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How to Make Mom Friends and Beat Stay at Home Mom Depression

How to Make Mom Friends and Beat Stay at Home Mom Depression

How to Make Mom Friends and Beat Stay at Home Mom Depression

 

It can be lonely  as a stay at home mom and easy to slip into stay at home mom depression if you don’t intentionally surround yourself with other mom friends.

 

So often our spouse doesn’t understand what we’re going through, our family and friends might not be in the same season of their life, and the expectations that we put on ourselves (or society or loved ones) can make the mom guilt unbearable intense.

This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but may provide me with a commission. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

 

 

 

After my son (who is currently a year old) was born, I struggled with Postpartum Anxiety and Depression. I found myself isolating myself from even my other SAHM friends, withdrawing from my family, and feeling generally worthless. It was one of the hardest times of my life and I’m thankful that I currently have seen the ‘light on the other side of the rainbow’.


But during that period, I struggled deeply and felt so alone. I am so thankful that I had a mom tribe that I connected with, both in person and online, because it helped me realize that, no matter how tough things were, I wasn’t alone.

 

What type of SAHM are you?

 

My first suggestion when it comes to connecting and meeting other moms is to think about the type of SAHM you identify with.

 

When I first started to meet up with moms at the library or ones that I met in groups, I made the mistake of thinking that I would immediately connect with them all right away. And while I still am close friends with some of the first moms I met, there are many that I didn’t connect with.

 

Your energy is so valuable and you don’t want to spend it with people who are going to bring you down or make you feel bad about the type of mom you are. And it’s OKAY if you don’t connect with everyone.

 

There are a lot of different types of moms out there so you’ll want to find your tribe. If you’re a “Pinterest Mom” you might not want to spend your time with moms who make you feel bad about wanting to craft with your kids.

 

Or if you’re more of an “Amazon Prime” mom, you might not want to spend time with moms who want to spend more time creating homemade decorations for every event.

 

Give yourself permission to feel other moms out on playdates or in groups but know that you don’t have to vibe with them all. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilted into a friendship that makes you feel bad about yourself or drains all of your energy. You deserve to be around others that make you laugh and feel joy!

 

 

 

 

Finding Mom Friends Near  You

 

There are two main ways I’ve been able to connect with other moms friends and that is in person and online. There is an incredible power in meeting up with like minded moms in person for coffee, a walk, or just to get some sanity and talk to another grown up.

 

Some of my closest mom friends are ones that I have randomly met in Facebook groups and we’ve just clicked. We connected because our 2.5 year old were super close in age as babies and now, we all have 1 year olds too!

Once A Month Meals

 

The first place you should go to find moms near you is Facebook! Search and see if you can find a local moms group. You can be bold and simply post that you’re looking for like minded moms, and put a few words to describe this mom (coffee loving, like to craft but isn’t that good at it, enjoys working out, primarily seen in a mom bun… wait I’m describing me!) and suggest a time and place to meet up.

 

One of the easiest suggestions is to suggest going for a walk at a local park or place where you can get to actually talk to them. I’ve met up with moms places where it was super busy or my kids were all over the place and I felt like I didn’t get to talk to them at all!

 

Always start with meeting at a public place (free is best!) before inviting them over for a playdate! There is nothing more awkward than having a mom come over for the first time and you don’t vibe or your kids don’t get along (and I’ve been there!)

 

You should also look and check and see what local mom groups already exist (we have a MOMS group in our town), check out your church or religious center or see if you can find a MOPS group (Moms of Preschoolers)!

 

Often many of these places will offer child care for you and it can be a great time to refuel yourself and connect with others!

 

Meet like minded friends online

 

Because life is so busy, I sometimes only see my ‘in person’ mom friends once a month. I knew that I wanted to feel more connected on a daily basis and needed someone other than my kids to talk to.

 

Insert my virtual MOM TRIBE!

 

Over the past few years I’ve been able connect with so many moms from around the world who are feeling similarly than me all online! Heck, it’s one of the reasons that I created A Purpose Driven Mom! I knew that there were more moms out there like me, I just had to find them!

 

 

 

Social media is going to be the best place for you to connect with other like minded moms. You can use hashtag or group searches to find other communities where your ‘mom’ is hanging out.

 

Search things like ‘crunchy breastfeeding moms’ or ‘work at home moms’ or ‘2 under 2 moms’ and a BUNCH of suggestions come up (make sure you search A Purpose Driven Mom and come join our group too!)

