Category Archives: Pew Business

Seeking inner peace: Agency encourages abused women to ‘know who they are in God’

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By Tera Alston
Special to Inside The Pew

One of the dark and often dirty secrets that plague our society is domestic violence. According to the National Coalition AgainstErica Hermann, CEO of Inner Peace Christian Life and Marriage Coaching Domestic Violence, one in every four women will experience this type of abuse in her lifetime; a statistic that is alarming. Based on these numbers, more work is needed to help those affected by this oftentimes unseen form of violence.

Resources allocated for programs that assist individuals in need have steadily decreased over recent years however, there are still agencies that continue to see the need and continue to reach out. One such agency is Inner Peace Christian Life and Marriage Coaching, a Portsmouth, Va., agency that helps individuals deal with issues that negatively affect their lives and helps them understand God’s plan for their lives. One main focus of Inner Peace is to help women affected by domestic violence. The CEO, Erica Hermann, started the agency because she saw a serious need and realized there were limited places for abuse victims to go for assistance.

While working for years in home health, “I found myself doing more ministering when I went to visit versus anything else,” Hermann said.

Hermann said she sees her work as a ministry not just a business. God was telling her where He wanted her to be; He wanted her to go towards ministry, and she said yes.

Once launching her business, Hermann quickly began to see the layers of issues clients were dealing with. Women would come in for one issue and through coaching sessions, other issues such as childhood sexual abuse and low self esteem would be revealed. When these issues are coupled with current physical or emotional abuse, it makes the path towards healing a long road to travel for many. To help clients down this road, Hermann uses individual coaching sessions along with Bible studies that focus on the biblical truth that God loves them and the beauty God sees in women. Lessons also focus on topics such as the Proverbs 31 woman.

According to Hermann, “a large percent of the women do not know who they are in the eyes of God” and because they are in abusive relationships, many find it hard to believe God really loves them.

Another issue that Hermann helps the women deal with is the jaded view many have concerning submissiveness. This view often comes from years of misinterpreting what the bible truly means about the subject and often times this causes many Christian women to stay in abusive relationships. It may be hard for an abused woman to relearn what submissiveness truly means in biblical terms and to learn that the husband is mandated by God to love their wives as their own body (Ephesians 5:28), not to abuse them. Hermann believes the church can play an important role in helping women get over this hurdle by providing sound biblical teaching about submissiveness, providing domestic violence education to their congregations, and offer support groups.

Hermann’s prayer is that her services will help women get to a point when they are no longer in abusive relationships. To helpTera Alston women get to this point, the agency offers more than just coaching sessions. Inner Peace also provides job training/placement assistance, transportation, assistance finding shelter and other community resources. These added services can be invaluable to a woman fleeing abuse.

Inner peace says a lot about what Hermann is trying to accomplish. To her, inner peace means “to have peace; a peace that God meant for us to have” and her desire is to continue to minister to abused women so they can experience the inner peace that can only come from God.

For more information contact Inner Peace at 757-774-0388 or visit their website at or on Facebook at

Tera Alston works as a women’s ministry leader and human resources professional in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.  She also partners with her husband to assist at-risk youth and their families.  She has a BSBA from Old Dominion University and an MBA from Saint Leo University.

2 Sow or Not 2 Sow: Board game merges God’s word, money matters

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Players engage in 2 Sow or Not 2 Sow board game.

By Michele Lawson
Special to Inside The Pew

Shevon Sampson is the founder of Sowers Reap International and the creator/designer of the Christian based board game 2 Sow Shavon Sampsonor Not 2 Sow.

“As a Mother and a Christian I been seeking ways to teach financial responsibility using the spiritual resources I have learned over the years,” Sampson said, “because, let’s face it, whether you are an adult or a child, talking finances is never exciting.”

A business woman who is a successful insurance and retirement consultant, Sampson often saw people struggling with the delicate balance of obtaining financial success, money management, and living a charitable lifestyle according to God’s plan.  As Christian adults, Sampson believes that it’s our obligation to work morally, be financially successful, and fiscally responsible so that we can provide for our biological family, church family and community. She will tell you, “By putting my faith in God’s ability to provide and by learning God’s will for me and my family in regards to making, saving, spending and giving money, my life has changed.”

