“I was trapped in a cycle of poverty, making minimum payments on my credit cards and never bringing the balance down.”
I am a married mother of three children, and I was living paycheck-to-paycheck and struggling to make ends meet. Three years ago I decided to pursue my lifelong dream of owning a business, and started Quality Indoor Janitorial Services with the help of a fellow business owner and mentor. My husband and I now work at our business full-time, are able to provide more for our children and are finally on our way to paying off our debts. Before starting my business, though, life was tough.
I had been working at a local Walgreen’s Pharmacy earning just above minimum wage, and well below a living wage. I wanted more for my family than I could afford — it’s not easy to say no to your kids, and we barely had enough to pay for necessities—and I quickly fell into the credit card trap. I was never taught how to properly manage credit and, before I realized it, I was trapped in a cycle of poverty, making minimum payments on my credit cards and never bringing the balance down. I was just throwing money away, and still couldn’t provide everything that I wanted for my family.
I knew I needed to get out of low-wage jobs, but I didn’t have the confidence I needed to start a business and I no longer had the credit to access capital. Thankfully, I met my mentor and he hired me to work for his company before teaching me the skills I needed to open my own business. I don’t know what we would have done if I hadn’t met him.
My husband and I bought an old van to haul our cleaning equipment, fixed it up and got it on the road, and we never turned back. I never lost faith and never gave up on my dreams, and now I own a business that is doing well. I know that not everyone is as blessed as I was, though.
So many people in my community dream of owning a business, but they don’t have the means. I know that I was lucky to meet my mentor and find a way forward. My advice to those who are struggling is to never give up, and never stop fighting. As my business gains success I hope I, too, can mentor someone with a passion to start their own business, and give back to the community that supports me.