Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2014

2013 was a rough year for me. My grandpa passed away in May, my business was busy, and I felt a bit unorganized to say the least. I feel towards the end of the year I fell apart and that’s not what I want to see happen to me. I need to pick myself up by the bootstraps and learn how to handle things a little better.

I haven’t set my goals yet, but I know there are a number of things I want to complete, things I want to start, and our oldest son will be graduating from high school and starting college so we’ll be dealing with that as well. It’s going to be a busy year, but it’s going to be a successful one because God is going to help me make it happen.

I created a word cloud that gave me some inspiration today and it made me feel so good. I wanted to share it with you because of that inspiration. I hope it helps you too.

Here’s to a great and wonderful 2014!

10 Major Online Marketing Mistakes

July 29th, 2013

Online marketing, also called internet marketing is forever evolving and if you own an online business you need to keep abreast of all the options available to you and your business. Building a business is a learning process and we all will make mistakes. The main thing is to learn from our mistakes so as not to make them again. In my years of online marketing I have learned a lot and want to share with you, what I think, are 10 of the major online marketing mistakes.

1. Not Collecting Email Addresses – Have you ever heard the statement, the money is in the list? Your list can be your goldmine. If you are not collecting email addresses, you need to start now. Put a sign-up form on your site so people can sign up to your mailing list, newsletter, RSS, articles, etc. Offer them a free bonus for signing up. You will be able to collect a list of names with which to send your special offers, sales, etc. and greatly increase your income potential. Be sure to include an opt-out in all mailings. This will give your subscribers the chance to remove themselves from your mailing list if they so choose. Also, never add a person’s email address to your list without their permission.

2. Not Being Social – Social networking has exploded on the internet. Millions of people use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many other popular sites. If you are not using these sites for your business, you are making a grave error. People will be finding other businesses and not even know you or your business exist.

If you are not yet social, start now by opening an account on the top three:

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

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Camping Activities for Kids

July 28th, 2013

It never fails, when you go camping your kids are probably going to complain about being bored. With a little preparation ahead of time, you can make the most of your camping trip and spend some great quality time with your children.

Nature Hikes

Some of the best memories I have camping as a child are of going on nature hikes. Some of the state campgrounds have beautifully maintained trails that are great for taking your children on nature hikes. Give your children a list of things to look for on their hike. If they are young you can use pictures instead of words for the items they are to find. You can also bring along guidebooks that show birds that are native to the area you are visiting. Children love to identify different types of wildlife. You can also get guidebooks for identifying local trees and wildflowers. There are even books and charts for identifying animal tracks.

Lawn Games

Camping trips are a great time to dust off those lawn games you never get around to playing at home. A current favorite is Ladder Ball. You can pick this game up for about $20 at Walmart. You take turns throwing balls attached to ropes at small ladders. You keep score according to which rung of the ladder the balls and rope wrap around. Kids love this game and will play it over and over again (teens and adults love playing it too!). Horsehoes are also an old family favorite and are easy to take along with you.

Board Games

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Use Your Direct Sales Business to Make a Profit, Not Give it Away

July 21st, 2013

Direct Sales is a business model for those that work at home or want to supplement their income. One fact that is for sure and is found throughout the industry, is that most people that are in a Direct Sales business are in it for the money, and believe me, there is money to be made in Direct Sales, if it is done correctly.

That is not a profound statement, I know. Anyone in a small business is working it to make money. So why is it that so many Direct Sales business owners struggle to see a profit?

There are a few solid reasons that will kill a business pretty darn quick.
1) Failure to track expenses
2) Failure to track ad placement and where it is working
3) Giving away too much product or worse yet,
4) Giving away discounts or free shipping

The fastest and easiest way to increase and/or keep your profit in any business is to control your expenses. Your expenses are directly correlated to your bottom line. If you normally make 30-40% profit from the sale of an item, but you incur 10-15% in expenses, you have dropped your income substantially.

If you try and increase customer or hostess participation by discounting the price or by giving away free shipping and the like, you are really impacting your bottom line. This money comes right off of your profit and income. You have no way to recoup that money. Use demo items or free goods you earn from your company to encourage participation. These do not impact your bottom line as fast since you can control how much you give to a customer or hostess. And furthermore, these items can be a tax deduction at the end of the year.

