What made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?
First of all, I was fired. It was probably the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Being a business owner shows me the insights and façades of "job security". It's putting trust in someone else to make sound business decisions. Being an entrepreneur? The exact same thing except YOURE making the decisions; put your trust in you. But thats hard to do. Thus I continued to work for someone else for way too long. It's so hard chasing and working towards achieving your dreams while you're still working for someone else that already did. But through comfort and complacency minced with fear and lack of faith, I stayed. Until they pulled me up and let me go. I never looked back. I have two undergraduate degrees and a masters degree, I could have easily found another job. But I no longer wanted a job. I wanted a career... with a purpose!
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Not having enough consistent clients. Man oh man, when the well runs dry. I noticed lulls in my business and times of the year that were slow. I thus started creating multiple streams of income within my massage practice to supplement the slower months. I brainstormed and worked with my graphics designer for hours on retail and products to create passive streams of residual income. I offered discounts + created & distributed coupon books. I studied my competiton and found areas that they could improve but applied it to my business. I used guerrilla marketing to attract new clients, and then more importantly I started a follow up initiative to keep those clients. I did events partnering with other successful business owners, tapping into their network, and started posting more frequently throughout the day everyday. Eventually my demand grew to sustain a profitable lifestyle.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
I wouldve quit way earlier, believed in myself much harder but to be honest no, my family supported my goals and dreams way before I did. The more I started to speak on what I needed the more my family rallied behind me to fulfill my visions. I have always been extremely unorganized - to this day I STILL am lol. But instead of trying to change ME, I supplement me as I continue to grow and improve: I created an accountability circle of friends, family, an employees whose strengths are my weaknesses and together they work to help me become better. If I could do it all again I wouldn't change a thing. Some things I wouldve allowed myself to experience sooner, thus I could have learned from the mistakes quicker and grown earlier. But I have no regrets. My family is awesome & my friends are extra dope; even if its something as simple as "Hey I know how you get, did you eat today?" my circle keeps me focused and grounded.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Being genuine with people. Vulnerable and transparent. It gives them permission to do the same; allows them to be human. I am who I am exactly + unapologetically how I am. I'm a beautiful mess... just... like... everyone... else. I didnt't go to school for business I have NO idea what I'm doing; so when people come to me there's no polished robotic refined delivery of services. I rarely wear a uniform lol (sidenote: one of the reasons I got fired from my last job is the new GM had a problem with my tapered yoga pants... that I had been wearing everyday for 5yrs ... I now pride myself on wearing whatever I want). It's human me being blunt and honest with human you. It resonates with clients on a totally different level. I am a stranger thats not really a stranger, and my unique innocent transparency gives them room to be themselves; thats marketable all in itself.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Start a YouTube channel ASAP. Get subscribers. Post vids regularly. And monetize. 6yrs of that? Sheesh I would be poppin right now lol.
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Dont stop. Business is like swimming; pause to catch your breath, pause to regain momentum. But dont stop. You're never going to be ready, it's never going to be the right time, just jump in head first and swim. Life will formulate and fix itself around you. Wanna fly? Jump off the cliff and build the plane on the way down. Learn from the mistakes, laugh at the confusion, and never let anyone make you feel like your dreams are unreasonable. What they question and doubt the most is where they trust themselves and God the least. Guard your dreams as if your life depends on it, because it does. Pick your destiny, work backwards, stay focused, and just GO!
Oh! And once you reach a level of profitable success, invest in three things: (1) one great suit, (2) an accountant, (3) an amazing assistant. They will save you + earn you more money than you could ever imagine!