your prospects and customers. Obviously, your name is what gives you brand recognition.

So how do you create a good one? And what do you if you are a direct seller or representative for a company?

There are two basic kinds of names: persona or personal brand. A persona is a descriptive name that encapsulates the essence of who you are and what you do. A personal brand is your own name.

Now there is hot debate about which one is better, but it comes down to your personal preference and what works best for your business. What are you most excited about? To me, names based on a persona offer a lot of room for creativity when designing. Words are pictures and when you find a good word, you can turn it into a memorable graphic that will help distinguish you from above the crowd.

You can find clues for your business name in your own personality, in your mission statement, or Unique Selling Proposition. Just make sure it resonates with others and that it is memorable and not too hard to understand!

A persona name can also be based on keywords. I know for one business I helped start, we used this method. We had to do very little marketing to make our first sales because of this strategy. Our market found us!

Bloggers, coaches, writers, and artists often choose to have a personal name brand. They want people to be able to search their name to find them on the Internet. Of course, for this strategy you have to do a lot of brand building so your audience recognizes your name and knows what you do.

A combination of the two works very well in this Internet age. The great advantage we have as small business owners is that we can come out from behind the curtain. We don’t have to be faceless corporations that are impersonal and dehumanizing. Because people want to do business with people whom they like, know, and trust. So when you add your name and photograph to your mediums you are going to be building that trust and like ability. Read More→

Apr
28

Writing a Mission Statement

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerWriting a Mission StatementMission statements. Nonprofits use them frequently. Churches use them all the time. Corporations use them as well.

But what about you? Have you created your mission statement? And why is it important?

A mission statement helps to make sure you stay on target with your business. It answers the question, “Why do you exist and whom do you serve?”

Mission statements are part of your brand. In fact, they are the foundation of your brand. A well thought-out mission statement will give you visual clues as to what your brand image should look like.

A well written one will also help you discover your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). What is it that distinguishes you from your competition? What makes you different? What benefit do your customers get when they purchase from you?

Jesus gave us a mission statement to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Corporations and organizations know that mission statements are part of their branding. They make sure that every employee knows the company mission statement. In addition, corporations and organizations will often write vision and values statements, too.

I experienced this when I worked for a Christian para-ministry in Colorado. It was drilled into my head. I often designed the mission, vision, and values statements.

In fact, it was drilled into my head so much that I decided to create my own mission, vision, and values statements! I designed it into a chart which also included my callings.

This changed my life! I was able to filter opportunities and say yes or no depending on if it fit my mission, vision, values, and callings. It helped me to reach for higher dreams and to stretch myself more. It gave me confidence as I sought God’s will for my life.

And in business, a mission statement will do the same.

What if you are a direct seller or representative of a company? Read More→

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Apr
21

Identify Your Passions to Experience Business Success

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerSo many new business owners find an opportunity, seize on it, then realize they have no desire to promote it. It becomes a drag. Then they flit to one business opportunity after another, with no direction or knowledge on how to build a lasting business.

I made this mistake myself, in fact several times. When I first got into business, I became an associate of a very reputable network marketing business. Though I still have their service to this day and I will never do without it, I found that I had no passion to share the business with others.

Then I started identifying and pursuing my passions. That has made all the difference.

So why is this important? Creating a business around your passions is going to sustain you over the long haul. It’s going to help you define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). It’s going to motivate you to share your business, to overcome rejection, to keep going when times get tough.

And not only will it do all of the above, it will help you create a brand image that communicates the essence of who you are and what you do. Why? Because identifying your passions will give enable you to visualize your brand.

A brand is much more than a logo, though. A brand connects you with your chosen market. It encompasses how you treat your customers, the value you bring to your products and services, and the experience your prospects have when encountering you for the first time.

Identifying your passions will bring you success in your branding because you will have created an authentic relationship with your prospects and customers.

Consider Chick-fil-A. The founder, S. Truett Cathy, was passionate about homestyle cooking with chicken. He built a brand around that chicken, but not just the chicken. When you walk into a Chick-fil-A, the employees are trained to treat you, the customer, with respect, cheerfulness, and helpfulness. That is the atmosphere of every single restaurant. It is part of Chick-fil-A’s brand.

How Do You Identify Your Passions?

You need to spend time asking yourself some key questions. This would make a great devotional, quiet time, or extended time with the Lord. The Corinthian books in the Bible are extremely illuminating when it comes to this subject. Have a pen and journal in hand and be prepared to do some brainstorming.

What are the questions you need to ask? Questions like, “What are my dreams?”, “What are my goals?”, “What’s the vision for my life and business?”, “What are my gifts, talents, specialized knowledge, skills, life experiences?” All these questions serve to answer the question, “What am I passionate about?” Read More→

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Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerpebbles-startLooking to start out as a virtual assistant but don’t know where to find any paying projects and jobs? Here’s a shortlist of my personal favorites when I’m looking for VA work:

Upwork
Freelancer
Guru

iFreelance

In addition, here are some of my favorite sites found to be most informative, especially when I was just starting out as a VA:

Virtual Word Publishing
Google (there were LOTS of times I didn’t know how to do what was being asked of me, so I simply looked it up…)

Depending on the specific type of work at home work you are looking for, there are loads of sites out there. Read articles. Join message boards and forums. Buy and download audio books and ebooks. Educate yourself and the top of the hill is yours for the taking! Read More→

Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success blogger sucessful branding requires careful planningIf you want a long lasting business and a brand that effectively communicates who you are and what you do, you need to do careful planning.

