Category: Wives Who Thrive

Monthly Spotlight of women living out their passion, gifts, strengths and dreams. Read about them and be inspired.

Supporting Small Businesses and Ministries

Supporting Small Businesses and Ministries

Supporting Small Businesses and Ministries

Since 2016 I’ve worked for a small Inbound Marketing agency based in Melbourne, Florida. We partner with clients in many different industries all around the globe with a multi-tiered approach to help each client tell their individual stories. I’m passionate about storytelling. It says so in my work bio. 😉 I love my job for many reasons, above all, over the years I’ve developed a passion for helping small businesses and business owners thrive.

Today there are a lot of business owners and employees who are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders wondering how long the COVID-19 global pandemic will continue. The stark reality is many companies will not survive this crisis. As a coach’s wife, I’m acutely aware of how generous small business owners are to their local communities. They are the lifeblood of many athletic teams, PTA fundraisers, school trips, church fundraisers, recitals, community concerts, and plays. Now is the time for community members to give back to the businesses that have supported so many events over the years.

The U.S. Small Business Administration reports that there were 30.7 million small businesses in the U.S. in 2019. Freshbooks reported in 2018 that 15 million Americans were self-employed full time and estimated that by 2020 the number would rise to 27 million. Clearly that number is now going to change.

Here are a few stats from 2018 that put small businesses and entrepreneurship into perspective:

freshbooks 2018

62% of small business owners don’t work with any staff.

20% earn less than $20,000 per year.

Life is Changing Rapidly

In the past ten days, our family shifted from packing for a getaway and meet up with our family in Minnesota at a water park in the Wisconsin Dells to sheltering in place and hunting for toilet paper online and in every store within our county. It’s jarring how quickly things can shift.

If you’re a small business owner you may have also seen a lot of your customers pause orders recently. It’s hard to know how to budget for business when you can no longer rely on projections and yearly spending trends. You’ve also likely had to make quick decisions about inventory or when and how to change your business model to adjust to daily changing rules with social distancing.

In our home, as our plans changed I suddenly realized I needed to stock up on food not only for the week home but for multiple days because our spring break was extended for an additional week. We were able to fill in most of the food, cleaning supplies, and toiletries we needed even though it wasn’t our typical shopping day thanks to a great sale at the grocery store and online pick up at Sam’s Club. This was just one tiny quick action we took. Consider how many business owners must take.

Another choice we made was to make a library run and stock up on books. The librarian mentioned we should make sure to sign up for digital access to things. He’d already heard they wouldn’t be open much longer. He was correct, they closed the following day and it will be a few more weeks at least before they open. As we chatted I realized how much life was going to change so we headed to my favorite coffee shop and bought several gluten-free pastries. I wanted them to know that even though I wouldn’t be around for a few weeks I hoped to see them when soon.

You Know Small Business Owners

Will you do me a favor? Will you take a minute and think about your neighbors, friends, and family. Make a list of how many people have a side hustle, own a business, or work for a small start-up company rather than a large franchise. Now. take that same list and consider who you know who draws a salary from mission support. For the rest of this post keep those people in mind.

Small Businesses Need Our Support

I know that right now many people are facing incredibly challenging months as we wait out our local and federal government responses to the coronavirus. There are so many unknowns. Workhours have already been cut, layoffs are occurring, and many people are looking for freelance work only to realize that businesses are cutting back in areas rather than hiring.

I believe many small business owners will eventually receive some sort of support, but which businesses will qualify and how long this who global pandemic is going to last is unknown. The instinct in such uncertain times is to buckle down and cut as many costs as possible. However, when it comes to the small businesses we believe in, we need to take time to think beyond the next few weeks.

When We Emerge

At some point, we will receive the all-clear to gather again in restaurants, churches, coffee shops, museums, co-working spaces, farmers’ markets, bakeries, concerts, and athletic events. We’ll wander around on a Saturday at the Farmer’s Market, stop at a food truck for breakfast, grab flowers and the week’s vegetables before heading out to meet friends at our favorite boutique to check out the latest trends in clothing.

