Dwayne and Sonyita Clemons first met a few years ago through work. They were representing different organizations at a church health fair, and after stopping by Dwayne’s table, Sonyita set up a business meeting with him to discuss potential collaborative opportunities.
“We went to lunch, and then to dinner, and now we’re married,” she says with a laugh.
And as of December 2014, they’re also business partners. When Dwayne was laid off earlier in the year, the two began looking at their options and realized that had all the ingredients needed to establish a personal success consultation firm.
He, the author of two financial planning books and an assistant pastor at Living Sacrifice Ministries in Flint, was a previous business owner. And she, a certified fitness instructor and employability trainer, had experience in everything from web design to health education.
“Total Life Prosperity looks at four main areas: finance, spiritual development, enlightened perspective, and health and wellness,” Sonyita says. “It’s really the culmination of our life histories, experiences, skills and education. It’s where the rubber meets the road.”
What role did Dwayne’s layoff play in the decision to start Total Life Prosperity?
Dwayne: When I teach financial planning seminars and money management workshops, I challenge people to think entrepreneurship first — to never look at your job as the end result of your success. Looking back, I realize I wasn’t following my own advice. I was making good money and doing work I loved to do, but I had become complacent. I lost my zeal to be an entrepreneur. Losing that job relit the fire within me. It refocused me.
What do you mean by “thinking about entrepreneurship first?”
Dwayne: Within each person lies the ability to be an entrepreneur. We all have gifts and talents. We might use them for hobbies but we never think about doing them to get paid. For example, I love working out and lifting weights. I never thought of being a personal trainer until I had to start looking at other revenue streams. I said, “I’m going to go to the gym regardless. Why not turn my workout into a revenue stream?” And that’s how I became a certified fitness instructor.
You’re a relatively new business. What have you learned over the past year?
Sonyita: The value of partnerships. There’s never a point where you know everything or can’t learn something new. By recognizing where our services and gifts end and being able to tie that into our business partners, that’s a huge advantage for our clients. We’ll be rolling out some new projects later this year with the Flint Farmers’ Market and the National Association for African American Health Consciousness.
What challenges have you faced?
Sonyita: Sometimes, you have the information that can change a person’s life. It doesn’t matter whether you’re giving it away for free or for $500. If they’re not willing to receive it, it won’t have any impact. That’s been one of the hardest things for me – learning when to leave something alone for the season and move on to the next thing.
In what ways do you support the community?
Dwayne: We do a lot of work to help the local homeless population improve their way of life. We offer fitness classes at My Brother’s Keeper and teach financial literacy at the Flint Housing Commission. We’re currently working on a healthy menu planning class for the residents there as well.
What inspires or motivates you as it relates to your career?
What projects are you most proud of or excited about right now?
For more information about Total Life Prosperity, visit www.totallifeprosperityllc.com.