Today’s much delayed blog post combines two reflections over the course of 2 months. By the time this reflection sees light, I will have convinced myself to dig my heels in the ground of sanity, despite both my brain and flesh longing to escape for the long-term benefit of my health.

Admittedly, I have lately been stretched in my faith, health and sanity with my current role that I had to blast my frustrations with a fairly senior colleague. It either signals a turning point for positive change, or it may be a suicidal act of shooting oneself on the foot and limping elsewhere. Either way, my heart has screamed out and the audible voice that has rebounded to my ear canals that I believe the LORD used to speak to me directly is ‘What do YOU want to do?’

I was expected to attend a conversation last week regarding a role of a similar ilk as this Kingdom-focused vision at a reduced fee of £12k over 3 days out of town. After calculating taxes and commuting, I would be left with £8.5k.

This doesn’t take into consideration my annual subscriptions of digital assets, magazines and online services, which I will slap a total of £1.5k. My domains portfolio and access to the latest industry-standard software make for a steep annual dent.

Not forgetting the dig money, and I may be left with a paltry of £4.5k (post tax and so-called ‘bills’). Not a sensible move, but the proven and practical experience gained *may* appeal to outside investors. However, the word ‘may’ does not equate to a guarantee. In fact, nothing is guaranteed, except God’s absolute Word.

With the weak potential earnings to play with, it would be impossible to save on anything substantial and it would void my options to branch my skills and acquire assets to invest that I will share in another reflection. The low-key role will void the 6-figure life assurance and generous pension – which as a grown-up, I feel obliged to sign up for. Fortunately, I don’t feel overly attached to the personal benefits that I will not directly see.

My gut is telling me the low-key role is *unlikely* to make a difference, as investors often look at one’s overall skillset and experience, but I have been prepared in my heart to jump off a cliff and gain practical experience.

In all seriousness, I don’t need to prove that I can manage and run a business by pursuing a low-end role to do just that, especially when I’m unlikely to be allowed to change or modify the setup, never mind change the underlying prices – due to the deprived area of interest. To me, that defeats the purpose of the role, where one should be allowed full governance and micro-management to oversea the whole operation. Otherwise, it’s just a happy-clappy job to help the jobless with real-life skills.

I am cynical towards that end point, as one will be managing an army of volunteers, who will essentially work for free. I believe folk who labour in the vineyard should be paid, but it’s your typical on-campus only ministry, so they are legally qualified to get away with that.

In today’s climate to survive, I am against using a person’s unemployment status as a benefit for someone else. That’s the equivalent to giving a homeless person a day’s work of ‘work experience’ and then send them back to the streets to shamelessly beg enough spare change for a hot cuppa tea. To me, that’s not solving the problems of this world.

Back to the question, ‘What do YOU want to do?’

My heart may sink with the increased stress and cluelessness by the lack of developed skill of my current role, but I would rather be ‘certified’ in this given role, provided that said Company is willing to invest in me. The question is – When?

I have been hurt before of the promise of training, which after a year, the project and training was a red herring. Instead of commanding a higher salary elsewhere, I essentially gave my earnings to the church in countless vocational programmes. By the time said Company chooses to decide, of course, this *other* role will have lapsed and likely be given to someone internally.

The one thing I want to acknowledge and somewhat congratulate myself for is that I am evidently a free agent who is willing to take risks, be it financial or anything else. I also don’t need to prove that I can take great risks. I am also not afraid to fail. I believe my season of unemployment helped me with that respect. The passion for this Kingdom-focus vision is evidently present. I still have the hunger to pursue such audacious vision to disrupt the big players. According to various business-related articles, I don’t need to walk the low-key role path to prove that point.

To quote ― J.R.R. Tolkien, “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future”.

Yes. My challenge is to convince select folk to join together to minister to the lost and disciple fellow believers in this quest to act as servants in this world in this very outward ministry. Otherwise, I will have failed before I even start, as we would all rather live comfortably behind closed doors and moan about the world from the comforts of our computer screens and smartphones, whilst celebrating our own selfish salvation in the LORD Jesus Christ. In a sense, that is the ‘Mission Statement’ of the Kingdom-focus vision, which is essentially my paraphrased biblical interpretation of The Great Commission.

Even I find this challenging, as I am wrestling against the notion of settling down. Of course, I want the ruddy comforts of this world and everything else. Who doesn’t? Ignoring Christ is way easier than living a life of obedience for Christ. Why should I care about others, when it’s a struggle to live for oneself? However, it’s not what God calls His believers to act or respond according to Scriptures.

So Richard, ‘What do YOU want to do?’

Start this ruddy business of course!!! Unfortunately, I can’t leave this role yet until a prototype of a sufficient scale has been tested and proven successful – at least, that is what I am made to believe. Only then, can I seek serious funding, as I will have ticked a box of business experience and financial accounts. Perhaps a seed investment is the best avenue for me at this stage. I also need access to two professionals to respond to this prototype concept – an accountant and a property lawyer.

