Awakened Convos: Karwanna Dyson of She’s Got Goals Chats Government Contracting for Small Businesses

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The 2020 Pandemic has been a roller coaster for many. Some had to work from home and were faced with trying to balance home life and work life and some were laid off completely and are still trying to make ends meet. However, others have decided to go down the path of entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship is no easy feat and many are “running a business” but do not have things structured. This where people such as Karwanna Dyson come to play. Purposely Awakened is thrilled to have interviewed Ms. Dyson.

La’Tanya Scott:  I am La’Tanya Scott, and I am one of the social media personalities/journalists representing Purposely Awakened. I am so excited to be able to sit down and interview with you, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me.

I would like for our readers/listeners to get to know who you are because you are Black woman, business owner and mother. You wear multiple hats. So tell us about yourself and talk to us about your books.

Karwanna Dyson:  I always like to say that I am just a girl from the hood, who had a dream that I would somehow, some way change the world and I aspire to do that every single day in my daily efforts to change the world, one business at a time. I grew up in an urban community, I am the 4th of 7 children, and I came from a single parent household. My mother worked her fingers to the bone to provide for her family. So, I knew from an early age, especially growing up in the hood, in an urban community where there is blight, you did not see a lot of hope or role models but what you do see is a system that has been designed for you to fail and to become a statistic.

So for me, number one…I knew that I was not going to be a statistic, so I have always worked extremely hard to beat the system and to follow my dreams. I knew that education was going to be the first way out. I was the first to graduate from high school and college and then to continue on from there to obtain my master’s degree. I was also the first to have an amazing career with the phone company and I was the first to walk out on faith, in starting my own business, which turned out to be a very successful, six-figure business.

I have seen a lot and I have learned a lot over the years. I have learned about wealth; I have learned how to generate wealth and how to leverage your business to create wealth. I have learned how to make money work for you and so I have put a lot of effort into my book, which is my first and it’s a small eBook called, “The Trillion Dollar Secret to Government Contracting Revealed” The trillion-dollar secret is that the government has trillions of dollars that they spend with small business owners every single year, that is set aside…a mandated obligation that they have to give a certain percentage of that to women, minorities, disadvantaged businesses, local businesses, LGBTQ+ businesses and service disabled veteran owned businesses.

There is a lot of money that is on the table, but it is a secret because no one knows that it’s here, so you have businesses out here that are closing their doors because they are struggling, waiting for people to come through their doors but they are not able to survive and yet, we have a government who has millions of dollars that they are spending, and people just do not know.

La’Tanya Scott:  Do you think that it is because when people are considering how to start a business or to get it off the ground, it to be normal to create a product, and branding for that product and then to sell it?

Karwanna Dyson:  There are traditional thoughts in business models that have been passed down to us for several generations, even in school you learn, and this is what society tells you, that the American dream is to get a job, work for somebody else and own a mortgage. But it will never tell you that you have the power to start a business, purchase your home, turn it into rental property and make that property pay you. Everything is backwards and so even in business, you learn to never expect a profit for your first 2 years and if you survive, by the fifth year you are doing alright.

They will not tell you this but if you sit back and understand how business really works, you can make it profitable in your first 6 months…in your first year. If you understand that here’s a big customer…a giant customer in addition to your consumers, your individual clients but that there are also corporations that have contracts for minorities and women who own businesses too. So you have to understand the whole picture, but you are not taught the whole picture; you are taught to start a business from scratch and struggle, get a loan and owe people and try to figure things out for yourself. No, there are other ways to do business and to do it successfully.

Karwanna Dyson

La’Tanya Scott:  So, I know about Big Mouth Productions, video production, time lapse videos. But today, we are going to talk about your new company, ‘She’s Got Goals LLC.

Karwanna Dyson: Yes, Big Mouth Productions was the company that started She’s Got Goals. It is all connected, and I would be happy to tell you how it all came about.

La’Tanya Scott:  Yes, please do.

Karwanna Dyson:  I am a government contract strategist; a certified business coach and I help other small business owners to learn how to do business with the government. When I first got started in business, one of the first businesses that I started was actually a multi-media company called Big Mouth Productions. I went into that business because I got tired of working for other people. I had an amazing job out of college, but it was taking up all of my time and I did not have enough time in the day to do what I really loved doing which was media production; I also started having children.

So, I was missing out on my children’s ‘firsts’ and I felt trapped in the corporate world and so I stepped out on faith and started my business about 20 years ago. Initially, it was a real struggle. Like most small business owners it was definitely a journey in trying to figure out how to get consistent, sustainable income and regular paying customers without feeling like you have to chase customers and beg people to utilize your services and let them know that you are serious about business. I was over that but that is how I ran my business for the first few years.

