Posted By LAF Editor on February 16, 2014
There is a lot of concern about the future in American, especially for the sake of future generations. For all the difficulties our culture presents us it seems impossible to fathom accomplishing all that goes into building a solid viable family structure that will allow us to influence and disciple the next generation as well as our communities and as far as our influence will reach.
How it possible to shift from utilizing government schools to home education? How is it possible for mothers to be free to come home and start building a unified and solid family-centered economy? These are questions that have been asked again and again. And here we have the very example of how all of this is accomplished coming to us all the way from Africa.
For the most part the answer is “It happens a little bit at a time.” Our spare hours become some of the most important. Being in community where families can disciple one another is important. Encouraging one another in the love and faithfulness to Christ, is as important as is our experience, our wisdom, our vision, and our practical skills. A love for learning will open vistas to us which we had not seen before. The beginning and the end of this journey will be bookended in hope. Hope to set out, leaving our comfort zone, trying something new, learning what and who to trust, and rounding out our understanding of where provision truly comes from. And the ending will be our glory story filled with greater hope as a reward for faithfulness, enjoying renewed strength, greater confidence, higher aptitudes, wiser perspectives, and vision for a future filled and fueled by hope.
The Advantage We Lack
Over in Africa we have the perfect example of discipleship in the body of Christ. From small beginnings, women with the courage to build a new life to the glory of God, step out and try. What is most striking about their story is they actually have the advantage over us by way of necessity. Our world is filled with limitless choices, distractions, and time to put off our plans for the benefit of comfortable jobs, things which seem to us luxuries (recreation, daycare, after school sports, volunteer programs that need us more than our families and give us a sense of meaning, deferred payments programs which offer us breathing room). The difficulties that surround the changes we need to make do not compete with all of that. Building something new, something viable, seems plainly and obviously a waste of time. We’re not sure how change will happen and we are comfortable deferring the responsibility to someone else. There are no returns for what this will cost us.
For all of our culture’s economic unfeasibility, society’s way of living seems too much to lose. Something is really wrong with this picture. What society loves, we love even though we’ve all heard the sage advice to look at the masses and do the opposite. The longer we choose to debilitate ourselves, the more we are weakening our sense of responsibility, our initiative, our faith based confidence; much of what used to be our finest qualities. We know how to anesthetize the pain and we’re good at it. We no longer have a fear of debt. Financial loss no longer carries with it a sense of responsibility. Apostate children fit into the world just fine, they have a niche and respect and since we don’t want more for them than their happiness, we’re content with their choices. Our bosses are tolerable and we’re content with the false sense of security that we derive from our jobs, as well as being led rather than taking on the hardship and risk governing our place in our homes and provision for others demands. Loveless lives of singleness are more than manageable when we bury ourselves in work in pursuit of accolades that will mean nothing to noone but ourselves in short order, in social events and the undying affection of pets.
But if all our comforts and support systems which undermine our initiative and keep us from taking steps in the right direction to live differently, to make sound choices for our family’s future, if they all fell away and we found ourselves in the position of these lovely African women, would we then see things differently? Would our value systems change? Would we finally have the vision to start?
I think we’d see the great necessity to build something new, to dig our wells before we need them, to risk going against the socialistic status quo. We’d have the courage to tell our children that all the individualistic activities that dissipate the family energy and resources need to cease, to take responsibility to the best our our ability for the outcome of our lives. To build the families, communities, and a country that is better for how we left it.
I think we’d also see opportunity which we’d never seen before for all that has been distracting us. Good ideas would present themselves as much as a willingness to try them would. Virtue in our neighbors we’ve long overlooked, we will suddenly find of great value. Resources we didn’t even know we had will become the tools for building a new enterprise.
