Tag Archives: business

BBM Interviews Mrs. Autumn Lee: A Busy Wife/Mother’s Financial Perspective!

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When I think of busy, organized, energetic folks who never stop moving and shaking and who also accomplish A LOT, I honestly think of this long-time friend, Christian, dancer, mother, photographer and all around sweet heart, Autumn Lee!

She’s the owner of Dash Photography, currently serving the Colorado and Texas areas.

With such a productive life and successful business, I thought it would be essential to dig into her mind concerning financial matters. This is truly someone we can all learn from. Here are her words of wisdom.

Autumn's photography talents :)

Autumn’s photography talents 🙂

BBM: Is the Bible one of your Financial Education sources? Why or why not?

Autumn: The Bible has not been one of my financial resources, other than when it talks about greed. I am trying to change that though because I know there is some good advice and some truth in there that will guide our family in the right direction.

BBM: Do you believe that small business contributes positively to the economy?

Autumn: I am a HUGE believer in small business, we need to quit putting money into big CEO pockets and support our local community. I think you feel better when you can see where your money is going and who it’s impacting and you can also see where your products etc are coming from.

BBM: How do you manage your finances? (Example: Financial Adviser, checkbook register, a combination of tools or a favorite tool you’d like to mention)

Autumn: We sit down once a month and plan our budget for the month and then every 2 weeks before payday we go over it again and make any changes. We try to use cash as much as possible and stick to the budget we have made. This has not only worked great for us getting out of debt, but it’s brought us closer in our marriage as well because we are communicating and we are finally on the same page.

BBM:At what age did you begin to form a “Financial Freedom” mindset?

Autumn: At some point in my 20s I started trying to be more wise with my money but it wasn’t until my 30s that I actually buckled down to do it.

BBM: Why do you believe Financial Wisdom is important?

Autumn: Being tied down to debt makes it hard to truly live the life God planned for you. There is always stress and unhappiness and depression. When you are debt free or working towards it, you see the light at the end of the tunnel, you feel okay splurging from time to time and you actually have the means to do things in life like travel or donate etc. It’s a good feeling.

Autumn is 100% correct. Being tied down by debt seriously cripples one’s ability to contrbute financially to great things God may have planned for your life. How many times have we heard others say (or have said ourselves) “I wish I could help…” or “One day I’ll be able to contribute…” or maybe “If I had a million dollars I’d donate it to…” My friend Mrs. Autumn Lee has an amazing future ahead of her because she has chosed to follow GOd’s prescribed path of financial stewardship.

Thanks a million for allowing us into your mind Autumn!!

If you’re searching for a great photographer you really should check ojt Autum’s web page:
dash-photography.net

You’ll be impressed, I assure you!

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Teen Business Owners-Part Three: Contributing To Society

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There are many reasons why I love to support and highlight small businesses. One of those reasons is the business owner’s contribution to the surrounding community. Bright Balance Ministries believes it is of the utmost importance to expose our teens to the truth of this contribution and, more importantly, show them how they can become a part of it.

The Bible’s account of The Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 reminds us that everyone we come into contact with is our neighbor and we are all responsible for each other. Also in Matthew 25: 34-40 God speaks of feeding the hungry and clothing those who need it.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. ’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you? ’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

So what does Teen Entrepreneurship have to do with taking care of the needy?

Teen Gardner

As a small business owner I know the money I earn from doing business with my neighbors stays in my neighborhood. I spend money at the local grocery stores, pawn shops, mechanic, etc. This allows my surrounding community to profit from my earnings. Also, since locally owned small businesses usually charge less I am able to save money for the specific purpose of helping those less fortunate than my wife and I.

Imagine instilling this type of discipline in your teen and adolescent children. Once they learn how to conduct business, they’ll appreciate the effort needed to turn fifteen cents into a dollar. This will help create compassion in their hearts for those who are trapped in the deep pit of poverty. This is one way teenaged Good Samarians are created.

Imagine your child owning a lemonade stand, lawn care business or babysitting service. If they work hard they will gain enough business that they find themselves in need of employees. This is the second way they can contribute to society- creating jobs.

Have you ever noticed that politicians often campaign using the “I will create more jobs” promise? Corporate business owners like Donald Trump desiring to move into a new location often publicize the many jobs they’ll bring to the community. The reason for this is they fully understand how important job creation’s impact is on a community. When you create jobs you create opportunity for financial stability.

Let’s say there is a town with a population of 10,000 people. Imagine that 4,000 of them are unemployed. In this situation 6,000 people work and provide for all 10,000. This is not a perfect analogy but you get the point. This causes strain on those who are employed. There are not enough shoulders to help bear the economic load. But let’s say several members of this population open businesses of varying types and sizes creating three thousand jobs. Now there are only one thousand people unemployed and three thousand additional shoulders have stepped in to help lift the economy. This is economic growth brought on by business owners, not legislature, not law-makers or hand outs but entrepreneurs creating opportunity!!

Did you know the Bible talks about farmers creating opportunity for the poor?

