Working from Home: Striking the Right Balance Between Work and Family

I get asked this one a lot — balancing a successful writing business with four kids and a life isn’t easy, but if you don’t carve out some time for things you enjoy, you’ll go crazy. Striking the right balance between work, self and home can keep you from becoming a frazzled, stressed out mess. If you’re a freelancer (or want to be one), then the quality of your work will also improve when you are not trying to cram too many things into an already packed schedule.

Finding a Balance between Work and Family

Anyone who works needs to find a balance between the professional commitments and family life – but it can be much more difficult to do so if you work from home. When you have an office to go to, you automatically have a built in “start” and “stop” time. When your office is your dining room, you can find yourself wandering in there to do “just one thing” multiple times per day and night. How do you strike the right balance between working at home and family time? These tips will help:

Schedule dedicated work hours: Believe it or not, setting firm work hours each day will actually help you spend more time with the family. How? When you can work uninterrupted, you can work quickly and efficiently. Every interruption, even “Where are my socks?” or “I can’t find my book” will disrupt your train of thought and actually prolong the amount of time you spend working – or trying to work.

This became far easier when my youngest started pre-school; until then I had to rely on sitters and working odd hours to get stuff done. Training the family really helps you focus on work — and then leave that work behind when you are done.

Your missing sock is not an emergency.

My kids are used to hearing “Is anyone actively bleeding or on fire?” If not, then don’t interrupt!

Leave the office behind: When you’ve completed your tasks for the day or the hours you planned on working, close the door on your office, even if it is only figuratively. Don’t check your email, leave the laptop closed and resist the impulse to return one last phone call. You’ll be able to dedicate all of your attention to the family and not stress about what you might still need to do.

This one really helps, particularly if you have a home office. When you can get away from the physical place you work it is easier to focus on real life. Once that workplace collides with home, it is a lot more difficult. If you wouldn’t drive back to the office to work on something, don’t do it from home outside of your chosen hours, either.

Grab an extra hour: You can’t add an extra hour into the day –sorry, we each just get 24, and you have to sleep sometime—but you can add a work hour when everyone else is sleeping. If you’re an early bird, get up one hour before anyone else, and get to work. Night owl? Schedule some tasks for after the kids go to bed, and enjoy dinner and bedtime together.

I seriously hate mornings, but since I need to drive the kids to school anyway, getting up an hour earlier did wonders for my schedule and life balance. If you have not yet read The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM), I strongly recommend it. It turned this night owl into a morning person for sure! (Well, the ideas in the book and lots and lots of coffee).


Outsource: Consider hiring someone else to do tasks for you. You can outsource professional tasks or home tasks. From a weekly cleaning service to virtual assistant (VA) services, web design or even social media support, outsourcing some tasks can help you build your business without overbooking your time. Right now I am using outsourcing for my VA. professional editing and  Pinterest management and am desperately in search of an awesome cleaning service.

Balancing work and family when you work at home isn’t easy, but it can be done – and when you figure out what works for you, the whole family will be happier.


Note: This post contains affiliate links to products or books I love and recommend!


Need More Conversions? An Email Drip Campaign Could be the Answer!

You’ve worked hard to get new subscribers for your email list, but how can you engage with them and keep a steady stream of relevant and useful content heading their way. While you’ll have newsletters and purposeful campaigns planned, including a few drip campaigns can help drive engagement and allow you to make the most of your email marketing efforts. Learning more about drip campaigns and how they work to forge a strong connection with your prospects can help you make the most of this powerful marketing technique.

Drip Marketing Campaigns 101

When you launch a drip marketing campaign, you’ll roll out a series of messages that are targeted to specific prospects, customers or followers. You can target recipients based on their actions, the purchases they have made or even where they are in their buying journey. Targeted drip campaigns allow you to engage with readers and provide calls to action that get attention and results because they speak directly to the users you’ve targeted. Best of all, drip campaigns can be automated, so once you set them up, they’ll continue to deliver for you on an ongoing basis.

Choose the Right Drip Email Marketing Campaigns for your Business

You have quite a few options when it comes to setting up a drip campaign; the most common situation is a welcome series; an automated email series that launches when someone signs up for your newsletter or opts in for your emails. Once you have a welcome series set up, a campaign that targets those who have not engaged with you for a while can help keep your list clean and campaigns that specifically promote an event or product can be created and then dripped out in a series to your prospects.