But let’s pause for a moment. After weeks, possibly months without income, are you sure your favorite business will have the capital to buy supplies and reopen? If everyone stops their memberships or pauses purchasing, how can we expect that services will be available for us when we’re ready to resume normal life?

Businesses Still Have Bills

Just like households have rent, utilities, and loans to continue to pay even though we are facing a global pandemic. The same is true for businesses regardless of the size. Payroll, bookkeeping, software, website expenses, inventory, and office rent are just a few typical expenses a small business owner will pay every month.

We have to consider ways we can continue to invest in the businesses we love now, or they may not be around when we emerge from this current crisis.

Ways to Invest in Small Businesses Today:

  • Don’t cancel your memberships
  • Use date night money for take-out or delivery
  • Allocate money to spend on small businesses that you would normally spend on gas
  • Buy gift cards for the businesses you would normally be eating lunch or having coffee in with friends
  • If you have a monthly subscription where you purchase items, see if any of your friends want to take advantage of your wholesale discount.

It’s likely many businesses are going to start to run sales. Set your notifications so you don’t miss any announcements. When a Buy 1 Get 1 Free deal comes up, split the purchase with a friend. That way you both get to support a company you love and save money.

Take inventory of things around your house. I don’t know about you but I’ve been purging things like crazy lately just like we do every spring. It feels great to get rid of broken items and pass along things our boys have outgrown. As items in our house, break or wear down there are always things we need to replace.

As you replace broken items check out your local businesses. Even if you have to spend a little extra money consider the value of investing in that money in your community rather than elsewhere.

Don’t Forget About Your Favorite Ministries

One of the ways that people often tighten their belts in times of crisis is by stopping their giving to churches and nonprofit ministries. Just like small businesses the bills don’t pause for ministries during a crisis. In fact, in many cases ministries, finances are stretch thinner as people rely on extra support.

If you support missionaries financially or tithe regularly to your church it’s important to prioritize keeping these items in your budget even while we are all tightening our belts. It’s not an exaggeration to say that stopping your monthly giving could mean the difference between someone else affording their rent or paying for their groceries on a given month.

So, take a minute and review that list of small business owners. I encourage you to take some time to browse their websites as you’re hanging out at home this week. Make a list of a few items you need or want and figure out how to work them into your budget.

Make a list of restaurants and rotate where you order. Buy gift cards. Use them for future date nights and mark them for future gifts. You can use them to buy Christmas gifts for people in a few months or as a birthday or Christmas gift. Regardless of how you invest in small businesses in the weeks to come, my encouragement to you is to do so intentionally. You don’t need to go into debt to keep other businesses going!

If we all do just a little bit hopefully we’ll emerge from this horrible quarantine and discover all our favorite spaces waiting for us with adorable new seasonable outfits, the sharpest new lipstick colors, warm pastries, and delightful endless mugs of coffee that you don’t have to make yourself. Sigh…hang in there friends! We can do this together!

Are you a small business owner? Do you work with a ministry or nonprofit?

One way I support small businesses and nonprofit ministries is through my monthly blog post Wives Who Thrive. To learn more about this passion project read my invitation post here. To apply for a feature fill out this Google Doc so I can share your story!

wives who thrive
Andrea Stunz

Andrea Stunz

Have you ever felt deep down you were called to do something? Have you observed someone thriving in their career and thought how easy and fun something looked only to later discover pursuing the career requires extra education? Have you talked yourself out of pursuing something because you’ve convinced yourself it’s too late?

Meet Andrea One of Many Wives Who Thrive

Andrea is a wife of over three decades, a mom to three married adult children, and a Gimi to a gaggle of incredible grandchildren. She finds joy in her family, grace in her friends, beauty in every story, purpose in the sunrise, and wonder in my travels. Andrea describes herself as an adventurous survivor who finds hope for this earthly life in Colossians 1:17 which says, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (NASB)

Andrea is currently living a unique adventure. I asked her to share about her current career and she said, “It would be safe to say my life’s vocation is that of a wife and mom, and now Gimi, with a spirit of entrepreneurship tossed into the mix. I have always enjoyed finding ways to take care of my family while making a little pocket money or cushioning the budget in times when we needed a bit of extra. I am currently working remotely as an empty nester and full-time RV’er. As I work toward writing and publishing my own work to encourage and walk alongside women as we navigate our bumpy paths, I am a freelance writer, content creator, and proofreader.”

