By guest author Daniel Craig
I wasn’t your ideal homeschool kid. Believe me. In fact, you’ve probably heard the breathtaking stories of amazingly disciplined 10-year-old “wonder children” who wake up every morning eagerly waiting to propose their top 5 goals for the day, listed with A, B, C, D, and E priorities. Unfortunately for my mother, that wasn’t me.
Nevertheless, though I certainly wasn’t the homeschool poster-boy, Mom and Dad toiled continuously to instill in me the essential character qualities they knew would be paramount to my success in life.
For them, homeschooling had less to do with schooling and more to do with work ethic, good communication skills, and my desire to love, fear, and serve the Lord. With this approach, they gave me the foundation for successful entrepreneurship – long before entrepreneurship was even a consideration in my mind.
The first time I heard the word “entrepreneurship” I could barely utter a comprehensible pronunciation – let alone give a basic definition. Eventually, though, I came to understand that entrepreneurship wasn’t a subject restricted to the few really smart kids – the homeschool superheroes who would go on to start the Microsofts and Apples of the next generation.
I realized that the basics of entrepreneurship – responsibility, initiative, and ownership – are essential, not just for Fortune 500 business owners, but also for any young person just getting started in life.
A generation ago, this really wouldn’t have been an unique perspective. Today, it’s counter-cultural. No matter where we turn, we’re facing an epidemic of visionless, clueless, fantasy-driven young people. In fact, one of the defining qualities of my generation, the Millennials, is a sense of entitlement – not a sense of responsibility, initiative, or ownership.
I wish I could say I never struggled with these weaknesses, but I did. Despite the tremendous advantages you and I have been given, we often fail to invest those talents at an early age as we should.
As I transitioned from homeschooling to adulthood, I grew to understand that unto whom much is given, of him much will be required – and I had been given much. Thus, I realized I had a responsibility to be responsible! I needed to take the initiative to initiate! I had no choice but to own my obligation to take ownership – now!
When we understand that an entrepreneur is “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, usually with considerable initiative and risk,” we must conclude that with all the advantages and opportunities we’ve been given, homeschoolers of all people should be the most entrepreneurially-minded.
We should be known for our keen sense of the needs around us. We should be known for organizing the enterprises which meet those needs. We should be known for our fearless leadership, no matter the cost. We should be known as entrepreneurs! So here are four secrets to get you started.
Secret 1: Be Inspired!
For too long, we have tried to get inspired by looking in the mirror. Incidentally, that approach has produced the most uninspired generation in the history of our nation. The problem is, neither you nor I are all that inspiring! But, what about the glory of God? What about the glorious task He has given us as His creatures of glorifying His name on the earth?
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion …” (Genesis 1:28).
Now that’s inspiring! The very Creator of the universe has blessed you with the charge of dominating in the earth as the emissary of His royal authority. You have been commissioned with managing the advancement of His kingdom so that every thought is brought captive to the obedience of Christ!
This is exciting, but we need to understand a few things. First of all, you can’t decline the commission. It’s yours – and you are on duty 24/7. Everything you do must be done with your grand commission in mind. Whether it’s baking bread, taking out the trash, completing homework, working your first job, witnessing to a neighbor, or running a million-dollar company, the end goal is that the Father’s will be done on earth, just exactly as it is in heaven.
This means, secondly, you can’t be about your own kingdom. Your kingdom revolves around your ease, your popularity and reputation, and maybe the number of friends you have on Facebook. God’s doesn’t – and there’s not room for both.
Those things may have their place, but if we are truly inspired by God’s glory, we may be called upon in a moment’s notice to sacrifice what is most important to us for the purpose of advancing what is most important to God – the glory of His name.
This is what the best entrepreneurs do. They see and are inspired by the big picture. They take the initiative to turn opportunities into managed enterprises. They are not deterred even when this dominion involves considerable personal risk. In short, the best entrepreneurs are inspired by the kingdom and glory of God.
Secret 2: Make the Little Things a Big Priority
Not long ago, I was discussing this concept of entrepreneurship with one of my mentors who is a very successful business man. With his vast experience, I was eager to see what pearls of wisdom he would be able to dispense on the subject. Hoping to hear some dynamic, hitherto unuttered secret, I was simply told, “Danny, the most basic characteristic of successful entrepreneurs is maturity.”
Maturity? Really? I had been hoping for something more exciting, but I soon realized his wisdom only echoed what we read in Matthew 25:21, “Thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things.”
When we possess the maturity to make the little things a big priority, we will be given responsibility for greater things. On the other hand, if we lack the initiative to empty the overflowing trash can, we won’t have the initiative required to act on greater opportunities.
While this concept is easy to comprehend, the difficulty is that we as young people tend to think of “real life” as this “thing” that will begin some grand and important day – off in the distant future.
My father was committed to helping me understand how my choices now would affect my future later on. He often said, “If you treat your mother that way, you will treat your wife that way too.” Or, “If you do your chores in a sloppy manner, that’s how you will work for your employer.”
He taught me that there is a very strong connection between what we are now and what we become in the future, and according to Proverbs 22:29, he was right: “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”
It’s easy to focus on the big things everyone notices. But if you are faithful to do the little things which don’t seem as important and many people fail to notice – you will be one among a million.
Stay tuned for secrets three and four in Part Two!