So here we are in just a mere 19 days left, and we will say goodbye to 2017. A new year is coming. I have grown, matured and learned so much as an entrepreneur I thought I’d write a short blog about it, okay maybe it won’t be so short but go with me.
This year was an incredible year of growth and development for me. Don’t get me wrong it hasn’t come without it’s challenges, but in everything I have gone through I continue to be amazed at the faithfulness of God.
This year some of my dreams became a reality. My business is no longer housed in my home office, or in my portable portfolio. This year after many years of looking for just the right space we are located in a beautiful space in downtown Greensboro, overlooking a great view. If you knew the story of how I got it, you’d praise God with me. This year my writing career went to another level, I wrote and completed more projects than any other year. I will spare you the details but trust me I am just in awe of the magnitude that God allows me to produce. When His hand is on what you do there is no stopping you.
So like I said this year has been a great year of growth, transformation, and strength. I can end this year on a positive note, I am so grateful for the journey. I thought I’d blog ten things I have learned about being a Christian entrepreneur. Of course, there are more than ten but for the sake of time let’s stick to 10. They are in no particular order, and in everything I do I will never leave out my love, Jesus Christ, without Him nothing would be possible.
The value of time. One of my sayings is that I value my time like I value my money I am very careful who I spend it on. I am a woman that is driven to pursue purpose on purpose. If there is one thing, I have learned about myself as an entrepreneur that is I have zero tolerance for people who waste my time. I have concluded this year if an individual is not pursuing purpose like I am and if they cannot articulate themselves, if they call me to talk about nothing, I have no use for them. I am not mean, but I value my time, I am not going to waste it doing nothing, with purposeless conversations. I know that may sound mean to some of you, but that is my truth. When you have a vision that you are actively working, you don’t have time for purposeless people who are sent to distract you from the assignment.
Connections- This year I finally decided to be careful about connections. Just because someone is supportive of your vision doesn’t mean they are capable of actually helping you to fulfill it. You can love someone with all your heart, but the reality is they can’t go where God is taking you and believe it or not that is okay. That’s one of the life lessons God has had to teach me over and over again.
Sacrifice. I knew entrepreneurship took sacrifice, but this year I have sacrificed so much more than I did in years before. For example today, I drove to one of my offices that is an hour away, then drove back to my downtown office in Greensboro for a consultation. The entire time I just wanted to go to my home and go to bed. I get to my downtown office, and the client decides she would rather do the consultation over the phone. Yes, I was slightly annoyed by this, I didn’t have to drive back an hour just to meet with her, I could’ve have just called her. Then I turned and drove another two hours to get to a two day training (a training I am not looking forward to by the way.) My point is today was a sacrifice. An entrepreneur spends time, up before everyone else, staying later then anyone else, all pursuing the vision. Often it doesn’t feel like work because you enjoy what you do, but today it felt like work. I am exhausted, but I needed to add content to my website so after I got to my hotel I started this blog, plus I can’t let a good idea go to waste.
Insurance, insurance, insurance. Yes, I am a therapist in private practice, so navigating and learning insurance has been quite challenging but you know what I learned a lot. It is not as frustrating as it was at the beginning. There is a learning curve.
I learned never invest more into someone else's vision than they are willing to invest in themselves. I push myself hard, so when I connect with others to complete their work, I push them just as hard. However, I learned I couldn’t want it more for them then they want it for themselves. I learned to let go.
NO! NO! NO! I have learned to say No! No! I can’t just talk to you over the phone “just to talk” I am a therapist, so when you say “I need to talk.” What you mean is “I need to see a therapist I just don’t want to acknowledge a mental health diagnosis, I don’t want to come to your office, I don’t want to sit down and talk because I don’t want to acknowledge my mental illness.” Christians have such stigma when it comes to mental illness; they don’t want to call it what it is. If you are not my mother, my sister or my friend, but you need to “just talk” what I interpret that is, you are wanting to be my client without acknowledging it as so. Feel free to call my number, set up an appointment for an IN OFFICE counseling session, otherwise NO! I will not be “just talking” to you.
NO! I do not offer FREE services. I heard it said that people don’t respect you when it’s free. Yep! I learned this one the hard way. By the way, I have had people call me and ask me to write entire books for them for free, consult with them for free. Ummm NO! It takes time to write a book, particularly the kinds of books I write. No, I don’t just throw together a pamphlet I mean a book overnight. I take time, do my research and make sure the book is industry standard. I learned that people that continue to ask for free services don’t respect or value you as an entrepreneur. That may sound strange, but my bills are not free, my office space is not free, my office supplies are not free, the upkeep of my license to practice is not free, my websites, marketing material, book cover, editors, etc. all of that is not free. My time is NOT free. Don’t ask!
Walk with confidence. I got the confidence lesson a couple of years ago, but this year I learned confidence to a greater degree. My pastor told us a few months ago, people may not talk about your progress, but they will see. I would like to add people won’t believe in your vision until they see results. No one believed in me, but God when I started out over twenty years ago I was a broke college student who just wanted to graduate from college. Now they see the results. I don’t do what I do for people, but I realized a long time ago I had to do what I did unto God not to please people.
My life principle is never to pursue people. I live by this; I pursue God. This year I stuck to my guns. If someone doesn’t see my value that is their problem. Everybody can’t see the difference between a cubic zirconia and a diamond. It is not your job to convince anyone of who you are; it is your job to be what God has called you to be.
Ultimately Christian entrepreneurship is not meant to seek financial stability; it is not to seek a house or a car, it is not so we have the accolades of man, although those are great benefits when you become a success. Christian entrepreneurship is really about seeking to advance God’s kingdom, His way. When I think of advancing God’s kingdom, and that He would use me I am only grateful to God for choosing me.
Matthew 6:33 (KJV)
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
My advice to all entrepreneurs, as God told me, seek right living, seek to advance God kingdom through His methods. Let us let go of self and pursue Him at all cost. Be blessed and go forth in Jesus name.
Samaria M Colbert © 2017