A year ago I went part-time at work to pursue my writing career after a year of getting paid monthly to host and perform. The month after telling my job I wouldn’t be returning full time, my performance opportunities subsided. I knew I was walking in purpose, but life had not gone according to plan.
With more people choosing to pursue purpose, it’s necessary to talk about the realities of entrepreneurial life. Because I still have a lot to learn myself, I’ve tapped into some field experts to share the “down and dirty” of being your own boss. This week, we are navigating the unexpected.
Davita Garfield is a 40-year old mother of one who came from the corporate climb. She thought that college, graduate school, and moving up the corporate ladder was what she was supposed to be doing until a life changing health issue caused her to realize there was more to life than chasing financial gain and title.
Her journey to live with a purpose led to the starting of Empowerment Now, Davita's coaching and consulting company that helps small businesses with marketing and building systems that increase cash flow and improve productivity. A week after choosing to work her business full time, Davita’s health challenges resurfaced, shaking her belief in her decision.
Antoinette Minor is a Millennial Career Blogger, Influencer, and CEO of TYP Social Media Co. who wanted to write a book about being a millennial in the corporate world. Her plan was to start by writing a series of short stories which first led to her blog: The Young Professionalist. Realizing that blogging without an audience is ineffective, she then put her focus into marketing.
Learning and applying the ins and outs of instagram, increased Antoinette's engagement and followers (almost overnight). Other entrepreneurs began taking notice and solicited her help which led to the starting of her marketing agency: TYP Social Media Co. Antoinette started out looking to write a book, but navigated the unexpected and turned her passion into a full time business.
When you hear “The Truth About Entrepreneurship” what comes to mind?
Davita: This is the down and dirty. It's not as pretty as we make it seem. You go from working for someone 40 hours a week to working 90 hours a week for yourself. It’s a whole different ball game. We don’t often talk about the ups and downs of the financial part of it, or maintaining or growing the business. There’s beauty in the truth. If I know what I’m up against, I have a better chance at being successful.
Antoinette: The truth is…
You will be poor! Not necessarily that you won’t have income, but that income goes back into your business. In the beginning, your money is going toward resources, consultations, paying for the LLC, etc. After that you’re paying for a personal assistant, then office space. Even with very little overhead, the money goes back into your business for a very long time.
It’s stressful and your worries are different. I miss the simple worries of, “What am I going to wear today?” To be honest with you, sometimes I wear the same thing three days in a row, because I don’t have the brain space for that. My worries now are, “Is my client satisfied?” “Am I going to be able to pay my bill tomorrow?” It’s not this magical life that people paint, but in the same vein, you wouldn’t trade it for the world, because the benefits are REALLY high highs that make up for the really low lows.
This week’s focus is detours. When you think about your journey, what has tripped you up and how did you stay focused on the goal?
Davita: After I prepared and finally left my job on June 30th, I was rediagnosed on July 6th. I felt trapped, but I was trapped by my mind. I was thinking, “Why is this happening?” “Is this a sign I’m not supposed to be doing this or I can’t do it?” Honestly, I was ready to go back to work.
I believe my faith challenged me to learn the lesson God was teaching me. I was “woe is me” for a moment, then I said “Okay God, what’s the lesson?”
The answer was, “You took this leap of faith and not only that, you did the work. You saved, made the plan, followed the plan, created these opportunities, and now you’ve taken the leap of faith so you have to trust me financially. So you gonna trust me or YOU GONNA TRUST ME?” That was what helped me get refocused and ready to answer the call after my surgery.
Antoinette: Time management and accountability are my biggest hang-ups. I need a support team to hold me accountable otherwise I focus well in one area and all the others get left behind. Check-ins help me knock those things off and course correct.
Also, people need evaluation periods. I have to look at what my client perceives as most important over a period of time. Set time to evaluate your work- first to see what you can do better, and secondly, look at what you’re doing really really well, because you might have a new product or service to market. Lately, people are asking me about Linked In and I realized, this is a new product and my next area of focus. Evaluations can help you course correct, BEFORE you need to course correct.
