During the month of July we are talking about how to grow your business. From beginnings to middles, we are covering it all. Recently I talked about the steps my kids have taken to start a business. Check out that post here. Today I’m going to talk about how I know it’s time to start a business. It may be different than you thought. I will be sharing my thoughts about God in this post. I believe in God, if you don’t that’s fine. Just think of the higher power you believe in when you read this post.
How I Got Started Building Businesses
I want to take a step back and tell you a little about my past business experiences. My first business was on Etsy. I started this business when my husband and I had moved to Arizona for him to attend medical school. I didn’t have a lot to do and I was 6 months pregnant. This meant I didn’t want to start a job outside of my home because I wanted to be able to be home with my son when he was born. Now, I am a mover and someone who likes to be busy so this 3 month period without anything to do was hard for me to deal with.
We All Start Somewhere
I remember being really torn up about what I should do. I tried cake decorating and quickly realized that was not my calling. Lol. Then I started sewing and selling little girl’s hats on Etsy. This is where my business started making money. And I remember this moment when I was trying to figure out what God had in store for me. I knew I wanted to be a good mom and be there with my baby. And I felt alone with no friends or family nearby. I turned to God and asked, “What do you want for me?”
I knew I could make things. My mom had always been a good seamstress and had taught me to sew, so I knew I could do that. The moment that I sold my first hat was life changing. Here I was, an almost-mom in an apartment in Arizona, and someone was able to purchase what I had made from across the country. It was an aha moment. I knew this was what I was supposed to do. I knew, for the first time, it’s time to start a business. Before this, I had experienced some discontent and confusion.
Michelle D. Craig, one of my favorite speakers, calls this ‘divine discontent’. She says that sometimes we are given opportunities to feel like there’s a gap between where we are and what we should be doing. Sometimes this comes from us needing to make changes to our lives, repenting, and trying to be better. Other times, it’s because there are some things we need to do and act out in faith. For me, that time with Etsy was a period of self-discovery to help me get closer to becoming the person I needed to be. Did I end up being a seamstress? No. But it was a huge step for my business.
Let me tell you, I bootstrapped the heck out of my business. I was a med student’s wife living on student loans. I didn’t have a lot of money to start a business. But as my business did make a little money, I could spend more on my business. As I switched my focus to photography, I was able to spend money on a photography course to learn how to take better pictures. Educating yourself is such an important investment in your business. It’s the best way to grow your business.
The hard part with this divine discontent is that it leaves us a little in the dark. It gives the Enemy/Satan/Devil (whatever you want to call him) the opportunity to come in and make us doubt ourselves.
Michelle D. Craig says:
One way to tell divine discontent from Satan’s counterfeit is that divine discontent will lead us to faithful action. Divine discontent is not an invitation to stay in our comfort zone, nor will it lead us to despair. I have learned that when I wallow in thoughts of everything I am not, I do not progress and I find it much more difficult to feel and follow the Spirit.
Take A Step Forward in Faith–How to Know It’s Time to Start a Business
I think it’s really important part to point out right now is that if you’re feeling like you’re not doing enough or that something is missing, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing enough or you aren’t good enough. It just means that you need to take a step forward in faith. And when we do that we are met with the Lord. God is there to guide us and be with us, but we have to take a step forward into that.
Another one of my businesses that I started was a photography non-profit called, “Beauty Revived”. And I had some moments of divine discontent with that, too. I kept having this thought, “Michelle, you need to do more with your photography.” Now this was a weird thought that came at a weird time in my life. I had just moved to California, I had 4 kids with the youngest one being 6 months old, I was trying to rebuild my photography business in a new area. So many things were going on. We had entered a new phase of life outside of school, in a new area. It just didn’t make sense. But I just felt like I needed to do this, I had a way to serve, and I knew– it’s time to start a business again.
Can You See a Problem You Have the Ability to Solve?
This is another feeling that you get if you’re called to do something. You see a problem and you know that you have the ability to serve and help in that area. And that’s what happened for my non-profit business. At this time, I started serving the young girls in my church (12-18yrs old) and I could see that they weren’t being told their true worth or seeing their true beauty. I could see how I could help them with that, by using my camera to show them their true beauty. I started telling stories of girls and women who were beautiful on the inside and the outside.
