Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Entrepreneurial at Home feat. Two Old Beans

Two Old Beans is a vintage clothing shop that was started by two friends. Jack and Charlie (or Jessica Courter and Ellen Vernier) live in TN with their families. Interviewed here is Jessica who lives with her 10 siblings that are still at home. You may remember that I interviewed her father two weeks ago who is also a successful entrepreneur. As to her familiarity with vintage life, her family just finished putting on a WWII reenactment in TN this past September and will be hosting it again this year.  I hope you find this interview encouraging and inspiring as I have always found her to be.

1. Why this business?
Well, I already had an interest and intermediate knowledge base in vintage clothing, so it really made sense for me to try and do something with this desire. I also knew that vintage clothing is a currently expanding market, so with enough business sense it could be turned into a viable business.

2. What made you start?
The opportunity came along for me to partner up with Ellen, so I took it. I have always been hesitant about partnerships because of the cautions throughout Proverbs, so I thought about the decision a while before I actually went ahead with it. I think that as long as both partners understand the dangers and potential struggles with partnerships, they can make it work. Honestly, in this case, I feel like partnering with Ellen almost triples our effectiveness and potential because our passions + goals are so similar and our skills mesh up extremely well. 

3. What were your goals in starting this business?
These goals have morphed for me as the business has grown and progressed. Originally I was hoping for a nice little side job that the two of us could work together and make a little money at, but more recently, I’ve been working to turn this into a full blown operation. Currently this means Ellen and I are involved in every single step of the process, from buying, to sorting, cleaning, mending, photographing, listing, shipping, customer service, paperwork, marketing and a host of other things, but I’m hoping (and believe it’s quite possible) to streamline the process to where it requires minimal work and/or we start hiring out jobs. 

4. What were some things that you did to get your business off the ground?
Invest time. Lots of time. Ellen and I talked over marketing plans and ideas and then we just dug in. We hadn’t a clue what would work and wouldn’t work so it took a lot of time at first, but by being attentive and persistent, it eventually paid off and we’ve already learned a lot about what works best for our market and have been able to cut our time down considerably. We also researched what other companies were doing and tried to learn from them. However, I think the biggest thing that we’ve done that has helped get the business going is just being there for people — whether its on our etsy store, instagram, or anywhere else, we try to be super fast with responses, as helpful as possible and very relational. Ellen and I are both relational people, so that last one comes fairly natural to us, but I think (at least in our market), that people really appreciate our effort to connect with them as people, not just buying customers. 

5. What are some lessons you've learned from this?
Strategy is super important. The saying “if you don’t know where you’re going, than any train will get you there” is true. You really need to be forward thinking in starting a business — trying to accurately predict business growth is really hard when beginning, but you need to be thinking about the possibilities of both a boom or bust. Knowing when and how much to invest in new equipment and merchandise is really important. So I guess the best thing I’ve learned is how to think through things, set goals and take the appropriate action. 

6.What kept you going?
More like what keeps me going, since we’re nowhere close to where we want to be :] To be honest, it’s really the knowledge that I simply need to be making money! But it’s also knowing that by getting this venture running on it’s own, I’ll be able to pursue some of the other dreams I have! I find all this stuff really exciting to me :] Besides, starting and running your own business (when run right) is a very rewarding experience.

7. What are some tips you have for the readers?
I guess it would be just do something — find where your interests already lie and see if you can capitalize on that to create a business. By doing this you’ll be making money and doing what you love. Maybe you don’t know for sure if it’s what you want to be doing for years to come, but get some goals and start. In the process of just beginning, you’ll learn a multitude of things that you could never learn by just thinking about it. Your goals can and will change as you grow, but you have to begin somewhere. Something I like to remind myself of is that avoiding failure is to avoid progress. If you want to get somewhere, you have to be willing to take risks. Remember, there is no victory without a battle and there is no elevator to success. Take the stairs and make the most of what you already have!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Entrepreneurial at Home

So I thought it was about time that I did an article about entrepreneurs and working from home.
Although I'm not as successful as all of these guests we've had I do understand the freedom that we can have working from home and I thought I'd share the thoughts I've had about all these interviews.

While the rest of you have been reading, I've gotten to meet, interview and talk to these amazing people...but the biggest thing that I've picked up is they aren't supernatural..

