DC Entrepreneur Vibes

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I am three weeks into my staycation. A staycation is a vacation where you get to unplug from your traditional day to day task while staying in the comfort of your own home.  I don’t know if you can really call it a staycation because I recently relocated from Atlanta to Washington DC.  I am not sure if this is a permanent move but what I am sure that this part of my journey is tied to this location. I lived DC over ten years ago. The crazy thing is that both the city and I have changed drastically since then.  Ten years ago the city was more “urban” but gentrification has altered the landscape. This is not a bad thing, it actually makes the figuring it out part more interesting.

 

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The vibe of the city is also completely different from Atlanta.  Atlanta’s entrepreneurship experience for me was more focused on empowerment, starting a business and marketing yourself.  DC’s entrepreneur vibe is totally different.  The entrepreneurial vibe is more real estate investing, government and politically focused. Rightfully so because the government runs this town and “fighting the power’ (i.e. establishment) is very ingrained into it.  I am reminded of this everytime I’m trolling for things to do. I’m not gone lie, I am itching to march on Washington for some cause. I just haven’t figured out which cause.

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As I’ve been getting acquainted with the landscape and entrepreneurial vibe, it’s taking more time to get used to the question ‘so what do you do.’  It’s not so much the question but more of the tone that’s not sitting well with my spirit these days.  As if my response will determine my worthiness. I know my projections and insecurities are mixed into my perception.  I’m still kind of taken aback and annoyed by the tone.  It’s so direct and finite. I want to shrug and scream ‘I don’t know what I do. I’m figuring it out and taking it day by day.’  Although it’s a partially true statement, I am not sure if it’s appropriate for someone my age. The expectation is that I should know but the truth is I’ve chosen freedom and happiness over accuracy.  I am a CPA that blogs about my life and spiritual experiences.  I am also a yoga teacher that writes and aspires to speak publicly about doing what the hell you want.  I am also an entrepreneur that host events on quitting your job to follow your dreams.  I am also a landlord that travels. I am also on my ‘I support everybody black’ shit but I’m kind to people of all ethnicities.  I am also an aspiring podcaster that loves all these things equally…. so that’s the true response. I’m sure that’s confusing to some, that as a human being I have a multitude of interest that all tie into my purpose and life choices. I am taking it day by day and following what makes me happy but that tone temporarily has me stuck in my head about how to respond authentically.

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I also noticed while southern entrepreneurs believe in massaging you into doing business, DC entrepreneurs have a rude undertone. They aren’t paying attention to social cues. They want an immediate return on investment. They meet you today and want you to buy yesterday.  I’m like wait a minute so you not gone even pull out the vasoline before you make me bend over?  I’m not a southern belle.  I’m actually pretty ratchet but even I feel some kind of way about how I’ve been approached.  I’m probably being dramatic but I think you get where I’m going with that. I am also certain that I just haven’t met my tribe of entrepreneurs. They exist its just a matter of allowing things to happen.  I understand this is a new ball game, with key players and a system in place.  All in all this relocation and these new challenges are a source of adventure for me.  My adrenaline is pumping!  I love to use the puzzle analogy because it’s an accurate depiction of how I see life.  I am working on a new puzzle, it looks nothing like the old one.  I’ll start with the strategies I know and update them as needed. I am up for the challenge.

 

Peace and Blessings

 

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Living In My Truth: Life of a Hyphenated Hustler

 

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Majority of my focus last year was on building my wellness business, I decided to shift gears in the fourth quarter to dip my foot back into the accounting world. Actually, once I made up my mind that I would be leaving my corporate job, I immediately created Luellen Consulting Services LLC which of course provides accounting services. I made this decision for several reasons a) I have an amazing skill set and a wide range of experience b) I have always been mindful of not burning bridges and maintaining good work relationships c) I am professional and relatable. This means I allow others to see my authentic self and others can connect with it. I can see a task to completion and not be afraid to recite trap music while I’m doing it. I can run a department and share a funny story about my perspective on life. Years ago I thought you could only be one way at work and you had to hide your true identity until after hours. Transparency requires you to live both lives at the same time.

Transparency has no parameters, it’s freeing to the spirit. It’s, even more, freeing when you can share your story about balancing your real life journey. My current journey involves me being a hyphenated hustler. I am a full-time entrepreneur that on occasion works a corporate 9 to 5. I am a planner and like to think ahead. I maintain a certain financial threshold that I consistently check to make sure I am on track to keeping a roof over my head and being able to run a business. I also know as a new business owner, which means everything you make the first couple of years has to be reinvested immediately to ensure longevity. While I made pretty good income from my business in 2017 ($40K), it was a bit inconsistent and I had to use some of my savings. Prior to 2017, my business income never surpassed $10K so I’m proud of my progress. I would also like to keep the momentum going and gain more consistency. In order to do that I have to keep my business funded. Funding will allow me to continue advertising, marketing, and networking to keep my brand relevant. Needless to say, I had to think about what can I do to raise a lot of money to sustain my wellness business as I go into 2018. The answer was of course to moonlight in my old vocation.

