Marshawn Evans Daniels
Not a day goes by where I don’t get asked about how I got started as a speaker and entrepreneur. I would say it started in the classroom…or maybe it was the principal’s office. I spent a heck of a lot of time there! I was the girl who always had her name on the chalkboard for talking, or as my report cards would say, for “not tending to my own business.” As one of a few small handful of black students at a pretty-much all-white-legally-but-not-visibly integrated school during the early 80s, I faced my share of tests ’n trials for sure. By age eight, I was labeled a bonafide problem child. Actually my brother and I both were both told we were anti-social and needed special education classes. (You’ll later see how, well…dumb that diagnosis was.)
My parents were the most supportive, caring, encouraging and esteem-building parents on the planet. But, at school, when I left the home, I felt like I was invisible. Unimportant. I didn’t fit it. I wasn’t one of the cool girls. My hair didn’t look like theirs, and apparently even though we lived in the same neighborhood, none of them ever came to spend the night at my house.
My AHA. One day while in 6th grade, I remember asking a question and feeling totally dismissed and embarrassed by my teacher’s answer and attitude. In that moment, I silently said to myself that one day I was going to become a teacher. Only when I became a teacher, I was going to be different. I would make sure that my students never felt incapable or insignificant. I would make them feel like they could do or be anything. At the time it was about pay-back. Proving all of the doubters, haters and dis+couragers wrong. Today I see it was really purpose speaking. Lemonade, Batons & Cheerleading – Oh My!
Not having an in-crowd caused me to find other interests outside of school and being a socialite. I always had a desire to help others and a fire for figuring out a way to make money.
We weren’t poor. My parents worked hard and provided a great life for me and my brother. We never missed a meal. The lights never went out. However, I was wired even as a little girl to turn a profit.
I started out selling candy here and there at recess. And then I set up my first lemonade stand. I had zero overhead and my parents were my suppliers since they provided all my materials (the pantry), my production facility…aka, the kitchen, and also my storefront (the front yard).
When business was slow or when people didn’t want to leave their air conditioning during the Texas summer inferno, I learned the power of marketing, messaging, sales and service in one afternoon. I went door to door offering my lemonade.
A few summers later I learned about the power of teaching others what you already know. I was a cheerleader in 6th grade and I wanted to spend the summer teaching the girls in the 4th and 5th grade how to become cheerleaders, too. I created my own signs, developed my value proposition (today we call this copy), and put the signs up at local elementary and high schools (ahem…target marketing + ideal client acquisition).
I guess you could say I created my first course when I was around 10 or 11 years old.
Around that time, I got serious about competitive baton twirling and started training with Janice Jackson, who was one of the best in the world. By the time I was 16, I was competing at international competitions and even became a world-champion in two-baton. What’s interesting about this is that I am legally blind in my left eye. Nothing “happened” to me, I was born this way with a condition called a COLOBOMA. I hadn’t known any different. And thankfully my twirling coach never let me look at myself as having a disability. She never watered down my routines or accommodated my lack of vision, she made my vision rise to my potential. Potential I didn’t realize I had. I suppose that’s what really made her the best in the world…it wasn’t her strategy. It was her ability to believe bigger and beyond what I could imagine…and then to prep ‘n push me accordingly.
During the summer I would teach twirling, dance and modeling classes to young girls looking to try something fun and new…and to get out of their parents’ house! I didn’t really “click” that I was teaching and coaching…I just loved helping and the independence + confidence that came with getting my own check.
I liked being the one that sold stuff and had money to lend…never needing to borrow. I also liked that I got to make a check doing what I loved, using my gifts and talents, and also when I wanted. I was 16 and setting my own schedule. Making more in a week than most kids my age would make the entire summer.
· Dreamonomics: Monetize Your Gifts & Launch Your Dream
· Brand Mastery
· Millionaire Mindshifts – Moving from Stuck to 7 Figures
· Women, Faith & Money – The 7 Habits of Prosperous Women
· The Entrepreneurial Calling
· Find Your Purpose
· Believe Bigger – Embracing Disruption as the Key to Divine Reinvention
· GODFIDENCE – Living Bolder for Christ