What Good is Freedom?

What Good is Freedom?

When I was a kid I remember thinking that “when I grew up” I would do everything.
That I could do anything.

I dreamed of all the amazing things that I would become, and all the professions that I would have.
I was going to be an gold medalist figure skater…..and an astronaut.
(Yes, those were my two big dreams)


(my sister and I being princesses. Yes, that is a hair scrunchy on my head. #80sBaby)

The point is, I knew that I would gain more freedom when I got older, and with that freedom I dreamed of what I would do with it.

I believe the most honoring thing we can do with our freedom is use it. Freedom is not given so you can eat Cheetos and lay around. Its given so you can work freely and contribute to the world

We have the freedom, the right, & the choice to be healthy.
We have the freedom, the right, & the choice to get any level of education that we desire.
We have the freedom ,the right, & the choice to develop and succeed at any organization, a business, non profit- anything we can dream of or imagine.

So instead of celebrating freedom by laying on the couch wasting our lives away on TLC…. “because we can”
Remember as a child that you associated freedom with Becoming.
Become who you want to be. Because you can.
That’s real freedom.

Nick Spindler | IamNickSpindler.com

Nick Spindler | IamNickSpindler.com

What do you do? (What is your business? Organization? Blog? Future pursuits?)
I am a writer.  Right now that is mainly through my blog.  On my blog I share stories of my life and how I am chasing my dream and hope it encourages others to do the same.  I also plan on doing public speaking around what I write.

When was the first moment that you thought of writing a blog?
I blogged a lot when I was in college (2002) because it was how I kept up with people from high school.  Then about 4-5 years ago I really felt like God told me I needed to get back into blogging because it used to really encourage the people that read it

How long did it take you to get it off the ground? (meaning, going from an idea…to actually starting)
It probably took me about 3 months to get my blog set up.  The original version was terrible and honestly embarrassing to look back on.  For the first 3 years of my blog I didn’t devote a lot of time to it and it was mainly an after thought or something I did if I had some extra time.  In the 9 months I have made it a priority and have been posting regularly.

What is one thing that you wish someone would of told you before you began this journey?
Just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come.  You have to hustle and do a lot to get yourself out there.  Also that it can be exhausting to work on a dream when you are trying to balance a full-time job and a family as well.

How have you networked with others? Do you believe this is an important step in the process?
I believe networking is huge.  Without a network you aren’t going to grow.  Outside of using some of my friends for things (web design, photography, ect.) I have joined a couple of online groups that have helped put me in touch with people that are in similar places.  I recently joined a Mastermind group where there are 5 of us that have shared our goals and help each other reach them.  I had never done this before and it is pretty amazing how encouraging and motivating a group of strangers can be.

Someone who is just starting off in their pursuit (business, organization, blog, etc), what advice would you give them?

Surround yourself with people that will support you.  If you have a dream don’t let people that are going to tear it apart be close to it.

What gives you hope?
Seems cliche, but Jesus Christ.  Outside of Him, my wife is a huge supporter and can lift my spirits when I am ready to give up.

What is one logistical tip that you have learned that may help someone else just starting off in your industry?
Before you start a blog, build a collection of blog posts.  That way when you launch your blog you can have more than 1 post available for your potential readers.  It will make you look more established right out of the gate.

(Most Important Question)
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Football Player

What is your “Big Picture”? (your why)
To impact the younger generation across the world with the message that God loves them and designed them with a purpose.  We all were given gifts and talents and I want to help motivate people to figure out what they are and go after them with everything they have.

Freedom to Rant- Last minute advice: Go.
No matter what your pursuit is, there is power in telling a story.  In almost any avenue telling a story can be the most effective sales pitch you can make.




Nick serves at Charisma Church, as the Creative Department Head,  Youth Director, a leader in the college ministry, and a leader in the children’s ministry.

He has traveled across America ministering as a part of the TV One Life Live events and been on many mission trips through Maximum Missions.  He has also traveled and ministered at churches along the East Coast of the United States, as well as in Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, and Israel. He is a Youth Director for the YMCA of the Triangle, responsible for overseeing before and after school care programs, track out camp, and summer day camps.  He is married to Angela and the father of Zeke.