I think this video is one of the most inspiring videos that I have seen in a long time. These women truly hope, when many of us ride along on the conscience dulling false hopes that surround us. LAF’s prayer and vision is that we can help nourish and establish women who want to change the course of their families from the feministic paths before them and establish a future for their children that offers higher standards and better options than society and the state. Consider supporting one another in this endeavor and join the Marketplace or submit an article where in you teach from your experience. Whether it’s a small venture or a grand one, everyone willing to put their best foot forward, testing their gifts and abilities is an inspiring story. This is why we started the Marketplace. There are many of you out there who want to try something but just aren’t quite sure where to get started. The marketplace has a lot of opportunity for you to give your ideas a try. The beauty of online business lies in the fact that you can develop your ideas from home. You can also accumulate real analytics to measure your efforts by. You can reach markets that are flourishing which are beyond your local marketplace. You can do research you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise, find inspiring ideas to try and competitors to learn from. And after all of that, you can write off your office, equipment, a portion of your electricity, and channel enough money to set your children up for the future. See “Lower Your Taxes Big Time” in the resources below for more information on how to do that.
Creating the audience or the reach needed to get yourself established is a ton of work in and of itself. Finding where the sales are, refining your craft, building your product line is quite a task if you’ve not done it before. The Marketplace, as well as sidebar advertising, is here to help you launch. Whatever your budget is we should be able to meet your needs.
Whether you bring something small or large to the marketplace, there’s a place for you. If you don’t know what to offer and your talent is in research, sell that our marketing channels and use a product line that is already available like an essential oils company or the opportunity for deregulated energy that is saving people money in many states. Help people understand the product that fits their need and as a result you’ve create commerce. Maybe your talent comes from an analytical bent and when most would spend hours burying our heads in the computer, you move with ease connecting all the various back end features that make a internet presence possible. Sell your web design services. If one of you has a wealth of knowledge for nutritious cooking and another love book publishing, there’s nothing we’d rather see than to have you connect on the Marketplace where you know you can find people you can trust to work with. The Women in Business is the place to leave your calling card. Why is LAF a great place to host the marketplace? Because for years now women have come here to find biblical instruction and encouragement for the challenges of daily life. Why not make it a place where they can also put part of what they’ve learned into practice. The more we become acquainted with the testimonies or glory stories of women of faith in action the more we’ll strengthen and encourage one another in ways that are antithetical to what feminism offers. If we want generations to come to look around and see biblical womanhood prevailing and feminism becoming a thing of the past it will be because first we trusted God to lead and establish us but also because we did the work.
Some “Getting Started” Advice
Be willing to adjust your plans. Sometimes great ideas run into interference. It just might be because you need to realize that what you’re comfortable doing and what the marketplace is actually buying are two very different things. Everyday we’re working on entrepreneurial avenues we will again and again have opportunity to think outside the box, something entrepreneurs are known for. If you need a commercial oven can you rent one from the bakery in their off time? Interference also presents us with the opportunity to take full stock of our ideas. If we’re short in one area it tends to become our focus. But how many other areas have we overlooked? A good assessment of the cost and needs of production might disclose an opportunity we didn’t know we had before us.
Be willing to learn the marketplace. When our only choice is a hand craft something like pillows, we then have the opportunity to see and understand the value others see. Entrepreneurship is selfless servanthood.
Be willing to fail. One of the things that undermines motivation and vision is familiarity with the false security from the workplace. Work is not viewed the same any more. It’s meaning, the weight of it’s influence, the reality of shouldering the responsibility, have all been compromised. Accepting a salary for head knowledge and the opportunity to try one’s hand is a small work poorly incentivized. A job might be of necessity for a time but entrepreneurship will reveal the worth of all that is lost in the job market along with uncapped opportunity. I think one of the scariest things about a job is how it erodes a sense of reality. Entrepreneurship will test you but it will test you in a way that will truly make you better. It’s important that we don’t see this as merely the harder option to take. It’s a different option all together. It’s apples and oranges in comparison. It’s not fair to say that entrepreneurship is hard when it’s compared to the unearned security and servitude of the workplace. A sensible study would be to compare one entrepreneurial idea to another and adjust accordingly to size yourself up to the challenge.