“During the seventh year, let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.” Exodus 23:11

“Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:10

Vineyard

In both these verses the excess is left for those who cannot provide for themselves. The hard working homeless in our society are willing to do what it takes to get out of their financial slump, we just need to give them the chance to do so.

I can imagine a homeless man who sees the fallen grapes of a vineyard and the untouched potatoes left behind on purpose by a potato farmer. The homeless man gathers these goods, eats a few grapes to satisfy his stomach and then barters with several other fruit and vegetable farmers in exchange for several other ingredients which he then uses to make a large pot of soup. Also imagine that he takes a bowl of soup to the local seamstress and barters for her services. His ripped clothes are now mended. This brings a high level of satisfaction, accomplishment and comfort to someone who lives outside in the harsh weather. Slowly but surely this man moves from the financial desert to financial stability all because the entrepreneurs around him created opportunity for him to pull himself up.

This is a system of generosity in which we should teach our children to participate. We need to imagine a world much better than the one we live in now. Then beg God’s guidance and wisdom in addressing the issues we face. The entrepreneurial attitude needs to be infused into the following generations in order for us to repeat the many successes of our past so that we may more positively affect our futures.

Teen Business Owners- Part Two: Is Your Teen Prepared For Real Life?

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Looking back in history there is strong evidence that children had a lot more responsibility than today’s average teen. The Bible tells us that young David was about twelve when he killed a lion and a bear to protect his father’s sheep and about seventeen when he killed Goliath who stood nine feet, six inches tall.

Try getting today’s suburbuain child to go close to a lion, I dare you!

As impressive as the whole lion situation is, there is an even more important lesson here.

In order for David to be prepared to face the lion he had to be taught two things long before the king of the jungle came into the picture- responsibility and bavery.

Who do you think took on the job of teaching these much-needed character traits to this young man? The school system of the day, the elders of the Church or some brave soldier in the community? No! His parents did. While there is no mention of David’s mother in the Bible we do know that his father was Jesse, a direct descentent of Jacob- ya know, the guy who wrestled with God and consequently had his name changed by the Almighty?

Obviously this bloodline was NOT made of cowards. Wisdom, bravery and integrity are part of this family’s legacy. Such traits were taught, emphasized and passed down to future generations. Don’t get me wrong, these weren’t perfect people. Jacob, The Trickster, stole his brother’s inheritance then was tricked by his own uncle, Laban. Ten of Jacob’s sons agreed to sell son number eleven into slavery.

Yeah, they were liars, deceivers and thieves, definitely not perfect beings, but they were used by God anyway!!

See, even the most imperfect of us, myself included, can be used by God to do extraordinary things.

One book every adolecent/teen should read is “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris. This book is authored by teen brothers who were sick and tired of the teen-ager status quo. They got fed up with how little society expects of their age group, so, they decided to do something about it. In this book you’re taken on a journey where the teen brothers achieve things that are considered “far beyond their years”. The important lesson in this book is that both adults and teens need to REQIURE and EXPECT more of our youth. They’ll learn, rise to the challenge, meet our expectations and even surpass them, IF we give them a chance.

So, look at what you’re teaching your children. Do you feel they can do more? If you were their age right now, do you feel YOU could accomplish more than today’s average teen? If your answer is Yes, and I suspect it is, then why sell your teen short? Let’s not prepare them for an average life, let’s prepare them for an extraordinary one!

Teach them to “Do Hard Things” like owning a business, tracking expenses, prepare for retirement, deal with tough economic times and sacrifice that PS3 game now for financial freedom later on.
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It’s up to us parents to get our children ready to bring down the real-life financial lions of the future.

Teen Business Owners- Part One: While Growing Up

When I was younger I remember teachers asking me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It was a legitimate question. They were trying to get me to think ahead, get into the practice of thinking about my #Financial Future. This is an important aspect of growing into a well-rounded, contributing adult.

What bothered me is they never phrased the question in a way that impressed upon me that I didn’t have to “grow up” in order to be something. They could have asked, “What do you want to be right now?”, and used my answer to show me how I can create a career for myself right away.
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Many of us are familiar with Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it”. Obviously we see this verse as telling us we need to train our child in the Way of the Bible, and that is 100% accurate. Reading the five verses before it shows that this passage is mainly concerned with being sure the child is trained in the ways of strong #spiritual character.

But, why didn’t my teachers and other adults in my life think to themselves to use lessons in business ownership as a way to mold me in both future career concerns as well as spiritual matters? If they had asked me, “What business would you start right now if you could?” I would have told them “a dance squad” or “running errands for people in the neighborhood”. This would have been their opportunity to explain to me:
1. How I’d go about finding other teens to join my business
2. How to attain clients
3. The importance of being honest in my business dealings
4. How to manage an income, etc.

