When I told my friends and family that I was starting a company focused on scholarship education, the most frequent question I received was not “why?” but “how?” How did I get into the scholarship arena? Like most start-up businesses, I did not wake up one day and say, “I’m going to start a scholarship company, what do I need to learn in order to be successful?” Instead, it was a knowledge base that I acquired for my benefit. Practice over time molded this head knowledge to a useable skillset, which now equips others. Once I noticed that others were benefitting from my process, starting a business became a natural outflow.
After five years in the financial services industry I felt led to change vocations. This change would require a new education, one specific for someone focused on full-time ministry. Returning to school full-time entailed some dramatic changes. My wife and I quit our jobs, paid off our debt, and moved to Fort Worth, Texas where I attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
During my Master’s work, I dabbled in my pursuit of scholarships. I had one from my home church, one from my state convention, and if I was lucky, a few others. My wife was working full-time and I was working part-time, so we were able to cover my schooling expenses
I had decided to apply for admission to the school’s doctoral program at the beginning of the third year of my master’s degree. We decided that if I was admitted, I would quit my part-time jobs and focus solely on school. Losing funds from my job meant that I needed to find resources elsewhere. I had already been successful in paying for some of my school expenses through scholarships, so I decided to allocate my nights and weekends to the scholarship search and application process. When I was accepted to the doctoral program I had a list of scholarships in the hopper ready to be mailed out. I am glad that I was prepared.
Not long after my acceptance to the program and my leaving part-time employment we found out we were expecting our first child. It was then that I took the scholarship search process very seriously, turning it from an interest to a full-time job. Now I would be a full-time student and stay-at-home dad. The motivation to succeed increased exponentially with a child on the way. It took two years, but I developed a system that worked for me. I had never wondered if it could work for others until I was speaking with my financial aid director and he asked about my process; he wanted to know if what I do is reproducible. I gave a thirty second synopsis of what I did. His next statement changed everything; “This is great stuff; you should write a book.” His follow-up was even better, “Would you be willing to counsel students?” Indeed and I would.