Motherhood is one of the most rewarding and stressful balancing acts. It requires pouring your heart out to a little human being while waking up every morning to make sure they have everything they need.
In this series, we highlight a few of those women who are in the middle of their greatest balancing act; pouring their hearts into their children while pouring their heart into creating a legacy for their families.
Tamarra Johnson is a multi-faceted business mogul, creative strategist, and community leader who has mastered the art of generational wealth-building after facing teen pregnancy, homelessness, and pain pill addiction. She has a knack for educating others on foundational business models, as well as guiding women business owners in transforming their business idea into million-dollar executions. Tamarra continues to prove that life’s deterrents are no match for her tenacity and drive. She is committed to curating spaces where everyone can operate in a state of excellence.
The Buffalo, New York native quickly found her first moment of adversity when she became a teenage parent during her senior year of high school. Tamarra persevered and completed her high school diploma. A few years later, she found herself to be a single mother of two children with two different fathers and escaping Buffalo to avoid an abusive relationship. After relocating to Atlanta, Georgia, Tamarra felt lost, homeless, depressed, and with a budding addiction to painkillers due to scoliosis, nerve damage, and herniated disks. She sought recovery and refuge through spirituality and became intentional in her journey as an entrepreneur.
In 2013, Tamarra co-founded her first childcare center inside her home in Morrow, Georgia, eventually moving to a commercial location just 11 months later. With her mother, Ms. Pam, as the visionary, they set out to become generational curse breakers. The Morrow location yielded over $700k in gross revenue in its first year, exceeded $1.6 million yearly with continuous growth, and as a result, a second location was birthed less than three years later in Conyers, Georgia. To date, the Morrow location has expanded to the city of Jonesboro and has exceeded its projected goals post-pandemic. In addition to the childcare centers, Tamarra co-owns successful businesses in multiple industries including Checkmate Hospitality Group, Levels Transportation & Logistics, Gesin Management Group, Gesin Consulting Group, Hexagon Life, and 529 Designs.
Now a married mother of four, Tamarra seeks opportunities where she can educate business owners and the new generations on the importance of building generational wealth. Through speaking engagements and with potential books on the horizon, she continues to coach her mentees on the significance of managing businesses, creating lifelong legacies, and holding steadfast to their faith. Upholding a billionaire mindset is her focal point as she aims to inspire others through the elements of faith, family, strategy, foundation building, and legacy building.
What inspired your start in entrepreneurship?
It’s crazy I’ve always hustled and made money all of my life doing odd jobs or flipping funds gambling etc. I started out in life listening to Biggie and Tupac so I wouldn’t act like I was a Saint. Once I matured I took that same mentality to become my own legal Boss because of an injury that caused me to not be able to work traditionally and wasn’t getting paid. So let’s just say I stumbled upon making money legally and became addicted after my mom asked me to research the childcare industry in the state of Georgia. Then I had to think back to how I always watched kids (for free) since I was around 14 and kept a kid with me or spent the night at my house. I’ve always been a baby magnet but now I get paid for it.
What has been your biggest challenge/failure as an entrepreneur?
The biggest challenge/failure was growing the business so fast without the proper guidance or having a mentor in the industry who could show us the ropes. It was like my mom had a vision, I read a book to get it off the ground, and my husband quit his day job so I could use his 401K to finance our dream. Trial and error while having employees and payroll taxes got really ugly at times. Being in federal tax debt with liens and late fees almost bankrupted us but we were able to maintain
How do you deal with it?
We worked hard at one point we worked 24/6 being closed on Sunday literally spending the night at the daycare. We had family finance meetings and put all the cards on the table. We still wrote the vision and made it plain and stuck to it…we opened up a second center in 3 years and by year 5 even though we were in debt we didn’t let it consume us. We stuck together and climbed out. Here we are in year 9 and we have an amazing accountant, paid all of our federal debts, and even bought one of the daycare buildings.
How do you balance entrepreneurship and motherhood without experiencing burnout, while pursuing your passion?
It’s so hard. It’s hard to separate the two at times because I run my household like a business as well. I think I’m still learning how to separate the two. I guess the easiest way is to make sure we made family time and take vacations at least once a quarter. and Bruce and I take a husband and wife trip just as often so that we don’t lose each other on this road to success.
What advice do you have for moms looking to get started in entrepreneurship?
I completely encourage moms or anyone becoming an entrepreneur as long as they come expecting to fail but never quit. That the only way they lose is to stop trying and that trust should be earned and never given. Listen more than you speak when starting out and you must learn something new daily and never stop learning how to perfect your craft.
What does being a Pretty Woman Who Hustles mean to you?
I believe beauty comes from within just like the spirit of hustle. It’s funny because Pretty Woman is one of my favorite movies and Julia Roberts hustled at the bottom and while on top and didn’t compromise regardless of what level she was on. This proves that the term Pretty Woman is a state of mind which comes from the heart, confidence, love for people, go-getter, focused, driven, protector, the list could go on but we learn to do what we need to do to survive and thrive.
What books do you recommend for moms navigating entrepreneurship?
I believe in books that make you well-rounded; not all business but life, family, health, and business.
The Audacity of Hope- President Barack Obama
Leadership from inside out-Kevin Cashman
Developing a leader Within You- John Maxwell
The 7 Stages of Small Business Success – Carl Gould