Stewardship and Productivity

Assets vs. Liabilities: The Key to Building Wealth

There’s a helpful financial principal I picked up on from an author named Robert Kiyosaki, and though I can’t say I’m on board with everything he writes about in terms of financial goals and strategies, I do find this one very useful and easy to understand. If you’re familiar with his materials, Kiyosaki talks a lot about the fundamental goal of “getting rich” and the practice of “leveraging debt” as a primary means of building wealth.  Personally, I don’t think becoming rich should be one’s underlying motive for stewarding their resources well.  I’m also a little uncomfortable with the philosophy of investing on credit as a wealth-building, cash-flow-building mechanism.  I understand the math behind it and think there probably is a place for what he’s talking about, but, for the average joe, I’d push all of that discussion to another day.  I just mention it in the event you have read any of his books. If there’s one principal to wrap your mind around, Kiyosaki would say the number one rule is this:
“You must learn the difference between an asset and a liability—and buy assets.”
Most people think they already know the difference between an asset and a liability.  As they were taught in the simplest of terms in Economics 101, an asset is something you “own” and a liability is something you “owe.”  With that understanding, the money you have in the bank and the possessions you have piling up around your house are all assets with a certain monetary value.  Likewise, the note you’re carrying on your car, the mortgage you have on your house, and the balance you still haven’t paid off on your Credit Card are all liabilities.   That’s one way of thinking about assets and liabilities.
According to Kiyosaki though, if that’s your definition of assets and liabilities, chances are you’re not going to get ahead financially.  At least, not significantly.  A few dollars sitting in your bank and the pile of junk spilling out from your closets don’t produce wealth.  If anything, they hinder your ability to produce wealth. How is that?  Consider the $1000 sitting in your savings account.   First of all, it’s a great thing you’ve saved the $1000, or however much you’ve saved.  I believe everybody needs to have a cash reserve in the bank—I can talk about that more another day.  But if a savings account is the only place you put your extra money, it does about as much good as a pirate who buries his treasure in the sand on some distant island.  All it’s doing is sitting there for the day you decide to come back to get it.  Some of it may even start to erode by the gradual tides of inflation. Furthermore, if you think buying more stuff increases your net worth, just do the math on how much you’re paying (or have already paid) to afford the extra square feet to store it, or the cost of electricity to run it, or the amount of gas to fuel it, or the price of repairs to maintain it, etc.   You may not realize it, but much of what you own really owns you, and what you think you paid for once at the store you’re actually still paying for in storage, usage, maintenance, and repairs. Therefore, a better way to think about assets and liabilities isn’t to define them in terms of “owning and owing” but in terms of “gains and losses.”  Or, simply explained,
“A true asset is something that puts money into your pocket, and a true liability is something that takes money out of your pocket.”
Kiyosaki argues that those who are financially successful, as a general rule, apply their dollars not on liabilities, but on assets.  They don’t waste the bulk of their paycheck on things that have a draining or “costing” affect, but on things that have an accumulating or “earning” affect. By this definition, unless steps can be taken to turn them into money makers, nearly everything you own—including your house, car, electronics, appliances, furniture, go down the list—are all liabilities, assuming they’re costing you something to have them. So, the key is to turn what you have and where you invest your money into earners.  How do you do that?  It takes developing the mind of an investor, or an entrepreneur.  Rather than letting the dollars in the bank collect dust (or, at best, a few pennies in interest), how can you safely invest them?  Instead of treating your home strictly as a home, how can it be used as a small business?  Instead of buying more knickknacks to put on the wall, what kind of products or services can you develop to earn an income by? More could be said on various ways of applying this principal, but everyone’s situation is different.  Suffice it to say, if you can learn to invest your earnings in things that generate their own earnings, you’ve created assets that build wealth instead of liabilities that drain wealth. The person who can grasp that concept and find ways to implement it, I imagine will make great progress in their financial situation.  So, remember the true definition of an asset the next opportunity you have to spend or save your money.  If there’s a way to make those dollars make more dollars, you’ve just discovered the key to building wealth. Remember, “a true asset is something that puts money into your pocket, and a true liability is something that takes money out of your pocket.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

How to Make Soap: A Beginner’s Guide

No two soaps are created equal.  That’s because each ingredient added to an all-natural soap does a specific job.  But how do you find the exact soap you or your family needs without breaking the bank!?!  Unless you have the ear of a soap maker who owes you a favor or two, your best bet is to learn how to make soap yourself.

