• businessman
    Productivity Tips For Work At Home Moms

    4 Home Office Organization Ideas To Boost Efficiency

    In between running errands, work-at-home moms rarely consider the organization of their home office as significant to their daily productivity. They’re making a huge mistake. Lack of organization means losing time looking for things you need, getting through that pile of receipts to find the right one or constantly losing your keys in the mess of your desk.

    Good organization doesn’t mean cleanliness. It’s got more to do with how you store objects and how you use them on the daily basis. Here are four home office organization tricks that will instantly boost your productivity.

    Get rid of the unnecessary objects

    Before you begin to revamp your office, you should make sure that you’re not putting order to things you don’t really need. Get rid of all objects that just clutter your office, empty your drawers and shelves, destroy documents that you don’t need and wipe all surfaces clean.

    Take a close look at your objects – if you haven’t used a given tool for months and you cannot imagine yourself using it in the foreseeable future, just throw it away. All decorative objects are going too. Old and dusty artificial plants or small nick-knacks will only serve to distract you and won’t bring real value to your working space.

    Organize your office

    When structuring your office, you should divide it into sections. These three are classics: main workspace (where you actually work), a supply section (where you keep your things in closets and drawers) and a reference area (nearby shelves, binders or filing cabinets).

    Now place all your equipment and supplies in appropriate places. Make sure to assess your need for every object. If it’s something you use all the time, it can land on your desk. If the object is used once in a while, it better go to your supply section.

    Establish a filing system

    There’s nothing worse than losing time looking for files that are absolutely necessary to making key decisions. By developing an efficient filing system, you’ll effectively shield yourself against the possibility of losing or duplicating files.

    First, assess which files can be digitized – if so, make sure to do regular backups and keep your materials in a safe place. Some folders and files you used in the past might be eliminated – be ready to revolutionize your system.

    Consider using a cloud storage. It’s safe, cheap (or free, like Google Drive) and will give you access to all your files from any device connected to the internet. This can be a real help once you’ll need access to a crucial file when outside the office.

    DIY strategies for organization

    Reorganizing your office doesn’t mean high costs, especially if you involve your creative skills and dapple into some DIY. Here are some fun, home office organization ideas to try if you’d like to boost your productivity and set up smart places to help you store different items.

    Mason jar storage – glue together 5 ball mason jars (3 at the bottom, 2 on top) and once they’re dry, use them for storing small objects on your desk like pens, pencils or staples.

    De-tangle cords with binder clips. Attach binder clips to the side of your desk and thread your cables thorough the metal part to keep them there. You’ll never lose time to untangle cables form that heap on the floor.

    Shoe-box storage – clip together a few of your shoe boxes to store books and documents. If you’d like some more decoration, you can line their bottoms with colorful paper.

    It’s clear that organizing your space is paramount to boosting your productivity, improving the number of tasks finished every day and relieving stress associated with work. Have you got any interesting tips for home office organization? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

  • business-woman
    Home And Business Finances For Work At Home Moms

    How Stay At Home Moms Start Their WAHM Business

    As a stay-at-home mom, you might be interested in making some money to help out your family’s finances without having to sacrifice being at home with your kids. For many moms, working outside of the home would not help the family much because of the expense of paying someone else to care for the children. When you start your own business from home, you have the chance to get the best of both worlds, being able to spend time with your kids and earn some money from your very own small business. Plus, pushing yourself to learn more and engage your mind in a business can provide some much-needed relief from the day-to-day responsibilities of managing a home and children.

    Start by deciding what type of business you would like to start. Consider your passions, interests and previous experience in the workplace. Many moms take a hobby and turn it into a business idea. For example, you might be an excellent seamstress and decide to open an online boutique with handmade children’s clothes and shoes. Or if you knit or crochet, you can sell scarves, hats, and specialty items, such as napkin rings. Other moms use their previous work experience and skills as the foundation for a business. You might offer your services as an editor or as a remote consultant for a large company in your previous work field.

    Once you have a business idea, spend some time researching the chance of success in that market. Look up whether other similar businesses exist and what they charge for their products or services. Consider whether you could be profitable if you were to start a business with similar pricing. For example, if you need $5 of materials and two hours to make a piece of clothing that sells for $15, you are only making $5 per hour for that work, and that does not even count taxes or overhead costs. As a business owner, you will be able to deduct expenses, but you also have to pay self-employment tax, which is 7.65 percent of your profit, in addition to regular payroll taxes.

    If you are ready to go ahead with starting your business, calculate how much money you will need to invest up-front. You have to purchase supplies, business cards, and a website domain. You also might need computer software to create a website and to track your finances. In addition, you will need to sign up with a payment processing company if you want to accept credit card payments through your business’s website. Find the money in your household budget to pay these start-up costs and estimate how long it will take you to recoup the costs in profit.

    The last thing to do as you launch your business is adjusting your schedule to allow you to work while you are at home. If your kids are in school, you can get a lot of work done while they are out of the house each day. With younger children, you will need to use nap times effectively or set up a play area for them near your work space so you can supervise them while you work. Each day, plan what you want to accomplish and schedule it into your day. Plan the hardest tasks for times when you know your kids won’t interrupt you, and save the easy, mindless tasks for times when the children will be underfoot.

    With some careful planning and the determination to succeed, you can create your own business from home. It won’t always be easy, but the extra money and the challenge of being an entrepreneur might be just what you need.

  • investment
    Marketing Your Work At Home Business

    Validating Your Financial Investment When Starting An Online Business

    Unfortunately, a large proportion of Internet businesses fail and their owners lose their seed capital. This could be avoided if the proper research and due diligence is carried out prior to making an investment. Internet marketing is a legitimate business and as such should be treated and approached with general business principles. As the owner and investor in the business you should seek immediate validation of your investment prior to moving forward with your project.

    Often this can be hard to do objectively as you are committed to the success of your ventures and to step back and assess your failures can often lead to short-term pain. To validate your investment there are traditionally three major areas you need to look at, and they are opportunity research, business case and brand positioning.

