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Nathan on laptop at his work truck.

It’s All Connected: Personal and Business Life

Do you treat your personal life and business life as two exclusive areas, or are you aware of how these two areas affect and inform one another? In this episode, Nathan discusses how being a small business owner break down the distinctions between “personal life” and “business,” and he shares the practical lessons he has learned for setting up his businesses for success.

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Show Notes

Welcome back to the Life on Target podcast. I’m your host, Nathan Spearing. As always, I hope this is coming to your ears as you are doing what only you can do for the glory of God, or figuring out how to reorganize your life, identifying the proper targets, taking aim, and hitting the mark.

This is going to be a short and sweet episode about your brand: Are your personal brand or your business’ brand different things?

So, I had a pretty rough start in business. We haven’t really even opened up all the different ways that I stumbled, but I remember just slugging it out in the early days and just being frustrated by the yield that I was getting—how much effort I was putting towards things and how little was coming back. How broke I was at the end of every month and how little things just continued to go wrong. Big things continued to go wrong, honestly.

Business is Planting Seeds

And my plumber who works for me in all of our jobs said, “Nathan, you have to view business like a peach orchard. You don’t get any real fruit for five years and even on the fifth year, it’s not that good. It’s not till the seventh year and beyond that those peach trees really produce fruit.” And I don’t know if those years are exactly accurate. There are probably some fruit tree experts among the listenership.

I’m sorry if I got that wrong, but essentially it takes a while when you start a business to really see the fruits of your labor and that it can be frustrating if you don’t set your sights far enough in the distance and with respect to living life on target or hitting the mark, being the profits that you hope to see—the amount of profits that you hope to see earlier on and not understanding that it takes a while before you see the yield.

And honestly, I feel like that that math that he told me back in the beginning four or five years ago, it was very accurate. I’m sitting here in my sixth year of business and we’re starting to get some fruit. We’re starting to be able to take these proceeds, these profits and put them back into things that we care about. We’re able to have a little bit more margin, probably, maybe not that much margin, but we are starting to see fruit and yield across the spectrum. And some ways, I didn’t learn my lesson. I’m thinking Rogan’s going to be calling me already to be on his podcast. I’m such an awesome podcaster. Like it’s easy to get into these thought processes: That was before, and this is now, and it’s just going to be amazing. It’s overnight success.

Setting Your Life Up for Success

No, it’s never the case. You’ve heard people talk about 20 years to be an overnight success. And one of the ways that you can set up your life so the yield actually will come in seven years, instead of you going out of business, instead of you faltering and failing, like the majority of businesses do is to realize that everything is connected.

Your personal life and your business life are informed by each other. They’re entwined in this intricate web that is your life. And if you are not being faithful in the small things personally, you’re not being faithful in the small things professionally, you’re not treating your kids with kindness, being patient with your wife, that it’s going to spill over into business. It’s going to affect your bottom line because—just like with sin, when we take something, when we have idols, when we have this sin that we want to hold onto, and we want it to be ours. And we think God, you’re not going to be the God of my sex life, or you’re not going to be the God of the content of my words. You’re not going to be the God of my emotions when I don’t really feel like we have enough money in the bank. You’re not going to be the God of my emotions or my belief that—anything, you got to give it all to God.

You have to realize that you have to be serious about every part of your life. And if you’re not, it’s going to affect everything else. And one way that I’m seeing yield is I’ve used social media. I have been posting things on my business Instagram for a long time.

And I have, from the very beginning. I’ve talked about this on a recent small business workshop. I read Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crushing It. And I don’t think Gary’s a Christian, but in some ways, I feel like he’s got it a lot more together than most believers. And he talks about authenticity. He talks about you being who you are and not pretending to try to get follows or try to get likes and just documenting your life and what you do and what your process is. And I just, for a long time have just pulled my—haven’t done it a whole lot lately because I’ve been working on this podcast, and I’ve been getting things going on the farm and things like that—but I made a habit to just pull my phone out and point out how we’re doing a remodel and how we waterproofed right by the shower. And “Oh, hey, Jude. I’m glad you’re here with me on the job today. Say ‘Hi’ to everybody.”

And I got photos from my kids coming to the job site and little personal things. And ultimately that is to try to show clients who I am, why I tick, or why I am in this business. And to help them understand who I am and what my expertise is. And that can sow seeds in clients’ minds that bear fruit in years to come. And I’m seeing that now. I just got done with a consultation with some clients here that I did a project for them two years ago. And it honestly, it wasn’t the sexiest project. I was not super excited about it, but I got referred via a friend and they said all the right things. “Hey, we just need somebody to help us. I know this isn’t a big project, but could you help us?”

