Shrub coming through the sand

My Story. From Heartbreak to Financial Breakthrough

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It finally dawned on me. My wife of 10 years, 3 kids and over a year of her battling mental illness was done. She left me. Life as I knew it was over. Then came the realization that I had not only lost my wife but I had lost a tremendous amount of income. 

You might be thinking, “Yeah, but you had fewer expenses. So, you should be fine.” And, you’d be partially right. The real issue was that I made less than half the annual income of my household. Meaning my now ex-wife made more than me. Not a fun thing to admit as a guy, but stick around the story gets better.

At the time, I was a worship pastor for a church in the Phoenix area. For those of you not akin to church lingo, a worship pastor is a guy or girl that leads the teams that do the music in services. I loved what I did. I had no desire to change. But, given my current situation, I had to do something to make enough to take care of me and my kids.

Thus, the predicamentI needed a way to make extra money in my free time. 

If you’ve been through a divorce you know the trauma causes you to go one of two routes:

  1. You curl into a ball, close the blinds and hope it all goes away
  2. You buckle down and smother your kids for fear of being a popular therapy subject

I chose the 2nd option. On the very first “Mommy Only Day,” I had a good cry and then began plans to completely renovate the closet under the staircase into a magical princess wonderland for my three girls.

This closet was painted the perfect color yellow. It had decal flowers stuck to the wall, a mini carpet, and even it’s own chandelier. It was amazing.

Friends warned me to be careful going into Ikea while I was healing from all of the trauma. And, they were right. I’d walk through those doors, smell those cheap cinnamon buns and come out with a $400 blueprint to being the best dad ever: Swedish stuff. Good for my heart, but bad for my now slashed budget. The harsh reality set in that if I am going to buy my princesses castles, I needed to be less of a pauper.

My margin was limited as work encroaching on time with my kids was NOT an option. So, I needed something that would make good money and I could do after my kids went down to sleep at 8 pm.

I also needed the sleep myself for my full-time job. So, it couldn’t be anything that would need to be a nightly 8-hour time slot before I started to make decent money. No thanks, grocery store restocking opportunity. 

Those were the parameters but I had no idea what could fit the mold. So, I started brainstorming. Real Estate? No thanks. MMM? Yuck. Uber? Car is too old. But, what?

Then, something hit me. Right before my ex-wife left me I started taking online web development courses. Funny enough, It all started as a way to try and connect with her. Our marriage was struggling. She had recently grown interested in the same topic. So, this seemed like a good option to find common ground. The common ground thing obviously didn’t work but I learned a thing or two about HTML & CSS, the core building blocks of any modern web page. 

I hadn’t really made anything. I just conceptually knew how to make stuff.

So I reached out to a friend. I had heard through the grapevine she needed some help with her website. This might be a good chance to gain some experience. 

So, I offered my services free of charge. Amazingly, she was game. Thus began my first web project.

Honestly, I was scared out of my mind. Could I finish this thing? Would it be any good? Would I have enough time between all the crying I was doing to actually build it? Do I know enough to make a full-fledged website? All of these questions nearly crippled me. But, with one step forward there was no going back…

I’d love to hear about or even see one of the first sites you developed! Don’t be shy. We’ve all got them.



  1. Chris, you’ve come so far. This is amazing work! Way to go, my friend.

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