    Opportunity research is the process of gathering research data and statistics that you can use to form a business case and business assumptions. Without this data, assumptions on business potential or profit potential are meaningless. As an Internet marketer you can easily access this opportunity research data using keyword research and surveys.

    Once the opportunity research is complete you will begin to build a business case using the research data. The business case involves applying different business models and using financial modeling, which allows you to predict the income and expenses associated with your project.

    The final step in validation is defining your business brand positioning in the marketplace to ensure you can compete. Without a unique brand position and value statement it is difficult for your business to reach its full potential.

    This simple three-step validation procedure will ensure that any investment you make in your business is backed by sound due diligence. I like to think about going into business as buying a new house. You need to ensure the house is stable, has been built well and is a good investment. Internet businesses can be cost effective to start up, but this does not reduce the responsibility of validating your investment.

  • Home And Business Finances For Work At Home Moms

    Work at Home Opportunities from A to Z …

    One of things people often say when they first find out that you work from home is that there are only so many things you can do from home. They instantly think you’re stuffing envelopes or selling candles, they don’t realize that there is truly a world of opportunity out there that allows a person to work from home on their own schedule doing something that they enjoy. Let’s have a look, from A all the way to Z.

    A is for Avon, affiliate marketers, and authors.

    B is for Brown Bag Parties, bookkeepers, and bloggers.

    C is for Cookie Lee Jewelry, customer service representatives, and copywriters.

    D is for Discovery Toys, data entry, and doggie bakeries.

    E is for Enchanted Potions, Etsy sellers, and editors.

    F is for Fluhme, freelancers, and fiber artists.

    G is for Gourmet Cupboard, ghost writers, and graphic designers.

    H is for Heritage Makers, health and wellness bloggers, and HTML editors.

    I is for Isagenix International, illustrators, and internet marketers.

    J is for JamBerry Nails, Joomla designers, and javascript writers.

    K is for Kilambe Coffee, kid stuff bloggers and product reviewers, and Kindle authors and formatting specialists.

    L is for Lia Sophia Jewelry, link builders, and legal transcriptionists.

    M is for Mia Bella Soy Candles, marketing managers, and mommy bloggers.

    N is for Norwex, network administrators, and newsletter writers.

    O is for Origami Owl Custom Jewelry, online experts, and online instructors.

    P is for Passion Parties, project managers, and personal coaches.

    Q is for Quixtar, quality controllers, and Q&A podcasts and interviews.

    R is for Rodan + Fields, researchers, and report writers.

    S is for Scentsy, social media managers, and SEOs.

    T is for Tastefully Simple, transcriptionists, and tax consultants.

    U is for Usborne Books, underwriters, and user interface (UI) programmers.

    V is for Velata, voice over artists, and virtual assistants.

    W is for Wine Shop at Home, web designers, and WordPress Plugin writers.

    X is for Xango, XML, and XHTML coders.

    Y is for Yum Drops, YouTube bloggers and podcasters, and YOU!

    Z is for Zyrra, Zen Cart managers, and e-Zine authors and editors.

    You’ll notice that this list covered not only party plans and direct sales opportunities, but independent endeavors that you could go into. This list is 95% done just off the top of my head,… there are certainly hundreds of ideas that you could go with to offer services or market products to create an income for yourself.

    Whatever path you decide to follow, I wish you success.

    Leave a comment below and let us know your favorite choice from this list – and also if you think of something that I didn’t mention here go ahead and add that in the comments too.

  • sex shop
    Marketing Your Work At Home Business

    Education & Networking Key To Making Online Sex Shop In Norway

    “Get Paid $200/hour for sitting around in your underwear!”

    “Housewife makes millions with Google, with only $100 investment!”

    “Earn big money from home, the beach, anywhere – while sipping cocktails and doing absolutely nothing!”

    You’ve seen the claims, plastered obnoxiously all over the web, especially if you’ve ever done a search in Google for anything relating to “work at home opportunities.” One thing there is absolutely no shortage of, are folks online, willing to sell you information on how to get rich, online. Some is legit, some not so much. Thankfully, real people who are actually making a real honest living working from home, are available to help you weed through the clutter and get to the heart of what it really takes to be successful as – many of them are right here on this blog!

    I am not going to talk about how to make you rich today. But I do want to answer a question I am regularly asked more often than any other question, while also imparting some wisdom to hopefully help clarify the difference between “making it rich with online sex shop” and “creating a reliable source of income while working from home.” Work from home doesn’t have to equate to sleazy “get rich quick” scheme. In fact, it shouldn’t.

    Of all the questions I am asked, the one I hear most is “How can I get started doing what you do?” I don’t think most folks who ask me this, actually have a solid understanding of the details around what it is I do for a living. I don’t know they ever had a light bulb moment where it was decided they wanted to be an Affiliate Manager specifically, or an Internet Marketing Consultant. Most folks actually tend to look at me like I have 2 heads when I answer the “what do you do for a living?” question (though, less frequently today than in the past – perhaps a sign that the internet is maturing some – it’s more mainstream now than it was when I first started). That is, that’s the look I get before they realize the flexibility my career affords me – an idea which is usually met with a mixture of curiosity and intrigue. And THEN the “How can I do what you do?” question arrives.

    I think, most of the time when people ask that question, what they are really saying is, “I want the flexibility and freedom to work for myself, on my own time, by my own rules and to my own standards. I want more time for family, friends and whatever other things make my life feel whole, happy, healthy, well balanced and complete. I want an overall improved quality of life.” And I can understand why. A huge part of what I love about my self-employment is the ability to enjoy just that. Unfortunately, often I’m asked this question after someone’s already invested in some get rich quick scheme promising a turnkey solution to financial freedom which produced no return on investment. They know what they want, they just don’t know how to get there.