What part of your career are you most passionate about and why?

As you can imagine, freelancing can pair well with travel, but Andrea does have to plan ahead! When I asked her about what she’s most passionate about with her career here’s what she said, “I thoroughly enjoy the freedom to work from wherever in the world I find myself and to do it mostly on my own timeline and at my own pace. Does this make me a 52-year-old Millenial? I place a high value on travel and adventure, but with my freelance work, as long as I have frequent access to the internet, I can get my work done–and often I work from somewhere with a gorgeous view. Through our amazing technological advances, I enjoy the opportunities available to work remotely and to do what I enjoy doing while making some money at it.”

Is remote work sounding appealing? Check out my growing list of resources here.

Why did you choose your niche? 

“From childhood, I have enjoyed words. The expression of them in poetry and writing songs was a formative way to help me process my big feelings and sensitivities. As an adult, I’ve since learned how to manage this part of my life in a healthier way and much of that journey has included words–words in songs, words in books, words in blogs, etc. I identify as a Christ-follower first, but I relate to being an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), a Counter-Phobic, Enneagram 6w5 (training to become a Certified Enneagram Coach), an introvert, an empath, and a survivor. A true depiction of my passion for encouraging others through words, writing, and proofreading is in this quote by Dawson Trotman, “Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips.” This is a proven process in my life, so I assume that in sharing pieces of my stories, I might encourage others in their stories as well.”

I also asked Andrea “When you dreamed of the ideal career where your strengths, passions, gifts, and talents would connect did you think you would be doing what you are doing? How are things the same/different?” I loved her thoughtful and thorough response:

“Well, my ideal career was always being a mom. I knew I would be good at it and I loved children and wanted seven of my own. As God would have it, I only had three. As I’ve learned about myself, I can see where much of this longing came from my spiritual gift of hospitality. I simply love caring for others and especially when those others are my offspring. I will always be a mom but with adult children, my parenting role has ended. I entered the world of blogs when they first became a thing. I fell in love with the online community. I then began doing what I came to call “cyber hospitality”. Helping others find things in foreign countries, sharing our family stories to either give a mental break to others in theirs or to encourage them to keep going, fed my soul. For someone who has spent most of her life moving and living in foreign countries, finding community in online space has been an invaluable gift to me. I know there are others out there who feel the same way. This fuels my passion and commitment to continue on in the world of caring for others by way of cyber hospitality.”

What I love is that Andrea understands God’s unique design for her life and she’s continuing to find ways to evolve and grow so she can continue to thrive in her passions. As a coach’s wife, I really appreciate Andrea’s passion for hospitality. While we’re not traveling overseas, her ministry helping others find things when they are in unfamiliar spaces is such a blessing.

Balancing Work and Life

I asked Andrea for tips on work/life balance and here’s what she said, “Oh, I’ve come to really dislike the word balance. I may change my mind someday but, to me, it seems like I’ve longed for but it’s a dangling carrot I’ll never ever be able to reach. But rhythm? Rhythm is where I think it’s at for me. Where balance is measurable, rhythm feels like a song. I could go on and on about this topic but Rebekah Lyons has already written the book. I encourage anyone who is chasing after the ever-elusive balance carrot, to read Rhythms of Renewal. She lays out the path of staying in a rhythm of renewal through, ‘rest, restore, connect, and create’. “

Any Final Words?

Andrea’s final (and most thoughtful) words for us were these: “If anyone looked at my life’s history, you would not see higher education, degrees, skills, training, or anything that would qualify me for the work that I do now. I have fought hard to survive and thrive in my world where much of what has happened has happened TO me, not through me. I am most proud of myself for staying true to my faith and battling through hardships and fears; knowing what I wanted and full-out going for it. I share my life with as many as will listen (or read) because I want you to be proud of yourself in this same way. Friend, I know you can because I know I can!”

