Dielle Charon worked as a licensed social worker at Duke University but eventually turned to entrepreneurship after realizing that her salary was only just enough to make student loan payments.
Aside from her salary not being enough for her, she was also experiencing racism within the workplace, so she decided to find a way to create a work life in which she felt respected and valued. “It was about creating the life that I wanted after feeling stuck with my social work job,” she told Entrepreneur.
In 2018, she started her side hustle after she had just learned about the coaching industry from a friend who was sharing the idea with her. She then dived more into the industry and found inspiration for the business.
“Daily, I was using skills around sales to build that same level of trust quickly with those that I served. I also wanted to help other people build their businesses. I became inspired to serve other women of color: We can all build this life of freedom together,” she told Entrepreneur.
While learning more about the coaching industry, Charon listened to podcasts and gained as much knowledge as possible. From there, she started to use her own story to promote her coaching.
“I would showcase myself commuting to work and working before and after my 9-5 to show how others could build their side hustle as well,” she noted. “I would go live on Instagram all the time, and people knew me for my rants and passionate speaking. I began to build a brand slowly about what I was coaching and quickly gained clients.”
But while doing her side business, she learned not to resent her 9-5 work time. For her, it was so key as she saw that job as the biggest investor in her business. “It helps keep that financial pressure off of your business so you can build a strong business instead,” she noted.
“I also learned how to manage my time well so that I was doing well in both areas. I kept the time between the two very separate,” she added. “Another challenge was the three-and-half-hour commute I had to work as well as the long hours as a social worker. I learned to make the most of this time.”
Of all the challenges she overcame, one of the most important things she learned was that to be able to make her side hustle a full-time business, she needed a financial plan which many black businesses lack.
In this regard, she worked to save a year’s worth of money for business expenses so that she would not feel that strain on her side hustle if and when it was time to quit her 9-to-5 job.
“I was consistently seeing monthly revenue pretty quickly,” she said of her coaching business. “I would say it took a few months to get to that point. About a year later, I was hitting six figures and even got to $300,000 a year when this was still a side hustle. In 2020, at $300,000, I decided it was time to go full-time. I had far surpassed my social worker salary about a year and a half before.”
Today, she is bringing in $1.5 million since making her side hustle a full-time gig. 2023 is her second year in a row hitting a million dollars or more, she said.