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jill-new14booksWhen someone asks you about what you do, do you have a ready answer? Or do you stumble and stammer trying to explain your business?

I was recently at a writer’s conference where one of the main focuses was learning to create a successful book pitch. My instructor emphasized what a good pitch can do for a writer. She explained that when an editor asks an author about their writing project, they have one shot at sharing their pitch and getting the editor excited about their project. A great pitch makes a great first impression and can translate into a book contract. On the other hand, a pitch that is not well thought out can cost an author the chance of selling that project.

A good book pitch is a summary of the author’s idea, but more than that it’s a summary with a sizzle. At the conference, I learned that many authors spend hours crafting and memorizing their pitch. Then, when asked about their project, they are able to give a quick, concise synopsis that not only explains their idea, but makes the editor want to learn more.

I believe that the concept of creating a pitch can also apply to the home-based business world. As entrepreneurs, we can put together a summary of our business that will not only explain what we do, but grab the attention of whomever we’re speaking with.

A good business pitch summarizes the business concept in one to two short paragraphs, usually a total of 50 words or less. To begin, write out a list of the five most compelling aspects of your business. Try to think about your business as if you were on the outside looking in. What would interest you? What would make you want to learn more?

Try to answer these questions:
• Who is my target market?
• What are my top selling products/services?
• What about my company makes it stand out? If I were looking at starting a business, what would interest me about this company?
• Why did I choose this company? Read More→

Dave

bugThe Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly finally exercised our right to a vacation and planned for a whole week to spend with our son and his family. Preparing for a week vacation takes about six weeks prior to the vacation and then six weeks after the vacation to get caught up. I do not know how people take vacations all the time.

It was to be a great week of relaxing and spending time with our son and his family in the state of Ohio. Ohio is remarkable for a lot of things but when my wife and I think of Ohio we think of one thing: our grandchildren.

Someone once remarked that grandchildren was God’s way of apologizing for our children. Maybe that is so, I do not know. If so, I gladly accept His apology. All I know is it is wonderful to spend time with grandchildren. The important thing about being a grandparent is discovering the skills necessary to adequately spoil your grandchildren within a week’s time frame. Secretly, my plan is to get back at my children for their childhood in my home by spoiling my grandchildren in their home.

Revenge is sweet and wonderful.

It was about the middle of the week and my wife and I were sitting outside enjoying the cool weather. All of the grandchildren had been snuggled down into their beds for the night. It certainly is tiring to spend the day with grandchildren who have no shortage of energy and whose tongue is a well oiled machine and does not know how to be quiet.

Our ears were still tingling from the day’s childish verbiage extravaganza.

We were sitting in the backyard sipping some hot coffee, enjoying the quiet evening when I heard this buzzing sound on the left side of my head. Automatically my hand swatted in  that area and I went on drinking my coffee as though nothing had happened. I thought perhaps the kids were still up or maybe it was a flashback from the afternoon.

My wife looked at me as though something weird happened, but we continued enjoying the evening atmosphere with only the soothing sounds of sipping coffee.

Then I heard the buzzing sound again. This time it was on the other side of my head and as I swatted I began to realize what was happening. All of the bugs in the state of Ohio had received a memo that I was vacationing in the state. In well organized shifts they began the welcoming process. Within a short time I was swatting bugs with both hands which did not seem to change the situation at hand. Read More→

Brian Ellsworth

Sep
25

Upgrade Mentality

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phoneI have been thinking a lot lately about my phone. You see, I have made it last another 2 years and my current contract is up.  So, I can upgrade to a new phone.  Undoubtedly, a sleeker, cooler, faster, better, prettier, smarter phone.  So, a month ago, I started researching phones (again).  Then a funny thought entered my head while I was driving home from lunch:  Why do I even have to or want to upgrade my current phone?  Seriously, what’s wrong with it?  After a few feeble protests from my big SELF, I concluded that I do not HAVE to upgrade at all.  I won’t go through all my reasonings here, because that would take too long and would be very boring for you.  However, I will say that it made me think about my mentality:  it’s all about upgrading.  It reminds me of what some people were saying way back when that “we’ve become a throw away society”: just throw it away if it doesn’t work for you anymore, doesn’t fit you, etc.  Go buy or get another _______.”