Connect with Andrea

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AndreaStunzWriter/

Instagram @AndreaStunzWriter

Website: www.andreastunz.com where I share pieces of my heart in hopes of encouraging pieces of yours.

Are you interested in having a featured post on Wives Who Thrive? Fill out the linked Google Doc for a chance to have a feature on this monthly post. Interested in learning more about this monthly spotlight? Check out this invitation post.

Alyssa DeLosSantos

Alyssa DeLosSantos

Alyssa DeLosSantos Sow Kind Movement

Have you ever wondered what happens when life situations prevent you from achieving your dreams? You may find yourself on stage like Alyssa DeLosSantos or guiding a movement that challenges people to focus on kindness.

Meet Alyssa One of Many Wives Who Thrives

Alyssa is a Jesus lover, hope hunter, and storyteller. She loves her husband, her three children, her dog, and her friends {in that order}. Books, old windows, clean floors, intentional conversations, and metaphors are on her list, but she prefers not to say where. She holds the award of best driver in town, as issued by her husband who happens to also think she should open her own driving school! When she’s not juggling laundry, acting as the family cruise director, or discovering the best gluten-free cookie recipe, you can often find her sitting in her cul-de-sac enjoying community with her neighbors-turned-friends. She is a classroom teacher by training but spends most of her time outside the classroom meeting friends at quaint coffee shops, talking nonstop about the #sowkind movement, teaching at conferences and retreats, drafting blog posts that sometimes get published, and watching way too many Dateline reruns. She is a contributing author for A Moment to Breathe: 365 Devotions That Meet You in Your Everyday Mess.

I think it’s safe to say Alyssa has a lot on her plate! Her “day job” is teaching, however, today we’ll be focusing on her side hustle which Alyssa describes as a hashtag movement of kindness.

I asked Alyssa what part of her career she is most passionate about and why. She was clear she isn’t simply tolerating her day job too. Alyssa explained the reason she’s a teacher is due (in large part) to her high school English teacher and she loves teaching and encouraging students.

Alyssa explained “Childhood trauma kept me from really dreaming. Once I began teaching, I recognized the gift of leadership I had. While I never dreamed of teaching or starting a movement of kindness, there’s nothing I would rather be doing!”

The #sowkind movement

Interestingly, as important as the #sowkind movement is, Alyssa explains that the idea came together by chance. You can read more here. But I’ll give you a preview.

I’ve had an idea ruminating in my mind for several weeks. While dusting my floors (because I’m a little neurotic about floors), a random phrase popped in my head. Five minutes and the cost of a stamp. What? After a few minutes of contemplating the meaning, I decided to write it down. As soon as I wrote it down, two more phrases emerged.

Five minutes and the cost of a stamp.

Low cost. High return.

Movement of kindness.

I liked each of the phrases but I had no idea what it meant, how it all fit together, or what to do with it. As the words continued to occupy every waking thought, I decided to share the idea aloud with all manner of unsuspecting people. Every time I shared, another piece of the puzzle seemed to fall into place.

#sowkind mission

The #sowkind movement needs willing people to carry the ripple of kindness into their communities. We might not be able to change (THE) world, but we can impact OUR world one kind word at a time!

Can I join the fun?

You sure can! Select someone to encourage {tell them how much you appreciate your friendship, share a treasured memory, affirm the way they use their strengths to help others, etc.}, carve out five minutes to write out your thoughts, and put that labor of love in the mail. Don’t forget to include #sowkind within the letter or on the envelope. It will invite your recipient to explore {and hopefully join} the movement!!

Q & A

What is your best advice for someone wanting to start a movement like this?

Get a strong team of people to surround you, encourage you, and help you see through the weeds!

Do you have any tips to share about balancing work and the rest of life?

Is balance a thing? LOL!! (Fair enough Alyssa, fair enough 🙂 )

How can we get connected with you?

sowkindmovement.com

alyssadelssantoss.com

Instagram

Are you interested in having a featured post on Wives Who Thrive? Fill out the linked Google Doc for a chance to have a feature on this monthly post. Interested in learning more about this monthly spotlight? Check out this invitation post.

Monthly Spotlight Wives Who Thrive