“If you can make a heap of all your winnings and risk it on one turn of pitch and toss…” is a quote from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If.” It exemplifies the journey this aspiring business owner has just set out on. Why would anyone in the world leave a good paying job with benefits when unemployment rates are at 10% and the U.S. economy has been in a recession for the past couple of years? As we all know, in 2008 the sub-prime mortgage issue lead to a market collapse which ultimately caused many Fortune 100 investment firms and banks to either go bankrupt, be bought out or merged with another company. Lateef Terrell Warnick, is a Licensed Financial Advisor with a top company named USAA which has been providing financial services to military members and their families for the last 88 years headquartered out of San Antonio, TX. While many companies went under in 2009, Lateef assisted USAA in achieving its best year on record ever! To top that off, USAA recently gave him the opportunity to work from home. So why would anyone in their right mind leave this to venture out and start a new business? Well, as the old saying goes “Momma didn’t raise a fool!”
Well, it turns out that Lateef didn’t exactly quit his 9 to 5, rather he was laid off due to a licensing issue that is expected to take approximately 6 to 8 months to resolve. In the meantime, Lateef has to look for work but has also decided to take matters into his own hands and venture out on a business dream. Over the past couple of years while working as a Financial Advisor, Lateef, was also authoring a book entitled “Journey of the Soul: Day One” in his spare time. He understood that in order to be able to smoothly transition to a business owner, he would have to be financially prepared. He did all the groundwork necessary such as writing the book, having it edited, proofread, copy written and then shopped to agents and publishers. Having worked in the past in the music industry as a producer and small label owner, Lateef knew how difficult it would be to get a major publisher interested in his book out of the thousands of submissions they receive daily. So rather than put his fate in someone else’s hands, he started his own publishing company 1 S.O.U.L. Publishing.
Lateef has always had that entrepreneurial spirit and from past successes and failures learned to build a strong foundation before stepping out on a limb. He put his book onto all the online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Borders & Books-a-Million and then used social media such as Facebook, Twitter & MySpace to create a buzz for his work. Understanding the importance of marketing, he created 1 S.O.U.L. an acronym for “One Source Of Universal Love” which is similar to what Primerica is to CitiGroup. 1 S.O.U.L. at 1soul.net is a Worldwide Social Network that distributes products like spiritual books, t-shirts, soy candles, incense, meditation blankets and other items. It also has a non-profit leg called 1 S.O.U.L. Foundation in which a portion of all revenues goes towards helping the less fortunate in education, ending cruel treatment of minority groups in certain countries, combating religious intolerance and promoting universal love. For fun, the foundation also provides birthday parties for foster and hospitalized children as well as gifts and visits to senior citizens.
So far, through various connections, Lateef has been able to participate in university lectures and seminars. He gives presentations to diverse groups and community organizations. He’s been featured on local radio and interviewed on television programs like “Spiritual but not Religious TV.” 1 S.O.U.L. has grown because it knows that customers are always seeking the answer to the question “what’s in it for me”? So 1 S.O.U.L. answers this question by not only providing an opportunity to network with people from around the world but also a way to become a vendor, create online stores and sell your own products! This gives other authors, artists, instructors and small business owners opportunities to reach audiences they may not currently have the means to reach.
As we all know, nothing in life is guaranteed but one of the mottos Lateef likes to live by is “The greatest risk in life… is never taking any risk!” Entrepreneurship is definitely not for the faint at heart. It takes a lot of constant self-introspection, review and revision. You must know your own strengths and weaknesses. You must face those weaknesses by either discipline or finding another person to fill that void. Surrounding yourself with other successful people who have knowledge you may not possess is crucial!
Lateef, also understood that sometimes opportunities come and go and the person who is able to maximize them are the ones who are prepared so he labored to do all the financial research, draft a business plan and approach the Small Business Administration. With the election of President Barack Obama, the stimulus package, the slumping economy and the focus on creating jobs, Lateef saw this as perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity to get the financial backing through programs to help him sustain the first few years in which most businesses fail. Many of the world’s most successful people like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Jay-Z, Susie Orman and others didn’t have all the pieces of the puzzle in place but had enough heart, drive and determination to fill in the blanks as they went along.
Upcoming plans for 1 S.O.U.L. will be its first retail location that will consist of a bookstore specializing in spiritual material and a coffee shop. 1 S.O.U.L.’s goal is to be the first place that comes to mind for “all things spiritual.” It will be the source of the latest and perhaps hard to find readings as well as candles, incense, t-shirts, meditation blankets, yoga classes, fresh produce & cookbooks catering to vegetarians and those with strict diets for people of all faiths. 1 S.O.U.L. wants to be more than just a store, it will be involved in the community through sponsorship of kids sport teams, open mic poetry sessions, book signings, lectures and presentations from the latest authors, professors and scientific minds. Time will tell if this entrepreneur’s attempt to travel not “the road to riches” but rather the road to personal fulfillment succeeds.