Jan 072014
 

If your 2013 MCA marketing plan didn’t include social media, you seriously need to expand your horizons with a social media marketing plan. Odds are your customers, and all of your potential customers, are using social media on a daily basis; shouldn’t you be as well? When I began my journey with MCA, a friend of mine quickly showed me how important it was to start a social media campaign. It didn’t take long for me to see the huge potential. Still not convinced? Take a look at the following reasons your MCA business should be utilizing a social media marketing plan.

(This goes for any business, not just those of you who are marketing the MCA program.)

Learn to Work Your Business at An Online Social Level

Communicating online is a little different than communicating in the “face to face” world. When you are speaking to someone face to face, it is easy to gauge their emotions—you are less likely to misconstrue the true meaning of what they are saying. By adding a social media marketing plan, and utilizing social media, you learn how to become a better communicator.

Build Better Relationships with Your Customers

As I pointed out before, your customers are online. If you aren’t marketing your business online, you can bet one of your competitors is. With social media, you can directly communicate with your customers. You have the ability to answer their questions in a timely manner. With that being said, it is extremely important that you are on top of your social media campaigns. If you don’t reply to your potential customers with answers to their questions, someone else will.

Online Word of Mouth Travels Really Fast

There was a time when news couldn’t travel any faster than Aunt Edna and her rotary phone. Who would have thought that the Internet would make gossip and news travel any faster? Today, people like and share pages on Facebook all day long. If they see a tweet they like, they re-tweet it. It doesn’t take long for the word to get out about your business. The only catch? You have to be putting out content that people will want to share and tweet about—make sense?

What advantages have you found to using a social media marketing plan for your business? Leave a comment below and let me know your suggestions.

Jul 302013
 

 

Frustrated Tips for the Work at Home Mom or Dad

Tips for the busy work at home mom or dad! “Image courtesy of Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

Disclaimer: I know I previously used this picture in another post, but it just seems to fit with this one as well!

 

If you are thinking about becoming a work at home mom or dad, you probably already know that the decision you are making is a huge one. Working at home takes a lot of time, effort and patience. You can’t expect your home business or home job to begin thriving overnight. However, if you work hard and steadily grow your business, you can expect a good return for your effort. If you have decided to work at home to take care of your children, an aging relative or simply to help more around the house, you are going to want to develop a plan from the beginning.

Working at home can be time consuming and difficult and you most likely won’t be able to accomplish everything you want to do—unless you are Supermom or Bree Van de Kamp from Desperate Housewives (which I think might have been the same person).

Below I have listed 5 tips to help you build a thriving work from home career from the beginning, while not losing your mind. Keep in mind that these tips are a mixture of things that will help you with your home life and your work at home life—which really needs to balance out in order for your business to grow and your sanity to stay intact.

Maintain a Schedule. I know that you have heard me talk about scheduling before and you may even be getting tired of all this schedule talk; however, I can not stress schedules enough. Your schedule does not have to list hour upon hour activities, but it should be an outline to help you stay on track with all that you have to do. If you are trying to build a contact list or market a product, you need to set so many hours a day so that you put in a consistent effort. Inconsistency will only cause you to have to try to catch up in order to build the contacts or product interest you need. You should also add in the activities you need to complete with your children. Kids, even little ones, can keep you busy. Scheduling all of their activities will help you to see what time you have left in your day and allow you to add in some extra work time.

Don’t attempt to be perfect. I’m throwing this one in here because I have met a lot of work at home individuals who think that they need to be Super Work at Home Mom or Dad and then stress out or even quit when they can’t live up to that title. Life is stressful. Things happen that we can’t control. You need to understand that you don’t have to be perfect at your work from home career and that you can settle for being good. Work hard at your business or job, but not so hard that you end up dragging yourself down in the process.

Start networking. When you begin working from home, whether you are running a business or working an at home job, you need to network. Networking with like minded people—preferably specific to your industry—can help you learn a lot about the work at home world and can even help your business to grow. There are a lot of groups online where WAHMs share business and home advice and swap work at home war stories. Finding one of these groups or simply talking to work at home individuals in your area can go a long way in helping you succeed.