I initially had mixed emotions about it. I was concerned about how I would balance full-time entrepreneurship with a corporate 9 to 5. I have gotten used to a more open schedule but I reasoned with myself that it’s short term so I could push through the fear. I spend the first 2-3 hours of my day working on my business before I head out to the 9 to 5. I also work over lunch and after work to keep things going. When you are passionate about something, it’s hard to sleep without pursuing it. I do my best Monday through Friday then use the weekends to do everything else.

Mindfulness

I was also concerned about how others would view my choice. Here I was planning a Quit Your Job Conference but working a 9 to 5 to help fund the event. The truth is all of my decisions are related to staying in business. Rather than go out of business due to pride, I had to let my fear go. I could either temporarily balance the two or deal with the consequences of not surviving and having to permanently go back into the corporate world. The lesson learned was most people judging my decision have probably not ever stepped out into entrepreneurship and would only understand once they had the experience. Living your dream is a process and very humbling, yet every step is rewarding and takes you out of your comfort zone into the unknown. The beauty of consulting is I still have the option of leaving once my goal is met without creating bad ties or burning bridges. I also have the option of working with the same company at a later date if I choose. In a full-time position sometimes your soon to be former employer take your decision to leave personal and will shun you because they are disappointed or upset. Being a consultant says my time here is limited and I don’t have to hide it. You also earn a lot more per hour as a consultant. My ultimate goal from a consulting standpoint is to hire a couple of people and eventually only serve as manager. Therefore, the connection I am making today, I can use at a later date as well. As a hyphenated hustler, you always have to think five steps ahead. I’ve made peace with my decision and I’m looking forward to 2018 being better than 2017.

Peace and Blessings

 

 

 

6 Months and Counting

It’s the fourth quarter and 2017 has been good to me. I’ve learned so much about entrepreneurship.  No matter how much research you do, nothing can teach you better than real life experiences. Here are the top six things I learned in the last six months.

Businesses are cyclical. I anticipated my slow season and had a one-dimensional idea of what I could do when it arrived. I wanted to spend time with family and friends. That, however, wouldn’t keep my business relevant or in the minds of potential customers. Since my slow season started earlier than anticipated I had to create a new plan.  That plan included me finishing my book, attending more networking events, vending at conferences and self-educating in preparation for the next season.

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Multiple streams of income are imperative. Yoga and meditation provide meaning and direction. I love sharing it with other people.  I’ve come to understand it is just a gateway to other opportunities.  In addition to mindfulness services, I offer meditation supplies at events along with my book. I also provide Reiki healing sessions. All are elements under a wellness umbrella. In addition, I am still a CPA and work on contract assignments as needed.

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Businesses will sell you anything, including what you do not need. My biggest lessons this year have been related to paying for services I didn’t need. I take accountability because it’s my responsibility to make educated purchases. I quickly came to understand that some businesses will knowingly sell you something of no real value to your business. They are in the business to make money.  I started my business to help, empower and inspire other people which leave no room for misleading others. It’s not necessary.  I believe people are lead to me and I have a spiritual responsibility to handle them with love and care. I learned to do more research on the front end and ask other business owners for referrals.

Leveling up is key.  I’ve been paying my dues and making my rounds. I’ve gotten comfortable in my arena and I’m now starting to see the same faces.  I recently decided it was time for me to find a new circle. My intent is to maintain a presence in the current one but to also put myself in a room with people who can teach me more. This is necessary for my long-term growth and prosperity.

Entrepreneurs

Ask for what you want. I am used to being independent and having to figure it out on my own. Entrepreneurship is all about relationships.  You have to ask for support.  You have to personally invite others to your events.  You have to ask for event and product sponsorships. In the business world asking for what you want is not frowned upon.  This is new territory for me but I am up for the challenge.

The best way to establish yourself as a leader in your industry is to plan your own event. Since I published ’60 Affirmations and Reflections for Entrepreneurs’, I’ve been looking for speaking engagements to promote it. The only roadblock is that I am not known as a speaker,  I am still considered a newbie in this arena. Therefore, I have been turned away more times than I’d like to admit.  I don’t take it personally because businesses have to protect their brand and affiliations. Then one day it hit me, instead of asking others for a seat at their table, why not create my own damn table and movement. If I want to prove I’m a great speaker, then I have to create a speaking event.  This lead to the birth of  ‘Quit Your Job in 90 Days’, an event designed for attendees to walk away with an actionable plan to leave an unfulfilling job. Ever since I made that decision two major opportunities have opened up for other events.  It’s almost like the doors came off the hinges.  Someone actually told me they researched me and they knew my story.  That is the highest honor to have another organization seeking me out to speak to their audience.

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There is no right way to plan for entrepreneurship.  While there are some overall commonalities that entrepreneurs will face, everyone’s journey will also be different. Hopefully, some can find value in my experiences and keep them in mind in their own journey.  Keep what you need and toss the rest.

Peace and Blessings

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