Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hello.... Post?

I went on my social networking fast and totally lost track of time! Since my fast I have been on a fabulous 4 day Girl's cruise and conquered a few hurdles of motherhood! I feel like the fast gave me a true idea of how I was spending my time. My kids enjoyed me looking them in the eye and sharing with them. I am sad to say that giving them my full attention was something that they weren't used to. I guess I take for granted my time with them.

I am always worried about working or making the most of my time, when really they are the most important piece of my life right now! That is where selfishness comes in. I never realized just how selfless motherhood is! For someone like me that is admittedly selfish, I have totally had to re-train myself! God tells us to "Put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me." Matt 16:24. This is a verse that I need to repeat over and over again!

Since the fast, I have spent less quality time on social networking and more quality time with my family! It is nice to be back in the networking world, but I am glad that I took a break to put it into perspective! One day, my babies will be all grown up, and then I will still have plenty of time to do everything that I want to do now! When that day comes, I know I will look back on this time and wonder why I was worried about being so busy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

One Week Down-One to Go!

Yesterday started week 2 of my social networking fast! So far so good! I have really spent a lot more time looking my children in the eye when they talk to me as opposed to listening with my face glued to my iPhone. Honestly, I think God was right on track with this conviction! Don't get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with social networking but you can get caught up in it and loose track of just how much time you are spending on the internet!

Over the past week I have had time to pray more, read more, play with my kids, help out with school projects AND keep my patience, make cards and mail them to friends and tonight I am making dinner for a sweet family who just welcomed a baby girl! I think I am going to have a whole new prospective when this fast is over! Above all this has taught me that balance is a good thing! Romans 12:2 Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Day 3-Dirty Hands and Sand in Toes

So far so good, I haven't even clicked on my twitter or facebook app on my iPhone! Yesterday was MOPS, Mothers of Preschoolers at my church. I just love this group! What a wonderful ministry for young mothers to meet and compare notes and confirm that we are all in the same crazy boat! Yesterday our bible study was on prayer and focused on the fact that it is communicating with God, not just asking him for things or complaining. I know I loose sight of that at times, that He really desires to be my friend!

God has really been showing me through these few days of the fast the value of time with my children and family! Today, I ran into a friend in the park while playing with my daughter and she was telling me that her brother just lost his 10 year old due to a serious illness and it happened out of the blue. I can't even imagine! She was telling me how this situation totally opened her eyes to just how short life is and how important her job was as Mom. She appreciates now more than ever every minute playing in the park with her little girl.

After seeing her I felt so selfish. I have been complaining for months about not working and how I feel so isolated here at home with my two babies. I haven't wanted to sacrifice my time or give up my work to be a better mom. In all reality, I should be celebrating this time instead of wishing it away! With that said, day 3 for me has been playful! Park, giggles, dirty hands, sand between the toes and ALL!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Day One: Social Networking Fast

The Challenge: Two week fast from social networking! Can I do it? Yes I can!!!

Over the past few weeks I have been hearing God tell me that I am spending too much time social networking and then that conviction was firmed up at church yesterday when my Pastor talked about fasting! I am praying this time will bring me closer to God and help me evaluate the time that I am spending on the internet!

I depend on social networking to help my business, to learn from others and share tips and advice in my field. But sometimes the time spent gets out of hand and I find myself glued to the computer or my iPhone instead of focusing on the child that is grabbing on to my leg! Also as a stay at home mom, I feel disconnected to people that can actually talk back to me...so the social networking is my way of feeling connected!!! But I have to remember to keep that time in check and focus on what is most important, and that is GOD and my family!! So the countdown is on and I have 13 days to GO!!! Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Reality sometimes hits you hard! Reality hit me while siting in my first born's high school orientation! With two babies 2 and under, a 3rd grader and a high schooler, I started to panic thinking about the proposal that I was working on. As a woman it is so difficult to find value in "mothering", when the world is telling us we have to be successful professionally! It is a lot of pressure! Since my daugher was born two years ago I have continued to take on more projects even though I had ANOTHER baby 8 months ago! When I started thinking about all of my responsiblities I almost started hyperventalating! I could have had a full blown panic attack right there in the high school gym. It was then that I decided I was going to have to back out of some projects and focus on who needs me MOST! I have been straining to find this work/family balance but I can't find the balance because I continue to take on TOO MUCH! With that said, with much continued prayer...I have decided to slow it down. Work will always be there...my kids won't! They will be grown and gone before I know it and the most important job is training them to live in this world. I pray that God gives me the strength I need to be a good role model for them. Who cares what the world thinks, I am shaping lives right here in this house and THAT IS ENOUGH!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Long Lost Art of Customer Service-Tips to Bring it BACK!

