Curiosity-Inspired Side Hustles with Stevan Sheets

Nov 29, 2022
Curiosity Inspired Side Hustles for Pastors
 

How can you leverage the power of curiosity in your life to create more income for your family? Join me for a conversation with Stevan Sheets about curiosity-inspired side hustles in this episode of the More Than a Pastor Show.

Links for Today's Show

Today I want to help you harness the power of curiosity in your life so you can create more income.

Do you ever wonder what it would look like if you could take a hobby or passion and turn it into an extra $300 or $500 a month for your family?

Or think about what you could buy for cheap and resell at a higher price?

Or do you ever find yourself looking at a problem and then dreaming up a product or service that would fix it?

This kind of thinking is what I mean when I talk about curiosity!

Today on the show Stevan Sheets joins us. He’s a pastor who has experimented with a number of different side hustles throughout his 20 years of pastoral ministry.

I’ve known Stevan personally since 2008, and one of the things I’ve appreciated about him the most, aside from his love for the Lord, is his curiosity. It’s been a real catalyst for growth in his family life, pastoral ministry, and his entrepreneurial pursuits.

He’s always learning, exploring, trying new things, figuring out how things work, and wondering how he can take something and make a buck with it.

Personally, I believe curiosity is one of the most important traits you need to be successful in business. And ministry.

So we’ll talk about that in today’s show. We’ll also learn how Stevan got into side hustling, what are some of the side hustles he’s launched, why he believes it’s important for pastors to find ways to create income outside of the church, what his church thinks about his side hustle pursuits, and a lot more.

Curiosity-Inspired Side Hustles with Stevan Sheets

Stevan is the lead pastor of Hyde Wesleyan Church in Clearfield, Pennsylvania. He came on staff there in 2014 as the assistant pastor. Then four years later, Stevan and the lead pastor at the time swapped roles, with Stevan becoming the lead pastor, and the former lead pastor becoming Stevan's assistant pastor. This is a really cool God-ordained transition story, which speaks to the kind of person and leader that Stevan is.

He was a Christian Ministries major in college at Indiana Wesleyan University, but he got burned out on the idea of being a pastor after seeing some things his dad had to endure in his pastoral ministry. It was a professor who encouraged Stevan to not quit, but push pause on his ministry training, and take some elective courses that interested him.

That led Stevan to take courses in graphic design and web development, which started him on his love for creating things and helping people. Soon he was helping individuals, churches, and ministries buy their own domain names, launch their online presence, produce printed materials, and more. After graduation, these side gigs became a nice income stream for Stevan to supplement his pastoral salary.

A Generational Shift in What Being a Pastor Looks Like

I asked Stevan if he could point to a specific moment when he realized he was called to be "more than a pastor." He said for him, it wasn't a specific moment, but it's really taken him a lifetime to figure that out.

Even though I come from a personal tradition that says vocational ministry is pastoral work in an office everyday, except for the pastor's day off, plus sermons on Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and Bible studies every other day...I think I am part of a shifting generation that sees vocational ministry more than hours spent inside the walls of the church doing administrative things, preparing for services, etc.

I love your brand, being "more than a pastor" is not the taboo that it might have been a generation before me.

It's been encouraged, it's OK now, for pastors to have boundaries for their church work, to have a life outside of the church, to pursue other things that more fully tap into who they are, and are life-giving for them.

Stevan's Side Hustles

Stevan's curiosity and bent toward creativity and design have led him try many different side hustles over the years, including...

  • Crypto - A $20 Bitcoin investment a few years ago turned into $400, which he used to buy equipment for other hustles. Stevan ended up reinvesting a little bit more n Bitcoin when it was low, but unfortunately it has gone even lower.
  • Stock Trading - He invested in some stocks using an app called Robin Hood. Hasn't really made any money from that yet, but he's enjoyed learning how it works, and involving his kids in the process.
  • Wood Turning - Both of Stevan's grandfathers were woodworkers, and his dad also loved to work with his hands. One grandfather invested in Stevan and helped him purchase his first wood lathe. Stevan bought some other woodworking supplies, started woodturning, and quickly discovered a love and a passion for creating handcrafted pens from various hardwoods. His favorite hardwood to work with is olive wood from Bethlehem in the Holy Land. It takes Stevan about an hour to produce a handcrafted pen, and he loves taking that time for pray over the person who will receive the pen.
  • Vinyl Signs - Stevan's love of typography led him to buy a vinyl cutter and start making vinyl signs, which he sold through a friend's store. It was profitable, but became less fun over time, so he stopped.
  • Ammo Can Laser Engraving - He bought a laser engraver direct from China and started engraving designs on the sides of ammo cans. This is something he's really enjoyed, and he is still doing this from time to time.
  • Retail Arbitrage - Stevan loves taking his kids to shop thrift stores and other places looking for items of value that they know they could sell for more online. They've bought Disney plush toys for $1.00 and sold them for $18 online. 

 

What Stevan's Church Thinks About His Side Hustles

Stevan's church seems very supportive of his outside income endeavors. He said he doesn't promote his side hustles from the pulpit, but people have come to learn of the things he creates because they have taken a genuine interest in him as a pastor, and as someone who is more than a pastor.

Often, has had people purchase pens, signs, ammo cans and other things from him. He feels that people find him more relatable, because he's not just relying on giving from the church, but he's out doing work, creating something, and making a buck.

Something on the horizon, is that Stevan is starting to think about how his church can generate income outside the usual tithes and offerings. He has a pastor friend in Jackson, Michigan, whose church has a resale shop that helps fund the church's ministry. He's not sure what the future looks like, but he wants to be the kind of pastor who is asking the questions and helping his church foresee the future and be adaptable to new realities. He is pretty sure churches will need to get more creative in how they are funded, not relying on tithes and offerings alone.

 

My Key Takeaways

I was really glad to have Stevan on the show, and to hear him talk about his curiosity-inspired side hustles. As we closed out the interview, I was blessed by Stevan's kind words:

Rich, you know, bro, I appreciate your heart and have been privy to some of the birthing of what what is going on right here right now (the launch of the More Than a Pastor Show). And I'm so thankful that you are a champion of the idea that a pastor is not defined by a specific set of traditional role and responsibility. Thank you for modeling that and for championing it. I love you, bro.

 Thanks Stevan, it means a lot, and I love you too!

A couple of themes I picked up on from this interview is that Stevan loves doing things with his kids, learning something new with them, and teaching them about the value of money and how to sell something and make a profit. This is a real gift/asset for them that will serve them well for the rest of their lives!

The other thing I noticed is how naturally curious Stevan is. He's always wanting to figure things out, learn how something works, see if it becomes a passion for him, and discover ways to make money from it. 

 

How to Leverage Your Curiosity Into Extra Income

I believe every pastor can leverage the power of curiosity in your own life to create more income for your family. Not sure what that might look like for you? Here's an exercise to help you get started:

  1. What are 20 things you're curious about, interested in, good at, or passionate about? Feel free to include things you already do in your ministry.
  2. What are 20 ways you could leverage these curiosities, interests, skills, or passions into extra income? In other words, what problems can you solve or services can you provide, that will create value for others and income for yourself?
  3. Of these, what are the top 3 that you can see yourself doing and still enjoying 2 years from now?
  4. Of these, which one seems easiest to launch and start making money?