You may fail. Keep an eternal perspective. Economic loss is not a loss of virtue. If your fear of failing is due to a fear of loss of possessions, lifestyle, comfort or the way things have been down in your household so far, keep in mind that you’re not going to take any of that with you in the end. An entrepreneur understands that eternal purposes come first and the things of this life serve that purpose. Not the other way around. The home is a tool of dominion. Part of it may need to be transformed into a workplace ro packing station or it may serve as a meeting room for the board of directors. Whatever purpose it serves here on this earth it must do just that, serve. Grandma’s painting may inspire a future artist or serve as a prop in a film set or it may also be turned into the capital to launch a new vision. Sentimentality is a tricky thing, it can move us to do great things or undermine us for the sake of it’s preservation. In making these evaluations be sure that God’s purposes come first.
It is possible to let your eternal perspective mistakenly rob you of the motivation to work hard and establish something now. “What’s the point if we’re leaving it all behind” is just as selfish as consuming all the family resources for personal pleasure seeking. Simply remember that the value system of the world is different than the value system of God and the only way to know the difference is to be in His Word. Until we see things how He sees things, we’ll hoard them, we’ll use them unwisely and in haste, they’ll be the means to our selfish ends, and they’ll be our excuse for not facing our fears.
While on the topic of fear it is good to note that more often than not we are inclined to construct what we think are biblical arguments for not stepping out and trying. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve heard someone use scripture to position themselves in a place where they do not have to face their fear, they do not have to trust God to provide, they do not have to believe that it is possible to be liberated from socialism and they don’t even realize it. It is not uncommon for people to rail against the hand that feeds them so be careful who you share your vision with. If you can’t take the criticism just yet. That’s fine just keep pressing forward. No one is pushing you out of your comfort zone, but if a friend does, thank them for it. Being entrepreneurial means that you’re going to have to develop the ability to have an objective perspective of yourself. That is done by using scripture as your measure, examining yourself before the throne of God, being characterized by having a hearing hear and taking counsel. It is not uncommon to find that while we are confident in one area we have none whatsoever in another. It is common that the thresholds our parents never crossed and openly feared we also find reason to fear. Take note that it is possible to still honor and respect older generations while moving forward according sound wisdom and counsel with a vision to go further utilizing all they have given you. It is easy to continually flatline and not really put your finger on the sources of the problem. It just might be inherited fear. Pray through your work and examine your motives. So often ideas fail because the impetus for certain decisions or practices were the lust of the flesh the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Many an entrepreneur has fallen by accepting into their practice the justification of manipulating other because they fear doing the work themselves. Unless the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it.
Selfish visions compete against what God would have you do. Defining vision will show you just who you look at in the mirror every day. If no one in your family is interested in fulfilling your dreams it might be because there truly is not room or reward for them within what you see happening. Vision is build on biblical principle not on personal fantasies or the pursuit of glory by meeting the expectations of society. Too often self glorying is of such value to us that we can’t see why other’s aren’t willing to do the work to get it for us. It’s narcissism at it’s finest. If you really realistically can’t take anyone into account but yourself this is your starting place. Get in the Word and define biblical vision.
Be teachable. Finding a mentor who is beyond where you are and would like to be is vitally important. Keep in mind that when you’re looking at your options and asking around for advice and direction, you’ll get a lot of ideas tossed your way. Everyone will tell you that they have the best thing. Rejoice in their confidence the Lord has given them and be thankful that everyone of them is a witness the various works the Lord is doing in every family. It can, however, make deciding what to do very confusing. The best thing to take away from it is this, they took stock of their God given talents and abilities, their resources, their familiarity with a part of the marketplace, and God led them to spot where they all could learn and converge in the family economy. It doesn’t hurt to work with and learn from a family for a time until you understand what they know about business. Take the principles home and apply them. No one is too old to have a mentor. It’s not just for youth. Great accomplishments come by way of many counselors. You know much about yourself that a mentor may not. It takes time to establish relationships and understanding between people. Ultimately the decisions you make are yours. Whether you decide to follow or not will reflect largely upon your understanding of what God is calling you to. That being said, most people aren’t teachable and don’t listen. Don’t let that be you.
