Dreaming Self-Employment

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Dreaming Self-Employment

Brandi Day is the Founder and Executive Director of iD.A.Y.dream located in Kent, Washington. Founded in 2016, iD.A.Y.dream, is a youth-based, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that serves low to middle income young men and women, ages 12-18. iD.A.Y.dream provides diverse programming such as: Success Dreamers Academy, Change Management (Emotional Intelligence), Parent Academy, Educational Enrichment and Community Engagement.

When and why did you join the NASE?
I joined NASE in 2018. I joined because I wanted to be a part of a community that serves, supports and understands the world of the self-employed. Through this organization I have access to resources which assist my organization in growing. I have learned a lot about business and about myself as a leader, all thanks to NASE.

What inspired you to enter your current field?
My 3 children are my inspiration. Having a strong passion for kids has inspired and enabled me to provide them with more than I had as a child and to encourage them to chase their dreams. I would not have dreamed that I would start a non profit in which I work with youth. However, having done so, it is clear to me that once you recognize your gift, there are no limits to what you can achieve.

When and why did you start your business?
I started iD.A.Ydream in July 2016 shortly after returning from maternity leave. I realized that I wasn’t operating in my passion and purpose. I worked in a corporate environment in a fast-paced position with no work life balance. I felt like I couldn’t turn work “off”. My husband has always spoken highly of my gift in working with children, often telling me that I should become a teacher. He encouraged me to write down what makes me feel fulfilled, what makes me happy and what makes me smile. At the time, my eldest son and I were having many conversations about him going to college and what he wanted to be when he grew up. After many sheets of paper and more signs and confirmations — iD.A.Y.dream was formed. I recognized the strong need in my community for individuals who would be more involved in the lives of youth, particularly in schools. Providing youth with resources and a community of support is what truly holds a special place in my heart. Living out this dream to inspire youth to pursue excellence is THE most rewarding thing I have experienced.

How do you market your business?
 - Social media has been instrumental in getting exposure
 - Community and School events (vendor tables)
 - Utilizing my community (Family and Friends have played a huge role)
 - Email marketing (Mail Chimp)
 - “Old fashioned” picking up the phone and cold calling (Just do it)

What challenges have you faced in your business?
The road over the course of the 3 years hasn’t been easy. Entrepreneurship takes a lot of guts, smiles, tears and consistency. Some of my major challenges have been:

1.   Funding (Sponsorships, Grants, Donations)
2.   Learning and navigating the field of running a non-profit
3.   Partnerships (the good, the bad and the ugly)
4.   Staying on top of being an effective leader and mentor

I’ve been able to overcome the challenges by remaining faithful, relying on my strong support system and consistently pushing forward because I know youth are counting on me. I often have self-talk moments that elevate and inspire me to do more and to strive for excellence. I must walk the walk and talk the talk. People are always watching!

Do you have any employees?
No. Currently it’s just a one woman show. I definitely have plans to add to my team in the future as I want to provide internship opportunities for youth to come on board as Teen and Young Adult Advisors. I believe providing this opportunity will expose youth to operating businesses and to developing effective communication, negotiating and life skills. Most importantly, they will learn to adopt our key values: Accountability, Commitment and Leadership.

Can you tell us about your schedule and what a typical day is like for you?
Getting my kiddos off to school (High schooler, Middle schooler and Pre-schooler)
 - Self- care - working out
 - Reading (staying up to date with data and school reports)
 - Tackling my ever growing to do list
 - Attending meetings or doing some form of networking
 - Cooking dinner and getting ready for the evening’s happenings with kid activities/homework

What’s the best thing about being self-employed?
I have more time to spend quality “effective” time with my husband and kids
 - I am in control of my time
 - I am doing what I LOVE

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received from a client?
It was actually from one of my Dreamers parents who expressed that she was motivated to finish her Master’s degree because of the impact of what we have done with her son! To see her walk the stage with her son front and center, congratulating her, was priceless! 

What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to someone starting their own business?
DON’T GIVE UP! When business gets slow…keep going! When your back is against the wall…keep going! Create your starting lineup team of support! Trust the process! Know your value! You’re not alone! If you’re failing then you’re on the right track! IT WILL ALL BE WORTH IT!

Which NASE member benefit is most important to you?
NASE ensures that we have access to an immense amount of benefits. In my line of work the most important benefit that I have utilized the most is the Office Depot Savings. Having my store purchasing card (SPC) has saved me hundreds of dollars on my printing expenses. Office Depot knows me by name and by my happy dance every time I save $$$.

Any other information you would like to share?
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to use this platform to share my story and passion. I’m on a mission to make sure that each and every youth that comes into contact with iD.A.Y.dream, will succeed and prosper. It isn’t work when you’re doing what you love!

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