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12 Months An Entrepreneur

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"This Meeting
Could've Been an Email"
Face
Today marks one full year since I said my goodbyes to everything I had known as a career from 2004-2017. When I graduate from University of Maryland's Department of Medical and Research Technology in 2004, I was set on my career path. I would work in a blood bank, become a Specialist in Blood Bank, manage a blood bank and then, eventually, become a director of a laboratory. Boy, was I wrong. You see, about 2 years in to my Blood Bank management position, my director went on vacation and left me in charge of the entire lab. That changed my entire perspective on what I wanted to do with my life and it was not that. Endless meetings, constant phone calls, 750 emails/day, deescalating trivial personnel issues. No. Absolutely not. I decided to focus on being the best blood bank manager and teach future medical laboratory science. That was good for me.

The 5Linx Gang Sign
Then in 2013, something happened. I got bored. A friend of mine had been asking me to come look at his "business opportunity". (Y'all know what that's code for. LOL!) He had always been pretty business savvy and appeared to be financially successful, so I looked at it, it made sense to me at the time, so I got involved. That one decision to participate in one of those "Pyramid Schemes" changed my perspective on life. $100,000 annual salary was no longer enough if I could make that in a month from home. ( Yes. I know. That is extreme but I saw people doing it.) I began immersing myself in personal development and learning beginner marketing skills. I was changing for the better. My eyes had been opened and I wanted a better quality of life. I did not want to spend my summer days in my corner office with no windows staring at a computer screen, only to come home as the sun was setting so I couldn't enjoy our unheated pool like I wanted to. I no longer wanted to be obligated to take phone calls at all times of the night. I no longer wanted to deal with mediocrity for the sake of status quo only to have to write a thesis to justify why I deserve a 2.5% salary increase when cost of living is increasing 3%, easy.

We were a dynamic duo
in direct sales.
I set out to build my direct sales business, at first, as something to do but then to change my quality of life. But, things happened. My husband and I started having arguments over it and then some major changes in the company's compensation plan left the opportunity less profitable than it had been in the past. The beauty in the situation was that I had grown as a person and I had also learned that I could, in fact, run a successful business.

While building my network marketing team, I had started selling a product that I had been making for myself and family for about two years. I never thought of selling my own products as a business until someone close to me put it plain and simple,"This is good. Sell this." So I started selling it. Hahahahahhaha!!!

I started small. My packaging was deli cold food storage containers. I printed on surplus paper labels I could find in my office supply cabinet. I designed the labels myself. I did not have a website. After about a month, I graduated to an Etsy page and 4 months later I had a real website. That first year was funny. I made so many improvements and spent most of my money on getting things in order. I think I did alright for myself because the second year in business, my profits increase by 500%. That means, I made 5 times what I made in the first year.

The FIRST Fancy Free Samples. TRASH! ūü§£
To put that into perspective for you, in the first year, I became pregnant. While pregnant, working full time and building a network marketing business, I was selling my product, Fancy Free Shea Pomade for Hair & Skin. The second year, I was working full time, had a baby and was selling my products. When I looked at the numbers with my husband, I thought to myself "If I accomplished this with all that I had going on, imagine if I gave Fancy Free Hair & Skin my full attention." At that point, I had negotiated a half time situation at work but working half time was becoming more of a hassle than anything. So, I learned more about money, by listening to financial experts like Suze Orman and Tony Robbins, and figured out a way for us to be able to live off of one income, my husband's income. This way, I could quit my job and not worry about losing the house and having food. LOL!

March 30, 2017. Last day of work.
And on March 30, 2017, I left healthcare for good.

Here we are, one year later and I'm still standing. Fancy Free Hair & Skin grew an additional 300% in it's third year, with most of the growth occurring when I dived in head first as a full time entrepreneur. Since leaving my job, I was able to:

  • Develop and successfully launch 6 completely new products
  • Improve my website
  • Raise $8,110 through iFundWomen crowdfunding fundraiser
  • Revamp my brand and market position strategy
  • Hire support staff and contracted staff
  • Write a business plan
  • Apply for endless competitions and grants
  • Network and collaborate with some amazing women in the business world
But my personal life is also so much better. Let me count the ways....
  1. I am happier
    Yes, entrepreneurship is an emotional roller coaster. BUT I now have control over my destiny and my income. It's like controlled chaos, if that makes sense. I can choose who is in my space. Being able to protect your energy is a huge source of power and happiness.
  2. I am a better wife because I'm happier
    I no longer come home with lingering stress and irritations from dealing with the woahs of a stagnant work environment. I actually listen to my husband when he's talking instead of waiting for my turn to vent. And, most importantly, I am not as tired at "night".
  3. I have can spend more focused time with my son
    No stressing when daycare is closed or he needs to stay home when he's sick. While I am more productive when he's not here, I have the ability to shuffle my workload so that I can give him the undivided attention he needs, deserves...and demands. He don't play that multitasking stuff and has been known to smack phones out of hands.
  4. I am healthier
    My days are no longer at the mercy of meetings and anticipated start times. While, keeping myself on a schedule is a work in progress, I do not have to forego my morning self care routine (fitness, meditation and personal development) if I oversleep, I just simple get started a little later than normal. Because of that, my mental and physical health has improved.
  5. I have lost weight
    I no longer sit at a desk for the majority of my 8 hour work day. I am moving around. I drink more water. I eat healthier because there is no vending machine or random candy jar (I know everyone has a colleague at the office with the candy jar). I have been able to lose my baby fat and keep it off.
Retiring from what I knew to venture into the unknown has been more of a blessing than I could ever have imagined. If your side business is growing and quitting your job has been in the back of your mind, make a plan and do it! JUST DO IT! The timing will never be right. Your situation will never be perfect. You have to just take the leap when your spirit says "It's time." This road is a rough one but if you have the mental stamina and a BOMB support team, like I do, you and your business will be better for it.
The Fancy Free Team
Supportive parents, in-laws, aunties, uncles, friends, family and framily not shown.
Photographer: Kyle Pompey
Janky Editing: Yours Truly

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free Hair & Skin manufactures quality products for hair and skin, as well as provides natural hair consults for women who would like assistance on their natural hair journey. Our motto is "Keeping you chemical free." Visit our website, www.fancyfreehairandskin.com, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.

 


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