Before I started my business
Insurance was just beginning to feel the effect of the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA, Obamacare). In 2008, I had designed and built my dream home and gotten married. Life was good. I was working for a large healthcare insurance company and coping with internal management challenges. The rumble started in 2010. There were whispers at the insurance company of a major overhaul like we had never seen. The executives seemed anxious. They had to begin thinking of shifting the entire organization to meet the challenges of doing business different. By 2011, just as I was finishing up my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration of organization management, I started to physically feel the deafening calm before the storm.
The catalyst for starting my business
It occurred on January 24, 2013. After 26 years, I was told my services were no longer required. That was the longest relationship I had other than my family. I also filed for divorce which was finalized in February 2013. Initially, I was devastated. The time to become more financially independent was upon me. Struggles sharpen your survival skills.
It might sound crazy, but the same bill that cost me my job would in a matter of weeks also saved the life of one of my family members. The dismissal turned out to be the best thing that could happen to me and my family. I learned from those experiences never to put all my eggs in one basket ever again. I was also able to benefit from the Affordable Housing Act, which allowed me to adjust my mortgage payments. Life had settled down.
And, I found that the 26 years I spent were not wasted. The experiences helped me to establish a relationship with the people I now serve. I worked thirteen different positions on my previous job and learned how to become marketable when desiring to move from entry-level to manager…without a degree! This also helps me to create content quickly.
It was in 2011 when we were first made aware of the possibility of the shifts in our jobs. Instinctively, I started taking additional business classes in 2012 right as there was a layoff of sorts. I was determined that I would never put the control of my standard of living in someone else’s hands. The classes helped test your ideas in the real world, which added to my college learning and existing business acumen. The Launch Chattanooga administrators of the classes were and still are very supportive. In fact, after graduating from the class, they were my first customers. I wrote 17 business plans for other graduates and the institution paid me for them. I was ecstatic! I have been facilitating classes for them and others for the past four years.
In addition, the time off gave me time to pull out an old 2007 personal essay to see if it was book worthy. The essay evolved into “The Well Ran Dry: Memoirs of a Motherless Child,” which is a creative autobiography that I use to empower teens, women and men. It encourages them to look past their circumstances to see their best life. The book was accepted by the US Library of Congress in December 2013. It is available for free just by asking for it by name in over 16,000 public libraries in the United States. And, it is also available for purchase on Amazon.com, as well as all major online book outlets.
My original plan was to create business plans and get paid after the client received their funding. I quickly learned that was an unwise decision. So, I begin pulling from my experiences from previous employment. I assessed the needs of my Avatar. By doing this, I created more products like resumes, mock interviews, business and career coaching sessions and training workshops. I also formulated a strategy from over 25 years of professional speaking and youth messages in church to draw larger audiences.
My ideal clients are women between the ages of 34 and 54 who are struggling to find what they need to go next level. I help them to create a strategic plan for moving forward. Many times that means going back to find that passion project that was silenced by life’s noises. My current business model consists of multiple revenue streams, strong business relationships, and a zeal for helping startups specifically. I am still creating products, as needed. My next book is a five-part series designed to assist startups step by step. The book is in the production stage.
Exciting Plans for 2018
Just this past weekend, I spent major time with key influencers who gave me invaluable pointers on how to increase my social visibility. A few of them even did video with me. *check my LinkedIn page. In 2018, I plan to increase my revenue by a very substantial number over last year’s numbers. Also, I would like to touch the lives of more people and finish my five-part series: Building Your Own Business: The Startup Handbook, which is based on what I have seen over 30 years in Corporate America.
Lessons Learned/Words of Wisdom:
1) Get a mentor or business coach. Pay attention to both, what they say and what they don’t say.
2) Seek a successful like-minded community of founders and business people. Find your people!
3) Build a team. Yes, you probably can do it by yourself, but don’t. You really need a team…no for real, for real!
4) Utilize your local Small Business Development Center or Small Business Administration office in your area. They have free and budget-friendly information you need in your business life.
5) This is a journey. Enjoy it and be patient with your business and with yourself.
Tips to Showcase My Expertise: Now that I am a business strategist, every small business owner I have ever met knows exactly what they want to sell; however, few of them understand this is only one half of what they needed to become successful. The statistics don’t lie. There are 50-90% of business owners closing their shops anywhere from the first 18 months up to 5 years into their businesses’ life cycles. Some who make it past year five die in the next five years. Fully understanding how and when to pivot for your business is extremely important…in fact, not knowing can be fatal. I want to help women do business well. My students labeled me “The Business Plug” because I plug them into the resources and people they didn’t know exist. I strive every day to live up to what they see in me. I know how this journey started, but my ashes are truly turned into diamonds and I enjoy showing others how they can have the same or even more.
Network With Me: Join me in taking part in the 2018 One Million Woman Link Up to monetize LinkedIn. #SmartWomenPartnerGrowRich http://bit.ly/2JeQAfO
Business Email: Lsmbbusiness@gmail.com
Cell phone: (423) 838-3117
Look, I previously said you need to build a strong business network. I’ve found just the community for you and your business. Join me for the 2018 One Million Women Link Up!
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