"The major difference between a big shot and a little shot is that the big shot was a little shot that kept on shooting." Zig Ziglar

In other words none of these people have something that they were born with, nor did they get it on the first try. Sonya had been in  four network marketing businesses before she found Plexus. Thomas has had many investments that didn't return and Anthony didn't jump into the rental business without spending months of preparation.

Then what's something that they all had in common so far?

LUCK - Laboring Under Correct Knowledge

They studied, learned from their mistake, kept running, didn't quit when it got hard, and they stayed focused. 

They are where they are today because of what they did yesterday. They were prepared because they were willing to take the time to learn what they needed to know.

How many of you have had dreams that never happened because you quit? How many have you have thrown up your hands and said it'll never happen? Or how many of you have quit before you started?

Success is only achieved through relentless persistence. Those who fail on the first try are most likely going to be more wise than those who never fail at all, IF they learn from their mistakes. 

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts."
Winston Churchill

The desire for the goal must out way the fear of the obstacle if one is to succeed. You must be willing to put your heart in it if you expect anything to be accomplished.

"Don’t dabble in 25 different things or three or four different things." Anthony Courter

As Anthony said focused stands for following one course until successful. You can't run three races and win them all. 

"Sometimes you have to lose a battle to win the war." -Donald Trump

If you truly believe that God has called you to a re-sale, or network marketing etc. then do all as unto the LORD. Don't leave a job half finished, complete it, stay focused on one thing.

To sum up what the others have said...
Don't be afraid to chase your dreams, apply yourself, and trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Christ my Secret Formula

               I know you all are going to think I’m crazy, but as a little girl I was a dreamer (and still am). One of the biggest things I dreamed about all the time was my own deadly enemy. Yep…I’m crazy. But seriously I wanted to grow up nice and strong and drive crooks across the world nuts, to be so dangerous that they would dedicate their lives to destroying mine! I wanted to be one of those characters that they could never catch (like the White Mouse (WWII) or Robin Hood). In summary I wanted to be useful by my definition.

                But one day I woke up to the fact that my dream had already come true! The most powerful enemy in the world had dedicated his life to destroying mine; he was determined to make every accomplishment or dream impossible, to make every step a struggle. He had decided to target me as an individual and would do anything to stop me from ever becoming dangerous.

                NEWS FLASH
when the enemy starts threatening or attacking you it means you’re already a threat.

                So who is this deadly enemy? When you claim the name of Christ he is immediately you’re declared you’re targeted enemy. Satan.

                But just like all "bad guys" he overlooked one aspect. The reason I'm so secret formula Christ. 

                My mom was the one that stated the above news flash and it finally hit me, she was right! And it made me think about something one of my friends had said years ago, “If you have enemies, you know you’re on the right path, but if you are at peace with all men than you should check your motives.”

                So how hard is life for you? Is it “impossible”? Or is it easy? Is satan winning or losing? How much of a threat are you to him? Or are you a threat at all?

                I think these are questions we should be asking ourselves every day. When we truly target our lives at serving God we naturally target out lives at fighting satan. There is no in between. So when you’re not a deadly enemy you’ve become an enemy to God. “…and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Matt 12:30

                We are commanded to “Fight the good fight of faith…” (1 Tim 6:12) “Fight” is not a soft word, and it’s not a suggestion it’s a command. You don’t have a choice.

                Keep on fighting, you’ve got more energy and power than he’ll (satan) ever have so just ware him out. Keep fighting the good fight, never give up, God’ll always be behind you and he’ll never leave you. If our God is for us than what can stand against us?

                So what are we waiting for? Why do we dodge the troubles, work, sacrifice or hardship? Are we scared? Do we fear men? “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power…” 2 Tim 1:7 Why? God is stronger!

                “Remember when you’re falling and the rain is clouding your vision there’s a hand on your shoulder and Someone who can see above the clouds is guiding you through the treacherous climb to righteousness.”

                How long are we going to listen to that small voice inside our head telling us that we’re not strong enough? We should listen to the huge voice behind who’s calling us to trust Him!

                So trust God, follow Him, and fight the good fight with boldness. After all we have a secret formula that they can never steal. 

“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” 1 Corinthians 6:20

Friday, March 20, 2015

How much do you love God?

People don’t make decisions because they’re afraid to make the wrong one, so they sit and do nothing. We're to afraid to move. So then we rush through choices and speed through decisions because at least we're doing something.