Passionate about helping others change their life when it comes to finances, Sampson believes that you are never too young to learn about finances.

“We teach our children what God’s word says about every other aspect of their life so why not tell them what God says aboutPlayers engage in 2 Sow or Not 2 Sow board game. money matters?  They see mom and dad buying groceries, gas, clothing, giving at church and giving to others.  It is important that they understand that this is God’s will in action.”

That is the principle behind the conceptualized game 2 Sow or Not 2 Sow.  An interactive board game, 2 SOW OR NOT 2 SOW takes its players on an entertaining yet educational journey filled with life lessons, teachings about decision making and consequences and spiritual challenges.

What do others think about the project?  Sampson tells us, “Through hands-on research of playing a prototype of the game with people from all walks of life, we have found this to be an excellent game and teaching tool for children, teens, and adults.  Players enjoyed earning, budgeting, spending and investing all while learning the Bible’s message about money.”

To learn more about Sampson’s 2 Sow or Not 2 Sow, visit or follow the company on Twitter @sowersreap and Facebook.

Michele Lawson, RHIT, is a freelance writer, brand manager, and public speaker who is passionate about helping other succeed in business. Previously trained at the University of Florida, Michele taught communication skills, diversity, professionalism, and effective job searching which included resume building and interviewing skills. Michele now helps others with professional development, social media marketing, and provides one-on-one coaching.

Love pens guide to help others walk in a spirit-filled life

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Natalia Love

By Natalia Love
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: Natalia Love is the author of “The ‘How to Love’ Manual” and a private practice pediatric physical therapist. “The ‘HowNatalia Love baptism to Love’ Manual” is a guide to walking the sacred path of love and relationship. It serves as an invitation to step into a new way of living love that is spirit-centered, love-inspired, and forgiving. And in her physical therapy practice, Love provides rehabilitation to beautiful children challenged by developmental delays and various pathologies such as stroke, brain injury, and genetic abnormalities.

Why did you create your business?

“The book was written as a result of a personal breakdown that led me into one of those dark nights of the soul. And as I walked through the valley of the shadow of death, God’s comforting presence grew, inspired me to write and literally saved me.

“My pediatric practice in physical therapy is what God has made me for and the love in my heart for our littlest ones, our children is truly a gift and a blessing to me. I try not to take it for granted.”

What is the one scripture (or two) that you draw strength from?

“Come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.”

Share the best advice you can share with an entrepreneur?

“The best advice I can share with an entrepreneur is to fear the Lord. With great power comes great responsibility. We all will "The 'How To Love' Manual by Natalia Loverender an account before Him one day, and those of us who have been vested with much, will be responsible and held accountable for much and many. Therefore, we all must ask ourselves, are we doing the Lord’s business, or our own business? Does our business bring glory to God, or glory to the world and us? Is our life, personally and professionally in integrity with the Scriptures or with the world? It is always good to remember what the old proverb says, “The beginning of wisdom is to fear the Lord, and acknowledging the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).

Have an interesting tidbit about your business or yourself that you would like to add?

“I don’t know where to start… Will give some interesting tidbits about my life. I was born in communist Bulgaria. I grew up during the times of the Eastern European block and the subsequent harsh conditions during its collapse. I’ve had my tonsils surgically removed without anesthesia (example of harsh post-communist medical conditions). I was a child when Chernobyl, the devastating nuclear meltdown in the former Soviet Union happened, and was the first kid to be admitted to the thyroid hospital for surgery due to a thyroid involvement, which the doctors linked to the fallout radiation. My parents wanted to name me ‘Natalie’ but the government didn’t allow them because it was a western name. They settled for the Russian ‘Natalia.’  But they didn’t settle when it came about my baptism. They baptized me as a baby (Bulgaria practices Eastern Orthodox Christianity) in one of the underground churches left from Ottoman times. My father was not present because at the time he was working for National Security and was being afraid that someone will see him walking into the church and report him to the party. I left Bulgaria at the age of 22 never having seen a Bible in my life… there were none around.”