There came a point in my life where I needed to figure out a way to make my business work for me because I had gone through some changes in my family, and upon my separation from my husband at that time, I wondered how I was going to make things work with my business, only working part time at the time, I am barely getting customers, barely generating revenue and I refused to go back to work for someone else because I wanted to be able to be there for my children.

I started doing a lot more freelance work, photography, video production for small companies, and one of the companies that I was helping to build their portfolio, I knew the owner from the community, and we grew up in the same place and he was able to build a multi-million-dollar business and I was like, well how were you able to do it, we both come from the same hood…basically. I was wondering where were the resources, how did you build you business to a multi-level business.

He told me that the same thing that he was doing, I could do too and that was selling my services to the government. So, instead of chasing customers, I learned how to position my business to sell my services to the government. From there, I was able to sustain my family and myself so that I would not have to go back to work and having a thriving business of my own with Big Mouth Productions. Because of its overnight success, that company, given the fact that I already had the experience, enabled me to just about replace my full-time income in 28 days working with the government. That was powerful and lucrative.

So then I said to myself, why is it that people do not know about this? Why is it that when you go to city hall for business consulting or to S.C.O.R.E. (Service Corps Of Retired Executives), why isn’t that the first thing that they say, oh well you are a small business you should be selling your services to the government. This is how you have a successful baseline of income or revenue in your business, so that is where ‘She’s Got Goals Consulting Firm’ came into the picture because I wanted to tell everybody. Initially, I wanted to empower other women, especially minority women about how this big secret, what I call, the trillion-dollar secret, that the government is spending trillions of dollars on business services every single year and a percentage of that has to go to women who own their business.

I also discovered that a percentage of that has to go to minority owned businesses and small businesses and disadvantaged businesses. That is how She’s Got Goals, the consulting firm was born.

La’Tanya Scott:  I am blown away! So, you have Big Mouth Productions and She’s Got Goals, tell me the difference in how the world sees them both and then how do you deal with the day to day in running these businesses?

Karwanna Dyson:  Good question. As a government contractor and the head of my consulting firm, it allows me to make lucrative income on a part-time basis so that I am able to do what it is that I am really passionate about which is empowering other small business owners by showing them how to get started with selling their services to the government. So, the difference between the two worlds, whether or not you have a business customer, or a business consumer model is that when you are selling your business to individual people then you have to worry about marketing at a greater capacity, you have to worry about marketing dollars, how are you going to pull in volumes of people and you are pulling them in one at a time.

But when you have a contract, you can have one 6 figure contract for 30-60 days of work and now you are leveraging your time for better pay and so basically, having a contract or multiple contracts simultaneously is one of the biggest kept secrets but it also allows you to grow your business sustainably and it is a smart way to do business. You no longer have to worry about going to meet with a customer and sit there and have lunch, trying to figure out…with the government the capacity is being generated for you. You do not have to chase after them, they have the money available that has to be given to women, minority, and small business owners.

La’Tanya Scott:  As I have spoken with different people that I have interviewed on this platform, Purposely Awakened, my mind has been blown by all of the knowledge, all the things that you all are doing, and I am sitting here wondering why no one knows about these things. I am here in Birmingham, Al., and there are so many small businesses around, but no one knows anything about what you have talked about.

Karwanna Dyson:  Yes, and that is why I have coined the phrase, The trillion-dollar secret. Because it is definitely hidden in plain sight, you can google government contracting for small business and you will be able to find out a wealth of information. But you will never find one location where all of the steps are laid out for you, along with all of the resources. So it is kind of like all over the place. You definitely will either stumble upon this information or maybe someone would tell you or you may accidentally discover in some kind of way because it is not publicized. This is also the path less traveled by small business owners.

To your other point that you mentioned about knowing how to do business the right way. What I have learned over the past few years is that there are different ways that you can do business…you have a business license; anybody can start a business, that requires that you get a business license, or you can form articles of incorporation. But you have to understand how business works and that is the difference between having an unsuccessful business and a growing thriving business that you can build a legacy with.

So, what I discovered was that there was more to a business than just a business license and a customer, there are some fundamental things that you have to have in order for that business to succeed and that comes with a foundation.

La’Tanya Scott:  A lot of folks think, well hey I have got this great idea, I am going to sell this product and distribute it out, but they do not have the foundation to be successful. You mentioned earlier that you had an eBook, do you have any other books that we should know about?

Karwanna Dyson:  Yes, I do have a couple of books that are available, and I am in the process of producing a new book for 2021 that basically will reveal a lot of business techniques that I have learned, starting with that foundation that we just spoke about. I will help you to understand why you need to have an EIN (Employer Identification Number) and a Dun Brad (Dun & Bradstreet) and you need to know why it is important to have a business bank account.