Yes, working with lye can be dangerous and learning all the rules and purchasing all the different supplies…yeah, it can be intimidating, but when it all boils down to it – it’s WORTH the effort.  Working with lye is no more dangerous than mowing your lawn in the south during snake season.  I know for all you Southerners out there, you know what I’m talking about.

You’re not going to be out there in flipflops when you’ve got Copper Heads nearby and Moccisons.  Oh no, you’re going to wear the proper shoes.  And in this case when dealing with lye, you wear safety glasses, long sleeves, and rubber gloves.

To overcome your phobia, you first need to better understand what it is you actually fear. Now the reason lye is dangerous is because it can cause severe burns if it comes into contact with your skin. No, it’s not an acid.  It quite simply is a chemical reaction. You see, lye absorbs fats/oils upon contact.  So when a drop of lye touches your skin cells, it immediately sucks up all the natural hydration in the skin leaving a “burn.” This process in soapmaking is called saponification.  It’s the chemical reaction of the lye absorbing the fats/oils to create a substance that cleans by altering the pH.  Hense where you get the word “soap.”  It’s simply because the lye and fats have gone through that chemical reaction – saponification. Not enough lye leaves a soap that dissolves rapidly and is mushy from excess fats/oils not being saponified. And let’s not even get into the kind of “soap scum rings” that’s go leave in your bathtub. Eww! GROSS! Too much lye will leave your skin so clean it feels dry or cracked.  So there’s a balance there.

The same way you would treat a boiling pot of water is how you should really treat a container of lye. You don’t want to be around pets or small children who can knock into you while working. You moms out there with toddlers or little ones, you know what I’m talking about….How you’re going to take a step back and your child, like a phantom, likes to sneak up right behind you so when you go to take a step back, you’re like “Ah!” and you either drop it or it spills.  That’s what I mean, common sense.  Leave the kids and pets in another room just to make sure you don’t have an accident in that regard.  But that’s it in a nutshell. That explains the danger of it all. … As and my children like to quote G.I. Joe from the 1980s cartoons, “Now you know, and knowing is half the battle…G.I. JOE!!"

Now that you’ve made up your mind to brave through your fears, how much is it going to cost you up-front to start making soap?

To make one of the simplest types of cold-processed soap you will need:


  • Distilled water - $0.89 (1-gallon @ grocery store)
  • 100% Lye – $3.49 (16oz @ local hardware store)
  • Coconut oil - $20 (1-gallon @ com)
  • Essential oils – optional and prices vary


  • Silicone spatula - $1 (Dollar Tree)
  • 2-Cup plastic measuring pitcher - $1 (Dollar Tree)
  • 1-gallon mixing bowl - FREE (recycle an ice cream bucket)
  • Small bowl – FREE (recycle a sour cream or whip cream container)
  • Rubber dishwashing gloves - $1 (Dollar Tree)
  • Digital Scale - $15 (price varies, but a decent one can be found around this Needs to be able to show 0.00 oz.)
  • Stick Blender - $15 (price varies, but you could snag one around holiday sales for $5-10)
  • Thermometer - $20 (price varies, but I would recommend splurging on a digital infrared thermometer)
  • Soap Mold – FREE (use an old USPS medium flat rate box or any shape container you want that can be lined with parchment People like to use Pringles cans or PVC pipes to make round soaps.)

*Very important to remember that whatever you use for making soap CANNOT be used for any other purpose.

Probably just looking through the list of needed supplies, you can cross off a bunch of things because you already have them inside your pantry or kitchen cabinets.  The amounts and prices I’ve listed are enough to make 2.5 batches of soap.  Using the following recipe we’re going to formulate, these ingredients are enough to make a total of 35 5-oz bars of soap. A bar of all-natural soap costs around $5-7 at the store or craft market.

So if you bought that same amount of soap at the store, you would spend $175-245 just for bars of soap. Altogether, your ingredients and tools cost you less than $100.

Now to put all the pieces together and start building your soap formula…

Step 1.

Do the math calculations to determine the volume and oils needed for your batch of soap.

Square or rectangular = Width x Length x Height x 0.4 Cylinder = 3.14 (π) x Radius x Radius x Height x 0.4

*Using an old USPS Medium Flat Rate Box as a mold with dimensions of 11 x 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.4, I’m going to change the 5.5” height down to 2” because I don’t want my soap to be that tall.  So the final equation is 11 x 8.5 x 2 x 0.4 = 74.8.

Step 2.