    As mentioned by many of my fellow WAHM contributors right here on this blog, there are myriad legit ways to find career independence – not just in the specific role(s) I happen to play with sex toys. But the rise of the Internet has opened doors to many new career opportunities that didn’t exist in times of yore – at least not in the capacity they do today. Careers like Social Media Marketing consultants for example or “Community Managers” weren’t something that existed even 15+ years ago. Or Digital Media Specialists. Or Website Developers. Search Engine Marketers. Search Engine Optimization Experts. Web Content Strategists or Sex shops (yes, companies do hire professional bloggers, increasingly often today, or pay for articles by career writers). Today you can even be a Customer Service or Sex shop owner from the comfort of home, depending on the company you work for (if not self employed). The list goes on.

    So, the good news is, there are many career options today for those with their sights set on working independently from home. But no matter the role, the one thing all self-employment options have in common is, no one’s going to hand the opportunity to you. Like any other type of success, in career or otherwise, you have to get out there and OWN it.

    First figure out the what/why/when and “how” and then make it happen. Here are a few tips for finding success as a work from home professional:

    Make a list of sex toys – dildos, vibretors, analsex toys, you would be legitimately interested in, whether work from home or otherwise. If the work itself isn’t satisfying to you, working from home isn’t likely to make it a whole lot sweeter.
    Do your research. Sex sites like this one offer all sorts of ideas on what you can do to work from home in a variety of roles/capacities – whether working for yourself or someone else.
    Network with people in your field of choice both online and off. You’d be surprised what information some folks are willing to share.
    Source out a professional to help guide/mentor you (there are agencies and communities online that can match you with a mentor if you can’t find one yourself).
    If an opportunity seems too good to be true, it probably is. Ask questions of professionals you trust to review the opportunity for you, if you aren’t sure. Communities like Women Online Marketers United, can help.
    Check out job boards for opportunities where companies are hiring to fill positions remotely. A few to check out: http://www.elance.com The Affiliate Summit Forum Indeed.com Job Listings Linkedin.com
    Consider interning for a few months with someone who is already working from home in self employment
    Identify the roles you’re most interested in and then get started at learning whatever it is you need in order to become an expert (or at least competent) in that arena/field.
    Source out educational opportunities to help you learn the skills and expertise you’ll need to be a smash success in your chosen field (just like in the offline regular working world). Especially if you plan to be a consultant of any type, clients are more likely to hire someone who is an ‘expert’ in their field. You may not be an expert today but with enough education and practice you can become one. Educational opportunities and resources to help hone your skills/expertise include:
    Local business events/seminars/conferences
    Online webinars (some charge a fee, but many are free)
    Websex discussion forums (play around with keyword searches in Google and explore various ones until you find one or a few that seem worthwhile)
    Local colleges and universities may offer courses to help improve your skills. You don’t necessarily need a whole degree but a few courses can really help.
    You will have to do your homework before you find the right direction for you but the options are out there. Figuring out answers to all those “W” questions (and the one “H”) can often be the most daunting part as there is such an overwhelm of information available today. But spending the time up front to do that can be the difference between dreaming about porn working from home and making it a reality.

    What have your experiences with trying to break into the work at home field been? What are your challenges? Are you a WAHM? How did you get into it? We want to hear from you – feel free to use the comments section below to share your thoughts.

  • Cooker
    Productivity Tips For Work At Home Moms

    How to Buy a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot

    So you want to learn how to buy a slow cooker or crock pot. Great! My name is Michael Gray and I’m here to help you. But–wait a minute–isn’t this a work at home mom website? What’s a guy doing here, talking about cooking of all things? Even though I’m a guy I’m still a work at home parent. I face the same problems and challenges that other work at home moms do.

    I struggle with running a successful business without having an office, taking business calls when there are children making noise in the background, picking up the kids from school and getting them where they need to be, and trying to find that elusive work/life balance we all strive for without having a skinny girl cosmo IV drip constantly hooked up to my arm.

    I happen to enjoy cooking, so it works out nicely if I can time shift my activities, prepare a meal, and time it so it’s done when everyone is home and we can enjoy dinner as a family.

    One of the ways I discovered that you can get more work done during the day, schlep the kids around in the afternoon, and not be so exhausted that you have to order takeout 4 nights a week is to use a slow cooker or crock pot.

    I’m going to show you what you need to know and look for when you start shopping for a crock pot.

    What Size Slow Cooker Do I Need

    One of the first things you’ll notice when you start shopping for slow cookers is they come in different sizes ranging from as small as 4 quarts on up to 11 quarts or more. For a family of four or five people, you’ll find a 6 quart or 7 quart is the perfect size.

    If you have the storage space, going a little bigger can help you with guests or leftovers for the next day. Most slow cookers have a stoneware or ceramic insert that separates from the base. Make sure you buy one that does: it makes cleanup and serving much easier. You can also store it in the refrigerator before or after cooking.

    Do I Need A Programable Slow Cooker

    Most slow cookers have three settings low, high and off. Some models may have a warming setting as well, which is nice but not necessary. Higher end slow cookers will often come with programmable settings. This feature will increase the price of a slow cooker since it adds a small computer to the device. If you plan on setting your slow cooker on the counter in the morning, have it turn on and cook when you’re not there, then switch to a warming setting after a few hours of cooking, you’ll definitely want this feature.

    If you plan on starting your slow cooker at noon and have it switch to warm while you’re out running errands or being a taxi service for the kids after school, you’ll find this feature will come in handy. It’s not a requirement, but it is nice to have.

    What Kind of Recipes and Food Can I Make in a Slow Cooker

    slow cookerSlow cookers are great for cooking soups, stews, casseroles, or any type of meat or fish that cooks in a sauce or liquid. Slow cookers are also really great for taking less expensive tougher cuts of meat and tenderizing them over the long cooking periods. One of my own recipe’s is flounder in cream of mushroom sauce. It’s easy to prepare and was a great way to get my kids to eat more seafood.

