Tentmaking Tips

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Pay For Professional Photos

house hacking Feb 16, 2024

Remember this when you get ready to put your house on the market.

The price you’ll pay to get professional pictures taken of your home is almost always worth it.

Many people take their own photos or let their Realtor take photos of their house. But I would discourage this.

Great pictures can make a difference in how much interest is generated in your house when you list it (either for sale by owner or with a real estate agent).

In addition to pictures, you can often pay extra for interior videos, floor plan maps, and even drone footage. All of these can go a long way in drawing attention to your listing.

You know me, I’m all for cutting costs and saving money where it makes sense, but this is not one of those places.

If you want to sell your home for top dollar next time you sell it, invest the money in a good media package (pics, videos, maps, etc) to make your home stand out from the pack.

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Big Purchase? Choose A Card Strategically!

travel hacking Feb 09, 2024

We recently found a gas leak at our house. When the plumber came out, he found another one. And then another one. And then… you get the idea. No fun.

Total bill? $11,000. Ouch!

When he gave me the invoice, I asked if I could pay with a card instead of a check.

He had to call the office - LOL! I guess that doesn’t happen much.

He said they would accept a card (although it definitely wasn’t their preference).

I knew I needed to be strategic with which card I used because I knew I could earn the equivalent of a round trip ticket anywhere in the US by using the right one.

I wanted to use a card that had a high reward multiple on every day spend.

I have the Capital One Venture X card which earns 2x on all purchases. That is the one I used.

$11,000 x 2 = 22,000 Capital One Miles (easily a round trip ticket)

While we were disappointed in the big gas line repair, I was at least thankful to get a free trip out of it - haha!

Lesson: Always try to use a strategic credit...

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Should You Invest 15% Into Retirement Accounts?

life hacking Feb 02, 2024

Investing 15% of your income into retirement accounts is Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step 4.

Is that a Baby Step worth following?

Absolutely, but with a caveat!

I think the percentage is too low.


Yep, here’s why.

Let’s assume you are in your early 40s like me (some of these variables will change with your age).

Average net worth of someone in their early 40s is: $549,600

Now, don’t panic if you’re my age or older and you’re not there. Some say median net worth is a more accurate estimate than the average (likely due to some people who are worth tens of millions or more at that age).

Median net worth of someone in their early 40s is: $135,600

Median household income: $74,580

Plugging in the median net worth & income at networthify.com with a 15% savings rate, you’ll be financially free (able to live on your investments) in 33.1 years, or when you’re in your mid 70s.

Is that what you’re hoping for? I would guess not.


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How to Attract More Clients

agent hacking Jan 26, 2024

One of the ways you can make additional income to support your ministry is through getting a real estate license & representing a few family members/friends each year in buying/selling their home.

But what if you want more business than that? What if you want to represent a few more clients to meet your income goals?

That’s where marketing comes in.

And marketing is scary to a lot of people. The reason why is because you spend money in advance not knowing if you’ll ever get it back. That’s why many people avoid it altogether.

But I think that’s a big mistake & it limits the potential of many businesses.

I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars in marketing over the years and my return on investment is sky high. You just have to start small, spend the money strategically, and eventually you’ll be paying for your marketing costs with revenue you’ve made from prior marketing efforts.

If you’re looking for new clients to represent...

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Flip One House in 2024

flip hacking Jan 19, 2024

The thought of consistently flipping houses for income is likely intimidating to many people reading this newsletter. It’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about the time, effort, and learning curve that would go into building a business that flips houses.

I totally get it.

One of the principles that I love in the best-selling book, Atomic Habits, is the idea of breaking down big goals into very small next steps that don’t seem so intimidating.

Why not do that with flipping houses?

Instead of thinking about building a house flipping business in 2024, what about trying to flip just one house?

Surely you could do just one if you had the entire year to figure it out, right?

And what’s really cool about flipping houses is just one flip can make you life-changing money.

Once you flip one house, maybe you’ll want to try a second, then a third, and before you know it, you’ve built a business flipping houses with employees that run it for you.

But it all...

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When to Cancel Your Credit Card

travel hacking Jan 12, 2024

I’ve written quite a bit about how to apply for credit cards, but not as much about when to cancel them. And canceling them at the right time is very important.

