Business and spiritual direction in the same breath may be difficult for those of us who see our work as a ministry. It feels counter intuitive to think of this as a business but it is something to consider because good stewardship is vital in the call to ministry.
Some in this line of work choose to offer free service. That is an admirable gift to directees and if life circumstances make that possible for you, continue to be a blessing for your directees. If, however, you need this ministry to support you as many of us do, you have to come to terms with the notion that it is a business and as such, it needs to be treated with the same care as any business.
Beginning a small business may seem a daunting task but there is help available and it really doesn’t have to be complicated. A first step might be a visit to a small business development agency. They go by different names but they are funded through the Business Development Corporation. Visit the website or go to your local Chamber of Commerce or Board of Trade to find them. Most of these agencies offer primers in small business in the form of free seminars and support. They will also help with business plans if you want to be that formal or with some of the finer points of bookkeeping.
Find a good tax adviser. They will remind you that every mile you put on your vehicle, every course you take, and every book you purchase is part of your business. Even the part of your home that you use for work becomes an asset.
Every good business needs promotion. As spiritual directors we have some advantage because there are websites we can use. The Jubilee Associates Website is available as one of those resources. To promote on the Spiritual Directors International web site you must join that organization but there are many advantages to membership. Write a little blurb about yourself, take a good “selfie” and send it off to them.
A web site is likely your most important form of advertising and it doesn’t have to cost anything. There are many free website options. On Word Press for example, it is quite simple to just build a “blog” page which can serve as a website. If you want to be more adventurous you might use something like Vista Print which can also help with print materials like business cards and brochures at very reasonable rates.
One method of promotion I have been using lately is health and healing fairs. They can be expensive so go easy but they are a wonderful way to network with others in related fields and to perfect your elevator speech.
Because we are not usually people who are good at self promotion this may take some work but it is worth it. There is no shame in taking fair money for work, no matter what your profession.
Peggy Guiler is a business coach and spiritual director who works from her home near Port Dover, Ontario. Her business, River of Hope Enterprises offers a variety of services. Peggy recently graduated from the Ontario Jubilee Program ~ a two-year certificate program of practical learning in spiritual growth, soul development and the art of spiritual direction. Peggy is also responsible for communications for Ontario Jubilee. If you have any questions or comments about this blog, please contact Peggy.