 I agree that we shouldn’t sit around and waist the time given to us by God. But how much do you love God? Some of you may be wondering what your love for God has to do with this. Let me give an example.

There are two best friends whose girl-friends are getting married. Both were asked to pick out the bride’s wedding dress.

1st case scenario
The best friend walks into the bridal store and looks around the room, after spending an hour there she realizes that she doesn’t know her friend as well as she thought. She could not pick a dress that justly portrayed her friend’s personality and truly represented her the best. All though going back with nothing will prove to her friends that she doesn’t know anything she would rather be humiliated or take up more time than to ruin her friend’s wedding. Ultimately she loves her friend to much to make a mistake. So she goes back to her friend so they can do it together and she can learn more about the bride.

2nd case scenario
The best friend walks into the bridal store, although the bride asked her to be very careful with what she chose, she only specified that it had to be modest. But the best friend only has a half an hour to spend on the bride. So she chooses the first modest one she comes to and leaves the store with something.

Out of these to best friends which one loved the bride more; 1 or 2? Well obviously 1 right? Although number 2 picked a modest dress she did not take the time to think about how well the dress described or represented the bride. Was there anything wrong with her choice? No! It was modest just like the bride wanted it. In fact number 2 saved the bride time by not making her pick.

Now after reading this story let me ask you the question again…How much do you love God?
Do you love him enough to admit that you don’t know Him as well as you thought? That you don’t know Him well enough to make a quick decision? Do you love Him enough to “bother” him so that you will know Him better?

Here are the four steps to making a decision, but which sound like you care?
         1. Search out the Scripture                               1. Read the Bible
         2. Cry out to God                                              2. Pray
         3. Seek council and wisdom                             3. Ask for council
         4. Make the decision                                         4. Make the decision

Do you see the difference? One reads like a check list of responsibilities, while the other reads like a list of choices a Christ loving person would make.

I agree that we sometimes are too scared to make a decision and that is the reason for the time it takes for us to move. But not all of us take forever for that reason. I’m sure we would all consider ourselves best friend 1. But why, may I ask you, are we willing to spend hours, humiliate ourselves, pull the bride from her activities and fail on a mission we were sent on just to pick out a dress? But yet, we won’t spend three days to consider something as big and important on our knees before God as marriage and carrier.

But why should we haggle over a carrier? If they’re both not morally wrong. Remember the dress that number 2 picked out? It wasn’t morally wrong, yet the girl that came back with nothing loved the bride more than the girl that made the morally correct decision. There is nothing wrong with being a doctor unless it is not the choice that will…what?
What defines a good choice outside of a moral standard?

“She could not pick a dress that justly portrayed her friend’s personality and truly represented her the best.”

We are in this life to be images of Christ; we are in fact mirrors reflecting the light of the world. Each career we choose is like a mirror, colored mirrors will reflect Christ’s light but in a different way. Shattered mirrors will reflect Christ’s light but in a different way. In fact every type of reflectent will reflect Christ’s light including a piece of shining metal, a pool of water,  a window, a dirty mirror, even a rainbow and butterfly wings reflect light. But they all do in different ways. In other words none but the clear, clean mirror reflects God as he truly is, without shadow, without tint, without fade and without blotch.

So what defines a good choice outside of a moral standard? How well can you in this career reflect,  God? The better you know Him the better you’ll know the answer. And the truth is none of us will ever know God inside and out. So we turn around admit that we don’t know Him as well as we thought, and walk with Him in understanding to grow in wisdom.

But do we really have to worry over every little detail?
Should we? I mean does God really care how we dress? Does He really care what type of house we live in? Or what car we drive? Or what movies we watch or what songs we listen to?
My answer is yes. I hope yours is too. Because guess what? If He doesn’t care about these things why would he care who we marry, what church we go to, what school we go to, what sexual relationships we have before we marry. And the list continues like a snowball effect down the hill. If something is better than nothing, just leave me be, at least I’m doing something.

If I teach that we chose to be Christians, just leave me be, at least I’m talking about Jesus.

If I stand on a podium and teach that abortion is not murder, just let me be, at least I’m preaching.

If I sin, just leave me be, at least I’m acting.

If I beat my wife and children, just leave me be, at least I’m active in my family.

See where this can go? Not a good thing.

Related to marriage there’s no perfect person out there for you. So what are you waiting for; something better; under what standard?”

I believe that we have a tendency to set a standard of Prince Charming and Princes Perfect…but they don’t exist. Match your standards with God’s definition not Disney’s depiction.

