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FIVE YEARS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP

WOW! I can’t believe it’s been five years since I branched out on my own to be an entrepreneur.  I’ve never told how I started and even today, I won’t share everything because it’s for the book (wink), but in short I was FIRED.   If I go all the way back to when I started this stint of entrepreneurship it was back in March of 2013, I was working as the Director of Development for a University.  I decided to take my tax refund and invest it in starting my fashion and beauty business. I started a company called ICONIC LIFESTYLE INC. I began with cosmetics, namely nail polish.  I found a company that would take my swatches and turn them into nail polish, thus the brand ICONIC LUXURY NAIL COLOUR was born. While working I took classes and went to seminars on the weekend, I got up at 4 am every morning to work on my business and blog. In May of 2013, I attended the Success Tour in Atlanta, GA hosted by Dr. Stacia Pierce. There I made another investment to attend her Success Conference in Orlando later that summer.  I came home and drew up a 5 year plan and I was going to leave my well-paying fundraising job in 5 years and be a full-time entrepreneur. Shortly after I returned from the Success Tour in GA I was called into the office by the VP.  The school was going through scandal and money problems and they were letting go of the last hired… me.  My 5-year plan went up in smoke! I was scared and at the same time I thought… what if this is my sign, what if this is my chance.  I never wanted someone to take the power of providing for myself or my son away from me again.  My VP knew the decision was wrong and offered to help get me  a job with one of our contacts that supported the school, but I declined.  I finished my last month and on August 31, 2013 I never looked back to corporate again.  All I had was my fashion blog that I began in March, my supply of nail polish, a halfway written ebook called Manic Monday Makeover and notes, videos and information from Dr. Stacia.  I filed for unemployment and lived off of that for a little.

In September 2013 after blogging for six months I received an invitation from Hearst Media’s Lucky Magazine to attend their coveted Lucky FAB Conference in NYC.  I finished writing my ebook (I had enough time.. lol) and thought this was a great opportunity to promote it to other fashion and beauty bloggers while in NYC the following month.  During this time I was able to actually cover NYFW (from home) in year’s prior I couldn’t because of work and all I could do was catch the highlights, but this year I was able to watch every single show from NY to Paris and create content for my blog. I was happy and I felt confident I was doing what I was supposed to do. I attended the Lucky FAB conference later in October, I networked and met bloggers from all around the country.  It was surreal! Celebrity speakers , fashion powerhouses, and a couple hundred girls who were just like me who loved fashion and wanted to learn more! After I came home I was inspired to promote my ebook so I called local news outlets and received no interest until I DM’d on Facebook (the power of social media is REAL)  the local NBC morning show, My Carolina Today.  I was invited to come in and speak with the Executive Producer.  I put together a press kit and went to my meeting and the first thing the EP said was … we can’t promote your book. LOL my heart sank in my chest and I was confused as to why I was there.  She continued and said, we did see your Youtube channel (talking about my nail polish and reviewing it)  and your blog and we think you will be perfect to do a fashion segment.  SAY WHAT?! (is what I said inside) I had no idea what that was, I seen it done but I didn’t know how to do it.  I promptly said okay! What’s the theme. She said, “Holiday Party Do’s and Don’ts” and we will air LIVE on December 5th.  I feverishly write down everything she says.  She ends the conversation with, “We’ve had others do this and they can’t stay on a schedule because they have full-time jobs, are you able to do this for us monthly?” I smiled and said, yes! This is my full-time job!  All I asked for this amazing opportunity was that they share the segment with me so I can add it to my YouTube channel and they agreed.

Fast forward 3 years, I had been the Style and Fashion expert for the NBC affiliate every month for three years, I wrote more books and because of my relationship I was able to promote my book finally :) I took that opportunity and parlayed it into being a Fashion Editor for a local magazine, styling for brands, blogging for brands, finally attending NYFW and having the freedom to develop my business into whatever I wanted it to be.  I had NONE of this when I started. This  is my encouragement to you all reading this LEAP! You will know when it’s time.  Life will laugh at your plans and set them on fire, you can look at them burn or you can go with the flow and roast marshmallows for a sweet new journey.  I remember what DVF said, she said I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I knew the woman I wanted to be.

Now in total transparency it’s been the hardest five years of my life, harder than playing basketball ( yes I played basketball competitively from 8th grade to college) and harder than college! I have lost cars, a home, my husband, many friends, family members have passed, bad business deals, betrayl and people stealing my ideas, I’ve lost more money than I have made, we’ve been without and as a single mother I have not been able to give my son all that I want sometimes BUT GOD ! I am the happiest and the most confident I have ever been in my entire life.  I would do it over again and in these 5 years the way my business has changed so much, I have done it over and over again.  Now I am evolving into my purpose in this fashion business and I am excited to teach young girls how to do it for themselves at the age they are now.  I still get scared, like now, I am scared they won’t show up for my classes, I am scared I will pour more money into this business and be without again but I’m LEAPING anyway but this time with more wisdom, knowledge and a greater faith than ever before.  Next chapter, Miss April Fashion Girlpreneur. Here’s to another 5 years of entrepreneurship, I am so proud of you, April… you GO girl :) !

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