Connect with Nick!  Visit his Website or send him an E-mail. You can also follow him on Twitter and Instagram

Your Price is Right

Your Price is Right

When I first started charging money for pictures I felt really awkward.  Somewhat because I did not know how much to charge.  But mostly I felt insecure that my work wasn’t good enough.

Starting out you have to fight this weird guilt/insecure issue and find the courage to say, “I charge this_________” (without blinking or apologizing after).I didn’t realize back then, but resolving this issue was foundational for the way that I ran my business moving forward.  I wish I would have done it differently.

If you haven’t gotten to a point where you feel comfortable charging, and you are struggling with putting a price tag on it (a REAL one) consider these following tips

Its hard to break away from the “cheap guy” reputation.
At first you may not be as good as you want to be (are we ever?). With improvement you should go up in your prices. However in the beginning PLEASE do not make the mistake that I did and practically give your work away from free. Not only are you building an expectation from your clients that you do not want to have later on, but you are binding yourself psychologically of what you are worth.

Someone think you are too expensive? 
In the end—- its just someones opinion. Now this is hard. Most people are people pleasers (myself included). However if you cannot remove your self worth from someone’s opinion you will not make it in business. Period.

You wont get better, until you charge more.
When you start to make more money you can invest more money back into your business. You can by better equipment, attend more workshops etc. Also charging more will create an expectation in your clients as well as yourself of your worth. If you are charging “value” pricing….people will expect a “value” product. Is that the kind of business you want?

People expect to pay, if they do not, they do not respecting you.
I still give away some work. But its in the form of a gift. If someone (even family members) ASSUME that you will work for free – that’s a relationship issue.
I’m not trying to be mean to your mom,  but you wouldn’t tell a family member or friend to go paint your house without offering some kind of compensation. You don’t have to charge everyone the same thing. You can give work as a gift. But do it because you want to- not because of guilt or manipulation. Big difference.

If you are too cheap–You will end up hating what you do. 
There is so only so many favors you can do for people before you literally burned out, and end up hating what you do. Literally. Have you ever figured out how much you made an hour on a project and got depressed? That was me! You chose to do whatever you were doing because (hopefully) you love it. Protect your passion. Don’t let it be abused.

So what is the “right price”?

You have to sit down and factor in every minute of your time. When people see that I’m a photographer they think that I simply take pictures. Which I do. But I spend the majority of my time editing. I honestly feel like a photo editor who gets to take pictures every once in awhile.

Same thing with your product. They may see an item, but they do not see they hours it took to develop and create that item. Factor all this in and settle on a price per hour that you feel comfortable with. Whatever you decide that is, stand beside it. Your price is right. 

Photo courtesy of Thomas Galvez


Shantel Smith | The Dutch Oven

Shantel Smith | The Dutch Oven

Within one year, Shantel Smith of the Dutch Oven quit her long time career as a teacher and “took the leap” by starting a small business. She and her husband own the Dutch Oven in Cabot, Arkansas. Seeing that she took an idea and made it a reality within one year…I thought she might have a thing or two to say about pursing Big Picture purpose.


What is your “why”?
The purpose of this is not to own a “small town cafe”. The purpose is to enjoy the rest of my life. I want to brand this and be able to retire. I want to be a traveling soccer mom.

What would you tell someone who was wanting to quit their job (like you did) and pursue their dream career?
We just kept telling ourselves, “you wont know until you try”. If it just stays an idea, you will never have an answer. If you fail, you end up right back where you were. You have to look at it as if you have nothing to lose.

What does the word “hope” mean to you?
The expectation that the future only gets better.

When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Successful. A vet…a teacher. I just knew I wanted to make money and be successful.

If someone wanted to open a cafe in Arkansas, what are three tips you would give them?

  • Attend a “Startup Arkansas”  event
  • Get an adviser for the financial process
  • Visit other shops and ask what worked for them.





Check out the Dutch Oven on  Facebook and  their Website

When Work Isn’t Pretty

When Work Isn’t Pretty

I almost posted this picture to Instagram with a caption that read something like,

“Best job ever!” or “I love my work!” or “Check out my office today!”

Now, I have done this before. I am sure that I will do it again. There is nothing wrong with getting excited about your work. However today I hesitated before I posted, because I want to be real honest for a second.

Sometimes work really sucks.

Yes, there are days where your work may lead you on a cool trip, or you get frosted donuts with sprinkles in the office, but most days are anything but excitement and sugar highs.

