Nothing would please me more than to meet one-on-one with each and every woman that reaches out to pick my brain but, sadly I am not available to do that. Since my time is limited, I'm choosing to invest my time as Aaron's wife, Caleb's mom, and working full time as the Executive Director of Polished. Although I am not able to sit across the table from you, I hope these notes below are an encouragement to you.
How do I start a 501c3 non profit?
You could ask a friend who is an attorney to file the paperwork for you as your first in-kind donation to the ministry. You could use a company like the Foundations Group, that's what we did. Also, I'd suggest asking your church first, as they might want to help you start your ministry in-house as a new church program. If you're really serious, I'd reach out to Terri at Women's Non Profit Alliance and tell her Kat Armstrong sent you. Be brave. And as my friend Jenn Jett says: "Go ugly early."
How did you start Polished?
It was Stephanie Giddens idea. We co-founded together. We started with weekly prayer for almost a whole year. I'd suggest starting by intentional and consistent prayer. I know. Sounds trite and simple. But prayer is going to be the power behind your ideas.
How do I structure a board of directors?
I feel like quitting the non-profit I started. Is that normal?
Oh yes. I used to feel that way weekly. Find some dream defenders fast. And don't give up.
What advise would you give to someone starting a business?
Take the time to create a business plan and corresponding exit strategy before you get started. And use a great bookkeeper like my mom, Noemi.
How did you get into Neiman's & Nordstrom?
I called the corporate office, asked for the buying assistant, sent samples, followed up and I had a business mentor that helped me learn the EDI compliance world and the buying world. Sadly, I'm no longer actively running Baby Bow Tie and I'm not available for business coaching.
How do I become a Christian speaker? How did you get your start?
I've been teaching small group bible studies since 2000. That's my "secret" to the beginnings of a speaking career. I practiced studying and teaching God's word and then by word of mouth folks started booking me. It's my understanding that all of the female speakers that have influenced my life started that way and now continue to lead small group bible studies at their churches or in their homes.
How do you balance work and family?
I hate that word "balance". Seems to me Christ followers are not instructed to find balance, but rather death-to-self-sacrifice. Balance is a myth. And the myth is harming women. I wrote about it here. Instead, I am intentional about being present at work and at home. I believe the reason I'm flourishing is because i have...
- Dream Defenders- You probably already have great friends. But you also need Dream Defenders. Dream Defenders are safe people that want to cheer for you in your highs and never get jealous. And they are the folks who don't let you quit when you're in a valley.
- A Supportive Spouse- Aaron Armstrong is not only supportive he's been the catalyst for all the things I do. Ask God that your spouse would support you in your dreams.
- Full time childcare
- I know my capacity- I don't compare my productivity or schedule to someone else. I would either feel shame that I am not doing more or shame that I am doing too much. The key is I know my own capacity. I regularly say I'm at capacity or over and I respond accordingly. I know women that can't imagine starting a business in addition to a family. That doesn't make me feel guilty about wanting to do both. I know women who can launch more ideas in a quarter than I produce in a year. Doesn't bother me. I know my capacity. There's so much freedom in finding our limits and defining our boundaries.
Should I go to seminary?
Yes. Not the answer you were looking for? Ask someone else :) Timing and resources is a whole other animal and I'm not able to give you advise on when or how.
Pastor Wife Life
What's your role at the church?
I'm Aaron's wife. That's it. Thankfully the elders at Dallas Bible Church are incredibly supportive of my assignment to lead Polished. Occasionally, I will volunteer in the children's ministry or teach bible study but, I don't give in to internal or external pressure to do more. And thankfully I attend a church that encourages me to be myself.
What resources are out there to support Pastor's wives?
How does your marriage work if you are both flourishing in your careers?
Aaron's Perspective: I think our marriage works because we believe in each other’s specific vocational ‘callings’ and see our work as an act of worship that helps fulfill God’s mission. What we do is about so much more than just “us”, so I’ve got no problem serving in non-traditional ways because it’s about my spouse flourishing in a way that’s for the glory of God. Caleb then gets to be brought up in a home where he hopefully sees mutual respect, mutual submission, and a mutual desire to give our lives away for the sake of Jesus’ name. On a practical level, we have no problem asking for help.
Kat's Perspective: Aaron's told me on multiple occasions he thinks it's his sacred responsibility to see me flourish in my gift to build up the body of Christ. As you can imagine that creates an incredible synergy of responsbility in our home and at work. He delights in picking up the slack for me at home and with Caleb when I am traveling or meeting a deadline. Thankfully we have full time childcare, family living in town and we both have flexible work schedules. It's not lost on me that these privileges are rare. I treasure them. Aaron and I have similar gift and skill sets but we are not in competition with each other because Christ followers are NEVER suppose to be in competition with each other. His successes and failures are my own and vice versa. We are Team Armstrong.
Will you mentor me?
I would love to! It's just that I'm at capacity. But...
Where do I find a mentor?
How do I find a mentor?
Andy Stanley talks about this at Catalyst and I've adapted some of the notes I have down from years ago. First, don't ask them to mentor you, that's intimidating. Just ask them for 30 minutes of their time. Furthermore, I would suggest framing your ask this way:
- Keep your email to 3 sentences
- Don't ask them to be your mentor
- Ask if you can have 30 minutes of their time at their earliest convenience and tell them you are happy to meet them at their office
- Tell them exactly what you want to ask them in person so they know what to expect.
Honor their time and ask if you could reach out again sometime to ask them another question.