Work at Home Mom

Tools That Have Made All the Difference in My Small Business This Year

If you have spent any time working from home you understand the need to make good use of your time. We are all working with the same 24 hours in a day. Efficiency counts. For me, making good use of my time comes from having reliable and helpful tools that aid in my business running smoothly. For some time I thought free tools were the best tools. Why? Because I didn’t have the monthly budget for all the tools to set up fancy systems. Don’t get me wrong – systems are needed but they do not have to be extremely fancy, cumbersome or costly to get the job done.

So, below are my favorite tools of 2017. They are new(er) tools that I have only started using in the last year or so. If you want to read my full list of tools that I recommend, check out my Must Have Tools list!

Zoom: I really like Zoom. I actually began using this because of my clients, most of them coaches that were already using it. They preferred video calls; so I tried it out. Although, I think I was late this party as Zoom was founded in 2011. Prior to Zoom, I was a Skype girl. I still use Skype on occasion. Zoom offers a lot of more features than the ones listed below but I will share what I use it for. Check out their website for full details. I use Zoom primarily for training, client and consultation calls. Pricing begins with free. The next pricing level is $14.99/month/per host.

  • Audio or video calls
  • Record video and calls
  • Cloud storage
  • Screensharing
  • Set up recurring meetings

Acuity Scheduling: This tool is definitely a time saver. I love the automation that Acuity Scheduling offers for scheduling and coordinating appointments. Once you set up the initial automation system within Acuity Scheduling then it’s good to go. I do periodically update my calendar settings.

Once a potential client clicks Schedule a Discovery Call the entire process is automated and the control is given to them. They get to choose a time in their time zone that is mutually convenient from my calendar. I also have a basic contact form that prospects are required to complete before the meeting. These two systems eliminate the back and forward emails, “what time works best for you?” and the need for an embedded contact web form. Which, in my humble option, most contact forms are an eye sore.

Pricing begins at free but the features are rather limited. Honestly, most of the perks that I am most impressed with come from the paid plans. The next pricing plan is $15/month. Below are just some of their features; check all of them out on their website. Acuity Scheduling has a lot of potential for me to scale up as my business continues to grow and evolve. They offer some great integrations as well!

  • Branding customization
  • Embed calendar scheduler on your website
  • Syncs with Google Calendar
  • Accept payments and deposits through PayPal, Square, Stripe, Braintree, or
  • QuickBooks, Freshbooks, and Xero integrations
  • You can create classes, workshops, or group events
  • MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, ConvertKit, and MadMimi integration

LastPass: Oh my gosh. I completely waited too long to use this tool. Hand-and-hand with efficiency is being organized. I was not good at remembering my passwords. Before using LastPass I wasted too much time trying to remember the right password for  certain programs. Enter LastPass! Now I only have to remember my password to LastPass and the others are stored for me. Win! No more clicking “forgot your password?”

LastPass plans also begins with free. The next plan is $2/month. Here are some of their features.

  • Stores all your passwords in a secure ‘vault’
  • Password autofill
  • Generate new password if needed
  • Accessible on all devices

These tools have been a blessing to my business this year. So, I wanted to share them with you. What tool has made a difference in your business this year? Let me know in the comments below.


*Programs in this post are ones that I use and like. This post includes affiliate links. *

Time Saving for Creating Professional Social Images

The Best Time-Saving Tip for Creating Professional Social Media Images

Is creating social media images sucking up your time?

As a social media manager I create and see a lot of images on different social media networks. In this post I am sharing my number one time-saving time for creating professional images for your social media presence. It’s simple and efficient.

I’m sure you know how important images are to your social media marketing strategy. If not, Hubspot has shared some interesting stats that may be of interest to you surrounding visual content.

74% of social media marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing, ahead of blogs (68%) and videos (60%).

Facebook posts with images see 2.3X more engagement than those without images.

Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without image.

As the saying goes an image is worth a thousand words. On social media, a good image can be worth a lot of engagement too. The right image on social media can serve a number of purposes. It could uplift, inform, provoke thought, or cause your follower to take action.

So, my number one time-saving tip for creating professional images is to create them in batches. Here’s how to get started creating your professional looking images in batches.

  1. Choose a good time when your creative juices freely flow. Add it to your calendar.
  2. Pick your creation platform. I use Canva or Adobe Spark.
  3. Have your database of  royal free images ready for use or use free images from one of the aforementioned sites. Although, having an organized catalog of your own can same time sourcing through their images.
  4. Know your purpose or goal for the your new images. For example, if you are creating a batch of inspirational quotes have all the quotes researched and handy.

Create a batch of images once or twice a month. You should be able to keep your social media content calendar full of images depending upon how often you post them. Once you continue to build your collection of images then you can start to reuse them.

How much time do you spend creating new images for your social media presence? What tools do you use?

Maximize 2016 eSummit: Must Attend Conference for Christian Coaches and Leaders

I am blessed to work with some awesome clients! I like to highlight some of them from time to time on this blog. Today I am highlighting the Christian Coaches Network International (CCNI) regarding their upcoming eSummit. Although, I am an affiliate of this conference; I’ve also had the privilege to work with CCNI for over two years. So, I know very well what they do, the events they host and the support they offer their members.

