Karen and I just enjoyed our first Christmas as a married couple. We were excited for the New year as any newly wed would be. Karen was now working a stable job. She decided to forego going back to school for a while (at least during our first year).
I began to think about what Brother Larry prophesied a few months back. I was thinking through the process and the word that was spoken: “In three days, the Lord will show you what you are to do next.”
The only thing that happen was our wedding photographer talking with me about creating a website for his business sometime down the road.
I had been building websites as a side hustle for ministries. I began building sites by accident when someone in the ministry I was serving decided he could no do it. I took over and began learning FrontPage. I know … crazy! Who remembers FrontPage? If so, you are giving away your age!
I built the website for Raffa Front-Line Ministries and our discipleship school. Soon fellow friends in ministry started asking if I would create them a website. Soon I was creating websites for several ministries we were in relationship with.
Could this be what the Lord was referring to? It didn’t seem productive. I didn’t have any real clients. There were so many people that were better than I was. The excuses came pouring in.
Suddenly, I realized that God was calling me to be an entrepreneur. At the time, I didn’t even know what that word meant. No one taught classes in college for starting your own business, obtaining clients, pricing, or even how to get the ball rolling.
I began to rest in this new journey and accept that it was God’s leading. I knew if He called me, then He would equip and promote me when it was time. I knew I needed to start learning and growing.
So, I talked with Karen and, without having any real plan, she worked and provided the income necessary for our daily expenses. I purchases my first book on pricing websites (I still have that book to this day).
We were grateful for Karen’s job and it was obvious that God had blessed her with great favor and allowed me to receive zero offers no matter how hard I searched them out.
For the next several months, I began growing my business. I acquired Dreamweaver (the website design program the professionals were using). I began branching out into database design and PHP coding.
Within a few months, I started getting more ministries reaching out, and during this time I started getting regular customers that were willing to pay me!
In Fall 2002, I was invited to join a group of guys from Raffa that wanted to start their own IT company. All of the guys were involved in one aspect or another of IT. The problem was that none of them had clients nor were they doing any side hustles. My friend Jay was leading the group and suggested that I join it because I was already in business and growing.
We had a few meetings and the guys officially accepted me in to the new venture.
We now had a purpose but no name or direction.
While I was praying one afternoon, I began to consider the trades we were going into – web design and IT. I started thinking about networking and access to the Internet. Within a few minutes, I came up with the name NetLine Access. I presented the name to Jay and he presented it to the guys at our next meeting. We all agreed on the name and we officially incorporated ourselves.
The Lord seemed to reward our efforts and we soon had our first IT client (which was currently a web design client). Then, we got another client. It seemed like the ball was rolling.
Unfortunately, we were not making a lot of money and the company was not growing as fast as many of the guys expected. Over the course of the next year, one by one each of the guys got out. Jay was the last one. He told me that he was in it with me if I ever needed him. Jay served our IT clients until they moved on. Eventually, Jay moved on as well to support his growing family.
The web design side of NetLine began to prosper. I started getting big projects and building all sorts of really cool web applications.
The Lord was truly faithful to the word he spoke back to me that one afternoon. He had a “next” for me and He never left me. He had my new wife, my future family, and my hidden desires all in mind when He began orchestrating this “next” phase of my life.
To this day, I still have NetLine Access and it provide and grow.