Be willing to ask questions and clarify yourself. A lot of the time we receive direction and we’re not sure why our mentorship sees what they see or goes the direction they would go. Many times they don’t realize just how much of the years experience and knowledge are influencing their advice. They have a history of walking that road, of trial and error, of insight gained as the Holy Spirit influenced their biblical studies which in turn influenced their choices in business. Find out why if you can. Too many people follow blindly and too many people are unwilling to follow unless they understand every facet of their mentor’s understanding. Find that balance, be aware of the pitfalls of idolatry, find a mentor who is characterized by Christlikeness, but who is human, who understands the value of humility, of cleaving to truth above commerce, who is willing to be open, who when you walk away from a session with them, you know what you need to change and you are inspired to change. Value their time. Do as much work as you can answering your own questions. When the day comes that you are inevitably stuck and need of counsel. Give them a call or send them an email and remember what it cost them to invest in you.
Build A Mind for Business
Read, Read, Read…Develop those mental muscles. Make it a habit to read every day. Read until you hit a threshold or mental road block and then read a bit more. You’ll find that your consistency will pay off. You’ll be able to read more, digest more, process new concepts and eventually articulate ideas you couldn’t formulate before. An essential part of casting vision is articulating vision within your family and with others you’re networked with. Our minds are saturated with socialistic, feministic, humanistic, istic, istic, istic…. mumbo jumbo.
We have around us an abundance of materials to draw from. There’s a world of entrepreneurial philosophy, and there’s a world of entrepreneurial mechanics. It’s easy to read a lot of philosophy looking for encouragement and direction, to keep us motivated in the tough times. But most people never leave the launch pad because they solely consume this type of literature. It’s comfortable to dream. That is why we watch movies and stay late in bed. But businesses that sustain themselves are built by disciplined minds. Like any area there’s a lot of hype and if you’ve never build a business it’s hard to know what is true. Read recommendations by trusted sources first. Stay in the Word and ask the Lord daily for direction and clarity. The more wisdom we have from grounded our hearts and minds in scripture, the easier it is to discern what is hype and what is not. This is important because often times people discount all success as hype. They short change themselves and others who listen to their opinions. Don’t be responsible for killing someone else’s hope.
Reading about the mechanics of business is just as important as philosophy. It offers more of a grounded sensible analysis of what you’ve attempted so far and what you can tweak. Most that make a hobby of their business avoid these book and fall into the trap of playing business, but the IRS will soon determine it’s time to get serious about what you do. If you really take stock of the numbers, face them no matter what they are, you’ve got something tangible to work with and that is invigorating. Developing a plan from that and moving on will bring more relief than any one more feel good business book can. Even if it leads to an attempt that fails, there’s never a complete loss for all the wisdom gained. Don’t expect loss but don’t discount it all together.
Consider all the areas into which you’ll be moving as you start your business. Are you launching an etsy shop? You’ll need to study photography, copywriting, how to evaluate a market place and get your product in front of as many eyes as possible. Think ahead and be glad you live in the information age. With as much instruction and tutorials available as there are, the only thing that is really standing in your way is you.
Everyone brings a different talent and perspective to the table. Building a business means building an understanding of how to work with people. You’ll have to design a workflow. If one person is and editor and the other is the creative sort they may very well collide inspite of the fact that the both need each other. You can’t edit what you have not drawn up. A technical person might need the touch of the artistic for a finish work. Don’t discount one another. Appreciate each other and value each other and figure out how to time your interactions with each other according to each others needs. There is nothing worse than bringing the workplace value system into the home. If someone doesn’t produce the actual product that turns a profit but their managerial skill provides the end producer the freedom and opportunity to create that product then they should be valued and provided for out of the profit. That being said it is very easy to lean towards taking on the comfortable tasks at the expense of what really needs to be done, leaving the work to everyone else. The expenses of life, the demands of the marketplace you’ve just entered into should bring clarity to your priorities. Sometimes there is the temptation to wrestle with the notion that unless you are doing physical work you’re not working. Entrepreneurial adventures allow for so many disciplines that there really is no reason for crowding anyone out. When we start out we may very well be wearing more hats than we’d like to. If we duplicate that elbow grease philosophy when trying to build an organization we’ll soon find that everyone is burned out. The skillset required to work hard and trust yourself to get things done is necessary but as different skillset required for networking with others, trusting the work to them and leading them in a successful endeavour.
