If you tip-toed into entrepreneurship or are a creator of any sort, you’ve probably encountered these suggestions for how you can make more money:
You need a funnel.
You need a Facebook Ad.
You need brand photos.
You need a website.
You need a degree.
You need more time.
You need more money.
You need more content.
You need more motivation.
No. You need to be creative.
Quick disclaimer: This essay is for Christian creatives and entrepreneurs who feel like they are stuck experiencing the same season on repeat, overwhelmed by their problems, and tired of sitting on endless potential. People who are ready, desperate even, for change but have the faintest idea how to achieve it.
You are a creative entity. As soon as Adam stepped onto the scene, he was put to work, not farming or hammering out a new shield for God’s angels, he was creating. Adam went to work naming all the animals.
And out of the ground the Lord God formed every [wild] beast and living creature of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them; and whatever Adam called every living creature, that was its name. Genesis 2:19 AMP
Having trouble coming up with a business name? Try naming 100,000 plus creatures as they miraculously appear. Yet that’s what Adam did and he did it well. He was talented and God knew exactly how to use that for the benefit of the world.
What are you gifted in? What talents do you wish you could utilize all day if work didn’t get in the way? What would you be doing, besides recovering in a beachside condo, if rent was covered for the next 12 months?
It’s your natural state. Even as a baby, you weren’t playing with the expensive toy, you found joy playing with the cardboard box it came in. As a child, you felt alive pretending to be your favorite cartoon character and perfecting the look with your mom’s makeup. There are stories of your creativity. What happened?
Life happened. As you matured and matriculated, you gained more and more responsibility. Responsibility to bathe yourself, cook your food, and make money for your basic needs. These things make good sense for an independent adult but subtract from your most important resource: time.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” —Maya Angelou
Your gifts take a backseat. Your talents take a backseat, at least the ones that your boss can’t immediately profit from. And your creativity gets 2 hours to shine on the weekend between resting and preparing for the next week. Over time, you find that you are lacking more and more creativity. You find it harder to remain hopeful, as hope requires imagination. Imagination is fueled by creativity. You lose sight of the things you once dreamed of. Ideas fade and you find yourself feeling like time is running out.
You’re not running out of time. You’re running out of creativity.
If you take a scroll right now to some of the most successful people you follow on social media, one thing that they are guaranteed to have in common is that they are creative.
Their content/ product line/ services are FRESH. It feels new and attention-grabbing. There’s just a certain je ne sais quoi about them that you can’t put your finger on. It’s just how they do it and it makes you excited to follow them and see what they have going on. Somehow, even while doing something that has been done before, they have made it unique to them. They put out consistent work and every time you see it you pray a little prayer that asks for your life to end up something like theirs. (not a bad prayer)
They aren’t that much different than you except for one thing: They have found their flow. More specifically their creative flow.
Creative flow is when you have created an environment of productivity that supports your creative endeavors in a sustainable and consistent way.
It’s not your content. It’s your creativity.
This is why so many people are making money online selling done-for-you offers, templates, and 1000 ideas for your Instagram. Creativity is in short supply.
The Cash Flow Problem
Well if time is money, if so facto, I need more money if I want more time.
Therefore, I need to go get another job and post 8 pieces of content a day while going live as I update my blog, write my newsletter, and record my podcast episode.
No. Just no.
It is a widely held belief that time equals money. Most people get paid an hourly wage. When products and/or services are advertised, it’s usually about how they can save you time or money. They almost seem interchangeable. The issue is that if you can get enough dollar value for your hour.
When it comes to working for others unless you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company making 254 times the average salary, getting a second job isn’t going to tip the cash flow scales in your favor. You’ll still have to sacrifice your time in exchange for money which leaves you in the same boat as before.
Best case scenario: You get a really good, high-paying job, but is it equitable? If you’re being paid 6 figures to do what you do, it comes at the price of a long workday, little vacation, and endless emails. Not to mention that if your employer is paying you 6 figures, you’re most likely making the firm 10x that in revenue, if not more. Talk about worth your weight in gold. You’ll have enough money in your bank account but you’ll never find the time to spend it.
The next logical step, especially since you’re an entrepreneur at heart, is to double down on your business. You work hours and hours creating content. Uploading reels with the trendiest music. Sending out your monthly newsletter. Posting your fifty-eleven products and services. You create a content schedule and find the perfect times to post to Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram. You create some momentum for your big launch and….crickets.