 

Become active in those groups, answer questions from other moms and ask questions! I can’t tell you how life saving it was at 3am when I was cluster feeding my daughter to have other moms awake in baby sleep groups to talk to!

 

Once you find mom groups you love, ask for suggestions for podcasts or other groups that they love. I have found so many other members of my mom tribe by connecting with other podcasts and blogs that moms have suggested to me!

 

Some of my favorite podcasts for moms include;

Young Wife’s Guide

Cultivating the Lovely

Mom Struggling Well

God Centered Mom

Raising Arrows

Hello Mornings

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of these are perfect podcasts for Christian Moms who want to get some inspiration and find communities that they can connect with! Many of these bloggers also host virtual conferences which can help you feel even more connected!

 

Virtual conferences are my FAV (Heck I even ran my own this past year! You can go back and get all the recordings here) because you don’t have to leave your house and you can connect with some many incredible women.

 

One of my favorite ones is coming up in just a few weeks so, if you’re looking for a great place to start connecting with moms, I highly recommend the Homemaking Ministries Conference this upcoming September! And if you're reading this after September, go and grab the recordings!

Stay at Home Mom Quotes

 

Being a stay at home mom is tough. We get lost, we feel lonely and stay at home mom depression is a real thing.

 

So when you’re feeling lost, make sure you reach out to other moms, connect with people, and surround yourself with positive influences that bring you joy!

 

In the meantime, check out this list of positive mom quotes and affirmations (you can grab a copy of my fav ones here) to build you up when it’s tough.

 

Because mama…. It’s going to be TOUGH! But you’re doing a GREAT JOB! 

 

 

Make sure you SHARE this post with of SAHM who probably feel just like you! PIN it to read for later!

 

How to Schedule Your day as a Work at Home Mom

How to Schedule Your day as a Work at Home Mom

How to Get Work Done as a Work at Home Mom

Being a work at home mom has become my dream job. Prior to being a WAHM, I was a school teacher and loved it. I would have stayed teaching forever except for one big problem… I was burnt out. After 8yearsr, I was having major anxiety going into work, putting in so many hours I barely saw my family, and really had lost myself. And 4 years ago, I decided that enough for enough. I got into entrepreneurship through network marketing because I had found a product I loved and couldn’t stop talking about (and wanted a great discount) and it was a catalyst for me. I started to believe in myself, to believe that I didn’t have to feel so burnt out all the time, to believe that I could do things that lit my fire and that I loved, and to believe that I could stay home with my kids. Over the past 4 years since I’ve been a full time entrepreneur, I’ve shifted my focus from primarily helping women with their health and fitness to being what I call a ‘mom empowerment coach’. I help women create systems and routines to decrease their stress, feel more in control and design a life they love. I get to do this via this blog, e-books and e-courses, virtual conferences, mentoring, coaching and more!  And boy do I love it… but dang it can be hard to create time to work when you’re home with the kids.

This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but may provide me with a commision. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

Why it's hard to work from home when you have kids.

As much as being home and working around the kiddos is my dream job, it can be so tough to do. You need to prioritize time with them, not always been on your phone or computer, make sure you're still working your business, do the home chores, and stay focused. It took me a while to come up with a routine and system that allows me to be the most productive but, I’m excited to say I have found a good groove! And even though I find myself often moving and grooving with my routine, I still know to give myself grace. Kids need you, someone gets sick, naps get messed up and life happens. Working from home is very different than leaving to go someplace each day. Your hours are less predictable, you have to make adjustments and you need to give yourself grace when things don’t go as well. You also need to make sure you have realistic expectations. Because here is the thing, mama, you CAN have everything… just maybe not at the same time. My husband and I have had many conversations about roles and responsibilities and he understands, while the children are my numero uno, I also am running a business. That means that sometimes, some of the house stuff may get a little neglected, gourmet dinners don’t happen that often, and I’ll need a little help, support and if possible, a few times each month where I take 3-5 hours on a Saturday to work at Starbucks and get things done. work at home mom schedule

