I wish someone told me to hire a business coach. I’m a chronic researcher. I spend countless hours researching a subject matter. In the beginning I felt as if I had to because no one in my family had ever been an entrepreneur. I had to learn everything about my craft and the business I was developing. As an entrepreneur, time is money. I lost out on quite a bit of money researching. However had I hired a coach, I would be much further along in business and they would’ve saved me tons of time and the loss in potential revenue.
As a part of our series about entrepreneurs who transformed something they did for fun into a full-time career, I had the pleasure of interviewing Annette J. Morris, M.A. a Professional Mental Health Counselor/Coach, Certified Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, Published Author, Entrepreneur and Business Consultant. Her favorite quote which is the philosophy she lives by is “you will get all you want in life if you help enough people get what they want” by the late Zig Ziglar. Her professional career is focused solely on helping others to either accomplish their goals as an entrepreneur or in life as a whole. Although Annette has accomplished a lot in life, she had very humble beginnings. She was reared for 23 years in a local housing project by a single mother and had to overcome many obstacles on this journey called life. I spite of all that she’s endured, her past has helped to form the Annette of the present. Annette is a first-generation college graduate. She earned a Bachelors of Art Degree in Psychology from Southern University of New Orleans and a Masters of Art Degree from Xavier University of Louisiana. She’s the Owner/Lead Consultant of Goal Getter, LLC. Annette has also published three books Conquering the EneME, Live Free: Creating the Streams to Live Your Dreams, Everyday’s a New Day: Daily Positive Affirmations for Positive Daily Living and Streams Reloaded: The entrepreneur’s guide to multiple streams of income. She also co-authored a project entitled I Want to Quit My Job: 8 Entrepreneurial Tips for Massive Results While Employed and Favor in Failure. Annette is a mother, wife, daughter, friend and confidant but above all she’s most excited about being a saved and a child of the most high God.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
I had a happy childhood. In spite of being raised by a single mother in one of the local housing projects in New Orleans I still had a happy childhood. We didn’t have much money at all but we never missed a meal and my mother loved and provided for us as best as she could. It wasn’t until my teen years I realized we were poor and that’s because my mom assured our necessities were met and my siblings and I didn’t lack anything. My mother was firm and education was of the utmost importance therefore school and academics were top priority in our home. There were moments in the day everyday where I had to read, I had to spend 30 minutes a day practicing typing, most of the games she purchased were learning games (ex. Scrabble. Speak and Math, etc.). I feel as though she felt education was the key to escaping poverty for her kids and her theory proved to be true.
What was the catalyst from transforming your hobby or something you love into a business? Can you share the story of your “ah ha” moment with us?
I love empowering people. I especially love helping people to align their lives with their passion and purpose and to monetize it. In other words I love teaching people to do what I figured out how to do make profits from my passion. I can recall many years ago when I started as a full-time entrepreneur, I started out working with youth in a non-profit. I then had many people contacting me to assist them with securing a non-profit, then I wrote a book and people started calling for help with publishing a book, etc. The more I did, the more people gravitated to me to ask for assistance. At the time I helped everyone for free. I was eager to do so because I was helping people to achieve their goals, awesome feeling. Then one of my clients one day asked well how much do you charge. When I said nothing, she wouldn’t hear of it and blessed me with something anyway. I then realized what I was doing as able to generate income and could be a business to help others convert their passion into a lucrative business. From April 27, 2012 I’ve been operating a business on a full-time basis from my passion.
There are no shortage of good ideas out there, but people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?
It was my persistent client that made me realize there was a demand for the service I was offering and the monetary value associated with it. Once I had the ah-ha moment the business was started and it was up from that day.
What advice would you give someone who has a hobby or pastime that they absolutely love but is reluctant to do it for a living?
What I realized in working with aspiring entrepreneurs is that many are fearful because they can’t see the earning potential of their hobby or passion. We’ve started providing Goal Getter Strategy Sessions which identifies the hobby/passion of that particular individual and help them to identify five streams of income.
It’s said that the quickest way to take the fun out of doing something is to do it for a living. How do you keep from changing something you love into something you dread? How do you keep it fresh and enjoyable?
I don’t believe your passion will leave you however I do believe the monotony of anything will allow boredom or even frustration to set in. Infusing several streams of income gives me the opportunity to do something different. For example, my business provides grant writing and business plan development services, Business Coaching and consulting, tshirt printing, I teach classes for grant writing, business plan development and tshirt printing services, Passion 2 Profit strategy sessions, compliance consulting for Behavioral Health programs and non-profit development. The business offers several options for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs. When one starts to overwhelm me, in most cases I have a client in the pipeline for one of the other services and will work on that project. When I need an escape from it all, I print tshirts because it’s actually my therapy.
