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…]

Please Don’t Tell Me How Busy You Are

BusyMom2I say this with love…and a complete, empathetic understanding of your overscheduled life… but you’ve got to stop blaming your decisions on your busy calendar. If you can’t get together for coffee, tell me you have other plans. If you can’t manage to deliver something you’ve promised a hundred times, admit that you’re a disorganized mess and ask me to extend some grace. If you are chronically late to pick up your child tell me there’s a conflict in your schedule or that you haven’t quite figured out how long it takes you to get out the door with a new baby. I would understand that. I could relate to that.

But please — for the love of all things sacred to moms on this planet — don’t tell me how “busy” you are. Don’t list all the things you have on your plate, apologize half-heartedly and expect me to cut you a break. Not because I don’t care or because I don’t believe you. And not because I think I’m busier than you are. Trust me, the last thing I want to see is women competing for the title of Most Busiest Mom – because being busy is not a good thing in my book. It’s not something I brag about or something that I’m proud of. It’s something I battle on a regular basis.

Let’s Be Honest

When you tell me you’re too busy, you’re saying my request (or your commitment) is not important. And that’s ok – as long as you’re honest about it and tell me that up front. Don’t let me wait around for you — expecting you to deliver on a promise. Don’t let me count on you, only to be disappointed. Don’t beg me to make exceptions and jump through hoops to accommodate your busy world, as if the rest of us don’t live there with you.

Let’s face it – moms are busy people. And we tend to take on more than we should. We’re all in this mess together. We created it ourselves. And we tell ourselves it’s only here for a season…so we will muddle through…because someday we’ll miss it. I get that. And I agree we should embrace the chaos of our responsibility-filled lives and enjoy the blessings of motherhood and all that this season brings. But we can do that with honesty and grace and kindness. Without blaming others, letting people down and expecting sympathy or special treatment. And perhaps more importantly – without feeling like we’ve failed. [Read more…]

Six Scripture Verses for the Mom Entrepreneur

scripture versesHi, busy mom! I thought you could use some encouragement today as you go about your work. Whether you’re a business owner or a ministry leader – or a mom who has been thinking about taking that leap of faith – I hope one or more of these verses speaks to you and offers the hope and encouragement you need today.

  1. You have a gift to share!

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

– 1 Peter 4:10

From photography to number crunching…from listening skills to legal services…from speaking and writing to building and selling…we each have been given a special gift. It’s God’s desire for you to identify those gifts, nurture them and share them. Please don’t hide your gift or put it on the back burner…or dismiss it as not important.

 

  1. Now is the time.

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”

― Ecclesiastes 11:4

What are you waiting for, my friend? If you’re thinking that things will get easier when your baby starts sleeping through the night…or is finally in Kindergarten…or is off to college…I have news for you – it doesn’t get easier. Only different. You may have more time one day, but that will not necessarily create “perfect conditions” for you to take that next step in your business or ministry. If it’s on your heart to take that next step, then pray for discernment but know that there will never be “perfect” timing. So, now is probably as good a time as any!

[Read more…]