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7 Frugal Wedding Tips to Help You Save Money on Your Big Day

July 20th, 2013

When many couples decide to get married they are not really thinking about the costs and all of the hard work that is involved to pull off a day that they will remember for the rest of their lives. Once the plans kick into action, many couples are faced with sticker shock on how much that wedding is going to cost them and/or their families.

Once reality has set in…these same couples are looking for frugal do-it-yourself wedding ideas to help cut the costs and to save money. After all, who wants to start out their new marriage in debt? No one! Here are some ideas that might help you when it comes to planning your own wedding.

1. Shop Around – Shop around for photographers, cake makers, dresses, reception halls, wedding venues and everything else that you will need for your big day. Make a list of all providers of the services that you will need and personally interview them & check them out for yourself. Decide how much you can spend and stick within your budget.

2. Photographer – If you have to hire a professional photographer, hire only one and only for the exact amount of time you will need them. Let your guests know before the wedding day that you would appreciate them taking photos and then showing you the proofs of the photos they took. Buy only the BASIC PACKAGE that your professional photographer offers and then get extra photos from your family & friends to fill up your wedding album. Trust me, you don’t need the biggest and best package that the photographer has to offer.

3. All-Inclusive Wedding Packages – These days you can rent a wedding venue and many of these places include everything you may need. For example: Place to hold the wedding & the reception with catering, flowers, the wedding cake, table decorations, the entertainment and more! A lot of times these package deals are cheaper than you trying to put it all together yourself.

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Tell Me Thursday – July 18

July 18th, 2013

The Wordless Wednesday post I shared yesterday was the logo for Unilever. If you missed the image, click here to view it.

Unilever has products like Country Crock butter, Breyers, Lipton tea, Ragu sauce, Degree deodorant, Clear shampoo, Dove soap, and many more. These are products we use on a regular basis in our homes and while some are low cost, others are not.

If you’ve ever thought about ways to save money, couponing is one option to consider. Unilever puts out coupons for these types of products all the time. I’m don’t know this for sure, but I have a feeling the reason they do this is to help people out when it comes to purchasing the products they offer. We’ve talked many times about ways to save your family money so you can continue on with your current lifestyle and Unilever makes it a little easier to save the money you need.

Unilever takes great pride in the products they create and they always have the buyer in mind. They know the economy isn’t the greatest right now and so they’re doing their part to help you out where they can. They do this by offering coupons to help the buyer. In my mind, that’s a great thing and that’s why I continue to purchase their products.

Click here for more information regarding the products Unilever offers or to find out more about Unilever in general.

Wordless Wednesday – July 17

July 17th, 2013

Guest Post – Online Writing Opportunities – The 3 Top Excuses For Not Writing

July 15th, 2013

There are plentiful online writing opportunities available today, however, I’ve heard many excuses given for not writing from various people that I network with online that are writers themselves.

Upfront, I’m finding the 3 top excuses are (not in no particular order), time, fear and lack of topic.

These just seem to be at the top of the list for the best logical excuses for procrastinating on that specific blog post that was due yesterday, the article title you thought of in the middle of the night or a website review you want to tackle next week. Just listing a few for examples.

Below are some tips that I’ve gathered for you

* Time – This one (I think) is the all-time, #1 excuse for not writing. I wonder how many other writers and home business professionals would agree.

If writing is a real passion and something you genuinely desire to make money with, then be sure and make the time for writing! Each evening before bedtime sit down and arrange (even small) blocks of time that you set for writing for the next day. Yes, it really is that simple! You can even set a timer for this. Think about all the time that’s spent flipping through the television channels for a full 30 minutes during the evening…or even throughout the day. Most of the time, you won’t find anything on worth while anyway. Use this time to sit down and do some serious writing.

What about writing in the doctor’s waiting room. Of course, for this you will need to have your source of tech mobility with you. For me, it’s my iPad. Love it! It’s my favorite item I own for my business.

What about the social medias? I mean, they are without a doubt keepers when it comes to marketing and socializing/networking; but you also have to be smart about your time spent there as well. Hootsuite is excellent with time management and scheduling. :)

* Fear – Forget about it! I know you are shaking your head and mumbling “yeah right!” Well, on second thought, think about it; your clients or (anyone else for that matter, unless you choose to share) sees your first drafts. There will always be a fix/edit option! Simply stated, you won’t grow beyond your fear if you are stuck in it. Just work through it and write. Don’t let fear get above your desire for success! Honestly, the more you write, the better you will enjoy it and also gain more and more writing skills.