And we did it. And it could be easy to treat a small job as kind of wham, bam get out of there, whatever. And there’s opportunities to let certain aspects of the job fall by the wayside or not do. There’s not quite large profit margin there. And to just—not do a bad job—but there’s a difference between good enough and excellent. And in Transform NC, we talk about a “near-perfect product” and making the allowance for the fact that we know the world isn’t perfect. We know that we’re not perfect.

And so essentially, we’re not going to be able to do something perfect because we aren’t perfect, but “near-perfect,” now we can probably do that, and that we can be intent on doing that because I’m not doing this job necessarily for this client. I’m doing it to give glory to God and that they see my work and they’re not like, “Wow, Nathan, your team is amazing.” Okay, we got great guys, but the reason why we do this is that we are Christians and we do it for God’s glory.

Everything Has a Ripple Effect

And the thing I want to stress today is every action has a ripple effect. I mean, we just got done talking about being a faithful witness. Speaking the truth about people, the same with your work, if you do crappy work, it stays with you. If you treat people poorly it hangs around.

And also likewise, we’re seeing, we just had a guy, I did a consultation for him at the beginning prior to COVID. They ended up not doing the project because of things. He’s reaching out to me, and he’s joined our church. And for me, that’s just phenomenal that even though I didn’t do work for the guy, even though that we didn’t build this great project for him, that he would reach out and say that he’s trying to figure out stuff about God and that he’d want to actually come to church. And that God could use that interaction that essentially—he described it—there was a moment during the consultation or something when we started talking; I don’t remember talking about God to him specifically or any of that, but he remembered and when COVID kicked off and when he saw his company he was working for doing crazy things, he knew that he could talk to us.

And it’d be easy for me as a business owner to be like that was a really big job. I didn’t get to do the project. No. I want to do the projects that God has for me. I don’t want to do any more than that. And I want people to do projects they’re excited about, that make sense for their family. And if it doesn’t make sense for their family, I don’t want them to do it.

That same plumber that told me that info about the peach orchard and the growth is saying, “Send out each estimate. Send out each job. Pray over it. Ask the Lord to give you the exact amount of business that is for you and nothing more.”

Avoiding “The Pauper Mentality”

And at the same time, it can be easy when you’re building a brand and you’re doing a company to do it on the cheap, to hire people, to try to swindle. Because if I hire a cheaper tile guy or I hire whatever, and I try to construct this package, it’s not the best product because I’m not getting the best people and I’m not getting the best materials. And you just can’t make the final product the best if you’re not building every area of the business the best.

And I’m realizing even now, after six years of business, that I have had this kind of pauper mentality to not hire the right people that would be “force multipliers” like we say, in the military, like a virtual assistant or an executive assistant. And I just got done with a call to hire somebody on to help with scheduling and things, because I’m not doing it well, I’m responding to people quickly enough. I’m not handling the leads that I have. And I’m trying to set up these protocols and these systems to do it. And I’m just excited about it. And that’s, what’s so fun about small business. That’s what’s so fun about building a brand. That’s what’s so fun about doing business now.

We’re going to have a guest on here in a couple weeks. It’s going to be really fun to talk about brand build and these things, but in a sense, giving up and not siloing your life, business, personal church, and keeping everything separate, but just letting them all come out of who you are and to talk about it on social media, on your branding. And to be bold about your faith, or why you do things, and these are my kids. And just the gravitas that gives your brand and how even the small things years ago are causing follow on jobs and referrals. And just the amount of work that we have to do in construction alone is baffling. And it is essentially trying to be faithful in the small things, not being perfect, making mistakes, owning up to it. We’ve talked about that before, but understanding that it’s all connected and that there’s not personal and business.

Break the Silos in Your Life

Or if you’re trying to keep personals siloed off because you’re weird about the internet and you don’t want to do that. Okay, that’s fine. But in a sense, if you’re doing business publicly and you’re trying to keep everything kind of hidden from your personal life and you’re living a way you shouldn’t in your personal life, that is going to manifest itself at how you do things in the business world and vice versa. And it’s all connected. There’s no difference between personal and business and just trying to excel in all areas of life. And that is how you can stack the deck, or that is how you can do your part as you try to build a business, as you try to build a brand, as you try to be faithful in leaving an inheritance to your children’s children. Accepting it, embracing it, and working on yourself and seeing God bring the yield in the season, maybe several years from now, but setting it up that it will happen.

Thanks for listening. Share with a friend. Subscribe. Review. Let us know what you think about it. Talk to you next time.

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