Note: Below is a modified transcript from part 1 (above) of a three-part YouTube series, in which I discuss how I started a six-figure DEI consulting business in 6 months.
After being laid off in March of last year, I made a conscious, intentional, calculated choice not to pursue another full-time job. Instead, I decided to dedicate my time and energy to starting my own consulting and coaching business.
In this first post/video, I’m going to share some background information about myself,
tell you more about my consulting niche or area of focus, and touch on why I decided to venture out and do my own thing.
In the second post/video, I’m going to share some of the things that I did BEFORE I actually launched my business––which I believe are things that significantly contributed to my initial success
And finally, in the third post/video, I’m going to share some steps that I took to actually launch my business and start generating revenue.
So, my career journey so far…
My very first full-time job was in career development. And, while I grew to enjoy parts of it over time (and I met some really amazing people there), it wasn’t even remotely close to what I’d pictured myself doing post-grad. In undergrad I’d studied recorded music, and thought once I graduated that I’d end up working in the music industry.
That didn’t happen .
I graduated, needed a job, didn’t want to move back home, and I had few options. So, I took on an assistant role in career development, making an annual salary that was in the mid-$40k range 😩. I won’t go into too much detail here, but I worked that job for several years, and did not feel fulfilled. But, it was a job––a consistent paycheck with solid benefits––so i stayed. Also, it was a fairly traditional 9 to 5, so once I was out of the office at 5, I was fortunate enough to have time to explore my other interests.
At the time, my interest was still in music. A former classmate of mine and I had created a small artist development company, working with local artists to develop their brands, showcase their work, network, etc. It was such an exciting and rewarding time of my life. I loved it so much. But overtime, life took me in other directions, and my interest in other areas of life started to pique. I became more interested in things such as art, cooking, health & wellness, cooking, psychology, and journalism. Music started to naturally take a back seat, and after nearly 4 years as a career development assistant, doing roughly the same work every day (there was little variation and I wasn’t promoted), I was ready for a change.
I got into a grad journalism program and also ended up landing a recruiting coordinator role at a tech company, which I thought would be a good way for me to transition out of career development and explore other, adjacent areas of interest. And I was right.
The time I spent in tech recruiting and in grad school is when I really started to flourish, both personally and professionally. I was able to gain exposure to, and explore so many new things––things I never even knew existed in life… things I didn’t even know I should be looking for or exploring or even thinking about!
So, I got into tech recruiting, held a few different roles, but ultimately what really kept my interest was diversity recruiting. Diversity recruiting introduced me to the much broader world of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (or, DEI for short) work. DEI touches so many things, such as employee enablement, leadership engagement, communications, etc. My interest was piqued by DEI, and I went on to explore a few full-time DEI roles.
I won’t go into a ton of detail about those roles in this post/video, but I will quickly tell you about my last full-time job––the one I had just before launching my business.
I received an offer in July of 2019 for a senior DEI role, and started working some time after, in the fall. And just a few days before I started, I found out the company was being acquired. Now, I didn't know a lot about acquisitions at the time, but after some research, and asking my mentors and some other folks in my network about it,
it was clear that, historically, when mergers and acquisitions happen, being laid off is a strong possibility. So, I started the job (it was my only offer at the time) and at the same time, I started frantically searching for another job––again.
Oh, and I started networking like it was a part-time job. I searched for and scheduled informational chats with a bunch of coaches and consultants (both DEI and those in other industries). And by speaking with them, I realized that I could do what they were doing––I could create and run my own business.
Now, let me pause here and say that I’d been building a plan for myself for a while. I already knew that I wanted to start my own business doing DEI work and career coaching. I just didn’t have plans to do it right then. My plan was to spend some time working in another senior role or two, and THEN start my business.
And remember that I told you I was still applying and interviewing for other roles? Well about those…
I ended up getting several rejections in a row 🚫🚫🚫, for roles I thought for sure I had a chance at getting.
It was soul crushing, and quite frankly I was over it.
Oh, and then I was finally told, officially, that I was going to be laid off. Again, from the job that I’d JUST started 🥴. And for me, that was it––that was the final straw. I decided I wanted to work for myself.
Fortunately, I was told a few months ahead of time about the lay off, which gave me some additional runway to get all of my ducks in a row to launch my business. And financially I was in a good place; I had been saving up an “emergency fund” and had enough to sustain myself for at least 3-4 months. In retrospect, that really isn't a lot of time, but it was what I had to work with.
I also knew that I had a great support system. I knew if everything went completely left (let’s say I’m without food or about to lose my apartment), I had people on my side who wouldn’t let me go without the things I needed to survive.
So, I filed for my LLC in December 2019, spent the next few months transitioning out of my job and networking, and once I was fully laid off, I spent spring and early summer of 2020 researching and building up my business. I officially launched my website in April, started interacting with clients shortly after, and received my first check from a client in June. By December, within just 6 months, I had generated six-figures worth of revenue.
Interested in learning about some of the things I did before I launched my business? Check out part 2 here.