The reality of taking a leap of faith

As a Christain, I can say this without much reservation. Most of us do really stupid stuff. On top of that, most of us do that stupid stuff, while claiming that God told us to do it. Admit it. You’ve done it, too.

Let me be a little more specific.

The infamous “leap of faith.” That point where you have convinced yourself that this is the right thing to do. The point where you just know it will work. The point where everything inside of you is screaming that it’s time to jump, even though everything logical is waving stop signs at you.

And yet, we go.

Without a doubt, there are times when this is the best thing you can do. I have seen those magic scenarios, when you go with your gut and everything works out way better than it should. However. Success is not the most likely outcome of any emotion driven decision.

I had a great pastor, many years ago. He knew me. He knew how my over active imagination and impulsive behaviors operated. He had witnessed one goofy decision after another. Here’s how he began counseling my craziness.

Me. “I have this great idea about a business I can start. It won’t cost much, but the potential is amazing.”
Him. “Can you do it part time, or will you have to quit your job?”
Me. “I can make ten times as much with this. Why would I keep working that crummy job?”
Him. “What if you don’t? How will you pay the bills and feed your family?”
Me. “There’s no way this can fail. I have done my homework. I have already figured it out.”
Him. “Ok. I will pray for you guys. Let me know how it turns out.”

It failed.

Actually. Honestly. I did that several times. They all failed. They all cost more than they made.

He had gotten past the point of arguing with me. I didn’t go in there for counseling. I went in there to show off how smart I was, by figuring out this amazing opportunity and cashing in on it. No humility. No chance of letting him talk sense into me. Just another bonehead idea that got me all worked up and left us broke.

I would love to claim that I am well beyond the capacity for decisions like that, but am not entirely positive. I know me.

Here’s the point.

If you do a search on Craigslist, in almost any city, you will find dozens of DJ rigs for sale. There’s a ton of pristine sound equipment that can be had cheap. Want to know why? Because most of us are gear junkies. We need more gear. We need toys. We make a few bucks and convince ourselves that we found a gold mine. Break out the credit card. Beg the bank for a loan. Steal granny’s change out of the sofa cushions. Whatever. But we get all worked up and have to buy that stuff.

Then we wait.

Since we didn’t do our homework about marketing, we didn’t advertise. Since we were more concerned with making noise, than making friends, we didn’t develop the proper relationships. Since we don’t have a track record, nobody knows whether or not to subject their audience to our skills. Since we didn’t learn to maintain our equipment, everything ends up noisy and occasionally failing. Since we don’t know our market, we don’t know what kind of work will pay regularly. And. Since we we didn’t really accept any advice from people who were willing to offer it, we risk damaging the most important relationships we have.

No. I am not exaggerating. It happens every day. Not just to the folks in production work. Every industry has people doing the same thing.

Just because you can make a great pot of chili, does not mean you should open a restaurant.
Just because you own a lawn mower, does not mean you should be a landscaper.
Just because you bought a house, does not make you qualified to be a real estate investor.
Just because you can build an amazing chopper, does not mean you have any business opening a motorcycle shop.

I am not saying you can’t, just that you need to take time to know what you are really getting into before you bankrupt your family on a whim.

We live in a day and age, where we can google almost anything and have immediate answers. There are about 164 million blogs out there, offering free advice on almost any subject. The library has thousands of books on starting and managing a business. Chances are, you know someone who owns a business and can coach you into your own.

Don’t forget your wife and kids. Your wife has a vested interest in your success or failure. Her home and groceries probably depend on you. If she thinks it’s a bad idea, you need to listen. Nobody is more concerned with your success than she is. If she feels as excited about it as you are, then keep reading and learning about it. Don’t wait until you have it all figured out before asking her opinion. Don’t get hurt if she isn’t impressed. Just listen.

If it’s something you are sure about. Something you just can’t shake. It has to work. Start part time.

When we got into LegalShield, it was because I knew people who were already making good money with it. It was a minimal investment and I could do it without quitting my job. I don’t make a fortune with it, but it is steady money and still qualifies as a business.

When I began blogging and writing, I didn’t have to quit my job. I have to get up an hour earlier each day. I have to check email throughout the day. I take writing assignments around my schedule. It generates income, without taking time away from my family. The books are written at my own pace. I get more material, every day, because of my interaction with people at my job.

When I began working with eBay and Amazon, it was out of necessity. I needed extra income. But, it was the same deal. I worked around my job and family. Neither one required me to take a leap of faith and gamble with my family or finances.

My first two attempts at going full time in pro audio were both disasters. Both times, I borrowed money and made no profit. Both times, I ended up selling off the gear to pay bills later. Both times I jumped in with virtually no research or counsel. The time I finally succeeded, was on borrowed gear and later as a freelancer. Neither one cost anything. Both made money from day one.

My Soundcheck book covers all this in better detail. You should read it. My 21 Day Challenge will get you into a better position to accept advice from your wife. There’s plenty of blogs out there, that can help you make better decisions without taking big chances.

The bible says it’s foolish to go to war, without considering your situation. It says it’s foolish to start building something, without considering your resources. Do your homework. Leap when you have to and when you are ready. Not before.