I wonder, well, actually I don’t wonder anymore about this because I do believe we have so become accustomed to upgrading, throwing out the old & replacing things, that it has crept into our beliefs about marriages and our spouses: “Just divorce him; you can do better than him.”  We see it all around us, on TV, the internet, our family and friends’ marriages.

It seems also that people are not too fond of rules anymore.  Rules of any kind.  We want our freedom so much, but no constraints.  No limitations.  No consequences.  But there are consequences!  And some will learn the hard way.  I remember stealing candy bars as a 16 year old from the gas station. We met there so often that we knew the attendant by name!  I forget if my friend dared me or how it all started.  I recall feeling so terrified at first, afraid of getting caught. What would my mother do? {She was not the type to say, but rather DO if you get my meaning.}  But nothing happened the first time. Nor the second, third, and so on.  I started feeling less afraid.  I became bolder.  If I can steal one candy bar, why not two this time? Again, I succeeded.  (With hindsight, of course, this is one area you do not want your kid to succeed in!) Read More→

letterBuilding an online business is certainly not easy, especially when you are on a very limited budget. It has been my experience that numerous entrepreneurs and home-based business owners overlook some very effective and free advertising opportunities.

Some examples of these result producing techniques are:

1. Welcome Letter for Subscribers – I subscribe to tons of groups and ezines and am sometimes disappointed when I get a default welcome letter. Welcoming a subscriber or group member is one of the most potentially effective tactics for your business.  Personalize the welcome by introducing yourself and letting the person know about your website and what you offer and how that will benefit them. This is a crucial moment in that you can start connecting and forming that relationship with your reader before they even get your ezine or mailing.

* Inform them of any exclusive specials you have.

* Tell them your advertising rates and add a testimonial or two.

* Invite them to your site to utilize the free resources.

* Let them know your email and that they can contact you anytime with questions, comments, etc.

* Use some of the space for add swapping with other publishers.

* Highlight any of your best products or affiliate products you may be marketing.

2. Goodbye Letter – When you lose a reader or subscriber, you have one last chance to get them to purchase a product or service from you. Utilize it to the fullest. Thank them for being a subscriber and encourage them to re-sub at any time. Be sure to ask them why they have left so you are able to make any possible improvements. Read More→

dadLet’s rate some models. On a scale of 1 – 10, where do you rate tending armpit hair? Before you answer that, I’m going to take you back to 9th grade in Indiana.

I’m in a car with some friends and one of them, an older female, offers me alcohol. I don’t remember what kind it was, but I do remember that I didn’t want to partake of the alcohol. There was pressure. There was, “Come on, it’s not going to hurt you” and “Why not?” etc. At the time, I was searching for some sort of way to reply to this pressure and I desperately needed a model. Thank God for cheesy 80′s public service announcements, because my panicked brain landed on “Just say no.” – so I said, “Wait, what does that commercial tell me to do, I’m just supposed to say ‘no,’ and you guys are supposed to lay off.” I said “no” a few more times like I was being tortured, everyone laughed, and I was off the hook.

Children need models of how to behave, and not just the mainline things like resisting sex, drugs, and alcohol. It dawned on me the other day that my boys didn’t know how to ‘camp-shower.’ For those of you whom aren’t camp-proficient, a camp shower consists of getting in a shower of icy water, gasping, then stepping out, soaping up, then jumping back into the icy water to rinse off.

I could tell my boys how to do it, I could even sit them down and force them to read this blog, but the best method for parents is to allow your kids to see you handle situations. When I am out in public I observe many parents doing great with modeling for their kids how to be polite, or how to speak, how to behave, etc. There is also a need for parents to model behaviors that are less pleasurable, uncomfortable, and even gross.