Creating a Schedule that Works 

  While crafting a workable schedule for yourself, realize that your season and my season of life may be very different. I currently am responsible for my 11 year old step son who is with us every other week and goes to school 45 minutes away. While my husband luckily works right by his school, there are still times I am in charge of the commute, attending school events, and all of his friends and sports are in that area. I also have 2 small kiddos at home (currently a 10 month old and a 2.5 year old). Your children may be school age so you have more time during the day, or you may be a new mom with a newborn working in the fringe hours when you are up nursing… whatever your situation is, you need to create and adapt your schedule to fit your needs. But no matter what… you NEED a routine and schedule. I don’t believe you have to live your life by the minute but I use power pockets and chunking to make our day run a little bit more seamlessly. Depending on your work at home job, you may have required hours that you have to work so you’re schedule is more rigid. This might require you to get a mother’s helper during that time, a babysitter, or utilize daycare. I think a mother’s helper is a great idea if you can find one! Mother’s helpers are often junior high or high school students who will come and play with your kiddos while you do things around the house like work or clean. Because you’re home, you can often pay them a really reasonable rate as well! They are easier to find in the summer or over school vacations and breaks. If you currently aren’t working at home but are interested in ways that you can make money, check out my fav ways to make money, that isn’t just doing a million surveys and getting $3 each month!   

Sample Schedule for a Work at Home Mom

  Below is a copy and description of my current routine that really works for our family. It allows me to feel more ‘balanced’ and get more done. It’s taken us some time, and we’ll have to adjust again in September because my 2.5 year old will be starting preschool (eeep!!!) so I’ll have more time from 9am-12pm each day … and I CANNOT wait!  You’ll see that I break up our day into sections called power pockets. I never say“At exactly 9:33, Isaiah will sleep” but we use a round-about time and chunk out what actions will happen during that time. My goal is also to be as present as possible with my kids (I mean they are the reason WHY I do this, right?) but there are times where you do activities that allow me to get small bits of work done. There are also times, like as I am typing this blog post, that I have a busier work season and maybe am launching a product so I may have my mother in law come by so I can work more or the TV helps us out a bit. I do my best each day to make sure though, that she watches limited TV (because she turns into a gremlin if she watches too much), we do intentional play, I have 1:1 time with each of the kids for even just a few minutes, we add in reading and some fun learning, and aim to let them play independently.  Does it happen beautifully everyday? Nope. But that doesn’t mean I won’t try!  As for reference below, I’m going to show you a typical day when it’s just me and the littles. My stepson is with us every other week and things change a bit, but for this example, Arianna is my 2.5 year old and Isaiah is my 10 month old. I will also write down what I am doing and put down what the kids are doing at that time in {brackets} to differentiate the tasks.  I also have learned when I work best and have created a schedule around that. I know my brain is best for writing in the early morning or midday. During my evening work time, I don’t even bother to put out quality unless I have to because I'm fried. I try to do more rote tasks than that I could do easily or even when watching a show with my husband.    

Power Pocket 1: Morning   5:00 - 5:30 Wake up, Quiet Reflection, Bible and Prayer and Morning Routine. 5:30- 6:30  Work Time (write blog post or emails) 6:30 - 9:30 Kids Up

  • Nurse baby (answer emails, messages + DMs while nursing) + Breakfast
  • Bible Reading with Kids
  • Clean Up Breakfast, Start Laundry, Quick Sweep of Floors, Dishes {kids play in playroom independently}
  • Workout in Playroom {kids watch a show and play}

9:30-11:30 {Isaiah Nap}

  • Shower {Arianna either jumps in with me or keeps watching her show. This is a very quick ‘mom shower’ + dress. Often, after I get out of the shower, I’ll let her play in the bathtub while I get dressed}
  • 20-30 minutes 1:1 time with Arianna where we do some tot school activities, puzzles, or intentional play
  • 20 minutes of manual pinning {Arianna has snack and does a craft, puzzle or colors}
  • Daily cleaning tasks (check out my cleaning routines and systems here).
  • Put laundry in the dryer.
  • Eat lunch (I purposely try to eat lunch before Isaiah wakes up so I can get their lunch ready and done without worrying about me).

schedule for work at home mom   Power Pocket #2 Afternoon 11:30- 2:00 {Both Kids Awake… Mom hat ON!}

  • Nurse Isaiah (get back to those messages and emails)
  • 20-30 minutes where kids play in their bedroom. I sometimes use this time to scroll my phone for blog post ideas, connect with people on social media, clean up their room or put away laundry upstairs.
  • Run and errands or a play date. I HATE car naps so unfortunately, we only have about 60-90 minutes a day where neither of them is sleeping and we leave the house. I’m okay with that but, do try to get out of the house each day, even if just for a small Target run. I go a little crazy staying in each day and like to split our errands up throughout the week)
  • Lunch
  • Clean up lunch, dishes, sweep up floors, fold laundry straighten up. This is a great time for me to listen to podcasts or audiobooks and get some personal growth and learning in. {Ari might play outside or watch a show and play in the playroom}

