As I mentioned in my post Black History Now-2012, I would like to introduce a husband and wife team of entrepreneurs who have left the 9-5 world behind and haven’t looked back!
Meet Derik and Andrea Gadson; Local Entrepreneurs, Philanthropists and Missionaries!
Tell me a little about yourself and what you do?
Andrea -We have been married for 8 years. Derik had been entrepreneur since he was in his teens.I caught on to his contagious bug and decided to leave behind 20+ years of working in a corporate environment to work in my own business. We may own two separate companies but we find many opportunities to work together. Occasionally, Derik may contract with my business and vice versa. Derik owns a technology consulting company helping customers use technology to solve critical business issues. I own a professional consulting company (site designed by Derik) specializing in instructional design, project management, and business analysis. This entrepreneurial duo is currently working on a joint venture to produce a series of social web sites.
Where does your inspiration/motivation come from?
Andrea – My innovation comes from watching what happens around me. I once heard someone say you can find new inventions anywhere, just watch what people are doing and see what’s missing. Voila! You have the next innovation. I go to customers looking for what’s missing.
Derik – I’m a thinker, a researcher, and a bit of risk taker. My innovation comes by looking at the trends. I often kick myself, because many ideas I see, I was thinking about while in my office. But I don’t worry, because the great ideas keep coming. And I thank God for that.
How do you define and /or measure success?
Andrea – At one time in my life, I measured success based on what I heard in a seminar. The kind that tells you have to do this step or that step and make this much or that much money to be successful. One day I was staring at the white board in my office and I realized that my success was what I defined it to be, not what some seminar on how to start a business told me what it should be. My success comes when I reach the goals I want to set for myself and not what someone else sets for me.
Derik – People often measure success by how much you’re published in some magazine, where people are talking about the money you make. I think I’m already successful. I’ve been in business, on my own, for a long time and I’m satisfied with this. Success is when you achieve what makes you happy. But the key to this is not having a false perception of what will make you happy.
As a married couple, how do you support each other through the trying times that comes from you both being entrepreneurs?
Derik – We have seen those trying times definitely since we started business. We began our marriage with me taking on a new partnership. It was hard because like all new ventures the money wasn’t coming in yet and my wife was paying the bills. We made it through that and have seen situations where one of us is working and the other is not. You make it through those times by doing the traditional savings and keeping flexibility in your choices. Thankfully, we’ve always been blessed to always have one of us working.
Andrea – I know I would not have made the move to entrepreneurship if my husband hadn’t encouraged me to do so. I found making that decision and choosing to walk away from a steady paycheck a trying time, and my husband supported me through it by being my biggest cheerleader spiritually, mentally and financially. When you’re married and both entrepreneurs you have to make this key part of your business, keeping your spouse in it.
What advice would you like to give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Andrea-It took me 20 years to make the decision so one might think I would advise to not take that long. Well, I would advise to take as long as you need to make yourself feel comfortable taking the risk. Make a plan but don’t get paralyzed by analysis and then just go for it. One of my driving thoughts during the time when I was planning is “I don’t want to be 50, 60, 70 years old saying I wish I coulda shoulda”, It made me move beyond planning.
(Author’s Note) I’m actually really excited to have met Andrea and Derik while volunteering for a local faith-based nonprofit organization. Not only are they a gracious and loving couple, but they also truly give back to their local community, and recently returned from doing missionary work in Africa.
You can connect with Derik on LinkedIn
Feel free to connect with Andrea on LinkedIn