Yesterday, I saw an incredible contrast between two people, and it reminded me of what God had been teaching me. Most folks tend to fall into one of two camps (not sure where the rest go if they don’t fit these…): givers and takers. The Givers make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. The Takers make you go ‘meh’ or worse… Something God has been speaking to me about this year is giving more, and showing my gratitude, even if it isn’t financially. As a person who runs a business using WordPress, I benefit a lot from the contributions of others. And as someone who develops plugins for WordPress, others benefit a lot from my contributions. I could justify things by saying that I give away my work to so many people, but I also make a good deal of money from that work. If I don’t give more than I take, I’m a taker, and it’s a natural in-born attitude all of us can fall into.
So I started the year by giving back to many of the individuals and companies that make my business possible. These included the Debian project, Contact Form 7, Codefleet (Widget Visibility), and Athemes (Moesia theme). Yesterday, I was also reminded that there are plugins beyond these that I use on client sites, and my personal blog here at shanebishop.net, so that is phase two. I haven’t gone through and made a full list yet, but two of the plugins that I appreciate very much are WP Spam Shield, and Wordfence. They make my job easier, and allow me to put sites into auto-pilot (mostly), so they will be getting some gratitude from me financially.
Lastly, I want to give thanks to the One who makes all this possible. From whom every breath is a gift. Without God, I could do nothing, quite literally. But He also inspires me, and guides my steps in ways that continually amaze me. After solving a problem, I look back sometimes and think, “wow, how did I ever stumble across that?” Call it coincidence if you want, but I know who lights my way, and it isn’t some nameless phantom. The last couple months have been amazing, and just when I start to feel like God couldn’t get even more amazing, He does something that blows my mind.
I’ve never shared any numbers related to my business with anyone except close family (my wife, my parents, and my grandpa), out of a fear that folks would think I was bragging. So please know that is not my intent, at least not that I am bragging of my skills, or abilities. This is all a gift from God, and if I boast of anything, it is of His amazing provision. For some perspective, last year we had set a goal of grossing $10k USD before I quit my job at the college to work full time on EWWW I.O. We made the decision at the end of March, which was a month where we saw only $8,400 in gross revenue (before expenses). $10k seemed a long way off, but we trusted God to get us there by July. This was even though the last 10 months had not even seen that much of a revenue increase. So, after much prayer, the decision was made, and all we could do was trust God (and keep working hard). In April, gross revenue was over $11k… Take a minute, let that sink in. It was a $2000 increase month over month, something I had not seen for an entire year!
Lately, we have been setting other goals, and one of my long-term goals is to be debt-free by the time I am 40 years old. To do so, we have to reach at least $20k in gross revenue. 2016 had seen some small growth, but nothing substantial, and November was actually lower than last April. Enter the mind-blowing. In December, gross revenue reached a record high of $13,742, and I thought that was awesome as we cleared $100k in net income for 2016. Enter more mind-blowing. In January, we cleared $16,820 in gross proceeds. Wow… just wow. So again, don’t think that’s any of my doing, even though I work hard to move things forward. That sort of blessing only comes from One place, and to Him I give glory and thanks.