For Betty Davenport, Owner and Founder of Eagles Wings Consulting, it was the right time to step out on faith. Prior to launching her own consulting business in October 2018, she spent over 21 years with the Florida Department of Health as a state certified trainer, consultant and health educator. As Davenport shared, the decision to quit the Department of Health and start her own business wasn't a spontaneous one. In fact, it was something she'd been contemplating for years.
"I wanted to branch out and do what I have compassion and desire to do," she said. "Starting my own business was something I thought about for five years. I wanted to be able to do what I love, which is help people and the community, without boundaries. There's too much red tape and resources are limited in the Department. I officially resigned on July 30th."
Davenport shared that while she was a little nervous to leave her day job, she had an incredible amount of support from her amazing husband who, like Davenport, is also a Pastor in their community. He pushed her and encouraged her to trust God and be willing to step out. She's also no stranger to entrepreneurship. Having grown up in Hastings, FL, Davenport learned first-hand from her parents the importance of hard work and the rewards that come with entrepreneurship.
"My dad was an entrepreneur three times over," she said with a laugh. "He was involved in several different things. He worked for a well known farmer that grew cabbage and potatoes. My dad was a hard worker and the boss really liked him. He allowed my dad to "glean the fields" after the initial crop was picked. That basically means he was allowed to use the fields to grow his own produce. He'd be out there, along with my mom, after work and on the weekends and together they would sell the produce at a market in Jacksonville. He did the same thing for a farmer that raised hogs. Even though he had to quit school in the eleventh grade to help his father with the family, he was smart and always encouraged us to get our education. My mom helped my father on the farm, but also started her own beautician business. Together, they really taught me the meaning of hard work."
After tackling the standard challenges that come with starting a new business, Davenport quickly shifted her energy to providing a well-balanced array of consulting services, specifically targeting non-profit organizations. In fact, she's already lined up a non-profit and will be providing HIV/AIDS prevention consulting and training services for them in the near future. Davenport shared in more detail the services she provides and how she sets herself apart from other consulting companies.
"We offer unlimited consulting services that provide customized consulting, training & more," she said. "There are absolutely no limitations of the services we offer to community professionals who are seeking to enhance their personal and professional development or business. We provide the following services: Consultation, trainings, staff development, business reorganization, motivational /empowerment speaking, facilitation, event planning/coordinating and officiating. We bring our services to you and to your work environment in order to save you travel, time and expense."
Looking ahead, Davenport is focused on growing her business to a point where she needs to bring on more professionals. She wants to change people's lives and help companies to become better. She wants to get the word out that she's available to help companies with their budgets and finances and can do so at a fraction of the cost to hire an actual employee. As a self described free spirit, she's driven by her new found freedom to help people without the limitations and restraints from her previous job.
What advice does Davenport have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Preparation is key," she said. "Prepare before stepping out. I’ve seen people that just jump and it didn’t turn out the way they thought it would. Your top priority is to prepare. Also, have a plan. I had a written business plan before I even left the Department of Health. Your plan should include having some financial backing in place. Think of the overall expenses, do research and comparisons of how your rates stack up against your competitors. Lastly, find ways to save money by learning to do things yourself."
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