Ok. I’m keeping it real here. This is not a sugar coated, teach you everything there is to know about business kind of post. Can I teach you some things? Yes! But my prayer is to teach deep-hearted, soul growth things, not profit and loss kind of things. Let’s dive in!
Your story does not look like everyone else’s, BUT GOD intended it to be that way! Oh how easy it is to get sucked into everyone else’s highlight reels on Instagram, especially those sharing your corner of the market. Don’t do it! Unfollow all of your competition. By doing so you are truly giving the reins back to God, saying, I trust you God, use me and my gifts to bring you glory. It’s easy to get discouraged when you watch others rise to success faster than you. But just remember, that’s not your story and yours is likely better than you can even imagine. God has written your story to fit your purpose and you are His masterpiece. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:10 that “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” God has a plan and He can be trusted if you walk towards your gifts, not towards (fill in the blank) __________’s gifts.
Failure is inevitable, BUT GOD is waiting to teach you when you fail. This is a biggie for me. I could do an entire blog post on failure. I have a really good failure/redemption story from my first year in business that you can find here. But let me sum up for you what I’ve learned about failure. The most successful people in this world have two things in common. They have all failed and not a single one of them have quit. The only way to fail is to quit. And the only way to learn is to fail. God has taught me so much more in the times I have failed, than the times that were just easy breezy. God taught us through His prophet Azariah “to be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7). And, in the words of Dave Ramsey, “Entrepreneurship is not for wussies.”
There is always something you can be doing, BUT GOD wants us to rest. This is where work/life balance is really hard. I struggle big-time with this. I really can’t give sound advice on this yet, because it’s something I’m currently working through and trying to mature in. While I’m old enough to know that balance is not entirely achievable, I’m also old enough to know if the scale tips quicker towards work than family, I’m doing something wrong. In my busy seasons I tend to carry around a constant guilt. When you work out of your house like I do (and most entrepreneurs do), there is always something you can be doing. It truly takes me going away on vacation to completely turn off. I’m working through changing this as we speak. I know rest has been valued by God since creation for a reason, and I want to honor Him in this. “God finished his work that he had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done” (GENESIS 2:2), and I should be doing the same.
We all think growing fast is the goal, BUT GOD says, “hurry and scurry puts you further behind.” This is something He has really taught me over the years. Entrepreneurs are natural out-of-the-box thinkers and we tend to always stay out-of-the-box. Meaning we are always thinking of the next thing. This is where my husband typically gets involved and speaks wisdom into me. He has taught me to be a good steward of what God is building, and we have decided together that growing slow means we really get to cultivate what we have. Smaller means I get to do the things that really matter, like praying over each and every one of your planners, answering your emails, and chatting on our social feeds and in our Facebook Group. I’m learning to dive into what really matters in the season I’m in and follow God’s advice: “Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; and hurry and scurry puts you further behind” (Proverbs 21:5 MSG).
A big following doesn’t always equate to success, BUT GOD has the power to make waves with one. Did you know when I placed our first Anchored Press print run, I had about 300 Instagram followers? Meanwhile, I ordered significantly more (think in the thousands!) planners than I had followers. All because I trusted God. I knew He could be trusted, whatever the outcome. It’s so easy to get caught up in the numbers game. We don’t have crazy high numbers (compared to others in our industry) and it used to really get to me. I would see people do one MacBook giveaway after another and suddenly they had 10,000 followers, and that’s when it hit me: why would I bribe people to follow me? We don’t do that in real life. God wouldn’t want me to do that. I want people who want to be in my neck of the “Instagram woods,” and who share in my desire to grow closer to God. Another pivotal moment was when we had about 2,000 followers and someone said to me, “Can you imagine sharing Jesus in front of an audience of 2,000?!” That’s a lot of people!! 200 is a lot of people! In that moment I chose to worry less about our following and more about followers for Jesus! I laid it all down at the feet of Jesus. When you hand it over to Him you will realize He can do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). And after all, if He rules the oceans and subdues the waves (Psalm 89:9), He can surely sell some planners for me. And He can do the same for you!
They don’t always get it right, BUT GOD can use it for good. We have had some pretty big production problems over the years. If I told you each and every one, I would probably need to pick your jaw up off the ground. The printing industry is not for the perfectionist. Well, let me rephrase, the printing industry is a great rehab program for the perfectionist. I am a perfectionist. I used to call myself a recovering perfectionist but that’s silly. God gifted me in caring about details. If I didn’t care about details so passionately I would not be living out this call of mine. It’s when you let your perfectionism rob you of your joy and the joy of those around you that it becomes a problem. So needless to say, each year, I have had to learn to not sweat the small stuff. I have grown so much in this area (although my close friends still think I’m a crazy quality control nut), but if you saw where I came from I think you would be proud. This year, we had 300 planners that we could not sell. My husband was at Bible study a couple weeks ago (at a smaller church in our area) and they announced they were having a women’s retreat. My husband felt a nudge to donate all 300 of the planners to the retreat. When I contacted the ministry leader to ask if we could donate to the attendees, she was elated, but said they had 300 attendees, fully expecting we wouldn’t have that many to give. Well, isn’t God creative? Maybe even a perfectionist? Lol! We certainly know that to be true and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
Hired help will come and go, BUT GOD always opens the next door. I’ve lost a couple good ones over the years and at the time, the loss devastated me. But looking back, it was for the good. It pushed me to grow in areas I needed to grow and allowed me to take back ownership of some things that slipped away from me. Things that were in my gifting and held my vision. I learned like Job (yet obviously not as drastically as Him), that God gives and he takes away (Job 1:21). And He is faithful. While at times it got a little hairy around here (we have deadlines almost year round!), He never left me hanging. When you are working for the Lord and giving Him all the glory, it is so much easier to take these blows lightly and carry His peace that surpasses all understanding.
People typically aren’t very helpful, BUT GOD will bring exactly who you need when you need them. Let’s face it, people are just too dang busy! It’s not that they don’t want to help, they simply have way too much on their plate. When I launched Anchored Press my plan was to reach out to all of the influential Christian women and ask them to talk about our new and exciting Devotional Planner to their community. People! In my heart of hearts, I thought surely everyone would spread the word for me! I mean there was nothing like it on the market and they certainly want women closer to God like I do! Right? I think maybe 10% got back to me. It makes me laugh out loud thinking about it. But at the same time I marvel at the belief I had in people. Don't get me wrong, I still believe in people, but the shift is my hope is not in people, my hope is in God. Believing He knows the plans He has for Anchored Press. He knew Beth Moore would send me an encouraging note at just the right time. He knew He would use the sweetest blogger to be my biggest cheerleader (thank you Teresa Anderson!) right when I started to feel defeated. He knew an author to teen girls (Kari Kampakis), would make sales skyrocket from the state of Alabama our first year. He knew He would bring over 150 women to contribute to the pages of the Weekly Planner over the past 3 years! And above all, He knew you would be holding an Anchored Press Planner long before you placed your order. “God knows the plans He has for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, but to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
My last and most important point is, nobody cares as much about your business as you do, BUT GOD does! And for that I will work hard, run the race and give God all the glory!
"I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, BUT GOD has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God's service; you are God's field, God's building."
1 CORINTHIANS 3:6-9