Follow The “How to Love” Manual on Facebook: Also follow Natalia’s writings at

Innovative swimsuit cover-up: Simple Sarongs on firm foundation

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Kami Darnell poses in one of her swimsuit cover-ups

By Kami Darnell
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: Kami Darnell is owner and creator of Simple Sarongs. Simple Sarongs are a swimsuit cover-up innovation – a one-Kami Darnell poses in one of her swimsuit cover-upssize-fits most buttonable sarong that also doubles as a fashionable beach towel.  Although she does some retailing through her e-commerce website, Darnell’s primary focus is wholesaling to the gift and swimwear retail market.

Why did you create your business?

“As a busy mom going to the pool all summer, I saw a gap in the market for a cover-up that could actually be worn when getting out of the water.  After struggling to keep a beach towel tied around my waist, and seeing other women doing the same thing, the light bulb went on that adding buttons to a beach towel was a great idea.  And having multiple buttonholes to choose from makes it fit nearly everyone.

“I have always had the dream of getting into wholesaling, but never dreamed that I would “invent” a new product and be in the beachwear business.  While researching the product and business idea, I just kept getting green light after green light, and just kept going through one open door after another.”

What is the one scripture (or two) that you draw strength from?

“Even though having that ‘great idea’ as an entrepreneur is the foundation that starts the ball rolling, it’s also about timing.  Is it theSimple Sarongs right time in the market? In your life?  Do you have the right life experiences to bring it all together?  For me, my favorite story from the Bible has always been Esther.  Her patience and wit allowed her to seize her opportunity with her husband the king when her people were being persecuted! ‘And who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’ Esther 4:14b KJV. The entrepreneur’s version might read: ‘Maybe you’ve entered the market at the perfect time!’

Share the best advice you can share with an entrepreneur?

“As important as it is to have the overall business plan driving the business forward, it still comes down to the day-to-day habits that set us up for success.  I like how The Message phrases Matthew 6:34 – Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Have an interesting tidbit about your business or yourself that you would like to add?

“God loved to use the most unlikely candidates to carry out His mission. Although I may not be on the mission field, as a beachwear entrepreneur, I’m about as unlikely as they come.  I was raised on a farm in the middle of Kansas – about as far away from a beach as you can get!”

Learn more about Simple Sarasongs at Know of a Christian entrepreneur who would make a great guest writer for the Pew Business Spotlight? Email us at

‘Thin dime and prayer’ takes Tax Tiger founder very far

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By Kathy Hill
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: Kathy Hill is founder of Tax Tiger, a tax resolution business specializing in resolving IRS liabilities for taxpayers; it isKathy Hill based in Sacramento, Calif.

Why did you start your business?

“I started Tax Tiger because I worked previously for a huge, mega tax law firm that specialized in Tax Resolution and was not giving the clients proper service for their money. After working there for 4 years and learning the business, the work environment became so hostile that I left there.  I felt the Lord leading me to start my own business to do it the “right way.” My motto is “making a difference in people’s lives” and money is not my priority.  Helping people out from under the stress and fear of the IRS is my primary objective.  I started on a thin dime and a prayer and because my faith and trust in God is so strong, I knew He would carry me through.  Today, 10 years later, I have clients in almost all 50 states and 5 franchises across the country and we have had an A+ BBB rating for years.  God has blessed in a mighty way because I advertise we are a faith-based business on our website and our ads and give Him all the honor and glory.”

What is the one scripture (or two) that you draw strength from?

“The major scripture I draw from is Jeremiah 29:11 which reads:  ‘For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.’  This scripture speaks to my heart and lets me know daily that God has great plans in store for my business to prosper and I trust in His word.  He has never failed me.

Share the best advice you can share with an entrepreneur?

“On Aug. 20, 2013, I released ‘Is God’s Hand on Your Business?’ which lists 15 essential principles of success and prosperity.  My main piece of advice is to earnestly seek His will and stay as close to the center of His will as you possibly can, because in that place will you experience peace, and prosperity.  But throughout the years I have learned many principles from His word that has helped keep His hand of favor over my business.”

