My daddy always told me that you should never spend more than you earn. But anyone who's ever owned a business knows that this simple rule can be easily offset by the day-to-day financial responsibilities of being an entrepreneur.
From administrative and marketing management to profit and loss, there's no expense too expensive when it comes to making your dream come true and while these obligations may put some pressure on your pockets Just Elope CEO Jennifer Allen knows that investing in yourself always pays off.
To date, Jennifer and her husband Tavarous have officiated 80 weddings, married dozens of happy couples all over the country, and maintained full-time jobs at the same damn time and she recently sat down with xoNecole to share the secret to her entrepreneurial success.
Jumping The Broom
In 2017, this Dallas-based pop-up wedding expert used her own elopement as an opportunity to launch a business that has more than doubled her income in 12 months, and according to Jennifer, it all started with her ability to meet a need.
After a surprise engagement to her soon-to-be deployed husband, the couple was left with little-to-no options when it came to finding a last-minute wedding planner and a seed was planted. Desperate to jump the broom, Jennifer was left to resort to her last (and honestly, most regrettable) option. She explained, "Our experience at the courthouse was very cold and that right there is what made me say, 'OK, something has to be different. It can't be either go to City Hall or run off to Vegas. There has to be a medium that can be met.'"
Little did Jennifer know, she would be the person to fill the void she so blatantly saw in the industry.
Taking The Leap
The mother-of-two shared that it wasn't until years after tying the knot that she decided that planning a wedding wasn't half as lucrative as launching a business. Jennifer told xoNecole, "One day, I was sitting in my living room, and it just clicked: 'Girl, let it go.' Stop trying to force this. Stop trying to plan a way to spend additional money––you need to figure out a way to make additional money."
In that moment, Just Elope was born and the rest, Jennifer says, is history. After designing a marketable brand and portfolio from scratch, Jennifer and her husband hit the ground running and it wasn't long before the couple snagged their first, second, and eventually, 80th client and this duo has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
Although Jennifer and her husband may have chosen to take the road less traveled with the launch of their unconventional bridal business, this couple doesn't have all of their pennies in one bank. According to Jennifer, one of the most valuable lessons she's learned as an entrepreneur is the importance of keeping your day job. "Working full-time for me has allowed me to, number one, not be a slave to my business––in the sense of chasing the money, having to take on any and everybody because I jumped out there too quick. It has also allowed me to start building up that emergency fund."
"Working full-time for me has allowed me to, number one, not be a slave to my business––in the sense of chasing the money, having to take on any and everybody because I jumped out there too quick. It has also allowed me to start building up that emergency fund."
Jennifer said that because her children didn't sign up to have entrepreneurs as parents, it's up to her and her husband, who is currently in school to become a pediatric nurse, to make sure the bag is secured regardless, and working full-time jobs has allowed them to do exactly that. "I don't know what leap everybody is taking, but we have kids who depend on us and who depend on the stability that they are accustomed to. Man, I'm not gonna jeopardize their childhood and they have to grow up to be rappers and talk about how they struggled," she laughed. "That truly is our push."
Building The Empire
While today may not be the day that Jennifer and her husband quit their day jobs to pursue their business full-time, they are preparing diligently for when that time comes. Jennifer told xoNecole that along with maintaining multiple streams of income, setting healthy boundaries has been a superpower when it comes to developing her business acumen.
In the last year, Jennifer has more than doubled her salary and according to her, the secret to her success lies in her ability to unapologetically say, "Nah."
You will never be all things to all people, so you should pick who you want to be and stop apologizing for it. This, Jennifer, says, was a lesson that she learned early on in her career. She explained, "When we first started, I was chasing the money. But I quickly realized that the money is going to come as long as you are consistently putting out quality work and I could not put it out quality work and be my best self if I was not consistent in what the services were that I offered."
"When we first started, I was chasing the money. But I quickly realized that the money is going to come as long as you are consistently putting out quality work and I could not put it out quality work and be my best self if I was not consistent."
Jennifer shared that as soon as she found the courage to set boundaries for both herself and her business, she finally became confident in her ability to build an empire. "I set those boundaries and I got the confidence, that's the key, is getting the confidence to stick to your boundaries. My business flourishes so much because these are the rules."
She continued, "I'm a wife and a mom of boys [aged] seven and five. I cannot and will not allow myself to become emotionally invested in the back and forth that goes along with, 'Well what about this or what about that? This is what we offer. And our business was set up that way because I do have other obligations. So I had to make a business that works for me and my family. The couples that we've married have no complaints, all five-stars, all great reviews because we were for them. Right? And that's what made it work."
