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Money Talks

How Investing In The Underdogs Helped This Woman Become A Multimillionaire

Money Talks is an xoNecole series where we talk candidly to real women about how they spend money, their relationship with money, and how they get it.

Chestine “Danni” Washington’s journey started off like so many others I know. Yet today, she’s made over $5 million in one month and casually took our Zoom call from a balcony in Cabo. Danni comes from a loving family who supported her. And while she may not have gotten everything she wanted growing up, she never wanted for a thing. But her path started to take a unique road when she made the decision to change her career journey from dentistry to psychology in college. Unfortunately, her parents didn’t see that as a viable career choice and made the decision to cut her off financially – thus fueling her journey.


Today, she's a multimillionaire who is grateful for them pushing her to be better, and that passion for mental health is as prevalent as ever. Previously, Danni earned two master's degrees and happily worked for three years as a therapist before transitioning to a behavioral analyst. But after having her second child, she decided to start a “side business,” which now has over 30 locations. She also owns a restaurant franchise, The Peach Cobbler Factory, and Chance for Change in Fort Worth, which helps men recently released from prison deal with mental health struggles and job placement.

So how did this woman conquer boldly following her passions while increasing her bag? She broke it down in this exclusive conversation with xoNecole.

Have you always been good with money? 

Girl, no, not in college! I did what I wanted to do. I had my parents and everybody else helping out in the beginning. But I’ve always been a woman of my word. If I say I’m going to do or learn something, I will. It may take a little longer, but I’ll get it done. Every company that I own, I worked on it myself. From the EIN number to marketing.

For example, I remember I worked with an autistic child who was completely nonverbal. I helped the 4-year-old for 4-6 months and eventually got him to speak. Later as a thank you, the family tried to give me a check for $15,000, and I turned it down because I thought I’d get fired. So they ended up reaching out to my supervisor, and she advised me to accept it. I used that check to open my first tax office, and I still keep up with them.

Danni Washington

Courtesy

Wow, that’s a really different field. When you started that business, were there elements you were unaware of that you needed to grow your business? Can you talk to me about them? 

Yeah, we all need great mentors to learn and grow. Like, if you want to be a millionaire, you need a millionaire mentor. An example that sticks out is once I had a brand new EFIN number (which is needed to file taxes as a company). Everyone was telling me with a new EFIN; you have to work under someone else to file taxes – which I had been doing. And it just so happened that this guy named Reggie answered the phone; today he’s still my mentor. He ended up giving me the bank products and everything I needed to go out on my own. To this day, he helps me market, save, and manage. Because I still want to buy different things sometimes, but I stop because I know I should invest the money.

What's your splurge? 

I’m still working on that. (laughs)

I feel like when you work hard, you have to reward yourself. Just like when you’re working with a child with autism, if they do something right – you should award them. But lately, God has been telling me before you buy that new car, you should probably invest in that restaurant. The only time I save money, though is if it’s in an IRA. Money sitting in a savings account doesn’t grow. So I look at savings like I might as well spend it or invest it.

"The only time I save money, though is if it’s in an IRA. Money sitting in a savings account doesn’t grow. So I look at savings like I might as well spend it or invest it."

Okay, now I have to ask, how much do you make per year or what’s the most you’ve made? 

Through my tax company, we have over 11,000 clients. So how it works is, you’ll start working in December and begin getting paid in mid-February. But we have the “big drop,” that means that with 11,000 clients, like 3,000 will drop at the same time. So that first drop was $2.1 million, the second was $1.3 million, and after that it was like $900,000. It keeps diminishing, but we keep getting paid until around October.

So for example, in the month of February, I made over $5 million.

Oh, my God. I think it’s important for people to know they can really work to change their finances like you did. So can you do me a favor? Hold on to what you just said, and take me back to when you were struggling financially. 

You know I had great parents. We didn’t have what we wanted, but we had what we needed. That’s why I’m so humble now. We weren't wearing designer, but we had nice clothes. They worked regular jobs. I think my parents wanted me to be a dentist, but I always loved talking with others. So when I changed my major to psychology – they cut me off. I had to work two jobs in college, and I’ve had cars returned. But I’ve always been a person that knew I could figure it out. So I really thank them for that, because it made me stronger.

What’s the best and worst business advice you’ve been given? 

The best is to hire people that other people look down on. And the worst has been the reverse, hiring popular people. I hire people who work at chicken and fish plants, fast food chains, warehouses, and etc. I like people who have a story to tell, and they’re more loyal. My director used to work at Church’s Chicken, and she made over $200,000 this year. I’m really happy for her because she’s opening her own office now.

Yes, love that! When your finances started to change, were there day-to-day changes you had to make to maintain your financial status?

It wasn’t about doing more. It was more about limiting baggage. Don’t get me wrong, I miss some friendships. But sometimes you have to eliminate partying and stuff. When I got my first tax location and made $80,000, I blew it. I bought two cars, and by the last quarter, I had $2,000 left to my name.

I really had to go into a corner and focus. I’m very friendly, but my peace means everything to me. People can really come in and throw everything off.

"It wasn’t about doing more. It was more about limiting baggage. Don’t get me wrong, I miss some friendships. But sometimes you have to eliminate partying and stuff. When I got my first tax location and made $80,000, I blew it. I bought two cars, and by the last quarter, I had $2,000 left to my name."

This sounds personal. Are you speaking from an experience you can share? 

Yeah. I mean, it was an ex-boyfriend. By the time I started dating, I was used to managing money. But that person couldn’t manage money, and I was the backbone. It was draining. I don’t mind going 50/50, but 100% is a lot.

You seem like you’re managing a lot. I’m curious: who is in your tribe? Who do you vent to?

Honestly, I vent to God. I don’t confide in people. I have a set of good friends, but I don’t get personal with anyone except God – and maybe my mom. People feel like they can judge you, and I don’t like that.

That’s true. Well, do you have a specific prayer or money mantra?

I talk to my prophet every Monday. I do cleanses. I don’t pray every day, but I’m working on it. But I do keep to a routine. Keeping to a routine is how to be consistent in everything and a daily to-do list.

Lastly, what is your final goal? Is there something you’re still aspiring to do?

I want to start traveling to different countries and giving back. I’d like to do that for a year. I don’t think I’ll start another business venture for a while. There’s been so much confusion and work. I’m just traveling and enjoying life right now.

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