  Power Pocket #3 Late Afternoon  2:00 - 5:00 pm {Yay! We made it to nap time!}

  • Hopefully they go down easily between 2-2:30. My kids share a room so it’s been interesting finding nap routines that work but, fingers crossed, they keep it up! They are both pretty good nappers and I know I’m lucky there.
  • After I put them down, I sit on my bed to listen for them to stop talking to each other and read a personal growth book for 10 minutes. This helps me stop, slow down, feel gratitude, and get my head in the right place. Would I love to get moving, pee, eat, and conquer my to-do list? Sure. But I found that if I don’t do this than I am not as productive and my self-care matters too.
  • This is my best time to write so I use this time to get a snack, grab my coffee, curl up on my couch where I love to write and get going. During this work blog I work on blog posts, write emails, continue any project tasks that I need to do and have previously determined needed to get done that day. I use Trello to organize all of my tasks so, when I sit down to work, I never wonder what to do, I can just get started.
  • Isaiah will wake up between 3:30-4:00 so I use this time to nurse him (check social media + messages) and then have 1:1 playtime with him.
  • Arianna will stay asleep until around 4:30-5:00 pm or when I drag her out of bed.

 

Power Pocket #4 Evening   5:00 - 11:00 pm 

  • Make dinner {kids play in playroom, Ari asks me for a snack a million times and I let her watch a show while she wakes up and stops being grumpy}
  • My husband comes home between 5:30-6 (which is such a blessing because at his last job, he wasn’t home until almost 8pm) so we have a tech free dinner and I get to sit down and breathe a little.
  • Clean up dinner, take out trash, do dishes, fold and put away today’s laundry (okay.. This might happen haha. Often I'm folding yesterday’s laundry because it was in the way when I went to put today’s in the dryer), make lunches. {Kids are playing outside or in playroom with daddy}
  • We then get about an hour or so of family time which might include outdoor play, a walk, a movie or just all hang out in the playroom.
  • My kids go to bed at 8:00 pm and I then promptly toss myself in my bed so I can have some alone time and center myself again. I literally just sit there for 20 minutes and mindlessly scoll social media (no shame in my game!)
  • I start my final work block around 8:30-9 pm. Like I said before, I’m not all that productive at this time so the tasks I normally do include; creating images or freebies for my site, scheduling social media posts, putting together outlines or workflows or getting on calls with my Beachbody Team, coaching clients or accountability buddies.
  • I try to shut my brain off around 10:30 so I put on some terrible reality TV, scroll social media, and decompress, heading up to bed around 11. Some days, I am up much later finishing work and some days, I’m so fried that I don’t work at all.

    Then I get up and do it again! I love routine and our system really seems to work for us. There are always curve balls being thrown my way and adjustments that need to be made. Currently it’s summer break so when my stepson is home, I work less during nap so that we can have 1:1 time together. If my kids don’t sleep through the night or someone is sick, I make adjustments. I follow this schedule Monday through Friday, take Saturday completely off to rest and relax (and nap!), and use Sunday for church, to complete grocery shopping and meal prepping, organize my calendars or work tasks and set my week up for success. On average, I work on my blog and business somewhere between 20-30 hours a week. Some weeks are less and some weeks are more. I love what I do so much though that the time often just flies by and I wish I had more hours. I also try to go ‘off site’ 2-4 times a month and take a few hours to get extra work time in while hubby or my mother in law stays with the kids.

Get Organized and Focused 

  While it can be super hard to get things done at home, it’s completely possible. No, I don’t get everything done but I do feel that I am much more productive with a routine than without. I do allow my schedule to get flexible once and awhile, and that’s the best part of being a WAHM. If I want to take the day to visit a friend or go to my sister’s, I totally can. I just change up my schedule, move things around and go for it! Knowing my plan for the week allows me to do those things without guilt, spend more time cuddling or playing some days, and still run a business.   I recommend getting as organized as you can so that when you do sit down to work, you have limited distractions and waste minimal time. Your time is so precious when you are trying to be a WAHM and handle it all that it’s silly to spend time trying to remember what blog post or email you have to write instead of just writing. I can waste 20 minutes ‘deciding’ what to do and that could be 20 minutes I use for my business. Did this help you??? Make sure to SHARE it on your social media and PIN it to read again later!  

