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Why Not We Time? By Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 Ah, I just opened my windows for a little unseasonably warm pre-spring air, and came to the realization that today would be a great day for a little me time with my favorite little ones.  Hmm… Did I just say me time with my kids?  I sure did, and I’m proud of it!sailboats

Me time is all the rage these days.  The media bombards us with the idea that the only way we moms will ever keep our sanity, or at least keep up the appearance of it, is to spend oodles of time pampering ourselves in one way or another.  Let’s be clear, I am in no way opposed to pampering, but I’m also a realist.  I work out of my house.  I’ve got one kid in school, and one in diapers.  I’ve got to take my me time however it comes, and frankly, I deeply enjoy relaxing with my children.  That’s why I work at home in the first place, isn’t it?

No wonder we’re all stressed out.  Not only do we have to take care of everyone that crosses our paths, but now we are supposed to have the strength and energy left over to treat ourselves like a queen at the end of the day.  Now is the time to simplify.  Everything I need to burn away the stress of the week is right here by my side.

The reality is that what matters most is not how we appear to our neighbors, or how much spoiling our money can buy us.  What does matter is that we make the most of the time we have each day.  So why not shut the computer down every now and again while they are young?  I want to spend all the time I can with them now, because someday there will be more me time than I care to think about.

So, I’ve resolved that this afternoon my me time will consist of a decidedly slow walk with two puddle-stomping toddlers, a golden retriever, and one small piece of dark chocolate.  There you have it, pure joy without the need for sitters, aromatherapy, or a wad of cash.  I’d love to say more, but I’ve got some puddles in the yard with my name on them.

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Career Focus: Work at Home as a Web Designer by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

 If you’ve got a knack for computers, then web development could be the work-at-home career for you.  You don’t need a lot of extra schooling to become a web developer, though it can be helpful.  Whether you have a formal education or are self-taught, what matters most to employers and clients is your ability to set them up with an outstanding website.Buntstifte

 

The Technology

 

To work out of your home, you will need a computer with Internet access.  Since web design projects can be large scale, project management skills are also important.  At-home web design can be done on a flexible schedule, making it very family friendly.

 

Getting Started

 

Start out by building your own website.  Potential clients and employers will expect a web designer to have a top-notch website showcasing her skills.  This is a great opportunity to experiment with different ideas, and get a sense of your personal style.  Be sure to include your resume and contact information.  You never know when a hit on your website will result in a new client.

 

Building a Portfolio

 

Showcase your talents through a portfolio.  As you build websites, collect a record of your professional experience through examples of the quality work you provide.  If you are willing to work hard and give your all to a few friends or organizations free of charge, your portfolio will quickly come together.  Don’t know anyone looking for a website?  Try volunteermatch.org.  The site will pair you with nonprofit organizations looking for volunteers.  Not only will you gain experience, but you will also be helping out a cause close to your heart. 

 

Choosing a Niche

 

Once you have a few jobs under your belt, you may find it beneficial to choose a niche or specialty.  Maybe you excel when working with nonprofits, or prefer the informal touch of a personal website.  Capitalize on your strengths and interests when choosing a niche market.  Specializing will help you gain credibility with your clients.  With a little planning, and a lot of hard work, you will be a professional web designer from the comfort of your home before you know it.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Career Focus: Work at Home as a Virtual Assistant by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

  by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

You’ve worked in an office for years.  You’re good at your job, but dread the morning commute.  You long for a flexible schedule that works with your family needs, not against them.  If this sounds like you, you could work at home as a virtual assistant.  Virtual assistants provide administrative services to their clients via the Internet.  Though not required, experience as an administrative assistant can be helpful. AdirondackSchirs

 

The Technology

 

To work out of your home, you will need a telephone line, personal computer, printer, and Internet access.  A fax machine is also helpful.  If you would rather not invest in a fax machine, try an online fax service.  For a monthly fee, you can send and receive faxes by email.

 

Certification

 

Some virtual assistants find certification helpful in keeping their skills at peak performance.  The skills improved upon through certification include executive support, business decision-making, customer service, and project management.  Certification is also helpful in gaining credibility among your colleagues, and potential clients.  Try vacertification.com for more info on becoming certified.

 

Pump Up Your Resumé

 

Is your resume looking a little thin in the experience category?  If you are willing to volunteer your time, you can quickly gain the experience you need to succeed.  There are a number of websites available to connect you with a nonprofit organization in need of your skills.  Try idealist.org, volunteer.gov, or volunteermatch.org.  Beneficial to your career and the charitable cause of your choosing, this match is a win-win situation.  Work hard and you will likely accumulate some professional references as well.

