“I have a dream stirring to create or write and I don’t know where to start…”
I get these emails almost every week and I wish I could get on the phone with every single one of you. Because these dreams matter to me. And more than that – when God stirs something in you and asks you to march forward in fear – that’s a very sacred place to be.
I would love to be someone that steps into that fearful place and says “GO!”
I would also love to be the big sister or mentor in your life that says “hold on – wait” because I now understand the costs of going for it with family and little ones.
Advice To Consider As You Begin Your Dream
1.Slow Your Roll. If you’re like me, I get an idea and I get so excited I RUN. I share it fast. I produce it fast. I jump in fast because of the excitement. You will never regret slowing down and letting the idea simmer. Slow down by praying on it and sharing it with those close to you. Time makes ideas better. Time might make your passion fizzle or only ramp it up. Time allows you to test the idea vs launch with mistakes and regret.
2. Consider The Bigger Timeline – It is hard for me to admit this – but the truth is that I might have a third kid if I had not launched so many products and a book the last 5 years. We definitely prayed about each thing and felt like we heard the Lord clearly – but I couldn’t see how to fit in another child when we were wall-to-wall with commitments. There are decades and decades when you can write a book and birth ministries – but there only a certain amount of years that you birth children. Have some hard conversations and LONG days and weeks of prayers about these seasons. Some creators and business owners are able to do both.
3. Find a Community. Online mentors and business owners are great – but there is nothing like having coffee face-to-face with another woman or mom that has started a business or dream. Ask around your town. Pray about that person. Sit down and pay for their lunch. Be prepared and quick – but ask them very specific questions on what they’v learned. A community of friends (who are also in this season) are KEY! They will be able to encourage you in unique ways and you can do the same for them.
4. Search Online. Reach out to those that inspire you and ask if they’ve written about their journey and can send you a link on their process or tips. They likely have a podcast or something already on it. Or look on their “about” page – typically it’s there. My friend Teri Lynne Underwood is AMAZING and offered to pull some links for you. That is Part 2 posting tomorrow! I would also suggest that you don’t over-ask the same folks and offer grace if they can’t get back to you. Some of the small business owners are definitely willing just juggling life and kiddos like all of us. Try not to take it personally if they don’t respond – I know I have been hurt in the past thinking it was me. It’s not – they are just busy.
5. Ask God. This is so obvious – but you will want to always defer to God on the next best steps. It’s so tempting to go for what’s popular or what your friend said to go – but you can never go wrong with what God is asking you to do. And that passion will sustain you. If he asked you to write a book on marriage – but others say parenting – I’d go with marriage.
6. Lead with Struggles. I haven’t always done this well, but my friend Lysa T told me this right when I started blogging – to write from your struggles.When you share from your struggles vs your greatness, your audience will relate. That doesn’t mean you don’t have solutions or tips, but they need to know you are human. People are drawn to real and humility.
7. Careful with Risk. On the product side, I have SWORN I knew exactly what would sell and how much and I have been surprised every time. So, be conservative in what you order and test. Start small with an etsy shop or something manageable and you can always tweak or change the product. If you order thousands of something that doesn’t work, you’re out of a lot of money.
8. Spend Time on the Why. Too many of us jump to the fun stuff – the marketing and the writing and don’t do the hard work on the business plan. It takes a LOT of work to make a small business actually profitable. So, be sure you’ve written down your WHY. Are you doing this as a ministry? To reach a certain audience? To make an income? Do not be afraid to ask around – is this even profitable? You’ll find out how hard some of these bloggers work to make income. And some make ZILCHO money at all and it’s not why they do it al all. Neither is bad. It is not bad to make an income and it’s not bad if you don’t – either way – just know your “why” because it will drive your passion and your decisions. And how you do what you do. Customers are not dumb. They sniff out what you are up to. So be clear yourself and then be honest with your audience. TRUST ME!!! Everything will cost almost double what you think and take double the time you think.
9. Prepare for Unexpected. I set out to produce a product that would help moms and encourage moms through my blog in 2011. I had NO IDEA what would follow and all the twists and turns. If you hold open hands and heart, God will use it all in very unexpected ways. Resistance doesn’t mean you’re not on the right track. Keep pressing into God to help you know when to press on and when to change the course. This is not easy and not for the faint of heart.
10.Be Less Ambitious – I am like a crazy ambitious person. And I GO and DO and execute. And can almost manipulate my way into success and go ahead of God. Levi Lusko this year at Passion 2018 said “Make it your ambition to be less ambitious.” That struck a chord with me. He wasn’t saying just sit down. He was saying – excel at what God is calling you to do, but live a quiet life. Instagram makes all of this looks glamorous but no one really would sign up for “be hidden, be prepared, be buried, be planted, be forgotten.” There’s a lot more to “following your dream” then we imagine when we are doodling logos and products and book titles. “Don’t follow your dreams – follow Jesus. Follow Jesus – you will see your dreams come back to life – more powerful and more vibrant – than you can do in your own strength. Be willing to be found faithful.” – Levi Lusko
If you read nothing else, please know…
The internet is a very bad friend. It is not a place to build your self worth. In fact it can tear you down. So, you need to firm up your confidence in CHRIST ALONE and then believe that the dream He gave you is worth pursuing. Even if it’s for the 10 girls in your Bible study. Small isn’t wrong or unworthy. Start small. Use what you have and take small steps of faith. Put your family first every time. Course correct each season. And keep learning. And keep getting up when you fail. Do not believe this might be the thing that makes you – because it might be the thing that breaks you. Either way – if it’s all committed to the Lord – it’ll be worth it.
I have not always done the above things well – I can share this list from places of failure not from places of success. I’m so glad I have followed God on many of the big things because He has changed my life in the process. I hate the way I’ve let comparison in the journey send a message to my heart on value. Because regardless of the results (whatever weird expectations I created) wasn’t the goal.
Need practical? There are books, conferences, podcasts, websites, and soooo many resources out there. Just start googling and emailing folks. Some may not respond due to capacity but go for it.