We had the good fortune of connecting with Mona Dixon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mona, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
My favorite daily affirmation is “I will strive to make a positive difference in my life, the lives of others, and in the community in which I live!” This means that in all that I do, I have to do my best to always better myself, help others, and give back to my community! I love this affirmation because it recognizes the need for me to take care of myself and become the best version of myself so that I can live the best life possible, but it also reminds me that it is not all about me! I need to also help those around me, be a mentor, and bring others up with me as I move up the ladder. Lastly, my community is what helped me overcome homelessness and therefore, the least I can do is give back to my community and help make it a better place for all of us!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I currently have two main businesses. First, I am a motivational speaker and I travel the world inspiring and empowering others with tools to overcome any obstacles and achieve their dreams by becoming the best versions of themselves in all areas of their lives. I also help non-profit organizations fundraise money for their causes at their fundraising events as their keynote speaker. What excites me about this work is that my personal story can change the lives of others and provide them with hope. If I can touch the life of one person in my audience, I know that I have made a difference. I also love using my story to help nonprofit organizations raise money to continue their good work and fulfill their mission(s). When I first started speaking, it was just for Boys & Girls Clubs because I was the National Youth of the Year in 2010. By the time 2011 came around, I had people asking me how much I charge to speak! It happened organically! At first I was just given small honorariums as a speaker, then $250, then $500, then $1,500, then $2,000, then $5,000 and so on…. I have been blessed in that career field and my worth as increased along with my impact. One of my biggest challenges was getting over asking to be paid for speaking. I’ve heard before “Why is she charging?” “Can you do it for free?” “She should be doing it for free?” This broke my heart and made me question myself a lot. However, not to be funny but… If I continued to give all of my time away for free, I’d probably end up homeless again, which is not fun at all! If all of my bills were taken care of and I had unlimited food on the table, I’d do all my talks for free but unfortunately the world doesn’t work like that for me. I had to learn, after many talks with different mentors, that I have a service of value and I have to be compensated or else I won’t be in business for long! I needed to wrap my head around the fact that I provide a service like other businesses and it’s okay to charge what I am worth. I also made myself better by having a charity of choice that I could do events here and there for free. That gave me the best of both worlds! What I want people to know about me is that I want to make the world a better place one person at a time. In all that I do from my nonprofit, to my businesses, to my t-shirt line, to my everyday interactions, I just want to have a positive impact on others. My second business is my greeting card line, Inspired By Mona. I created that this year after the pandemic started and it has taken off significantly! I knew that people couldn’t get together in person so I wanted to create a way for people to stay connected and celebrate each other for special events. My cards are very diverse and I think that excites people, especially those of color, to see cards that represent them! In the beginning I was only getting a little bit of orders here but as time went on, I now have multiple orders in a day! I also had higher production costs in the beginning because I was printing small amounts of cards. Now I print larger quantities and that has improved my bottom line! I had to get over my fear of sales and show people what I had to offer! I had to be proud of my products and put them out there! I also take advice from customers along the way to expand my product line and product ideas to cater to a larger audience. Now I have cups, blankets, notecards, calendars, and more! Everyone loves receiving personalized gifts and I love creating them!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting the area and I wanted to show her a great time, I would start with breakfast at Lolo’s Chicken & Waffles. Then we could head to Tempe Marketplace or one of the outdoor premium outlets to do some shopping! For lunch, if it’s a Tuesday we would go to Fuzzy’s for some delicious tacos and frozen margaritas! Then we could catch a movie at AMC, take a nap, or go have an outdoor photoshoot somewhere around the valley because Phoenix is a beautiful city! For dinner we would go to Chili’s because I love their Cajun Chicken Pasta on the 3/$10 menu and their frozen strawberry margaritas are also good LOL!!! Can you tell I love frozen margaritas yet? To end the night, we would hang out on Mill Ave or if it’s a Wednesday, we would go to Poetic Soul and listen to great poets and musicians!
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?
I would like to shoutout my mom for being my rock and never giving up on me although she had 3 kids by the age of 21. She kept us together and remained strong, loving, and resourceful. I wouldn’t be who I am today without her! I also would like to shout out my 6th grade English teacher, Ms. Lissner, who changed my life for the better. She steered my negative energy into a positive explosion that paved the way for the rest of my life! Lastly, the Boys & Girls Club provided me with mentors, tutors, food, lessons, programming, love, and guidance to have a great future! The Club fast-tracked my success by paying for my college education, jumpstarting my speaking career, and giving me opportunities I never would’ve dreamed of from meeting with President Obama in the Oval Office and being in commercials, to being featured in the national media and being recognized by celebrities such as LeBron James.
Other: Shop: https://inspiredbymona.com/
Trell Hayes & Dean Thap