Shortly thereafter, I was offered the opportunity to run a start-up nonprofit. My experience to that point was mostly administrative and I had no idea of the ride I was in for.
We had no programs, very little money, no business plan, and an inexperienced board of directors. This turned out to be a recipe for disaster (for me)!!!
After winning a few small grants and delivering a few programs for about a year there was still not enough money or traction to keep the business afloat. In the end, my board of directors forced me to resign and I was much worse off than when I started. I accumulated so much debt not earning a salary that I had to file bankruptcy. I ended up homeless, jobless and defeated. I was certain this was my life path. Yet, I had failed so miserably.
In most cases and in my case, hindsight is 20/20 and I now realize that those experiences laid the foundation for what would be my consulting business today. I learned what to do and what not to do in building a successful nonprofit. I learned the importance of having a strong business model, earning revenues, and delivering strong programs with measurable outcomes.
After that I would go on to work for about a dozen other nonprofits, large and small. I would work in various departments and with many different types. The pay would be ok, the term would be short-lived but the work would be fulfilling and gratifying.
This phase of my life lasted a calm and steady five years. Then several layoffs, a wrongful termination and two years of a stressful commute later, I found myself angry and frustrated, feeling under appreciated, underpaid and overworked. I then decided I would start my own business. I figured I could start part-time, working in the evenings and on the weekends (while I kept my day job). I set a goal to work the business full time after two years. Well two years turned into just three months.
Three months later I was wrongfully terminated from my job and found myself thrust into my new business working 10-12 hour days to earn a living for myself. Although the work and responsibility was laborious and time consuming, I was proud and honored that I was committing to my dreams and not someone else's.
Going into business turned out to be the best thing for me. It's been 15 years and I have created an awesome life for myself. I get to do the work I love, get paid what I'm worth, and help others to do the same. It's my nirvana; my heaven on earth.
I'm Chataun R. Denis. Thank you for visiting.