La’Tanya Scott:  Would you mind clarifying those points for our readers?

Karwanna Dyson:  Ok, let me break it down. It is actually crazy because I went to school for business but even in business school, you can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition and they will never tell you about government contracting. They will never tell you about business credit and business foundation…everything is so general and basic but when you can understand how to take your business and leverage it as a vehicle to generate wealth, there are certain aspects of that business that must be in place. You need to have your EIN, your business license, your Dun & Brad number which will allow you to get federal funding, contracts and grants and it will also allow you to start building business credit, which is another way to generate wealth.

There are certain things that you have to have in your business to make it fundable but also to qualify to do business with the government. These are the things that you will not learn in the classroom. It will take a successful business owner who has traveled that path to tell you the truth about how things really work.

La’Tanya Scott:  Do you consider yourself a successful business owner and why?

Karwanna Dyson:  Yes, absolutely. I consider myself to be a successful business owner first because, I stepped out on faith and was able to retire at the age of 27 and I am well into my 40’s. The first few years were a struggle because I failed, and I fell forward, and it took me a while to get to where I am.

La’Tanya Scott:  I have always believed that whenever you fall, that you should fall forward because at least you are moving forward.

Karwanna Dyson:  I have learned how to generate income and I have learned how to make my business work for me. By showing other people how to do it successfully, I have had clients that have landed million-dollar contracts as well as multi-million-dollar contracts and so if I can do something successfully and duplicate that, showing someone else how to do it, then of course I will, because for me that it success all day.

La’Tanya Scott:  I am curious because there are a lot of folks that would like to create a business but just like you mentioned a moment ago, you have to have your foundation, your business credit, EIN. I would love to hear more about your books. But tell me, what motivated you to step out on faith besides not wanting to work for someone else because there are a lot of different factors when someone says that they stepped out on faith. So, what continued to push you forward into becoming a successful businesswoman?

Karwanna Dyson:  I am true believer in God but also, I have always been driven by faith. Growing up in an urban community, where people say that you won’t and you can’t, I have always had the mindset that I will and watch me! So, even in business I knew that the God that I serve would not let me fail because He made promises to me and I know that His promise to me will come to pass. I had no choice but to step out on faith and to make that work for me.

It was definitely a faith driven move and it was about remembering the promise, remembering who I am and who’s I am and that my purpose is so much greater than just for me. I knew that I was in a position to impact the world in some kind of way and so that was not going to happen sitting at a job, doing the same thing every single day for somebody else, building their dreams, instead of building my own. I hated the fact that I had to get up at 5:00 a.m., drop my kid off, go to work, come back…pick my kid up and it was like 6-7:00 p.m., and we would just have time to eat and go to sleep.

You feel like a robot, where is life, where is the quality of life in that, there is none.

La’Tanya Scott:  I love your faith. Please tell us about your books.

Karwanna Dyson:  My book is called, ‘10 Habits of the Highly Effective Entrepreneur: Successful Secrets and Strategies That Get Results’ and it is available on Amazon. That is one of my first publications and it is distributed through Amazon.com and it is also available on Kindle. I released that book first because there are some habits that we need to form in order to be consistent in order to get results. There are certain habits that you need in business or as a business owner in order to succeed.

The next book that I will be releasing in 2021 is going to be called, ‘The Becoming of the SheEO’ in there I talk about how I went from a struggling business, barely making ends meet because I had no understanding of how business really works to having 2 thriving businesses that are amazingly successful while showing other people how to do it. So I will reveal all the secrets about government contracting, the secrets about business credit and how to leverage your business, how to make money work for you and all these wealth building strategies that will be available in that book. I also talk about how you build your team so that eventually you can become the CEO/SheEO of your business while your business is building a legacy for you.

La’Tanya Scott:  I read a book called, ‘7L: The Seven Levels of Communication: Go From Relationships to Referrals’ by Michael J. Maher. It was an interesting book in how he helped someone in real estate become successful within their own business and it was phenomenal. As a Black woman, is it hard to communicate with the government because in this book it was not about code switching but it was about breaking down walls, getting to know a person, their family, their background and to learn about their goals.

When you first went to get government contracting, how did you do that as a Black woman in today’s society?

Karwanna Dyson:  It was hard because there was no me back then, so the information was kind of like scattered all over the place, but I was determined to figure out how to systematically make it work for me and so I asked a lot of questions. You run into walls because no one wants to tell you how things work but I figured it out. The first few times that I started bidding on contracting opportunities, I made mistakes, and did it the wrong way, but I learned from my mistakes until I figured out the right way to do it. The first time that I ever landed a contract for $70,000 for 28 days of work, taking pictures for 2 hours a day…which turned out to be 56 hours for something that almost replaced my income.