I hesitated to post the following picture because if I were to take an accurate picture of what my work really looks like, you would see a girl at a desk with her laptop, with a coffee cup,  crazy side hair bun , wild eyes (mostly from caffeine), with edginess and frustration.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I love being in school. I love this blog. I love my mastermind groups, and projects Im working on. But if I lived for the highs- I literally would not make it.

I haven’t worked for “The Man” in three years.
(if you don’t know who “The Man” is please watch the movie ‘School of Rock’. If you do know who “The Man” is…please watch ‘School of Rock’. I love that movie).
In these three years, I am just now at a point where I am making decent money on my own, and feel pretty confident with what I am doing.

  • There have been many nights where I would cry to my husband (everyone give Bryan a hug when you see him) telling him I hate photography and am just going to go work at a snow cone stand.
  • There were many times I would look at my equipment and realized that it sucked…but its all I had.
  • There were many times I would see people in my area giving away their work, and in order to compete with their prices I would need to start paying my clients to take pictures of them.

The hardest part of business, is not giving up. Literally. I am completely convenienced that those who make it are not necessarily the ones who are better (turn on the radio if you would like evidence of this). Its the people that stick it out.

Many of you know that photography is not my “end goal”/dream job. But I cannot tell you how grateful I am for it. It has taught me the character building part of building a business, and following a dream.

Today I took photos on the beach. Today my job was a lot of fun.
But most days my work isn’t pretty- just like most days I’m sure yours isn’t.

Hang in there.
Drink another cup of coffee at your desk and don’t throw in the towel just yet.
Your work matters- whether today its pretty or not.




What’s Your “Big Picture”?

What’s Your “Big Picture”?

If you want to get a job, talk about how detail oriented you are.
People love that. We don’t want to miss a tiny, little mistake. We want our projects to be flawless.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I wish I was better at seeing details. Maybe I would be a better cook.

About a year ago I did an exercise that a friend taught me. The purpose of it was to discover your “why”.  We both had small businesses, and we did this exercise mostly for motivational purposes. It goes something like this:

You state your dream, and continue to ask yourself “why?” until you have no more answers.
(the following is a made-up example)

What is your dream? — to own a successful retail store
Why?-– to not worry about money and do what I love
Why?— So my kids can have what they need and have an example of what hard work and success looks like
Why?— So they grow up with honorable character and believe in their own dreams
Why?— because I want them to have faith in something outside of themselves.
Why?—  etc etc etc

When we did this project we realized that what we wanted had a bigger picture at the core of it. For us it wasn’t about making money, or retiring early. There was a deeper “why”. A why that had to do with a  love for our kids, a desire to be a better person, and a deep desire to see a change in the world.

Seeing little details is very important. One day I want to hire people gifted in that area so that I don’t make so many little, preventable mistakes.
However the motivation that we need (I believe) lies in discovering your Big Picture.

Being a Big Picture Person does not have to mean that you are this super extroverted, hyper person who jumps from idea to idea without committing to anything (I’ve heard it described as this). I can mean that you are driven by a deeper purpose, a why that goes beyond selfish gain.

We should all set out to leave something behind that out lives us. Whether that’s a multi-million dollar business that funds special projects, or investing in the lives of our children so that they grow up to be leaders with integrity and courage facilitating the change this world desperately needs.

Believe in something beyond yourself.
Live for the change you wish to see.
See the Big Picture.

The best is yet,



Chris Ross | Today is the Day

Chris Ross | Today is the Day

What’s the story behind “Today is the Day”?

A few years ago I went four months without having a job. I was a single dad and during that time, I had a routine with my son. I would get him up, take him on a walk, and then take him to school. Then I would go looking for jobs.

I would go to UALR and use the computers there to look for jobs everyday. I went there every single day for three months. On the fourth month the guy who was over the department came up to me and said, “Man you are up here everyday, whats up?” I told him that I was looking for jobs. He then gave me a laptop with WIFI and everything so I wouldn’t have to go up there everyday. It helped me out a lot.

