Where This Journey Began

Photo Credit: Anna Betty Photo

Photo Credit: Anna Betty Photo

I never planned to own my own business.  Yes, I "broke" the entrepreneurship aptitude test at my university where I earned 2/3rds of an MBA before dropping out to start a children's rescue home in war-torn Africa. I'll never forget the professor's extended introduction before handing out the papers.  This was not graded.  It was scored on a scale of 1-10.  The most successful serial entrepreneurs he used it on, only scored 7s.  Most people were 3-4s tops.  

I broke out my pencil and started answering the assessment.  I was sure there was some trick to the scoring mechanism because the questions seemed so self-evident.  {Of course, I had multiple childhood businesses, everyone has multiple childhood businesses.}  Then I was certain I added wrong because my score was impossible and numbers were usually my nemesis.  I felt a little like Tris in the Divergent books that hadn't yet been written, when she finds the test doesn't work on her.  I re-added and re-checked and finally turned my aberrant score in. 9.8 out of 10.

The professor looked at me and, with almost a prophetic amount of clarity, squinted his eyes and told me I would in no way graduate with my MBA from that program.  I would leave in order to go start something.  Neither of us knew at that time that it would be in a war-ravaged, tumultuous dusty corner of Africa in a no-man's land known for generations of brutal conflict.  But a few short months later in the next term, I became an official MBA drop-out.

I was raised to finish what I start, so dropping out was far from easy.  But I also knew I would never become who I was called to be settling for quarterly reports and corporate America.  {The portions of the MBA I did get were incredibly helpful and were in no way wasted in establishing a an international development base in what would become the world's newest nation.}

Once I moved to Africa, I never expected to return to live in America.  You don't take over 100 children into your heart as your own and plan to eventually go do something else.  But after 7 years with 18 infections of cerebral malaria as well as likely typhoid and a whole host of other tropical parasites and critters, my health shut down.  I moved back to the USA in 2013 and have been fighting to get even a toehold of health back since then.

It rapidly became evident I would not be moving back to Africa and my future existed on this side of the Atlantic.  It has been a gut-wrenching, soul-searching, dream-crushing, hope-awakening, comfort-stretching couple of years.

My journey to start Michele Perry Design Co. {MPDCo} started a world away when I looked into the eyes of the first child who called me mama.  It started with the first little hand that curled around mine that I went back out into the night to find and see her rescued from living in a brothel.  It started with seeing women being exploited because of economic vulnerability and forced to sell their dignity for less than the price of a juice box on the street.  It started with learning the names of those others judged as worthless as I sat with them as friends, in awe that a life of abuse lived on burning trash mounds didn't crush their ability to dream.

I didn't know it then, but these women and their tenacity to dream would help me to find my own again after having all I thought I was to do stripped away.  And so MPDCo grew from the ashes of my own crushed dreams.

Even in the middle of the bush by lantern light and a waning laptop battery, I often would sit with visitors and help them think through creative businesses and branding and ways to integrate it all with serving a purpose greater than profit when they returned home.  I simply love to see others soar higher and farther than I can or than they thought they were able to.  Little did I know that that love I discovered in Africa would become the foundation of all I am doing now.

So, welcome.  This is a brand new journey and I can't wait to share it all with you.  I mean the raw and the beautiful, the frustrations and the joys.  This is not going to be a nice polished business blog in hopes to get you to sign up for an equally polished newsletter.  Not. Even. Close.

If you are part of this tribe of creatives and makers, creativepreneurs and artisans, community builders and conversation changers, I am going to take a wild guess that you don't want nice, neat and polished.  Life isn't.  Pioneering a new thing certainly isn't.  The creative is absolutely not.  

Nope.  #CourageousCreativity is a place find courage for your creative soul.  Where you can find inspiration and insight to build an authentic brand, grow your business through the power of story and pursue a purpose greater than profit.  Here, we spill words and heart... me, from my own business story as it unfolds and the lessons I'm learning along the way.  You, from yours.  Together.

Know this my friend.  The road ahead may be very unknown. But as you step out to traverse its course, you are not alone.  I'm so glad you are here and I cannot WAIT to get to know you.

Before you go, start the new year off by signing up so you don't miss any of the adventure.  

{I hate spam and am an inbox minimalist myself, so I promise all you will get are blog posts, an almost weekly dose of encouragement and the very occasional announcement.}

Take a moment and say, "Hi!" in the comments.  Let me know where you are from and what creative business dream you have for 2017!