For the past two weeks I have been dealing with a broken Dell computer and different techs calling giving me the runaround from India. I have been told countless times by numerous people that I would be taken care of! This has NOT happened yet and it has been over TWO WEEKS! I am otherwise a patient person, and normally very calm but I am at my wits end! As I type now on a borrowed laptop that is probably older than I am I think to myself, what is WRONG with people? What happened to people honoring their promises? What about taking care of the customer no matter how big or small? That's the kind of company I want to support, that is the kind of company I will purchase my next computer from!

As a business owner, I want to provide quality service to ALL of my clients and insure that they are 100% satisfied! I want them to know that their account is important to me no matter the size of the invoice I will be sending them at the end of the month! Here are some rules I follow and sure wish companies like DELL would consider!!!

1. When you say you will do something, DO IT!
2. If you can't provide a permanent solution to a problem provide a temporary solution until it CAN be resovled permanently!
3. Don't leave your client or customer hanging, follow up and FIX the issue! Your client has customers too, be understanding of that and quick to respond with a solution.
4. SPEAK CLEAR ENGLISH! How many times have you been stuck on the phone with someone you can't understand? It is bad enough that you are experiencing a problem, adding further frustration by TRYING to make out what the person on the other line is saying can put customers over the TOP!
5. Treat others they way YOU want to be treated! Give someone excellent service, they are SURE to return. Make their business suffer and they will never return or promote your product or service to others!
6. Make it right! If you mess up, go ABOVE and beyond to make it up to the customer! There is A LOT to be said for refunds and special treatment. Some customers would walk away after an unsatisfactory incident. Give them a REASON to remain faithful to you and your product or service! Go out of your way to insure the customer is happy at all costs! You customer is your BIGGEST form of advertising and communication of your brand!

In this day and age, in a world that is "always on" due to online social networking and other outlets, you NEED to be sure that your customers are communicating positive information about your brand! One customer unsatisfied can make your business suffer! Don't get a bad wrap! Do what you say you are going to do, MAKE IT RIGHT if you mess up and make sure the customer is satisfied...no matter WHO they are! It MATTERS!!!!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Be Productive Without Being a PEST!

Have you ever dealt with one of "those" people? You may even like their product but choose not to use them because they are just too much of a pest! Persistently pursuing a prospect without becoming a pest is a key challenge for today's sales, marketing and public relations professionals. We have to walk a fine line between being invisible and becoming a "pest." Today, business is much faster, less personal and more technical. This makes it much harder to gain access to key decision-makers. Consumers are smart, resourceful and savvy and they have more tools and choices than ever before. Due to the ease of the Internet, customers are only a click away from the competition.

There are pros and cons to increasing technology. The speed of technology enables us to reach more people in a shorter span of time. With the convenience of e-mail and electronic publishing, you can keep in touch with 10 times as many people in easily a third of the time. But, as we increase the number of prospects we can contact, we lose the personal touch. With the ability to contact more prospects also comes the challenge of tracking them and being super organized. In most cases advancing technology allows us to create professional-looking communications fast without having to spend a lot of money.

Key Challenges: There is a fine line to walk between going unnoticed and overwhelming potential clients with too much information or information that is not of interest to them. It is important to prepare and understand what their expectations for communication are. While prospects may be interested in a particular product or service, they might not be ready to buy at that particular moment.You want to stay in touch with prospects and keep communications open so that you are the chosen vendor when they are ready to buy!

Unless a message is highly differentiated or uncommonly attractive, it's unlikely you'll be remembered. They won't return calls, reply to e-mails, accept meetings, or go to websites, blogs or online newsletters. I have learned that most prospects don't want to be sold. Try to keep that in mind when communicating to them by offering information NOT forcing information. If I've already made initial contact with a prospect, I ask about the next steps and how to proceed. This gives me a better understanding of what the prospect expects and it also helps turn a sales call into a relationship. Sometimes keeping top-of-mind is challenging, so just ask the prospect: "How would you like me to stay in touch with you?"

Be courteous and respectful of your prospects time, and do you best to form a relationship where communication is natural and comfortable. Finally an old, yet effective method of staying in touch is to drop by and leave something for the receptionist to give to the prospect. Just be sure that it's interesting and relevant to them so that you will be productive and NOT a pest!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Computer Issues and Dell is HORRIBLE

Okay it has been a week now since my initial call to Dell to report the issues with my PC. I was told that a Technician would be calling to schedule service in one to two business days. Well that never happened. I am STILL waiting. No calls, no updates, NO NOTHING! I have never received such horrible customer service! I have called once a day, for a week and each call has lasted no less than 45 minutes. Transferred and transferred until I get to the person that tells me someone will contact me within 2 days. With that said..I recommend that you never buy a Dell.