CCNI is hosting an amazing virtual conference next month: Maximize 2016 eSummit. The vision for the CCNI eSummit is to provide tools that create vision, provide inspiration, and equip Christian coaches to be successful business owners and practitioners.

Maximize 2016 eSummit Header

The eSummit will take place during September 29 – October 1, 2016. I’m sure it will be fantastic; CCNI has been providing support to the Christian coaching industry for such a long time now (since 1998) they’ve build relationships with some of the most recognizable names…AND they will be there sharing their expertise!

Some of the speakers are listed below. You can view the entire list of Maximize 2016 eSummit speakers here.

Tony Stoltzfus

Janice LaVore-Fletcher

Cheryl Scanlan

Jonathan Reitz

Dr. Keith Webb

I actually helped with the last eSummit conference in 2014 and was able to get a behind-the-scenes look at all the hard work and dedication that goes in coordinating this virtual event.  I highly recommend this event if you are a Christian coach or leader. You can register now and receive an early bird special until August 31st. According to CCNI’s August newsletter, attendees will learn faith-based strategies on the following:

How to find your own niche and define your services offered
How to best market your services through the latest technologies
How to strengthen your personal coaching skills and styles
How to keep your business thriving toward greater success


Did I mention that coaches will have the opportunity to earn more than 20 continuing education credits?! So, you really get a lot of value at an affordable registration fee.  There are several registration options to fit into your budget. Of course, CCNI members receive a discount! Check out the fees below and grab your seat now.

Maximize 2016 eSummit Registration fees

If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments below.

The Top 3 Benefits of Social Media Marketing in 2016 (New Report)

This week, on June 30, 2016, the world will celebrate Social Media Day. It was launched in 2010 by Mashable to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication.

Top 3 benefits of social media marketing 2016

So, I thought it would be timely to share the top 3 benefits of social media marketing for 2016. I previously shared findings for the last two years.  I really enjoy and look forward to the information in the Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing Industry Report.  This is the 8th year of its publication. This year, Michael Stelzner and his team surveyed over 5,000 marketers. It’s a 56-page report with over 90 visuals that provide insight in to the why, what and how businesses are using social media marketing. It also shares what they are planning to do in the future. You can check it out here.

Top 3 Social Media Marketing Benefits 2016

So, the top 3  benefits of social media marketing in 2016 are:

  1. increase in exposure
  2. increase in traffic
  3. fan development

The top benefits of social media marketing have remained the same over recent years that I have followed this report.  Although, the amounts have declined by a percentage or two.

The number one benefit of social media marketing is an increase in business exposure. 89% of surveyed marketers indicated that their social media marketing efforts generated more exposure for their businesses.  The second substantial benefit was an increase in traffic at 75%. This was followed by the development of loyal fans at 68%.

Want to learn more how I can help manage your social media efforts so you can see the benefits. Connect with me today!

Image Credit/Chart: Social Media Examiner Social Media Marketing Industry Report

How Will You Celebrate Social Media Day 2016?

Happy Summer 2016

June is generally a month full of events and activities. School is out for most, if not, all. The warmer weather re-opens the door to new seasonal fun and family trips.  It offers the official start of the summer; this year it was Monday, June 20, 2016. I really have a ‘thing’ for warm summer weather! We have already began to ‘up’ our grilling game at our house. So once a week, you’ll probably find something grilled on our table for dinner.

But in addition to the first day of summer, June also marks Social Media Day.  In case, you haven’t heard, it takes place every year on June 30, 2016. Social Media Day was launched in 2010 by Mashable to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication. The impact of social media is incredible as it continues to grow and evolve each year. Social media helps connect people like no other medium. I remember beginning my own social media journey in 2008 and thought, at times, it was rather silly…because it was just so new and different. I also can recall others feeling the same way. Many thought that it was be a passing fad. I guess social media has proved many wrong and have converted even more. 🙂 Social media is used daily to help connect friends and family as well as businesses and consumers.

  • The internet has 3.17 billion users
  • Internet users on average have 5.54 social media accounts
  • There are 2.3 billion active social media users
  • Facebook: 1.65 billion users
  • Facebook adds 500,000 new users every day; 6 new profiles every second
  • There are 40 million active small business Facebook Pages
  • But only 2 million of those businesses pay for Facebook advertising
  • Facebook now sees 8 billion average daily video views from 500 million users
  • Twitter: 320 million users
  • There are 500 million Tweets sent each day. That’s 6,000 Tweets every second
  • YouTube: Over 1 billion users
  • 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • On average, there are 1,000,000,000 mobile video views per day
  • Instagram: 400 million users
  • There are 400 million Monthly Active Users on Instagram
  • Over 80 million photos are uploaded each day on Instagram
  • LinkedIn: 300 million users

So, definitely reasons to celebrate. There are global meetups you can attend to commemorate Social Media Day 2016. Check out this list to see it there is one in your area. If you don’t plan on attending an event you can show your love by using the hashtag: #SMDay.

How will you be celebrating Social Media Day this year? What has been your social media journey, please share below.