Take this number and plug it into an online calculator to get the correct amount of each

oil.  I typically use’s lye calculator, but have also tried out others out there that have a better list of usable ingredients.  For instance, Brambleberry doesn’t have lard listed as one of the fats/oils.  It’s kind of a bummer since I like to make old-fashioned lard soap since we have our own pigs. You know, you use everything you can. However, the Brambleberry site is one of the simplest to use, so for this example I’m going to use the Brambleberry site. Once you are on the site, you’re going to look for the “lye calculator.”

Scroll toward the bottom of the page and answer the questions:

Type: solid…It’s going to be a solid soap not liquid.

Please Select Ounces or Grams…: percentage

Weight of Oils: 74.8 oz (We know this is the volume of the mold, but we have yet to figure out what is the actual amount of the coconut oil.  The 74.8 gives us a starting point.)

Superfatting Level: none (It doesn’t matter at this point; I’ll show you how to calculate your own later and I’ll explain what in the world superfatting is. Haha!)

After clicking “next” you get to decide on the percentage value for each of the oils you would be using.  Because we are doing the most basic recipe, it’s not going to have a breakdown of all the different kinds of oils to use.   Instead, just enter 100 coconut oil then click “next” at the bottom of the page.

SIDE NOTE: Typically, you would want to break a recipe down into percentages like 33% olive oil, 33% coconut oil, 15% shea butter, 15% sunflower oil, 4% castor oil.  All of that to add up to 100 percent.  A typical bar of soap is going to contain certain elements that do certain things. You can do more research on your own about the benefits of each different type of fats/oils and the best percentage used for in soaps to get the results you want. That’s something that you need to do on your own if you are serious about getting into making your own soaps.  I just want to be able to show you how to know or give you the resources or tools so you can take that next step to make your own soaps yourself.

You will see that it gives you a “Total Batch Yield” of 117.11oz which, good grief, is almost double the volume of your mold.  Click at the bottom “resize batch” and guestimate what you think the oil amount will be.  Keep resizing the batch until you get the total batch yield down to 74.8. In this case, the final oil weight would be 48oz which gives you a total batch yield of 75.65oz.

Now, scroll up to the section that says what your oil amounts are and write down those numbers next to each ingredient.

Coconut oil – 48 oz

Now look at the amount of liquid and lye and write those numbers down as well.

Lye – 8.54 oz

Liquid – 19.11 oz

Step 3.

There is where the math comes in…Double check the lye amount using a Saponification

Chart and multiplying the amount of oil ounces by its amount of lye needed. Now I’ve attached a pdf of my favorite NaOH chart that I’ve had the most success using down below so you can see all the values needed to calculate the lye for a bar of soap. (FYI: in case you search the internet for a chart, keep in mind KOH charts are used to make liquid soaps and have different values.)

Now the reason doing your own calculations is so important is because…For example the first time I made a recipe of soap that I had found, I plugged in all the information on the Brambleberry website.  I followed it to a “t.” The problem was my soap didn’t turn out, and I was so aggravated. I was like, “Good grief!  I just wasted all that time and money..aaahhh..Why didn’t this work?!?!”  It drove me bananas! Well, through my research I stumbled across a book and in it she had the full list of saponification chart and was explaining how everything works, blah, blah, blah…But as I was looking at that chart, I matched it up to what the recipe was that Brambleberry had told me, and I did the multiplications on there.  I multiplied the saponification chart from the book that was listed with my oils, and it was different.  Now I did that for the entire recipe. I went through and redid the calculations, and when I made the recipe again, it worked.   I didn’t have a failure.  It turned out perfect. That lesson taught me that online lye calculators are not always right, and there are so many different variations for saponification chart floating around out there on the internet that it’s insane.  So that’s why I’ve listed my favorite one that I’ve had the most success with. I have not had any failed attempts when I’ve done my calculations, my soaps turn out correctly.  Again, some people are like, “Oh well, it doesn’t matter.  It’s only off by a tenth or a hundredth,” but that all adds up in my mind.  So I want to stick with the one that I’ve had success with and that’s what this is that I’ve posted below.  But on this chart, she uses 0.190 for coconut oil. That means that for every ounce of coconut oil, you’re going to use 0.190 oz lye. So you multiply that out.

0.190 Coconut oil

0.190 x 48 = 9.12 – That’s telling us we’re using 9.12oz lye.  You can already you can see that it differs from the online calculator gave a different total

Step 4.