 

 

More Resources To Maximize Your Productivity

How to Set Your Week up for Success

The Best Way To Organize Your Goals

The Best Way To Organize Your Goals

Creating a Goal Setting System

I’ m a goal setting junkie, like I’m sure most of us are around January 1st.

 

Does this sound like you;

  • Dream big about what you want out of life.
  • Get a new notebook or planner and make a million lists.
  • Decide THIS is the year you focus on you.
  • Have a really great first few days or week once you’ve picked your goals.
  • Life gets busy.
  • You forget about your goals.
  • You get put on the backburner.
  • Those notebooks get lost on the junk table.
  • The end of the year comes and you have no idea if you’ve even gotten any closer to achieving those goals.

 

It sounds like me a lot of times too. I am the queen of buying cute notebooks, love to write things on my to-do list just so I can cross it off, and love to dream big. But I also love data. I love systems. And I love giving myself a gold star whenever I achieve even a small goal.

 

This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but help me fund this page. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

 trello for goal setting

 

Organizing Your Goals

I got tired of all the paper clutter and making lists that I never checked in on, so I knew that I had to find a system that would work better for me.

Enter Trello.

Trello is an online website and app that allows you to create charts, workflows, and organize anything in your life. It is PERFECT for creating goal charts that you will actually check, stick to, and accomplish.

If you’re typically a paper and pencil girl, stick with me on this. While Trello may move you into the digital age, it will also help you check in with your goals more and keep them organized. Trello lets me see what I’m prioritizing for the current and next few months, shows me where I may not be as balanced, and lets me have a massive thought catcher for things i want to accomplish, suggestions other people give me, link and website I want to check out, all while tracking my progress towards me goals.

Trello is perfect for us busy moms who already have a million things to remember. We don’t need another paper system that might get thrown away or colored in by our toddler. We need our own space that will sync up with our phones and give us alerts and reminders when it’s time to kick butt and work on us. It’s super simple to use and is much more streamlined than putting a million notes in your phone that you forget to look at (guilty!)

 

I want to share with you a step by step walkthrough on how I use and create boards on Trello to track my goals and keep my life less of a hot mess! I’ve already done a few other videos that you can check out on how I organize my prayer time, cleaning routines, and birthday party organization so make sure you go and read those too!

 

You can watch the video above to create the board with me or just read through the steps below! You also can directly copy my board and save it to edit with your own goals!

 

 

Step #1: How to Copy My Boards

 

If you want to copy the board, you’ll need a Trello account to do so but it’s free so that rocks. Once you log in and go to the link, head right on over to the right where it says SHOW MENU. Next, hit the MORE button and hit COPY BOARD. When you copy the board, you can decide if you want to rename it and where you want it to go. Feel free to use it as a template, to get ideas, and customize however you want!

 

 

Step #2: Create Workflow Cards

 

The first thing that you’ll want to do is create lists with all of the headings for your goals. I suggest creating a list of the general topics such as;

 

-Personal

-Professional

-Social

-Finance

-Health

 

I also like to create lists for the time frames I want to complete them. This allows me to really be focused on a goal because I can drag the appropriate cards over to either ‘This Month” or “Next Month” or even “December” and know that I have a plan for when I will complete them.

 

 

Under each list, create cards for that specific goal. For example, if your list is ‘health goals’ you could create a goal card that says ‘lose 15 pounds’, ‘run a half marathon’, or ‘track my meals’. Dream big and create whatever goals your heart desires! If you need help figuring out what areas of your life could use a boost or how to create goals, check out this series I did on just that!

 

 

Step #3 Breakdown Cards

 

After you’ve created each card, you can customize them to not only keep lists of things you need to do to accomplish your goal, but a timeline of when it will happen, and links you might want to check out. I tend to always add things to Pinterest but forget to go back to them when I need them! I like to add them to my Trello cards for that specific goal so, when I am ready, it’s just a click away.

 

 

I suggest putting a few checklists on each card. You can create one for things you need to do AND create one to track what gets done. For example, if a goal of yours is to read 2 books a month, you can have a checklist with books you want to read or that others have suggested to you and a second checklist that tracks if you’ve accomplished it. This might say “January Book 1” and “January Book 2”.

 

If you don’t track the progress to your goals, how will you know if you’ve achieved it! And instead of using a separate planner or checklist, Trello allows you to keep the to-do list AND the tracker in one spot!