Have an interesting tidbit about your business or yourself that you would like to add?

“We routinely settle IRS liability of many thousands of dollars for as little as $20.  They are all listed on my website but when the IRS debt falls off their shoulders they call in tears saying, ‘Thank God for you, Kathy’.”

Learn more about Tax Tiger’s services at Also, visit Hill’s author site at

Shields of Strength to share God’s word at Sochi Olympics

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

An athletic ministry and a Christian jewelry company have found the perfect way to put Christ on the minds of the athletes who arePhilippians 4:13 taking part in the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Shields of Strength, along with Athletes in Action (AIA), a ministry of Cru (formerly called Campus Crusade for Christ), will minister to coaches and competing athletes by providing spiritual, emotional, and mental support in the multi-faith center of the Olympic Village.

Team member and Olympic Chaplain Carl Dambman has been ministering to Olympic athletes in both the summer and winter games for the past 33 years. He said a dozen AIA staff and volunteers will distribute the shields to athletes who are seeking God’s word.

“The world’s eyes are on heroes of the sports fields, and we want to strengthen and encourage them as people watch them relying on God as their Creator, their Savior, and the One who gave them the talents to perform,” Dambman said.

“If the Shields of Strength can help them in their walk with the Lord, then we’re all for partnering with whoever wants to lift up Christ.”

Kenny Vaughan, founder of Shields of Strength, said that the company has donated over one million of the three million shields they produced to individuals, the U.S. military, churches, and ministries such as AIA. Both Vaughan and Dambman find that the organizations’ new partnership works well.

“Our missions align well because we can give them a tool to help them share Christ through a one-on-one relationship,” Vaughan said.

Vaughan said he understands the fear and pressure that Olympians experience during competition. While trying to win a U.S. Nationals for the water ski long jump, he described a comparable feeling that he was insufficient.

“The unique thing about an athlete, especially in the Olympics, is that they are prepared for pressure,” he said. “But until that momentJoshua 1:9 when you should be disciplined, it’s then when you find yourself saying, ‘God I need you.’ Right then is when you’re even weaker than you realized.

“Athletes in competition think if they have enough courage, they can overcome fear. But really that thought is the trap of life. And it’s not courage, but love that overcomes fear. It’s the courage to love that makes us courageous. That’s the message of God’s word, and Athletes in Action is taking advantage of this opportunity to share that truth.”

During his time of doubt and fear, Vaughan’s girlfriend (now wife), Tammie, wrote scriptures on his ski equipment, which, through God’s power, found their way into his heart and eased his fears. This led Vaughan to inscribe verses onto dog tags and wear them underneath his shirt.

From that first shield, Shields of Strength has grown to also include women’s jewelry and other accessories, like key chains and athletic tape. Seventeen years later, the company hopes that the shields can help Olympians as they face the same trials during competition.

“Love doesn’t always guarantee a win in life; it just ensures we compete with all we have and that gives us a better chance to win,” Vaughan said.

According to Vaughan, the shields have be found on the battlefield and the football field, providing encouragement as a simple reminder to new and established Christians alike.

Learn more about Shields of Strength at

NFL ties, Christian entrepreneurship rank as top reads on Pew for ’13

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By Jacob Trimmer
Inside The Pew

A Christian clothing line founded by a former NFL player ranks as the top read story on Inside The Pew for 2013.

Mark Clayton, who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2005, launched his own clothing line – My Christian T – back in 2011.Mark Clayton Although Clayton confirmed with Inside The Pew on Twitter in 2012 that he no longer operates the clothing, there is still an interest in the wide receiver’s entrepreneurial aspirations.

Clayton was traded to the St. Louis Rams in 2010, but injuries signed the Oklahoma Sooner’s career in the NFL. He told Sean Devine of Did You See That?! in September he has no regrets about his NFL playing days.

“Every minute, every experience, every relationship, I’ll never forget any of it. I’m working hard to come back and I hope to continue my career. Hopefully we can add some more stories, relationships, and experiences to my legacy.”

