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leader2As of July 2014, log on to Amazon and you’ll find 116,796 titles under the heading “Leadership”. But if you’re in too big of a hurry to read a book, open up the American Heritage Dictionary. A careful examination of the various definitions of “leader” presents a fascinating and brief explanation of great leadership.

1. Has the Power to Influence
Leaving behind the standard definition of “one who leads or guides”, consider the second definition: “one who has power or influence”. Have you known people in a leadership role who seem unable to influence the people around them? The ability to make connections, to speak clearly and to frame messages so everyone hears something compelling is essential for influence. We are also persuaded by people with conviction and passion. We are influenced by people whom we think we can trust. Lose or misuse any of this and a leader’s power vanishes.

2. Conducts the Orchestra
A leader is defined as “a conductor or the principal performer in an orchestral section”. The finest of leaders discover ways to bring together the different talents of employees or volunteers so that all play from the same sheet of music and blend their instruments into a harmonious whole. We look to a leader to have the larger picture of how great “music” can be played and to hold prima donnas in check. The finest of leaders discover ways to bring together the different talents of employees or volunteers so that all play from the same sheet of music and blend their instruments into a harmonious whole.

3. Becomes the Foremost Animal in a Harnessed Team
Think of Iditarod and sled dogs. Do we not look to leaders to guide the way, joined shoulder by shoulder to the rest of the team? The lead dog is not back at camp, yelping commands from a cell phone but rather providing muscle and mind to move forward. Remember how the presence of a leader at a front line became the rallying point for many battles? You get the picture. Read More→

Dave

Danajackie-solo1One of the hardest business tasks to complete is the infamous follow-­up. I know I struggle with this and as I tam typing now, I can think of several people I’ve met recently that I need to contact.

But I also know that this one task will make or break my goals. I’ve seen the lack of follow-­up destroy businesses. I don’t want mine to become that way so I’m going to put a system in place.

My system? It will be a simple spreadsheet. Sure, there are probably some sophisticated apps out there to use. But I have found that the more fancy a program is, the less I will use it!

So what’s my plan? I’m going to make a chart of the people I need to contact, where I met them, and what I need to communicate to them about. This will also include how I need to communicate with them.

What’s hard about this Internet age is that one stream of communication is often not enough. Often, my husband and I have found that we have to send an email AND a text message. These days, you need to know how your client best responds and often need to send the same message across several platforms.

I’ve had to fight this assumption that when I make a phone call or send an email, the recipient should be responsible and return the voice mail or message.

But the truth is, people get busy and distracted. They just forget. They don’t always look at their email or phone. Following up is not “bugging” them as I assumed. It’s really doing them a favor.

It’s not that you want to be pesky. Of course, don’t be a stalker calling someone every hour. Or spamming by sending multiple emails a day. But have a plan. When you meet someone and give them a sales pitch, don’t leave it there. In fact, ask for permission to contact them again. “Would it be okay if I call you in a couple of weeks to see how things are going?” Read More→

Brian Ellsworth

Oct
20

Forgetting Mr. Right

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mrrightSingle moms, single ladies, single friends … and even to those with significant others…heed this warning:

A strange little pest has burrowed its way into society and wreaked havoc on our relationships. We must IDENTIFY it, ELIMINATE it, and GUARD AGAINST it.

IDENTIFY. We’ve developed an obsession with “finding Mr. Right”. The perfect man, your perfect match, Prince Charming, your knight in shining armor. Call him what you like, but the truth is we’ve allowed fictional images to become our reality. A guy has to have looks that make you swoon and words that make you melt. He has to be army-strong and cotton-candy-sweet every moment. He should drop everything for you, put you on a pedestal, and give you anything you want or need.

A tall order indeed, especially for the real Joes! The reality is that sometimes our guys mess up. They come in all shapes and sizes. They have good days and bad days and sometimes they let us down.

They’re not accountable to those fairytale criterion or Hollywood expectations. Their standard is much loftier…

ELIMINATE. Conquering this infestation begins with the right manual: God’s Word – filled with HIS standards, HIS expectations, HIS truth. Sisters, whether you’re single, looking, taken, or married, you have to stop searching for the idealized (and nonexistent) “Mr. Right”. It’s not about him being perfect in every fantasized way. It’s about him being godly, perfect in Christ. It’s about finding Mr. Righteous.

And if you already have your guy, here’s your expectation: to encourage him in righteousness, to see him through God’s lens and not the world’s. Read More→

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You’vecomputer-woman made the decision that you want to work from home, but now you’re feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. This is where most of us begin our work at home journey. When I quit my corporate job thirteen years ago in favor of at-home employment, I was full of excitement … and terror. I’ve learned a lot over the years, but the foundation that I started with is what has kept me moving steadily forward.

What To Do

The first decision you’ll need to make is what you will do from home. You may have funding available to you and be able to open your own small business, or you may decide to seek employment. The first step is knowing which direction you’re headed in.

Take time to research each option and know what is available to you and what you can handle right now. I began working from home as a contractor for a local business. I built my own business up during my off hours until it was at a point where I could work for myself full-time.

