The Cost of Taking Shortcuts

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Proverbs 21:5 – Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. (NLT)

If you’ve read my bio, you know that in addition to a full time job at my children’s school, I also have been blessed with the opportunity of pursuing my dream as a small business owner. My dream was to sell custom designs, on shirts made in the USA. I set my prices lower to compete with foreign-made goods in the hopes that I could be part of what increases the demand (thereby lowering the price), for American made products. I really felt that God had led me to this opportunity and that I was doing exactly as He wanted me to.

I knew a guy that I trusted and had been in the screen printing business for years. He was going to be my printer and when I had another “great idea” I would shoot him an e-mail, he’d draw something up for me (within 48 hours) and I’d order them when I needed them (1 at a time, of course!).

I quickly realized that my expectations for him were unreasonable. Having not done my homework and familiarizing myself with the process, I didn’t realize that if I was going to be successful, I needed to do this all on my own. I was disappointed but encouraged by the support I received when I decided to handle everything from A to Z. I have a good friend who agreed to help me learn Photoshop and her help has been absolutely invaluable. I was also given money from my Mother to purchase my own screen printing equipment. (She is, by the way, always an answer to my prayers and I’m sure that if you follow my blog, you’ll get to know her very well.)

The only problem with my DIY approach? I wasn’t a graphics designer (still not) and I’d never printed a transfer, coated and burned a screen, or pulled a squeegee. OK, so what’s a girl to do then?

Screen-printing Rule #1: If step 1 is not performed correctly, step 2 does not matter. If step 2 is not performed correctly, steps 3, 4, & 5 are also futile, and so on and so forth…

Being a self-taught t-shirt printer, it was very important that I understood this rule, and quickly. Despite the advancement in equipment, screen printing is still a fairly primitive process overall. And each step’s proper completion is critical in order to move on to the next.

I ruined many shirts, wasted a lot of ink, cried a lot of tears and suffered an unnecessary amount of angst. I tried to take every shortcut in the book. And I paid for it…literally. I was at a low point when I had an amazing realization that God had led me to this trade because of its demand for order. I have never been accused of being “too orderly”, that’s for sure! I saw this as an opportunity God had given me to improve myself. Through a lot of on-the-job training I managed to pull out some victories and even less defeats. I was on my way. Thank you, Jesus!

Since my first days of screen printing, I’ve certainly come a long way. I’ve nailed down the proper exposure time, learned how to properly blend and pull ink across a screen, and thanks to the generosity of a good friend (and yes, my Mother), I’ve been able to upgrade my equipment significantly, increasing output ability.

Quality __________ takes time. And even though we may not want to wait, God requires us to be patient and not get ahead of ourselves, and especially Him. Isaiah 40:31 tells us, ‘Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.’

If we continue to do our parts while giving Him all the glory, the realization of our hopes, dreams, and desires will come to us right on time. If we simply get back up after life knocks us down, we’ll be blessed. I don’t know about you, but for a girl who sometimes gets things wrong the first and second (and sometimes third and fourth) time, that is encouraging.

 Heidi Anderson currently resides in Washington State. She is a wife, a mother of 2 beautiful children, a small business owner, and works full time at the Christian school her kids attend. In her spare time (if there were such a thing!), she plays in a country music band, doing local shows in the Seattle area. In addition to spending time with her family, she is also deeply involved in her church, studying history, politics and all things relating to music. You can find out more about Heidi at her author page by clicking here.

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