What is it that you enjoy most about running your own business? What are the downsides of running your own business? Can you share what you did to overcome these drawbacks?
I absolutely love being an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship gives me a ton of flexibility that I can’t have while working a job. This flexibility helps me to care for my 84 year old mother and be flexible for my husband and kids. The downside to entrepreneurship is the inconsistency in revenue when starting out. If you don’t work, if your company is not providing a service or selling a product you will not generate income. In order to combat the lull in income generation, you as the business owner must be visible often and brand yourself in order to brand the business and get people to support the business monetarily.
Can you share what was the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?
In my mind, “If I built it, they would come”. In reality I built it and they did not. Well at least not until I marketed the business more and stop sitting back waiting for them to just come to me. I thought entrepreneurship would be easy because I provide products and services that people need. Unfortunately, even when people realize they have a need you must convince them that you’re the one to fulfill the need. Entrepreneurship is hard but rewarding.
Has there ever been a moment when you thought to yourself “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to get a “real” job? If so how did you overcome it?
I tell my clients I quit at least 3 times a day(lolol). It appears when I throw in the towel, God picks it back up and throw it back to me. There were many times I’ve wanted to quit and thought with a job my life would be so much easier. I know when my paydays are, I have off days, paid vacation, etc. Then I remind myself of my WHYs! I remember why I started it, I remember that no one will pay me what I’m worth and remind myself that the good of this journey far outweigh the bad.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I first started as a full time entrepreneur 8 years ago, I had the fear of running out of money which is probably a fear for us all. I started doing a little of everything, hustling to make sure we had money to pay bills, eat, etc. I started out as an entrepreneur helping people which is my passion, but I also know how to bake cakes. Therefore I started baking cakes and generating money. I know how to cook well and started getting request for cooked meals for parties, etc- yes I started doing some catering. I was all over the place in the name of hustling and making money. That was so crazy I nearly drove myself bananas and confused the hell out of those following me. My followers thought I did everything just a Jack (Jill) of all trades. One of my clients even said it. He was in a meeting with another client and somehow my name came up and he said “I’m sure if I asked Ms. Annette to build a house she could”…but I can’t. So that prompted me to make my message clear and to get and stay in my lane of genius.
Who has inspired or continues to inspire you to be a great leader? Why?
I remember my WHYs and that’s the ultimate inspiration however I often have people that come to me or call me and say how they’ve been watching me and it motivates them to keep pushing, it gives them determination and my life gives them hope. Those are the times I’m most humbled and understand my purpose is to help others get to theirs.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
Yes I use my success daily to inspire others via social media, in person, on the phone and when I ‘m doing motivational speeches. I’m always inspiring others while encouraging them to identify their passion and monetize it no matter on a full time or part time basis. I feel when people are motivated and inspired that can be their best!
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- I wish someone told me to hire a business coach. I’m a chronic researcher. I spend countless hours researching a subject matter. In the beginning I felt as if I had to because no one in my family had ever been an entrepreneur. I had to learn everything about my craft and the business I was developing. As an entrepreneur, time is money. I lost out on quite a bit of money researching. However had I hired a coach, I would be much further along in business and they would’ve saved me tons of time and the loss in potential revenue.
- I wish someone told me how to properly monetize the business. One thing the research I did taught me was the need to diversify my business. I started to understand why and how to infuse different streams of revenue in my business. Reason being, is when your patrons are exhausted or no longer need one particular service or product you offer, you’ll have something else to accommodate them.
- I wish someone told me to identify my target population and focus on them. Starting out, my goal was to service anyone that was paying. As I further developed into entrepreneurship, I realized I can’t service everyone and the group I’m most passionate about is Female Entrepreneurs ages 36–45
- I wish someone told me that failure is a necessary part of the process. Failure is ultimately discouraging. Sometimes failure has made me want to quit and just stop altogether. However, now that I’m older I see failure as simply a part of the process. Failure is not THE END it’s THE LESSON!!!
- I wish someone told me that overthinking is expensive. Overthinking I’m certain has caused me some opportunities. I’ve either talk myself out of it when I overthink it or simply won’t do it.
What person wouldn’t want to work doing something they absolutely love. You are an incredible inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Passion 2 Profit Movement. This movement is to help individuals identify their passion and purpose and steps to monetizing the gift.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite which is what I live by is “you will get all you want in life if you help enough people get what they want” by the late Zig Ziglar.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Yes Oprah Winfrey!!!
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.
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