Welcome Email Campaigns

One of the first things I do when I work with a new client is run a quick but comprehensive marketing audit to see what the customer experience is like. As part of this audit, I sign up for their email opt-in and then wait to see how long it takes for the promised collateral or a welcome email to arrive. If you are making new subscribers wait more than a few minutes to hear from you, you are missing out on a valuable opportunity – and a welcome email campaign should be your top marketing priority.


Welcome campaigns ensure your subscribers remember what they signed up for.

A welcome email campaign reminds the customer why they signed up in the first place and ensures they truly want to receive communications from you. This confirmation will also keep your email service provider (ESP) happy. Your initial message should welcome the prospect, let them know how often they’ll be hearing from you and what type of communications to expect. If you’ve promised a discount, it should arrive in this email as well.

About a week later, a second automated email should launch, thanking the prospect for signing up and directing them to some relevant and useful content on your site. Your latest blog post, directions for using your items or other relevant content goes here.

A week after that contact, you’ll send along another valuable piece of collateral, whether you choose an eBook, webinar invite or other opportunity, this provides the user with another way to interact with your brand. Once you’ve sent this email, the user can move into one of your established categories and receive regular mailings and offers.

Re-Engagement Email Campaigns

For customers who have not purchased in a defined set of time or for those who have not engaged with your brand, a re-engagement campaign can re-establish a connection. You’ve likely received a re-engagement message yourself; they are commonly used by service businesses and those with consumable products to remind you to buy. This one, by Fandango, hit my mailbox last week – we have been renting from VUDU and Fandango wanted to remind me that they are still around.

This re-engagement email is simple and to the point and was the first of three I received in a 20-day period. All featured popular films and each offered a different call to action. This one went with value — $1.99 per move undercuts other streaming rental services.

Using a re-engagement campaign can redirect the prospect back to your brand. Sending along a reminder that it has been a while, or “we miss you” and an offer to re-engage may be enough to get things moving again. A tempting promo code or offer can be included in your next missive and the chance to reaffirm interest “do you want to keep receiving our emails” should be the third and final piece in the series.

Asking someone if they want to continue from you may seem counterproductive, but it boosts the effectiveness of your list; regular housekeeping ensures your metrics stay accurate and useful when it is time to measure ROI.

Free Trial Campaigns

For my clients that provide SaaS or other services that allow for a free demo, this is a useful, targeted email marketing campaign that can pull prospects right into your sales funnel. For those who sign up for a free trial, the drip process is straightforward and engaging:

The customer signs up and is immediately welcomed; if the product is automated, then delivery commences. Every two days during the trial period, the customer receives a different email explaining the ROI of using the product, outlining key features and walking the prospect through the steps needed to make the most of the trial. As the trial end draws near, emails reminding that the expiration date is approaching and offering an incentive can help convert trial users into customers.

The length of your drip campaign will depend on your trial period and how involved your salesforce is in the process. It can be fully automated or your call to action can be to schedule a call with a team member.

Whether you want to make it easy to welcome a new subscriber, re-engage with someone who is slipping away or make the most of the free trial demo period, an automated email drip campaign allows you to “set it and forget it.”

Getting Started with Email Drip Campaign Marketing

Your ESP already allows you to schedule and automate email campaigns; I use MailChimp and Delivra for clients, but you likely have options no matter which ESP you choose. Setting up the campaign is easy, but getting the copy just right can still be a challenge.

If you know you want a drip campaign but are not sure where to start – or want to make the most of this technique with copy that really converts, I can help. Contact me to get started – I can help you get set up and create compelling copy your prospects won’t be able to resist. Best of all, the campaign you launch today will serve your brand for years to come, worry-free.


What to Write About — When you Have No Ideas

You know your blog and inbound content need to be updated regularly, and even carved out some time from your schedule to write — now what? Sitting in front of a blank Word doc with a blinking cursor and no idea of what to write about gets frustrating, fast.


Exhausted and overworked
Seriously, is this stock photo guy struggling or what? Poor stock photo guy!

I built an entire business on filling this need — but if you are inclined and have the time, you can come up with things to write about. Most of my clients hire me for one of three reasons:

  • They don’t have the time to write
  • They don’t like writing
  • They can’t think of anything to write about

If you fall into the third category, these tips from Copyblogger may help!


Still having trouble? Let me help! I can come up with a topic list designed to meet your goals and deliver the completed content, worry free 🙂