After that fourth month I stopped complaining. About not having a job, about being sick of depending on other people,

I remember one day I was laying in bed and I woke up. It was like 6 or 7 in the morning. This was during a time that I couldn’t buy my son food or diapers without depending on other people. But I remember looking at my son, he was just a baby, 10 or 11 months old. I looked him in the eyes (of course he didn’t know what I was saying) and said,

“Today is the day that I am going to get up, find a job so I can provide for you and for myself”

And I did. I got up and did my routine. I think that’s what changed everything. Two weeks later I had interviews with two news stations. I was doing an internship at at another station and they found out that I had two interviews with two other stations. The guy I was interning under told the station, “Chris has two job offers- if you don’t hire him now you are going to lose him”

On a Friday night at five o’clock they called me and offered me a job.

From there I had the motivation that I could do anything. Just saying something, speaking something into it in existence is what did it.

When was the point where you were decided, “I overcame this- now I want to help others?”

I’ve been doing this over two years. I started doing videos and I was getting good feedback. My friends started telling me, you are not just a camera man- you are a motivational speaker. That’s where I decided- well that’s what I’m already doing- that’s what I am.

I would get messages from parents saying that it was helping their kids. That made me feel great.

What is your “why”?

To help change the world one kid at a time. Because every kid I speak to- I look at them like they were me.

What does the word “hope” mean to you?

In any situation, no matter how good or bad there is always more or better.

(Most important Question)What did you want to be when you grew up when you were a kid?

A football player

What are three things you would tell someone who is wanting to do what you are doing?

Start small. Don’t listen to negative people.Tomorrow will be a better day

What is your “Big Picture?”

When people look at me I want them to see that no matter what situation you are in, or where you come from, there is another side to your story that is waiting on you. The change comes from you.

What is the one thing that you want people to know?

Enjoy life, Stay positive, If you feel down, think about where you came from. Think about where you are going, and fight to get there.




Chris is a motivational speaker with Today is the Day.

He speaks to adolescents in schools challenging them to overcome difficult circumstances and become all they can be.

      Connect with Chris on LinkedIn.

Jacquie Boily with DownTown and Back Again

Jacquie Boily with DownTown and Back Again

What do you do? (What is your business? Organization? Future pursuits?)
I’m the owner of Downtown and Back Again, a household management and concierge service.

When was the first moment that you thought of your business idea?
When I was going on maternity leave with my second child. I wanted a job that I could work around my children, not the other way around.

How long did it take you to get it off the ground?
A couple of months of planning and making a website. I was fortunate enough to find a few clients right away that kept me quite busy.

What is one thing that you wish someone would of told you before you began this journey?
Network, network, network! Even if you’re busy and can’t take on anymore work, that work can stop on the drop of a dime. It’s so important to build up your network.

How have you networked with others? Do you believe this is an important step in the process?
Go to events where your clientele are and ask your current network for referrals. Relationship building is vital to expanding your business.

Someone who is just starting off in their pursuit of a business or organization idea, what advice would you give them?
Research your competition and figure out how you’re going to differentiate yourself from them. The goal is to stand out.

What is your “why”?
I started this business to help people put time back in their day. We’re all so busy running errands and managing our homes, but we deserve to spend time with our loved ones.

What gives you hope?
The generosity of others.

What is one logistical tip that you have learned that may help someone else just starting off in your industry?
Set up good processes so that you can avoid duplicate work; everything from invoicing to on boarding new clients.

(Most Important Question)

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Everything – a lawyer, writer, environmentalist, jewelry maker – you name it!

Last minute advice: Go.
Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s tough out there and you likely won’t make it. If you research the industry you want to go into, know your competition, and are able to differentiate yourself, you will make it!

Jacquie Boily

    I started Downtown and Back Again in 2008 with a vision of helping those who have too much to do, day in and day out. As a woman who has been married for ten years and is raising two boys, I know how important it is to stay organized and make
    sure my  family and I get the time and attention we all deserve.

    I’ve worked in a number of sectors across my career – finance, hospitality, insurance, administration, productivity improvement, event planning, graphic design, and marketing. A breadth of information has been taken from these sectors and combined in a unique way to help you with any challenge you are facing with your daily calendar.

    Inviting someone into your home is very personal; let’s have a cup of coffee, get to know each other and chat about your needs. My utmost concern is your confidentiality and that you’re comfortable with moving forward.Call me at 780.691.7020 or Email me to see how I can help you.

 You can connect with Jacquie by visiting her Website. Or  follow her on Facebook & Twitter