There is nothing quite like getting to know someone, and I mean really diving deep – what their story is, what makes them tick, and how they achieved the success they worked so diligently for. Humbly, I have had the pleasure of connecting with Darnell Self, now a highly successful man in the entrepreneurial space, and he shared with me from the very beginning to now, how he’s been able to design the life he so happily lives. Check it out:
Lisa: Darnell, let’s start from the beginning. Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur or was it something you discovered later in your life?
Darnell: Honestly, I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living when I was younger. It took me seven years to earn a bachelor’s degree because I kept switching my major; I just couldn’t make up my mind. During that time, I was working in retail and ended up being promoted to manager of a clothing store when I graduated, so I stuck around there for a while. Good thing, too, because that’s where I met my wife! She was the cashier at the store I managed. Traci and I were married by the time I was 24 years old, and I guess that’s when I really started to think about what was going to happen next for us. So, at 25, I quit my job and took the leap of faith into entrepreneurship.
Lisa: Wow! What a great love story that is. Was Traci supportive of your decision to pursue entrepreneurship?
Darnell: Traci is amazing! She has supported me every step of the way, including the MANY hardships we faced. However, I must admit she was scared to death and often asked, “are you sure this is going to work out for us?”
Lisa: Would you mind sharing what obstacles you had to overcome?
Darnell: Well, for the first 3 years of this journey, everything went quickly downhill. We ended up having to get rid of our 2 cars, thus borrowing my dad’s pickup truck to get around. I was constantly borrowing money from family and friends, and even then, Traci still had to work multiple jobs to support the family (we had 2 kids at this time) because my business just wasn’t generating enough. I made only enough money from my business to cover the expenses to keep the business going. As you can imagine, my self-esteem tanked, and I began to doubt what I was doing.
Lisa: What kept you going through that time? Why did you continue working so hard to not see much in return?
Darnell: It was all about the lifestyle, and when I say that, I don’t mean the materialistic things that prove someone to be successful. I mean the things that really matter. My goal was always to support my family with the best (best schools, best cultural experiences, etc.) and to donate 6-figures annually to different charities and communities in need of support. Despite what others may think, I don’t do what I do for the credit; I do it for the cause.
Lisa: How awesome are you! When did things turn around for you to accomplish those goals?
Darnell: I was 29 when I struck some real success, which was more rewarding than you could probably imagine. At the time, that was simply bringing Traci home from her job, having money left over after paying the bills for investments, a tuition fund for our kids, etc. That fueled a bigger fire that has continued to burn every day since.
Lisa: So, what are some of your greatest accomplishments, in your opinion?
Darnell: Well, Traci and I collectively have been able to earn over $15 million dollars from one direct sales company alone. We currently have 25 people whom we were fortunate enough to help make over $1,000,000 with our company, and over 40 other individuals that have earned themselves a 6-figure income! One of my most prized accomplishments is the nonprofit I started with my best friend, that has been able to consistently and abundantly give to underserved communities! Also, I am humbled to be named the “Entrepreneur of the Year”, twice, by the National Black Chamber of Commerce because of the number of lives we’ve impacted along the way. I am very blessed!
Lisa: That is truly incredible! What has this amount of success done for your family?
Darnell: Honestly, the monetary success we’ve had has been beyond anything we ever expected. It gives us a lot of freedom in terms of how we spend our time. Traci and I are work-from-home parents, which grants us the opportunity to spend time and create memories with our 4 kids. We can thrive, not just simply survive, and that to me is priceless!
Lisa: What words of advice can you give to those who are just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey, or are maybe considering taking a leap like you did?
Darnell: There is so much I could say, so I’ll limit it to 4 things:
One – it is more than okay to work a job or earn income from another source as you build your business.
Two – follow someone who already has the results you are looking for.
Three – make sure that the people you are surrounding yourself with are being an accelerator to your success, not a barrier.
Four – investing in yourself is NOT a waste of time or money!
Lisa: Nice! So, Darnell, is there anything else you want to say that we haven’t yet covered?
Darnell: Actually, just one more thing that I think is super important. Success, at least to me, isn’t about the big houses, fast cars, or the flashing money on Instagram stuff. It’s a pursuit of happiness; it’s forever ongoing, so try not to view it as a destination.
Lisa: What a wonderful reminder! Thank you so much for your time and transparency, Darnell. For those you’ve inspired with your story, what are some ways for them to reach you?
Darnell: The pleasure has been all mine! I am on social media, of course, so feel free to connect with me on Facebook (The Real Darnell Self) and Instagram (@darnell_self). My direct website is https://www.darnellself.com, and that’s a great way to get ahold of me, too.