Solidifying The Legacy
Now that Jennifer has jumped the broom, taken the leap, and began building her empire, she is doing what it takes to solidify her legacy and create an environment for generational wealth. Self-sabotage is a creative entrepreneur's best friend, but Jennifer says that accountability might be the protection against deflection you didn't know you needed. "Be accountable for all of your actions. If you don't let yourself down, you can get so much done. We self-sabotage more than we know. And that's what keeps people from truly reaching the goals that they have set for themselves."
"Be accountable for all of your actions. If you don't let yourself down, you can get so much done. We self-sabotage more than we know. And that's what keeps people from truly reaching the goals that they have set for themselves."
According to Jennifer, her New Year's resolution is to become her own accountability partner and this year, she refuses to take excuses for an answer. "If I set a goal, I'm not going to let myself down by not accomplishing it because how can I expect to run a lucrative business If I'm not intentional––if I'm not intentional with my time, with my learning, with my surroundings? There's a lot of women out there that have great ideas and they are making excuses as to why they cannot get them done."
For more of Jennifer, follow her on Instagram @IAmJenniferAllen!
For more Jennifer, follow her on Instagram @IAmJenniferAllen!
Featured image courtesy of Jennifer Allen.
Taylor "Pretty" Honore is a spiritually centered and equally provocative rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a love for people and storytelling. You can probably find me planting herbs in your local community garden, blasting "Back That Thang Up" from my mini speaker. Let's get to know each other: @prettyhonore.
This post is in partnership with BET+.
Kingdom Business is back for its second season, with even more sermons, songs, and serpents. The series picks up where it left off, with actress Serayah as Rbel caught between the stripper pole and the pulpit. With the first lady of the church working desperately against her, Rbel must find a way to live her dreams and honor her friend while figuring out her faith in the process.
Season one served a collection plate of rivalry, deceit, and revenge –– among many other tribulations. Between the 28-year-old’s acting, conviction, and harmonious voice, here are a few reasons why season two of Kingdom Business is a must-watch.
If the Spirit Doesn’t Move You, Serayah’s Singing Voice Will
Rbel, formally known as Rebecca Belle, is a stripper whose life forcibly takes a turn after suffering a tragedy. Through her quest to find the truth, Rbel finds herself at odds with the head of a local church, First Kingdom’s Denita Jordan, played by the legendary Yolanda Adams. Rbel unknowingly emerges as what a faithful Christian embodies: a perfectly imperfect human who works every day to try their best while leaning on God. Although struggling with her faith, each ballad sung by Rbel can be felt, as the lyrics relate to personal struggles we all endure in different ways. Gospel songs hit differently when your life is in shambles, and chile, Serayah is singing new life into folks.
Serayah is a Formidable Opponent to The Yolanda Adams
As one of the best-selling gospel artists of all time, it’s no easy task to take on the role of a person on the opposing side of greatness. Serayah’s Rbel does an excellent job meeting Jordan at her level while shining through her solos. Throughout season one, Rbel emerges as a top streaming artist, an accomplishment that begets something of a holy war.
Serayah’s Acting Range is Engaging
As a former stripper trying to make a name for herself in the gospel industry, you can imagine the struggles that could come with it. Rbel goes through a range of emotions, all understandable and relatable. Despite several crises of faith, Serayah ensures Rbel delivers a humbling performance that makes the audience root for her redemption.
The Kingdom Business Soundtrack is Everything
Streaming now on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music, the Kingdom Business: Season 1 soundtrack is one you’d want to add to your playlist for high and low times. Aside from four soul-soothing songs from Serayah, the soundtrack also features singles from co-star/Hamilton’s Chaundre-Hall Broomfield, gospel artist Chandler Moore, and legend Yolanda Adams.
Serayah’s Rbel Makes You Root For Her
With First Kingdom beginning to crumble under the pressure of lies, infidelity, and deception, Rbel’s window to take that top spot seems wide open; however, the end of season one showed us the Spirit had other plans. Whether you believe or not, Serayah’s Rbel makes you want to see her win. Who doesn’t love a good underdog with a laid 22” bust down? Whether she seeks Him or not, God is proving to be on Rbel’s side. But is it enough to turn everything around for her? Will Rbel lean on faith or fear?
With secrets coming to light, success within reach, and the devastating conclusion of season one, you don’t want to miss season two––especially with more guest collaborations. Kingdom Business returns to BET+ on Nov 2.
