The Building of a Legacy

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We started our business in 2007, and we will turn ten years in 2017. What a great and uncommon accomplishment from a business standpoint. While we work with a broad range of industries, our focus has always been on ministry. In an age where 543,000 businesses get started each month and double that fail each month, you can imagine how hard it is to stay in business. During the recession, I just kept my head down, nose to the grindstone and any other saying that worked. But God was faithful by leading clients to us and kept me focused on serving them for His Glory.

Since my wife was still homeschooling our sons when I started the business, it was just the Lord and I at it for years and years. Once the boys were moving into college years, her time freed up, and she started working with me. Dana and I have always been very close, but this took our marriage and partnership to another level. She has a degree in Marketing but had to find her groove working with a creative company. I told her, “Remember, my degree is in programming, not design. If I can be creative, so can you.” We have different kinds of conversations at a creative company like, how does that color make you feel. Do you like the way that lowercase “g” looks with this font compared to that other font? She’s been a fantastic addition to the business as she has skills I do not possess. Her attention to detail helps offset my big picture view.

As my sons were always exposed to us and our business growing up, my oldest son Joshua wanted to help, and so he interned with us to gain experience. I figured, there were people out there paying good money to learn how to do this stuff. So, Joshua started interning and just like a good younger brother does, Noah wanted to intern as well. So, two years later, Noah started interning with us in the summers as well. Over the years, I noticed the boys had traits that seemed natural to the business. But I didn’t want to press them about working with us. I wanted them to go into whatever God had planned for them.

Joshua started college, and he’ll get his BA of Fine Arts and Design in the Spring of 2018. The time spent with the studio has put him in the top of his class over and over again. He’s been on the Dean’s and President’s list because of his grades every semester at college. Noah started his own game reviewing website at age 15 and was managing 25 writers around the country. They wrote articles, made podcasts and discussed games for over three years. He was going into Communication and had a wonderful knack for writing. One day he sat down with Dana and I and said, “can I talk to you about something?” He said, “I want to change my degree from Communication to Marketing as I feel it would allow me to bring something more to the Studio.”

Dana and I just sat there trying to understand whether or not he was speaking a foreign language. We discussed what brought this on and what he had in mind. As we sat there discussing what the future may hold, I thought back to the days of their births, the sacrifice of staying home to care for them, the homeschooling and the start of the business and just thanked God for the wonderful gift he had just given me. It was never about making money or being successful, but rather building a legacy. Leaving behind something that would provide for my family over and over again. Much like God does every day of our lives. 

So there is my Legacy story, and the great thing is, everyone has one. But it’s up to you what type of legacy you leave behind. Even doing nothing leaves a legacy, but I would think not the one you would want.

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.


  1. Rod Nauling

    This is an awesome article. I will be retiring from the Army in 2 months and starting my own restaurant. Two months ago, my wife and moved three of our grandchildren here to Kansas with us. For a long time I questioned if the restaurant was really what God wanted me to do. So I startes applying for jobs and setting up interviews, and every single one of thwm have hired someone else, even when they said “You have the wxact skills we need!” So my wife being the great woman she is walked up to me while I was looking through jib postings onlinw, and simply said, “We both know what you’re supposed to be doing.” Kissed me and walked off. Now I am currently working on starting with my foos truck on base and let God move it to where it needs to be from there. Thank you so much for your inspiration, I am rhankful for a resource such as this. My granschildren are my legacy and will do everything that God has placed in me to make this happen with His guidance.

    • Tj Todd


      Thank you for the feedback. First of all, let me say for the whole Uncommen team….Thank you for your service!

      That first step in the direction of owning your own business is like that scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. When he has to step out on that bridge that he can’t see.

      I can’t say the second and third step are going to be roses, but the feeling of being in God’s will and connecting that to your talents and passion is a feeling like no other.

      We will be praying for you and the path God has you on.


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