It turned into this big non-profit that was international, we had a lot of campaigns and even a print magazine that came out. And if you look at when I started this, it did not make sense. But God knew that I needed this. It started me on the path to where I am now. It helped me to meet some people I needed to meet, and it gave me experience and some understanding in how God speaks to me. If you are able to walk hand in hand with God in your business, your experience, motherhood, and marriage, then you’re able to do way more than you ever thought you could. God opens doors for you. And he will teach you how he speaks to you and he will show you who you are.
Can You See the Big Picture?
Another way to know it’s time to start a business is when you are really excited, you can’t sleep, and you can see the big picture about how it can be. This happened recently with my kids and their YouTube channel. I’m always nervous about putting my kids online because I want to protect them. So I sat my kids down and I talked to them about the reasons that they are doing their business. They had a few they suggested– money, it’s fun, etc. But I wanted them to know why I feel they were being led to start a business.
I feel that God has been calling good people everywhere to stand up and to have an influence. So I told my kids, “Listen, if you do this and it becomes a thing and people start watching, you have a duty to stand up and be a witness and to shine light and be a bearer of truth and show up as the good and beautiful people that you are”
So when I’m talking about how and why I start each of my businesses, really, each of them have been started with prayer. I’ve had moments of divine discontent, or I see a way I could serve, or a problem that I could solve, or I just see the vision of where an idea could take me.
I’m trying to tell my kids that the only way this works is that you have God that keeps you in check with the rest of the parts of your life.
Make Sure You Have Your Priorities Straight
As a mom, it’s really easy to get caught up in business. It’s so much easier to spend an hour and do an email sequence that I know I’ll get paid for, and it will last for a long time. Now you go spend an hour cleaning the kitchen, you’re not guaranteed that will last very long. It’s really easy to get caught up in business. And it’s the same with your kids. It can really feel like you need to spend all of your time with your kids and devote your whole being to them. But when you do that, you lose parts of yourself. You want to have your own identity and know who you are separate from motherhood. I mean that with all the love because being a mother is the best thing ever, and it’s the highest and noblest calling that I’ve ever had. But there’s still me, Michelle Gifford, that’s still me.
Don’t Forget Yourself
It can be easy to put your relationships on the back burner because you’re so busy. But it’s important to not put your relationship with yourself on the back burner. The only way to keep this in check is if you have God in the center of all of it, prompting you to put your energy where it needs to go. There will be days where you will spend no time on your business because your kids need you, or days when you’ll spend more time on your business, or even times when you put your business down and go for a walk with your husband.
You’ve got to have God with you so you can know how to keep it in balance. That’s the secret that no one is talking about. I wish people would include this more in their business trainings.
I believe that yes you can:
- Have a business
- Be an amazing mother
- Have a great marriage
You Have to be Centered on God
But you have to be centered on God and be sure that the places you are putting your time are where they should be. The guilt can go away when you do this because you can be assured that you are doing what you’re supposed to do. Before I start a business I really consider this. Through prayer, pro and con lists, meditation, reading scriptures, I sit with the ideas I have. And this is how I really determine when it’s time to start a business. And then it becomes less about me and the things that I want and then I can turn things over to God and say, “This is what I can do”
I was just thinking about my Beauty Revived days. I closed that business up a few years ago because it was time. But I think about the things I was able to accomplish and the miracles that happened and it wasn’t me. Yeah, I showed up every day and I put in the hours. But there are just some things that I could not have orchestrated on my own. If we are going forward into our business backed with the power of God being with us, big things can happen. I’ve seen it in my businesses, and in other businesses.When you show up, and you serve, you’re doing what you’re called to do, really amazing things happen. And you can make money at it. God wants you to be abundant, right? He wants you to have all the things that you need.
When You Start a Business, Start Here
So, when you are starting a business, I do believe you have to start here. You need to make sure your heart and your spirit are in the right place and you are using your gifts to lift and help others. This is how you’ll know it’s time to start a business. I just adore you. When I was considering sharing about this part of my business, I just knew I had to share this part. It’s so important to me as I raise my kids and work to build a strong marriage.
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