• Business
    Home And Business Finances For Work At Home Moms

    Taking Steps Towards A Healthy Financial Future

    With the economy the way it is right now, it very important to stay on track financially. No one knows what tomorrow is going to bring. You want a financial plan to follow to best stay in control of your finances.

    There are several things you should be doing in order to stay on track financially:

    Pay your bills on time. Pay your bills in full and on time. Late payments can affect your credit histories. They often times cost you more money in late fees too!

    Save a minimum of 5% of your income. After all of your expenses, if you are able to save 5% of your income you are directly on target towards a healthy future.

    Having an emergency fund that equals a minimum of 3 months’ worth of expenses. I have actually heard some financial experts recommend 6 months to a years worth of expenses with the state of the current economy. If an emergency arises (sickness, layoffs, etc), you will be fully prepared. Not having an emergency fund can kick your entire financial plan off track. I have seen people end up losing their houses and in bankruptcy over it.

    Plan for large purchases. If you plan to purchase expensive items ahead of time, you won’t be hit as hard when it comes down to making the purchase. Save monthly until you have the full amount for the item you need. You also are usually able to get a better deal, because you can look for deals or sales on the item too!

    Stick to your budget. If you stick to your budget, all your finances will fall into place. Budget your important items first and cut back on the things you do not need.

    Regularly review your credit. Review your credit at least once a year to check for accuracy. For us, my husband and father-in-law have the same name so we have to do this yearly. We luck out that they have just as good credit as us. However, I still don’t want their stuff on our credit report. Discrepancies can hinder your credit score and report overall. This also allows you to see if somebody stole your identity. Even if your kids are under 18, you should be running a credit report on them also!

    Examine all of your statements for errors. Go through your statements each month to verify you have made all the stated purchases on it and that the amounts are correct.

    Continue to financially educate yourself. Take advantage of all of the financial seminars, classes and events that are offered in your area. Many banks hold numerous seminars all year round to assist you in your financial needs.

    Your financial security is very important to every facet in your life. Hopefully this list will help you to take steps towards a healthy financial feature.

  • Business
    Home And Business Finances For Work At Home Moms

    Using Barter to Help Your Home Business Succeed

    Bartering makes sense for Mompreneurs. What’s better than exchanging services instead of spending cash to buy necessary goods or services? Especially during seasons when your home business runs short on cash or your favorite customer gets laid off from her job; bartering can help your home business succeed.

    What is Bartering?
    Bartering has been around since the beginning of time. Exchanging gold for salt or pottery for rice met a need in the community while providing the backbone of the economy. Today, bartering holds a smaller role but remains important nonetheless.

    Bartering allows you to give a product or service in exchange for a product or service of equal value. Instead of paying cash for services received or products purchases, bartering serves as a financial resource. It helps you navigate an unstable economy and receive the goods and services you need. It also enables you to create greater visibility in the community and build your home business’s reputation.

    Do you need a new website design or business cards? Perhaps you need monthly administrative services or a one-time plumbing repair. In exchange for these services, you provide a decorated cake, a vehicle tune-up or free babysitting.

    How to Barter Successfully
    Successful bartering requires practice, practice and more practice. For maximum success, start small by approaching long-time customers first. As you grow confident in your abilities, gradually expand your bartering partnerships to vendors.

    Before entering into a bartering relationship, do your homework.

    What will you trade? It could be your handmade necklaces or an hour of accounting services.
    How much is it worth? Assign a fair rate to your product or service. Bartering is not charity. Give your product a fair monetary value.
    What do you want to receive in exchange? Maybe you want a computer upgrade or need a new roof on your home office. Be sure you offer a financially even trade for the services you want.
    With answers to these questions, you are ready to approach a customer or company with an invitation to barter.

    Most barter agreements occur once, but other partnerships continue indefinitely. Resist verbal agreements. Instead, write down the details of the barter arrangement. Add the services or products that will be exchanged, the barter’s time frame and other applicable information. Both parties sign the agreement and receive a copy of the form. This step keeps both partners honest and prevents you losing time and money on the deal.

    Because bartering is easy and increasingly popular, you might overextend yourself. While exchanging goods and services works for some items and for limited time frame, you eventually need cash. Set a limit to your barter partnerships so that you don’t run into cash flow issues.

    Finding Companies Who Accept Barter


    After you start bartering with customers, branch out to vendors. Prepare your bartering pitch then approach the customer service rep with whom you normally do business. Maybe your gem supplier needs a catered meal or the local printing company needs exterior paint. With a thoughtful proposal and agreeable terms, many companies willingly barter.

    For additional outlets, try Craigslist or Trashbank. With these options, you target local residents and receive free advertising for your home business.

    Are you ready now to enter the world of bartering? This ancient financial concept can become an essential tool for making money and growing your customer base. Cash is king, but remember the value bartering holds in your successful Mompreneur home business.

  • Financial
    Home And Business Finances For Work At Home Moms

    What Financial Planning with your Kids can Turn Into

    I laugh. Actually I don’t laugh, I scratch my head. My parents were the instigators of my financial success – both on purpose and completely by accident.

