There are times when our world looks perfect on paper but our spirit is telling us to move in a different direction. That voice might start off small, we ignore it due to comfort. Although we know it is there, we continue to go with the flow. Then situations and moment happen that can’t be ignored. For Kandia Johnson, it was something tugging at her spirit for some time. Then it happened, her supervisor asked her one question and she knew it was time to go and never look back.
Johnson worked 10 years as a consultant in strategic communications. “I worked in consulting and contracting. My clients ranged from energy, retail, to government. If there was restructuring, a challenge within the company, or a new piece of technology and they wanted to get the word out, they hired me to communicate that to their company.” Her role also included working with leaders to effectively communicate with employees.
With climbing the corporate ladder and helping companies, it looked like the perfect job and the epitome of success. There was just one issue, Johnson was extremely unhappy. “There were a series of moments, I felt like I was really unfulfilled. Working in management and consulting, it was a lot of travel and at first it was fun. Eventually it got lonely and unfulfilling,” she reminisces. Toying with the idea to go on her own, it was her last assignment that sealed the deal. “It was a project in Detroit, at the time I was living in Virginia. The client was cutting back on the budget and asked if we could have a roommate. I was like… I don’t do roommates!”
This was the last straw for Johnson, after finishing the project she took a mother daughter trip to Africa. “I decided in South Africa that I am going to take the leap of faith. I didn’t know if I was specifically looking for entrepreneurship, but I did know I could contract on my own and get clients versus living out of a suitcase,” she says. Upon returning from Africa, Johnson gave her put in her notice.
She did plan prior for a to quit her job. “I was toying with the idea for some time, I saved more money, paid my car note for a couple months, prepared to rent out my house, and made additional sacrifices and moved back with my mom before I took the risk to move out,” she explains.
With leaving her job and planning, it was time to step out on faith. She knew it was the right move but it wasn’t the easiest move.
Mindset Shifts Everything
There was a time where Johnson felt like she failed. “I hit rock bottom, I ran out of money and I was at a loss. I was sitting at the welfare office and felt like I really didn’t know what I was going to do,” she reminisces. The moment of clarity came, “something came over me and I realized Kandia, this moment doesn’t define you. You always have a choice, you can go back to a company and get a 9-5 any day. You have the choice and this doesn’t define you.”
This was her moment to shift her mindset and know she had what it took to make it happen. This was a humbling moment for Johnson, but it didn’t stop her from trying. “I do believe once I made the decision to keep going despite the circumstances that the universe opened up to me. This was a pivotal moment when I realized that mindset was everything.”
Although Johnson had many contacts in the industry, she had to also make people aware of her business and services. She utilized social media and writing to build relationships and surround herself around like minded women. “I didn’t come from a family of entrepreneurs, so it was important for me to develop these relationships with women who were doing the same things I wanted to do. Creating their own path, making own rules, and taking risks.”
Now Johnson has a thriving communications consulting business where she helps people spread the word about who they are and what they have to offer. She’s helped her clients launch personal brand campaigns and events in the U.S. and Africa, get booked on TV shows, and featured in print and online publications. She also teaches corporate leaders and business professionals how to stand out from the crowd and communicate to win at life and work.
Johnson is always mindful of her success and appreciates every moment. She strongly pulls from her faith and encourages everyone to keep pursuing their dreams and don’t give up. “Your eyes will have you believe things are impossible, so prayer can help get centered and focused on things your eyes can’t see,” she says.
To start and sustain a thriving business Johnson advises the following.
Get a strong network.
Build mutually beneficial relationships with people in and outside of your industry. You can create long lasting relationships by finding ways to be of service or add value for people in your network. Be strategic about connecting with people online and offline.
Have a monetary cushion.
There may be a chance where you run out of money, but remember your situation doesn’t define you. Being broke can force you to become creative. I highly recommend “The Power of Broke.” By Daymond John.
Appreciate the struggle.
I believe you really don’t know who you are, until you have next to nothing to lean on—that’s when a hustler is born. My lowest points have been my greatest success. You have to step outside of your comfort zone and call cold people. It was a cold call that led to me to teaching workshops for various businesses in New Jersey and Virginia. To date, I’ve conducted over 30 workshops with a variety of businesses such as a law firm, woman led engineering firm and a woman led social service organization.
If you want to learn more about Kandia and purchase her services visit KandiaJohnson.com