Tell us about your family;
I live with my two kids Chardonae Elizabeth who is 16 , very musical and academic and my stylist for the most part as well as myson Mikhel Kai , who is 3 going 30 . He is very cuddly and just an amazing son to have.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition? I have juggled many various roles before becoming an author, coach, business consultant, speaker and mentor. My roles have included: teaching, banking, working in maritime, retail and odd jobs such as call center roles. Making the transition was challenging as it’s almost impossible to match giving up a steady income to having none initially, but I knew that in an effort to focus and build my dream, I had to make the move and that’s exactly what I did.
When did you launch?
Bamboo & Fern the book was launched August 2014 and the services were rolled out after that. I continue to develop services as the business I am in is ever changing.
How did you get started?
I started with the book and through the story a number of clients started coming to ask me to talk to them about issues in their own lives, libraries asked me to do Black History month and then talks came: before I knew it I was on radio, TV and in the papers.
What’s your favorite thing about running your own business?
I love the fact that I can work in my Pyjamas all day and see my kids more. The fact that I save £200 on travel and am not stuck in peak traffic daily has given me back 5 years on my face. That said, I work some long hours at home , some days I do 14 hours but I love it.
What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business?
I dislike some of the distractions at home and the fact that you can’t predict your income.
What has worked well about your business?
My biography has opened a number of doors for me in speaking and coaching that has really worked well as I speak on the topics in my book they aren’t made up, they are what I went though.
What’s been your biggest business mistake? How did you deal with it?
I trusted someone with money to sort something out for me regarding my business. They never delivered, I was really hurt and didn’t talk to them for a few months, but then on reflection looked at the relationship we had over time and reconciled. I still didn’t retrieve the money and that left a dent in the young business.
How do you fit in work with the family?
It’s such a hard juggling act , I wouldn’t lie , it’s hard to get the balance right especially with kids, so I find myself doing late evening walks with my son , or just taking my daughter for a date at Starbucks . We try to have dinner together as that helps to catch up with everyone. I set time aside for the family as work can consume you and family is important as they are who support the cause. At points I will just sit in my bed, with the laptop while the kids are in it too, watching television. There is a feeling that we are all connected then. We try to take frequent holidays when we can afford it where all is switched off and its family time.
Are you working towards a financial goal for your business?
Who isn’t, right? I would like to turn over £250000 in two years.
Would you ever give up your business to do something else?
No I wouldn’t give it up, the fulfillment and passion I get from working for myself is priceless.
Do you have an exit strategy?
I will bring partners in but I wouldn’t run away.
Have you had your ‘I’ve made it’ moment? Tell us about it. If not when do you think it will come.
I have had my I’ve made it moment not necessarily in a monetary format but in other aspects e.g. I was featured in the Financial Times, Guardian , interviewed on a TV programme back home that only the intellectuals or people who are seen as having accomplished something go on . Those were some of my yes moment coupled with earning my MBA.
Where do you hope to be in five years’ time?
I see myself some place hosting my own TV programme, with a successful business and a household name.
Your website link: Do check it out its www.avabrown.org
I have a 10% discount for new coaching clients’, 20% discount on speaking engagements that include family settings, churches etc. .For Christmas if I am emailed the code XMAS14 then there is a discount on my book hard copy for over 5 copies and over. In addition the ecopy is discounted currently.