    I am 30 years old and have done well in life so far. I have quite a few assets and investments and my only debt is in my home and two condos I own in downtown Vancouver.

    I don’t have excess cash flow with a million bucks sitting in the bank. If I’m lucky you can call me a “thousandaire” on a good day. But I’m also not in credit card, school or personal loan debt. Why? And how did I get all this stuff if I’m not rich per say? Again I attribute that to my parents. Good planning, careful spending and smart decision making as a result of their lessons (and lack of) made the all difference.

    My parents are very modest people. My dad was a stay at home dad on unemployment. My mom worked 60 hour weeks trying to keep our family above water. To this day they still don’t own a house. They are a year away from trying to retire at the age of 65. But are they ready? No. Not even close. They don’t have enough to last them to 85 should they live that long, which I hope they do. They are likely going to end up working till they are 70 years old and then still have to pay rent in one of the most expensive cities in the world just to be close to their kids.

    But, as a result of their lack of long term planning (which inspired me NOT to be in the same situation) and good teachings about short term money management when I was young, I’ve been able to make some good decisions so far. Here’s what they taught me:

    1. Never, ever spend more money than you have, unless it’s an emergency and you have no other choice for your or a loved one’s life. Cash flow is king. You don’t need a credit card to buy something you want. Just slowly save for the things you would like and buy them only once you have the money in the bank.
    2. Start building up your credit when you’re young, then make sure you pay it off right away – always! This will help you build up your credit which will allow you to be approved for thing like mortgages, business loans, and personal loans.
    3. Pay off your highest interest debts first. The accumulation of interest that goes unattended can drive you quickly into the ground. You may never recover.
    4. Invest in assets, not liabilities (unfortunately something my parents learned WAY too late in life, which is why they don’t own a house but have travelled to almost every remote tropical beach in the world :P)
      Put together a five year financial plan. I did my first when I was 18 with the goal of having $10,000 saved by the time I was 23 to buy my first house, which I did.
    5. I’m sure there were a lot more things my parents could have taught me about money if they knew better, but look! I learned five great lessons that made all the difference to me and my family now, and for that I’m grateful.

    If you have the chance (and even if you don’t, MAKE the time), try to teach your kids responsible spending and money management when they are young. They may hate how boring it is when they are 9 years old, but they will reap the benefits of it when they get older and have to manage their own financial decisions in the real world.

  • Money
    Home And Business Finances For Work At Home Moms

    10 Ways To Spend Your Flexible Spending Account Money

    Can you believe that it is almost the end of the year? It has flown by fast, so if you have a flexible spending account, it is time to find out what you have left in your account. Did you know you will lose the money in your flexible spending account (FSA) if you don’t use it before December 31st? (For those who don’t know what a FSA is, it allows an employee to set aside a portion of their earnings to pay for qualified expenses. The money is then deducted from an employee’s pay and put into a flexible spending account that is not subject to payroll taxes). Here are a few ways for you to get the most for your money and spend it before you lose it:

    1. Get a second or third pair of prescription glasses. Who wants to wear the same pair of glasses every day? Plus, this is super helpful if you can’t find a lost pair! If you have kids, they definitely need to have more than one pair of glasses, and this is a great way to pay for it!
    2. Stock up on your contact lenses or try new ones out. The amounts you pay for contact lens solution, supplies, exams (including fittings), and associated warranties are also qualified expenses under most plans.
    3. Make that yearly physical that you have been putting off all year!
    4. Protect your eyes with prescription sunglasses. It is important to protect your eyes in every season – not just summer.
    5. Upgrade your lens to premium lens options like no-glare (anti-reflective) coatings and Transitions lenses that change from clear to dark.
    6. Fill any prescriptions you need before the end of the year!
    7. Refill your medicine cabinet. If you aren’t sure what OTC (over the counter) items are covered in your flexible spending account plan, Drugstore.com(the online version of your local pharmacy) has a special “FSA store” featuring OTC products most commonly reimbursed. Even if you end up not buying from them, it’s a good place to browse for ideas.
    8. Review your expenses incurred earlier in the year that may be eligible for reimbursement. You may have copays or prescriptions that you have not turned in for reimbursement yet.
    9. Work on your first aid kit. First aid creams, bandages, etc can all be reimbursed. (Some of these products you may need a prescription for if you want to be reimbursed.)
    10. Join the gym. When recommended by a health care professional for a medical condition, dues paid to a health club, YMCA or YWCA are qualified medical expenses. You will have to submit evidence of medical necessity (e.g., prescription, doctor’s note) with the request for reimbursement.

    Every flexible spending account runs different, so you do have to check your own flexible spending account plan to see what exactly is covered. However, these ten ways should give you some idea on how to spend any remaining amount in your flexible spending account.

    Do you have any money left if your flexible spending account? How are you spending your flexible spending account money before you lose it?

  • Reality
    Work At Home Mom Issues

    Everyone Thinks Being a WAHM is Great and Easy – Reality Check

    So today’s blog post is sort of multipurpose – it’s a personal confession, a bit of a reminder to everyone, and there might be a little slap in the face on the side.

