Meet Donella D. O’Berry: An Entrepreneur Who Manifested Her Dream Job, House...Life
Full disclosure: This is one of my younger sisters: my cinnamon apple,...my baby. She agreed to share her journey to financial freedom with my readers. This is what she told me.
Budgeting: How it all started...
In my early 20’s, I had no clue about money management mainly because I didn’t have a job or the typical adult responsibilities. However, that all changed when I moved to Atlanta where I got my first apartment and my first real job. I had to learn how to budget right away. I am so thankful for my parents because they helped pay the security deposit and application fee for my apartment. My first job was as a cashier at Chick-Fil-A at a minimum wage rate. I could never forget my first paycheck because it was the exact dollar amount I needed to pay my rent--not a dollar more or less. I was so happy I cried, and I am not a “crier”. I called my parents happy that I could cover my rent. I didn’t want to ask them for anything else, but they reminded me that I needed to eat and sent me money for food and gas anyway. I chose the fast food industry to start because I knew I would have at least one free meal a day even if I didn’t have a dime in my bank account. The owner allowed one free meal and fifty percent off the second meal a day. I appreciated the simple things. I started school soon after I started to work. I still wasn’t in the position to save, but I knew that at the minimum I needed to keep going.
How I Got My Dream Job
I eventually quit Chick-Fil-A and applied to Zaxby’s. Yes, another fast food restaurant for guaranteed food. I was hired on the spot and started the next day. I was still making it paycheck to paycheck, attending school and picking up event modeling gigs to cover my basics. I even spent my 21st birthday working. I was so thankful for that birthday cake shake and Zaxby’s club basket. The experience was very humbling. I finished my 2 year degree by December 2013, and decided I wanted a “job job”. I was always into real estate and property management, so a discussion with a co-worker led to a job referral. My co-worker’s dad happened to be a property manager and he referred me to a staffing agency. I eventually worked at 3 different properties, and I’ve had many ups and downs. Each job was a learning experience, but I was tired of being “overworked and underpaid”. I departed from my last leasing agent job before my dream job and hustled by picking up event modeling gigs and working at Zaxby’s again to keep my bills paid. I knew that I would eventually live the life I visualized. I was very specific about what I wanted.
My daily job manifestation prayer was:
I want a career doing something I enjoy (preferably helping people) that pays well, where I’m able to travel but also able to take personal vacations and not have to go into work early (preferably after 9am).
Three months later, I had two great problems. I had two job offers as a leasing specialist. One that paid more at a higher position and at a company with a great reputation. My other option was to take less pay, while traveling to work for different properties all over the United States. I decided to take the once in a lifetime type of experience which fit my job manifestation prayer word for word. I became a traveling certified leasing and sales special. I helped owners develop and implement leasing and marketing plans on their properties to increase occupancy.
Tip: When you have to turn down a job offer, do it in person so you can leave a lasting impression. You never know if you would like to be in that position again.
Tip: Make sure your professional profiles are up-to-date and check them often. I got my dream job because I was contacted by a recruiter on LinkedIn.
Tip: Let your work ethic and professionalism speak for you. I have been offered several jobs from almost every property I ever worked at through my company.
I have been able to personally travel to:
Bermuda, the Bahamas, Mexico, Washington, D.C., Louisiana (New Orleans!), Chicago, Michael Jackson’s old home in Gary, Indiana, Pennsylvania (Philly!), Maryland (B-More!), and New York City
*Some places I was able to work and play in during different times.
Here is where I have traveled for work: Louisiana (NOLA!), Oklahoma, Ohio, Alabama, Minnesota, Indiana, North Carolina, Florida, Delaware, Pennsylvania (Philly!), West Virginia, Maryland (B-More!), Texas (H-Town!)
Here are some memories in pictures:
How Credit Helped Me With My Dream House
When I was in college, I met my financial adviser. He came to speak at my school and left his information for my colleagues and I to follow up. I followed up and he has been advising me every since about financial literacy. He asked me what my goal was, and I expressed that I wanted to get a new car. He explained that it was important to have credit, so I applied for my first credit card. I was approved for about $1,500. I started to use it as a gas card, and my goals changed to getting my home within three years, which is around this exact time.
Here is what helped me maintain good credit:
Never spend more than 7% of your available balance on your credit card.
2. Always pay the full balance off before your credit card bill is due to avoid being charged interest.
3. Consolidated your student loans in order to make a monthly affordable payment.
How I Became a First-Time Home Buyer:
I decided that this year would be the year that I purchased my first home. My goal is to eventually invest in real estate and flip house. I closed the deal on my house within 30 days of searching. I did this while away on an assessment for work with the help of emerging technology. No regrets.
Here are 3 helpful tips on home ownership:
Apply for homestead exemption.
Always pay extra towards your principal when making your monthly mortgage payments.
3. Have 3 to 6 months mortgage payments saved.
Start where you are now, and keep going. Consistency is key. My life is exactly what I knew it would be because I knew my “current” circumstances were preparing me for my future . You got this!