Superfatting…This is the term used when you allow a certain percentage of fats/oils to not be absorbed by the lye during saponification.  They are going to remain in fat molecule form. This is another big way in which making your own soap can be customized.  You can control the moisturizing affect of the final product simply by adjusting the superfatting level.  This will also affect the amount of bubbles/suds your soap will produce. Too much and the soap becomes slimy and the bubbles are inhibited.  Not enough, and the soap leaves the skin feeling dry because it cleans off the natural oils in the skin and doesn’t replace them with any. So superfatting is crucial

Take the final amount of lye needed (9.12) and multiply it by the percentage you choose. (Majority of recipes are superfatted at 5%. You would want to increase it to 15% for this high coconut oil soap.

9.12 x 0.15 = 1.368

Now subtract that amount from the total lye. (9.12-1.368 = 7.752) Round to the nearest hundredth and you end up with 7.75 oz.  THIS is the needed amount of lye for your batch of soap.

With the accurate lye amount, adjust your liquid measurement to match.  The liquid/lye ratio is 2:1.  So for this recipe you will need 15.5 oz.


7.75 oz – lye

15.5 oz – distilled water 48 oz – coconut oil Total Weight = 71.25 oz

*Because of the change in lye and water amounts, the total weight went below the 74.94oz we were working toward earlier.  You can either leave it at this weight, or you can go back and readjust your oil amounts. Just remember to re-do the math on each step if you change just one oil amount since it will change the amount of lye and water needed.

Yay! You just formulated your first batch of soap!!!!

Step 5. – Mixing the lye solution

Now to actually make your soap. Ha! Maybe take a short break to let your brain cool off after all the calculating…

Set out your supplies in a well-ventilated area.

Put on your safety gear and cover your work area with a trash bag or newspapers to protect the surface you are working on.

Using a digital scale, place your 2-cup measuring pitcher on the scale, set to measure in ounces, and press “tare” to zero out the weight of the pitcher.

Measure out the needed amount of COLD distilled water and set aside.

Place your empty small bowl on the scale and press “tare.” Measure out the needed amount of lye being very careful not to spill the granules.

If you are in a well-ventilated area, slowly pour a little lye at a time into the water, mixing with your spatula.


(Go outside if you need better ventilation as this part is the worst part when it comes to chemical smells.)  You will know the lye is completely dissolved when it turns clear and there are no more little white pieces floating around.  At this point, leave the spatula inside the pitcher and place inside the refrigerator while you begin prepping your oils.

Step 6. – Measuring the Oils

Place your empty gallon ice cream container on the scale and measure out your coconut oil.  Place inside microwave and heat in slow bursts (15-20 seconds) stirring between each round until the oil is transparent.

Place the container back on the scale and press “tare” to zero out weight. Slowly measure out the olive oil.  Do the same for measuring the castor oil.  Gently stir the oils to get a consistent heat.

Step 7. – Combining Oils and Lye

Use your digital thermometer to get a temperature reading for the oils and then the lye mixture inside the refrigerator. Combine the lye into the oils when both are between the temp of 120-140F with a difference of 10 degrees allowed between each.

Using your stick blender, “burp” the blender first to remove any air pockets before turning on. Slowly blend the mixture in 15-second bursts letting the blender rest.  If the temperature is correct, the soap will reach a light trace in a few minutes. (Trace is when you can dribble some of the mixture on the top of the batter, and it holds its shape.)

If you are adding any essential oils, now would be the time you add those.

Step 8. – Pouring into Mold

Once you’ve reached the medium trace, you need to act quickly to get the soap poured into your mold.  It will begin to firm up quickly as it cools.  Scrape the sides of the container clean then shake/tap the mold to smooth the batter into the corners and evenly across the top.

Cover with a layer of plastic wrap to protect the tops of the soap while it hardens.

A little tip here…If using a silicone mold that doesn’t have a wooden form, place it on a cookie tray so that you can lift the tray to tap down the batter.  If you try lifting the silicone mold on its own, it will just be a huge mess.

Step 9. – Gel Phase

Non-milk soaps need to go through a gel phase to create a consistent color and texture throughout the soap.  This can be achieved by placing your mold on a heating pad set to low and covered with thick towels for an hour.  Or you can wrap several thick towels/blankets around and set aside.  Check on your soap after it’s been sitting for an hour to ensure it doesn’t overheat.

Soap that gets too hot can bubble up like a volcano.  Better to have it be a little too cool than to be too hot.