    We’ve all talked about how important it is to have a support network of people that support your decision to work from home. That’s extremely true, and it certainly makes life a lot easier. Easier – not easy.

    So I’ll get to the confession part first so that you have a little background. Lately, I haven’t been feeling so well. I’m not sick or dying of some horrible disease, I’m just not feeling the best. I’ve long dealt with things like anxiety, depression, insomnia and nightmares.

    I don’t know what causes these things to happen, I just know that they make me feel like complete and total crap. I’ll be honest, it’s one of the reasons that I first started working from home, to make it easier to deal with days and weeks where just getting out of bed was a long and difficult struggle. Over the years I’ve found out that many of my work at home colleagues have done the same thing and for similar reasons …. essentially making it so that when they aren’t feeling well they don’t have to call off sick or have someone asking them 20 questions about why they’re not in the office today.

    It’s a huge relief in a lot of ways not having to call off sick or try to save sick days. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to work from home. It’s still not easy. It’s often actually more difficult. People think that because you work from home you can work whenever and wherever, even if you’re sick. And the feeling is contagious, because we tend to think that we should be working even when we’re not feeling our best and we push through and carry on thinking that’s the best thing to do, or it’s what we should do, or some other thing that we tell ourselves…

    And all of that somehow leads us to forget to take care of ourselves. There’s no boss looking over our shoulder saying, “Hey, you need to go home and get some rest,” so we push through the day and we put too much stress on ourselves, making us sick, making us feel like crap, and we pile it on until finally our body physically starts to reject what we’re doing and we feel sick.

    Sometimes a project or a goal requires pushing through the rough water, I totally get that. Sometimes the electric bill needs to get paid so your family will have heat in the winter and you work extra hard to make a little extra money to take care of that, I totally get that too. The problem starts to occur when everything becomes a rush, everything becomes urgent, everything becomes “just one more thing,” and we let ourselves take on too much and tell ourselves that it will all work itself out later.

    I want you to stop for a moment, evaluate your situation, evaluate your to-do list, evaluate yourself and your health, and I want you to take some time for you. Take care of yourself. Have a cup of tea, chat with a friend, watch a movie with your kids, get away from the computer, go do stuff. While you’re at it, schedule your annual doctor’s check up – and I mean that, as women we tend to forget our own healthcare because we’re so busy trying to take care of other people.

    What did we learn today?
    Working from home is not easy, it’s hard.
    We push ourselves too hard sometimes and our bodies can only take so much stress.
    We need to take care of ourselves

  • Motivated
    Work At Home Mom Issues

    Quick Tips For Staying Motivated

    Do you have trouble focusing on work during the summer months? If so, you’re not alone. It can be hard to juggle a business when the weather is nice and you have other things on your mind. Here are some tips to help keep you productive:

    Write It Down – It may not seem like a big thing, but writing out the things you need to do can be a big motivator. A to-do list helps you prioritize your tasks and tells you where you should be focusing your attention.

    Make A Plan – Once you have your to-do list written out, create an action plan to get things done. When are you going to work; what needs to be done as soon as possible; what are the things that you can outsource? Seeing these things in writing can help you get a clear picture of what you need to work on in order to reach your goals.

    Get An Accountability Partner – An accountability Partner can keep you on track. Meet each week and tell them your goals; at your next meeting, you will have to let them know if you accomplished those goals. It can be easy to let your goals fall to the wayside if you are the only one who knows them, but once you tell someone else, it is harder to put those tasks off. Do you want to come back to your next accountability meeting and confess that you spent the week being lazy? No way!

    Get Rid Of Distractions – When you work from home, there isn’t a boss looking over your shoulder to keep you on task. You have to be the “bad cop” and limit your distractions, whether it’s watching television or spending too much time on social media sites. What do you find to be your weakness? Limit the time you spend on that activity when you’re supposed to be “working” and you’ll find out that you can get a lot more accomplished within your business.

    Doing just one of these things can make working from home a little bit easier and a lot more productive. Doing all four of things will make you a productivity ninja, knocking out big projects in days instead of weeks.

  • Work
    Work At Home Mom Issues

    Combining Work and Pleasure

    One of the things that I love most about my job is that I often cannot tell if I am doing something for fun or as part of my job. There are definitely a lot of things about my job that I do not love (customer service issues, running reports, upgrading plugins, etc). But I’ve managed to combine enough of what I enjoy into it that my days feel a whole lot less like things I must do and more like things that I want to do.