    Two of my favorite slow cooker cookbooks are Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook and The Slow Cooker Revolution. Both are packed with great recipes. If you’re more of an online recipe kind of person try SlowandSimple.com, AllRecipes.com slow cooker section, or Food Network’s slow cooker page.

    After you’ve made a dozen or so slow cooker dishes you’ll find you can adapt recipes pretty easily and make things you never thought of, like slow cooker lasagna or slow cooker mac & cheese.

    How Much Should I Pay for a Slow Cooker

    Chances are good that, if you have been married for more than 10 years, you may already have a slow cooker. But you’ve never used it or, like me, you sold that 1970’s avacado green thing Aunt Margie gave you as wedding present at your garage sale. You’ll find that slow cookers in your local department store or favorite online retailer have changed quite a bit. They are a lot easier to use and clean thanks to the removable cooking insert, and they have additional features like programmable timers, making them a lot more flexible. There are a lot of high end slow cookers on the market, such as this Cuisinart Multi-Cooker, but unless you need the programing functionality and plan to use it as a stove-top replacement, you don’t need to spend that much. You should be able to find a decent slow cooker in the $50 to $100 range. This 6qt KitchenAid slow cooker, or 6.5qt Cuisinart Slow Cooker are both under $100 and are perfectly suited for someone who will do a lot of slow cooking.

    If you are on a budget or don’t plan to use a slow cooker often, look at the 6.5qt Hamilton Beach slow cooker or 6qt Crock-Pot Cook and Carry. Both are good choices and in the $50 price range. I would steer clear of the low end $30 models, though. They usually aren’t high quality or will have a small cooking capacity.

    So let’s recap what you need look for when shopping for a slow cooker:

    Choose a slow cooker that’s big enough to cook for your family. Something in the 6qt to 7qt range is the most popular
    Try to find a slow cooker with a removable cooking vessel because it’s easier to work with and clean
    While you don’t need a programable slow cooker, it’s a nice feature to have
    Soups, stews, or recipes that cook in a liquid or sauce work best for a slow cooker
    You can usually find a quality reliable slow cooker with all the features you’ll need in the $50 to $100 range.

  • Fruit Pops
    Productivity Tips For Work At Home Moms

    Fruit Pops Are A Great Summer Treat

    My kids are grazers. They nibble and snack on things all day long. Now that school is out, I’m finding myself managing how much they’re snacking throughout the day. Shouldn’t they be outside playing, not inside munching? To help remedy this issue, I have a food craft they love to make and it’s great for them too. Fruit pops.

    Grab some fruit and some popsicle sticks and your kids will entertain themselves for a while, eat a snack and if you’re lucky, not fight at all (don’t count on it though). Not all fruits work well with this activity, but half the fun is seeing what works. I’ve found that melons, strawberries, bananas and grapes are the best. For even more food activity fun, put your fruit pops in the freezer for an hour. You’ll then have tasty, natural popsicles! Frozen grapes and grape pops are our family favorite.

    The best thing about making fruit pops, your kids can make them all by themselves. Some kids might need help cutting the fruit chunks to use, but other than that, it’s like building a little fruit tower with a stick. Watch out for those creative moments, your kids might even decide to see if they can build a fruit fortress using sticks and chunks-o-melon.

    If you’re looking for more fruit fun, I found some great ideas and saved to Pinterest. Look for Fruit pops, fruit kabobs and fruit on a stick. Keep in mind, if you have young kids, make sure to use popsicle sticks and not kabob skewers to prevent any hand injuries over excited fruit crafting.

  • Snack
    Productivity Tips For Work At Home Moms

    Quick Snack Ideas The Kids Can Make Themselves

    At my house, during summer break, it seems there is a constant feeding frenzy. Someone is always hungry, someone is always “starving”. I don’t know where the food goes, but it seems like 2/3 of my day I’m spending making food for someone.

    You don’t have to get stuck in the rut of constantly feeding your kids. Instead, give them the task of making their own snacks and meals from time to time. Buy foods that are easy to manage with “mom approved” health benefits and you’re kids will be spending time coming up with fun snacks they are proud to say they made themselves!

    Some food ideas your kids will have fun making themselves

    Make your own Lunchables – cut meats, cheeses, fruits and veggies and store in separate containers. Every day can be a new lunch building adventure as your child decides which items they want to include AND they’ll have fun building their own snack.

    Easy microwave meals – not all kids are old enough to manage the stove without supervision, but the microwave is pretty simple once they know how to use it. My almost 5 year old can make her own popcorn, there’s a popcorn specific button, but she feels like a popcorn rock star making it herself! Put together pre-made microwave meals with a time taped to the lid, ready to pop in the microwave and enjoy.

    Snack mixes – mix together cereals, dried fruits and nuts to create your own snack and trail mixes. Your kids will love helping you put these together and then you can store in individual snack sized bags so they can grab and go whenever they’d like.

    Smoothies – who doesn’t like a smoothie? You can make your own yogurt smoothie mixes by freezing yogurt in an ice cube tray and then placing the frozen chunks of yogurt in bags with frozen fruits and other ingredients, in ready to use bags. Your kids can then add the contents of a single bag to the blender, add the juice and blend… all on their own!

    Science and Snacks – let your kids do a little experimenting with food and fun this summer. Popsicles are a great place to start. Does fruit juice freeze as fast as a yogurt smoothie in a popsicle mold? How does lemonade taste as a popsicle vs orange juice? What happens if you mix 5 kool-aid flavors together? Many fruits turn into fun frozen snacks all by themselves. Try putting grapes or bananas in the freezer for a refreshing healthy treat the kids will love! Frozen grape pops are a favorite of ours!

    In our house we have a “snack drawer” where we put all our snack foods such as granola bars, snack mixes, etc. The kids (and their friends) know where this is and know the limits. If you show your kids how to do something, you might be surprised how much they will do themselves.

  • Success
    WAHM Entrepreneur Success Stories

    WAHM Success Story: Lynn Terry of ClickNewz

    Lynn Terry is the owner of ClickNewz and has been working full time from home since 1997.