 

On the right-hand side, you can also add in labels to organize what type of goal they are or maybe what month you want to complete the goal in. This will let you see a big picture of your goals when you glance at your board as a whole.

 

 

The right-hand column of each card gives you a ton of things that you can use to customize the card. You can add in a due date of when you will accomplish something or a LINK or IMAGE you want to go back to later! These are listed under ATTACHMENTS and, as I previously mentioned, are the perfect place to put blog articles or PINS you come across and want to check out!

 

Trello is a super easy and efficient way to track goals, progress, and remember to take care of what matters to YOU too! Hopefully, this tutorial helped you feel ready to conquer the world (and decrease paper clutter!)

 

trello for prayer requests 

Did this help you get organized?? Loved some tips? Do me a fav?? Hit that Share or PIN IT to help another mama!

 

 

 

More Resources To Maximize Your Productivity

How to Set Your Week up for Success

Create An Action Plan That Works in 4 Easy Steps!

Create An Action Plan That Works in 4 Easy Steps!

When it comes to setting goals, most of us could rattle of 5-10 things we’d love to accomplish. And each year, almost everyone makes these goals or resolutions and swears “this is the year things will be different”. But often, by February, most of of these goals have been thrown aside because life got in the way.

 

 

If you want to accomplish BIG things this year, you will need more than just a goal. You need an ACTION PLAN. But instead of making a plan that makes your goal overwhelming and scary, I am going to encourage you to make a plan that breaks your goal down in small chunks and sets you up for success.

 

 

Step #1 Pick Your Goal

 

 

If you haven’t had a chance to go through my series on how to create amazing and manageable goals, head over check out parts #1-3 first!

 

Part #1: Reflection

 

Part #2: Visualization

 

Part #3: Goal Setting

 

 

The best way to not get overwhelmed with achieving your goals is to not pick too many to tackle at one time. Sometimes we try to do everything as women and what happens is we are doing ‘okay’ at tons of things but feel like we are drowning. I would rather pick 1-3 things to work on and be AMAZING at than just mediocre at everything!

 

 

Go through and pick 1-3 of your top goals that you think would leverage the most joy in your life and use them to create your action plan.

 

 

Head over and get a goal setting workbook here is you need a jumpstart to creating yours!

Step #2 Make Your Timeline

 

The biggest game changer in achieving my goals came when I stopped looking at my goals as a one year goals and brought them into the 12 week year light following the principles laid out in the book The 12 Week Year.

 

After reading the 12 week year, I realized that if I put a quarterly timeline on my goals I would be more likely to achieve them. How many times have you made a big goal and done nothing to move towards it until, you get to the end of the year and start to hustle to make that dream come true? If you look at your goals with a quarterly deadline, you’ll be more likely to push harder to get them done. If you look at each day as a week of the year, you’ll stop putting off the important or even non important tasks and GET THINGS DONE!

 

Pick your 1-3 goals and give them a date that is 12 weeks or LESS! Put it on the calendar and make it a date you celebrate because you’ll get things done!

 

Step #3 Create your 10 minute tasks

 

Okay here we GO! Let’s create manageable tasks to complete your goals in just 12 weeks.

 

Yup.

 

Those things that you have been putting off for years WILL be accomplished in the next 12 weeks if you are ready to go for it.

 

As a busy mom, I know how tough it can be to complete your goals with all of the other things you have to do day to day. So instead of deciding that you’re going to just get a 3 hour task done each day to move towards your goals, your job is going to be to break it down into tasks that can get done in 10 minutes a day.

 

Go through the workbook (download below!) and pick the goal you want to focus on. Use the lines below each goal to break down action steps for them. If the goal can’t be done in 10-20 minutes IT IS TOO BIG and you need to break it down more.

 

 

For example, say you have a goal to create a scrapbook for your kid’s birthday. Instead of just saying ‘create book' you need to break it down. I don’t know how many times I’ve said I was going to do this and don’t even print pictures to get started (do people do that anymore?) What you need to do is BREAK it all down super small and write down each and every step you will need to complete such as;

 

  • Use FREE prints app to order pictures
  • Search for coupon code for album
  • Buy photo album
  • Organize pictures chronologically
  • Space out pictures
  • Buy background paper
  • Cut background paper
  • Assign picture to paper
  • Put pictures in album
  • Buy stickers and other decorations
  • Fill in graphs in alum with decorations
  • Write in memorable events

 

And you could probably even break some of these down even further! But see how, when you make them smaller tasks, your goal is MUCH more manageable and less overwhelming. If you take these tasks and pick even just ONE per week, you can accomplish your goal in those 12 weeks by your due date.