As far as working, I can't do anything and if this has taught me anything it is to save your most important and most used documents to another drive! I can't describe how paralyzed I feel without my files! But onward I march...with no files...and no working desktop! I can't wait until Christmas! Santa is bringing me a MAC!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Working Mom's Guide to Shopping on a Budget!

I feel like every article I read lately starts off with, "In these economic times." Gloom and doom is no fun for those of us that would like to keep our working wardrobe chic! Here are some great money saving tips to keep you at the mall!

Buy Timeless Pieces:
Your basic staples such as that little black dress, a great white shirt or a blazer can be dressed up or down and will anchor an outfit. Spend on accessories such as bags, shoes, or jewelry to make the look different with each wear!

Shop Your Closet:
Use what you have! Mix and match pieces, belt that cardigan you never wear with a thin leather belt. Throw a vest over a shapeless dress to add flare or wear a bold necklace with a plain top! Put on a pair of shoes that will stand out and have everyone asking, "How does she pull THAT off?"

Find a Good Tailor:
This will help you prolong the life of your clothes. You can have buttons re-sewn, pants taken in or out, dresses re-himmed, etc.

Shop the Clearance Rack:
Of coarse items placed in the front of the store are going to grab your attention, but guess what? In a week or so, they will be on the clearance rack and you will pay sometimes less than HALF for it! Do what I do and skip to the back right to the clearance rack! You will get so much more for your money!

Buy What You Will Wear:
No matter how great the sale, don't waste your time on something that you won't wear! Don't invent scenarios to justify a purchase! Its better to keep searching that sale rack until you find the perfect wearable piece!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Time Management

At the end of the day when my husband comes home the first thing he asks is, "honey what did you do all day?" Most days, I can't even tell him! I am the worst when it comes to time management so I started researching helpful tips for managing my day as a work at home mom! I hope these will help you too! These tips are courtesy of the Mayo Clinic staff!

* Plan each day. Planning your day can help you accomplish more and feel more in control of your life. Write a to-do list, putting the most important tasks at the top. Keep a schedule of your daily activities to minimize conflicts and last-minute rushes.
* Prioritize your tasks. Time-consuming but relatively unimportant tasks can consume a lot of your day. Prioritizing tasks will ensure that you spend your time and energy on those that are truly important to you.
* Say no to nonessential tasks. Consider your goals and schedule before agreeing to take on additional work.
* Delegate. Take a look at your to-do list and consider what you can pass on to someone else.
* Take the time you need to do a quality job. Doing work right the first time may take more time upfront, but errors usually result in time spent making corrections, which takes more time overall.
* Break large, time-consuming tasks into smaller tasks. Work on them a few minutes at a time until you get them all done.
* Practice the 10-minute rule. Work on a dreaded task for 10 minutes each day. Once you get started, you may find you can finish it.
* Evaluate how you're spending your time. Keep a diary of everything you do for three days to determine how you're spending your time. Look for time that can be used more wisely. For example, could you take a bus or train to work and use the commute to catch up on reading? If so, you could free up some time to exercise or spend with family or friends.
* Limit distractions. Block out time on your calendar for big projects. During that time, close your door and turn off your phone, pager and e-mail.
* Get plenty of sleep, have a healthy diet and exercise regularly. A healthy lifestyle can improve your focus and concentration, which will help improve your efficiency so that you can complete your work in less time.
* Take a time management course. If your employer offers continuing education, take a time management class. If your workplace doesn't have one, find out if a local community college, university or community education program does.
* Take a break when needed. Too much stress can derail your attempts at getting organized. When you need a break, take one. Take a walk. Do some quick stretches at your workstation. Take a day of vacation to rest and re-energize.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Using Public Relations to Boost Your Business in Slow Economic Times

In these tough economic times strategic public relations efforts will help you perservere as well as position you to be first in line for the anxiously awaited upturn! Here are some ideas for communicating your business’s messages during these economic lulls.

Focus on your unique value, not price. People are looking for quality services and products that provide real benefits. Effective communication of the unique and worthwhile qualities that you are offering, along with cost benefits (cost benefit can be anything from increased business effectiveness to sanity-restoring recreational splurging) will help keep your business on the “necessity” list during budget reviews.

Find more effective communications venues and utilize them. Most companies can’t afford expansion into communications channels that have worked for them in the past. Social media, used effectively, provides excellent benefits for both business and consumers. Done wrong, it’s a waste of time and may even damage a company’s brand story.

Be front and center. Focus on keeping your company in the public eye and establishing your expertise. Continuing promotion is a critical part of getting through a downturn, it’s important to keep an eye on long term goals and develop your messaging accordingly. Don’t hide from the public view in an attempt to ride out this storm! Stay in the storm and show your endurance!

