We had the good fortune of connecting with Chaquanzha Stephenson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chaquanzha, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My thought process behind starting my own business was the ability to obtain time freedom. I have a ton of passion projects that I would love to work on, but I always had to exchange my time for money. Owning a business gives you flexibility and most importantly, you can control your income. My prayer was the ability to walk in my purpose without trading my lifestyle. #GodIsGood
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I went to the University of New Hampshire and earned a dual degree in Political Science and Justice Studies in 2013. I always wanted to be a criminal defense attorney, but once I graduated, I realized law was no longer my desired career path. I knew I wanted to help/serve people, in some capacity, but I didn’t know how to tell my parents I was no longer interested in law. I always feared disappointing them, but I realized I only have one life to live. I live for me and I have no regrets about my decision. Fast forward, I tried some online sales (scam work from home jobs) and even worked at a call center for 3 months *insert crying face* in 2013. I was determined to do whatever it took to prove my parents wrong as I often heard, “you are making the biggest mistake of your life.” I eventually landed in Human Resources and made my footing where I got my fix of problem solving and helping others develop/evolve. HR has been rewarding, but as I transition into a full-time entrepreneur, I realized there are many things I have learned in the corporate world that have catapulted my transition into the entrepreneurial world. The biggest takeaway is work ethic and consistency. Working hard for a promotion or to be recognized has always been a part of my work experience. I am naturally overzealous, but I would work tirelessly to show and prove, and I always raised my hand to own projects outside of my normal scope of work. I believe this behavior has been a detriment to my corporate experience as the work then became the expectation and there was no room to turn down additional work requests without backlash. Meanwhile, the employee doing the bare minimum was able to perform well enough to get recognized and promoted. I will not go down this rabbit hole, but as a black woman no matter how hard your work, you will always have to work 4x harder.
Needless to say, I was always unhappy, burnt-out and I was never fulfilled. Thankfully, I knew my purpose was greater, I just didn’t fully understand how I could execute and sustain without a consistent paycheck. Over time, I’ve shifted my energy to work on things that made me feel whole. I am finally closer to where I want to be and owning my own business and being in control of my earning potential is a feeling that cannot be explained. More importantly, I realized my reward comes from God and not man. While I waited for man to validate me and determine/undermine my abilities, I was forced to create opportunities for myself and others. Entrepreneurship is NOT for everyone but working a 9-5 is not either. I was blessed to see a six-figure income before 30, but it’s never how much you make, it is always how much you keep or invest. If I can advise the wise… if you are considering ways to get out of your job/career, find something you like and let your employer be your investor. Leverage your income to secure additional streams of income. Don’t leave until you match or surpass what your employer provides. I am the proud owner of Point Transportation & Logics, and the goal is to own a fleet of trucks. I plan to scale the business with owner-operators, dispatchers, and services within the trucking industry (especially services for those getting started). I currently still work full time (contract base), but I just resigned (hallelujah) and I do not plan to pick up any more contracts after I conclude my current assignment.
Moreover, the trucking industry is very lucrative and interesting. I love learning new things daily. What I have learned is you can do almost anything on your own with Google and YouTube University at your fingertips, but be sure to set a budget for mentorship. Pay an expert to help you! Don’t reinvent the wheel or waste time making avoidable mistakes. Always remain a curious and coachable student. Most importantly, DO YOUR RESEARCH. If you are interested in the trucking industry (owning trucks in particular), please note, it is a very expensive business to fail in. The startup costs are upwards of $30k and there are a ton of miscellaneous expenses. Something as simple as making sure you can afford to register and insure your new commercial vehicle is crucial! It cost me over $3k to complete these two steps in the process. I started my research in November of 2020, I purchased my first semi-truck in May of 2021 and as we approach 1 year of my journey, I am looking to expand. It is not easy, but it is so worth it (in my opinion). My true passion is to serve the youth, but I always had to fulfill this passion at the expense of my personal disposable income. Starting Point Transportation & Logistics and knowing that it can sustain my lifestyle, give me additional funds to invest in other things and give me time freedom to build with the youth globally is an unmatched feeling.
I have always been set apart and I refer to myself as Queen Chaquanzha. I run an organization called DOPE INC which stands for Don’t Oppress People, Educate! Incorporated. We are a youth advocacy and empowerment organization that travels to mentor, educate and uplift the youth. Our specialty topics are higher education, financial education, life skills, self-love, and much more. When I interact with my youth, I also refer to them ask Kings and Queens because I always want them to feel empowered.
With that, there is no room for failure, people are rooting for my success just to reassure them in their endeavors. If I’m being honest, I take pride in showing the youth options without having to trade respect for attention/success (a seat at the table). I am now in position to show them how to be a bomb employee and climb the ladder or I can also show them how to work for themselves. Best of all I can show them both! DOPE’s slogan is “You are the Key! What will you unlock?” The possibilities are endless, and I strive to make sure they believe that through my actions.
This journey has not been a straight path, but my testimony is someone else’s breakthrough. “I never lose, I either win or learn” – Nelson Mandela
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
– Something relaxing – I am big on relaxation (spa, nails, massages, etc.) – I am also very adventurous – I’d like to go on a hike, venture off to a scenic place, or some type of physical activity.
– I am very close to NYC so we would definitely spend some time there (there’s always plenty to do)
– We would have to eat of course – a bomb steak is always my go to! I also do a lot of grocery shopping and meals are discussed well in advance. From pineapple bowls with teriyaki salmon & shrimp down to fruit and pastries. Either way, I make sure the ladies are well fed!
– Retail therapy – even if it’s just a target run (shrugs)
– Otherwise, we are somewhere in my house laughing, dancing, singing, playing games, and having an absolute ball!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have amazing parents who support my crazy ideas. It’s cliché, but I truly believe in the saying, “it starts from home.” I come from a working-class family, and I was always taught to send the elevator back down. I learned how to be the change I wished to see and now that the torch has been passed down, I am simply paying it forward. Humbly, I can say, I have the ability to surpass my parents’ doings as my life experiences are much different. My parents did not go to college, and they started our family young. I am 1 of 4 and my mom had my youngest sibling at 28 years of age. I am currently 30 with no children and less responsibility. Over the years, I have been exposed to so many wonderful opportunities. In college, I was accepted into the McNair program that granted me a study abroad opportunity in Ghana. I joined a sorority and other campus groups/organizations. I had campus work-study, I was a mentor, and I also had a great internship in Washington, DC. After graduating, I worked for amazing companies and met brilliant people. With that, I know my horizons are much broader and my mindset is also very different. As I embark on this entrepreneurial journey, I have more time to innovate and collaborate with like-minded individuals, but I owe much of my success to my parents.
Facebook: Chaquanzha Stephenson