I want to go down the angel investor’s route due to the nature of my underlying request for help. I am urged to play tactically and not ask directly for money, but instead seek business mentoring, business experience, and contacts… with funding coming in last. It may seem counterproductive, but I need to trust the inner minds of those who have done it before and adopt that mindset.

As I still find my feet in the City, I have been extending my personal research with regards to this Kingdom-focus vision. I am encouraged by the patterns of business and I’m most intrigued by the sheep following to select brands.

I am considering investing in buying a seamless prop to make the process easier. Meanwhile, I am trying to curb my monthly expenditure to the best that I can humanly achieve – purely to secure hard-earned capital, which is more valuable than loans. Owning this prop would certainly increase my R&D progression and output, should I choose to buy it for a price.

There is a place of refuge where I sip a hot beverage each week. I enjoy the conversations of the regular staff members whom I am friendly with. There is one in particular who shares a similar ambition.

You see, I am taking a skills-based angle from a marketing, design, educator, and information technology perspective – as these areas are essential for long-term growth. The staff talent for those key areas also represent expensive overheads for any business and organisation. Whereas, this individual is coming directly from the sector. Let’s just say the person was born into the business. A potential business partner? Unlikely, due to differing goals.

Our weekly chats have certainly inspired me to press on with my personal research, as I continue to learn the trends and market in the City. I have also been extending my wider research from legitimate trade and industry sources. I have accrued around 3 years of research, which I find useful. At least, I can reference and quote numbers and facts from legitimate sources, even though I haven’t purchased a *formal market research document, which I am reserving for obvious reasons.

*I recently discovered over the weekend that I can now access formal market research reports for free through legal channels. Yay!

I am however looking for an educator, and ideally, a person who has served in this particular sector. I am also looking for select tradespeople, as I look to combine talents to iron out a sustainable vision. I really wish I can spill the beans, but I’m playing this close to my chest. I can also identify 2 extra streams of income on top of the soul venture, so I am confident I can attract serious funding due to the intentional rapid growth model. My concern is securing the partnerships of external agencies and partners within said venture.

After consulting my faith in the LORD with regards to where I stand, I am determined not to invest in a mortgage in the City. I will need to shoulder the daily commutes and ask the LORD for His supernatural strength to get through each working day. I am using my daily commutes to catch up with online sermons from across the pond and various business podcasts on the go.

As I know that simply earning the capital alone isn’t going to get me closer to this Kingdom-focus vision anytime soon, I am revisiting the adrenaline-filled steps that will bring me closer to reaching out to the fancy suits.

There is a reason why the LORD has allowed me to advance in jobs and so-called status – so I wish to use that for His glory, despite the high-pressure environment of this role. The so-called status that I am referring to is the SC status within the IT sector, which I recently obtained only last week.

It would be nice to use the SC as a personal strength for this business plan, even though it may not bring any real value – other than a masked attribute that links to trust and financial background checks. I would like to think that any investor would like to know the rudimental background of the very people whom they want to invest in, but have no permission to ask.

At present, I am limited in my current field to grow in relationships with colleagues, due to the sensitive nature of what we do. I have even kept tight-lipped on my current projects and work from my old chums at my previous place. However, if I am able to force my brain and body to settle down then I can accrue accreditation courses that I can tally on my 1-page CV.

I believe it is wise to re-align my focus on one central base and not two – even though the latter would spur a better growth rate. After learning from a similar individual based in the City, this gentleman sought financing for one base only and has since expanded ever since. Mind you, his financial approach was more national – as he was featured on a popular TV show, but the underlying step is the same.

I’m also aware of a similar-aged entrepreneur who has used household named celebrities to brand his venture (oh the irony of appearance fees for self-promotion). The enterprise is not as transparent as the individual claims to make it to be. I was nosey to inspect the financials and it’s a hybrid company first and charity structure second. Think IKEA, where money can easily be funnelled.

I also find it suspicious for a ghetto of 4 shops, that his localised branches where I work often appear sparse, if not empty! This is despite being open for 3/4 of a business day, compared with other competitors. It proves to me, there is more tabling relationships in fancy suits than meets the eye. Although the entrepreneur may be classed as competition, I find the individual more of a distraction and a self-seeker than anything else.

Anyhow, I’m not doing it for myself. I appreciate this is a major factor that is hindering my determination to move forward. I will need to deploy a superficial sense of self-gain, even though this venture is for others. Perhaps the self-gain can be the creative aspect in creating a brand and toying with the technological projects surrounding the venture. Perhaps it’s the desire to combine a Walt Disney-esque ‘Nine Old Men’ philosophy of retired individuals who are itching to fulfil a renewed purpose during their golden years resting in green pastures. Who knows, I may even get to transfer my SC to this venture, thus I can continue with my personal development within my growing niche in IT.

I recognise that I have been fairly muted with this blog, partly because my new role has made me reflect less. Instead, I am consumed with daily frustration towards myself. It doesn’t stop me calculating my next actions (which I pray is not out of haste), but it’s frustrating having a one-sided conversation and striving to encourage oneself to move forward – and above all, not give up hope! Despite the risk factor, I still want to be sensible for my actions.

~Richard