Hello friends! I’m sorry I have been away for so long, and I do appreciate the ability to step away from the blog for a while without question. To my surprise, my traffic hasn’t fallen off and so I hope that if you’re new to the blog, you found some useful articles while I was away. I’d like to catch you up on where I’ve been and what I have been up to…
From time to time, I have been known to design logos and print materials or build websites for friends that aren’t necessarily looking for full scale professional products and are willing to let me take a shot at giving them something they can use. I’m not a pro designer by any means and work on a strictly self-taught knowledge level formed through trial and error while working on projects of my own. When I do these sorts of things, I charge way below the industry price, and tend to do the work not based on time, but on working till everyone’s happy with the end result. Design work is something I enjoy doing and is of course another creative outlet for someone who has a hard time NOT having something to MAKE on the to-do list at all times.
Over my children’s Spring break, I worked on a simple website for a sweet lady that owns a darling little small town cafe that I have come to love. It was one of those strangely coincidental and spur of the moment kind of things – we got to chatting with her while my husband and I were having lunch in her cafe, found we had some mutual acquaintances, I asked for her website so I could check out her catering menu, she didn’t really have one and my husband says,”well my wife can help you with that.” (He has a way of volunteering me for things without speaking to me first.) Because I am not a pro designer and a little on the shy side, I just don’t put myself out there like that, but he knows sometimes I need that push. We chatted back and forth by email a couple times about exchanging my work on her website for a few awesome meals and I said I would give it a shot. Lucky for me, she loved it on the first go round, and she’s now in the process of getting it all installed.
Over Easter, it made me think about the spirit of giving and that sometimes it’s not always money that people need to help put them on stronger ground. Giving of your personal gifts and a bit of your time, can take them further than money could have. And so I asked God to put more opportunities like this in my hands. And he did – like immediately.
We’ve been searching for some affordable help with landscaping our home, and my husband happened to see on Facebook that an old friend from school’s husband had a small landscaping business. He gave them a call and so we met with them one afternoon and caught up on what our 2 families had been up to over the years. It turns out this couple started a landscaping business to free up their schedule a bit to start their own community church. The Facebook post about the landscaping was a simple effort to drum up some business. We asked if they were doing any advertising and it just wasn’t in the budget, and so we asked if they had a website, and of course they did not. OPPORTUNITY 1 ARRIVES.
Then we talked more about their church – how it came to be their calling, how their boys are involved, how they have been able to support others through their little church, but how they would like to continue to grow and are having a hard time getting the word out. Do they have a website? No. OPPORTUNITY 2.
By the end of our meeting, I had offered to build both their websites for them and was quite honestly energized by the thought of doing something I LOVED to help someone out. And while we only spent about 1/8th of our time talking about our landscape project that day, I feel certain we will get a fair deal from them when the time comes, which is more than we’ve been able to accomplish so far from the 2-3 overpriced bids we’ve already gotten.
Finally, my husband has a half brother that has a habit of being down on his luck and periodically has to go to the family to ask for help with paying bills. Often his needs arise more from bad decisions than purely bad luck, and so he’s not always met with open arms. After several jobs that didn’t work out for the long haul, he has recently gone back to what he knows best – painting – and is trying to get work as a painter in his neighborhood and through word of mouth with his friends. He’s been able to get several well paying projects to keep him on the right path, and so my husband and I were talking about what we might be able to do to help him keep his momentum. OPPORTUNITY 3.
Hubby asked me if I thought I could design him a logo so we could order him some inexpensive business cards and flyers to pass around that could give him a more professional look than just someone’s number on a post-it note. And so we did. I made him a logo, uploaded it to Vistaprint (LOVE THEM), designed some basic business cards and some catchy promo flyers, got them ordered and added in a business card holder and t-shirt with his logo. We shipped everything straight to him and he called my husband crying a few days ago. He was so proud to have his own identity, and 1000+ opportunities to share his own business with potential customers. He said it was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for him, and it cost us a total of only about $60. Ridiculously easy.
In all of these situations, it was a complete WIN / WIN in my book, and worth every single minute I put into it over the past few weeks. Not only was I able to give of myself and help some people out beyond their normal means (what would these projects have cost them if they had to pay someone else to do it), but I am so thankful to have an opportunity to give something I truly enjoyed doing, gained some valuable experience from, and helped to build some confidence in my own creative gifts.
So, I hope you don’t mind that I took several weeks to focus specifically on the opportunities God gave me when I asked for them. It’s been such a good experience that I am continuing to look for chances to do the same, but will make an effort to better schedule them from here on out so I don’t have to sacrifice my blogging time to make 4 projects happen at once, lol.
What gifts do YOU have to give that are unique to you and could impact someone else in such a way that you just can’t measure it in dollars? Look to your gifts and share them without fear when the opportunity comes. You’ll thank yourself for it.