Occasionally we share stories of real-life family economies all over the nation. We’d love to hear your story; share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Perry is part of the Kansas City AME committee. Here’s his story of venturing into a family economy with a home-based business.
How were you led to get involved in this particular business?
I am an architect and have been involved in university and healthcare architecture for the past 20 years. As I have watched my own parents and others parents become older, I have desired to see those ‘grands’ be taken care of by their own families, as opposed to institutional care. This is a challenge to many because of house size and configuration.
My vision is to provide architectural services to help others solve this challenge and glorify God by honoring our elderly parents and relatives that way. The architectural services would range from small ideas to make a home more friendly to people with limited mobility, to medium ideas that renovated a room or two, to large ideas that include an entire new house design. In a way this vision is an extension of the homeschool mentality — caring for and nurturing your immediate family instead of delegating that to a corporate setting. The Bible says:
“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8
How did you learn about starting a business?
I watched my dad run his own business (a musical instrument store) all my years growing up. I saw him go through times of plenty and scarcity. I watched as he interacted with day-to-day customers, conducting advertising campaigns, called past customers for care and feedback, built relationships over decades with vendors and music teachers, rotated inventory, calculated taxes, patched his building, traveled to county fairs and music festivals, and kept records of all transactions.
I also picked up very good modern business tips from John Hunt’s The Business Course. This online course in ten sessions teaches anyone about the basics of starting and running a business. John is a homeschool dad that has run several of his own businesses.
Have you (or are you planning to become) incorporated?
I am not incorporated because it is not necessary. I have a small operation today, it is just me, so I am a Sole Proprietorship. My professional license to practice architecture in Kansas allows for a sole proprietorship structure.
What helps/resources can you recommend?
I recommend the previously mentioned online business course, but mostly I recommend finding whoever is doing whatever you are interested in with excellence and join them. I have been learning from more experienced architects for the past 20 years. Nothing replaces being mentored by the master in your craft. The Bible says:
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:40
What were some lessons learned you could share to help others?
God’s Grace: I have had one customer so far. He (Bill) found me through my advertisement in Craigs List. The lesson is God provides what we need in His time. Bill himself needs a house for handicap accessibility that he and his wife need very soon. So they don’t have anyone coming to live with them — they are the grands wanting to continue living on their own for as long as possible.
Patience: I had my website up for a year before Bill contacted me. During that year I talked to others and made other advertisements, but God brought me work when He determined it was time.
Integrity: Bill asked me to work under a few deadlines. I made promises I had to keep for these deadlines which sometimes resulted in late nights and long weekends.
What plans do you have for your business in 2016?
Improve my website for the year –add more content and make my vision and ideas more clear. Attend homeschool conferences to promote my idea. Advertise my idea with homeschool media outlets.
What would you say to someone wanting to do something but reluctant to jump in?
Jump in anyway. The Bible encourages us to reach out in faith when it is within our power to act. The Bible says:
“Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.” Ecclesiastes 11:1
About the Author: Ben Perry
Ben and Becca have been married 14 1/2 years. They have 5 children whom they homeschool: Joshua (10), Katherine (9), Daniel (7), Elizabeth (3), and Andrew (1). Ben is the architect at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He has 20 years of experience in healthcare and university architecture. Recently, he completed a handicap accessible re-design of a private residence in Kansas and endeavors to do more work in that field. Becca is the Director of Classical Conversations of East Lenexa. They enjoy serving together and working with their children to share the light of Christ wherever they go. Learn more about Ben and his work on his website: www.perryarch.net.