    Here are some examples:

    Reading books is a huge passion for me. I try to read at least one each week. I don’t have a site set up specifically for reviewing books, but I can definitely work in a review every now and again on my mom site. It’s also helpful in engaging people on Facebook and Twitter to mention what I am reading every now and again. You could do the same with current music or movies.
    Attending conferences. Every Affiliate Summit is a mix of business and fun for me. I am always careful to make sure that I go into it with specific business goals and then measure them afterward. But at the same time I am getting to travel (which I love) and spend time with friends. For some people local networking events would fall in here as well if they truly enjoy meeting new people and can use those connections to further their business.
    If you are really passionate about something and feel like it has a lot of earning potential, start a niche site. That’s how I ended up with WineClubReviewsandRatings.com with Todd Farmer and Eric Nagel. There is very little that I do on that site that is work compared to a lot of pleasure!
    Involving your family can take a work chore and turn it into a family experience. This happens in our house quite a bit, especially when it comes to reviewing products and making videos. My kids love trying new things and love even more seeing themselves on Youtube.
    The one thing to keep in mind is to maintain a good work/life balance so that everything doesn’t turn into something about work. That’s especially easy to do when you own your own company.

    What parts of your job feel more like fun than work? What other things could you be doing that you enjoy that would help you grow your business?

  • Podcast
    Work At Home Mom Issues

    WAHM-WHAD Podcast With Work At Home Dad Joshua Belland

    WAHMoms/WAHDads hosts Deborah Carney and Karen Garcia are joined by work at home dad Joshua Belland.

    Tell us a little about yourself:
    I am a 26 year old stay at home father that works from home with a 2 year old son. I used to be a salesmen in a more corporate setting where my quotas were over 1 million dollars per year. This put a lot of strain on my family and I because I was always thinking about work. I believe it was a blessing in disguise when the let me go. That is when I decided to start my I own web design & company. My company is located in Houston and is fairly successful. Now, I enjoy what I do tremendously because it is something I am passionate about and I get to spend more time with my family.
    The most important things in my life are God and Family. Taking the time to spend with them is essential to my marriage and relationship with my son, Caden. I try to be an active member in my community by volunteering to help friend in need or coordinating fundraisers when I can.

    My hobbies include playing the guitar, working in the yard, and training for 5k’s with my wife. My wife and I try to keep our hobbies similar because it gives us more time together and I believe that is essential to maintain a connection when having such a busy life.

    As a work at home parent what is your biggest challenge?


    My biggest challenge is getting people to understand that working from home is just like having a real job. Working at home is not what people think it is. If you are successful, you are just as busy as would be at a an office. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way. My wife is a teacher and has the summers off, which you think would be nice right?

    It is very difficult to get work done when your spouse is at home with you taking the day off or comes home early. It can be very distracting and they naturally want demand more of your time. My wife sees it as an opportunity to spend more time with me, while I have to remind her that she has to treat it just like I am away from home at the office.

    My clients work from 8-5 Monday through Friday so I have to as well. As a web designer things go wrong and fires have to be put out. When they need something fixed during working hours, I can’t tell my clients, “Hold on Ms. Smith; let me just finish shopping with my wife and I’ll get to that later when I have time for you.”

    Understandably, my clients want the same attention that large firm would give them. So, in order to compete with that, I have set very strict boundaries at the home while I am working.

    What is the biggest advantage to being a work at home parent?


    The biggest advantage is the flexibility. While boundaries must be set, I am still my own boss. I can change around my own schedule to take a day off. If my son has a doctors appointment, I can arrange to take him to the doctor. Not only can I work from home, but I can work from anywhere. Because I’m a web designer, I can simply take my work with me when I go out of town or on a trip.

    Having flexibility gives me peace of mind because I don’t have to worry about what my boss is going to say if I request a day off. I simply make my schedule and inform my clients.

    As a work at home parent what advice would you give other work at home parents?


    My advice is to set up your office in a bedroom or somewhere where you can shut the door. At first, I had my office in our formal dining room because it had a lot of space. Unfortunately, that room connected with our living space and every time I sat down with the family, my computer was staring me right in the face. You still need to separate your work from home; even when you work from home!

    Don’t lose sight of what is important and at the same time, set boundaries so you don’t get distracted from your work. It is definitely a balancing act, but once you get it down, it can work out pretty well.

  • Shannon
    WAHM Entrepreneur Success Stories

    WAHM-WHAD Podcast With Shannon Peebles

    WAHMoms/WAHDads host Deborah Carney is joined by guest Shannon Peebles.

    Tell us a little about yourself:
    I have been working from home for almost five years. My children are 6, 4, and 1.5. I do interview/teleseminar/webinar transcription and some virtual assistant work. I decided to start working from home because I wanted to be in control of when and what I did on a daily basis. After graduating from Pacific Lutheran University with a BA in business administration, I took a look at the job market and saw that jobs were getting more and more scarce, and this was before the economy tanked. I spent a few years trying to decide what I wanted to “do” with my life and eventually landed in transcription and virtual assisting as a dream career. As the saying goes about golfing or fishing, the worst day of transcribing beats the best day of working a traditional J-O-B.

    As a work at home parent what is your biggest challenge?


    Trying to get everything accomplished and still find time to sleep. With three young children at home with me all day, it can be difficult to find time to work while everyone is awake. It is even harder when no one wants to take naps. So, some days I am up working until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning.

    What is the biggest advantage to being a work at home parent?
    When someone is sick, or I just feel like taking some time off, I work my schedule around illness and/or vacation. It might mean I am up working very late, but I don’t have to worry about missing work or having my boss tell me I have to work overtime or that my vacation has been canceled. I get to choose to work when I am at my most productive.

