I have had an entrepreneurial spirit for years even while I held down a regular 9-5. My dad groomed me on Think & Grow Rich. I wasn’t paying much attention, but he started planting entrepreneurial seeds in me some time in my early 20’s. That was when he got his brokers licenses to open his real estate firm, Unique & United. My dad was raised by a single mom in a time when blacks were still supposed to stay in their place. I can’t imagine there was much entrepreneurial nurturing for him.
One of my first jobs was working for my dad’s real estate company. I watched the ebb and flow of the real estate market dictate our financial lives. I used to think my dad stuck it out because he was too proud and arrogant to work for someone else. After becoming an entrepreneur myself, I now understand sticking it out during the tough times. It’s not something someone can prepare you for, and it’s not something you can learn. It’s based on your faith in yourself and what you’re doing.
It’s also based on your passion for what you do. To me, an entrepreneur is no different from a starving artist. You give all to your craft. What you’re doing creates a joy in you that even being broke can’t break. It’s giving your all to something that you want the world to experience. It’s a constant effort to take your best and make it better. It’s the freedom to not give a rats @$$ about those that don’t like it because you’re working for the ones that do.
Another thing my dad was keen on was education. That meant I had to go to college, go Bruins. I attended my first college classes the summer of ’83 right out of high school. I chose to major in Math/Computer Science. College for me was not the best. Actually, I hated it. That first summer I spent in the dorms I felt like I was in something straight out of Animal House. By my 3rd year I was holding down a 3.24 GPA, and I walked out on it without a second thought. I didn’t return to formal education until my 30’s by entering the ELAC Pace Program. I wanted something new and different for my life. I wasn’t going to find it in my government job.
What drew me to the PACE was their offsite campus was offered in the building where I worked. There was no worry about a commute, parking, or rushing to class. I would get up from my desk, walk straight across the hall, and boom, I was in my classroom.
When I started the program, they only offered liberal arts. No matter, it was just my stepping stone to a four-year program. When I was close to finishing they added a business track. Choosing to switch tracks meant adding another year to my sentence. I decided that year was worth paying less in tuition and putting off the long drive and parking drama of university life.
When I transferred to CSULA, I decided to focus on Personal Finance. Reason being I wanted to teach my folks about money, something sorely lacking in my upbringing. I had grown tired of broke folks decked out in designer labels with no money left for their wallets. I came to loathe the Christmas lay-a-way plans so many participated in. I didn’t know of any companies with this specialization, so PHPVP was born. Finding a passion certainly fueled the entrepreneur in me. What I don't know is if it was in my nature or if it was my dad's nurturing.
To further my financial education, I became a tax preparer for H&R Block. By working for Block, I truly learned the meaning of tax avoidance vs. tax evasion. I also learned a lot about how people treated their money. During my time as a tax preparer and office coordinator, I became so discouraged by how people viewed their financial future. Time and again I would try to persuade young adults to invest their money. I would explain how Uncle Sam held their money interest free all year but would charge penalties and interest if the roles were reversed. I would get upset at parents that used Earned Income Credit as their savings plan for a big shopping spree in January.
I struggled with PHPVP Financial Services for years. Not to make money but to get people to understand money. They refused to learn patience when it came to being financially responsible. They were always looking for the handout to afford their extravagance. They expected me to supply my services for free while they pieced together money for new designer whatever. They also couldn't afford to move out of their parent's house. Yes, I’m still bitter and will probably stay that way until they do better but life marches on.
Personal finance is still a passion of mind, and I teach it to my daughter. She has her own stock portfolio with stocks she chose. She checks them occasionally and will let me know when her shares rise or fall. When I speak at high schools I trying to teach the kids something about finance. I talk to them about starting a business while still in high school The high schools where I speaker is in communities where not everyone is prosperous so the mindset the children are to make money so that they can afford things. And we all know broke kids always want to buy their parents a house.
Fast forward to starting a business with my husband. Our partnership worked as long as it did because I was business and he was barbecue. I survived 10 years in my role as Mrs. Mista until I flipped the script. All the things I did and the relationships I created to build our empire was actually pulling me away. I attend meetings and training for possible business growth. While on a mission to grow our business, I was nurturing myself. I was all for being self-employed, but I wanted to do it based on my dreams, not my husbands. A great thing about my husband is when I made the decision to do my own thing, he made the decision to roll with me.
So when I look back, I believe I was always meant to be an entrepreneur. What I think was lacking was the proper nourishment. People tell you what you should be instead of finding out what you want to be. When I speak at high schools about Chasing Dollars Making Sense, I try to get them to see and understand their potential to be an entrepreneur, especially if they’re creative. I talk to them about showcasing their work on social media to build a following. They way they've established their brand before they even market their product. I challenge them to recognize the untapped possibility of making money at something they love before they even graduate.
Now as I continue to work and grow myself, my husband and I now work to nurture the next entrepreneur, our daughter. We gave her 10% of our corporation when we had the barbecue business. She was nine. She was always an employee of the corporation as a cashier. I helped her write her first book, Morgan Mischief. She was ten. We continue to expose her to different things to help her find her passion. While we stress the importance of knowledge, we do not think formal schooling is required. Depending on her chosen career path, we explain education is necessary but college isn't. Where you learn is not as important as what you learn and how.
When we moved from California, it ended her corporate ownership and her steady paycheck. She no longer has the income for her occasional wants. She asked if she could work at Jack-in-the-Box until she finds something new. I explained to her that I felt she was qualified, but if it isn’t our own family-owned business, she falls below the legal working age. You can check out our video Make Your Kids Work if you want to hear more about it.
She now takes care of a friends dog on occasion to make money. I made sure she created an invoice for her business. All it took was updating a pages template with her info. She hasn’t narrowed down her logo yet. Now whether she’ll grow into an entrepreneur or not is anyone's guess. I do know the nurturing of an entrepreneur will contain even if it's not in her nature.