Three other sports related stories made the top 10. The filming of a biopic on high school football coach Bob Ladouceur in New Orleans came in at No. 4, while stories about Super Bowl XLVII coaches (and brothers) Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh were ranked No. 7 and  No. 8, respectively.

The story of Tyres Dixon, a Houston resident who works for the United Way and winner of the nonprofit organization’s Achiever of the Year, landed at No. 2 on the list.

Three stories from the Pew Business spotlight landed in the top 10. Whitening Lightning founder Jennifer Gerard (No. 3), National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources (NAEIR) president and CEO Gary C. Smith (No. 9), and Ezechiel “Zeke” Bambolo and First Born Son Inc. (No. 5) made the annual list.

Grelan Muse Sr., founder of Inside The Pew, was pleased at the amount of popularity generated by the spotlight. The section was officially launched in March.

“When we created the section, we wanted to help boost the presence of like-minded entrepreneurs who take Him in to the workplace every day. These types of stories are what our readers want to see. Hopefully, Christians who are considering entrepreneurship can draw from the stories of these individuals.”

Fly Away Records and its Rhythm of Gospel Music Award nominations (No. 10) and Melanie Stone’s column on the attributes of a Kingdom builder (No. 6) rounded out the top 10.

List of top stories

  1. NFL wide receiver launcher clothing line to give glory to God
  2. Goodwill Industries names Houston man 2013 Achiever of the Year
  3. Gerard to fellow entrepreneurs: Trust Him, great things will occur
  4. Filming of Bob Ladouceur movie takes place in New Orleans
  5. The First Born Son Inc. helps restore individuals and families
  6. Stone: Five marks of a kingdom builder
  7. Side of 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh we don’t see everyday
  8. John Harbaugh slated keynote speaker at FCA Maryland event
  9. NAEIR redistributes corporations’ unsold products to nonprofits
  10. Fly Away Records snags Rhythm of Gospel Award nod

Alpha-Omega Title takes care of its clients from beginning to end

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By Gibbs Wilson
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: Gibbs Wilson is the CEO of Alpha-Omega Title Insurance Services.

What type of business is it?

“Alpha-Omega Title continues to serve as one of the largest independent title insurance agencies in Tampa Bay.  We have closedGibbsWilson and insured billions of dollars of real estate transactions, and we are the title agent for some of the largest and most financially sound title insurance underwriters in the country. I believe that to effectively operate a growing title insurance agency, one must emulate the skills of a CPA, a United Nations diplomat and the famous multiple-plate
spinner as regularly seen on the old ‘Ed Sullivan Show.'”

Why did you create your business?

“After initially pursuing a career in the medical field, I knew that God was leading me elsewhere. Upon completion of an apprenticeship at a title insurance company, I decided to launch my own business. When praying for a name for the new company, God directed me to establish Alpha-Omega Title. The name is significant because the business takes care of real estate transactions from beginning to end, as God is the beginning and end of all things …”

What is the one scripture (or two) that you draw strength from?

“Luke 10:27 states that we are to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself.” We believe that the mission of Alpha-Omega Title directly correlates with this truth – our mission is to honor God by being a title insurance agency of choice where employees love to work, and clients love to do business.”

Share the best advice you can share with an entrepreneur?

“Abiding in Christ is the most important element of living a life and steering a business that honors Christ. Jesus said in John 15:5 – “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” We realize that anything we do, outside of Christ, is futile. We must also value the counsel of other believers, for there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. It is highly valuable to receive insight and direction from fellow believers.”

Have an interesting tidbit about your business or yourself that you would like to add?

“After founding Alpha-Omega Title, my wife and I, Lori, found out that they were expecting twin boys. They decided to name their sons Andrew and Zachary – reflecting the beginning and ending of the alphabet.”

For more information on Alpha-Omega Title, visit www. Inside The Pew highly encourages networking among Christian business owners. Do you know of a Christian business owner we should spotlight? Send us an email at

Former NBA player praises God for ‘working things out’

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By Jonathan Bender
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: Jonathan Bender is a former NBA player (Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks). He is founder of JB Intensive, a health and wellness company. Bender is also founder of The Jonathan Bender Foundation, a 501 c3 nonprofit organization.

