"How do I bring the presence of Jesus into my business when what I do isn’t obviously faith-based?"
This is the question I asked myself when starting my own business, and it's the question I refer to when making any decisions moving forward with Created with Grace Photography.
So far, this blog series has featured incredible entrepreneurs who create beautiful products that are directly related to Jesus. This post is a little different because it features a creative business owner whose business is not directly related to faith - but her work is just as powerful in growing the Kingdom as any of the other business I've featured!
It can be tricky to figure out how to share and represent the Gospel when you aren't providing a product or service solely based on faith, but talking with April has taught me so much about the beautiful intentionality of putting Him first.
Jesus isn't just present in what you tangibly provide - He is present in the goals you set, your conversations and interactions with clients, and the integrity of how you run your business.
January's feature is on April Meisner's graphic design business, BR& by April Rose. Read our interview to find out how she runs her business as a follower of Jesus!
What is the mission behind BR& by April Rose?
My mission is to be the guiding hand for women who are seeking to pursue their creative passions and make a profit while doing it.
Storytelling is at the base of all my work because I believe we were created by the greatest storyteller of all time, our Lord Jesus! Everyone who is on mission and purpose to serve others with their unique form of art can be expressed in a way that helps tell their story while incorporating beautiful and interactive design. That's where I come in and help women see what makes them stand out in their field of work and how to capture that in a brand.
I encourage my clients to remember; a logo, website, or social media page is not their brand's identity. They alone are worthy enough to represent everything their business is about because they alone have been equipped.
What are the different package options you offer to clients?
Currently I am providing 3 different branding packages, one for each level/stage someone is at in building their business. The "Short Story", "Memoir", and "Full Narrative" packages are tailored to every stage and emulate elements of the different kinds of writings in literature.
For example, a memoir is defined as "Revealing the feelings of the writer and is about the authors experience more than about the event itself." Services in this package include elements that further tell a client about the experience they will get when they do business with them! I do this through the creation of a pricing guide, package design, welcome packets and more that makes the brand an experience.
Different services in my packages range from Logo Design, Business Cards, PDF Design, Pricing Guides, Package Design, Web Design, SEO Optimization, Brand Mentorship, and other fun branding elements!
Tell me about your decision to go full-time with your business.
I was working in full-time ministry at the time when I heard the Lord tell me "It's ok to leave". I had always loved working in ministry and still do to this day, but I felt like the Lord was pulling me into deeper creative waters.
It's funny because when you fundraise your salary in ministry you learn a lot about trust and provision from the Lord. That really helped me smoothly transition into the world of freelancing, never knowing what you may be making month to month! I am still working out the kinks and learning from every situation being full-time self employed, but I know God's hand is in every detail and day because He called me to it.
What's it like working from home?
If I'm being honest, working from home is a dream! I have always loved doing my own projects and working for myself. There are times when I wish I had someone to ask "Hey, how am I supposed to do this?", but nine times out of ten I find myself researching and figuring it out on my own! Which is a super satisfying feeling of accomplishment.
My favorite aspect would have to be being able to spend more time with my husband who works from home some days of the week with me and also caring for my new puppy Marty and cat Walter!
As a business owner, how do you strive to share Jesus and run your business as a follower of Jesus?
As a follower of Jesus I try my best to share my faith, whether its on social media or just by the way I handle situations. I give my clients forgiveness, grace, and joy any chance I get! I also try to love each one of them well by listening to their hopes and visions in our "Dream Meeting" when I first meet with them before a project begins. I find these meetings sometimes last 2-3 hours because we end up talking about life and struggles they face and a lot of times we become good friends! To me, becoming friends with my clients is vital because you need their trust to help build their brand, but also its presents an opportunity for one day to share my testimony and the gospel with them! I never push this on anyone, but sometimes if the Lord prompts it in conversation about life or creativity we will start discussing it.
What have you learned about yourself and the Lord through this business?
Since starting BR& I have learned a TON about self discipline, but also about self care. Every day I have to remind myself why I am doing this, for who, and how it's furthering the kingdom of heaven. This takes discipline because some days all I want to do is relax and binge watch Marvelous Mrs. Maisel haha! There is a time for hard work and a time for rest, and that's the balance I'm learning.
Joshua 1 has been a big cornerstone for me in my business and I love when it says "I have given you every place where the sole of your foot treads... take possession of the land the Lord your God is giving you to inherit." I must remember DAILY that the Lord has given me this gift and freedom to be creative, I didn't earn it. He is prompting me to take this mission field and possession of my inheritance proudly. My inheritance is the same as any of your's, to be a daughter of the king who has permission to express my creativity.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to begin a business?
If you have a fire burning deep down to step out into faith and work for yourself, just do it. Obviously, take it into consideration, prayer and to your community for wisdom. However, if you feel like this is the path God wants you following, don't let anyone else tell you "you aren't cut out for it", "it isn't stable", "get a real job instead", or "you might fail". These words are not what the Lord wants for you to absorb.
I also would suggest finding a creative mentor. Someone who has been where you want to go, who has good morals, perspective, and understanding. If anyone is looking for a creative mentor/direction I do offer this as part of my services and would love to talk to you and help your visions to come to life!
Lastly, I would say don't forget to ENJOY IT. Starting your business can feel like climbing up an escalator half the time, but while you're walking through the thick of it remember that God's promises always hold up true.
The BR& website is coming soon! In the meantime, connect with April and check out her work on Instagram.