    Lynn TerryClickNewz offers practical advice and detailed tutorials for people that want to start an online business, or promote their business online.

    ClickNewz allows Lynn to share her experiences – sharing what works, what doesn’t, what’s new, what to do – and what NOT to do to make money online. And she offers this advice all for free.

    More importantly, Lynn also DOES what she teaches – and that’s how she makes her revenue.

    Lynn is a work at home mom with two children.

    Check out her take on being a WAHM entrepreneur below.

    What made you start your business?

    I was married at the time, with a combined family of four children: one mine, two his, and one ours. My husband was out of work and we were barely scraping by on my just-over-minimum-wage job.

    During my pregnancy with “ours”, I worked up to 50 hours a week. I scheduled her delivery, took off one week before, and was back to work within two weeks total. And going that two weeks without a paycheck was hard times.

    I started my first business offline in a market where my husband could use his trade. We did six figures the first full year in business. I started my web based business that same year. The rest is history. 🙂

    How did you finance your business in the early days?

    We had no credit, no savings, and zero to start up. We sold everything that wasn’t nailed down – clothes, furniture, dishes, the kids’ toys, you name it. We ended up with a whopping $600. LOL.

    We moved into a small rental house outside a big city that had a workshop/shed. We had no business cards, no sign, nothing – not even a phone line to start. It was a rough start up. And while it seemed impractical and impossible, silly even, all I could think is “What’s the worst that could happen? We’re already broker than broke!” Worst case scenario we’d just have to find another job, right? Something had to give…

    What is your average workday like?

    Fast forward 15 years and I am a single work-at-home mom. I went through an unexpected divorce just a couple years into the business, which was 12 years ago. In the beginning I worked 14-16 hours a day, 7 days a week, while taking care of our family of six ranging from 5 months old to 8 years old.

    My own two children are now going on 16 and 21 years old, and my son has moved out on his own. My business has also matured, and I can manage it in as little as 5-10 hours a week. That said, I LOVE what I do and always stay busy finding fun new things to test or get into.

    I start early (before sunrise) and usually have my priority tasks knocked out before most people even make it to their desk. After that I take my day as it comes. I may meet friends for lunch, take a long afternoon nap, or take my great danes for a walk. The rest of the day is open to creative inspiration and whatever I feel motivated to work on – if anything at all. But I usually do. 😉

    What has been your biggest challenge as a WAHM Entrepreneur?

    My biggest challenge was finding balance, particularly after my divorce, as an entrepreneur and a parent. My children and always have been my highest priority. As a single mother, that included creating a lifestyle for them, and putting food on the table – so my business had to take an almost equal priority in the earlier years.

    This is one of the reasons I started getting up early and taking care of priority tasks first thing. I wanted to be available to my children if something came up, or if they just really wanted to spend quality time with me. Those moments are precious, and no task on the list should ever get in the way of going out to breakfast or having a good chat on the back deck!

    During my start-up years though, it was definitely a challenge. There never seemed to be enough hours in the day to do all or be all. But I busted my butt to get my business to a point that it earned more money in less time, which was the key to overcoming that challenge…

    What has been your biggest success as a WAHM Entrepreneur?

    My biggest success, hands down, was raising two children into beautiful well-balanced young adults. I was sure they would turn out crazy growing up in my home office and during my start-up years, lol.

    As for business – I did it. I created my ideal lifestyle, and I’m living it. For me it was never about money, it was about peace and happiness. About providing a good life for my children. My business was simply the source for that.

    How do you stay motivated when working from home?

    They key is doing something you love – something you truly ENJOY. My first business online was service-based, back in the 90′s, and while I enjoyed it then… I grew to dislike it over the years. I found that having clients was very much like having a boss – you just had multiple bosses!

    I changed my business model completely, and have been much happier since. I now focus strictly on blogging and affiliate marketing. My favorite phrase these days is “I’m not for hire.” LOL.

    When you really enjoy what you do, you can’t wait to jump out of bed in the morning and get straight to work! 😉

    How do you balance your work and family?

    This is a tough one, as I mentioned above. Especially if you are a single parent and your business is your sole source of income to provide for your family.

    When I home schooled the children I would work early mornings before they woke up, and late nights after they went to sleep. And of course I would cat nap in the afternoon while they played. I did what I had to do.

    I was also very open with my children, even when they were younger, and they understood what I was doing and why – what my goals were for us as a family. And they supported that, even more so as they got older. They’ve been very appreciative of what I invested to create a better life for them.

    I always put them first. Always. If they needed me, I was there – and I dropped everything to listen, apply bandaids, take them somewhere, you name it. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in work and deadlines… but I reminded myself constantly WHY I was doing what I was doing.

    What has been your most successful marketing tactic for your business?
    As a marketing strategy, search engine optimization hands-down. You need to be where people are looking for what you offer, at the exact moment they’re looking for it, period.

    While other methods and strategies have come and gone over the years, the search engines have provided a steady source of targeted traffic for me without fail.

    What is your favorite productivity tip or tool?

    My favorite tool at the moment is my mobile device. I use a Droid Razr, but any smart phone is tops for productivity these days. It allows me to work on the go, and I get an amazing amount of work done in the smallest spots of free time. While waiting at the doctor’s office, for example – I can fire off important email replies. Or while traveling, I can draft blog post ideas in my Evernote app while waiting for my flight, etc.

    Having my business in my back pocket means I’m not stuck in the office. And since I started using a smart phone… I’m rarely EVER in my office anymore, which is nice!

    Who do you admire most and why?

    I admire Rae Hoffman aka Sugarrae. She has always inspired me, simply because she worked against difficult circumstances to reach her goals… and never complained, never gave up. She is walking proof that ANYone can start a successful business online, regardless of their circumstances, if they’re willing to go the extra mile.