 

Choosing a Niche

 

Once you have established yourself as a virtual assistant, you may want to consider choosing an area of specialization.   Most virtual assistants choose to specialize in a field of interest, such as real estate or medical transcription.  Make the most of your expertise and interests when choosing a niche market.  Specializing will help you gain credibility with your clients.  Over time, you will become an expert in your field, all from the comfort of your own home. 

 

 

Sources:

(2007). The Media’s Virtual Assistant Survey Results.  Retrieved March 7, 2009 from VA Networking Website:

http://www.vanetworking.com/survey/virtual-assistant-statistics.htm.

 

(2004). Virtual Assistant Skill set.  Retrieved March 7, 2009 from Virtual Assistant Certification Website:   http://www.vacertification.com/skillset.htm

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

 

 

Title: 5 Ways to Keep Your Toddler Happy While You Work by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

Title:  5 Ways to Keep Your Toddler Happy While You Work by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

Do you need a few more minutes to concentrate?  Are you finding it hard to focus with a two-year-old climbing in your lap?  This is a challenge many work-at-home moms face while their children are young.  Here are five items you may already have to entertain your toddler in a pinch:

 

Empty BoxesDog

 

Most of us have seen a toddler open a gift only to find the box more interesting than the present so thoughtfully tucked inside.  Hang on to a few empty boxes of varying size, and pull them out when your child is bored.  Set up large boxes as a fort, or open the ends to make a tunnel.  Smaller boxes make a great bed for stuffed animals, target for balls or beanbags, or can be used for sorting games. 

 

Tissue Paper

 

Young children love the crisp sound of tissue paper rustling in their hands.  Set aside some gift wrapping tissue, and give it to your child when he is bored.  Let him crinkle, cover and tear, while you meet your deadlines.  Just be prepared for a bit of a mess later.

 

Index Cards

 

A little tape, some crayons, and your toddler’s imagination add up to reusable fun.  Make your own flash cards by having your child draw on index cards.  If you have some time, cut pictures she likes from old magazines or use pictures of your family.  Tape the pictures to the cards, and cover them with clear contact paper to use again and again.

 

Paper Bags

 

An assortment of paper bags can be hours of fun for your little one.  Large bags can be used to play grocery store, or as a target for tossing soft balls or bean bags.  Smaller bags come in handy for making puppets.  Have your child decorate the puppet, and then show him how to make his new toy talk using his hand.

 

Old Greeting Cards

 

The next time there is a birthday in your house, save a few of the greeting cards, along with their envelopes.  Toddlers love the brightly decorated cards and will have fun taking them in and out of their envelopes.  Pair them with a shoe “mail” box, and the two of you can open your mail together.

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com

 

Sales Plan – Creative Marketing for Your Small Business by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck/ Motherhood Incorporated

 

 

When you have a small business chances are that your marketing budget is also small.  That doesn’t mean that your marketing plan has to be small.  We’ve already talked about internet marketing, blog marketing and social networking as great ways to get your message out to the masses and we’ve also talked about the advantages of branding to make all of your marketing count, now it’s time to think outside the box.Path

 

You know who your target market is and you=2 0know what your unique selling proposition is, how can you effectively let people know about your product?  It really depends on what your product is.  If you are a cup cake business specializing in really cool cupcakes for baby showers, you might want to team up with your local baby boutique and offer a coupon for ten percent off your cupcakes to expectant Mom’s who register at the boutique.   For the cost of printing a few coupons you can effectively reach your local target market.

 

If your business is offering services to business owners you may want to check out the local chamber of commerce and all of their social functions.  Some Chamber events will even let you do a “live commercial” just for attending.  What a great way to notify local businesses about your services.

 

It’s crucial to consider where your target market ventures.  Do they go to coffee houses or are they shopping for diapers?  If you know where they go, you can formulate a way in which to court them.  Contests, coupons and incentives are great ways to get your business’ name well known.  People may lose the coupon but they tend to remember your name if you’ve branded yourself well.

 

The main thing is to seek out your target audience in a way that is conducive to their daily rituals.  If your product is good and you’ve affectively addressed its unique selling proposition you should have no problem attracting your target market.

 

To learn more about Starting Your Own Business, check out www.sandrabeck.com and www.motherhoodincorporated.com.  You too can work from home, have time with your family and make a great living with what you already know!

