In an age when it sometimes seems like everyone is starting a business or making money online, we simply couldn’t. We were a one income family looking to make extra money desperately. In 1998, I wrote a book on Christian Internet Ministries and how to begin that process with your church. As I work with dozens of churches today, I see that I was a little ahead of the game as some churches are still not always on board with using the internet to spread the Gospel.
I tried starting an eBay store, and it just got drowned out by the noise of everyone else. Back in the day, I collected comics, and I ran across one in person that was a great buy and hard to find. I purchased 4 of them at $4.00 each and went home to put them online. When I got home, I could find these listed what seemed like all day long at .99 cents.
So, I decided just to keep learning more about the web and learning skills I didn’t have before, hoping one day that it would pay off. We were out west after the Hurricane Katrina event, and my Dad said, “why don’t you just go into business for yourself?”. I said, “Dad, it’s not as simple as that. I’d need clients and income and…and…”. There seemed to be no shortage of excuses, and I had all those failed attempts in the back of my head. I couldn’t risk providing for my family for some dream I had.
When we moved back to the Southeast, I picked up a couple of freelance projects. During the transition of our move, I worked on a couple of websites, and I figured that would all go away once we got settled in Charlotte. While working on a couple of projects, I went on a couple of interviews, and they always seemed to turn into contract work rather than a 40 hour a week job. I came home one day from an interview and told my wife, “ I might as well just open my own business.” She said, “why don’t you?” I felt like Ralph Kramden from the Honeymooners as internally my brain was saying, “homina…homina…homina.” I ran out of reasons to say no to the idea of starting our own business.
April 1st, 2007, Studio490 Creative Services was established in Charlotte, NC. We offered Graphic Design, Web Design, and Marketing. I was ready for business. In my head, I’d hope the virtual doors would fly open, and clients would be waiting to come inside. They didn’t. I placed my one, and only ad on Craigslist and our first client came on board. It was a large client that served as our platform to build from. I’d like to say this happened due to all of my great skills and business prowess. However, we bathe this business in prayer daily. To this day, I always say that God is in charge of bringing clients to us, we are in charge of serving them.
I was told 98% of businesses fail within the first two years and 98% of the remaining 2% fail within five years. April 1st, 2017 we turn ten years old, and we give God all the glory and praise for it. It wasn’t the straight path that you think would be the case for a business, but it’s the one that most businesses have. The only difference was, I was on God’s path the whole time. I just didn’t always know it.
PS – If you’re asking yourself what the “490” stands for, I’ll give you a hint – Matthew 18: 21-22
Tj is the CEO and founder of Studio490 Creative Services. He runs this business with his wife, Dana. You can see what God has started at www.studio490.com.