It's not just about good service, it is about loving your customer.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
Should a restaurant take the extra step to ensure customers have a great experience? Yes! Will provides a prospective.
Business was not my first choice, but the best one.
Stan: When did you start baking?
Lisa: Around 2007 or 2008. I started experiencing issues with my stomach that I could not figure out. For years I ignored it, but as it got worse and worse, I had to see a doctor. Visit after visit, they found nothing. One day I heard that someone found relief by being gluten free. I had baked as a kid but nothing too serious. I looked up recipes and practiced and practiced. I wanted a healthy snack that I could share with my family. I made the cookie bars first, then granola. My friends and family, who were not granola eaters, ate it up!
I started baking as a business in 2016. I rented out a commercial kitchen to make sure I met the standards set by those who would buy from me.
Stan: When did you know this was a gift or talent from GOD?
Lisa: I felt a calling from GOD first to go on a mission’s trip to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, it was shortly after that, I began to understand that GOD had bigger plans for me than working in Federal Law Enforcement. Baking became a late talent because of necessity. I had to do something. Instead of looking at celiac as an issue, GOD enabled me to develop a new strength.
Stan: When did you accept the LORD?
Lisa: I accepted the Lord as a child being baptized at Grant Memorial AME Church in Chicago, then again a few years ago with Westbrook Christian Church being baptized in what we called our Splash Bash with my husband, and renewing that acceptance by being baptized in the Jordan River in Jerusalem in 2019.
Stan: What adversities did GOD bring you through that you don’t mind sharing?
Lisa: After working for the federal government for years, I ran into a leader who I and others did not agree with. "Is it just me" I wondered. I was a department head and my employees, who were usually flexible, were very concerned about the new direction. I decided to speak up. That did not go well under this administration. I was reassigned from my position as a supervisor and made to stay home from work using my own leave. I could not believe it. Me, a veteran employee, targeted by the new leadership for not going along to get along. I wasn't the only one to speak up. Another department head tried and was sent to another division outside the institution. That person retired and shortly thereafter, passed away. This was a very difficult time for me. Without GOD’s mercy and guidance, I would not have made it through that dilemma, and to top it off my mother passed away. She is "Ms. P" by the way. My company is a tribute to her. GOD held me, walked with me and carried me through each of these trying times in my life.
Stan: What advice would you give entrepreneurs?
To buckle down and prepare for the long game, entrepreneurship teaches more about thyself than anything else, and with GOD all things are possible! Go for IT!
Stan: What plans do you have for your company?
MsPsGFree plans to continue to grow in retail with Whole Foods Markets, get into other retail establishments, growing from local, to regional to national. Our desire is to become the trusted, well respected and well-liked brand for delicious, nutritious and healthy gluten-free products worldwide. We began with a dream, moved to a concept, then on to fabulous products, on retail shelves. We have gone from corrections to confections! We want to spread the love of GOD to the nation through our snacks.
Knowing my gift came from GOD wasn't an "ah ha" moment for me.
Stan: When did you start doing hair?
Coral: When I was 4, my sister purchased a play salon set for my niece, who is 6 months younger than me. When I saw it, it was as if heaven opened up for me. I immediately told my niece to "Go get some scissors, I have to cut your bangs!"
(Bangs are strands or locks of hair that fall over the scalp's front hairline to cover the forehead)
We both got in trouble but the bangs were a hit! My niece wore bangs for many years after. By the time I was 9, I had my first weekly client. Ms. Johnson, a widow who lived on the first floor of our apartment building, would sometimes watch me do my friends hair. One day she asked me if I could do her hair. My immediate response was "Yes!" Ms. Johnson paid me $5 every Friday night to braid her hair. That's when I realized I could monetize this thing I loved so much.
I officially started doing hair when I got my first salon job as a shampoo girl in 1981, when I was 14 years old. Prior to that, I braided hair for all my friends in the neighborhood, which was a very diverse group of young people. Boys and girls from many different ethnicities would come to me to do their hair. I guess you could say I always had an affinity for hair.
