We had the good fortune of connecting with April Nowlin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi April, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
After many years of working in corporate organizations, I realized this was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I thrived on having new professional challenges on a regular basis and these environments did not provide that. Quite honestly, I was bored and I knew I had more to give to this world. I enjoyed the work I was doing but a few things were missing. Firstly, I didn’t like the idea of someone dictating how I could serve a customer nor did I care to have my income capped or financial increases dependent on others. Lastly, as a single parent, I desired to have a more flexible professional schedule to live the quality of life I wanted. Starting a business proved to check all those boxes for me.
What should our readers know about your business?
Cultivator Consulting is a growth and marketing resource for established churches and small businesses. I want to support them in cultivating their vision and identifying the right people, systems and resources to make sustainable growth happen within their organizations. As an entrepreneur who started with just a dream, I understand the struggle that entrepreneurs have with growing their dreams into reality. For over 20 years I’ve partnered with churches as a volunteer, staff member, and consultant. Because of this, I can relate to the challenges that church leaders and their teams experience with growing their vision. I believe these things set me apart from some of the other consulting resources on the market. Anything worth doing is never easy! There’s a sign in my office that says ‘I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy; I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it’. This reminds me to keep going. In the beginning, my biggest challenge was just getting clear on who I was and who I wanted to serve. In the last 7 years, there have been many iterations of my business as it grows, and as I grow personally. The best advice I can give is to give yourself grace and ask for help. One of the best lessons I learned is to trust your gut. Whether it’s offering a new product, working with a partner, or updating your branding. It may seem crazy to others, but if it makes sense to you, go for it! Small business success doesn’t happen in a silo and there’s no magic bullet. But consistency, strategic partnerships, and being true to yourself will pay off. As entrepreneurs, we have to get out of our heads that this journey will always be filled with sunshine and roses. Remember, the best flowers grow with a little manure.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
If you want a successful business you simply can’t go it alone! My family has been a huge catalyst in helping to move the needle in my life. They may not have always understood the direction I was going but they always encouraged my success and was there to pick me up on the hard days. While working at a previous employer, my supervisor, Tracie Rollins, who was a small business owner really pushed me to prepare for business ownership, simply because she cared. She would challenge me to set the foundation of my business even though I was still working full-time for someone else. It was like she knew the future and when I stepped out into full-time entrepreneurship I was ready because of her. There have been many relationships over the years that have provided encouragement and guidance along this journey. The most impressionable is my Mag7 mastermind group. This is a group of women who push me to be a better business owner and woman. This is the group that will tell it like it is if I’m about to make a poor business decision and talk me off the ledge when I want to give up. I’ve also invested in attending conferences, and workshops, and took advantage of just about every free learning opportunity that came my way and aligned with my business goals. Because of this, there is a constant stream of people I have met along this journey that have poured wisdom and encouragement in my life. I definitely could not be where I am without them.