I'm on my 10th anniversary since I started and registered a business in 2010, and now it's 2020, 10 years later, and I'm going to share with you my entire journey and some tips on what I would do differently.
At the time, I worked full retail time as a visual merchandiser, which was all about styling and merchandising products. It was not what I wanted to do with the rest of my life because I had a degree in religious studies, and I didn't know what to do with it. I'm a coach by profession right now, and I was always fascinated with the universe, God, and spirit. That's why I studied religion and different cultures, and philosophy was a big part of my studies.
When I graduated, I was like, "What do I do?" My options were to become a pastor, a minister, counsellor, family counsellor, and all of these things I did consider, but all didn't feel right. At the time, my mom struggled with a mental illness, and I supported her that way. My high school sweetheart and I were so passionately in love, and we were ready to get married. It was an exciting journey for me in the beginning. I knew that I had to get into a career that would allow me time flexibility to grow my family. I saw myself having kids, and I saw myself helping my mom with her health. I also wanted to inspire in significant ways. I wanted to help people.
The biggest thing for me was that I didn't want to work for anybody. I am a little bit of a rebel, and I wanted to wake up on my own time, do things on my own time, make as much money as I wanted, didn't want to answer to anybody, and so I just knew that I had to do something like start a business or entrepreneurship.
In my last year of high school, I remember researching careers before I went into university, and I ended up doing this quiz and this questionnaire. The questionnaire listed the top three things that I'd be good at, and the first thing that came up was entrepreneurship. Mind you. This is ten years ago when entrepreneurship wasn't a cool thing or widely taught as an extraordinary career path. When I read "entrepreneurship" at the top, I was like, "What the heck's that?" So I just skipped over it. So funny, because that's what I am now. The second thing was an actor, and then the third thing was a graphic designer or something artistic.
It was interesting because when I saw those three things, it was like, "Entrepreneur, what the heck's that? Who wants to be a business owner?" I didn't know about this world. I was like, "Yes, I want to be an actor," because that was always a dream. I had that limiting belief that " Actors don't make money, artists don't make money." So that list was like, even though I did the quiz, and it was off, like, "What would you be good at?" I just dismissed it.
I changed my major four times before I decided that, "Okay, I'm just going to study philosophy," because that's the only thing that meant anything to me, inspiration, the meaning of life, you know, spirituality. I just got my degree in that, and that was that.
Here I am, done with my degree, with my paper, and I'm like, "What do I do?" because I was working retail, I was styling people who were delighted by my styling abilities. I'd always get asked if I did this for a living. I was like, "Yeah, maybe I could." And so, I remember researching, and I found a career track called image consulting, so I went to study and get certified as an image consultant because it was so cool. It had a mixture of creativity with styling and fashion. It also had personal development and communication and how to present yourself and the inspirational mindset element to things that I'm really into. I then got a certificate in image consulting, and then I was like, "I'm starting my business," right?
I then worked full retail time, finished my certificate, then was like, "Okay, I'm going to quit my job and start my business." the first thing I did was, you know, let me try to go part-time and transition into promoting myself and getting clients and things like that. I switched and worked for a call center that paid well, and that was part-time. It has corporate opportunities, but it wasn't really in the retail sector. It was in the head office, so I had a nice comfy seat and excellent benefits, even though it was part-time, part-time to full-time. It was like, "Yeah, okay, let me do this and build my business on the side."
Marketing was overwhelming; it was huge. You know, branding, marketing, business, accounting, who knows this stuff, right? They didn't teach you this stuff in school in 2010. In the marketplace in terms of education where I grew up, there wasn't an emphasis on those topics. I remember a lot of my building business efforts were learning, like taking courses. I hired so many mentors, so many different types of coaches. I've taken almost every program under the sun. I've spent thousands of dollars on business and personal development. It is insane.
The learning was happening, but guess what? There was still a struggle. I would find that some months I would have money, and other months I would not. It was definitely like an entrepreneurial roller coaster, and I knew that something had to change. I then went through a series of breakthroughs in my business. In terms of timelines, I had a good three to even five years of struggle.
My breakthrough came when I got pregnant. I was on my mat leave, and I've already had my baby by this time, and I was building, still building my business while I was pregnant too, and I was at peace. My mat leave was almost up. I remember thinking to myself, "There is absolutely no way that I can have a semi full-time job, baby, be taking care of my mom." Who, I was supporting her with her health. It would be hard to be an amazing wife to come home to with all that on my plate. Because if you're working that hard, there are no leftovers for the hubby. I remember being like, "Girl, you better get your business off the ground before your mat leave ends because there's no way you're going to be starting a business, taking care of kids and everybody else. I decided to quit my job and get my business off the ground.
I honestly did what I did because I had been doing different types of things like image consulting, but there where are so many skillsets that I had with my certifications as I learned so much about communication, I learned so much about how to build rapport. I had taken so many courses in marketing to get my own business off the ground. I ended up finding a small niche around marketing communications for business owners. Suppose come to you with sometimes you don't need to know the "how" first; it's about making the decision and then the "how," you got to trust God, and you got to trust that the universe that we're in is designed to support us. The answer came, and it was like, okay, focus on business owners who need to invest in their communication skills, image, and getting business up.
