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From Hopeful Work At Home Mom to Entrepreneur

Article By Rita Taketa – I've been a successful Work At Home Mom for 18 years, beginning when there was little career work available at home besides telemarketing. After working for several different companies being in charge of multiple operations, I now have plans to expand my business-to-business professional services with virtual agents.

work at home mom business and entrepreneur

I've been steadily working from home for 18 amazing years. In the beginning, however, it was not a popular decision. The pay was poor and the quality of work was mainly telemarketing for the consumer-to-business market, or some other type of odd tasks that were not rewarding.

I started on this journey after I had my second child. I had been working for a marketing firm as a supervisor handling inbound and outbound calls for clients in the restaurant industry. I had a great deal of responsibility with data and order entry, managing our team, training, and being responsible for the entire company phone system, which was my first introduction to Telephony Software & B2B Marketing.

As much as I enjoyed my career, I had a nine-year-old son at home to care for as well. I always felt torn between being a mother and a working women. I had already been through the route of daycare and before-and-after-school care and all of the challenges that go along with being a working mom. I felt guilty when I was not with my child, and yet I needed to work to help provide for my family, just like the balancing act that we all face today now that most families need two incomes to stay afloat.

Research on the internet afforded me to learn more about working from home, but there wasn't much of a selection to choose from except telemarketing. I started working with a company that produced customer satisfaction surveys for a national tire company. It involved evening and weekend work, so I was able to work my day job but bring in a little extra money. As I worked on different projects for the company, gaining more experience and confidence, I was asked to do more projects in different markets. Eventually, I started doing surveys for a vast array of markets including insurance.

Networking, researching, and trying different work-at-home tasks allowed me to transition into a full-time career working from home as a business-to-business professional. I serve as an extension of a company's inside sales team as an appointment setter, lead generator, and customer service representative. I've worked as an independent contractor for many years, so I took my experience and branched out with my own company to accommodate the needs of businesses in supporting their sales and marketing efforts. My goal is to expand by hiring virtual agents to help with my growing client base.

I chose a rewarding career path that has allowed me to be home with my family (which was my ultimate goal), raise my children, do meaningful work, and make a good living right from the comfort of my home office. Work At Home Mom = a happy mom!

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they are visible on this page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive
markethive.com


John Lombaerde

9 Nodding Strategies for Your Next Meeting

How to appear thoughtful and engaged without saying a word. 

You've got a bunch of meetings coming up, but do you have your nodding strategy ready? 

A solid nodding strategy could mean the difference between seeming like you understand what's going on and losing a job. 

meeting strategy

More seasoned professionals may think they can just nod the same way they did in their last meeting, but that's not an option  – â€Špeople will notice. Consider this: when someone's nodding the wrong way don't you immediately lose trust in them? I know I do.

To help you keep your nodding game fresh, here are nine nodding strategies you can choose from for your next meeting.

1. The Slow Nod

The slow nod is great for when someone is explaining something that makes no sense. Hopefully they'll see you nodding slowly and realize how ridiculous they sound.

2. The Slow Nod Followed by a Fast Nod

The slow nod followed by a fast nod is great to let the person talking know that you didn't get it at first, but you totally get it now, even if you still don't agree.

3. Head Shake Followed by a Fast Nod

A head shake followed by a fast nod shows that you didn't remember that thing you were supposed to remember but now you totally remember it. This is a really convincing strategy when you're on the hook for something that you never intend to do.

4. Side to Side Nod

Use this nod when you want to pretend you're considering something. It says – that could work, – while also saying it's not the best idea, and you're still waiting to hear something that'll really blow you away.

5. Let Me Write That Down Nod

This is the nod you use when you're pretending to write that down.

6. Let Me Think About That Nod

This nod will buy you some time before you have to make a decision. Put your chin in one hand, then both hands, then rest your chin on your knuckles, then repeat.