Realize you may not be able to do it all alone. Smart people realize when they need to delegate certain activities to others, while stubborn people want to prove they can do it all. If you have a lot of work on your plate, or the kids have a lot of activities on a particular day, you may need a little help getting everything done. Example: You need to send out emails to potential customers and may even have to call a few to answer questions. However, little Susie-Q has to be at her dance practice at 4. What do you do? If the work cannot be put off, you may need to call in a family member to take Susie-Q to practice. You might even want to consider asking for help with all of your emails. Whichever works for you, simply do it. Stressing out over the amount of work you have to do, or the amount of time you spend running kids here and there, isn’t good for you or your family. As your business grows, you may even want to consider hiring someone to help with your work at home business for a couple hours a week.

Keep set work hours. Even if they have a schedule, many people end up working until the early hours of the morning just to complete tasks on time. I’m not saying that you may not have to do this every now and then, but please don’t make a habit of it. Write up a work schedule (don’t forget to add in the children’s activities we talked about in tip 1) and stick to it as best as you can. If you want to begin work 2 hours before the kids wake up, take a 4 hour break to spend part of the day with them and then start working again after dinner—write your schedule that way. Many of us work “overtime hours” at times, but if you attempt to do it every day—you will quickly burn out.

I hope that you have found these tips helpful. Work at home moms and dads need to ensure that they keep their sanity for the sake of their businesses and their kids.
 

Do you have any work at home tips you would like to share?

Jan 232013
 
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Having a designated work-space can help you in your quest for a successful work from home career. “Image courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

If you attempt to kid yourself into thinking that working from home is easy, you are simply fooling yourself—and possibly setting yourself up for failure. A successful work from home career takes effort and determination—not to mention a lot of work.  There are some items you can implement from the very beginning that will set the framework for your from home career and start you off on the right path.

1.      Set up an established work-space.

If you have designated a particular area as your workspace, you should. You want your work from home area to mimic that of an actual work environment, which will offer less distractions and help you feel like you are “at work”. Fill your home office with items that you need to complete your daily work routine—such as work related supplies and reference materials or books. Piling files and materials on your couch, while you rest comfortably with your laptop, may not create the perfect work environment.

2.    Stay organized.

Organization is key in any business environment—whether it is in the home or outside of the home. When you have a work from home business or job, you may have to work a little harder at your organizational skills to stay on top of your game. While working from home, your “work” is always accessible and can even distract you from your home duties—, which also works in the reverse. Keep your work, and your work area, organized and separate from your living area.

3.    Schedule your day.

Many individuals may balk at this idea; however, scheduling is crucial for work from home success. If you schedule the different aspects of your day—and keep set business hours—you will find that it is easier to avoid distractions and get lost in doing laundry or your favorite daytime television show. Set a schedule, stick to it, save the laundry for before— or after work—, and do not forget to set the DVR to tape your favorite shows.

4.   Avoid Distractions.

While I have covered this topic in some of the above tips, I feel the need to give avoiding distractions its own space among the crucial tips to being successful at home. When you are working from home, distractions constantly surround you. You may be distracted by laundry and housework, television, Facebook, your favorite website or your favorite book (not picking my favorite book up every hour is a challenge for me). If you truly cannot stay away from these things during your workday, work your most important distractions into your schedule. If you frequent Facebook, reward yourself with 15 or 20 minutes of Facebook time after completing 2 or 3 hours of work. If housework just has to be done, schedule 30 minutes or an hour of housework in the middle of your day. While it is truly best to stave off all distractions, giving yourself a little leeway may help you be more productive.

5.    Program breaks into your schedule.

Working consistently for hours on end can be tiring both mentally and physically. Ensure that you are taking a few minutes, at least 3 times per workday, to get away from your computer and your work. While you may choose to use one of the distractions we talked about above as your break, I would suggest actually taking a few minutes to walk away from it all and unwind your mind. Fix yourself a nice cup of tea or coffee and sit in a comfortable chair for 5 or 10 minutes. You want to ensure you are not tiring yourself out during the day, or you may become less productive.

What are some effective tips that you use in building your successful work from home career? Please leave a comment and let me know.

 

 

 

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