In the year 2000, after the birth of my second daughter, my message was "early detection saves lives, during my tenure as Cancer Control Specialist & Cancer Prevention and Education Advocate at The American Cancer Society. Today, Sixteen years later, my message is "inspire, empower, endure long and finish strong." Over the past sixteen years my professional career and life have metamorphosed beautifully, despite turbulence, test, trials, and tribulation. In Volume 2 of The Endurance Ride of Life, I will share my endurance journey of entrepreneurship, parenting, and personal life transformation with you. I will also share how the lessons I learned transformed my life and shaped my future.
SNIPPETS FROM MY ENTREPRENEURSHIP JOURNEY
I have learned so many life lessons as a result of embarking on the path of entrepreneurship sixteen years ago. The most important lesson learned, is that there are ebs and flows in business and how you ride the tide determines your level of success.
This is my story.
After a few years of cancer education and outreach, I would grow weary of hearing about the health disparities effecting my community and seeing women I had grown to know, love, and admire, lose their battle to cancer. So in the year 2000, I decided to get on the prevention end of health disparities as a business owner. My first business, of subsequent others, was Inside Out Health & Beauty (IOHB). It's mission was to improve the quality of life from the inside out. At the time, I was an independent health and beauty consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics and Body Wise International, both companies focused on beauty, health and wellness products. It was during that time as an independent consultant, that I had the epiphany to launch my own brand. IOHB would become an education and life enrichment company, which focused on educating individuals in the community about the importance of living a holistically balanced life from the inside out, spiritually as well as naturally. So as I sold my products and hosted skincare classes, I educated, empowered, and inspired lives along the way.
By the year 2003, I became a single mother of two little girls, ages 5 and 3 at the time. This life change would force me to put my entrepreneurial dreams on hold and pursue full time employment to support my family. This was a very difficult decision to make, however, like all single mothers, I did what I had to do. During that season of my life, not only was I a single mother, but I was a 26 year old still trying to find my place in the world. In addition, I was learning who I was in a city where I had no friends or family. I thank God for divinely ordered steps and the friends and serrogot family that He provided along the way.
For the next few years I navigated through life the best way that I could working as a Community Health Advocate until I realized that I needed to heal my own emotional wounds. So in 2007, I returned to my hometown of St. Louis, MO to do just that, focus on my healing journey. As I surrendered to the healing process I learned more about myself and bloomed in ways I could have never imagined! Picking back up my IOHB brand, I re-evaluated, re-purposed, and re-launched IOHB as The Inside Out Company and began developing innovative youth workshops and after school enrichment programs. I was also blessed to be able to speak and implement them to captive audiences by organizations like, The Girl Scouts of Greater St. Louis, The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Sisterkeeper Empowerment Center, the YWCA of Greater St. Louis, and local schools within the community. Needless to say these programs were meeting a need and proved to be effective, enriching, and produced lasting results.
As time when on, every four years I found myself re-evaluating and re-inventing my brand, as well as developing new brands. As I continued to serve under the umbrella of The Inside Out Company, music, my first love, started speaking loudly. So, in 2009, I launched a mobile music school, The Musik Institute, Inc., where I taught piano and voice lessons privately in the homes of my students. With two brands under my belt, I decided to go for a third after experiencing let downs at national vocal auditions with Sunday's Best and The Voice. Inspired Soul Music International was born! The first phase of ISMI was to self produce my first project as an independent artist. So I wrote five songs, hired a producer, and recorded an EP. After recording the EP, I began researching how to duplicate and package my product. With product in hand, I sold numerous copies at singing engagements locally. By the end of 2009, I had multiple streams of income from The Inside Out Company, The Musik Institute, and Inspired Soul Music. I was on a roll and enjoying my local success, but deep down I knew there was so much more.
By the year 2010, I was ready to launch the second phase of Inspired Soul Music International, producing local concerts, and For Our Daughters (FOD), "Breaking the Cycle of Domestic Violence Through The Arts", was born. The inspiration behind FOD, came from my personal life tragedies. The first, which I share in my book The Endurance Ride of Life Vol 1., occurred in 1992, at the hands of my stepfather who murdered my mother, sexually assaulted me, and stabbed me thirteen times, leaving me for dead. After surviving the traumatic event, I moved through life by the grace of God. In 1999 I became a young wife and mother who would eventually leave the marriage, for my daughters, because of domestic violence.
Anxious to share my story of tragedy to triumph with the world, in 2013, I wrote and self published my first inspirational work, The Endurance Ride of Life under my independent publishing company Food For The Soul Publishing. Since releasing my book, I have been on a quest to share my story and my song with the world and I will not give up until my ultimate vision is actualized. Today, with five successful brands under my belt, I am re-evaluating and re-launching. Still holding tightly to the most precious gift that I have as a vocalist, I still believe there is more. With sixteen years of entrepreneurial experience under my belt, I'm anxiously anticipating what's next for me.
Excerpt from The Endurance Ride of Life Volume 2 "Fruitful" #ERLV2
8/25/2016 10:21:21 am
What a motivational and inspiring story Chi. I look forward to the read. God has truly blessed and I am ever grateful that our paths have crossed both for myself and my daughters. Continued Success and unprecedented Favor in your future endeavors.
8/30/2016 11:23:14 am
Thank you soooooo much! Tell Jennifer I said hello.
8/26/2016 06:40:59 pm
Chi, I am so proud of you. I had no idea. May God continue to bless and keep you and those you touch. If you ever want to expand your messages to the young girls in Detroit, please do not hesitate to call me. Much success.
8/30/2016 11:22:03 am
Thank you! I would love too! Please email me at email@example.com. I'll send you a program I'd like to tour in February 2017.
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Life long journal keeper who is now ready to share my story with the world!