But yes I believe there is only one right person out there for you not necessarily the perfect person. I don’t believe that marriage is something that just happens; I believe it is preordained by God and he has someone planned for you. Do we over-assadurate and draw preparation out? Yes I think we often do, but why; because we’ve set our standards to high? Or is it because we “love God and our friend too much to make a mistake?”

Do we love God enough to spend a lot of time praying before we make an important decision?
I’ll leave you with the same question

How much do you love God? It’s time to ask yourself that question.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Entrepreneurial at Home feat. Anthony Courter

Anthony Courter - Real estate 

Anthony Courter lives in Linden, TN with his wife and 11 unmarried children; his married son's family (wife and child) live not to far away. 
He is a successful rental owner and has taught many others what he's learned. 
His love for history took his family on a journey to Europe for the 70th anniversary of D-Day last year, and many other historical places across america. 
As a previous pastor his love for the ministry has taken him and his family to places like Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.  
I'm so glad he took the time for this interview I hope you learn much from his advice. 

Why this Business?

“I got into the rental business because I knew it was going to meet my goals for being with my kids, and giving me freedom from earning a wage by the hour, and giving me freedom to serve other people.  So that was the main reason, really the only reason I got into rental property.”

What made you start?

                “It was my goals, absolutely.”

What were your goals in starting this business?

                “My saying was I wanted to grow up with my children, which meant I wanted to be the main instructor in my children’s lives. So that meant I wanted to be around them every moment I could be, and so that’s 24 hours a day 7 days a week. So I was looking for something to have my children with me so I could teach them.

                I was looking for something that would give me freedom from just being a wage earner or just working by the hour. I wanted to be paid for my ideas and not just for my time. And another fraise I was using was a slave to money; I didn’t want to be a slave to money.

                The third one was I wanted to be able to serve other people and do it for free, and I wanted to at least do that for half a year. Give half my year away to other people. I realized that too many men were working for the hour and by the hour and because of that it gave them a different mentality. How they viewed money, what they were doing with it, because what they were doing was trading the most valuable thing that they had and it’s, there’s no way to put a value on it; they were trading their time, their health, their future and relationships with other people for a monetary amount, something that has a little bit of value. They were trading something that is basically priceless for twenty dollars an hour, fifteen dollars an hour or hundred dollars an hour or whatever it may be. But they’re still trading something that has a value beyond description for something so monetary as just a few dollars an hour. So I wanted to be paid for my ideas not my time.
                So those were my three things.”

What were some things that you did to get your business off the ground?

                “I was LUCKY. I “Labored Under Correct Knowledge.” I did lots and lots of homework, read lots of books. What I mean when I say “homework” and “I labored under correct knowledge” is, I read every book, real estate book I could find, I went to every library I could go to, and I would ask every investor I came in contact with; how’d they get started, what were they learning from the process, if they would do it again. So I had some people that told me that they didn’t want to do real estate ever again in their lives, I’d ask them why and I wouldn’t let them discourage me, I just wanted to find out why they discouraged it. I found guys that who were doing it was successful at it, so I asked them what they were doing that was good.

                I got newspapers and I tried to find rent values, prices of housing, and lots of things like that. I started going to different banks, trying to find out well what are the qualifications to borrow money. So that was the first thing that I did was I tried to education myself as much as possible. So there was about six months that I was really wanting to do something but all I could do was just, all I did was just homework, because I didn’t want to make a $40,000 or $50,000 mistake especially since I wasn’t making very much money. That was a lot of money at that point in my life and so I was very careful in how I was investing my time, and I wanted to make sure I was doing something with my time that would education myself.”

What are some lessons you've learned from doing this?

                “That if somebody sets their mind to it, anything’s achievable, without question. I was making $125.00 a week, didn't have any money saved, to speak of I didn't have any money saved back (I had $1,000.00 I had saved back from a job that I had had before), Michelle and I had two children at that point in our life, and I’d never bought a house. I had many people that were trying to discourage me, by just saying, get a factory job, stay there you’ll be happy, you’ll have two weeks of paid vacation and everything will be fine and hunky dory and you’ll get all these benefits. I would just say that if someone sets their mind to doing something and do the correct homework and don’t let their emotions drive them but letting wisdom and knowledge drive them I think they can do anything that they set their heart to.”

What kept you going?