So from there, I back tracked to figure out how I got there. I created this system and then I repeated the system and I started to land more contracts, contracts simultaneously and then multiple contracts. There were small and large contracts…6 figure contracts. Once I started to understand, I no longer how to ask questions. I created my own blueprint that made it easy for other people, I can just show them the steps to take. I teach these steps in my program called, Government Contracts Accelerator. So what took me several years to learn, I now teach it to business owners over a 6-week period. You can sell anything to the government. You can sell tissue, rubber bands. I have clients that sell wigs to the government, security services…everything that you use, the government uses it too. There is no limit to what you can sell to the government. My clients provide trucking services, event planning…etc., all different types of services and products.

La’Tanya Scott:  I appreciate you for taking the time to talk about the foundation that you need in order to create a successful business. I know a lot of people that say that they want to step out on faith, including me and we just do not do it because of the things that you would have to go through. A lot of people do not want to go through the struggle to get to the glory.

So for those who want to be in business, what words of encouragement do you have for them?

Karwanna Dyson:  I have a favorite quote that I use by a success leader named Tony Gaskins, “If you don’t build your dreams, someone will hire you to help build theirs.” When I first heard that particular quote, I thought about how I was hired right out of college and got a great job, but I was building someone else’s dream, that is their legacy, and I was there as a robot making their dreams come true. You have to remember your dreams, the ones that you have had since you were a kid.

It is up to you and it is never too late to start again. Whatever it was that fueled you when you had those childhood dreams, it is up to you to remember what they were before life happened and before you became discouraged. You get to choose the life that you would like to have. Where you are today is a prime example of what you have been doing for the last 5 years and if you do not like where you are then today is the day to start again and for you to decide where you are going to be in the next 5 years. You have to create that pathway; you have to create the steps that it will take for you to get there. You have to eliminate all the excuses and when people say to you that you can’t, you tell them yes, I can and why. Design the life that you want to live and live life by design and not by default.

La’Tanya Scott:  I appreciate you and your journey is phenomenal. Before we go please tell everyone how they can follow you and support you.

Karwanna Dyson:  You can always check me out on www.shesgotgoals.com that is my primary website. If you want to learn about my particular program you can go to www.qualifyforgovernmentcontracts.com and you can learn how to get started as a small business owner with government contracts. You can follow me on Youtube.com/karwannad, also, I am on Facebook. I have a Facebook community and it is called, Government Contracts for women and small business owners, and there is about 2000 business owners in that community that are learning about government contracting because I give a lot of free training, guidance, and tips as to how to get this done.

La’Tanya Scott:  You heard it here on Purposely Awakened from Ms. Karwanna Dyson. Thank you so much for being with us today.

Karwanna Dyson:  Thank you for having me.

La’Tanya Scott:  You are very welcome. Purposely Awakened family, if you have any comments or questions, please reach out to Ms. Dyson using the information that she just gave you. Be sure to get her books and read them because I will definitely be getting them.

ABOUT AUTHOR

  • La’Tanya Scott

    La’Tanya is a skilled outdoor educator and role model who focuses on outreach and service to urban schools and youth of color. Her intense interest in nature, her skills and knowledge, and especially her boundless enthusiasm will help many additional area individuals understand the importance, and the wonders, of the outdoors. She holds a degree in Environmental Science from Miles College. Even before her graduation, La’Tanya knew that she wanted to work in nature and to inspire people to love the outdoors as much as she does. From childhood, she has always had a passion for being outdoors and helping people, and she credits her family with strengthening that passion. La’Tanya serves on the Junior Board of the Alabama Rivers Alliance and has helped to form the active and dynamic junior board of the Cahaba River Society, for which she serves as staff liaison. She has been the keynote speaker at a variety of events including the Color the Crag Climbing Festival and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s Nonpoint Source Pollution Conference. 

La’Tanya Scott

La’Tanya is a skilled outdoor educator and role model who focuses on outreach and service to urban schools and youth of color. Her intense interest in nature, her skills and knowledge, and especially her boundless enthusiasm will help many additional area individuals understand the importance, and the wonders, of the outdoors.

She holds a degree in Environmental Science from Miles College. Even before her graduation, La’Tanya knew that she wanted to work in nature and to inspire people to love the outdoors as much as she does. From childhood, she has always had a passion for being outdoors and helping people, and she credits her family with strengthening that passion.

La’Tanya serves on the Junior Board of the Alabama Rivers Alliance and has helped to form the active and dynamic junior board of the Cahaba River Society, for which she serves as staff liaison. She has been the keynote speaker at a variety of events including the Color the Crag Climbing Festival and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s Nonpoint Source Pollution Conference. 

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