Many of the premium credit cards I recommend have annual fees ranging from $65-$200 per year.

These annual fees are totally worth paying in the first year because the welcome bonus on these cards is often worth thousands of dollars.

But what about in the second year, and third year, and so on?

It really just depends on the card.

I’d say, as a general rule, I cancel most of my credit cards at the one year mark from when I was approved for them.

A few weeks ago, I had 3 annual fees hit various cards since these cards are beginning their second year.

This is usually my reminder to decide whether I want to keep the card or cancel it.

The good news is that, for most cards, when the annual fee hits, you have about 30 days to cancel the card & get a refund of the annual fee. It’s very common for me to see an...

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Is Tentmaking a Distraction?

general tentmaking Dec 08, 2023

Many of us grew up in a church context where the pastor was paid full-time.

Some of us even grew up in churches were many of the staff were paid full-time.

It’s easy for us to assume that our experience is the norm.

But it may surprise you to learn that many churches, perhaps most churches globally, don’t operate this way.

There just aren’t the funds available to pay a pastor full-time.

Most of us live in a context of great wealth. But most of the world doesn’t live in that context.

And the early church certainly didn’t live in that context.

Tentmaking is the norm. Funding pastors full-time is the exception.

It may not have been the norm in the church you grew up in, and that’s ok.

But, even in a Western context, there are thousands of bi-vocational pastors. They serve in churches where they get very limited pay, if any at all.

So, the first way I’d answer the question, “Is tentmaking a distraction?” is to say:

Far from being a...

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Why You Should Never Get a Credit Card

travel hacking Dec 01, 2023

You probably did a double-take when you read the title of this newsletter.

How can the guy teaching us about travel hacking using credit cards tell us to never get a credit card?

Haha - great question!

Here’s the reason.

A great case can be made for never getting a credit card.

In fact, if you get a credit card or multiple credit cards, you should know you’re taking a risk.

Period. End of story.

Having credit cards is like playing with fire. Generally speaking, it’s a bad idea, but some people, through years of financial wisdom, have learned to “play” with fire in a way where the likelihood of getting burned is very low. They may choose to take the risk with significant guardrails in place to keep them from getting hurt.

They are the exceptions to the rule.

Perhaps that’s you and me.

I don’t think the “rule” is that people should have credit cards. I think it’s the exception to the rule.

I think the best general wisdom is...

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Starting an Online Business

online hacking Nov 17, 2023

Do you know anyone making money online?

More and more people are starting to earn money this way.

Many of them have a blog, or a newsletter, or a podcast, or a YouTube channel.

They also actively share helpful information on social media.

They have courses, ebooks, communities, and coaching programs.

And they often work from home and make money while they sleep. Pretty cool, right?

Having an online business can be a great extra stream of income to support your ministry. And it’s easier than ever to get started.

I started TentmakingPastors.com in 2020 to help pastors, missionaries, & Christian leaders earn extra money in their spare time to supplement or replace their incomes. And I’ve made so many new friends along the way. Plus it’s been a great extra stream of income for our family.

You may be thinking, “How do you even start an online business?”

That’s what I’d like to discuss in today’s newsletter.

The first and most...

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Best Card for Grocery Spend

travel hacking Nov 10, 2023

Like most people, we spend a lot of money on groceries.

Most cards don’t have great redemptions for grocery spend.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is 1 point per dollar spent on groceries

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is 1.5 points per dollar spent on groceries.

These are two of our main daily use cards & that’s not a great point redemption.

Recently, we applied & were approved for a new card that we chose mainly because of its grocery benefits.

Which card is it?

The American Express Gold Card.

It gives you 4 points per dollar spent on groceries up to $25,000 total per year.


With my Chase Freedom Unlimited card, I’d earn 37,500 points (1.5x) if I spent $25,000 on groceries in a year.

But with the AMEX Gold card, I’d earn 100,000 points (4x) on that same grocery spend! Whoa!

And those 100k points are worth about $2,000 in free travel.

That’s a nice extra vacation a year just by putting your grocery spend on a strategic card.

Now, if...

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