                “The sheer fact that I knew I could do it and what the end goal was. Getting my three goals that I had, which were again; growing up with my kids, not being a slave to money, and giving my time away to other people for free.”

What are some things you want the readers to hear?

                “Become focused, focused stands for “following one course until successful.” Don’t dabble in 25 different things or three or four different things. When I was doing real estate I wasn’t doing anything but real estate. I exaggerate when I say that I was eat, drinking and sleeping real estate, but reality is past my scripture reading and time I was spending with my family and the job I was working, (I was working another job) I spent every moment I could think about real estate I was thinking about it, reading again and then trying to understand the principles that were there. Asking other men about the things I had learned.

                Something else is to just make sure that you’re applying yourself, and then just don’t be gathering knowledge but actually do something with it I could have done all that. I have a lot of people that they’ve asked me a lot of real estate questions, and they’ve asked me a lot of real estate questions, and they’ve asked me a lot of real estate questions. They have lots of knowledge, and they have lots of knowledge and they have lots of knowledge but they’ve never acted. So there’s a time when you need to do your research and you need to act upon it and not be driven by fear or by greed but by the wisdom of knowing that what you’re doing is a sound choice and it’s not, again, driven by your external emotions.”

How would you describe your success?

                “Well, I guess I could say after doing this since 1992, (so it’s been 23 years) I was able to quit my job after four years of doing this and so I started this back in 92, I started the factory job in 91 and with in September of 95 I quit my factory job.  And I was able to meet all the goals I desired, because I was now financially independent enough, I only had $1,000 a month coming in but my wife and I decided we were going to live off of that. Because we were able to stay within a budget and I was able to purchase the houses I did in those, basically about three and a half years, I was able to meet my goals and so I would say that I was very successful at meeting the goals that I desired to reach and it gave me the freedom to do many other things in life.”

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Entrepreneurial at Home Featuring Sonya Dudley

Sonya Dudley Diamond Ambassador with Plexus

Sonya is a Diamond Ambassador with Plexus. She lives in Linden, TN with her husband and two children. She travels around America speaking at conferences and even hosting some. She is one of the most influential people in my life and I'm so happy she made time for us in her SUPER busy schedule. Wildly successful and very humble, I can't think of anyone I would rather host today. 

1.Why this business?
    Well I feel it gives me the freedom to create a life and not just make a living. I have the time, money and freedom to do pretty much what is important to me and that is what matters to me most.....

2.What made you start?
   My best friend sold me on trying this industry just one more time by saying, "If the products worked for me, then I could help tons of folks get healthy as well" And I knew the investment was so so small, I thought, well WHAT IF this does work, and this could be our financial answer as well as my health answer... and it was...

3.What were your goals in starting this business?
   Just to share with every single person I knew and to post on facebook daily to see where it would lead and I was consistent. So after a month, then I really was like, I think I can take this thing all the way, and started focusing on helping many people with the business aspect of this.... and 10 weeks after joining I quit my full time job... 

4.What were some things that you did to get your business off the ground?
  I live in the town that I was raised in, I already knew everyone and them me, so really just talking to people every where I was and posting on facebook, that was it.

5.What are some lessons you've learned from this?
  People will disappoint you, THEY have to want this for themselves, you can not want it for them.... People quit too soon, they do not know work ethic anymore.....People are not willing to change old habits so easily when it is more comfortable to stay the same...

6.What kept you going?
  Really never thought about quitting....I was always with the people who shared their life changing stories, so if any day got bad, I always thought of them... and what If I had not shared...

7.What are some tips you have for the readers?
  Do not be scared to go after your dreams. If you do not, no one else will and you could potentially regret it for the rest of your life. The pain of regret is the most painful emotion to take to the grave.

8.What is your health testimony?
  I was in bed for 15 months with Fibromyalgia a few years ago. When I finally got well enough, I had to find a job outside the home, which I had never done before. I had always worked for myself in this industry. I went into sales. I did that for 6-7 years and even though I was better, I was not well. I hurt a lot all over, I was tired ALL the time. I had high cholesterol, and I struggled with weight. When I started on Plexus, right away, I felt like a new person. I was sleeping all night, no naps, no pain, and cholesterol dropped 50 points in month one. I lost 12 pounds and felt amazing. After a couple of months I was able to get off all my meds with my doctors approval. I have my health back and that is everything....

Here's Plexus' Diamond Documentary on Sonya.