I could make a lot more money if I would just keep my shop open 7 days a week.
I could also offer my terrarium classes every evening and twice on Sundays.
I could hire more employees and just manage them as they plant all the terrariums. That way I would be free to stay in the back room doing the bookkeeping, paying the bills and growing my little company into a chain of terrarium shops.
I could make millions.
But if I did that, I would eventually become just another business. I would be that guy who bought himself a job and I would miss out on all the benefits that should come from owning my own business.
It's hard to say "No." to the allure of making more money.
But I started this little terrarium shop with three goals in mind. First, I wanted it to be a place where my son James, 14 at the time, but now age 18, could learn some basic business skills during his high school years. That has worked out very well.
Second, I wanted it to be a laboratory experiment in owning and operating a tiny, semi-retirement business. Millions of people in my generation will not be able to retire. They can't afford to quit working. But even if they were able to quit working for an income, it is not much fun, after a month or two, to quit working entirely.
My theory is that a tiny business, doing something you enjoy doing for a niche market of fellow enthusiasts, is a better way to go than trying to find a good-paying job in an age-discriminating job market. Shopkeeping is the kind of job that allows old farts like me to putz around sprucing things up while continuing to make a comfortable living, and all that while still having enough time for what matters most in my life, my family.
I am blessed to have a great family. Seven kids and now 9 grand kids. I don't want to miss out on watching my kids go crazy trying to raise my grand kids. I want to keep flexible hours doing something I can include even my grand kids in. I want to be able to say "yes" when I am asked to watch a few toddlers for the afternoon. I also want to do more of the creative, hands-on, meaningful work that I enjoy, designing and planting terrariums, and let others take care of the financial accounting. I want to invest more of my time in making things that don't need to be accounted for in a ledger.
My third goal in starting this tiny business is to have a public place where I can live out my spiritual life in an open and honest way, unashamed of my Savior. You see, I am a Christian, a follower and ambassador of Jesus Christ. My home and business, which are one and the same, is intended to be an embassy of the Kingdom of God. The Christian life that I strive to live is accomplished simply by trusting in the goodness and wisdom of my God enough to actually obey Jesus' command to love others on His behalf. That's it. My whole responsibility as a believer is to show my love for God by the way I love and care for people like you.
So, I strive to do just that, one day at a time, one terrarium at a time, one terrarium class at a time and one customer at a time. I try first to offer a good deal. I'm not here just to make more money or to just plant more terrariums. Nor am In here to just teach my son business skills. I am here to live a life that is pleasing to my God, so that, hopefully, my example and my story can be beneficial to the spiritual lives of others whether they buyb anything or not.
I am not saying that all my staff members share my faith, because they don't. I don't check my employee's spiritual IDs when I hire them. But I do have this faith in my own heart and I have a great story to tell about how God rescued me. So, if you are ever interested in hearing my story and meeting my Savior, please allow me to do so.
Whenever I am around the shop, which I usually am and you can always ask for me, I will be more than happy to drop everything, invite you into my office, sit down with you, pop open a few cold root beers and share my story with you. Ill even try to answer any questions you may have.
I could not do this if I were not my own boss. It would be stealing time from my employer unless he or she gave me permission to do so. That's pretty rare now a days. But as it is, I am my own boss and I am free to do whatever I choose with my time and my business. I love it. Freedom of religion and freedom of speech are of no consequence if no one ever actually lives out their faith or speaks their mind. So please, drop by the shop and give me an opportunity to do both. It's the major reason why I am here.