What practices do you have in place to stay disciplined and streamlined?
Davita: I'm really big on having a plan. Figure out what you want, then break that down and put accountability in place to stay on task. Having a plan helps us measure if we're staying the course. If we aren't, we use that plan and accountability to pull ourselves back.
Streamlining is what I do. Create systems of simple things we can be done to positively effect your business and livelihood. When we start out, we're doing EVERYTHING. But really, as we're doing everything, we should be writing it down, to document exactly what we need to do to get from our product or service to actually making money. Once we know that forwards and backwards, there comes a point where you can hand that off to someone and they can do it for you. Streamlining is about getting a process in place so it just happens.
Antoinette: For discipline, I have to get out the house. At home, I can get stuff done, but it’s very easy to fall asleep, watch tv, or play with my dog. I follow a schedule, but I need to get rid of the distractions.
One thing I’m good about is getting up early. Right now I'm up at 5:30/6:00 a.m. This gives me the option to spend time with myself or get an early jump on work and answer emails before my clients check their inbox at 8 a.m.. If you can’t set a schedule, get rid of distractions so you can be proactive instead of reactive.
Lastly, find yourself someone who can get your life right. You have to learn more about yourself. For example, I’m an executioner, but not a planner. My administrative assistant works wonders. If I don't do something RIGHT NOW, it'll never happen. Surround yourself with people who have the skills you don’t.
How do you balance business and home responsibilities with family, self-care, fun/friends, other commitments?
Davita: Honestly, I didn't always do that well. I didn't do it well in corporate and when I first entered the entrepreneurial space, I still didn't. I developed habits and it was always work first. But, I paid the price. Having two brain tumors, and a rare hormonal disease, I realized what was important.
What was important was that I show up for me first. My family, friends, and honoring my commitments, are also important. Now my balance is whatever feels important. There’s no REAL balance. Sometimes I have to show up for the business. Sometimes I have to drop everything and be there for my family or me.
Antoinette: You have to start scheduling. Sometimes the schedule doesn’t work, but you do your best. If you have a honey, have date night. Pick a day of the week, or a weekend, just make it happen.
If your friends like to do stuff at certain times a year (like their birthdays), put that in. I’ll ask my friends four months in advance what weekends they are celebrating. There are some personal events, you CANNOT miss (unless it's the opportunity of Jesus coming to the earth). Plan for what’s important to you. It helps.
How do we contact you? What do you have going on and any final advice?
Davita: I have something amazing! This weekend is my Empowering Your Business Women’s Conference happening on my birthday, August 12! It's a reminder of my purpose and passion and I'm very grateful for seeing another year. Last year was EMPOWERMENT, but this year is empowerment IN YOUR BUSINESS.
We will get women in a room where we are supporting, empowering, and encouraging each other. It's going to be fun; we'll eat, laugh and dance, but we will really do the work and get some REAL action steps, tools, templates, and plans in place. We have workshops in legal side of business, branding, investing, accounting and taxes, business system and we wrap-up with SELF CARE. All the info is at empoweryourbusinessconference.com.
Final advice is follow your dreams and goals no matter what that looks like. It's not going to be easy, but it's absolutely worth it!
Antoinette: I love for people to learn from my mistakes and my wins so they don't have to work as hard or cry as hard. The best way to find me is on instagram @antoinettekminor. You'll see the funniest instastories along with info you need as a budding entrepreneur. There's also my website antoinetteminor.com. I'm more than open to doing consultations, or I have "pick my brain sessions" which people can do as well.
1. If you can’t figure out your personal budget, you can’t manage your business. Know your numbers.
2. Let things happen. You can't control the bills, or when a client will hit the "pay invoice" button. If you can't do anything about it, don't whine. You can be in your feelings for two seconds, but not so long that you get nothing done.
3. Run your own race. Jealousy is real, so mute anyone that might make you feel uncomfortable in your own lane. If it's meant for you, it's for you, it will happen when you're ready.