Refocus your messaging. Focus on promoting product features and quality. Brand-building and awareness efforts are wonderful, but ensure that you are driving business goals in every form of communication. Most importantly, make sure to strengthen your online presence. The web is the first place businesses and people now turn to ensure they are getting the best return for their investments. Your website should instantly communicate your value. It is also smart to display signs of an active engaged company such as blogs, podcasts, and videos.

Nurture your relationships with your existing customers. Retaining your critically important regular customers is of great benefit through good times and bad. Now is also an excellent time to communicate and be honest with customers, most likely through social media outreach. You want to find out what features and services they value so that you know where you can cut if you need to and what is working that needs to be retained. You can also use this knowledge when the economy recovers to drive increased success!

Most importantly, be TRUE! Be true to your customers and take care of them. Even if a person or business can't afford your product or service at this time, if you are true, they will return as soon as things turn around!

Friday, June 26, 2009

In Honor of Michael Jackson

WOW! So hard to believe he is gone! Thriller was my very first vinyl album!!! I can remember dancing for hours in my bedroom which was the size of a large box, but I didn't care! I remember watching the Thriller video for the first time and being scared but when they started dancing it was all over! I watched it a million times to memorize the dance! Although Michael Jackson has been through a lot...he was indeed a talented artist who brought joy though his music to MANY of us! In honor of Michael, my daughters and I held a dance party to his music in the living room last night! It was a blast! I pray God will protect his family!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Tips for "Work at Home" Moms

As the school year comes to an end, most "Work at Home" moms are wondering how they will get ANY work done with a houseful of children! I have listed some tips that help me as a full time "Work at Home" mom with four children!

1. Scheduling is a must with my children! I try to make sure that things happen around the same time each day so that I can plan my phone calls/meetings around nap time. I also plan work time in the mornings during my daughter’s favorite morning cartoons. The baby naps around that time as well so that gives me a good hour. I know that they will take at least a two hour afternoon nap so that gives me a good bit of quiet time to get work done.

2. Solicit help. I have a few college girls that I can call for help if I have a meeting or event to attend. My mother is a great resource as well if I need extra help while working on a project.

3. Make time to play. As mothers we tend to feel guilty for putting work ahead of the family. I make sure to schedule in play time during the day so that I can just enjoy my children and give them my undivided attention.

4. Plan activities for older children. With older children it is a bit easier. When they are old enough, you can plan quiet activities in their rooms or fun outside games to keep them busy while you are working. Set aside time frames during the day that you will work and explain to the older children that during those times you are NOT to be disturbed for anything other than an emergency. Then during the unscheduled work times make sure to do something fun with them!

5. Include them in your job! Give them little projects such as filing, shredding paper, making copies, stuffing envelopes etc. This makes them feel important and needed and gives them something to do!

Moms need to know that there is a balance! If they love to work they can, and STILL do their most important job…which is Mother!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cathy Hayes Quoted in Parenting Magazine

I am so thrilled to be quoted in the May 2009 issue of Parenting Magazine! I would love to say it was due to some brilliant insight on parenting but it was MORE fun than that! The story was about the importance of girlfriend getaways! Check it out! http://www.girlsgetawayguide.net/documents/parenting_article.pdf

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Staying ALIVE..ah ah ah ah Staying Alive!!

Okay so this full time mom thing is working out, but I have to say that I miss working so much! I am doing my best to keep up with things in the meantime because I fear being lost in the dust with all of the latest and greatest happening in PR. I think it is totally okay to just be a mom. But my hope is that keeping myself in the loop will help tremendously when I am ready to start working again! How cool would it be to have a client that focuses on the "MOM" business! Right up my ally! So I am tweeting on a regular basis now and you can follow me at www.twitter.com/cathykhayes. I don't even have to read the paper or watch the news! It comes directly to me...BAM! Instantly...more so that EVER I realizing how everything is that way now. Everyone wants things in an instant, and no one wants to wait! Long ago were the days of waiting weeks even months for a letter that would update us. Now we just hop on a computer or our cell phones and find out what we need to know with a couple of clicks! No wonder so many people have patience issues! With that said, I am going to be patient, love on my children, and be the best mom I can be until the timing is right! By then maybe I will be ready to do something GREAT!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Extended Maternity Leave

I am going on an extended maternity leave! I now have a 13-year-old, a 7-year-old, a 17-month-old and a now a 3-week-old! God has blessed me with these four wonderful children and I am so grateful to be able to be home with them! Being a mother is my most important job, although I truly will miss working while I am on my mommy break! I am sure I won't be out long, as the love of my work keeps me motivated! I will do my best to keep up with the blog but can't make any promises. I have a good excuse for now right?? At least until they are a little older!