    As a work at home parent what advice would you give other work at home parents?


    Find the time of day that you can be the most productive and honor that time. If you can be most productive at 5:15 in the morning, get up, stay off of Facebook, Twitter, and email, and work as much as you can during your designated time frame. Save the time-suck items, like going through email, for times when you are less productive or can only spend a few minutes at a time working on something.

    Try to handle paper or email only once. As much as possible, as you read it, make a decision right then and there about whatever the content is, take whatever action is necessary, and then file it. A lot of time can get wasted by having to re-read things you have already read and trying to remember what it was you had decided to do (if you had decided at all).

    If the kids are acting wild and need your attention, deadlines permitting, put whatever you are doing on hold and give the kids your attention. If you are distracted by, “Mom. Mom. MOM. MOOOOOMMMMM!” you probably aren’t doing your best work anyway and sometimes the most productive thing you can do is spend 20 or 30 minutes giving the kids your undivided attention. That said, teach your children that you do WORK just like any other mommies or daddies who work outside the home and just because you can wear your comfy pants to your “office,” doesn’t mean you don’t work. Put firm barriers around family time and work time and don’t let work time bleed into family time. Whatever you are doing at the moment, give it your full attention and you will be more effective at work and with your family.

    Delegate and share housework with the whole family. Just because you are “home all day” doesn’t mean you aren’t working. All members of the family can and should pitch in to help with keeping things clean and getting everyone fed. All of my children sort their own dirty laundry, and help fold and put away everyone’s clean laundry. My 4-year-old can put away the silverware and set the table, and the 1.5-year-old can help put away socks and kitchen towels.

    My last piece of advice? Don’t fold underwear. When balancing a home business and family, once in a while, something has to give. Figure out what that something is that can be left undone and give yourself permission to just leave it undone.

  • joined
    Work At Home Mom Issues

    WAHM-WHAD Podcast With Gina Baker

    WAHMoms/WAHDads host Deborah Carney is joined by guest Gina Baker.

    Tell us a little about yourself:
    I work during the day as a Nurse Informaticist with electronic health information exchange. I am able to work from home part time, attending meetings remotely and doing a lot of thinking on how to solve our quest of seamless electronic health information exchange.

    At night I am able to forget the technical things and proper way of the professional world and let me creative world fly on my 2 blogs, My Chocolate Peaces and The Chocolate Bike.
    Otherwise I enjoy photography, chocolate, the outdoors and spending time wtih my family.

    As a work at home parent what is your biggest challenge?
    Paying attention to my kiddo… since I am there after all. I also feel like when he is home with me that I should do more such as teaching etc.

    What is the biggest advantage to being a work at home parent?
    Being there, I know I just contradicted myself. But it is so nice to get up, eat breakfast with my kiddo and not be in a rush to get out the door. Then I am there as he plays and if he needs anything.

    As a work at home parent what advice would you give other work at home parents?
    Be patient with yourself and them. WFH is challenging, but very rewarding at the same time.

  • Marketing Your Work At Home Business

    Using eVoice® to Make Your Small Business Appear More Professional

    As a Mompreneur, you need your company to appear professional and well run, but the typical solutions that larger businesses use are too cumbersome or costly for small businesses to support.

    eVoice® can provide you with the same phone system features and abilities that larger companies take for granted.

    Work from anywhere


    If all you need is the ability to work from anywhere, eVoice® has you covered with automatic call forwarding. You can forward calls to any number or even to multiple numbers. The smart forwarding ability in eVoice® can ring multiple alternate numbers at the same time or ring them sequentially in whatever order you choose.

    Receive voicemail any way you choose
    When you’re on the go, you may not have time to check voice mail, but eVoice® solves the problem by turning your voicemail into email that you can read on your PC or mobile device. It can even transcribe the voice message into text if you’re in a location where making a phone call or booting up a PC won’t work.

    A quick glance at a few lines of text can help set your mind at ease so you can respond if the message is urgent or set your mind at ease that you can return the call later if it’s not urgent.

    Click to call
    The subscription includes a “click to call” widget that’s easy to add to your website so prospects can get in touch right away. It’s easy to set hours when you’re unavailable so you don’t get calls in the middle of the night. With click to call, a prospect can reach you with a single click while your business is still top of mind.

    Local numbers
    One of the hardest things to compete with is a big business’ ability to be in multiple locations. Now you can be in multiple locations too — or at least give that impression. With eVoice® , you can select local numbers or toll free numbers so prospects have the reassuring feeling that you and your team are nearby.

    Advanced features
    It goes without saying that a professionally recorded attendant answers all your calls, and you can set up menu options that use the same voice too. With the included dial extension by name capabilities, call transfers, speed dialing, conference calls and even web conferencing, you’ve got a fully featured digital phone system that big companies pay big bucks to own. For an extra fee, you can add in call recording, which is helpful for journalists conducting phone interviews or for group meetings so attendees can review the discussion later.