All that time invested and very little rewards.
So, if you can’t make enough money from your job and you can’t make enough money from your business, what do you do?
< Depression and hopelessness have entered the chat >
This is usually where we do what most people around us do, but won’t admit they do: SETTLE
How do I know this? It was me.
Hello, my name is Sasha Ledawn and I’m a reformed settler 👋🏾
I knew I wasn’t called to work for somebody. God made that evident. I was called to be an entrepreneur, but my life said that bills came first. I worked several jobs, sometimes having more than one, my record is 3 at one time so that I could invest in my ideas, only to find that I couldn’t lift a pencil at the end of the day. Over time, coupled with the circumstances of life, I lost my will to even try. I settled. I’ve gone on to work with hundreds of business owners from around the world and create massively impactful courses, memberships, books, and content that has generated cash flow like running water.
And that’s the success story I wanted, but it wasn’t enough.
I have been the struggling Christian creative with a big vision and bigger plans who desperately wants nothing more than to be free enough to do what I love. No limits. No boundaries. No more clocking in, working my behind off to get a 3% raise. (this legit happened).
I made it out but what about everyone else? How did I and others manage to do it? What if there was a way to solve the cash flow problem for my fellow entrepreneurs? Hence my journey into academia and a subsequent MBA, and doctorate journey commencing soon.
I have worked with business owners from all sides of the track. Chefs, writers, coaches, fashion designers, photographers, artists, musicians, poets, ministers, pastors, engineers, and the list goes on and what I have found across the board is that these insanely gifted and talented people thought they simply lacked motivation when they really just lacked a good environment.
“We tend to believe our habits are a product of our motivation, talent, and effort. Certainly, these qualities matter. But the surprising thing is, especially over a long time period, your personal characteristics tend to get overpowered by your environment,”- James Clear in Atomic Habits
When a plant isn’t thriving, do we blame it? Do we tell the plant to motivate itself? No, we check its environment. We add more water. Check the soil. Make sure it’s getting enough sun because we foundationally know that it’s not in the plant’s design to fail.
You’re the same. Failure and the little friends it invites to the cookout ( settling, worry, poverty, etc), aren’t a part of your design.
“For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 AMP
If you’re not thriving in life, it’s not because something is fundamentally wrong with you, it’s your environment and at some point, you have to come to terms with the fact that it’s your responsibility to create a healthy one.
6 Signs of An Unhealthy Environment
For starters, let’s define the term environment. I don’t want you out here searching Amazon for a weather machine.
Environment is the combination of your social, spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional habits and structures that make up the components of your everyday life.
❌ There are some environmental factors that you cannot change.
✅ There are some environmental factors that you cannot change immediately.
All things are possible for him who believes. You may not be able to change your environment overnight but it can change. You just have to be intentional and have faith.
How do I know if my environment needs to change?
There are some indicators that your environment is hazardous. Just like the sad, droopy plant, your body and mind will show signs that something isn’t giving what it needs to be giving.
Indecisiveness: You can’t seem to make up your mind on what you need or what you need to do. Every option seems like the right option.
Inconsistency: You start and stop all the time. You’ll do well for a moment and then you lose motivation and fall off the map.
Fear: You’re afraid to take the next step. You’re afraid of success. You’re afraid of failing. You’re afraid of missing out. You’re afraid of going by yourself. The list goes on.
Loneliness: Not to be confused with being alone. You feel like you’re on an island all by yourself even in a crowded room.
Lack of Discipline: You can’t keep promises, not even the ones you made to yourself. You know the things you should be doing to stay healthy but you can’t find the willpower to do them.
Lack of Creativity: You can’t see beyond next week or even tomorrow. It is what it is and you can’t think of a way to create the change in your life that you want to see.
The 3 Environmental Pillars of Cash Flow:
Let’s recap. Cash flow and creativity have a direct relationship. The more creative you are, the more it increases your ability to create more opportunities for cash flow. Cash flow has more to do with your environment than your time and money.
We’re going to solve the cash flow problem for you once and for all and here are 3 pillars that have to be intentionally established if you want to do that.
The Pillar of Community
You can’t change your environment on your own. To get to a state of continuous cash flow, you’re going to have to ditch the successful and solo mindset. Everyone who has made something of themselves, everybody you admire has a group of people standing behind them. They are not a lone island.
“Two are better than one because they have a more satisfying return for their labor; for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and does not have another to lift him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 AMP
You’re going to have to find a community that brings out the best in you and if you thought that your church community or family is enough, think again.
