The “Foundation” posts are about the basics of beginning a business, particularly a heart-based service business. They are about the bones.

WHAT Do They Need?

WHAT Can You Do To Help Your WHO?

Well, I just about overthought this post to death! 

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Hi, I’m Shelby, and I’m an overthinker. It’s really simple. 

Simple is good because these first posts are about the foundation of your business or ministry. And we want to try and keep that simple!

What can you do to help the people God has called you to serve, whether in business or ministry?

Can you help them learn to do something practical (or maybe not so practical) to help themselves? Can you help them make some sort of emotional/mental/physical transformation? 

I’m calling to mind four clients of mine who are psychologists and counselors. The “whats” for them, in regard to their clients, might look like: What can I do to help them and serve them well? Can I help them eat better? Parent better? Crochet? Play guitar? Just find some balance?

My “whats” in relationship to them might look like: Do they need help setting up their own businesses? Writing blog posts? Taking over some of the business operations so that, after they’re done helping their clients, the can rest or play or refill their own spirits? Getting out of their own way? 

How about your clients? In what ways has God gifted you to help them – and serve them well? Have some great ideas to get started? Fantastic!

Digging Into The What

These are good starts, but they’re like the “why” question; they’re too general for you to make any real headway. So dig down a level – or maybe two, or even five! What is it about nutrition that you could teach them? Where in their writing are they stuck? Do they have mindset issues (who doesn’t!) that keep them from moving forward?

(And, I feel sure you know this, but I need to say it anyway – don’t forget to pray over every piece of these foundations.)

While digging into the “what,” don’t get wrapped up in it — this is “what’s” time in the spotlight — but let your brain wander around how. Just enough to know that it’s basically doable.

Does The What Fit?

Does the “what” you come up with fit the “why” and the “who” from the prior two posts? Can you picture yourself jumping through some hoops to make “what” happen for “who” because “why?”

Does it make your heart sing a little bit? I’ve owned my own businesses for over 20 years, and the combination of these things really does need to make your heart sing. And sometimes cry. Because while serving people is more than rewarding, it can also be hard.


Who Does Your Heart Long To Serve?

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Another big foundation question for business or ministry is WHO? Who does your heart longs to serve?

My great focus in ministry is widows. When I was widowed, I was the youngest widow in my church, I had children still in school, and no one quite knew what to do with me. That’s an easy one and God put it in my heart as sure as He made my eyes blue.

Who I have been called to serve in business has been harder. I actually know whom it is that I’ve been called to. I’ve just often wanted it to be someone different. Someone easier.

My Who Aren’t Blue

Do you know whom you’re called to serve? Think of all of the people with whom you cross paths. Friends, family, waitstaff at your favorite restaurant, doctors or nurses, that person on Facebook who always encourages you… Who resonates with you? Why? Is there a commonality among these people?

There are a lot of client avatar exercises out there that you can do. I love what my coach, Diane Cunningham Ellis, says about this. Sorry, Diane, I’m paraphrasing here: “When I think of client avatars, I think of the blue people from the movie. My clients aren’t blue people. They’re women just like you and me.”

Who are the people just like you? What goals do you have in common? What pain points?

Is there something you can do to help them achieve their goals and overcome their obstacles? Can you guess which foundational question is coming up next?


How Will You Deliver Your Service or Product?

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You’ve identified the “why,” the “who,” and the “what.” That’s fantastic! You’re so close! HOW will you be delivering “your thing” to your people? Is it an online thing or an in-person thing? Both?

Have you given any thought to the myriad options? You have to look at this from two sides:
How do you feel comfortable delivering “the thing” to them?
How will they best receive it?

The two might be the same or they might not. If they’re not, then you might need to take another look at your WHO. You won’t be able to serve them well if you have trouble connecting in ways that make sense to them. (Lesson learned the hard way. More than once!)

Some Hows For Online Delivery

Teaching Platform (Thinkific, MemberVault, etc.)
Email (yes, people deliver whole programs via email!)
Voxer (cool walkie-talkie app!)

Podcast (public or private)
Video teachings
Zoom (great for group teachings and interaction)


Why We Do What We Do

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There is a “why” for everything that we do in this world. What is the “why” that drives you for your business or your ministry? One of my coaches once asked “What is the WHY that makes you CRY?” Happy tears, sad tears, angry tears, frustrated tears. Just a “why” that moves you to deep emotion.

Don’t judge your immediate reason. I’ve run across this a lot when it comes to money. If the initial “why” is because the person needs an income there seems to be a knee-jerk attitude to defend that. No defense necessary! Money is necessary for the things we need in this world. Money mindsets are deep-rooted and you might need some help there and Patti Fagan is just the person I would recommend!

Whether money is your “why,” or it’s something else, let’s go deeper.

WHY (ha, see what I did there?) Is Your Reason Important To You?

Let’s continue with the money example since we’ve already gone there. Money is your reason for your services or your products. The next level is: What do you want to do with that money? How will you use it?

One of my clients said that she was going to use the additional income to help fund a health clinic for women. Fantastic! I was bowled over. Let’s go deeper yet.

Why did she want to fund that women’s health clinic? Her mom had died from cancer diagnosed far too late because she did not have ready access to regular health care. We were beginning to get deep into the heart of things. This woman lost her mom at what she considered far too young an age. She has daughters, sisters, cousins, friends. She doesn’t want to see any of them go through that. That is a why that makes you keep going when things don’t seem to be falling your way.

Some coaches recommend that you peel back five layers deep to get to a solid, down-to the-heart WHY. For some other initial reasons for “why,” that is probably a good exercise. I thought this client and I could stop here.

Why Is Your Why So Important?

Business and ministry are hard. They can both push you to the brink and then a little more. Those times are the reason your “why” is so important. It’s the thing that makes you dig in a little more deeply. It’s the reasons that you continue to care when it would be easier to just quit.

Your “why” is also the thing that keeps you true to your purpose. God gave you this thing to do, whatever it is, but there are a lot of temptations to pull you off track. My friends and I call them “bright shiny objects,” because that’s exactly what they seem like! Distractions! Holding tightly to your reasons for doing what you do will keep you from wasting time, effort, and money chasing what really isn’t meant for you.

If You Don’t Know

I think most of us have at least a surface idea of what our “whys” are. It’s my suggestion that you go deeper. Sticking with the money example, if you just say you want to make money, when things get hard with your business or ministry, it becomes easy to quit and go work at McDonalds or do something else to make money that isn’t what we are called to. Whatever your initial “why,” try to go at least two levels deeper.

You can read about my why on the about page.

It’s a solid foundation for your business or ministry.

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