    Mobile apps
    You can access eVoice® on iOS, Android or Blackberry devices, as well as a PC. You can manage and review calling history, and access other features right from your phone.
    eVoice 30 Day Free Trial

    Highly affordable
    The entry-level 2-extension pricing is $9.95 per month, and you get 300 monthly minutes. The 3-extension plan includes 500 minutes, and the 5-extension plan offers 1000 minutes. All plans include an overage fee for extra minutes, and the rate for overages varies by the plan you’re on. For more extensions or minutes, the company will work out a custom plan for you. All plans include a 30-day free trial, and if you’re not happy, it’s easy to cancel with just a phone call.

    Most small businesses and home-based businesses can benefit from the professional phone services available from eVoice® . Your business will not only appear larger and more professional, but you will benefit from the additional organization and mobility that the service provides.

  • Baseball
    Marketing Your Work At Home Business

    How Direct Sales Is Like Baseball

    As a sports mom, I often use sports analogies in “real life”. There is so much to be learned from these simple concepts that can be applied to our everyday lives. It helps me in building a strong business and I am excited to share some these ideas with you today!
    Know Your Batting Average
    In baseball, you can fail seven out of ten times and still be a winner. So many people begin a direct sales business and then quit because the first few people they talked to were not interested. In order to build a strong team and client base you have to have lots of at bats. If you strike out, keep stepping up to the plate. Even if you only close three out of ten leads, you are still an all-star caliber player.

    Practice
    If you think you can start a new business in direct sales without practicing and learning new skills, you will soon learn that you are just plain wrong. There are so many skills that you will need to succeed in direct sales and they need to be sharpened every day. Baseball players practice for hours every day working on hitting, fielding, base running, etc. They have many different skills that they need to keep sharp to be a strong, well rounded player.

    This is the same with direct sales. It is so important that you identify the things that you can improve about yourself and start training. Ball players hire coaches all the time to help them fine tune certain skills. As a direct sales consultant you have access to many resources that you can tap into, from books to your sponsor. Create a daily schedule and work on improving your skills consistently.

    Have An Audience
    A baseball game without fans would be no fun. When you launch your direct sales business, do it in front of an audience. Let people watch what you are doing and they will be drawn to you and it will help you to be held accountable. Develop a strategy for how you will market your business and be consistent. You can do things like social media postings, weekly parties or meetings, ads in local papers.
    Any of these things will help people notice you. What you need to do next is stay consistent and positively represent yourself so people will be interested in what you are doing. In the beginning, we all have to fake it until we make it…but part of making it is not quitting. Stay focused. Build your audience and give them a good show.

    Keep Your Eye On The Ball
    Don’t get distracted with what you are doing. Have goals and stay focused on achieving them. Don’t lose sight of what you need to achieve and focus on your priorities. Some of your distractions might even be the people that you love most. Starting a direct sales company will often times make your family doubt you and this can be difficult to get past. You have to keep your eye on the ball, remember why you started and don’t quit. Even if you have to run thirty feet and dive every time until you succeed, stay focused and catch the ball.

    Build A Strong Team
    As you begin to learn how to recruit strong leaders, you will start to appreciate the different skill sets and how they can all positively affect your entire consultant community. Everyone can’t play the same position, but you will need all of them to field a strong team. Make sure that you are providing the right amount of direction and support for your team as they go through the various seasons of their business. Baseball is a team sport. You need all the players and they need you.

    Don’t Let Someone Steal On You
    If you snooze, you will lose. Make sure that you don’t let anyone steal your base. Stay in touch with your prospects so that when they are ready to join your team, they feel confident that you are the one to enroll under. Following up and keeping your eye on your base will help your prospects feel like they are important and joining a strong team. If you flounder or go too long without connecting with them, they will seek out someone else.

    It’s All In Your Head
    It’s been said that baseball is 80% mental and 20% skill. This is true of direct sales too. You have to dig deep to find the confidence it takes to succeed. You will be your own worst enemy if you don’t believe in yourself. Work on building your confidence level so that people begin to trust what you are saying. People will talk to you because they like you, but the more you believe in yourself and what you are doing the more people will trust you.

    Be A Good Sport
    Keep your chin up when you fail. Always hold your head up high and just move on to the next game. Even if you are so upset inside, hold it together. Remember that people are watching you. Identify what you need to do to improve and work with your coach on getting some direction.

    Congratulate The Competition
    Build relationships with those on your sidelines and congratulate them as they succeed. As you rise in ranks within your direct sales organization, it is much better to be friends with your peers than to bad mouth them or not learn from each other. You are all winners and have so much in common. Enjoy everyone in the organization.

    Know When To Swing
    Everyone is on a different schedule in life. Know how to identify the right time to talk to someone about your business. You have to have the finesse to know when to not say anything. If you come across too pushy at the wrong time in someone’s life you could strike out.

    Be A Role Model
    Credibility is so important in direct sales. Be the person that you are trying to find. People will look up to you. Even when you are brand new you will know more than the person that you are adding to your team. Always represent yourself in a positive way. This is even more important if you are using social media to market your business. The days of posting last night’s escapades on Facebook are over. Be professional and be in business mode every day.

