Business is Good

Being an ex car-salesman, it’s hard for me not to see the world in terms of numbers. For years I watched margins, gross profit, floor plan reports, and negotiated deals while trying to always ensure a profit. It seemed like my success was tied to my ability to make the company money.

Unfortunately that sometimes still carries over to the “business” of making rosaries.

Being at Novitiate, I had to get permission from my province to start spending money on the materials I needed to make habit rosaries. Many of my suppliers are out of the area, and we don’t have credit cards to make online purchases. So after getting permission to pursue this endeavor, I have to ask one of the formators for the use of the credit card to make online purchases. It can be hard, especially after having the experience of making thousand-dollar purchases in the past. There are times when I feel like a child with an allowance, that someone feels the need to manage my money for me. It can be a cross to bear at times.

From the start, I was also able to include many of the responsible and money-saving habits from the old days. Almost immediately I started a ledger of costs versus profit. By keeping track of what I’ve purchased and what I’ve brought in, I feel a bit of that old “success” of being profitable. Even though the money is not mine (any and all income from habit rosaries goes to the province and is ear-marked for the formation budget, which pays for guys like me to be in Novitiate and post-Novitiate), it still feels good to provide a sustainable service.

I also found and connected with different suppliers to guarantee a great cost at bulk. A local Catholic bookstore was instrumental in helping me get quality chain for my rosaries at a very good price. The place I get my beads, my medals, even the local craft store knows me. And every now and then, I’m able to save the province a few bucks.

I know that I don’t want to sell cars again, but I find it unique that many of the skills that had are still useful in religious life. Perhaps the idea of the quester has changed, but it’s still an important ministry. My constant challenge is to remember that making rosaries is not a business, nor is it really a fundraiser for us; it’s a means to enter prayer as well as a ministry of presence to others online.

So far business is good. I graciously received a $100 gift from a wonderful couple from Baton Rogue, LA last week. Yesterday I sold a small rosary to a volunteer at my ministry. I like to be able to turn money at the end of the day, much like my days at the car lot. I remember handing my old boss thousands of dollars (some in checks, some in cash) and seeing the boss’ face smile. I don’t think it was about being greedy, but any small business owner likes to see his company do business.

While I still feel the same sense of accomplishment, my goal is to remember that prayer, not profit, is the ultimate goal.

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June 2010
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Questions or comments?

Feel free to leave any comments. If you have questions or would like to inquire about obtaining a habit rosary, please email me: vito[AT]friartech.org.

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