Recently I’ve learned of many people who are struggling to raise support as missionaries. Thankfully, most missionaries (by their very nature) are entrepreneurial. So, therein (I think) lies the solution for many people. Many may have a fixed idea in their minds of what a missionary is. Why can’t a missionary be someone who is working in a foreign country? Sharing your light, your story of what God did for you can be done anywhere without reservation.
There are examples of this across the board. One is my Uncle. He has lived as a missionary in Japan for most of his life by his own support. My Uncle is a very creative person and has found his niche in writing. He has written many books and most of these have become very popular in both Japan and the U.S. which has allowed him to support himself.
Here are a few ideas. Don’t feel stuck to any of these – the point is simply to start thinking!
1. Graffiti Removal
Description: Call on the property owner and get to scrubbing.
Fees: $150-$300 per job. For longer jobs, $50 per hour is reasonable.
Tools of the Trade: cleaning chemicals, scrub brushes and possibly a power washer.
Tip: You’re working with nasty chemicals, so be careful. Abide by federal disposal regulations.
Hidden costs: A vehicle for transporting equipment to job sites.
In many cities, you will find graffiti. Each city has different laws and ways of dealing with it. In Los Angeles, for example, the cities pay for a graffiti company. There is a number to call when you see it, and the service is free (covered through taxes). This means graffiti has become easy to remedy and not as commonly seen.
2. Farmer hand
Fees: Minimum wage most likely
Tools of the trade: On-the-job training of farming techniques
Tip: Engage with the community as much as possible – especially with people walking by
Downside: This kind of manual labor will come with physical pain
I would recommend finding an experienced farmer to train you in the farming technique specific to the region you are going to. Once you become familiar with the entire process, look into purchasing land and materials to become a farmer on your own. This can become a great outreach experience as you sell to local grocers, communicate with the government potentially, and especially with the community around you.
3. Imports / Exports
Fees: $2.00 a product minimum
Tools of the trade: Shipping processes, communicating with stores and makers
Tip: Find unique products in either country that the other country doesn’t have and find stores abroad willing to sell it.
Hidden costs: Shipping can be the biggest expense. Cut costs by packaging yourself.
4. Baked goods
Fees: Between $1-10.00 profit for each item sold
Tools of the trade: Baking experience/ expertise,
Tip: Accustom the foods to local taste and make your packaging stand out. Baking supplies are probably cheapest in the U.S., so purchase in bulk before you leave.
Hidden costs: Printing, packaging labels and packaging.
5. Cleaning person
Fees: Minimum wage
Tools of the trade, basic language skills, learning cleaning label words
Tip: Learn the basic skills and words for several months. After a certain point, consider picking up clients on your own. Once you find enough clients to start your own business, look into starting your own company. From that point you can hire new people.