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Joy A. Johnson | Washington | Avid Reader!!

I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was 16 years old, but it took me two more years to zero in on the specifics. At the tender age of 18, I was bitten by the beauty business bug. Upon entering college, I needed a little extra cash to carry me through, so I decided to sell Mary Kay. As my love for the industry grew, what I hadn’t realized was the fact that my love for the beauty industry had been in me all along. It was in my blood. My mother, who died when I was only 16, was a New York and Los Angeles model in her younger years. My mother was also an American Airlines flight attendant; she had to look and move catwalk-ready, 24/7. So always gazing at, and little-girl sampling, my mother’s lotions and potions in our shared bathroom as well as admiring my mother’s perfect looks – well, the seed had been planted, deeply, within me.

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?

Many of the hurdles that presented themselves, while I was busy building my business came in the form of personal challenges. When suddenly in the midst, I found myself divorced, and as a result, I lost my home, my car, and found myself living in the land of single-parenthood, maintaining an entrepreneurial focus felt impossible. But I was full of passion, goal-seeking and dreams. So what felt even more impossible was the notion of giving up. I hurdled the pitfalls and kept it going. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t exempt you from life. If anything, it prepares you more for it. The realization of knowing that your life can change at any given moment forces you to live in a constant state of innovation, planning and plan B’s.

What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?

I just wrote a book. It will be available December 1, 2018. It’s titled JOY, the KEY to Entrepreneurial Happiness: A Millennials’ Guide to Starting, Continuing and Reinventing Your Business. You can order online at

I recommend this book because it gives honest Keys (chapters) to existing entrepreneurs, and to those thinking about taking the plunge. I share examples of my own pitfalls and how I turned my pitfalls into wins. The keys given can help others navigate the sometimes tricky waters of entrepreneurship. Especially when readers realize that entrepreneurship is not a destination, it is an ongoing journey.

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 discuss this very topic in the first key (chapter) of my book. The Ones Closest to You Don’t Always Support You. In this chapter, we dig into my personal experience of having an unsupportive spouse. And what made it worse, was that his true feelings crept up on me by surprise. You’ll have to read the book to find out just how all that presented itself to me. And what I did about it.

What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?

Success is brought about by a culmination of actions, reactions, intentions and efforts. There is no one thing. But I can say that consistency is very important. I soon realized that regardless of how others act, I have to always be consistent in my actions and obligations to others.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?

That there is nothing wrong with staying small as long as you can. Don’t allow others (clients included) make you feel like you need to move to the next step before you are ready and/or before your funding is secure. Also, be sure that the promises of others on the business front are secure.

What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?

Become an avid reader, do tons of research within your business area. And even if you feel like you know it all, find a mentor. Such a person does not have to be in your field, and it may even be more advantageous to find someone outside of your geographic region. Just connect with someone wiser than yourself because—trust me—you don’t know it all. If your government has programs like we have here in U.S., which is called the Small Business Administration (SBA), take advantage of those services. A lot of them are free or very low cost.


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