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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

Jun
06

What Your Communication Systems Say About Your Brand

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danaWhat Your Communication Systems Say About Your BrandA brand is communicated from the moment your prospect contacts you, whether that is through a web page, email, a sign, or a phone greeting.

The communication systems (or lack of systems) says a lot about you and your brand.

What does it say?

Let’s just consider this one case in point, something my local women’s networking leader is always pointing out and has seen personally over and over again: If you give your card to a prospect and then they call and get a greeting that does not clearly identify who you are and what business you represent, that is going to confuse them. It will scare them away and you will lose business.

Having a dedicated office phone is an important step toward branding yourself in a positive light. Don’t mix your home phone and business phone! If you use your cell phone, answer it in a professional, courteous manner. Don’t let your children answer your phone if it is a business call. This is why having separate lines in a home business is so crucial.

Otherwise, like I said, your prospect will be scared away because you will have lost trust in their eyes. It’s the same with signage. If it is not consistent with your brand and does not clearly identify who you are and what you do, you will lose customers. I think of a date that my husband and I went on several years ago. I had heard about a place to listen to live jazz music. There was no signage whatsoever. It was a very uncomfortable feeling, so much so that I didn’t want to get out of the car. We went to somewhere familiar that night.

Because that is what your brand needs to do from the first moment your prospect becomes aware of you. It needs to help build comfort and familiarity in your customer.

When you hand out a business card, for instance, your prospect needs to find a consistent image on your website. This is going to build credibility and he will know that he’s found the right site. Read More→

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerBrand Image VisionBefore you endeavor to create a brand image/logo, or have one designed for you, get a vision for it.

How do you do that? It can be as simple as sketching it out on a blank piece of paper.

Think through what components you want in your brand. What kind of image, if any? A photograph, illustration? What shape is the logo going to be in? Are you going to be using any additional shapes? What will the lettering look like? Will you have your photograph, name, and/or slogan included in the brand image itself?

Once you have figured out what components will be in your brand, make a very rough sketch. This can be just pencil on typing paper. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can make several thumbnail sketches on one sheet of paper. That will help you compare and find the sketch you like best.

You can also create a very rough draft on design software like Photoshop. Just remember that this is not the final. All you are doing is planning so you know what direction your artwork is going to take. You are creating a strategy.

What if you plan on hiring out the design of your logo? Then this is an even more important step! The more you communicate with your graphic designer, the more money you will save and the better the final product will be.

The goal of this sketch is to create a vision for your brand. You want an image that accurately reflects your brand and one that immediately communicates what you do and what you offer. Read More→

May
19

Writing a Stellar Slogan that Creates a Buzz for Your Business

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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→

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May
12

A Successful Brand Requires a Target Market

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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→

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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→

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