The first breakthrough for me was mindset because when I put myself out there, there was still a sense of me not being good enough for it. I had the thought of me being a newbie still. I looked super young when I started, I was in my early twenties, and just asking people for money, telling them my rates, being a people-pleaser, discounting myself, giving discounts, all that type of stuff was an issue. I had a breakthrough, and what that breakthrough was, was I committed to doing a personal development program that was a significant investment. It was like the tuition of a university. It was good. I don't know, five grand at the time. I remember using my last bit of funds to do that, and this was a bit scary because when you are depleting your savings. You're living paycheck to paycheck to try to make your dream work. It was scary for me to put that money down, but I invested in myself, and I went into the coaching designation program.
I did this because I wanted to learn more about myself and how can I genuinely tap into my potential, and it was game-changing for me. Not only did I get advanced certifications as a master coach, with the ability to board designate people in coaching and all of that, but I also applied the skills that I learned to myself and the thought processes and the strategies to myself as well.
After going through that program, and it was full time, three months, paying multiple big checks to do this, I went on a payment plan to finish the program. After finishing a good 90 days of that, I remember selling my first $10,000 client, like on a call, paid in full. The person was across the other side of the world, so it had nothing to do with being in person or developing rapport, developing a long-term relationship. No leads, no funnels, any of those gadget thingies. It was just like, " You know it's 10K, right?" And like, whoa, wired that over, and it was good. I was like, "Wow, that mindset breakthrough did it for me, changed everything for me." That was my first breakthrough.
My breakthrough on visibility, getting out there for the world to see me. This is how this went. I remember I had colleagues who were coaches and master coaches, and I remember having a level of success, like being able to close these big contracts, finally getting some cash flow in, some momentum as a consultant. I was in conversation with a coach, a colleague of mine. I was like, "You know, I feel like there's a level that I need to push through, a breakthrough in my business." I knew it was around visibility and getting out there and putting myself out there. Mind you. I was a lover of acting and performance. I had already been a professional image consultant, so it was interesting to see how there was a logical conscious knowing but an unconscious fear of still actually doing it because sometimes you know what to do, but you're scared to do it. We did a technique, In which I showed people how to do this in my program. After we did that mindset technique, I remember instantly. I had mucus coming from my nose. Usually, in the philosophy that I work with, any time you're releasing water or mucus or a headache or something like that, it has to do with releasing a limiting belief from the unconscious level. When we did that technique, it was a two-minute technique, and instantly, It was like, mucus just dropped like water from my nose. I definitely released something.
It was about three days after. I had a very spiritual experience that happened where I heard God, right. I'm a very spiritual person. I felt God's inspiration to start a TV show. In a couple of weeks, I managed to put together a production that was broadcast across Ontario and other parts of Canada. It was also airing in the Caribbean, which gave me so much more exposure to my business. I finally found myself earning what I wanted to earn. It was brilliant.
After two seasons of producing this TV show, I had just done an incredible interview with Les Brown, the best speaker of all time. I remember sitting and being like, "There's more; there's still more." The last thing that I needed in my breakthrough as an entrepreneur was the permission to really do and have everything I wanted. The last thing that I didn't have was the freedom to go and be an actor and a creative, which is, again, what I mentioned in the beginning. Here I am in my thirties, and I'm like, "Really, Cherene? Like, I know you started a TV show, I know you're on video, I know you're inspiring, and you're doing all these great things, and now you're going to go into acting too?" And I said yes. I said yes to myself.
Here I am now. It's only been a year and a half in my acting career, but I went back and did classes, and I got an incredible agent, and then I booked some big deals. As we speak now, I'm excited because there are a good four or five commercials just circulating the world. People are texting me every day in Canada, saying, "Oh, I saw your commercial." In the USA, in the Caribbean, "Oh, I saw your commercial." And it's just phenomenal. I managed to do a TV show as well, which will be out a year from now. I did some short films, and it was just all said and done, and when I look back over my journey of deciding that, you know, I'm going to be an entrepreneur. I'm going to start a business. I'm going to quit my job. I trust that everything's going to come together; 10-years later, I'm looking at my 10th anniversary right now in 2020.
As you know, 2020 was a pandemic. We are still in a pandemic at the time of this recording. It has been my best year ever. I feel so good about it. Having those three breakthroughs, which I would say is the mindset, then allowing myself to be visible, and the third is to truly have it all, do what I want, have the pleasure of the time freedom, the business entrepreneurship, and then the creative liberty of just having the life that I want just was amazing.
Now, ten years later, I'm still expanding. I'm still growing. Everything's not perfect. I'm in the best place that I could be in. I'm excited about the programs that I have for people, the mentorship program that I have for new entrepreneurs, new startups that are in the position of making that decision of quitting their job and starting their business, or, I like to say, transitioning into business. I get lit up with helping entrepreneurs, helping creatives grow their brand, market themselves, get visible, expand themselves, and serve more people. It's just been a phenomenal experience.
If you are someone that is genuinely wanting to break through and have your vision manifested now, I encourage you to take the step to make the decision. You can do it. All the answers will never come to you before you decide; you just got to make it.
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