Step #4 Assign the items

 

If you’ve gone through and done the work of breaking down your goals, I don't want you to stop here! I want you to go to your planner and give each of these items a date to accomplish. Write them each week in pen and don’t change them. If you are like me, and you don’t write it down, then you are less likely to actually get it done and completed.

 

So take your tasks, give them a date and get started!

 

If you are ready to get started with your goals, head over and get your workbook now so you can break down all of your goals here! Just drop your email and it’ll be sent right to you to get started!

 

More Resources To Maximize Your Productivity

How to Set Your Week up for Success

 

5 Free Stock Photo Sites

5 Free Stock Photo Sites

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link. 

When I started to professionalize my business and really get into blogging, I knew that I needed to find great stock photos to attract people to my posts. As a beginner blogger, my funds are pretty low, so I needed to make sure I could find really nice photos that fit my brand, were kind to my wallet, and easy to use.

How to Use Stock Photos 

 

I know that I am the face of my brand, so it’s important for me to make sure not to overuse stock photos and forget about myself! When I am posting on my Facebook or Instagram pages, I try to use myself, my kids and my real life as much as possible but, I am not a professional photographer. So when  I want my post to really stand out or I don’t have a picture on hand that fits what I am talking about, stock photos are the way to go!


I also am a big proponent for using stock photos to make gifts for my readers more professional. If I am making a printable, download or opt in offer, I will use stock photos to make them pop. And whenever I create an e-book or Facebook ad, I want to make sure it attracts people and doesn’t repel them because it doesn’t seem professional.

Choose Pictures that Fit Your Brand

Not all stock photos always fit my brand so it’s important that I look around for ones that do. I kept coming across some that just used all  rose gold and had that ‘girl boss’ look. And while that fits some brands, it’s definitely not mine. I would say my brand is more ‘the coffee stain on the paper’ type of look!

You can always modify picures using Canva or Picmonkey so don’t be scared if they don’t immediately call out to your brand. I always save them on my computer in a folder labeled ‘stock photos’ so I can go in and check out what I need!

TOP 5 Places to Get FREE Photos 

1. Ivory Mix  

Ivory Mix is MOST definitely the #1 place to go for amazing photos for your business. Not only does she send out free pictures all the time but has an entire LIBRARY of free images that you can acess. All you have to do is log in and it’s yours to use! Her stuff fits all types of brands and she has a ton of contributors so the styles are super diverse. You can also buy photos if you see something you like that isn’t in the free library.

2. Haute Chocolate 

Haute Chocolate is one of my favorite places to go and get professional images. They offer a few free ones that, if you sign up for their email list, they will send to you each month. They also have a library that you can get a membership for if you like a certain collection. There pictures are perfect for female bloggers, entrepreneurs and creatives!

3. Unsplash

Unsplash is such a great gift to us bloggers! Photographers submit their awe-inspiring photos for us to use. Make sure you read the descriptions of each of the pictures before you download though, some have specific rules about the amount of altering or editing you can do!

4. Pexels

 

Pexels is another great site for general pictures. While some of the ones I’ve already mentioned have more of a girly or artistics theme, pexels is much more general. You simply go to the search bar to find pictures that might match one of the keywords you search. Some of them are a bit of the wall, but you can certainly find what you are looking for! They also will link you to some pictures you can buy if you scroll all the way down! Check out these pictures that came up when I searched ‘coffee’, all for free!

    5. Stock Snap

Stock Snap is similar to pexels in that they are much more general in what they offer. And just like pexels, you can scroll to the bottom to see more options you can pay for. You might also come across similar pictures on both sites but when you are doing, for example a recipe book, this might be the best place for you!

 

Check out what came up when I searched ‘healthy eating’

Hope these pictures are a great start for you as you venture into creating projects for your tribe and adding professionalism to what you do!

How to Create a Community on your Facebook Page

How to Create a Community on your Facebook Page

I had a Facebook page before I even had a website.

I was running my direct sales business from my personal page which is a HUGE no-no with Facebook and honestly, all of your friends on your page. It’s annoying and spammy to use your personal page to talk about your products, sales, and a lot of other business things. Now don’t get me wrong, I still will share a good deal over on my personal page or alert that page if I have a cool LIVE video going up on my LIKE page but, once I started to use my LIKE page for my business, I began to actually feel like a legit business owner.

