5 Questions With - Nadjejda Chapoteau

The Modern Local's 5 Questions Series is back! We are starting things off by talking with Nadjejda Chapoteau, Nadjejda is a certified life coach and spiritual teacher based in Miami.  Originally from Haiti, Nadjejda has lived in Miami for over twenty years.  You can read Nadjejda's insights on going out on your own below and you can learn more about her practice, Love Light Coaching, by clicking here

1. When did you make the big decision to start your own business? What inspired you? What scared you?

I made the big decision to start my own business when I found myself at an unfulfilled place in my life and career. I was unhappy, at the time, and felt that I wasn’t making a difference, which is very important to me.

After a devastating 2010 earthquake struck my homeland, Haiti, I began working at the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, DC.  I felt like we weren’t making much progress and didn’t like what I was seeing. I believe that my journey truly began while on a work trip when I met two children living in a Haitian camp; I remember them telling me they wanted to become a professional, like me, and be able to take care of themselves. While I told them to keep going to school to reach their goal, I knew that their chances of becoming professionals weren’t high—that is, if Haiti continued on the path it’s been on. Even after I went back to DC, I kept seeing them in my dreams. That motivated me.

Although I didn’t know where I was headed just yet, I hired a career coach to help push me in the right direction. About five months of working with my coach, I decided not to start a nonprofit after all, which was something that I thought about doing  for a long time— but,for when I was ready. Instead, I realized I wanted to go for profit and do something I love.

I was inspired to start my own business as way for me to make a living, doing what I love, and to have the lifestyle I desired;I wanted to make a difference for people by inspiring and empowering them to create and have a life they love. I would then use part of my profits to sponsor programs that empower women and children in Haiti. I see my business as an outlet to fulfill my purpose and mission in life.

What scared me the most was leaving the income security that came with working a regular job.I had no idea how to run my own business. I was getting into unknown territory; it felt scary, liberating, exciting, and interesting.

2. What has surprised you the most about this process?

I’ve been mostly surprised with how my own business has brought up many unhealed feelings from the past. I’m a spiritual person and I’ve realized that my business has a part of my own spiritual practice. I didn’t expect it to be so challenging, nor did I realize that my past would aid in the success of my business. It’s been quite a journey; one I wouldn’t trade for anything... even though it’s been a painful process many times. I realize that pain involves growth, which we all must go through to fulfill purpose and a mission in life.

3. What do you wish you’d known before starting your business?

I wish I’d known how long it would take for things to really take off. Although I don’t regret leaving my job, I probably should have looked for a temporary or part-time job while building my business. I also wish I knew how to maintain a better mindset in regards to money and abundance, in general.

This whole process has made me a better coach and puts me in a better position to empower others; especially those who wish to become entrepreneurs and create a life and career they love. The feeling I get from doing what I love is one I've never felt before by doing any other work.

4. Any advice for future small business entrepreneurs?

Start a business to make a difference; not just to make money because that’s what will keep you going during tough times. Figure out your ‘why’ and it will keep you going. Also, really take time to clear stuff from your past: your financial history and your mindset. These are things to continuously work on..

Remember: it’s a journey,not a destination. Show up each day even if you do one thing. Being consistent is what will give you results. Most importantly, build a business where you get to do what you love and that will allow you to have your desired lifestyle—even if in the beginning it may not be all you desire. Keep moving forward by showing up.

Also, if you don’t hate your job, hold on to it as you work on your business. If you hate it, then find something else that will keep money flowing as you build your business. But set a deadline on when you’ll let go of that job and work on your business full-time.

As you grow your business, don't be afraid to delegate tasks to others. I know it can be tough for many of us to let go of control, but it will allow you to do more of what you love. You probably won't love everything that needs to get done in your business.So, don’t be afraid to have help; find people who love and are great at the tasks you don't enjoy, or struggle with, and invite them to be part of your team.

Find support through finding your tribe. Connect with fellow entrepreneurs and/or hire a coach. Finding a small community of entrepreneurs and working with coaches have made a huge impact in my life and business. I didn't always have that; I know the difference. Invest in yourself and your business. You will not only gain more skills and knowledge but you will also feel more confident about asking people to invest in themselves through your business.

4. Where do you go in Miami when you’re looking for inspiration?

I love the beach; it’s one of the major reasons I decided to transition back to Miami. I love being outdoors. Being anywhere in nature such as by a park, by a lake, or by the beach relaxes and inspires me.

5. What modern local group or business do you look up to?

I can’t think of any, now. However, I do admire the businesses and groups who prioritize giving back, empowering, living healthy, and caring for the environment.

Thanks for sharing your insights Nadjejda! 

Are you interesting in being featured on the Modern Local blog? If you would like to share your insights on being an entrepreneur or give a tour of your work space please email kblais@themodernlocalmiami.com

Katie Blais