Coral: My mother would read from a pocket Bible to me when I was five. I curiously went to the church on the corner of 57th and University in Chicago, by myself at age 7. It was down the street from where I lived in Hyde Park. I would pass this church on my daily walks to school. I was learning about GOD, but did not know about spiritual gifts.
Knowing my gift came from GOD wasn't an "ah ha" moment for me, it was more of an "ordering my steps" kinda thing. I did not realize GOD was guiding me. After 8th grade graduation I worried about my future. I was 14 and my parents made it clear that support would be cut off at age 18. "What do I want to do when I grow up?" was the deep burning question I had. I quieted down and asked "What do I love to do?" "Hair!" was the answer that came to mind and I said it out loud. The moment I made that statement, the phone rang.
It was my friend Chris calling to ask what I was doing and if I could come meet his uncle, who was a hairstylist, who needed a shampoo assistant. I was shocked! It was like lightning had shot up through my bones. I quickly got dressed, didn't even finish my favorite cereal or cartoons to run to Chris's house and secure my first professional salon job, which paid me $200 a week.
By 16, I assisted Bernard Johnson of the famed Ultra Sheen Dynasty, and by 18, I was licensed and working at the beautiful Nieman Marcus salon at North Michigan Avenue, Chicago.” After 10 years of working retail and private salons, I felt I had learned enough to give salon ownership a try for myself.
Coral: The day was Sunday, August 8th 1997, it's a great story that I tell people in my salon!
Coral: When I was divorced, I was left alone with three kids, a business and three months behind in rent. I did not know what to do but pray. It seemed impossible for quite a while, but little by little I was able to make it. GOD provided every opportunity, and still does.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
I cling to this.
Using our GOD-given gift of sewing to minister to many.
Stan: When did you start sewing as a business?
Lisa: We started our business in 2003. We started off making hats and purses and then later added crochet accessories.
Recently, I was inspired for Mother's day to create bowls.
Lisa: Years ago, mom and I did a trade show as usual. But this time something was different. The LORD showed me my business was a ministry. I said to people that we are available for prayer. Do you know, many people returned later that day, asking for prayer. We prayed right on the spot. It opened my eyes that this is more than selling. It was really eye opening. After my father passed away many people we prayed for showed up to the funeral. They became our friends beyond being our customers. We are honored to use our hands as a gift.
Judith: - I'm 81 and I am blessed to still be using my hands for the LORD.
Lisa: At age 7. And still growing every day.
Lisa: We do a lot of craft shows, and the pandemic cancelled all of our shows. The LORD opened doors. We wound up making face masks for safety and we got a contract making masks. This brought us new customers we never would have had. It just shows how the LORD will always make a way out of no way.
Be consistent. Never give up. And keep learning to make your product better. But first and foremost ask the LORD for direction. Give your best.
Stan: When did you start writing resumes as a business?
Nickquolette: I started my business May 25, 2014, in honor of my deceased mom's birthday. Prior to that I had helped many people with their resumes.
Nickquolette: I worked and ran a business. It was not until my employees, on my job, told me I should write resumes for a business based on the success they had with my writing and interview prep skills. My entire team received promotions with two receiving a $14K increase in their salaries. At that point, I knew it was God talking saying you have to help people externally.
Nickquolette: I accepted the Lord at the age of 18 as a freshman in college and never looked back.
Nickquolette: Losing three pregnancies (one I had to bury) before being able to have a child, not being able to have any more after her, and losing my mom suddenly at the age of 59 years old. These all had me holding on to God for dear life. If it wasn't for my faith, I would have been lost.
Be resilient and don't try to be like everyone else. Do what's best for you. And create a financial plan so your business stays afloat in tough times.
I am in the midst of revamping my business model, processes, workflows, and website for the better. In addition, I have two unfinished books I want to complete before the end of the year. The latter will free up time for me to do that.
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