Growing up poor, I didn’t have a female mentor to look to for help or direction. Because of this I had to create success in my life the hardest way possible because I wasn’t able to access advice from someone who had already made it. I vowed to myself along the way that once I made it I would be sure to share how I did it with others so that they wouldn’t have to struggle so much to get there. I made things more difficult for myself than I needed to but I didn’t know a better way at the time. I do now. At the time I was a Chief Revenue Officer of a media company and had a successful track record there for over a decade, when I decided to launch my personal brand to inspire others. The decision for me was not hard but I was met with tremendous adversity when I actually did it. Since then the challenges have been nonstop which actually motivates me more to pursue my passion of helping others. I always think back to my younger years and how I struggled and I envision myself extending a hand to that young girl today and that is what and who I will never give up on.
Currently : Brand Ambassador Perry Ellis International | Founder | Keynote Speaker | Author
| Sales Maven | Social Media Strategist
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
The biggest initial hurdle I needed to overcome was myself. We are always the only one that can get in our own way or hold us back. Realizing that my decision and commitment to do this or not was entirely up to me. I had struggled the first month with if I was going to be successful as an entrepreneur or not and the final decision and commitment to jump off that ledge and let others know I was doing this and I was going to succeed was scary but needed to happen. It had felt much more comfortable to me to put a toe in this water but continue to do what I had always done which was to work for someone else even though I always struggled with the fact that I didn’t agree with the leadership or felt I would have done it so much better if I was in charge. Finally, finding myself in that position was amazing and frightening at the same time. Pushing through that moment changed everything for me. Once I got through that the next challenge was realizing that what I had seen as my first path to revenue was not materializing and I was going to have to shift gears and diversify my initiatives. I have always known in business that there needs to be diversification in revenue streams but I hadn’t implemented that strategy for myself. I quickly pivoted and created multiple opportunities for revenue streams instead of relying on that one I started with. This was a necessary and smart redirect that I would recommend for anyone starting a business. Things will change, they will not succeed and you need to set yourself up to rebound from that, the best way I know how is to have multiple opportunities that you have created for yourself to ensure success in at least one. It is all a numbers game.
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?
Oh my gosh, yes!!! I created tunnel vision for myself to block out the negativity that I faced and actually used this adversity as fuel. When I initially launched my brand to help others, I received a phone call from the then interim CEO of the company I worked for and she proceeded to tell me to shut my brand down. She told me she didn’t like what I was building and found it to be a conflict for my job. I knew that what I was building was positive and good and I refused to shut it down. Standing up for myself and following my heart was one of the most pivotal decisions I have ever made. The next year was beyond tumultuous for me with the negativity I faced at work, eventually she fired me. The irony of it all is my brand was created to help and empower others to get ahead and I was fired by a woman that was trying to hold me back. This negativity, once gone from my life, allowed me to take off. I hadn’t realized how much this negative person was impacting me and holding me down. This realization has helped me to see how important it is to fire negative people from your life so you can soar.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
This is hard as there are so many! There are two that I need to mention. My network and my constant commitment to taking action every day having impacted my success in massive ways. I didn’t realize along the way but I had always been building a vast network not only in my industry but across industries. This network has paid off in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. Taking time to help others in your day to day world will always yield benefits. Years of doing favors for people has brought back more return than I ever could have imagined. I continue to focus on growing my network. I can’t attribute all of my success to my network so I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my own personal commitment to taking action every day. The way that I built my success and continue to build success is by outworking everyone around me and taking chances each day I wake up. I continue to challenge myself to see things others might not be seeing and make something happen with that perspective. It all boils down to making things happen every day because no matter what you do it is a numbers game and you won’t succeed if you don’t get up to the plate and swing the bat each day so I just keep swinging.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
If I could have seen how things were going to work out for me, I would have left my old job years ago. I was so afraid to take that leap and leave behind the security of a paycheck that I stayed frozen long after I should have left. When you find yourself in a situation that is negative at work and leadership is making bad choices and you voice your opinion but it doesn’t create change, you need to leave. I knew years ago that I would be making better decisions if I was in charge but I couldn’t get myself to take that leap. Finally making that leap, I realize I am the best boss I have ever had and I wish I put myself in this position years ago.
What advice would you give to an upcoming young and old entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Believe in your vision whole heartedly and let no one discourage you or get in your way. There is always a solution, it is up to us to find it.