    Be Willing To Ride The Pine
    Learn to pay your dues and don’t quit. Building a residual income is going to take time. You need to commit to your business for the long haul. Success will not happen overnight and you need to be prepared and ready for a long term commitment.

    Make It Into The Hall Of Fame
    Work hard and get yourself to the top of your company. Work hard, climb the ranks and fight to achieve your goals. Make sure you are known for what you gave to others and what you taught others as you work your way to the top it will pay off in the end.

    Listen To Your Coach
    Even if it is not the person that you enrolled under you will have a coach or mentor. This person may never actually speak one word to you. Know who it is and have your eyes and ears on what they are doing. Learn everything you can from them.

  • email
    Marketing Your Work At Home Business

    Using Campaigner to Turn Your Email List into Revenue

    According to research published by MarketingSherpa, 64 percent of companies will see an increase in their email marketing budget in 2013, so there will be a lot of competition to attract readers and convince them to click through and convert.

    To earn your fair share of those clicks, your email marketing will have to stand out from the crowd. You will need an effective email marketing tool to manage the details so you can spend your time refining your message and tactics.

    Campaigner is a cloud-based email tool that works well for newbies to email marketing as well as for seasoned pros, so whichever group you fall into, take a closer look at Campaigner.

    List management


    Campaigner helps with that most dreaded of tasks – list management – by supporting easy imports of existing contacts and makes it easy to add sign up forms to your website or social media pages. It also Grow Your Business with Email Marketing

    manages bounces so your list stays cleaner. In the same research report, MarketingSherpa reports that many companies are discouraged about their ability to grow their lists, so the tools Campaigner brings may help keep you from becoming part of that unhappy statistic.

    Helpful features that improve email effectiveness


    Email marketing is most effective when sent to a targeted group, and Campaigner makes it easy to narrow your list with easy to use filters. You can set up static segments for groups you send to repeatedly, or you can create dynamic groups for specials, new products or events. Prospects are less likely to regard your email as spam if they receive targeted emails with content that is of interest to them, and filtering will improve your conversion rate and help keep your list healthy.

    Built in analytics provide immediate feedback on what’s working and what isn’t, so you can easily fine-tune your campaigns to maximize conversions and revenue.

    Campaigner includes a “Share Bar” that provides links to social media sites to enable users to forward your emails easily, amplifying your reach exponentially and helping you to grow your list. When the people already on your list share your emails with friends and acquaintances, you know you’ve done something right.

    Campaigner also includes over 600 themed email templates that you can customize, or you can create your own from the ground up so you control every aspect of your branding. There are holiday themed templates, newsletter templates, and even templates for mobile email, so you should be able to find something that works if you’re not up for building your own from scratch.

    Campaigner automates mundane tasks
    Campaigner also includes easy auto-responders so you can reply to frequently asked questions or requests for information without having to manage them individually. This is also a great way to manage recurring campaigns or campaigns triggered by a customer’s actions.

    Pricing
    Campaigner bases its pricing on the number of contacts.

    Number of Contacts

    Monthly Fee

    • Up to 1000
      $ 10
    • 1,001 to 2,500
      $ 25
    • 2,501 to 5,000
      $ 40
    • 5,001 to 10,000
      $ 55
    • 10,001 to 25.000
      $120
    • 25,001 to 50,000
      $200

    Pricing for companies with more than 50,000 contacts is by quote.

    It’s easy to sign up for campaigner with the 30-day free trial offer. You don’t need to provide a credit card number unless you choose to go beyond the trial, so there’s no risk in taking campaigner out for a trial spin.

    Campaigner is easy to use and provides all the tools most companies need for effective email marketing, if you’re looking for a way to increase revenue, Campaigner might be exactly what you need to kickstart your efforts.

  • Business
    Marketing Your Work At Home Business

    Get More Publicity for Your Business, Service, or Event the Easy Way

    A Q&A Interview with Crissy Herron of IndieBizChicks.com
    The other day I mentioned Crissy’s newly released package to give your business a nice little boost with publicity tips, checklists, and fresh press release ideas. She really over-delivered with all the tools she packed into the program. Of course when it comes to publicity there are all sorts of questions in terms of how to get it, where to get it, and why you should go after it.

    Check out the Learn How To Get More Publicity Package Here
    Crissy kindly offered to do a quick Q&A with us today about publicity, so I gathered up five of the most frequently asked questions from a brainstorming group that I’m part of and put her on the hot seat.

    Let’s jump right in!

    Q1: Let’s start off with a fun question to get the ball rolling. What’s the most interesting or unusual result you’ve seen come from a press release submission?

    I can’t say that I’ve had anything unusual happen. One time, a writer called me a “Web Woman,” in a front page headline. I thought it made me sound like I was Spider Man’s girlfriend…

    Q2: You and I both consider a blog as a small business in most cases, but bloggers don’t often think about doing publicity and press releases. Can you give them a quick example of what could happen when they dig in and do this kind of work for their blog?