You need many communities. Ones that support your hobbies. Ones that support your business. Even one to support your physical wellness. If you’re looking for a one size fit’s all community to supply your every need, you’re going to be disappointed.
Deep community, one with many layers, provides a multitude of different resources that will enable you to become the successful person you know you’re capable of being.
If you’ve been on a lone island for a while, the process of cultivating a deep community can seem intimidating, don’t worry, I’m here to help, but you have to admit you need one or several.
The Pillar of Accountability
Frankly, this word is often overused and misused in the Christian community. Most likely, you’ve heard it in the context of having someone check in on you to make sure you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. That’s partially true. Having someone else to remind you of your own goals is good. Holding yourself accountable to your own goals is better.
Accountability and self-responsibility are critical to our success in personal, professional, and public life. However, we often look for those character traits in others, rather than inculcating them in ourselves."
― Vishwas Chavan
When you said you have people to hold you accountable, did you include yourself? Your accountability cannot be a crutch too which you use to support your excuses. If they don’t check on you or call, that shouldn’t give you the opportunity to slack off.
Your accountability, if anything, should be teaching you how to develop your own self-discipline. They should be giving you the tools you need to become more resilient. They should be helping you increase your emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and understanding. True accountability shouldn’t just be checking off a list, they should also be helping you create it.
The Pillar of Courage
Contrary to popular opinion, Courage isn’t about doing a big act of bravery against all odds. Courage is simply doing. Courage is action and the ability to consistently act no matter the circumstances. Yes, courage can look like standing up to a giant with only a slingshot. But courage can also be getting out of bed or going to that support group that you were invited to last month.
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” -Maya Angelou
While we associate courage with one act, I want to stretch you to understand that courage has to be sustained by the right environment. Consistent courage is built by good habits. It is maintained by the routine and structure that supports your ability to act with good measure and it has to be tailored to fit you if it’s going to be effective.
This is why you can’t just copy somebody’s process and expect their results. What they do is what they need to be successful and you have to develop your own set of individualized rules that you need to follow in order to stay courageous.
The Next Step
You’re invited to Build It Brave: a six-month accelerator for Christian Creatives and Entrepreneurs designed to help you radically change your environment, rekindle your creativity and correct your cash flow problem.
During your 6 month journey, you will:
- Create a customized action plan to maintain your mental, spiritual, and physical health according to Proverbs 31:17, “She equips herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] And makes her arms strong.”
- Increase your emotional intelligence, resilience, mindfulness, and courage through asynchronous coaching.
- Map out your strategic cash flow plan based on your lifestyle, capacity, personality, and business model and then we will implement it during the program under the accountability of an MBA-certified business coach.
- Intentionally help you cultivate and strengthen your relationship with God, then yourself, and then your business. In that order.
- Develop and deepen your resources and relationships with a community by means of strategy calls, masterminds, classes, and social events.
This 6-month accelerator is for you if:
- You feel the weight and burden of the entrepreneurial calling and understand that it is not a quick and easy journey. You’re not just looking for a way to just make some quick cash. You’re dedicated to cultivating the life you want, even if it takes some deep work and time.
- Have a relationship with God. More specifically Jesus. You don’t believe in the universe, charging your crystals, and manifesting the life you want. You believe in Jesus enough to feel comfortable taking a deep dive into the Bible, learning more about God, and utilizing those principles to build the foundation of your business.
- You’re ready to change. You’re at the moment in your life where you are open and willing to make substantial changes to the way you live your life.
Let me be clear, this 6-month accelerator is a remarkable start, but it is not the finish. It will give you the tools you need to create consistent cash flow in a holistic way and there will be an option to continue services if you find it helps your long-term sustainability. Some students have been enrolled since 2020.
Here’s your projected timeline:
Pre-work and Housekeeping
7-Day Prayer Challenge
Align: Mindset Curriculum
Environmental Restructuring and Habit Formation via Momentum System
Marketing Plan Development
Business Formation or Restructuring
Actualize: Business Plan Curriculum
Activate: Marketing Cirrucillim
Hopefully, this informative essay has given you enough knowledge to give yourself more grace as you navigate your entrepreneurial journey. You’re not fundamentally broken. You are gifted and talented enough to make a substantial impact in this world. You have what it takes to create massive generational wealth. It just takes some changes (repentance), some courage, and a little faith.