When you hit a dead end, you run out of money, you haven’t mastered marketing, or maybe things are at a stand still when you thought they’d take off. Pray. Ask the Lord, what your next move is. Options will come and bring with them renewed hope that you’ll be able to move things forward or learn something new that will be vitally important later because you’re ‘back in business’ in a sense. You’ve got something to put your hand to. It’s important to always be doing something even if it’s going back to something smaller for a time or doing the busy work that comes with running a business. See it as standing on a rung you’ve already firmly established, while you create the framework for climbing to the next one. A word of caution, when the ideas and options come it is just as easy to dissipate your energies trying everything. When options come, don’t just grab them. Evaluate. It’s easy to make quick decisions in desperate situations. If it looks like blue sky it might be a good idea to run the idea past someone else who is further down the road than you are. Part of entrepreneurship is building a framework around your creative energy. Keeping within that framework is important and sometimes that is only possible by saying no. There are many things to learn, to explore to try match that with the focus and discipline to get from point A to point B and you probably succeed.
A Humble Trust in God
Lastly, let’s go back to the example of the African women in the video above. Don’t despise small beginnings. There is a lot to be said right here. It is easy to think that we’re being reduced in status, in worth, in capability, when we compare ourselves to others who aren’t attempting what we’re putting our hands to or even those who have years of experience we do not. Our worth is established in Christ not in society’s ranking systems. And just as soon as I say that I also find that many people find themselves judged by others because of their own perception of others who are in a different place than they are. They belittle everyone who is beyond them they criticize their counsel and ideas freely offered and they effectively drive away the very help they need. Even if they keep their mouths closed by failing to take all thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ they slip up sooner or later. Entrepreneurship requires purity of heart and mind. It requires emotional maturity. It requires mental stability. Let that be your first work if you struggle in that area.
Another area of emotional weakness is needing approval. Many people are addicted to approval. They evaluate their entrepreneurial options based on who might give them approval. Their identity is wrapped up in who they associate with, who they think they can leverage themselves by and who has the potential give them the glory they think will validate their decisions, accomplishment, themselves. Rather than build a family economy for the glory of God, trusting God to establish them as they move forward in faith and base their work on biblical principle, they live like glory hounds seeking after a false sense of confidence to be gained by popularity but will not serve and establish them. They selfishly wait for someone to make them feel like they can accomplish something, to validate them. This goes beyond the normal and necessary Christlike encouragement. It’s a complete shifting of our faith and trust from God to man. Their addiction is undermining their opportunity to move on and in a family context it undermines everyone. Praise is important but when relationships become a source of idolatry it’s time to revisit first things.
The lifestyle and status that most have gives them a false sense of accomplishment as well as the praise and respect of their peers and that just doesn’t compare to the proverbs 31 vision for family economy. But when the job is gone and the family collapses so goes the status and respect. Proof we love a facade. There will always be someone who is better at ‘it’ whatever ‘it’ is, than you. Your job is to make sure you’re comparing yourself to a standard of righteousness rather than some other pressure, expectation, opinion or standard. That’s not to be confused with normal market expectations. In the beginning meeting expectation might be hard. The more you gel the more you’ll be able to meet deadlines and expectation for product or service quality and customer care. An entrepreneurial family is a work in progress that will not look the same as it did 10 years ago if they are truly seeking after sound business principles and practices.
If you truly understand that there is no future in leveraging yourself in the workplace, going back to what seems like ‘the start’ where you’re learning something new and launching something new, will be viewed, not as a sacrifice, but an investment. Small beginnings often are fraught with much opportunity to fear. Rather than facing the facts of what we’re actually dealing with, our minds trail through tempting suggestions, “I lack the training,” “I lack the education,” “Experts know more than me,” “How am I going to make this happen?” Here’s what you need to remember. The experts have something to teach you, the very thing you might need to know. The education you need is available all around you. Entrepreneurialism is synonymous with the pursuit of higher education through means other than state indoctrination centers. The autodidact knows the world around them is full of opportunities to learn and continue learning. This should be really important as we set an example of what it means to be self-educating. And finally, you’re not going to make it happen. God is. He goes before you, he perserves a way for you. He is faithful to chastise you. Building your own business provides so much opportunity to remember your dependence upon God, apply His wisdom, and let His work in establishing you be a witness to other who will come after you. Entrepreneurship is humbling. If it exposes that there’s been a failure to love and seek after humility, you’re more than a step ahead.
