Five Free Tools I Love So Much I Would Pay For (But I’m Glad I Don’t Have To!)

Five Free Tools I Love So Much I Would-2I have yet to discover the secret to success, but I do know that being organized helps. And when you’re a full time mom running a full time (or part time) business, you have to be productive during your limited window of opportunity to work. That’s easier said than done when you have a thousand ideas running through your head, a million things on your to-do list and a love-hate relationship with technology.

I’m not exactly an early adopter when it comes to tools and technology. It takes me a while to try something new. And even then, I spend too much time testing and playing with tools I end up abandoning. But there are several tools that have stood the test of time for me and I’d like to share them with you.

Here are five of my favorite tools that I use every single day. I love them so much that I would pay for them. But I don‘t have too, because they’re free (yeah!). Your business is probably very different from mine, but I suspect you’ll fall in love with at least one of these tools!

1. Dropbox: This is the best tool I’ve found for sharing files with clients, team members and colleagues. When I send files back and forth via email, I can never find the most recent version. And I can’t seem to keep them organized. But Dropbox allows you to created shared folders so you can collaborate virtually with anyone you choose. The “drop and drag” functionality makes it easy to use and the folders help you organize files that you share with others – just as you would on your own computer.

2. Evernote: This tool is my go-to resource for capturing all my tasks, lists, random thoughts and fabulous ideas (and the crazy ones, too). Evernote allows you to create lists and notes and put them in folders to organize all the brilliance that comes out of your mind so you don’t lose it. Unlike sticky notes and “to-do” lists, Evernote is a searchable database of all your thoughts – and it syncs between your computer and phone. So you can easily find a note months or years after you create it simply by searching a keyword. Once you get started with Evernote, you’ll quickly discover you can do so much more than capture notes – you’ll learn to forward emails, attach screenshots, scan documents, share notes, import your Kindle highlights and bookmark websites…but start with the basics and see how it works for you. [Read more…]

An Invitation for Christian Mom Entrepreneurs!

christian mom entrepreneursBack to school means back to business for me – and for many of the moms I work with. In fact, some of us have slacked a little bit this summer, putting off our ideas and projects in order to spend more time having fun in the sun with the kiddos. But now we are fired up to get started on those ideas!

I’d love to help you sort through the challenges of growing your business or ministry this fall.  I’m working with a small group of Christian mom entrepreneurs over the next 12 weeks and it would be fabulous if you were one of them. Together we have three whole months before the end of the year to make some serious progress on your business (I don’t count December because we both know what we’ll be doing in December). This is a Fast Track program because I know what happens when we really focus our energy on something – we can make it happen quickly!

See those ladies in the photo? Since we worked together last fall, they’ve accomplished so much. They’ve launched certification programs, planned workshops, created new products, wrote books, found their dream jobs, and hired assistants. One of them even had a baby, but I promise our work together had nothing to do with that! The point is, they are all very busy moms. Just like you. And if they can do it, I know you can, too!

Here’s how: Foundations to Flourish Fast Track.

 

Which Social Media Platform is Best for Your Business?

Social Media ImagesI canceled my membership at my CrossFit gym this summer. It was more difficult to do than I expected. My morning WOD had become part of my routine and I felt like a quitter when I had to let it go. But my reasoning was simple – I wasn’t getting there often enough to make a difference.

My son is working out with the high school wrestling team at 6:30 am almost every day and it just became a challenge for me to get to the gym at that time. So now I’m running on the track at the school or lifting with a friend who lives near the school. It’s not CrossFit, but it’s working for me. Why? Because I’m actually doing it.

Personally, I think that’s the key to any fitness routine – choose one that you will actually do. Folks love to tell you how fabulous their exercise program is and how everyone else should do it, too. Whether it’s yoga, CrossFit or triathlon training, when you take up a sport, you become part of a family. They create a cult-like following for their workouts, which actually makes it easier to stick with once you drink the Kool-Aid. But it makes it complicated if you just want to have fun with your workout and you’re not able to fully embrace the lifestyle.

The same thing holds true for diets. You join an enthusiastic and exclusive community when you become a vegan, or follow a plant-based whole foods diet or try Paleo. And there’s so much conflicting evidence about which lifestyle is best, that it’s overwhelming to know what’s right for you.

So how do you decide which diet or fitness routine is best for you? Personally, I think the best choice is a routine or diet that you can stick with. One that you will actually do.

I feel the same way about social media. People ask me all the time, “Which social media platform do I need to be on for my business?” There always seems to be a new option and it’s easy to get distracted learning each one.

But there’s no single social media platform that’s BEST for everyone. It’s more like a dating game in which you rule out some options and experiment with others until you decide if they are keepers. Yes, it’s true that Facebook is still the largest social media platform with 1.23 billion monthly active users. And Google Plus puts the power of Google search engines behind your social media updates. And Instagram is the fastest growing social site globally. Despite those trends, I don’t think EVERYONE should invest in learning and using sites solely because they are popular or growing.  

I build my social media presence on specific platforms based on two criteria: [Read more…]