BET+ Original | Kingdom Business | S2 Official Traileryoutu.be
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Featured image via Getty Images
Waiting For The Perfect Moment Is Holding You Back, This Author And Recovering Perfectionist Explains Why
If you’re reading this, you’re probably guilty of waiting for the perfect moment to do something, and that’s okay. We’ve all been there. We’ve all done it. No one’s shaming you, and there’s no need to be ashamed. In fact, this article may help you overcome some of your perfectionist traits or, at the very least, get them under control. Award-winning journalist and author L’Oreal Thompson Payton’s new book, Stop Waiting For Perfect, is a love letter to all the people out there who put pressure on themselves to always perform at a high level, procrastinate (yes, procrastination is a form of perfectionism. More about that later) or have fear of failure/ success. As a recovering perfectionist, L’Oreal dives into perfectionism and where it stems from, particularly for Black women. In our interview, she references the classic scene in Scandal with Olivia Pope and her dad, Eli Pope, where he reminds her that she has to be twice as good to get half of what they have. Iykyk. For a lot of Black people, that way of thinking has been ingrained in us since childhood, and it can be one of the beginnings of perfectionism within many of us.
“I remember vividly and also describe this scene in the book of when I was interviewing for a summer camp, and I had my portfolio, and I was wearing my Sunday best and practicing interview questions with my mom in the fifth grade, right? Like granted, it was an academic summer camp, but it was still this notion of we have to show up perfect,” she tells xoNecole. “We have to be the best in order to be valued and accepted in this society. And that's been passed down from generation to generation for Black people and especially Black women in America because we're getting it from both sides. So there's that expectation of perfection.”
The mother of one reached her breaking point after failing to continue her 685-day blue-dot streak on Peleton due to having a busy day with her daughter. Achieving the beloved blue dot was like receiving a gold star for her hard work, and it meant everything to her. So, once she lost it, she literally lost it, breaking down into tears. However, that vulnerable moment helped her to reexamine her life and inspired her to write Stop Waiting For Perfect. While writing the book, she had to face another perfectionist trait: procrastination. As a fellow journalist, I can relate. The term deadline junkie didn’t come from anywhere. L’Oreal explains how procrastination relates to perfectionism.
“I think there were seven different types of perfectionism I read about (you can take a quiz to see what type of perfectionist you are here), and when I found out that procrastination was one of them because, I never thought of myself as a procrastinator. I would just sometimes wait until the last minute, right before the deadline,” she says. “So, I was like, okay, that's not that, but then when I started to think about okay, like, because when you're procrastinating, at least for me, and for a lot of perfectionists, it's like, well, when I sit down in front of this Google Doc like for all the writers out there, I have to know exactly what I'm going to say and I have to say it perfectly. There's no room for error. There's no room for experimentation, and what that does, though, is it prevents us from just putting words on paper.”
Photo courtesy of L'Oreal Thompson Payton
She continues her explanation by sharing a tweet that became her aha moment in her writing process. “There was a tweet that came across as I was writing the first draft of the book that said, ‘you're, or you can edit bad, but you can't edit enough,’ and that really unlocked for me like, okay, my job is to put words on a paper.”
In other words, waiting for the perfect moment is holding you back, but as I mentioned earlier, we are here to help. L’Oreal provides a few tips on letting go of perfectionism while still maintaining success in your life. you can set mini goals and have people you can trust hold you accountable. “If our dream is to launch the podcast in January 2024, what then can you do right now in September 2023, and then October and November, etc., to set yourself up for success because I think that a lot of times we go into it– it has to be perfect on the first one,” she explains.
“I have to come out the gate with this, you know, like masterpiece, and that is just unrealistic, and it's not even holding yourself to a high standard. It's holding yourself to an impossible standard and so giving yourself some grace along the way, allowing for experimentation to try something, and then pivoting when it doesn't work. But first, you have to put it out there, and finding people that you know and trust and who are going to support you along the way is really important.”
What’s on the other side of managing perfectionism? Freedom. Thanks to what she refers to as her “wake-up call,” she now prioritizes rest and no longer beats herself up for not meeting certain standards, and yes, that pertains to receiving a blue dot on Peleton.
“It's been a process and very much progress over perfection because there are moments where I slip, but forgiving myself and then trying again, I think, is like the whole point and purpose of it,” she says. And in the midst of unlearning these unhealthy habits, she’s having healthy conversations with her daughter about boundaries, self-love, and listening to her body.
Feature image courtesy of Chuck Olu-Alabi