It’s Your Glory Story
Some of the wisest advice I’ve ever heard is “This is what works for our family.” Or in other words, “This is the avenue the Lord is taking our family down.” When others come at you with big ideas, be sensible. Only you know your family members as intimately as you do and often times you’ll make decisions that is best for the preservation of faithfulness than is best for good business numbers. Or you may decide to seize the opportunity but to do it in certain way because you know how your family member’s talents mesh. That’s unique. Something the workplace can’t afford. And that is precisely why you are in the position you’re in. Because you have insight outsiders can never have, unless they are really old preachers or mentors who have seen it all and dealt with it all. Don’t be afraid to follow after and preserve that insight. Also be open to reformulating how you operate according to the suggestions of others when the day comes your family has grown enough to work well that way.
Our Worst Enemy Is Us
One of the biggest plagues to wipe out entrepreneurial vision is women’s sin. Across the board women have failed to nourish the vision, understand facets outside their niche, they’re the masters of demolishing ideas before they take off far beyond normal, sensible, counsel and reason needed to evaluate an idea. And if the family has enough courage to start, when times get tough too often our greatest skill is recounting every aspect of everyone else’s failings. Most often we fail to see their own shortcomings and what we could do to help move things forward. When we begin to think that everything depends on us we feel justified in taking harsh measures. But what we’ve forgotten is that all things depend upon God.
Men bring a stability and framework for all the emotion that dissipate our energies and undermines our efforts. If you’re building something at home while your husband has a job still his counsel will be an important guiding principle. I think the ugliest thing I have ever seen is the emotional tirades women use to manipulate their households into action. There is no reason for it no matter what your circumstances. Good honest dedicated family members will soon tire of being under valued, misunderstood, cornered into small fruitless projects that really don’t utilize their talent, interest, and ambition, and they’ll either give up or move on. With the responsibility of building something new comes great temptation to tear it down from start to finish. We want our own way and that means we fail to view what we’re building in biblical terms. And as we judge our works by the standards of the world, we fall short and that frustrates us. But this is not building for the glory of God. Along the entrepreneurial journey from beginning to end, humility and gratitude are our salvation. The Scriptures are our answer book. Our prayers for deliverance and insight for our work are blessed by God. His providence and kindness is what feeds us.
We’ll be tested and we’ll find how we lean on each other emotionally in ways that drain each other and stall the whole effort. There will be plenty of opportunity to repent and grow in sanctification, and the more selfless we become, the more we become intimately acquainted with the rest of our family, the more we’ll find opportunities for grace to operate and for Christ to reign and rule. Our family worship will become richer rather than ritual. Our relationships in the body of Christ will have new meaning as we see ourselves as effective servants of the kingdom.
Try Your Wings
You’re about to embark on an adventure where you will be building something real and something lasting. The friendships that will be forged in a community that is going against the status quo, which support this vision will be unlike what the world has to offer. Your goal isn’t necessarily to find your status in this new community as much as it is to find ways the unique way God is calling you to bring Him glory. Live everyday faithfully, serving needs, and selflessly placing your talents in an available market space so others have someone to work with. As the Lord blesses your meekness you’ll find yourself willing and able to take on more, provide more, share more, spreading the wisdom of a Christ centered economy with others. Nothing risked nothing gained. Don’t bury your talents. Every attempt affords wisdom you’ll utilize later. Keep moving forward.
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The S.A.L.T. Plan
Free and Clear: God’s Roadmap to Debt-Free LivingBiblical Economics in Comics
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The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly
The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)
Outcome-Based Marketing: New Rules for Marketing on the Web
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