Why did you create your business?

“I am a former NBA player and I come from a very small town and never had any examples of real wealth creation before. Once IJonathan Bender realized that even though I was getting paid a lot of money to play ball I did not have a long term process or strategy for wealth creation. The only way to create capacity is through owning something and starting from the ground, getting your hands dirty and learning the steps of building a solid business that will give you what you’re looking for.”

What is the one scripture (or two) that you draw strength from?

“There is not one exact scripture that I draw strength from. I renew my mind on a daily basis by reading and listening to the word of God. I don’t mean just opening the Bible and start reading, but focusing on what we are struggling with at the moment and either listen to a Podcast or a scripture that relates to that subject so you can draw new strength to continue your journey.”

Share the best advice you can share with an entrepreneur?

“Let God be your business partner. He knows the problems before they come; and He already has the solution, embrace the problems God puts problems in our life’s to teach us and make us stronger. It’s our job to press forward and keep passing the test.”

 Have an interesting tidbit about your business or yourself that you would like to add?  

“Ever since I embraced God as the driver of my life car and as my business partner, things are happening without my effort at all; mySingle leg lunge from JB Intensive job is to do what I can and be focused in the moment. He has worked things out for me, and the moment I asked God for what I wanted out of life it was already done. So, do not be fearful embrace struggle that is the teacher and the testimony. In the end, there will be no one else that deserves the glory but him!”

Learn more about Bender and JB Intensive at


Cillie shares her gift of showing others how to thrift

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LaCheryl Callie

By LaCheryl B. Cillie
Special to Inside The Pew

Editor’s note: LaCheryl B. Cillie is founder of Thrift Style Living. She teaches people how to live fabulous yet thrift. Collie conducts a LaCheryl Calliewebtalk radio show where she interview celebrities who thrift to fashion editor from Paris about thrifting and how to get the best for less. Cillie is also a licensed auctioneer who does estate sales, benefit auctions, also an author.

“We try to teach people how to be good steward of their money, spending less for the best, and how to recognize things of value from fashion to collectibles to general household and everything in between,” Collie said.

Why did you create your business?

“I created my business to help people get the best for less, in a response to the tight economy which we live. Also to help families with practical mandates to help restore and appreciate family heirlooms thus being good stewards of things which have been entrusted to them.”

What is the one scripture (or two) that you draw strength from?

“There are several scriptures which I draw great strength from, the two most notable being: First, in 1 Corinthians 12:7, the apostle Paul says that gifts are given for the common good, thus we are to use them to help others. I have the gift of being able to recognize things of value, great aesthetics, and being able to communicate with a warm spirit with others. This gift is for me to help others get the best for less, recognize valuable collectibles, and antiques as well as being good stewards of the things God has given to them or placed in their path. Being able to find something someone needs at a price they can afford is a great thing. Also helping people to sell things and get great prices when they did not even realize they had anything worthwhile to sell is a gift God has given me for that purpose.

“The scripture about having the faith of a mustard seed, speaks to me daily, during periods of uncertainly in this journey I am on. When I do not know where the next open door is, but I trust God for the unseen doors, God ideas, and great favor among great men. It is in Hebrews, faith is the things hoped for yet unseen.”

Share the best advice you can share with an entrepreneur?

“My best advice is to get a great set of knee pads, you will need them. Look only to God which is your strength, who is divine and ever knowing in his purpose for your life. Pray not for good ideas, but the God ideas, and know where your help comes from. It comes from God who uses men to carry out his wishes. Be in prayer and be thankful always.”

Have an interesting tidbit about your business or yourself that you would like to add?

“The best can cost less. Do not buy mediocre. Quality counts. Quality counts. Let me show you how to get anything you need and most of what you want at considerable savings. Along the way show you how to invest in personal property which will hold its value and appreciate in value. Another way to build a nest egg.”

Learn more about thrift style living from LaCheryl Cillie. Visit her website, Also, listen to her web show, “Thrift Style Living with LaCheryl B. Cillie,” at