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 Work at Home Resources

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→

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→

Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerPerhaps one of the most important tools to help establish and grow your business is communication. Look behind the scenes of a thriving business and you will find a lot of communication. Here are a few things I have found important to communicate as I have built my business.Communication, by Pebbles Jacobo

It is important that we communicate what we understand our clients are requesting. It’s more than just “you say pōtātō, I say pōtătō.” Think of it as “you say potato, I HEARD potato.” Just because a client knows what they want does not mean you hear what they want through their communication. Err on the side of caution and VERIFY. (I do this with my husband and though it ruffles his feathers it saves time and energy in knowing I understood correctly what he wants.)

 

Don’t be afraid to speak up and bring certain things to the attention of our clients. Don’t assume they know about every little issue with their website. Often times it takes a fresh set of eyes to pick up on something overlooked by familiar eyes. This is a great way expanding your services to your client, too.

Just like raising a child, establishing working relationships requires boundaries to be stated outright, rather than merely ‘understood.’ Just think, you don’t know with 100% certainty your client’s point of view. No one can ever know exactly another person’s point of view. Every individual’s viewpoint is shaped not only by their experiences, but mostly by their reactions and innermost thoughts about said experiences.

While most virtual assistants often work non-traditional hours, make sure to ask your clients what their expectations of you are during each holiday. Different religious beliefs and customs may allow for more or fewer holiday time than you expected. Read More→

pebbles-difficultPebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerHave you experienced one yet? Odds are that if you are in business long enough, you will. And it most likely will not be a pretty sight. Difficult people have a way of pulling our strings and pushing our buttons.

Oftentimes things start off quite smoothly; other times there are immediate obvious signals that your train in barreling its way straight off a washed-out bridge. Whatever the case may be, here are a few things to keep in mind when your next train wreck is in progress or about to happen.

Point of View:  Just as there are two sides to a coin, there also are two sides to a story/situation – two very separate points of view. There is your side and there is the side of your client. Remember, everyone brings something different to any given situation as no two people, even twins, have the exact same experiences and the exact same responses from which to draw upon. These references guide a person’s responses and reactions to every situation. Read More→

Dec
06

Seeing Our Work (No Matter What) As a God-honoring Calling

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We all want our work to have meaning.Bible and coffee

It’s pretty much as simple as that … and has been since time began. Way back in the time when the book of Ecclesiastes was written (many scholars believe it was written in the 3rd century B.C.), the author’s main frustration was that he wanted his work to be meaningful.

So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.  I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.

Ecclesiastes 3:17-18, 22-23

Pretty uplifting stuff, huh?

Since the beginning of time we humans have desired to make a difference in the world. For our work here to COUNT for something. And, whether we know or not, for our work to glorify God. Only then can our work have meaning.

But, what if our work isn’t centered around sharing the gospel. What if we don’t work in a church? Can our work still be a God-honoring calling?

The answer is a resounding yes! Read More→

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Nov
22

Top 3 Attributes of a Successful Virtual Assistant

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Pebbles Jacobo, All Things VA bloggerAttiributes of a Successful VA, by Pebbles JacoboIt takes a lot of hard work and discipline to be a good virtual assistant. Sprinkle in a little humility and desire to learn new things and you’ll be a rock star. What? You want to go further and be a very successful virtual assistant, big dog, top of the heap? Take the essential tools I mentioned above and add my top three secret ingredients. You’ll be a very successful virtual assistant in no time!

Problem Solving – Clients hire out virtual assistants either when they don’t have the skill set to figure out how to complete a particular task or project or they don’t have the time to do it themselves. You will prove yourself as a valuable asset to your client by figuring things out without bogging down your clients with the details. As my husband often says, “Make it happen.” As a problem solving virtual assistant, don’t be afraid to “google” things or research online. Not sure how to install a plugin in WordPress? Do a search, read the articles or message board threads and make it happen! Read More→

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