Social Networking – Social Networking and Your Small Business by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

By Sandra Beck/ Motherhood Incorporated

 

 

When was the last time you were on FaceBook?  If you aren’t on FaceBook yet and you have started your own business you need to stop reading this Blog right now and go register yourself on FaceBook. Color caps and gerbera

 

Did you know that is estimated that 25% of the world’s population is already on FaceBook? 25% – that includes children, people who don’t have computers, people who can’t read, and people who don’t even know what the internet is (Let’s face it we all know someone who just “doesn’t get the internet”) So if 25% of the world is on FaceBook it is safe to say=2 0there are plenty of potential customers for your business on FaceBook, enough that you simply can’t afford to miss this opportunity.

 

For those of you who are on FaceBook already you might be thinking, “I just opened a business; I don’t have time to be talking to high school friends on FaceBook!”  It’s time for a little shift in your thinking.  FaceBook is an opportunity to tell people about your business in a passive, non-intrusive way. 

 

There are several different options; first there is the status bar.  This is the bar that allows you to tell your friends what you are thinking, feeling or doing.  Why not fill that with something positive about your business. “Jackie is…Thrilled about her new website for her miniature cupcake business.”  Or “Rebecca just finished writing a 13 page business plan for h er client” It sounds ridiculous but people will ask questions, “Really, I didn’t know you knew how to write a business plan?”  Now their question has gone out not only to your friends but also all of their friends.  In all likelihood you have just told 300-500 people that you write business proposals or make cupcakes or whatever it is you do.  For every person who comments on your status the number goes up.

 

Three weeks later if some one needs miniature cup cakes or help with a business proposal, do you think they would rather hire a friend or a friend of a friend – or try to find an unknown person?  They would rather hire you.  Even if you set yourself the goal of entering one positive comment about your business a week (which will take you less than 5 minutes) you will see positive results for your business.

 

Another great thing to do is import your Blog20into your facebook page – you’re taking the time to write the Blog, why not share it with your warm market, people who already know you are good at what you do?

 

Once you have mastered FaceBook and have a sizable number of friends, make a FaceBook page for your business, this is different than a regular FaceBook page.  It allows you to have fans of your business instead of friends and gives you great ways to market your business on FaceBook!

 

Social Networking is a great way to utilize passive marketing.  Search the web to see if there is a social network that is specifically geared toward your business.  For instance Active Rain is a social network just for Realtors.  Use your social networking; it’s fast, efficient and FREE!

 

To learn more about Starting Your Own Business, check out www.sandrabeck.com and www.motherhoodincorporated.com.  You too can work from home, have time with your family and make a great living with what you already know!

Make the Switch: How to Change Careers by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

by Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated

 

I made the switch to a work-at-home career, and so can you.  Here are a few easy steps to get you started on the path to a new career:popcorn

 

Assess Your Skills

 

If your primary focus is the ability to work out of your home, you’ll need to know which of the skills you have will be most helpful when you make the switch.  There are many skills that are useful across a variety of industries, including many work-at-home careers.  Consider not only what you are good at, but also what you enjoy.  Here are a few skills common to many work-at-home positions:

 

l       Computer Skills

l       Customer Service Skills

l       Project Management Skills

l       Communication Skills

l       Research Skills

l       Accounting / Business Finance Skills

 

Choose a Career Path

 

Now that you’ve pinpointed which skills you already have and which you most enjoy, it’s time to decide on a direction.  There may be more options than you realize for work-at-home mothers.  Here is a short list to get you started: 

 

l       Executive Assistant

l       Graphic Designer

l       Web Designer

l       Research Assistant

l       Marketing / Public Relations Consultant

l       Bookkeeping and Accounting

 

Gaining Experience

 

Depending on the career path you chose, you may need additional schooling or certification.  Check for professional organizations within your industry.  They are a great source for volunteer and network opportunities, and may help you assess which certifications will be most beneficial to you.

 

One of the greatest challenges posed when switching careers is the sudden lack of experience.  It can be hard starting over again, especially in a market that seems interested only in seasoned professionals.  Test run your new career by volunteering your time to a friend, or a nonprofit organization.  Offer your services free of charge and put in your best effort.  You’ll gain experience and professional references, all while helping out a worthy cause.

 

Don’t Give Up

 

Switching careers is exciting, but it is also difficult.  Remember, it takes time to build a career.  The rewards are great when you are willing to give it everything you’ve got. 

 

www.sandrabeck.com

www.motherhoodincorporated.com