Vernetta Freeney of Women Are Gamchangers
This week’s Teacher Entrepreneur profile is Vernetta Freeney of vernettarfreeney.com I reached out to Vernetta after I was intrigued by an article I read about her online. Vernetta has taught at both the Elementary and College levels and has founded several businesses. She credits her time management skills with enabling her to be so productive.
CS: What is the name of your business and where is it located?
VF: My business is called Women Are Gamechangers and I am located in Houston, Texas. I’m a blogger, speaker, educator, ESL Trainer for corporate America and organizer of a blog group.
CS: How long have you been an educator, and what positions have you held?
VF: I taught in the Houston ISD for 4 years and taught at the college level for 1year but I worked in the non-profit sector in schools before I became a teacher. Altogether I spent ten years working in schools.
CS: Why did you want to become an entrepreneur?
VF: I tell people I was forced into it. I had my teaching contract non-renewed in 2011 and was either overqualified or too expensive to be rehired. I applied to other jobs outside of education and they just saw my background in education. I decided to learn how to market my knowledge and skills and that is how Women Are Gamechangers was born.
CS: Why did you choose your particular industry?
VF: When I left teaching I felt like I didn’t have control over my career. I had dedicated so much to being a teacher. I never thought of doing anything else. When I was non-renewed I had no job, no prospects and I didn’t know what to do. I felt like teaching was my identity and I had to figure out who I was when I was no longer in the classroom. I didn’t ever want to feel like that again so I decided to take control of my life and I started my business.
CS: Tell me a little bit about your business?
VF: WomenAreGamechangers.com is essentially a story telling and resource platform. We share stories of everyday women in whatever story they want to share. We have a human element and we want people to connect with others.
My site is a very niche site. Our audience is work from home women that have an original business. By original I mean that they are not affiliated with direct marketing or some larger business. My audience is who I was when I started the site.
The resources are things we share that people may not see other places. We teach people how to work with the state of Texas. Most people don’t realize that their state is a major purchaser of goods and services. The state needs to purchase things, so we show women how to set their business up to have the State of Texas as one of their customers.
CS: What is the best business advice you have ever been given?
VF: Know your audience. I say that because people often want to create products and events and then they have no one to sell them to. Once you know your audience, you’ll know what they want. You have to really understand them enough to know what you can create that they will actually pay for.
CS: What is the greatest challenge of being a Teacher Entrepreneur?
VF: Time management. When I was in the classroom it was hard to be able to respond to emails, plan events, grade papers, create products, etc. You have to have a great time management system in place. When I had a task to do, I had to know how much time it would take. I would schedule it and then get it done during that time.
CS: What advice would you give to other Teacher Entrepreneurs?
VF: You are already selling your knowledge in the classroom. If you feel the need to sell it outside of the classroom, do it. As teachers, there are times that you need some extra income. Having a business on the side is ideal if you are able to manage your time. If you want to do it, just do it.
CS: What books or resources would you recommend to other Teacher Entrepreneurs?
VF: I’m an avid reader. I would say you need to understand social media if you are going to do business online. It is really a time saver.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuck is a great book that helps you learn how to use social media platforms to automate your social media.
The One Thing by Gary Keller is a great resource. It talks about how you need to focus on one thing, do it first before you move on to the next thing. You have to really focus on one thing, if the money is coming, stick with it, if not, pivot.
Breaking The Silence: My Final 40 Days as a Public School Teacher by M. Shannon Hernandez is a great book as well. She’s a teacher I know who started her first business while in the classroom now she’s built another successful business and author.
CS: What is your vision for your business?
VF: It’s funny that you say that. I am about to put Women are Gamechangers on the market to sell. I want to sell it to someone who is not a creator, but is a builder. I am going to expand the teaching side of my business. I want to teach to groups or corporations a program that I am creating. Even though I know it’s time for me to leave Women Are Gamechangers I want to pass it along to someone who is passionate about it.
CS: How will you know when you have achieved your vision?
VF: I knew I achieved what I needed to with Women are Gamechangers when I knew I could walk away and I wasn’t worried about people judging me. I think once you can walk away and not be worried about what others think, you have achieved your vision. I have set it up well for someone to take it over and continue with that journey.
CS: What would you do differently if you were to start another business?
VF: I wouldn’t spend my money how everyone says I should spend my money. Others tell you what you should spend your money on like coaching, resources, books, services, etc. I definitely wouldn’t run around and put my money in everything that was suggested to me. I would be more diligent in doing my research to make sure it would be money well spent.
CS: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you or your business?
VF: I want people to know that I am on a journey to live my authentic truth. In doing so I want to help other people know it’s okay to show your flaws. Being authentic is what built Women are Gamechangers. I was able to build my community because I was able to share the struggles as well as the triumphs.
I want to thank Vernetta for taking time to speak with me. She is a very busy lady but she was very gracious with her time.