We had the good fortune of connecting with L. Rachel Valentine and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi L. Rachel, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
After I got out of the military, I tried corporate America but it did not agree with me and my personality. Let’s just say it was difficult for me and my boss to see eye to eye therefore I got a new position most commonly known as unemployed. Although the circumstances were not favorable, it ended up being the best thing that could have happened to me because it launched me into business ownership. I did not have a desire to allow someone else to dictate when, where, why, what, and how I work, eat, or just live. I decided right then that I would never go back to corporate America again unless it was absolutely necessary for me to survive. I tried a few things and then found that I enjoy helping business owners and that’s where I stayed. I love what I do because I help others.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
In my opinion, what sets me apart is me. I am a unique person and I think outside the box which is very helpful to my clients. It gives me more options and ways I can be of service to them. If they have an idea, I can put it together. I made the decision that I would never quit until I reached the goals I set for myself. It was not an easy decision by far and it has definitely been difficult to keep the faith. Nothing is easy about business. I made up my mind that I did not care what I had to do to be a successful business owner I would never give up and I never did. Business ownership is not for the faint at heart. It is also not for people that are afraid of taking risks because you are definitely going to take risks. As a black woman, it has not been easy for me to get to where I am and certainly want to be. Business is still a man’s world and it has taken tenacity to make a name for myself as a good business owner that stands for integrity. As for the lessons I have learned, there are too many to name. I think the most important lesson for me was learning how to get the right people around you and remove those people that are toxic asap.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Jacksonville is a very large and spacious place with many smaller cities are a part of. Of course, because it is Florida we would have to go to the beach. There are many restaurants down there to eat. Downtown Jacksonville has a little excitement going on sometimes but not an abundance. There are some great restaurants like Cowford Chophouse, Chart House, River City Brewing Co and so many more delicious places to eat. I would also visit St. Augustine and Amelia Island. There are so many great areas it would be hard to decide where to go first.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
As far as business is concerned, I have done most of the building and financing by myself. However, I had a lot of support as well as good home training. My mother taught me how to be a strong, resilient woman. My sister has always been there being fearless as well as other members of my family. Success cannot be achieved on your own. Success is pieced together by a lot of small pieces just like a puzzle. Each puzzle piece builds on the other and starts to create a picture. The puzzle is not complete if one piece is missing.