* Lack of Topic – This is a big one as well for many writers. There are tons and tons of topics to write about. In fact, everything that you look at should give you an interesting topic to write about.

For example; I’m looking at my new lamp (love it) that sits on my desk. I can think of a title for that one right off the bat. “Top 5 Places To Find Novelty Lamps.” Also, looking up at a picture of my handsome grandson that is in my office. Here is a title for that, ” 10 Educational Things You Can Do With Your Grandkids.” Just getting the point across here; there are essentially endless topics to write about.

Also, think about all the junk emails you receive in a day; think about the subject lines of those email messages. The best part about that is you don’t even have to open the email. Most often, those headline subjects are priceless.

Here is something to think about. If you haven’t discovered it yet, the best times to come up with a writing topic are those least convenient moments. For me, and I’ve said it before, although very true, and suppose it will make you think about it. It’s while I’m driving, bathing or in the middle of the night.

Another place where you can find topic ideas is on your iPad. You know those free Kindle-version books that are available online that are in your niche? I get lots of ideas from all those free eBooks. Take time to read them in order to put your own twists on the content that comes from it.

While there are many more places where you can get ideas for writing; I wanted to mention this last one. PLR – (private label rights) content is a no-brainer; except for the editing that is encouraged. In fact, there is a website where you can grab some PLR for 60% off sale price due to closing. They have a nice array of topics you can choose from. The site is: Mom PLR eBooks.

If you market properly, you can make a good income from online writing opportunities.

Tammy has been in the work from home industry for many years and offers Freelance Writing Services and Jobs on her freelance blog. You will also find valuable “writing” articles and tips there as well.

8 Creative Ways to Store your Knitting & Crocheting Yarns

July 14th, 2013

For those who are passionate about knitting and crocheting, you already know how important it is to properly store all of your yarns and supplies. When thinking about storage options, you need to think about the room you will be storing them in, the amount of space you have to work with and what kind of storage item you are looking for.

Here are some creative ways you can store all of your knitting and crocheting supplies.

1. Canvas Laundry Bags – Look for washable bags with a drawstring closure to place all of your yarn in. If you have a lot of yarn…buy several in a variety of colors to color-code your yarn storage.

2. Plastic Linen Storage Bags – Every time you purchase new comforters or bed linens, save those clear plastic bags with zipper closures and use those to store your supplies in. What is really nice about these bags is that you can see what is inside them and they slip easily underneath your bed or in a closet if you are limited on storage space.

3. Plastic Storage Totes – A variety of plastic manufacturers make plastic storage totes (Rubbermaid is one of them) which are good for storing your knitting & crocheting supplies in if you have a lot of storage space to work with. Although this should not be your first storage choice option…it is an option to consider.

4. Over-the-Door Shoe Storage Bag – Have you all seen those shoe storage bags that fit over a closet door or on the back of a door? If you have a lot of little yarn balls or work with small amounts of baby yarn…these shoe organizers could be a storage option for you. With that said, most will not hold large, full-size yarn skeins, so keep that in mind when considering one for your storage options.

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10 Event Ideas to Boost Your Blog Traffic

July 8th, 2013

In the business world, an event is a public gathering for the purpose of networking and/or marketing. Holding events on your blog or website can help give your traffic a substantial boost. By holding different events, you bring more life and interaction to your blog which in turn will bring more traffic.

Contests and giveaways are effective events to stir up some interest and excitement. If you are not sure which type of event to consider, below are ten ideas to help you to get started.

1. Charity Week – Offer to pay a percentage of all orders to charity. Have your visitors post information about their favorite charities and donate to them. Present prizes, discounts, gift cards, etc., for your visitors. Hold auctions with your products to raise money for various charities. Ask people to help you raise money by making others aware of your charity event. NOTE: Please be sincere in your efforts to raise money for charity. Do not just use it as a marketing ploy!

2. Meet & Greet Event – Hold a meet and greet event for other bloggers. Invite bloggers to come to your event to meet, network, and brainstorm with fellow bloggers. You could have a couple of games for prizes such as trivia or other quick and easy games. Have a question and answer forum to offer advice, experience and expertise. Present guest speakers to share their knowledge and expertise as well.

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