Are you thinking of starting a Catholic business? Are you terrified of the thought? Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when starting a Catholic business, and a few keys to success.
I was asked last week: “how do I know if I’m called to start a business – let alone a Catholic business?”
Funny enough, I personally don’t know anyone who planned everything out when starting a Catholic business. Rather, God put the call on their hearts, even though they felt completely unprepared and unqualified.
It’s possible to resist for a while, however, God will be persistent, and for those of us who have given in, we feel incredibly blessed to have been chosen for this crazy ride.
If you’re here because you got that not-so-subtle tug on the sleeve from God, congratulations! He’s chosen you to do great work, and trust me, if our not-so-subtle God called you here, He’s surely got a plan.
Still, as someone who has been involved in many a ministry over her lifetime, I know a thing or two about how Catholic Businesses do (and don’t!) run. So please, learn from my mistakes!
Nothing like starting a new Catholic ministry to bring on all of the imposter syndrome thoughts, eh? “Why did God call me to this? I don’t know what I’m doing, and I have to do this all by myself. If I accept help, people will know I’m a fraud.”
Seriously, the only one thinking that is you. Everyone else is in awe of your courage and leadership and probably aren’t even noticing your doubts.
The very best thing you can do for your business is to ask for help. Join professional forums or Facebook groups pertaining to your ministry. Search YouTube and blogs, or simply ask for volunteers to help manage some of your responsibilities. No one is meant to be an expert in everything, and no one will think less of you by asking for help. Chances are, they’ll actually respect you more.
Even Jesus asked for help in his darkest moments, so there’s no reason you can’t too.
We all have that one friend. You know which one I’m talking about, the one who will NOT stop posting about essential oils, their Etsy shop, or their latest pyramid scheme.
Don’t be that person!
But also don’t be afraid to talk about your ministry. I was out to dinner with one of my best friends a few months ago, and I brought up my business. “You own a business?!” she cried.
Clearly, I haven’t done a great job of telling my friends about my ministry. I don’t want to bother them with it or have them feel pressured to use my services.
But here’s the thing: You’re not trying to sell to your family and friends. You’re trying to sell to their family and friends. 92% of people trust recommendations from family and friends over advertisements. Word of mouth marketing works. So let your family and friends talk about you! They can help you without spending a dime. Encourage them to like your social media posts, share your event or blog information, and leave reviews for your ministry online.
I have a really hard time saying no. And that’s a big problem when it comes to ministry.
Because suddenly, you’re saying yes to everything. And before you know it, your small group women’s Bible study is now knitting blankets for the elderly while visiting sick children at the hospital your spaghetti dinner raised money for – and now has no time for actually studying the Bible.
Don’t get me wrong: There are so many efforts worthy of our help. But if your ministry business doesn’t have focus, it will fail. Stick to your thing and say no to anything that doesn’t directly relate to that mission.
About six months after starting my business, I only had one customer. I was fed up and had a serious conversation with my husband about shutting down. The only thing holding me back was my time of adoration that morning. I felt like God was telling me to keep going. The very next day, I got my first real client.
One of the main things that causes a new ministry to fail is giving up because there isn’t enough interest.
When I was in youth group, my leaders told us about the time they only had one teen showing up every week. It went on like this for weeks until finally someone else showed up and the group took off. Nevertheless, my leaders felt their time and effort was worth it even for one person. This was a lesson I remembered and emulated during my own days as a youth group leader.
There may be only one person God needs you to impact through your ministry business. Isn’t their soul worth it?
If you’ve just started a new Catholic business and literally everything is going wrong, then you’re probably doing something right. That’s because there’s nothing the devil wants more than to destroy your ministry, which is bringing people to God.
So don’t let the devil trash talk you. Don’t let him tell you that you aren’t qualified enough or holy enough or whatever enough to do this ministry God has called you to.
Just repeat after Jesus: “Get behind me, Satan.”
So those are a few things you shouldn’t do when starting a Catholic business. What are some things you should do?
Read blogs, listen to podcasts, join Facebook groups. There are so many people out there who have gone through the exact same things in ministry that you have, and you can learn from their successes and failures.
Trust me: I know you think you can keep everything in your head, but your stress will evaporate with a good organizational strategy. Chances are, there’s an online tool directed specifically at your ministry, but even generic options work well. My personal go-tos are my Blessed is She planner, TSheets for time tracking, a Google calendar (which you can sync with other volunteers or employees!), and Google Keep notes.
Consider taking up a weekly Holy Hour to pray for your business. You can even bring your work with you to offer up to the Lord (and ask for some divine inspiration!).
Blessings on your new ministry!
About the Author
Emily Ricci is the president of Gloriam Marketing, and works as a marketing content and social media specialist at a Catholic college and previously worked at a church for over 7 years. Her past church titles and responsibilities have included working as a Parish Office secretary, sacristan, Weekend Coordinator (ministry supervisor and event coordinator), youth minister, bulletin writer, coordinator of the baptism program, and Faith Formation teacher and assistant. After years in church work, Emily recognized the need for solid Catholic marketing and promotion, but realized that there were no marketing firms in the area that specialized in faith-based marketing.