Give us a little backstory about you.
I was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey. I was introduced to poetry in elementary school and began writing at a very young age. I found my love and passion for poetry amongst fellow poets at “Bogies” a small venue at the time, in East Orange, New Jersey. I’ve traveled to New York City, Philadelphia, Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina reciting poetry, of which I describe as sharing my gift/testimony.
It is through the relationship that I’ve established with God that I’ve developed a better understanding of my gifts and purpose. To speak life into lifeless situations, to be an advocate and voice for the voiceless and plant seeds of faith and hope for the hopeless.
What made you want to start your business
I DECIDED TO INVEST IN ME!!
I’ve dedicated 20 years to my current employer. Using that dedication, knowledge, my experience and skills, coupled with the attainment of my associate’s and bachelor’s in criminal justice, I thought… “WHY THE HELL NOT”!
Most importantly, MY GIFT IS NOT FOR ME. Yet, it is to inspire, uplift and motivate others. It is my purpose! My purpose, to reach, teach, help and enlighten others. For POETRY IS INDEED THERAPHY!
If parent or married, how do you balance work and home?
Balancing work and home as a single mom can be difficult at times and honestly, I don’t always find the balance. I allow margins for error, hiccups if you will. Currently, I work full time as an Administrative Assistant, I work overtime as a single mom and time-and-a-half, trying my best to balance my business, “Thee A.R.T. Of Paradise”. Entrepreneurship wasn’t something that was taught to me. Thus, starting a business came with many challenges. However, I was taught to work hard and diligently, and so I have. Surrounding myself with the right networks, partnerships and discipline is where I find balance.
What were some challenges have you faced and how did you overcome?
Most recently, I decided to sprint feverishly into my calling and purpose, by launching my Open Mic and Poetry Series (in South Jersey), called “In My House”. Literally, two hours before my first event I was shocked by a phone call from my physician informing me that I had breast cancer. Nonetheless, the show that night did go on; as I made the executive decision to “carry on”. I am so happy I did. Despite the many hiccups, the show was a success. As, I’ve mentioned before, “Poetry is my therapy”! However, things suddenly came to a halt, as I found myself preparing for unexpecting life altering events. I underwent surgery and I am currently undergoing radiation therapy. Nonetheless, I knew I had to regroup and reorder things. Instead of facilitating Poetry Readings and frequenting local Open Mics, I simply write, write, and write some more. I find myself using many social media platforms to continue my love and passion for spoken word. I’ve used my recovery time to revamp my business and of course I follow many Artist who offer inspiration. I’m looking forward to performing at an Open Mic and reintroducing my “ Poetry Series” very soon; as I have new poems to share.
What advice would you give someone who would like to start their own business?
JUST DO IT!!
Don’t stop. Don’t give up. Keep pushing. Don’t listen to the naysayers . Keep believing. NEVER STOP DREAMING. You are your hardest critic…don’t be so hard on yourself!! When they tell you “no” use it as fuel. When they tell “you can’t”, use it to prove them wrong EVERYTIME. Practice makes perfect!!