Step 10. – Unmolding and Curing

Your soap will be ready to unmold after 24-48 hours.  At this time, you would cut into the desired bar sizes after unmolding.  Bars should be kept on a shelf to cure for 4-6 weeks to allow the excess liquid to evaporate and harden. Soaps are safe to use after unmolding since the entire saponification process has finished. Contrary to a lot of soapers out there who say that it’s not safe to use the soap until after the 4-6 weeks cure because the pH is still too high, there is no scientific proof to back up this claim. The curing process is there to harden the bars which will in turn make them last longer during use.  You can use the freshly unmolded soap in your shower, but it will dissolve faster.

In closing, just want to remind you that this recipe was one of the simplest and least expensive ones you can make by using only one 3 ingredients. This type of soap is not favored for washing with because it lacks the other oils that are more hydrating. However, it is still a great plain soap that does amazing at cleaning skin.  If you lower the superfatting level down to 0%, you then have an amazing plant-based laundry soap that can be shaved and added to other ingredients for a dry laundry powder or melted down to make a liquid detergent that is all-natural and very effective at removing dirt and stains.

Now that you know how to formulate a soap recipe and do the calculations, look through your kitchen cabinets or pantry and see what oils you have on hand in addition to coconut oil.

Some of the best are olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, lard, tallow, sesame oil, hemp seed oil, and castor oil. But whatever recipe you find online or in a book, ALWAYS remember to do the calculations yourself and not just follow what someone else has written down.

I hope this episode is a help to any of you out there looking for ways to help save money for yourself and your family by becoming more self-sufficient in the area of soap making.

What I Learned About Small Business from a Ferengi Bartender

When I was a kid, one of my favorite shows on TV was “Star Trek.”

It didn’t matter what series it was, I loved them all—The Next Generation—Deep Space Nine—Voyager—I even enjoyed the old Original Series from the 1960s with Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the rest.

Until I went off to College and found slightly more important things to occupy my time, I was a big fan.  I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but I wasn’t just a fan, I was an all-out Trekkie with the whole VHS movie collection, action figures, board games, and tech manuals.  Yes, I was that kid who studied how transporters theoretically worked.

On a few occasions, my mom was gracious enough to drive me and some of my friends to a few Conventions whenever they came to Little Rock.  I had the chance to meet William Shatner (Captain Kirk), Marina Sirtis (Counselor Troy), Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar), and probably a few others.  I tell you, I was a total geek!

Since childhood, I’ve become a lot more cynical of shows like Star Trek, Star Wars, and other science fiction genres.  That’s probably due to several different reasons.  One of the things that started bothering me as I grew up (including as a Christian), is all the secular ethics and humanist ideology that’s woven into the Star Trek franchise.  I won’t go into all of that, but there’s plenty to take issue with.  For the most part, though, I have good memories from watching the show, if for no other reason than it was an entertaining story.  It was also a thought-provoking story that challenged me to think.

For example, one of the things that got me thinking was the show’s apparent critique of ideas like capitalism and free enterprise, in which wealth and progress are the right of private owners to pursue at their own risk and their own reward.  In the Star Trek universe, that’s all considered obsolete to the morally-superior, socially-evolved “Federation” that’s achieved a post-scarcity world in which you can replicate whatever you need, making the need for money no longer an issue.  In the words of Captain Picard,

“The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives.  We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.”

That statement reflects the view of most of, if not all, the protagonist Star Fleet heroes.

In contrast to that, however, are societies not yet as evolved.  There are alien races that still have a long way to go to reach the Federation’s progressive standard, such as the ultra-capitalist “Ferengi.”  The Ferengi are the big eared, big nosed caricature (much like the Dwarves of Middle Earth) that represent the classic Jewish, money-loving, wealth-building stereotype.

If you’ve ever watched Star Trek, you know the Ferengi are the ones depicted as constantly chasing after the Almighty Dollar, or the Almighty bar of gold pressed latinum.  They’re also often depicted as disparaging of women and ruled by an antiquated list of 285 commandments, or “Rules of Acquisition,” directing them in how to achieve the goal of their greed and self-interest.  Again, that’s an apparent parody of Judaism with its own 613 Commands of the Torah, and the Bible’s alleged views of racial elitism and male chauvinism.

I find it interesting how the show’s creators evidently saw a cross-over between capitalism and Judeo-Christian beliefs, but I also think their caricature is totally unfair.  Granted, if a caricature is meant to be an exaggeration of how things are in their extreme, I admit, there is a danger for the capitalist business owner, or the Bible touting disciple, to become like the Ferengi.