    There are many other people I’ve watched rise above difficult situations to become super successful, and they all inspire me greatly. I love to see people put up a fight, refuse to accept “what life handed them”, and walk out on the other side a winner. Everyone has that option, but it’s a very small percentage that take it…

    What is something most people would be surprised to know about you?
    I’m an introvert. 😀

    Most people assume that I am extroverted and outgoing, given my online personality and strong social media presence. That said, I am usually at home alone while working – which is where I prefer to be.

    While I’m not “shy”, and I do attend events all over the world, you’ll catch me taking frequent breaks and even having dinner alone in my room. And I blush “out loud”. Like three shades of purple. LOL.

    Where do you see your business at two years from now?

    My business has consistently grown every single year, both in terms of income and reach. I expect it will continue to grow over the next two years. I am also in the process of publishing my first set of books, and look forward to adding “published author” to my list of accomplishments!

    What advice would you give to aspiring WAHM Entrepreneurs?
    Dig deep and know what you want to achieve. And more importantly, WHY you want to achieve that goal. Keep that in mind every single day.

    Also know that being an entrepreneur means going with your own ideas, working on your own schedule, making your own choices and decisions, and turning failures into learning experiences. It can be tough to get out of the “employee mindset” we were all raised with. Don’t look for blueprints or instructions, or guidance. It’s your business, and you’ll do best to run it YOUR way. That’s what being an entrepreneur is all about! 😉

  • School
    Productivity Tips For Work At Home Moms

    Busy September with Kids Back to School? Time to Outsource!

    September generally means back to school. Whether you’re homeschooling or your kids go off to school during the day, those first few weeks can be stressful.

    Movies and magazines might have you believing that the first week back to school is great for parents who need to get stuff done during the day. Who are they kidding? It’s a week filled with paperwork signing, sports physicals, applications, shopping for additional supplies like extra flash drives and fancy calculators for geometry and searching the city for the last pad of graph paper, not to mention the registration for activities, clubs, sports, picking up band instruments and football equipment. And if you’re homeschooling then you have new curriculum to plan out, worksheets to print off, supplies to get, paperwork with the state, and a bunch more to-dos on your list. By Friday you’re wishing it was summer again and not just the weekend.

    It’s no surprise to me that September is when a lot of the outsourcing happens in online businesses. I’ve been doing freelance work online for 10 years now and September through mid-October is almost always my busiest time of the year for me. Not only is it back to school time, but it’s also when people are organizing projects and marketing efforts to be done before the big holidays at the end of the year. Huge end of year goal pushing is happening in this quarter of the year too.

    On one side of the coin, if you’re a freelancer this can be a great time to pick up some extra work or take on new clients. Of course that means you are going to be extra busy too. On the other side of the coin, you might be looking to outsource a bit of your own workload. So let me tell you a virtual assistant secret. Even virtual assistants have virtual assistants – we know more heads are better than one and having a team of people working together will get the job done. We network, we team up, we get things done so we finish in time to attend back to school night. It’s pretty darn awesome.

    So what can you outsource this month to save yourself some time during this busy back to school month?

    My suggestion is to think about the things that are not your favorite things to do, the things that take you the longest, the things that you will procrastinate on and put off because you just don’t like doing them. Those are the things to outsource.

    Struggling with customer service? That’s an easy enough thing to outsource. Let your VA put out the email fires and monitor your customer help desk.

    Need marketing materials put together but don’t want to spend days fiddling with fonts and graphics? A VA can knock that out of the park in a few hours.

    Need some new articles or blog posts but don’t have time to sit down and write? A freelance writer or virtual assistant can write those up no problem.

    There are hundreds of things that you can outsource. The best feeling is when you find someone who has a strength in the little things that make your day feel long. Then you’re both done with work early, your project is a success, everyone gets paid and the to-do list is checked off.

    If you have questions about outsourcing or working with virtual assistants – drop a note in the comments section and let’s talk about it.

  • Productive
    Productivity Tips For Work At Home Moms

    Avoid These 3 Morning Time Suckers to Kick Off a Productive Day

    Morning is viewed as a fresh start to the day and a chance to start anew. So why is it that we get sucked into our most distracting time wasters first thing in the morning? It’s crazy.

    Facebook – Just don’t open it in the morning. Skip it, save it for later, outsource it, whatever you need to do to avoid opening the bottomless pit in the morning. Twitter, Pinterest and other social media is also guilty of time sucking, but Facebook seems to be the one with the power to make you disappear for three hours in the blink of an eye. I’m starting to think that Facebook has some voodoo spell on it that pulls you into it’s time warp, like the island on Lost.

    Email Inbox – Not quite as much of a time warp as Facebook, checking your email usually starts out as a productive task with good intentions and quickly turns into doing a whole lot of nothing. Do you really need two hours to go through all that email? Probably not. I find setting a time limit on this really helps. I’ll spend maybe 15 minutes on my email in the morning, and then I won’t check it again until after 2:30 in the afternoon. Closing that Gmail tab during the day has proved to be one of the best things I’ve ever done. Email rarely needs an immediate response from you, so close it up and go get stuff done.

    Watching the News – (or Charmed, or Angel, or whatever else is on in the morning…) You turn on the TV for background noise in the morning and you turn on the coffee pot. Walking back to your desk from getting a nice hot cup of coffee and something catches your attention and you sit down “for just a minute” and the next thing you know it’s nearly lunch time. Seriously, watching a television program of any kind in the morning is almost as bad as visiting Facebook, the time just disappears away from you.

    Okay, so that you’ve successfully avoided these three obstacles, get to work and be productive. I dare you to not open your email until after 5:00 PM today (no peeking on your phone either.) I bet you’ll get at least three things done off your to-do list if you can handle the separation anxiety from your inbox 😉

  • Quest
    Productivity Tips For Work At Home Moms

    My Quest for Inbox Zero

    I always see people posting about how they are down to “Inbox Zero” and I get a little jealous. My inbox usually runs between 100 and 200 messages, depending upon how much I have worked in a given week, whether I am in the middle of a lot of promotions, and the shopping season. The closest I ever got before now was around 70 (specifically it was 69, but I sound like a perv for remembering that).

