Christian Mom: You Can Create a Business That Supports Your Values of Faith and Family!

If you are running a business while raising a family, you are not alone! Women are opening small businesses at a higher rate than men. And many of these businesses are owned by moms who work from home. In fact, a new home-based business is started every 12 seconds in the United States. Why? We believe it’s because we’re experiencing a shift in priorities and women are searching for a way to create a business that supports their values of faith and family. They want a profitable business and a family-centered lifestyle. And it’s easier than ever before to make that dream a reality. 

The International Christian Mompreneur Network is a community of moms who are passionate about faith, family and business (in that order!). We know that God calls us to share our gifts and talents and serve others through our businesses. We offer solutions and support to help you build a profitable business with wisdom and grace. If you’re self-employed, starting a business, running a home based business or just thinking about creating a business while raising a family, you’re in the right place!

Get started by joining for free today! Then dive right into our business training videos and the Christian Mompreneur Toolkit — to inspire and guide you on your journey. 

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3 Reasons to Join me at Platform University

Platform Conference with Michael HyattWhen I started a freelance writing business more than 20 years ago, the goal was to be independent. I didn’t want a boss. I wanted to do it all myself. On my time. On my terms. It was a challenge as a young wife in a new city, with no friends or family or professional contacts. But I eventually grew my “business” into a 60-hour workweek, writing and editing for local businesses from my apartment. I was so proud of myself for “succeeding” — and so grateful for the flexibility and financial freedom that accompanied my success.

What I didn’t see right away – and I can be a little slow sometimes – is that this success was leading me along a path to nowhere. A path to longer hours and larger paychecks, but less time for my family and for myself. A path to busy-ville. And a path to loneliness.

I think that happens to a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners. They work so hard to build something, only to discover that they are creating an overwhelmed life of isolation.

After I had three babies in five years, I came to the conclusion that this kind of business no longer served me. I craved balance – between work and family. I longed for boundaries – between business and personal time. And I desperately sought mentors to build me up – and teach me what I needed to know in order to create a better business and life. [Read more…]

How and Why to Use a Swipe File

Woman working online on a laptop computer at homeIf imitation is a form a flattery then there are plenty of people I’ve flattered since I started blogging more than five years ago. Like most people, I created my first website and launched a blog with no real training or experience. I was already a professional writer so I figured I’d learn the rest on the job. And part of the learning process for me is studying what works well for others. That’s where my swipe files comes in handy.

A swipe file is a tool I learned about in my early career in public relations and marketing communications. I collected articles, headlines, direct mail postcards, advertisements, proposals and other materials for inspiration. It was kinda like Pinterest for writers. Only when I first started using a swipe file it was a paper accordion style folder with actual printed samples torn from newspapers and magazines.

I’d save anything I found interesting or compelling – even if it had nothing to do with my industry or current projects. Then, when it came time to work on a new piece, I’d flip through my swipe files for ideas. I’d find formulas for great headlines, templates for sales letters and even some clever photo captions that would trigger an idea.

I eventually went digital with my swipe file and now I use it to kick start my creativity on all sorts of new projects. Even if you’re not a writer, chances are you do a fair amount of writing for your business or ministry. So why not make your job a little bit easier and start a swipe file of your own? Collect anything you find interesting or effective so you can refer to it later. Start with a simple file folder on your desktop or try using Evernote to store your swipe file items. Evernote lets you bookmark webpages, add images or screenshots and tag your notes for easy sorting and retrieval. You can even share your swipe file with someone on Evernote.

Not sure what to collect? Here are a few ideas to get you started!

Seven Things to Add to Your Swipe File

1. Sales pages. Have you ever made a spontaneous online purchase? You may have stumbled across a compelling sales page and found yourself hitting the “buy now” button without even thinking about it. When that happens, take a screenshot of the sales page and file it for future reference. There is probably some language in there that will come in handy!

2. Facebook ads. If you’re on Facebook you’ve probably clicked on an ad in your newsfeed at some point. There are definitely tricks and tips to Facebook advertising, so capture screen shots of your favorite ads and study them to see what works well for others. When it comes time to do your own Facebook advertising, you’ll have a head start.

3. Bios. I always get a kick out of short, clever bios I read online. Not the ones that are stuffed full of credentials and accomplishments. But the ones that reveal addictions to Sharpie markers or a lifelong struggle to successfully grow a tomato plant. I’ve been swiping memorable bios for years and vowing to make my own humdrum narrative a little more intriguing. One. Of. These. Days. [Read more…]

Simple Time Saving Tips for Mompreneurs

Simple time saving tips for the mompreneur The other day I admitted to a group of friends that I had forgotten to pick up my son from swim practice. The women immediately chimed in and tried to “one up” each other with stories of motherhood failures. Each one had a story. Like forgetting to feed her family dinner before bed. Or sending her kids to school in the clothes they slept in. Or the time I entirely missed my daughter’s poetry reading at school. There’s something about sharing our failures that makes us real. It gives us assurance that we’re not alone. And it gives us a reason to share encouragement and advice as well.

That’s one of the things I love about my friends – they are so full of helpful tips and so willing to share what works for them. (Which means I get to share it with you!) So if you’re feeling overwhelmed and less than perfect right about now, try these simple time saving tips. You’ll feel more in control of your schedule and better equipped to handle the occasional little failures that seem to accompany motherhood!

1. Plan Your Meals for the Week. I know this sounds way too organized and Type A for some people but hear me out on this. You don’t have to do it perfectly. You can just have a general plan. One of my friends has a daily breakfast schedule. Her kids know what they’re eating for breakfast every day of the week. It’s always cereal on Mondays, eggs on Tuesdays, etc. It’s a little too structured for me but it works for them. I also have friends who use meal planning services like eMeals or The Scramble. And others who make freezer meals.

Here’s how I do it. When I do my grocery shopping, which is usually on the weekend, I plan 3 or 4 meals in my head. I buy all the ingredients I need for those meals. Then I make a list of those meals and the side dishes that go with them. As the week progresses I don’t have to think about what’s for dinner – I just choose from the list based on how much time I have to prepare. And I always have 2 or 3 staple meals I can make in a hurry to supplement the planned meals.

2. Prep the Night Before. This is critical if you have a busy morning routine with several kids leaving for school at various times. Teach your children to get everything ready the night before – bookbags packed, lunches made and in the fridge, shoes and clothes out, etc. It not only saves time but it also makes for a more relaxed morning because they don’t have to go searching for anything. Of course, the downside of this is that my kids will often discover at 10 pm that a uniform needs to be washed or we’re out of bread for sandwiches. But I guess it’s better than finding out at 7 am!

Another trick about prepping the night before is to get your workout gear ready if you plan to exercise in the morning. Having everything out and ready provides one less reason to skip the workout!

3. Clean as You Go. This is more difficult to do if you work outside the home but it makes a huge difference on the weekends. I try to keep up with laundry by doing a load or two every day (I’m not great about folding it and putting it away but at least I don’t have piles of dirty laundry to fight on Saturday). And I wash dishes as I cook so that I’m not stuck in the kitchen all night after dinner. The kids keep the dishwasher emptied every morning so I don’t have to look at dirty breakfast dishes all day. And I make my bed every morning, if for no other reason that to start my day feeling organized. [Read more…]