7. Nod With a Sigh

A nod with a sigh lets your coworker know you don't want to say yes, but you will say yes, because you're a professional.

8. Nodding Off Nod

This is a great nod for when you're trying to keep it together after a late night or when your coworker keeps talking beyond the point of reason.

9. The Almost Nod

This nod says, – you almost convinced me, but not quite, keep trying.

Hope this helps you find the perfect nod to fit your particular meeting situation so that no one will ever suspect you aren't really listening. If you enjoyed this, hit the green – Recommend – heart button below!

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


John Lombaerde

Sales Funnels – are they really the Difference Between Success and Failure ?

update
What is this thing called a sales funnel, and why is everyone going crazy over it?
There is always talk on the Internet about sales funnels, but who really understands what a sales funnel is and how to correctly implement one?

Well, perhaps there is a considerable amount of confusion about sales funnels because it is one of the distinguishing factors that separates the successful marketer / business person from the unsuccessful one.

Have you ever bought something online or over the telephone from a TV advertisement? The kind of funnel that most of these TV ad-men design more closely resembles a black hole. The realize that they probably have one shot and one shot only to sell to a customer calling on an 800 number.

After you have made one purchase, you will usually be given a chance to double the order, for only the (inflated) cost of shipping and handling. Then one product after another will be offered in an attempt to squeeze every last dollar out of the call.
This is distasteful to the consumer, but this kind of sales funnel is common in that industry. You really do feel like sucker if you let yourself get caught in their “black hole”, and buy product after product.

Just ask any typical business person, what do you do with the people who do not buy your products or services?  Most would say, well, nothing.  Well, you probably have what is called a leaky sales funnel.  This is not so easy to set up for a brick and mortar type of business, but every online business should pay attention to their sales funnel. There almost always is a significant impact on your bottom line.

Everyone knows that taking care of customers is a priority.  If any business is to survive, it is a well-established fact that you have to take good care of your customers.

Say what you will about the Internet Marketing Industry, one thing that good Internet Marketing Professionals have going for them is that they understand very well that it is not only the quality of the product you promote, but the specific design of your sales funnel that can often make the difference between a mediocre success and big success. To rephrase, a well-designed sales funnel could be the difference between losing money, merely breaking even, and making a significant profit.

Let’s try to clear up some basic confusion about sales funnels using the above graphic.

Most businesses think that everyone in America, or everyone in their hometown of business is a prospect. In reality, until someone walks into your store, they are only a potential prospect. In the case of online business, until someone signs up for your email newletter, free product download, webinar, or other offer, there are no prospects, only potential prospects.

Everyone outside of your sales funnel is the audience you are trying to reach.  This nearly limitless pool contains all of the potential prospects for your business. They have not walked into your store. They have not signed up to be contacted by you in any way. You don’t know who they are, although you might have some idea where they hang out.  They are only potential prospects because you have no way of contacting them, until they take the first step into your sales funnel.

Once they walk into your store, or provide their email address, then they actually qualify as a prospect.  Now you can contact them and work with them to help them become a customer.

Everyone wants to do more than just survive. If you want to thrive, you need to find a way to quickly determine who is ready, willing, and able to buy right now.  That should be the first step.  I have to give Steve Rosenbaum credit for identifying this as such an important step.  He also talks extensively about leak-proof sales funnels.  This is a guy who really knows the sales process, both online and offline.

As you can see from the graphic above you can see there is a step-by-step process until a prospect becomes a customer. Also, there should be a clear method to allow customers to become what I would call loyal customers, by making repeat purchases. As shown by the arrow on the right side of the funnel, they should easily be able to become repeat customers.

It may be because the product is renewable, or relies on a subscription model, or they simply like your product or service enough to purchase additional products or services from you.

There is obviously a great deal more to discuss about funnels, but I think the fundamentals discussed here are important enough to warrant this kind of post.

