the entrepreneur journey is not an easy one but for those of us who choose to create a fulfilled life as an entrepreneur as creators, builders, innovators and/or founders, it is well worth the process. this is a condensed version of my story that chronicles my journey as an entrepreneur which has culminated into the birth of this Courage & Candor community. if you are reading this, i choose to believe it is by design as we must be like-valued or like-minded...maybe both. WELCOME! let me share who i believe myself to be and my journey with you so you know what this community stands for.
what got me here...
i was once your typical high performing employee yet i stopped shy of caring enough about corporate America or poorly led startups to want to climb their ladder an become their version of a rock star. i knew that i would not “make it” in corporate America as i am anti-status quo and respect people for their actions, integrity and how they treat others regardless of their title. i could not look the other way when core values on paper were not held to high standards at the management and workgroup levels. when office politics of favoritism, a combined lack of leadership, lack of accountability and lack of real opportunities were evident, i was not willing to play the games by the rules those with titles and authority set. while appropriately respectful, i was still outspoken and candid about actions that were contrary to what we were "promised" as employees.
none-the-less, i had to go back to working for someone else along my entrepreneurial journey on multiple occasions as i was in the process of finding my place and my authentic voice in the entrepreneur ecosystem. my frustration with the traditional career path, a less than stellar lifestyle along with my strong position on courageous leadership is the short version of how one chapter ended and my fulfilled and freedom-filled journey began. from early on my experiences, my ambition to solve problems through people and my heart confirmed that i was much more than just an employee and I believe the same could be true for you. i knew i had more to contribute and a much bigger platform to create to be of service to others. it was time for me to create my fulfilled life as a full-time entrepreneur helping other entrepreneurial types make the same transition safely and securely.
i decided to get off the entrepreneur to employee to entrepreneur carousel once and for all
after several years and a few more unfulfilling jobs, i found enough was enough. i couldn't spend another day wasting my life away at jobs where my strengths were underutilized and that did not add value to my life. everyone's journey is different but I personally could not settle for a life that I didn't love and the limitations that accompanied that life. there is a strong possibility if you are reading this, you may feel the same about your life.
so the real work began and with it came many sacrifices. i became a working entrepreneur, developed my platform (my business) and created a strategy...an exit strategy to be exact. i identified what i loved, monetized my skills, created this community, developed a natural/organic beauty product, left a dead-end job for the last time and have been creating my life's work on my terms ever since.
if this feels like this is a reality you wish to pursue, i’m here to help. together we’ll build your life’s work around a life that you love with one goal in mind: creating a fulfilled life that allows you to never have to return to a job doing work you don't love for a paycheck that doesn't fulfill your financial, emotional or self-actualization needs.
a bit about my personal entrepreneur journey
i can trace getting bit by the entrepreneur bug back to middle school in Kentucky when my teacher had the class join DECA, Distributive Education Clubs of America. the ideation, problem solving and strategic business conversations fascinated me however i didn't pursue being a dedicated entrepreneur until I was pregnant with my daughter at 25. i started a real estate investing business and shortly after that a desktop publishing business.
starting those businesses gave me invaluable insight into the world of entrepreneurism however i wasn’t passionate about the work or the results so i went back to being a top performing employee. fast forward 10 years and a few jobs later i began to do freelance consulting work that showcased my best strengths on the side as my day job was not fulfilling nor exciting. for a short time I also owned and operated a financial services firm.
multiple startups in multiple industries yet something was missing: the passion for the problems each startup was meant to solve. it was empowering people like yourself to fulfill their dreams and goals that I was passionate about. i am driven to give others who dare to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams the tools, resources, accountability and support to believe bigger, get unstuck, reach higher and start something they are purposeful and passionate about. if you are willing to do the work, i want to work with you to make the shift into a new reality called your fulfilled life.
do i believe we all have entrepreneurial DNA... absolutely! do i also realize that entrepreneurship is not for everyone...absolutely! there is a reason that only 14% of Americans actively pursue entrepreneurship. i would never try to convince anyone to quit their job and be an entrepreneur. you have to want it and have the mindset and resilience for it. if you are in the 14%, you should connect with the Courage & Candor village.
i know my greatest impact and contributions will be a result of
supporting and evangelizing for you
for over 25 years, i’ve lent my talents to startups, micro-enterprises, non-profits, municipal representatives, neighborhood associations, community, professional and social service organizations, friends and family. i aso enjoy participating in hack-a-thons and startup pitch events, interview startup entrepreneurs and advocates for my podcast.
throughout the journey, i identified key systems and processes to make the transition from employee to successful thriving entrepreneur more efficient. there were also missteps that lengthened my transition and in some ways almost derailed my goals altogether. among other things, remaining agile and flexible while focusing on my goal allowed me to persist and persevere. doing so translates into my missteps becoming your reward so you don't have to make the same mistakes I did. Should we work together, i’ll walk you through the process. the result is my best work to date: the comprehensive
Exit Strategy program for eventual entrepreneurs
i consider it a life navigation tool to become a dedicated lifestyle entrepreneur without regard to a title or income level. i know everything about this journey you are about to undertake. i know where the challenges will come, where the landmines are hiding and where the opportunities are abundant. i can and will coach you through it but you must do the work. no more sitting in the passenger seat of your own life.
all i want to do for the rest of my life is all I choose to do for the rest of my life, on my terms, my way. for me that is immersing myself in startup culture. i have developed one-on-one, individual self-paced solutions and group training depending on your needs. you can learn more about them here and when you are ready, we can get started. because i know my I.D. and my strengths, i have liberated myself from a job so that i can build a life i love helping you.
Courage & Candor founder, Charlene is a life-long cheerleader for the underdog. As a startup empowerment coach Charlene is candid, compassionate, value based, an INtentional connector and a courageous leader. Charlene is a 25 year member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, an Advanced Communicator Gold/Advance Leader designee of Toastmasters International and holds an MA in Organizational Development/Leadership. because she has an insatiable desire to learn about, celebrate and share the achievements and quests of others, she like's to refer to herself as CEOCharlene which stands for Chief Edification Officer.