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Cover art for Life on Target Podcast with Nathan Spearing building barn at family land.

Episode 7: Advancing Boldly by Planting Roots

When you look back on the past year have you taken risks or have you played it safe? What has been the fruit of those decisions? In this episode, Nathan reflects on how trusting God’s providence throughout his entrepreneurship journey has enabled him and his family to take calculated risks that finally paid off after many challenging seasons. Nathan also looks ahead to 2022 and how his family plans to bless the community by putting down roots and living faithfully.

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Welcome to another episode of the Life on Target podcast. I’m your host, Nathan Spearing, coming to you on December 31st, 2021. I wanted to share with you in this episode, some highlights from 2020 and 2021, how they impacted me and my wife, as we plan and set goals for 2022. I’m also going to share some information about some workshops that we’re going to be posting to our website, Spearing.co, to help you live life on target more in 2022.

Starting a Small Business with Next to Nothing

Early on in my life, after leaving the military, starting small businesses and focusing on my community, we were living in a house without central heat and air conditioning, barely paying the bills each month. And we were pointed to a passage in 1 Kings 17, where the prophet Elijah comes to a widow and her son and asks for food in the middle of a severe drought. Elijah asked for her to prepare a meal, and she only has enough left to feed her son and her one last meal.

She faithfully prepares something for Elijah and her flour and oil do not run out until the drought ends years later. My wife and I resolved that no matter how hard things got, no matter how dire things were financially, we would continue to feast as a family and with friends. This meant being wise as possible with the financial resources that we had, but still making room in the budget to buy a nice cut of meat for a good family meal, or to have people over after church.

This was hard to do sometimes.

In January 2020, the bank denied our cash out refinance—the funds that we were seeking to finish our mansion remodel that had already been going on for several years. And unfortunately, I had started to slack off in business a little bit, expecting a windfall of cash. Thankfully, I was able to learn the lesson that you shouldn’t count on cash until you actually have it in a fairly low-consequence way, and we were able to make it by the month of January.

Despite being really upset at the bank and being tempted to just go it my own way and continue to make money with construction and slowly finish the house over the next couple years, the professional network that God’s provided—my accountant, my tax attorney—they encouraged me to try some other bankers and shared some phone numbers with me.

On the 3rd of February, I sat down and began calling banks in rapid succession, and on the seventh or eighth banker, after putting the screws to each one and scaring them about our project, I had a guy that was optimistic. He could get us the financing that we needed. Thankfully, I persevered and found this banker before I watched a clip where Magic Johnson talked about how he was also turned down by ten banks after transitioning out of the NBA and starting his business journey. It’s actually a pretty entertaining clip, and I’ll post the link in the show notes on my website.

In March 2020, Airbnb allowed all guests to cancel because of the COVID pandemic without telling the hosts. And we went from almost 90 days booked solid on our one, small Airbnb to zero in a matter of 72 hours.

Then, in the end of March, a client refused to pay us the final installment after we completed their remodel.

And on April 1st, a client emailed me regarding the biggest project that we had in design and said that he was going to hold onto his cash while things sorted themselves out economically.

Things were crazy from January to the beginning of April.

Our family businesses were in turmoil, but thankfully on the 13th of April 2020, we were able to close our refinance. And we went from barely being able to pay the bills to having plenty of cash on hand to continue our projects.

Should We Take a Risk or Play it Safe?

With all this money now on hand, we had a dilemma: Should we sit on the cash that we had, live off of our savings and the cash that we had just received until things got better economically? Or could we make it rain and finish this mansion once and for all and get it on the rental market? My wife and I felt like the choice was obvious. We had to do what was in front of us with what we had and see what God did with the rest.

As a little added motivation. My sister-in-law was seeking a place to get married and no venue was allowing weddings mid-2020. Thankfully, households remained largely unaffected as far as rules go because the government doesn’t have jurisdiction within the home. And we were able to decide to allow the wedding to happen at our property.

As if a massive remodel leading up to a big home wedding wasn’t enough chaos for us, my wife and I decided to go ahead and list the mansion on Airbnb and Vrbo to try to get some reservations for the fall. To our surprise, we immediately started to book up the mansion in the last weekend of July into August and September of 2020 as the short-term rental market rebounded with everyone being scared to stay in hotels.

Clients started calling again to do remodels because they were sent home or spending a lot more time in home and they didn’t want to tolerate their master bathrooms and kitchens anymore. It was very exciting to go from little to no profit in all of our businesses, to all of our businesses booming in a few short months. Obviously, my wife and I could not have orchestrated any of this, but we simply—for 10 years straight—continued to take one calculated risk after another and attempted to be faithful where God had placed us.

Reinvesting the Fruit of our Labor in Family

This was finally starting to bear fruit at a level that I hadn’t experienced in my professional career ever. And I wanted to put that money into more projects and to continue to grow our real estate and small business empire. But my wife wisely recommended that we shift our focus a little bit with our oldest son being 12 years old. We decided to search for land where we could put down roots, build our family home, and grow our family and entertain friends.

In mid-2020, we were able to write a check for 20 acres at the recording of this podcast. I have a half-built barn and an almost completed 43’ International school bus conversion. And we’re planning on moving to the bus on the land and expanding farm operations in the spring of 2022. And hopefully throw some big barbecues for church and the community with the food that we’ve grown on the land.

Family wise, I’m focusing on being more present, 100 percent attentive at the dinner table, reading the Bible and good stories to my kids as much as possible. I’ll also be working on the farm with the kids. I’ll be meeting with my clients in person to solve problems for them for a profit. And I’ll continue to document our journey along the way for the benefit of you and others.

To this end, I also intend to be a lot harder to get ahold of. I’m getting a dumb phone and I’m only giving the number to a few people. This practice is going to enable me to devote larger portions of my day to deep work (I really recommend the book by that name by Cal Newport if you’re interested in that) and to completely focus on the people that are in the room with me.

Take Time to Set Concrete Goals for the New Year

Having said all that, I want to encourage you to sit down with a notebook by yourself and also with your family and set some goals—how y’all can grow and take risks in the next year.

Don’t accept no for an answer and keep looking to find the right partners for the initiatives you’re excited about when everyone around you is playing it safe. Take some calculated risks, and don’t forget that being faithful to your family and loving others must be a vital part of your life as you build and grow professionally.

Our world is in flux, and you can be unaffected if you put down roots where you are and work out from there.

If this advice makes you a little bit nervous or a little bit excited, but you’re not exactly sure what to do next you’re in luck because I’m going to be offering many virtual and in-person workshops next year.

In addition to spitting mad truth here on this podcast, we’ll be posting those to our website. In the first week of the new year, these workshops are going to be focusing on tactical readiness and cultivating proper theology of violence, gaining wealth and freedom through entrepreneurship, small business, and productive property like real estate, short term rentals, et cetera.

You’ll also have a chance to sign up to come out to our farm, get some firearms instruction and learn more about how to cultivate a resilient and tactically-sound family. Stay tuned on social media and sign up for our email list to stay informed on that

Happy New Year and I look forward to enabling you to live Life on Target in 2022.

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