Initially, this requires analyzing information, like who your target market is, what makes you unique as a business, what solutions you offer, and what message you want to reach your audience.

It also includes writing mission statements, defining your goals, and thoroughly understanding your competition. You need to decide what your communication and marketing objectives are and specific benchmarks you will use to evaluate these objectives.

Successful planning for your brand encompasses three steps:

  1. a business plan
  2. a marketing plan
  3. a strategic brand strategy.

Business Plans

There are many ways you can do a business plan. Initially, I made my first one using a PowerPoint template. It had everything I wanted.

What should be included in a business plan? Your mission, your USP, your goals, milestones, target market, competition, strategies, revenue and expense projection, just to name a few ideas. Ask yourself, what is your business model? Is it online exclusively? Is it a party business? Retail? Wholesale?

Basically, you are writing this to prove that your business is viable. Think of your audience as investors and you are trying to convince them to be stakeholders.

Many companies offer business plan templates. You can find them off of the Internet, download an App for your smart phone or tablet, or hire a firm to help you.

You may need a business plan for investors to raise capital. If you do, you will want that business plan to be as professional as possible! Read More→

Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerpebbles-reasonsFor a busy entrepreneur not to have a virtual assistant on staff, or at least on retainer, is for a king not to have his knights or a coffee shop not to serve coffee. Scratch that. It would be the same as a king CHOOSING not to have or make use of his knights, being a wayward traveler and lone ranger or a coffee shop CHOOSING not to serve coffee. None of those work out very well.

Simply put busy entrepreneurs are just that – they’re busy! A virtual assistant is akin to an off-site employee providing web and general administrative assistance.

1.      Versatile Skill Sets: Virtual assistants, like other employees, come in all manners of knowledge, experiences and skills. Often times their versatility enables them to easily switch gears, modes and even programs easily. Often times a virtual assistant you use for research and database collection might also be the same one you can use or web design or document formatting.

2.      Cost Effective:  You pay only for time spent on tasks as opposed to coffee breaks, late starts and vacations. Granted, you’ll want to check with your virtual assistant before you hire them to verify whether they round up their time ‘spent’ on projects to the nearest quarter hour, which is a common practice for freelance workers paid hourly.

3.      Excellent Resource:  Whether hiring directly or utilizing specific skill sets, virtual assistants are excellent resources, especially when used to manage off-site teams, no matter the project. Most virtual assistants, by nature, are capable of working remotely with very little input. This, in and of itself, reduces time spent on spinning ones wheels trying to complete specific projects and tasks. Read More→

Dec
27

An Important Lesson About Business Cards

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pebbles-bizcardsPebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerI love autumn! It’s that time of year when it’s warm enough here in Nebraska for festive celebrations – and unintentional networking. I don’t ‘enjoy’ lugging a purse around with me, but I need to and was reminded of that recently. I had given my business card out to so many people that I ran out of my ‘pocket stash’ Sunday at a party that I almost lost an opportunity.

Seriously?! What was I thinking? Had I had my purse, I would have been properly prepared.

As a small business owner it is important to continually market my services. I gave numerous business cards out at a party to people I connected with. Some may call me this week. Some will call me later this month, and others will call me months down the road when they are ready to tackle their projects. Of course, there will always be some who don’t call, and that’s okay. Hence the reason to give out so many.

Read More→

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Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerI love what I do. I mean, seriously, my job description spans from creative development to organization to implementation of new marketing procedures and beyond. Life as a virtual assistant is good, except when it’s not.Consistency by Pebbles Jacobo

There are times when I am on top of my game and clients love my work. They praise what I’ve done for their project, ministry, website or business. Then there are the other times where life gets in the way or I take on too much and, well, projects drag on longer than they should.  Why can’t my greatness be, well, more consistent?

Before you think I have a big head about myself, let me stop you. What I’m trying to point out is the importance of developing consistency as a professional.  The glimpses of greatness are awesome. Those are the times we shine as professionals. Those are times our clients remember what we’ve done for them. Unfortunately, lapses in consistency are also remembered by our clients – sometimes more than our awesomeness.

While I am not the greatest, most consistent person out there, here are a few things which I’ve noticed helps:

Details. It’s the little things that make a difference.  When proofreading a client’s blog post, it’s important that their best foot is always put forward on your watch. If the post is last seen by you before it is scheduled to go live, make sure every “t” is crossed and every “i” is dotted. Sometimes it’s a matter of too many spaces between characters. Don’t just let it by, delete the extra spaces. Some might consider it to be nit-picky, but details are important. The details will slow you down, but the consistency in your details contributes to your client shining as a professional. Read More→