I honor, love and admire my parents. Both of them are mid-century warriors who stared racial and gender inequality in the eye and came out on top. Or in the middle really. They toed the line, shined at what they did, and then retired. As was expected of their generation. Success to them was getting a good job to support their family. Whether that job was fulfilling or personally satisfying was completely irrelevant. Make sure it pays the bills; that’s what’s important.
They humored my desires to do, be, have, and create more, but didn’t foster them. That wasn’t a “bad thing” though; they were following what they were encouraged to do, which was to fit in. That wasn’t me. That isn’t me. That will never be me. I fully appreciate and respect their upbringings and what they had to go through. Without their struggles, I wouldn’t be who (or how) I am today. But I do not desire their status quo.
I have a full-time job as a Customer Support Representative. You know, the person you call when you’re upset with a company. (I mean really, who calls a place to tell them how awesome they have been and wanted to show their appreciation?) I have been doing this type of work for 10+ years and I’m good at it. Is it fulfilling? Nope. Is it personally satisfying? Not by any measure. Does it pay the bills and support my family? Above and beyond what I could imagine. At the same time, it also affords me a measure of peace that I have never had at a job before. I have yet to feel stressed or burned out there. As a matter of fact, this job allows me the freedom to redistribute my energy and focus to be able to successfully run both Red Shoe and Cerulean Virtual simultaneously. I joked on an Instagram Reel that doing all three plus momming and wifing were hard. They’re not easy, but they’re not hard. There’s a reason for that.
I’m operating in my gift.
Talking to people is my gift. Peopling is my gift. That is what provides my base. Baking is my calling. It’s what satisfies and brings joy to me and to others. Building sites is personally fulfilling in that it’s helping others get ahead using another talent God has given me. My chosen occupations provide the fulfillment and satisfaction I need, and through them I consider myself successful. Being employed – and good at the job – is a blessing that I do not take for granted, but it’s not the part of my life I’ll look back on and say, “That’s what did it for me…” God gifted me with two ears, one mouth and a sanctified brain between them. I will continue to use this gift until He sees fit for me to do otherwise.
That’s why this isn’t a difficult life.
When I was trying to make RSC my primary income, it was hard. VERY hard. It was like nothing was falling in place right (because there was no right place, yet). I had huge ideas and a budget equally, but conversely, as small. I know God gave me this business to thrive, but I refused to listen when he kept telling me “Not yet, it’s not your turn.” I was Veruca Salting all over the place! “I want it now, Daddy! Now!” and was dancing on the judgment bed before I opened my ears and listened. (If this whole line of visuals is lost on you, click here.) I had to step back from caking to see that I wasn’t ready for what He had in store, so I wasn’t allowed to have it yet.
Cerulean kind of fell in my lap. It’s been an amazing venture for me, exercising graphic muscles I didn’t know I had, allowing my right brain to co-author some of the work with my left brain, and tapping into knowledge I had forgotten I had. All of this with the end goal NOT of making money, but helping small businesses put a cleaner, more polished face forward in their niches. Is it a coincidence that all of the companies I’ve built for were God-loving, minority-owned small businesses? Nope. Did I target them? Nope. Did God bring them to me? You bet.
Are either of these the cash cow that I can retire on? Nope. But they will give the financial cushion that I and my family deserve. More than money though, these two provide me with the fulfillment of my dreams. My father cautioned me, “Don’t let them (the businesses) get in the way of your job,” which assumed that the job carried a greater weight or value. In his mind, and rightly so, it does, because entrepreneurship isn’t a guaranteed paycheck. Entrepreneurship doesn’t pay your mortgage or car notes. But if you consider that every job you take is with a company that an entrepreneur manifested, you can begin to see the value in this endeavor!
I don’t strive to run Fortune 500 companies. I’m trying hard to stay out of corporate America now! My desire, my goal, my dream is to run two businesses that make a respectable profit filling the needs of the people. Not the masses, the people. I don’t want my cakes stuffed full of preservatives and artificial flavors just to be on the shelf at Walmart. I don’t want a crew of coding geeks in an open loft workspace plugging away mindlessly building 1k sites a month. That’s not my idea of success. Success is Claudine calling me every Christmas to make her Rhum Raisin cake because it reminds her of her island home at the holidays. Success is helping Regina’s business double its profits because her site is easier to shop on now. Success is providing free virtual services to Vanessa because she’s referred me to 10 new clients. That is being successful. My definition and parents’ definitions will never be the same. And that’s totally ok.
Because that is me.