Prior to this, I felt like I treated my business like a hobby. I would post about it occasionally or go in the opposite direction and post WAY too much about the business.

And while it wasn’t the easiest transition to move to being LIKE page exclusive, I found what I’ve been able to create over there invalauable.

I’ve created a tribe.

For a business to be successful and stand out among others in their field, they have to think about their page less like it’s just to talk about products and more like it’s there to make a movmeent and create a community. You want the people to come to your page to feel like they belong, like they are in a club, and like they can really connect with you.

I didn’t realize this was what I did until a few things happened on some of my posts.

First, I posted about a negative message I had gotten from someone and my tribe came out in droves! They came right to my defense, they shared how they connected on my page, and they had my back.

Second, someone basically told me I had made a community. When I had my daughter I had a lot of questions as a first time mom and I often would ask the Facebook hive what they thought. Someone then commented that I needed to stop asking questions and just parent how I wanted to and my page came back on them! Someone actually said “I like that Cara asks theses questions. I am a first time mom too and she’s created a really great forum for us”

BAM.

Community. Tribe.

So How Did I Create It?

Though my page is still what i like to call ‘small but mighty’ the quality of the followers there matter more to me than the quantity. You can have a million followers but if no one is commenting on your posts, sharing them, or feeling connected with your brand, then it doesn’t matter at all.

I started to create this by following the 80/20 rule with my page. 80% of what I shared was more about me, my tribe and the tribe I wanted to create and things I thought they would find valuable. The other 20% is where I posted about my business.

Now this may not make much sense at first. Wait Cara, I want to make money with my business, don’t I have to post about it?

Of course you do.

But if all you are doing is posting what you are selling than NO ONE is even going to come to your page to see it.

When creating a social media plan for your month map out your posts in advance. You’ll need to make strategic decisions for when you will post actual sales on your page. I like to post 3-5 times a day on my facebook to keep my engagement up (this doens’t count for LIVE video). So this means that say I post a minimum of 3x a day on my page than 18 times a month I can talk about my business and products. No so bad at right?!

So what do you post the rest of the time? 

I follow the principles laid out in Gary Vaynerchuk book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. Jabs are essentially soft sells about your brand and the way you make your community. Those right hooks… those are the ACTUAL ‘buy my product’ posts.

When planning out your month ask your self if your posts use the 4Es…

Do they

  • Engage?
  • Entertain?
  • Educate?
  • Empower?

If your posts are doing this than your community will start to grow.

Some examples of these types of posts could be:

  • Engage: Asking questions about topics your readers might be into, sharing other viral articles and asking their opinions
  • Entertain: Funny MEMEs that target your audience, pictures of YOU and your life (kids, dogs, what you’re up to). Remember, it is OKAY to personalize your brand. There are so many people out there with businesses just like you. People don’t buy the product… they buy the PERSON.
  • Educate: Share value! This can be yours or someone elses (that you share from their page)
  • Empower: Positive quotes or messages you know your tribe needs to hear

I make sure that almost ALL of my posts explicitly ask my reader to engage with the post. People need to be told what to do so I often will end a post with statements like

  • What do you think about this?
  • Have you ever….
  • How did you….
  • Like if this hits home
  • Share if you agree
  • Post a GIF below to describe how you feel about…

This way your tribe not only starts to engage with your page but, they share your content for you. What this also does is helps you see more of what they need. When they are enginaging they are sharing their needs as well. For example,  if I post a recipe and ask what people’s biggest struggles are when it comes to using the crokpot, I then have a bunch of topics for future posts or blogs. If I post a recipe and no one engages, that lets me know that maybe my tribe wants to see less of that type of content.

Be Consistent 

Being consistent with your message and social media is a surefire way to build a tribe about your brand. Look at your social media like a magazine. They have great content and then every once and w hile hit you with a perfume ad. You don’t care that much becuase the magazine has given so much value so it’s not annoying. By providing value to your tribe, when you do ask for the sale, they are less likely to unfollow becuase it isn’t in their face (note: this is a different story if you are in laucnh phase of a new product!) all the time about it and you’ve built up your ‘know, like and trust’ factor.

You need to get permission from your tribe to advertise and by building a community you’ve done just that.

Need some more ideas of what to post to engage your readers? Check out this FREE swipe file of 25 engaging posts you can use on your social media!