Good horsemanship is built on solid basics…so is good business!
It is once again my distinct pleasure to introduce you to my recent Penniless Philanthropy partner, Erin Chimberoff. It is an honor to work with her, as well as the previous PP partners and the partners yet to come. Erin is dedicated and passionate about her vision and goals - I know she'll go far.
I am going to start my post with this: My experience being a Penniless Philanthropy partner is and will continue to be the reason why my dream thrives. I never saw myself to be one that would create my own path. Having my own business never seemed like a reality to me, unless I went to school for business.
This dream of mine had been bubbling in the back of my mind for about a year and half before I found myself on the Blue Ribbon Consulting website. Back then, the only thing I knew was that I wanted to work as a therapeutic riding instructor. I took a few stabs at trying to get something, anything started. I went from attempting to start an animal assisted therapy student club at Kennesaw State University, to having a failed meeting with Kennesaw’s equestrian team, to another failed attempt at helping a struggling program make a new name for themselves. I had absolutely no direction, but I knew trying something new never hurt anyone. I also knew I needed to be working around horses.
Right before I contacted Lisa about the Penniless Philanthropy Program, I had just started working at new stable in my area as a working student. The woman I started working for mentioned the possibility of starting a therapeutic riding program out of her facility and I immediately jumped at the thought. Honestly, the only thing I knew how to do was raise money. I knew starting a therapeutic riding program would take more than just money, but that is where I started. After raising a few thousand for start-up funds, I was asked to create a business plan. This is where Google came in, “How to create a business plan.” I actually did attempt to start my business plan, but the explanations I found for each section were vague and very frustrating. A little more googling of horses, the equine industry and business plans brought me upon Blue Ribbon Consulting.
As soon as I read about the Penniless Philanthropy Program, I immediately contacted Lisa and applied months before the next deadline. I knew I needed help and I also knew I couldn’t afford a consultant at the time. The day I received Lisa’s email letting me know that I had been chosen for the next round, I was in shock and pretty nervous to begin. I was embarrassed of the lack of knowledge I had when it came to running a business. I couldn’t even tell Lisa where I thought we should start. I had so many ideas spinning in my head that it was actually hard to explain to people around me what I was trying to do. From the beginning of working with Lisa, she made me feel supported and at ease. Our Saturday morning phone calls became something I looked forward to because I could talk about my goals and achievements with someone who believed in me succeeding.
Lisa provided me with everything I could have asked for and more. My confidence and independence continues to soar even after working with Lisa. I will always look back at this experience as a turning point to my success. I can honestly say that if I hadn’t been chosen as a Penniless Philanthropy Partner my path would look completely different, my thinking would probably be different as well. The best part of all of this was getting to work with someone who is truly passionate about what they do. The Penniless Philanthropy Program itself shows Lisa’s dedication and passion through having penniless partners “pay it forward”.
Being a Penniless Philanthropy partner has left me with skills that I will continue to carry with me and build on for the rest of my life. Lisa takes the complication of starting a business and breaks it down so you are able to identify all the right questions to ask that will bring you to the best answers. Working with Lisa in this program has refined my research skills and critical thinking skills. Everywhere I go nowadays, I am more observant and am constantly thinking of new programs, partnerships, and opportunities to take on. At the end of my Penniless Philanthropy Partnership with Lisa, I can finally say I am exactly where I am supposed to be and I know exactly how I want my venture to grow. My business/non-profit brain has officially been turned on and it is staying on.