Let’s say a young lady of ten years old wants to start a lemonade stand. Her parents can sit with her to decide a work schedule, price, location of the stand and also what to do with the money earned.
The average American ten year old is well-practiced at asking, “Mom can you buy me that toy?” In this parent’s mind, children of this age should also know intimately how long it takes to earn the money for said toy. If she owned a lemonade stand she’d look back at her many hours sitting on the sideaalk waiting for customers, the energy it took to make pitcher after pitcher of lemonade after mom and dad’s friends bought it all. She’d remember the thankful mailman who bought two cups, the draining effect of the weather on her energy and of course the thrill of counting her money at the end of the day. And, of course, she would appreciate her earnings more because she sacrificed her Saturday cartoons in order to work her business. Of course, let’s not forget, this young lady would learn how much of her profits should be put back into the business in order to cover the expenses for the next two weeks, next month, etc.

Our children should be educated in these things when they’re young so that “when they are old they will not depart from” them. Imagine how much better off the American #economy would be today if our citizens were better trained in #entrepreneurship (and all it entails) during their elementary, junior high and high school years.

If a fifth grader started a business and continued his entrepreneurship through his high school graduation he would have seven years of business experience which his peers lack. He would already have a resume whereas his college-bound peers would only be starting their real-life education at the local burger joint.

Imagine where you would be right now if you’d had seven years of business ownership experience right out the gate after your high school graduation! That is a BIG step up ahead of the competition.

Do you not want that for your children?

Adults, I think it is time to stop asking our precious young ones what they want to be WHEN they grow up.

Let’s ask them, “What do you want to be WHILE growing up?”

What’s Your “#Business Calling”?

I was browsing a Google+ community called “Christians in Business” earlier today. I came across a new post where one member, Carey Green, ask a question directly to another member. Here is Carey’s question and the resulting open, honest reply.

 Q: What’s the mission the LORD has given you as it pertains to business?

 A: I love the question and it’s one that, as Christians in Business, we should all be asking ourselves.  First, all of us have the same mission. We should all be spending as much time spreading God’s word and encouraging others, as we spend promoting our profiles and our businesses.

Am I doing this in my own life?  The honest answer is, No.”  Like many Christians In Business, I am a good person, I don’t steal or commit crimes and I genuinely want everyone to be successful.  Where I struggle is how to use my business and my talents to increase God’s Kingdom.  It is something that I pray about often. I sometimes ask myself, “Is my life, being led by God, or by my own ego?”  I do know that I want to help other Christians in Business to succeed.  My guess is that God also wants more from me.  I am praying and hoping that 2014 will bring more opportunities for me to open the eyes of others who need it. I greatly appreciate being asked this question today… thank you Carey Green 

 Wow! There’s today’s heaping dose of brutal honesty.

 Both the question and its answer are important, especially in today’s world. Christian business owners have a responsibility to spread the Word, period. Too often we consider our business to be separate from the Great Commission, it’s not. Here’s why I say this without apology.

 First, the Great Commission itself says so in Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Did you notice there’s no clause allowing business owners to opt out? We’ve been given a command, not an option, by the Creator wrapped in human flesh- MAKE DISCIPLES, period.

Having a business doesn’t allow you to pass on this command. In fact your business should be seen as a tool for spreading His Word, not a hindrance to doing so.

Think about this: Do you think God would put you in business if that business prevents you from spreading His Word?

How can you spread the Word while going about the busy day of a business owner? Here’s an easy suggestion- play Christian music in your place of business. Your customers will notice, and may ask questions. When they ask you have the opportunity to answer, share your testimony or share something amazing God’s done in your life.

(insert referee with both hands raised straight up here)

Some may threaten to “do business elsewhere if you keep playing that Jesus music”. Of course this is a legitimate concern for any Christian business owner. However, we are supposed to be trusting in Him, not our potential customers and the dollars they bring with them. A creative way to handle this threat is to reply with something like, “Tell ya what. My Jesus music isn’t going to stop, but, I’ll give you 5% off any time you choose to do business with me. And you can feel free to question me about my faith any time you want. Deal?”

If they accept, you will have accomplished two things. First, you’ve kept a customer which is good for business. Second, and more important, you’ve left the door open for discussions about your relationship with Christ. Hello!! What could be better?!

I’m not saying the only mission of business owners is to tell the message of Christ. We all need to make money, pay bills and take care of our families. These are also Christian responsibilities. But, we stray when we fail to remain focused on His mission for us and, instead, think of our own selfish, money-motivated, status-motivated vision.

In the honest answer to the original question, our business owner admitted he struggles with “how to use my business and my talents to increase God’s Kingdom”. What really strikes me as important is that he also said, “It is something I pray about often”.

 

(may we all develope the same habit)

James 5:16

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

1 Thessalonians 5:17- Never stop praying.

These are two of my favorite verses. They remind me that as a Godly business owner my prayers are powerful and will cause Godly, positive things to happen.

Q: Confused about how to use your business?

A: You, business owner, need go remain focused on your relationship with Christ. This will result in a righteous life which yields prayers that cause powerful things to happen in your life and through your business. 

If I were to answer Carey’s question, I’d have to say that my Business Calling is to:

1. Help God’s People Use God’s Money at God’s Direction

&

2. Help business owners Grow and Protect their businesses.

While…

3. Spreading the Word of God.

Many thanks to Carey Green for posting this question. Feel free to check out his podcasts at http://www.podcastfasttrack.com