    I know there are some people who just have blogs to post pictures and stories for their families to read, but in most cases, if someone has a blog, one of their goals is to get web traffic. By sending out press releases, writing guest posts, interacting with the media, etc, their blogs will get a lot of exposure. They will get more traffic, and that can equal more sales, more ad revenue, etc.

    Q3: Sometimes sorting through the daily HARO and guest blogging lists can be tiresome, and sometimes the contacts aren’t always the best at communication. I think they’re probably equally tired from all the replies they get each day. Can you give us a quick tip for dealing with those publicity contacts?

    There are several things that a business owner can do to make this easier. First of all, they can outsource it to someone else, such as a VA or an Intern.

    If that’s not an option, or if they choose to do it themselves, set up a filter in your email for the HARO emails. These emails get delivered three times a day. Instead of checking them as they come in, look at them once a day. And, instead of looking at each section, just look at the section that is relevant to your business.

    For example, there is a “High Tech” section. If you blog about knitting, you can skip those requests. I know this may sound simple, but if you set a timer of 30 minutes, and don’t do anything else in that 30 minutes except going through that day’s requests, and responding to the requests that fit your business, you’ll get through all of them in that 30 minutes.

    Side note: Crissy’s package featured here includes a special report focused on how to use HARO the right way in your ongoing publicity efforts.
    Learn How To Get More Publicity

    Q4: Buzz, buzz, buzz. Everyone wants buzz, but sometimes I wonder if people actually know what that means for them. How do you view buzz for small businesses and bloggers?

    I think “buzz” happens when someone in the media is talking about your or featuring you. I don’t discriminate between “small” and “big” media. Any time someone wants to feature you, whether they are a blogger with a small readership, or if they are a national newspaper, go for it. Every little bit helps!

    Q5: One last question before we sign off for the day. You covered a lot about press releases in the package and even gave some handy pre-written formats to fill in the blanks and go.

    Give us a definite “don’t” when it comes to press releases. What’s one ultra mistake that you want people to avoid when they dive into the world of publicity and using press releases for their business?

    First of all, not following the right format is a no-no. Press Releases come in a specific format, with certain information going in certain places.

    A journalist wants to be able to find the information they need, quickly and easily. They’ll even write stories from that press release, without calling you for additional facts. (By the way, that’s why you need to make sure you answer the Who, What, Why, When, and Where in that press release!)

    If you send them a press release where the information is out of order, or missing, and they’re on a deadline, they’re not going to take the time to figure it out. They’ll move on to the next story.

    And you also want to send the press release in with enough lead time for the reporter to create that story. If you have an event on Saturday, don’t send a press release in on Friday and expect to have coverage.

    Thank you so much for talking tips with us today, Crissy. I really appreciate it, and I definitely appreciate everything that you do for small business, women of the web, and bloggers in general – you rock 🙂

    Ready to dig in and start getting more publicity and exposure for your business? Check out Crissy’s new publicity tools and learning package by clicking here.

    The full package includes 7 educational workbooks, 3 handy to have checklists, 5 pre-written press release templates, and 5 informational audios to help guide you through the process of earning publicity. Seriously, I told you she over-delivered on this one. It’s packed full of resources!

  • Promote
    Marketing Your Work At Home Business

    Using Instagram to Promote Your Business

    I have fallen in love with Instagram. At first I thought it was just a photo sharing platform, however I’ve discovered it’s a fantastic way to share your view, your perspective and your business. There is no character limit. There are no lengthy conversations. There’s also no plastering of links and ads all over the place. The primary function of Instagram is sharing photos that you love, for whatever reason. Using this tool, you can share the inside view of your business and grow a new angle to represent your company.

    I Love Instagram I Love Instagram


    I recently attended a session all about using Instagram at the creative blogger conference, SNAP!. The presentation was offered by Rhonna Ferrer, Shelly from The House of Smiths and Susan from Freshly Picked. Each uses Instagram in their own way and if you follow each of them, they share entirely different views. However, they all agreed, you can use the platform to share the “behind the scenes” view of what’s going on with you, your business and your brand.

    Here’s a couple thoughts about using Instagram to promote your business and brand:

    Instagram is a form of microblogging. Instead of 140 characters, you get a single photo to convey a message.
    Make your photos personal, sharing perspectives, opinions and your own unique view.
    Inspire questions and interaction, spark an interest.
    Be consistant with the look and feel of your images.
    Be relatable, share things that other’s can relate to. Things like family, food, entertainment, travel… this is all a part of that “personal” touch.
    Make sure to connect with your followers and those you follow. Leave comments, reply, give feedback and say thank you.
    I’ve been using Instagram for a few months now and love the low pressure sharing. If I’m inspired to take a picture, it’s usually inspiration enough for me to share the photo on Instagram. For me, this simple requirement to share is enough. I don’t worry about what title or which link to post, none of that is included. I add text describing why I took the photo or why I’m sharing it and that’s it. My goal is to show creativity can come from anywhere, so anything I share could quality. If you are a family run business, showing what you do, the family involved and interacting with a family friendly approach would help build your brand through Instagram.

    If you’re on Instagram, follow me! I’m jgoodedesigns. Don’t forget to say hi!