I had a ball of fun interviewing the beautiful Vernetta R. Freeney! I seriously could have talked to her for hours!
What has been the most challenging for you as a Cubicle Buster?
The most challenging thing when I started was not knowing what to do. When you get on Google you get overwhelmed with all the information that’s there from all these experts. Just knowing what is the first step I need to take for MY business because everybody’s first step will be a little bit different! So that was the most challenging in the beginning. Now the most challenge thing is getting women to understand that “Fusion Tour” is not a networking event, its an intimidate business conversation!
When did you know you were at your breaking point?
Well I’ll give you a timeline so you can get the jest of it:
- March 2011, I turned in resignation letter to the school district
- May 2011, I graduated with my Master’s in Education
- June 30, 2011 Was my last day working for the school district
- July 1, 2011 was my birthday! So essentially I was unemployed on my birthday!
So during that time from March to October I keep applying to hundreds of jobs, jobs outside of education. I kept getting the same thing “Oh you’ve been education non-profit for X amount of years” and they wouldn’t let my management skills transfer over. So then, I would go to education because I had the Masters’ degree; they said “Oh you wouldn’t be comfortable in a classroom, you would want to move”. So it was a double edge sword! Because of my experience and degrees I was either over-qualified or under-qualified.
When did you realize the blogging industry was going to be your passion business?
I didn’t! I had a blog in 2009 and I had a friend who told me I should get back into blogging! My friend said blogging would be a great way to past time until I found a job! I got an offer to cover a big hair expo and one month after that I got my first pad client! I like to write that’s how I express myself!
How long and what’s step did you take to lay out your plan?
I didn’t have a plan until almost a year in! I just keep doing “things” to figure it out! I just keep doing this until I figured it out. I was still taking contract work. My first client worked in the Small Business Dept., so I understood that when you get paid as an entrepreneur you had to pay taxes. Six months after I started blogging, I filed for an LLC so that was the first step to saying “ok it’s time to get serious this is business!” I started taking business classes at Prairie View A&M funded by the government. My sister told me about another free business resource with mentors is Score! – funded by the government! So taking the classes was the first step!
Click here for assistance with your business: SCORE
Did you have a financial cushion when you left? If no, how did you position yourself to be financially stable?
When I left I still had some money. So for the first few months I was okay! I had to fine tune my budget and start cutting expenses. Eventually I let my condo go, in the Houston area, condos are not cheap! Over the last three years I had to make decisions. I was ok the first 6 months! The contract work was steady but it wasn’t the full paycheck I was receiving from the school district.
So I started making some cuts, not going out as much, cutting things that I would normally do. Just trying to make sure I kept the bare minimum.
I started talking to other people who have done both and eventually transitioned to full-time [business owners], they made a plan, they sat there families down and started planning out months before they were going to leave![They went over important] family factors like:
We may cut this out”, “We may not do this”, “This is eventually my goal, are you on board to support it?”
Being a blogger, what did you do first to build your clientele?
My mom said you are suppose to go out and network! But I’m an introvert! So it was really hard for me to start conversations with people especially when they keep pushing cards in my face! This is one of the main reasons why I started Fusion. When I would do social media at conferences [or do social media management for them] people would come up after the conference and ask “Would you help me with mine”? So it wasn’t hard for me to get clients in that way!
What type of business advice should their first investment be?
I would say the first investment should be knowing who you are at your core! You have to know who you are or you’re not going to know how to attract people.
What would you say to the person who is broken, confused and just don’t know what steps to take?
First let me say, I suffered from depression for about 15 years. So I know what its like not wanting to get out of bed, where your body aches but you’re not sick! I would say it begins where you are. If you’re ready to accept you may say “Ok, I’ll just read this book!”, or say “Ok, I’m ready to start working on myself, I’m ready for someone to give me the tools and strategies I need to work on who I am”. First they have to invest in acknowledging the fact that they have that toxic energy inside of them. [Secondly they have to ask themselves] “what can I afford?” can I afford a life coach, can I afford counseling. There are so many books out and so many life coaches who offer things for free!
Who do you have in your support system and why?
Well first my mom! She’s invested in the company and when I say invested she’s not only supported the company but she’s given money to the company! I would say she’s a silent partner! My aunts and cousins [even tough they may not understand fully what the company is] they still may text, call, email, or send something saying “I’m proud of you!”. Friends – one morning I hope woke up and was just having a really bad week and she just the most encouraging text that I needed!
What were you most afraid of when you first started your business?
I didn’t have a fear because I didn’t know what I was doing! I just kept trying to do stuff! You already have a job so just start! You never know what’s going to happen unless you just do it!
What is your biggest fear NOW?
That I’m not going to live up to my potential. There’s so much that I’m called to do and having that responsibility of impacting so many women’s lives
What’s your favorite quote and why?
“Make it happen”! Devote yourself to an idea and make it happen! This is the quote I use on the VRFreeney.com site. I like that quote because ideas is what brought the world to where it is now.
How we have cars, internet, create business, fly, etc.
What is your must have business tool for social media marketing and content marketing?
Hootsuite! I…love..Hootsuite! Its not only great for scheduling but when I’m hosting chats, its also great for keeping strings up [on your screen]. It just really makes life easier.
For content marketing, I use Mail Chimp for my newsletters but to get the content, I also have Google alerts and Twitter! I have Twitter because it helps to find information that I can easily share. I have Google Alerts because it helps me to curate my content that I want to share with my audience!
Are there any last tips you would like to give our reader’s who’s stuck in their cubicle and want to move their business from boring to booming?
Yes! A couple of things:
- Do you really want to be an entrepreneur or are you attracted to it because it seems glamourous? – That’s a question you really need to ask yourself
- Do you see yourself at that job for the next five years? Not even 50 years [lol] but the next five years? – because you can take the skills and the job even, and turn that into a business!
Vernetta, you are such an inspiration to all women not just women in business, how do we find you?
My business is Women Are Gamechangers LLC on this site we share stories of EVERYDAY women and we also share about grants. Grants is how the Fusion Tour was funded! And then you have vrfreeney.com this is where you will learn more information about the tour! The Fusion Tour is about having the conversation, not everyone wants to talk in the open.