What’s your story?
My name is Darnell Self and I am now a successful entrepreneur, married to the love of my life, and father of 4 amazing young adults. Obviously, I didn’t start off here. I was completely clueless in terms of what I wanted to do for a living when I was younger.
In fact, it took me seven years to get my bachelor’s degree because I changed my major so many times in college. While in school I worked retail in a local mall to earn extra money.
After graduating from college, I became the manager at a clothing store working 60-80 hours per week, which as you can imagine, prevented me from having any sort of social life.
Before you feel sorry for me, working at the mall wasn’t all bad because I got to spend a lot of time with our pretty cashier, Traci, who eventually became my wife.
I was 24 years old when I married Traci. At 25 years old I was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. I took a leap of faith and quit my job.
Five years later, through many trials and triumphs, my wife was able to leave her job at the age of 29. The monetary success we’ve had is beyond our wildest dreams; however, the ability to be work-from-home parents has allowed for time and experiences with our 4 kids that is simply priceless!
What challenges have you faced since starting your entrepreneurial journey?
For the first 3 years, everything went on a downward spiral financially. We went from owning 2 cars to having to borrow my dad’s old truck to get from A to B. I worked my butt off trying to get our business off the ground.
The little revenues our business generated had to go back into expenses to keep the business going and left nothing for household bills. Consequently, my wife worked tirelessly at multiple jobs to support us.
In this season of my life, I was borrowing money from family and friends, my self-esteem was extremely low, and I felt like I was letting everyone down – my parents, my wife, and my 2 kids. I’m so grateful that, at 29 years old, everything finally turned around.
Since 29, what have you accomplished?
As a household, we have earned over $15 million dollars from one direct sales company. However, more importantly to me, by the age of 40, we built a business that helped over 40 people earn six figure incomes.
My wife and I currently have 23 people whom we were fortunate enough to help make over $1,000,000 with our company. This has allowed us to create multiple streams of income, start a non-profit with my best friend, give back to underserved communities, and travel the world!
I was also honored to have been named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the National Black Chamber of Commerce for 2 years now, not because of our personal success but because of the amount of lives we have been blessed to impact along the way.
How do you personally define success?
I believe success is a measurement of happiness. I am most happy when I am helping others win in life, and because there’s so many more people to help yet, my pursuit of happiness is on-going.
What’s your why?
My why is to be able to donate 7 figures a year to ministries, charities and communities in need of our support. In my opinion, these philanthropic activities are most gratifying when the recipients don’t even know where the support came from. I don’t do it for the credit; I do it for the cause.
What differentiates you from everyone else in your field?
This is a tough question for me because this implies that I know intimately what everyone else is doing in my field. I spend most of my time sharpening my own axe and not worrying about how sharp or dull everyone else’s axe is.
I believe in abundance and not scarcity; therefore, my focus is always on partnering with others versus competing with others. I’m driven by helping others up and not holding others down. I know some entrepreneurs say, “do whatever it takes.” I just don’t believe that stepping on others should be the pathway to the top. I’m so thankful that I’ve reached the top my lifting others up. It’s a great feeling!
What are some pieces of advice you have for those who want to “take the leap” into entrepreneurship?
I would advise them of the following:
- While embarking on the entrepreneurship journey, it’s okay to have a job and other sources of income. Use these to help fund your dreams for as long as possible.
- Find a mentor in the same industry. It is important to follow someone who already has the results you are looking for.
- Identify a strong support system. Those you spend the most time with can be the accelerator to your success or the barrier to your success.
- Invest in yourself. Personal development is just as important as investing in the business itself.
We are entering an era where everyone is interested in multiple income streams. How does one decide on a business to pursue?
There are multiple factors to consider. The answers to the following questions can help narrow down the pros and cons:
- Is the product or service sustainable?
- Can you generate income part-time, without interfering with your main stream of income?
- What is the potential income?
- How fast can you get into profit “mode”?
- Is there a subscription model or reoccurring predictable income that can be generated?
- Can you pay for the overhead from the revenues generated from the business or do you have to use money from your job? Are you in a position to do that? For how long?
- What does the competition look like?
- Do you have access to resources and mentors who can help you to shorten your learning curve?
If someone wanted to get in touch with you, what would be the best way to do so?
Any one of the platforms below would be just fine!
Facebook: The Real Darnell Self
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