Eugene Cho

my 5 personal advice for entrepreneurs

I’ve been reluctant to share this article with folks but it’s too honest and raw not to share. Couple months ago, I wrote an article – at the request of Leadership Journal – about the “price of getting personally involved in justice.”

The editors of Leadership Journal entitled the article, “One Pastor’s Quest.” Honestly, it could have been entitled, “One Pastor’s Many Mistakes in Trying to do a Good Thing.”

As One Day’s Wages approaches its 1 year anniversary, what people mostly see is the growth and the positive attention it has received through individuals and media. But behind the scenes, it has been one of the most arduous and difficult seasons of my life.

I’d like to strongly encourage you to take a few minutes to read the full article – so that you might learn from my mistakes. Please…learn from my mistakes.

After having started three fairly large undertakings with planting Quest Church, starting a non-profit community cafe & music venue, and most recently, One Day’s Wages, I can tell you that I’ve made some mistakes and blunders along the way. There’s many and each of these can be a chapter of a book but here’s a quick summation of  some of them. Here’s  five  important advice I can give to especially those who are starting something new including churchplants, non-profits, businesses, and anything else you can think of that involves working with other people…

Sacrifice & Cost

There’s a cost and sacrifice. Just remember that because the minute you forget that is the moment you’ll get your arse kicked.  Pursuing visions and dreams will always cost you something and more often than not, it’s not just one thing.

For the record, I won’t listen to anyone that’s not willing to sacrifice something for their visions and dreams.

The Entrepreneurial Exodus

With every endeavor, there’s always been a small exodus of people that disagree, misunderstand, and eventually depart. I call it the Entrepreneurial Exodus and yes, I just made that up. When we finally launched the church…people left. When I was stupid enough to do a building campaign in the first year of our church, renovated a building, and started the cafe…people left. When another church “merged” into Quest…people left. When ODW was getting started…people left. Starting new things open you up disagreements, criticism, and the entrepreneurial exodus.

It sucks.

It’s not ideal but it happens. There’s a reason why it’s been documented that in the process of a church engaging and finishing a building project, up to 30% of a congregation leaves. This is a combination of #1 and #2.

Energy & Tenacity

The energy required to launch any vision or dream is beyond what you can probably fathom. And for those that think they know is simply because they know in their knowledge but have yet to experience it through their heart and soul. Be prepared and know that it’s going to incredibly difficult and be prepared to feel it as you go through it.

But here’s the key thing: This is only for a season and not for ever.

For many, this is what separates dreamers and those that dream and implement. When I look at those that have pursued and lived out their dreams, one of the commonalities is tenacity. Be tenacious. I’m no longer as impressed with ideas. I’m more impressed with passionate and tenacious people with ideas.

Cast Vision and Over-Communicate

One of the biggest blunders I’ve made is to under-communicate.

Cast the vision. Distribute the vision. Share the vision. And share it again. In short, over-communicate until people tell you, “That’s enough. I get it…”  Don’t leave too much room for misunderstandings and mis-assumptions.

Because if you do…it will always happen. Always.

People  > Project

This is key. When you start something, you’re essentially working on a project. You’re giving life and birth to something. In the business language, you become a project manager but when you elevate the project over the value of people or more bluntly, when you use people to pursue your project, you’ve missed the point and you’ll hurt some people along the way.

That sucks. It’s singlehandedly the source of my greatest pain.

What’s important to note is that if you’re not careful, it happens when it’s not intended.

How do I know? Because I have done those very things.

The remedy?

Vision and projects may perish. People don’t. Learn how to value people.

And yes, I’m still working on that one and for that matter, all of the above.

Filed under:

16 Responses

  1. mo says:

    Great point about overcommunication. It’s frustrating working underneath someone if their vision isn’t well understood. And as a leader, it’s frustrating to see people continually get your vision wrong because you haven’t communicated properly.

    Thanks for writing this, and the article!

  2. Great post and right on time for me.

  3. Gina says:

    Wow, Eugene. Fantastic article and thanks for sharing these tidbits. Very practical and helpful.

  4. Kevin says:

    Great points. I’ve definitely gone through growing pains with my team. Lots of wins, learns, and opportunities.

  5. Eugene,
    This is one of the best posts ever. In fact, I cannot think of anything more important that I received from you lately.
    Thanks (and greetings from Cape Town)!!

    P.S. Adam Phillips will be my roommate here. Should I say hello to him from you?

  6. Stephanie Kemp says:

    Loved the article – thanks for sharing

  7. bnhickory says:

    Eugene, thanks for writing this post. It gives me encouragement and more understanding in this season of our life. Some days, I wonder why it is worth the energy and pain. Your quote, “Pursuing visions and dreams will always cost you something and more often than not, it’s not just one thing.”, will be posted in our house here in Tanzania to always keep that in mind.

  8. […] my 5 personal advice for spiritual entrepreneurs from Eugene Cho Here’s five important advice I can give to especially those who are starting something new including churchplants, non-profits, businesses, and anything else you can think of that involves working with other people… […]

  9. Beth says:

    Thanks for this wonderful advice, which certainly resonates with my own experiences planting churches. With each sentence, I sighed as I remembered the cost and the joy. This is actually very timely for me because I am in the throws of making some decisions that will require me to remember these valuable and tough truths about starting something new.