But listen, like the Pharisees of the Bible or the Tycoons on Wall Street, while we want to be careful not to become radical versions, I think there’s plenty to admire in the fundamentals that such groups live by.  Even in the loathed Ferengi, I personally have found a lot to admire.  You’ve got to peel back plenty of layers and discard all the ways they get it wrong, but foundationally, I think I’m actually a Ferengi at heart.  What do I mean by that?

Well, for starters, I’m on board with the idea of personal responsibility, taking risk, and making a living for yourself in the universe. I don’t buy in to the socialist thinking of the Federation that places the expectation on the whole society to put food on my table.  No, I place the expectation on my own shoulders to put food on my table.  Sure, there’s got to be some mutual dependence on society, but that can’t be a total dependence on society.  Personal responsibility is a good thing.

With that in mind, I actually have more respect for characters like Quark, who is the Ferengi Bartender on the Deep Space Nine series, who manages his own accounts and serves real food to his customers, than I have respect for all the lemmings in matching uniforms who are stuck eating artificial food and must rely on Chief O’Brian to keep the replicator going.

I can appreciate Quark’s entrepreneurial, self-reliant spirit.

I also happen to have a lot of respect for the Ferengi idea that husbands and fathers are naturally positioned to provide for their families in the workplace, and that wives and mothers are naturally positioned to manage the home.

Again, using the Quark character as an example, I that it’s great that he’s committed to supporting his mother back home with the proceeds he makes from his bar.  That happens to be one of the sub-plots of the show.  Quark loves his “Moogie,” as he calls his mom, and would rather he work than her, so that she is free to focus on the home.

Obviously, I’m against the extreme of such thinking in which women are denied the right to work altogether and are viewed simply as men’s servants both in the kitchen and the bedroom.  I’m also opposed to the belief that men have no responsibility on the domestic side of life in caring for the kids, or in keeping up with general house chores.

But, offering no apology, I am a complementarian in regard to my belief that men and women are different, and are gifted in different ways, and are responsible to different degrees.  That’s not to say our ladies shouldn’t be working, but it is to say I think our guys should be putting on “the pants,” rolling up their sleeves, and getting to work all the more as the primary bread winner for their families.  Whether that’s working for someone else, or being self-employed, I think young men especially need to hear the call to turn off their star ship video games, come out from their parent’s basements, and strike out in life and start making a living.

The other thing I’ll say about my respect for Ferengi characters like Quark is their commitment to a set of established “values.”  If you watch the show, you’ll hear Quark constantly quoting his memorized Rules of Acquisition as a way of guiding all of his business decisions.  The way he runs his bar is anything but careless. Rather, every strip of latinum is managed, and every business opportunity is approached, by a prescribed set up principals.  Again, he’s always quoting these things.  Here are some of my favorite:

  • #3—“Never pay more for an acquisition than you have to.”
  • #8—“Small print leads to large risk. ”
  • #19—“Satisfaction is not guaranteed. ”
  • #57—“Good customers are as rare as latinum—treasure them. ”
  • #141—“Only fools pay retail. ”
  • #194—“It's always good business to know about new customers before they walk in the door. ”
  • #214—“Never begin a negotiation on an empty stomach. ”
  • #218—“Always know what you're buying. ”

In my opinion, all of that is good business advice. Now, to be fair (and any real Star Trek fan will be quick to point out), there are plenty of other Rules of Acquisition that I didn’t list that are totally inappropriate and anything but good advice.  But, hopefully, you see the point I’m trying to make.  Making decisions is a lot easier when you have something guiding you.

I think every business owner would do well to have a list of Core Values that governs it.  Rather than just operating aimlessly in whatever industry, it’s a good thing to have some direction.  Personally, I think the Bible provides a wonderful set of values to live by. Just be sure you’re following those as God intended, and not some radical version of it.

As someone who’s started his own small business with the homestead, I am trying to be “a good Ferengi” in how I take responsibility for our work, how my wife and I complement each other in that work, and how we try to honor our own guiding principles in Scripture.

In that way, I tip my hat to Quark, the bartender on Star Trek.  And if visiting his bar, I’d order a  non-replicated sandwich and commend him for his efforts as a small business owner.  I’d then give him the Gospel and share with him the good news that a more rewarding Master to serve isn’t latinum, but the Lord, and a more rewarding motive to live by isn’t greed, but to be gracious to others.  Perhaps, in time, assuming he was willing to get rid of his gambling table and put more clothes on his Dabo girls, I might even offer to make him a homestead partner.

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