The parable about Talents in the Bible may not need introduction for some readers, but for anyone who needs it, here's a quick video.
This was the subject of a recent sermon in Church where our priest chose the common interpretation that it is about sins of omission. While we're probably very aware if we have committed a sin by breaking one of the Ten Commandments, sins of omission are less obvious.
Sins Of Omission
Not using our Talents is something that most of us are guilty of at some time of another. The “could've, would've, should've” regrets so many of us have.
Without getting too “heavy”, here's a simple one that relates to our Talents – the one our Priest described.
Many people had hobbies and skills they enjoyed in their younger days, but then life in the busy world “got in the way”. And OF COURSE it was more important to put family before our own hobbies. You maybe didn't even think of them as Talents – because they were enjoyable.
So perhaps there's a way to combine our Talents (skills, hobbies) with the hurly-burly of daily commitments and benefit others.
Difference Between Talents And Skills
Those more pedantic of my readers (like me!) will be aware that there is a difference between Talents and Skills.
Google tells me that: Talent is your innate ability to do something. It is your natural ability which is inborn. Skill is a learnt ability. It is acquired or developed after you put in a lot of time and hard work.
There's a whole article that could be written about which is more important – a Talent or a Skill, but let's just take a simple approach and say that the possible “sin of omission” is not using or developing either.
You can read more about Talents in the Bible on Wikipedia, but suffice it to say a Talent as used in the Talents Parable was HUGELY valuable.
Using Our Own Talents
The priest encouraged us to think how we could use our own Talents for good, and at the same time recover some of the pleasure they used to give us. (I think this sermon was partly inspired by an appeal for home baked cakes for a forthcoming Church event!)
I've never been much of a “baker”. My baking skills are confined to entertaining my grand-daughters, and I don't see anyone paying good money to buy the results. In fact, it wasn't even baking, on the most recent occasion – it was following a set of “done for you” instructions to make a gingerbread train. We'll come back to “done for you” later!
The finished construction didn't bear too close inspection, but 3 and 5 year-olds are very forgiving, and it tasted good. (Aside: This is written in the week when there are reports in the UK newspapers that “grandparents are posing health risks to children by spoiling them”. Sigh. Don't get me started. Although I have to confess that gingerbread train doesn't look like a very healthy snack.)
So my contribution to the Church cake stall will probably be buying and consuming the cakes. But I digress!
Using My Talents And Skills
Not having been inspired to contribute to the Church's home baking effort, I started musing about what my Talents, skills and hobbies actually are and how I can use them for “good”. Here are those that came fairly readily to mind:
- Computing and book-keeping skills that my clients clearly value as they pay me well for them. At a previous Church I was the Treasurer.
- Whenever invited I take part in line-dance marathons for charity. The most recent seven hour dance marathon, just a few weeks ago, raised funds for Alzheimer's research and a local school.
- Preparing the minutes for the local Foodbank Trustees meeting.
- Various financial contributions I make to charities, in lieu of time.
- Doing what I can for my own family members, older and younger.
- Passing on my Internet Marketing knowledge and skills to support my team in my online business, and any newcomers who want to avoid making the mistakes I have made over the years.
- Blogging occasionally about Church sermons LOL – for instance this one and an earlier one about the Parable of the Sower.
It's not a huge list of skills, but perhaps I'll be more inspired after publication!
Talents In The Bible Related To Online Business
So, how do we get from Talents in the Bible to business related matters?
Well actually it's in the parable that the servants were praised or scolded according to the amount they increased the wealth of their master by trading with the Talents he had given them. So trading and a profitable business aren't the scourges that some might imagine.
Having a business that is inspired by your hobby and Talents is “magic”, and probably a good predictor of success, because you'll be more likely to stick with it, even when times get tough. Starting a business in which you have NO skills is about as challenging and mad as it can get.
Yet that's what I did when I first set out to start an online business.
I was totally naive about the skills I would need to learn, and I was seduced by online scamsters who told me how “easy” it would be. It wasn't easy. If I wasn't such a stubborn person I would have given up long ago. Even the expensive coaching I paid for didn't do the trick.
I never made back the cost of the coaching on sales of the product my coach worked with me to produce. However, in the process, I did learn skills that have later served me well in my online business, so it wasn't a total write-off. It was definitely my experience that a skill is acquired or developed after you put in a lot of time and hard work.
Done For You Business
With hindsight, when starting out, my online skills were so lacking that what I really needed was a “Done For You” business. That would have left me free to concentrate on the ONE skill every online entrepreneur needs – finding customers and giving them solutions (or “traffic generation” as it's sometimes rather clinically described).
With a “done-for-you” business you can forget about learning to develop a product, source a product, produce a website, video marketing, copywriting, producing inspiring email sequences, studying SEO, learning PPC, Adsense, Facebook adverts, social media marketing on a dozen different platforms. I tried to learn them all (mostly all at once!) and it was just overwhelming.
Of course these are vital skills for any online entrepreneur, but developing them all needs more time than I had, or still have, as one who is running my business online part-time.
Far better – in my opinion – for a newcomer such I was, to go for a “done-for-you” business in information publishing and develop one skill at a time.
It took me a long time to concede defeat, but from now on I'm leaving the product development and all the technical aspects to the team leader in a very different business I have joined. If this idea tempts you, click here to learn more
Talents As A Team
Amazing as it might seem, that neatly takes me back into the priest's sermon on the parable of Talents in the Bible!
As well as encouraging us to make use of our own Talents and skills, he asked us what might have happened if the three servants who were given Talents had combined their efforts and worked together, as he was encouraging the Church Community to do, for the cake baking event.
If they had worked together as a team, maybe the servants would collectively have made MORE? Hopefully they would have supported the one who didn't have the confidence to do anything but bury his one Talent.
In a Done-For-You business everyone can draw on other people's Talents and skills to make the most of their own. We all know the “cheesy but true” acronym:
T – Together
E – Everyone
A – Achieves
M – More
While it's stretching the analogy to call joining a business and doing nothing with it as a SIN of omission, it's a SHAME to have an asset available to you and do nothing with it.
Especially when there is a TEAM, with Done-For-You resources ready and waiting to help; with free training to help you learn new marketing skills as well as capitalise on the ones you already have.
Talents In Your Online Business?
I suppose (hope!) the main Talent I bring to online business is writing this blog, which I use to promote products and services I trust. I also know people in our business who can be trusted to share their own Talents and skills with newcomers.
What are the Talents and / or skills that serve you best in online business?
Only a few top earners can genuinely (and reliably) know “everything” about Internet Marketing. In any case, I suspect even they wisely draw on the Talents and skills of a team.
How do you make up for your own shortfall of skills. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.