Where You’ll Be

The next step you need to take is to evaluate your home and determine where you can set up a dedicated work space. I have found that I’m much more focused and efficient when I am working at my desk rather than at the kitchen table or from my laptop in front of the TV. No matter the size and shape of your home, find a place that can be set aside for your work area, even if you have to be creative and work in a closet.

When It Will Take Place

Now you must think through your routine. When will be available to work at this new at-home endeavor? Be honest with yourself about how many hours you have open for work, and what time of day you can be available. By knowing your availability, you can narrow down job choices or determine hours of operation if you’re opening your own business. Make others aware of your new work hours and be consistent so that your customers know when and how to reach you. Read More→

cellphoneRecently I had to travel involving changing planes, which involved spending a night at the Orlando airport. Checking in at the front desk, I then went to my room and settled down for the evening.

I decided to get some supper around 8 o’clock in the evening. This, I found out, was the time high society folk eat. Why they eat so late, I will never know. But, since I was with high society, I decided to act and eat like high society.

The restaurant was one of those highfalutin restaurants where you really do not know what is on the menu. The menu was in every language except English. Fortunately, they had some pictures and fortunately, my index finger was still in good working order.

I finished my supper and decided to wander around in the huge lounge area. Everybody there was talking and so I got an order of coffee, went to a couch, sat down and just observed what was going on around me. One thing I noticed was that most people seemed to be on their cell phone. What would happen in our society if cell phones suddenly stopped working for three minutes? There would be such a panic across our country that nobody would actually survive.

I decided I should call someone on my cell phone. After all, I am trying to fit in with this high society. My dilemma came when I tried to figure out who in the world I should call at 10 o’clock in the evening.

Then it dawned on me. I will call the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. I do not know why I did not think of this before. So, I pressed the speed dial and the phone started ringing.

As soon as the phone started ringing, a thought danced in my mind. What in the world am I calling her for? What in the world would I talk about?

Before finishing all of the questions floating around my cranium my wife answered the phone.

The first words out of her mouth were, “What did you forget now?” Read More→

I don’t read many columns faithfully; nor do I watch morning talk shows regularly.  I don’t Facebook a lot. In fact, I seem to go in spurts with Facebook and other social media sites.  Lately with the new school year starting up again, I have notices many shows about ‘staying connected with your kids’.

One particular topic that caught my attention was “25 ways to ask your children ‘How Was School Today?’ without asking them ‘how was school today?’”  Then there was  a follow up, I believe on Huffington Post, same title, except that teens replaced children.  Since I am totally interested in helping people stay sane while married, I thought where is the list for one’s spouse?  So, in the hopes of being quasi original, here’s my 25 ways to ask your spouse how their day was without asking them how their day was:

  1. What hopeful thing did someone say to you today?
  2. Where did you see God’s hand?
  3. What was the most exciting thing today?
  4. When did you feel most respected?
  5. When did you feel most loved?
  6. If you had only one hour to relive, which hour was it and why?
  7. Did anyone help you out in an ordinary way?
  8. Did you help anyone out in an ordinary or extraordinary way?
  9. Could you eat your lunch for a month straight-why or why not?
  10. Who, if anyone, was kissing up to the boss?
  11. Tell me a movie title for today’s events.
  12. Tell me a song title for today’s events. Read More→

jill-new14Operating a successful home-based business is a time-consuming endeavor. This is doubly true as work-at-home moms in that we are responsible not only for the success of our business, but for our family as well. We must be self-reliant, self-motivated, and discipline ourselves in order to attain success in both areas.

When running a business from home, it’s easy to let the phone calls, emails and paperwork keep you tied down, making you feel that you don’t have time to take a break or to spend quality time with your family. Maybe you’ve noticed that you spend a little more time than you’d like in front of your computer or on the phone. Maybe you see your kids acting out, trying to gain your attention. Perhaps you are seeing that this isn’t the work-at-home dream you envisioned. You started out with such noble intentions, but maybe the excitement of success in your business has caused you to lose sight of the REAL reason you do what you do each day. It happens to so many of us, but don’t worry, help is on the way.

Below are five ideas to prioritize your life and business:

1. Be Honest – You probably didn’t start your work-at-home career to climb the “corporate ladder” of your at-home business. Chances are that you started your business with the best of intentions – to be able to be at home with your children, to contribute financially to your family, or simply to have a little spending money of your own.

Take a moment and honestly ask yourself how you’ve been handling the time commitment of owning a business:

  • Are you spending too much time on the phone, the computer, etc?
  • Are your kids spending more time than usual in front of the TV?
  • Do you snap at your children because of the stresses of your business?
  • Do you worry about your business – to the point that it distracts you when you are with your family?

2. Make A List – Sit down and write out a list of things that you see that you’d like to change. This can be a list of things you can do differently to limit the time you spend on your business; or a list of ways you can “de-stress” so that you can deal kindly with your family.

3. Log Your Time – Buy a notebook or create a spreadsheet that you can use to log the time you spend on your business each day. Make a column for each day across the top and a row of half an hour increments down the side. Every time you sit down at your desk, write “IN” in the box that corresponds to the time and day. Every time you leave your desk (or complete a task), fill the appropriate box with the word “OUT.” Read More→

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