    In my forever quest for Inbox Zero, I have come to realize that it may not be 1) practical, or 2) even desirable given the way that I organize my email. I’m sure that we all do it differently. Some of us use a lot of labels/folders; some very few. Some of us are email packrats; others delete anything over 24 hours old. Some of us use a lot of rules and filters to separate the email; others send everything straight to the inbox.

    My technique has always been to use my labels/folders as long-term storage and my inbox as short-term storage. If something comes in that needs to be done, I keep it in the inbox. If I set it up as a task instead, I could move it to my tasks and delete it from my inbox. Boom! One email closer to Inbox Zero. But that’s not how I do it.

    Right now I am down to 41 messages with a goal of Inbox Zero by the end of the day Friday. That’s literally my one work goal for the week. Do the other crap that needs done because it is important but focus on the inbox. It’s a great week to do it because I’ve already done all of the end of month/start of month/start of quarter stuff. A lot of people are out of office for the July 4th holiday. And it’s a pretty easy week as far as kid stuff goes.

    Can I do it? I hope so. But even if I don’t, I am feeling pretty good about the progress I have made. Nothing is hiding in the inbox anymore that risks me missing an opportunity because I didn’t see it. Nothing expires this week that I have to remember to jump on quickly. It’s just a lot of work that eventually needs seen to or discarded based on priority.

  • Vacation
    Productivity Tips For Work At Home Moms

    4 Vacation Tips for Mompreneurs

    As a business owner, I know the feeling of being constantly swamped with work. Running a business isn’t easy, whether you’re in the early stages of a developing a new company or celebrating your 10 year anniversary.

    Reaching a point where you can reward yourself with a vacation is a great treat in itself and I’m about to do just that, when I leave this weekend for a 2-week wine-tasting vacation through Italy and France.

    But, since work as a business owner never ends, in order to create this dream vacation for myself, I’ll be putting in some extra work before I leave.

    A big part of this preparation is readying my businesses to function without me, even for just a short period of time.

    Here are four tips that I recommend that have helped me successfully plan and enjoy a vacation without hurting my businesses:

    Get Your Staff Ready

    No employee is going to do well when his or her supervisor up-and-leaves without any notice or preparation. You’ll need these workers to take on some of your duties and know how to respond to tasks and needs without your authority. For their sake and the sake of your business, you need to take steps to prepare your employees.

    Making these preparations can be a lot of work, especially when you leave your business for the first time. Employees and contractors need to be trained on where to get the answers to everything they need. They need to know how to handle various tasks that you normally do, and this requires establishing training time. In a sales environment, you might want to hand off customer interactions responsibilities to some of your workers and observe them for a period of time before you leave — this will give you reassurance of their performance even as you help them polish their own skills.

    Ultimately, you’ll probably need at least a week to get things ready, but consider your unique circumstances and adjust accordingly. You might need several weeks or even a month to get everything together.

    Travel in the Slow Season

    Most businesses see peaks and valleys in terms of how much work they get throughout the year. Sometimes this changes on a weekly basis, with weekdays or weekends seeing a decline in sales. Other times it’s a particular part of the calendar year that tends to be slower than the rest. Whatever the case for your particular business, try to plan your vacation around these periods to keep yourself at work when you’ll be needed most.

    Maintain a Line of Communication

    Most business owners would love to cut the cord and be completely disconnected from their businesses while they’re on vacation. But that’s not always practical, and the isolation could actually make it tougher to enjoy your escape from real life. Despite your desires, it’s smart to keep a line of communication open between you and your business. Whether this is email or phone is up to you, but it reduces the anxiety of having to cover every last detail while making you available for any urgent or emergency needs.

    In some cases, simply knowing that everything is running well will be reassurance enough to let you get back outside and work on that tan.

    Create a Back-to-Work Plan

    If there’s a downside to going on vacation, it’s usually waiting for you when you return to work. Business owners typically return after a period away to find themselves swamped with work and overwhelmed. It’s hard to erase those obligations, but you can create a system to better address those needs.

    For starters, set aside time upon your return to attend to the work that has piled up. Keep your schedule free of obligations on that first day as you catch up with your business. Meet with employees to discuss operations while you were gone and get a sense of your duties in the coming days. Once you’ve re-oriented yourself in your environment, you can move ahead with scheduling meetings and getting back in the swing of things.

    By taking the proper precautionary steps, you should be able to enjoy a stress-free vacation while your business floats on without springing any leaks. It’s not easy for hands-on owners, but even a short getaway will be rejuvenating for you and good for the business.

  • possible
    Productivity Tips For Work At Home Moms

    Maintaining Focus When It Seems Impossible

    The last couple of weeks have been a blur to me. One of my daughters finished elementary school. Another finished intermediate school. Every day there was some kind of recognition ceremony or Field Day or talent show. It was my birthday. Then the Indy 500. Then Memorial Day. We had company in from out of town. I didn’t know what end was up but was expected to be in multiple places at once. Trying to work seemed impossible!

    This week should be better, right? Quite the opposite. The kids are home and we are trying to establish a new routine. I am behind on work from the last 2 weeks. And I am frantically trying to prepare to go away on vacation for the next 2 weeks (including a week without Internet access).

    Part of me just wants to panic and curl up on the couch with a book and ignore everything. But then there is the other part of me that likes to afford a room over my head and food. That part of me understands that I need to get focused and get everything done. How to do it? Here’s what has worked for me in the past and will hopefully work again!

