The trailer where we stayed just happened to be positioned right over the opening to a sewer. The sewer rats (not your cute Tom & Jerry scene) would come into our trailer at night. I’d lay there as still as possible and pray they’d not climb onto the bed with us.
Around the time my daughter turned 6 months old, I started applying for jobs. Again, I applied for every type of job that aligned to my education—a B.A. in Communications. I also applied for music director roles because it would allow me to stay home with my daughter while also bringing in some income.
“God, please help me to find a job that will allow me to contribute financially and also take care of my daughter.”
I still submitted each application for employment, with care, tailoring every cover letter specific to the role.
The only bite I got was for a job at a small African American church as the music director. It paid $200/week and this was a significant windfall for our budget, considering it would only take me away from my family on Wednesday night and Sunday morning.
This was in 2007, the period before the housing bubble burst.
Shortly after I gained employment, I suggested we start looking for houses so that we could put money into a mortgage as opposed to throwing rent money into a hole (rat rent).
We looked everywhere and our options were limited because our income was still low. The criteria for our future home was that it be big enough to host my spouse’s siblings who’d we promised ourselves to adopt as a condition of us leaving Cameroon.
Both of their parents had passed away. Their father died in 2005. Their mother died in 2006 while we were in Cameroon. We also wanted for the house to sit on a significant piece of land. My spouse’s siblings were accustomed to roaming freely in the village and we needed a similar setup I thought, to ease them into the western culture.
Our first home
We found a house in Kannapolis, NC. Kannapolis was about 30 minutes from Charlotte and was a small city comparatively. However, it had promise because there were plans for it to be the location of a biomedical research park. I felt this had to be a good thing for long-term home values overall.
Again, I prayed,
“God, please help us to qualify for a mortgage.”
The Kannapolis house built in 1901 was selling for 60k. For the house to qualify for a mortgage, we had to finish a kitchen and bathroom remodel that the owners had started and did not want to finish.
Both the owners and my father advised us not to buy the house, “It is full of problems!” But, at the time, it was the only option we could see.
The sellers agreed that we move in on a rental agreement and work on the remodeling prior to the mortgage being approved.
My spouse and I put flooring in (including sub-flooring), repaired the walls, and installed cabinets.
Then we took photos of the work and these photos were submitted to the loan officer to prove the house was now worthy of a mortgage.
The mortgage was approved.
Again, God answered my prayer.
In-between our time in the trailer and this very old new home, my spouse had begun providing computer repair and small business services through a contractor. I still worked for the church as a music director.
Going into business
The thought occurred to me–we could provide these IT services on our own, if customers could find our information through Google when searching for computer repair.
“God, please help me to figure out how to get our information to the top of the search engine.”
At the time, my spouse had setup a VOIP lab using Asterisk, an open source framework, and had discovered how to create virtual numbers for different locations (area codes) to give the appearance of having separate physical office locations.
“Yes,” I thought. “If we can show up in the top of the search engine for every small city in our near vicinity, we can be the top IT provider, simply because we’re the easiest click.”
This was before SEO and pay-per-click were really a thing.
And it worked. I was able to get multiple sites targeted to different IT services in different locations to the top of the search engine.
It was like a miracle when we received our first call from someone who needed our services. Perhaps, it was a miracle.
Suddenly, our hourly rate sky-rocketed because we’d eliminated the middle-man and my spouse was extremely skilled at fixing any type of technical issue, setting up networks, installing operating systems, and even configuring virtual phone systems—so our repeat business was very good.
God had answered my prayer.
And beyond that, our eyes were opened to a completely new way of making money.
Image by pixabay on pexels.com
This article is a part of my Practical Primers for Grown Adulting series
Making Money isn’t a Sin
I will post an excerpt from “Making Money Isn’t a Sin” every weekday for the next month.
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