I keep having these conversations with people in business or ministry, or some hybrid of the two, so if you're one of them, please don't take this personally. It's not you; it's a mindset that's in the majority of us to some degree.
It's the mindset that says "I don't see the value in what I have to offer. I just hope I can bless a couple of people and that's all I could ever ask for." It's part low-self esteem, part religious spirit, part false humility. This mindset causes lots of problems in your business and if I could slap it off you, I would. I would like to address just one facet of how this wrecks things right now, and that's the first impression you make with people.
Your first impression matters.
I'm talking about the way you present whatever it is you're offering. Maybe it's your packaging, maybe it's your website, maybe it's that your bio photo is a selfie and your Facebook live video is you shooting your chin/up your nose every time. At best it looks like you don't know how to be professional, and at worst it seems like you don't care. And I will judge you on that, via appearances almost every time. If you can't take yourself seriously, why should anybody else?
Disprove the stereotype.
Anything Christian tends to have a reputation as being a little backward. We are not leading the way in movies, art, music, or much of anything. We are generally not early adopters of new technology, so everything we've got going is a bit behind the times. This should not be true. And I hate that it is.
Represent your kingdom
Now think kingdom. Think quality and extravagance. Think the best possible. Kingdom is what we are called to represent and spread here on earth. We rule, we just aren't currently doing that. We certainly don't appear capable of doing that. In fact, it's hard to believe we can the way we present ourselves, yet everyone I've been talking to is incredible at what they do. They've been equipped. But most of the world won't look past appearances and figure that out.
Are you a prince or a pauper?
Now, I realize that we all start somewhere, and somewhere is usually on limited funds. However, I often find the money excuse is a smokescreen for "I don't think I'm worth it." Or they are believing the lie that if they don't have thousands of dollars they can't do a good job. There's always a way if you'll believe enough to look for it. But it will cost you something. You'll have to pick up some new skills, pay a little for the piece you can't do, or put a few bucks into better materials. Often it's in the little details. I don't believe we've been set up to fail, or set up just to squeak by, looking sub-par. It's all in your mindset.
The place where the money issue is valid is when you've been in business a bit, and there is nothing extra to make any improvements. You may not be charging enough. Most Christians have so many money hangups they can't possibly charge much and can't possibly pay for anything either. But that's for another day. You might need to raise your rates so you can step up your game. Kingdom isn't cut-rate. More income also means you can take whatever you're doing to more people, and that is a very kingdom thing to do.
Is God really that bad at poetry?
Another place where I see Christians calling it good enough is in any area that's supposed to be inspired. If whatever you're turning out such as writing, art, music, etc., that you are passing off as a direct download from God, please know that He works within the parameters of your skill, knowledge, religious thinking, inner healing you've had. It gets processed through your internal filters and comes out colored with "you." That's not a bad thing at all, but please take some responsibility there. You honing your gift will allow a better expression for Him.
My major pet peeves
These are the most common things that bug me, and are easy fixes.
- free domain name - example www.you.whereyougotfreehosting.com. A legit domain is $12 a year.
- Bad graphics - you drew or did the graphic, and you're not an artist, or you got them off a site without paying and they still have the watermark, or it's not quite representative but it was free so hey.
- Bad label design (see above).
- Cheap and ugly packaging.
- Unnavigatable websites, bad layout, or sites that haven't been updated in years.
- No graphics and nothing breaking up walls of text.
- Bad videos. Shooting with your phone is acceptable, but you know, they have tripods for those. And turn some lights on or go outside!
So look at whatever it is you're presenting and ask yourself "Does this come across as kingdom?" You don't have to fix it all right away. Perfect is not gonna happen, but excellence is a real thing! Just be open and looking for ways to improve. I believe that once you change your mindset in this area, the solutions will come.
Image credit © Can Stock Photo / Catmando