    Make a list. Or lists. I have a Packing List, a Family To-Do List, and a Business To-Do List. I am constantly adding and subtracting from them as the days go by. It’s the only way that I am going to ensure that something doesn’t get left out.
    Block out chunks of time for certain types of tasks. I am a multi-tasker by nature, but sometimes it is more efficient to group work together to get it done. For example, I’ll play 3 hours worth of errands and only leave the house once in a day. Or I’ll shift focus from work to packing for 2 hours and completely block out email to keep from getting distracted. Then when it is time to work, I’ll shut my office door and pretend all that other family stuff doesn’t even exist.
    Let other people do things that you don’t absolutely have to do. Delegate things out so that you can keep focused on the most important tasks that others CANNOT do for you.
    Get enough rest. I know you just want to keep working as late as you can when the house finally gets quiet. However, if you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be able to focus tomorrow. It can become a vicious cycle.
    Turn off. Lastly, and most importantly, turn off the distractions. In an ideal day we get to keep our TweetDeck open and listen to the radio and answer the phone and still get all of our work done. But when other distractions like kids and company and house work are already getting in the way, you need to cut out as much of the other “noise” as possible.

  • Business
    Home And Business Finances For Work At Home Moms

    12 Awesome Tools for Your Home Based Business for Less Than $75 Per Month (Combined)

    Running a home based business quickly gets complicated – especially once you start finding success and your business continues to grow.

    Below are some of the tools and services (both free and paid) that I use to help me keep my business organized, functioning smoothly and growing – and the grand total for them all combined comes to under $75 per month.

    Basecamp (As low as $20 per month)
    Basecamp is a project management tool that allows you to organize your workflow. You can give access to team members, contractors and clients – and you can do it on a project by project basis. I find Basecamp extremely effective for ensuring tasks that need to get done don’t get lost in a sea of emails. Their file sharing allows us to upload documents and keep them attached to the comments or tasks related to them. The calendar functionality is also killer for helping to keep you on pace (or helping you notice that you’re very OFF pace) for deadlines as well. The $20 per month plan allows you to store up to ten projects at once and includes 3 GB for file storage.

    TripIt (FREE)
    If you travel a lot for your business, I promise you that creating an account at TripIt will be one of the best things you ever do. It helps you keep every trip organized and best of all? You can simply forward confirmation emails from services like Expedia, UrbanSpoon, EventBrite and pretty much every airline and hotel in existence. No more searching through emails trying to find confirmations or figure out “what’s next” in your day. I always joke that if I’m traveling and a plan is not in my TripIt, then it doesn’t exist. You can access TripIt on the web or via their mobile app – which is available on all platforms.

    Shoeboxed (FREE – but in reality, as low as $9.95 a month)
    Shoeboxed is an online receipt scanning an organization service. They DO have a free plan, but it only allows you to scan 5 documents a month and that doesn’t seem realistic to me for 99% of small business owners. Their lowest priced paid plan is $9.95 per month and allows you to scan up to 50 documents per month. Shoeboxed has free mobile apps available to let you input receipts on the go as well. Bonus points? Shoeboxed can also integrate with Quickbooks.

    Mom in Business

    Dropbox (FREE)
    Dropbox allows you to share and store files and folders “in the cloud” for free. You can even increase the amount of free storage you get by referring friends. This is a MUST HAVE for anyone using multiple computers or frequently sharing files with collaborators or telecommuters. Their free mobile apps also let you access and share documents on the go.

    QuickBooks (as low as $12.95 per month)
    Quickbooks is hands down the most popular accounting software for small businesses. They can integrate with your bank and various other services to help you get an accurate handle on your business accounting. While it can be a little daunting to learn, I prefer Quickbooks for our business accounting for several reasons: 1. Most accountants are familiar with it 2. They offer mobile apps on every platform, 3. It’s one of the better MAC accounting software options (and I haven’t used a PC in over four years now) and 4. I can use it 100% online so whether I’m traveling with my Macbook Pro or on my iPad or using my desktop iMac, I can always access the program.

    Google Analytics (FREE)
    Google Analytics is a free analytics program that can help you get valuable insight as to who visits your site and why. You can set goals for nearly any action taken by visitors that you’d like to track, as well as figure out which keywords are converting into the actions you’re looking for. And if you don’t “get” how Analytics can help you grow your business, Google will teach you the ins and outs for FREE – offering lessons on obtaining everything from beginner through expert level knowledge.

    Skype Premium (As low as $4.99 per month)
    I’ve written about Skype Premium before. The premium version allows you to do group video calls and group screen sharing. If you’re doing any sort of long distance managing of or collaboration with multiple people, you’ll likely find Skype Premium to be a vital tool in your business arsenal.

    Anymeeting (FREE)
    Anymeeting is a free webinar service that allows you to host a webinar with up to 200 attendees for free (the free version is ad supported). Hosting a webinar with a co-host(s)? You can show video feed from up to six people during a meeting. If your business is on a tight budget, Anymeeting is your solution to holding professional webinars for free.

    MozyPro (as low as $5.99 per month)
    MozyPro is an online computer backup service. Backing up your computer can often be something we mean to do, but never get to. The first time you lose all your data before you “had a chance to get to doing it” I promise you that you’ll be beyond sorry you didn’t make the time. MozyPro has “personal” plans that will likely suffice for many “one woman show” home based businesses. Best of all? You can automate your backups so you don’t even have to remember to do it and since it’s “in the cloud” you don’t have to worry about storing your backup in a different building than your computer like you would with a physical external hard drive.

    Aweber (As low as $19 per month)
    Aweber is the mailing list service that I use on all of my sites (however, Missy prefers Constant Contact so that’s what we use here on It’s a WAHM Thing). Plans start at $19 per month and you can have up to 500 subscribers for that price and send unlimited emails to those subscribers. Mailing lists are an extremely effective outbound marketing tool and I highly recommend every business have one (as with any marketing tool, you need to WORK IT for it to have benefit though).

    Chandler (FREE)
    Chandler is a free “note to self” tool that basically is a “todo” list software on technological steroids – complete with alarms and reminders. This is a GREAT tool for combining your business and personal tasks into one master list as well.

    Business Classes from MIT (FREE)
    Yep, FREE classes about business, entrepreneurship, marketing and more from MIT. And yes, THAT MIT. As your business grows, there is not a single person out there who couldn’t benefit by growing their own knowledge about running said business along with it.