    Thanks again 🙂

  10. Sejin says:

    Pastor Eugene knows what he is talking about because he has the Spirit!

    I’m an entrepreneur for my Spirit guided thoughts:

    Sageintime.blogspot.com

  11. Valaida says:

    You are OH SO RIGHT on all 5 points. While all of them resonate, at this moment “Energy & Tenacity” rings loudest for me. It’s a struggle to sustain both — which go hand in hand — and it never ceases to amaze me just how much of each is required.

  12. Donnia says:

    Thank you for sharing and I’m going to pass this on to my brother-in-law who is also starting a church.
    Question: What do you think about business mentor? Did you have one yourself or even a business partner? Or did you just learned mostly from working @ your parents cafe and the rest on your own.

  13. […] I ended up videotaping a Q/A session some time ago with a guy who was crazy enough to fly up to Seattle to work as our slave intern for couple weeks.  We always say no to these requests but he’s one of those folks that emailed and kept emailing. I’m sharing this video interview, articles, other videos, and pics as a resource to those who are interested in doing something similar – contextually – in their neck of the woods.If you have any additional questions AFTER watching the video interview, ask them here as comments and I or one of my cafe staff will do our best to answer them. From here on out, I’ll simply refer people who email me to this blog entry.  * FWIW, my staff or I do some private consulting for a fee (donations to Q Cafe) and also have a cafe manual (documents and forms) for $50 (email office@qcafe.org). I’d also strongly encourage you to read “My 5 Personal Advice for Entrepreneurs.” […]

  14. […] might also want to read my 5 Personal Advice of Entrepreneurs. Pin ItEmailMoreDiggShare on […]

  15. Mike W. says:

    Thanks! This is as good of a read as it was the first time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

"He Makes All Things New." In other words, Christ is our eternal hope. I'm sitting in my swinging bench on the comforts of my front porch after an exhilarating and exhausting day at church. It never gets tiring, stale, or old to preach and proclaim the good news of the Gospel - not just on Resurrection Sunday but every week as we gather as the body of Christ.

But it was this picture of Coptic Christians in Egypt pouring into churches on Easter Sunday that deeply moved my heart...just a week after two churches were bombed by ISIS terrorists taking 45 lives and injuring hundreds.

Even in the face of persecution and suffering, I'm so grateful for the witness of these sisters and brothers in Christ. May they be comforted and strengthened...and wherever you are reading this post, stay encouraged. Be faithful and steadfast. Don't give up. May we keep running the race set before us as we fix our eyes on Christ.

It's not just there. It's all over the world...God is still at work. The Holy Spirit is still moving. God is not yet done. There's only one explanation: 
Christ has risen! He has risen, indeed! Jesus is alive! Hallelujah! #OneChurch Remember, there is no Resurrection without the Crucifixion; No Easter Sunday without Passion Friday; No empty tomb without the Cross.

So, before we move too swiftly to the celebration of the risen Christ, may we sit at the foot of the Cross...and consider the depths of His sacrifice and love. "Oh, what love is this..." Just when we think we get what it means to follow Him, Jesus washes the feet of His disciples including...the one He knew would betray Him,

and the one that would deny him,

and the others that would abandon Him in His greatest need.

What amazing love.
What amazing grace. Oh. What. Amazing. Grace. M(inhee) + E(ugene). Not taking anything for granted. 20 years = 7300 days = 175,200 hours. A flourishing  marriage doesn't just happen. The idea that two Christians who choose to get married will produce a Christ honoring marriage is a gigantic myth. Its also extremely dangerous. The truth is that it takes so much intentionality and work. Intimacy definitely includes physical touch but is not only about physical touch. We have to pray, read, listen, learn, mutually submit, confess, forgive, repent, laugh, dream, rest, play, and the list goes on.

In other words, we have to keep Christ at the center because it's inevitable, there's a lot of messing up. So much messing up. It's both beautiful and painful and without grace, it's impossible.

Grateful. Thank you, Jesus, for your grace. And thank you, Minhee...

my tweets

  • Seattle: Join us for a special book release party for @JohnMPerkins this WED at Quest, 7pm! Learn. Meet folks in ou… twitter.com/i/web/status/8… || 1 day ago
  • Take heart. Press on. Be encouraged. Christ is still risen. || 2 days ago
  • It's not Easter. Crowds may be smaller. But may we preach the Gospel w/ deep conviction; That we truly believe that the tomb is still empty. || 2 days ago
  • Looking for a church in Seattle? Join us tomorrow to hear a word from this woman of God. The tomb is still empty! twitter.com/LizVerHage/sta… || 2 days ago
  • The degradation of our environment impacts all but the reality is that poor communities suffer most...perpetuating the injustice of poverty. || 3 days ago
  • Caring for God's creation should always be part of our stewardship. In other words, it's not optional but an essential part of discipleship. || 3 days ago