How to Create a Customer-Centric Culture

What makes the great companies so great? It’s the service and experience the customer receives when doing business with them. The companies that get it are customer-centric. They put the customer at the heart of decisions, ideas, marketing, system design and more.
 
 
 
It is definitely not the product. The product can be truly amazing, even a lifestyle changer, but that’s not what makes a company great. Take for example, cable television. Cable TV is truly amazing. When I was growing up, there were only four channels from which to choose. Today we have hundreds of channels to choose from with amazing high-definition clarity. We can record shows on the cable box to watch later, or watch movies and other programs ‘on demand,’ whenever we want to watch them. This is an amazing product. However, the cable TV industry, as a whole, delivers an abysmal customer experience. One of the less-than-customer-friendly policies: Asking a person to stay home on a workday to meet the cable TV installer during a four-hour window. That hardly seems customer-centric.
 
 
On the other hand, there are companies that sell the same products as everyone else, but the customer experience they offer really does set them apart. Ace Hardware is one of the best examples of this, having been awarded the JD Power award for highest customer satisfaction in its industry eight years in a row. These smaller, independently owned hardware stores compete against big box stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s and sell many of the same items as the big stores. 
 
 
However, many Ace Hardware stores are only one-tenth the size of one of these larger stores. Imagine an 8,000-square-foot store going up against an 80,000-square-foot store. And, these larger stores outspend Ace Hardware in advertising dollars by 30 to 1. Yet, Ace Hardware thrives in this competitive environment. So, what does Ace Hardware have to offer? The experience, which comes in the form of helpful customer service. As an Ace customer in Seattle put it, ‘Even though the prices can be, but are not necessarily, higher, the convenience and help are worth it.’
 
 
Ace doesn’t promise ‘friendly’ service. It promises helpful service, and there’s a difference. It’s the way Ace stores engage their customers, provide knowledgeable employees who help them with their projects, and deliver a higher-level customer experience.
 
 
Consider several reasons to create a customer-centric culture. I’ll argue that customer service can make the difference between a company’s ultimate success or failure. It can mean the difference between having loyal, repeat customers or one-time-only customers. And, it can mean the difference between customers’ rave reviews or online rants.
 
 
Steven Hodgkiss
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John Lombaerde

The case for LinkedIn – Not just a job site anymore

This is icon for social networking website. This is part of Open Icon Library’s webpage icon package. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Facebook, Twitter, Intstagram, Pinterest all seem to be the rage these days. Social Networking popularity seems to ebb and flow like the tide. What about that “job site” LinkedIn? That may have been true in the past, but LinkedIn is no longer your Father’s job site. They have changed dramatically. This site should become a part of your lead generation efforts.

Consider the following stats:

1) When you type your name into Google, is the first result on the page your LinkedIn profile. Most likely it is. Why does that happen? I believe it is because your LinkedIn profile page has the most complete information about you, more than any other place on the Internet, and Google knows it!

2) What Social Network has the highest average income of any of the Social Networks? It is reported to be LinkedIn. In fact the average member is estimated to have a salary that exceeds $ 100,000.00 per year.  I this is true this means that there are definitely people on LinkedIn who can afford your products or services.

3) What social network allows, and even encourages it’s members to check out who has seen their profile page?  Only LinkedIn let’s you do this. In fact it is encouraged by them. This can be an important source of leads for your business.

If you have been ignoring this Social Network as a source of leads and prospects, it would be wise not to do so anymore.

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Here is a hint for promotion from a LinkedIn expert. Instead of using your summary page as a record of your work history, use it as a “summary” of your current business. Make it interesting, without being spammy.  In other words, state what benefits your business offers your customers. Make sure you remember your customers favorite radio station. WIIFM. “What’s In It For Me?” Explain how you benefit your customers like you were giving the standard elevator pitch.

Make sure you have a clear call to action on your Summary page, and provide an email address and phone number, so that they can easily contact you.

Ok, all for now.

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