Yasira Sonnier is an Author, Speaker, Business Development Specialist and Change Champion for single mothers in transition. Through her own personal experience from beginning again in New York, North Carolina and Texas she found a passion in helping others. Yasira is extremely active in her community and continues to be a voice for those that are experiencing emotional and financial hardships. She offers private and group training, public speaking and one-on-one coaching using customized interactive messages to provoke single mothers everywhere to find their hope and build their future one conversation at a time. She is also available to help you or your organization develop a brand with a mission statement that you desire. She utilizes techniques to bridge the gap between Corporate America and it’s surrounding communities. Yasira is happily married to Chris and has two handsome boys ages 9 and 10. Read our interview with the lovely Yasira below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
My children! When my children were younger I moved from state to state, it was difficult and a journey all on its own. Not having family around made it extremely hard to be fruitful at any job, so of course I lost many. Just to make ends meet I worked two jobs for almost two years until I was able to purchase my first home as a single parent. It wasn’t easy! My days seemed longer than 24 hours, our lives were driven by schedules that were repetitive. My life mirrored that of a robot. If I close my eyes, I can still feel those exact emotions. I was exhausted! Too tired to do anything that would be classified as “Family Fun Day”. I’m ashamed to say, that I was so wrapped up in trying to provide, I wasn’t hands on with anything that didn’t involve me with clocking in at work. I recall working at this one particular job, I was the department manager and had requested to leave early for my son’s birthday. I purchased cupcakes for his entire class and he was as excited as can be. As I was getting ready to leave, the Administrative Director at that time instructed I couldn’t leave “Just Yet” (all of what seemed too familiar). Needless to say, I was stuck at the office and never made it to my son’s birthday celebration. It was then that I decided to work even harder to start my own business and be able to be a GREAT MOM. I needed to find balance!
Tell us about your business.
My business is two fold; I, Yasira Sonnier, founder of The Sonnier Group have attained and perfected for over 15 years the secret to business development, problem solving skills, strategic marketing, team building and the importance of being able to develop both personally & professionally. Then there’s Yasira Sonnier the Philanthropist, Author and Change Champion for single mothers. While building a successful business and raising my children, I am able to use my knowledge as a proponent for women who are stagnant and desire to start anew.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Where is your business based?
I currently live in Houston, Texas. However my business is world wide. If you have access to FaceTime, Google Hangout, Tango, e-mail or phone; we can connect!
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I prayed! Like most, I was afraid of the unknown. I was afraid of not being able to provide. For years I contemplated on starting my own business but didn’t know where to even begin. I knew I couldn’t do anything without money so for a few years, I saved every penny I could. I eliminated things from my life like going to the salon, getting mani’s & pedi’s, shopping, eating out etc. I remember one year, one of my childhood friends (whom I’ve known since I was 12) was getting married in Vegas and I wasn’t able to attend. I felt horrible! For a few years, my finances wouldn’t allow me to pay for anything other than my mortgage, utilities, car/student loans and childcare expenses. I continued to pray and save what I could. One day something inside of me said “Now is the time!” Luckily, The Sonnier Group was birthed in 2016 by the grace of God, and my supportive husband!
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
The most effective way for me has been through building personal relationships. I’ve learned that when you truly go out of your way to help people and you don’t just focus on the revenue, their loyalty goes a long way.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Speaking from both perspectives (The Sonnier Group Small Business Solutions and Yasira Sonnier the Philanthropist) I would say the biggest challenge that I’ve encountered with the individuals that I’ve connected with is FEAR! In both cases from starting a new business, not knowing how to allocate your budget to increase awareness and generate revenue is frightening. While starting over, beginning anew and not knowing what’s next (while having limited resources) is extremely difficult. No matter what at any given moment you’ll panic and that’s when bad decision making sets in.
How did you overcome these challenges?
My approach is different. I get to know my clients on a personal level. I listen to their concerns, fears and hopes. I pray with them and often times place myself in their shoes. I treat them how I would like to be treated. I’ve learned very early in life that, “Good, bad or indifferent individuals never forget how you make them feel.” And just because you aren’t able to relate or mirror their exact emotions at that given time, it doesn’t mean their concerns and fears don’t exist.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
My motivation through difficult times is my family. My husband is in Law Enforcement and when he leaves every morning I struggle with many emotions. I pray daily that he returns safely to us. I’ll admit, I’m guilty of calling him several times a day, even if it’s for 15 seconds I just want to hear a “Hello”. Having knots in your stomach for most of the day isn’t a good feeling. But I’ve learned to push through! When I look at my two handsome boys, giving up isn’t an option. Everything I do… I do for them! They encourage me to stay focused, to never give up and be patient. I think back to when I needed guidance but had very few options. Only a selected few extended their resources to my children and I. Although my husband and kids are my underlining WHY, I had to discover my HOW! I understand that self motivational is extremely important. You have to love yourself enough to want better, to want more and be more. You should never settle or be complacent. Push through the difficult times, the adversity, the NO’S and being stuck in your comfort zone.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
My primary focus is to connect with my clients on an emotional level first – the assignment then follows. I believe that if you’re able to make this connection and listen to what their needs really are rather than worry about the money, everything else will fall into place.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
“Know your WORTH, Gucci and Chanel are never discounted!”
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Follow your heart! Be good to people even when they aren’t good to you and always PRAY!
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
My absolute favorite business tool and resource is PRAYER and CHURCH… I’ve learned that not everyone has your best interest at heart. Not everyone will genuinely pray for you or help you. Very few will LIFT as they themselves climb. But two things that are always certain, always on time and accepting of all things is PRAYER and CHURCH!
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Facebook Business www.facebook.com/thesonniergroup
Website www.TheSonnierGroup.com and www.YasiraSonnier.com
Hashtags #YasiraSonnier #TheSonnierGroup #SeedsOfChange #Oblivious #RingDaAlarm #JustStand #YasiraServes
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“Be Brave” and “Brave Vision” By Khalilah Olokunola. These two books are so powerful – it contains strategic information on business and personal development, while being an uplifting spiritual guide . “Under Our Skin” By Benjamin Watson teaches you how to deal with the adversity our society is currently facing. On a lighter note “Oblivious” By Yasira Sonnier is an urban read that underlines the struggles many of us can relate too.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I’m learning that consistency is key!
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goal is to keep starting conversations! I want to continue helping small businesses generate awareness while aiding them towards building brand loyalty within their communities. On a more personal level, one of my main objectives is to be an immediate resource for as many single mothers that I possibly can.
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