Have you showed your kids how to handle their armpit hair? Or how to deal with acne? Maybe you have. But what about how to tell a friend that they are not on the team? Or that you’re not going to allow a friend to copy your homework? Read More→

jill-new14dotcomAfter days of searching online, I found a website that I thought sold the item I needed. Excited, I scoured the website for the price of the product and the payment. Unfortunately, I never found the information. After ten minutes of searching, I gave up.

No matter how many visitors you are able to attract to your website, there are still ways to lose them before making a sale. Below are the top 10 ways to lose a paying customer.

1. Navigation – One of the easiest ways to turn off a website visitor is create a complicated website. If a customer struggles to find their a product, they will more than likely get frustrated and leave the website before they buy. When I first designed my website I had no idea about design. Looking back, I’m not sure I accomplished pretty and I did not create an easy website to navigate. Much like the one I mentioned earlier, my website was frustrating to visitors.

2. Busyness – The wrong type of website can turn off visitors and repel sales. Create a website designed for your target audience. For example, if you’re selling aromatherapy products, you’ll want a relaxing environment. However, if you’re a life coach you want to pump people up. Your website should be full of life and activity.

3. Sizing – Many websites make the mistake of sizing their design to fit their screen. Unfortunately, the standard resolution that most monitors are sized to (800 x 600) does not always match. When this happens, visitors must scroll not only up and down the page, but left and right as well. To eliminate this frustration, set you width to no more than 800 pixels.

4. Point of Contact – When visitors to your website have a question they want to be able to easily find your contact information. Many websites display their email address, phone number, or a link to their contact information either in their menu or at the top/bottom of their website, which makes it easy to find. Read More→

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Leslie Ludy

ABOUT LESLIE: founder + director

Leslie Ludy is a bestselling author and speaker with a passion for helping women become setapart for Christ. She and her husband, Eric, have published twenty books with well over a million copies in print and translations in over a dozen languages, including When God Writes Your Love Story, Authentic Beauty, and Set Apart Femininity. Leslie is the founder and director of Set Apart Girl®, an international ministry that provides biblical encouragement and training for Christian women. She and Eric have four children at home, with two more on the way soon from Haiti! The Ludy family lives in Colorado. Visit Leslie at SetApartMotherhood.com

 

About Set-Apart Motherhood - Order Your Copy Here

Leslie’s newest book, SET APART MOTHERHOOD, is a powerful and practical resource for young mothers! Many young women who grew up reading Leslie’s earlier books like When God Writes Your Love Story, Authentic Beauty, and Set Apart Femininity, are now in the season of marriage and family, and they are wondering how to apply the principles of “Christ-centered femininity” to their mothering challenges. Set Apart Motherhood answers those questions! It’s not so much a teaching book as it is practical encouragement for young moms who, like Leslie, are raising small children and desire to bring Christ into the center of their mothering. This book is honest about the challenges young mothers face, while at the same time encouraging moms not to settle for defeat or mediocrity, but to discover the beauty and joy of Christ-centered motherhood.

In Set Apart Motherhood, Leslie offers Biblical and practical solutions for the daily challenges of motherhood, showing you how to:

  • + Build your home into a sanctuary of order and peace
  • + Cultivate meaningful relationships with your children
  • + Create a healthy routine for your family
  • + Share the Gospel with your kids and train them in godly honor

 

ENDORSEMENTS

“I’m grateful that God blessed Dennis and I with six souls to guide, shape, and point to Him. Leslie expertly does the same for the reader, guiding us to He Who controls all as we face the challenges and trials on this journey called motherhood.”

- BARBARA RAINEY

Wife of Dennis Rainey,
author, artist, and creator of Ever Thine Home

“Leslie has an art for bringing joy and peace to the most chaotic career in the world – motherhood.”

- HANNAH KEELY

TV host of “Hanna, Help Me!”
Founder of Mom Master University

Categories : Jill's Blog, Podcast
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