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The Evolution of an Entrepreneur: Morgan Chavis's Inspirational Leap



Krystal J [00:01:08]:

Today we have the incredible Morgan Chavis. She is the founder of Lusso Suites, Lusso Salon. She is an author. She is doing so many amazing things. Obviously, as usual, I'm not going to dive into it myself. I'm going to let her tell you all of the details. But I am so excited for this conversation. So first and foremost, Morgan, thank you so much for joining us today.


Morgan C [00:01:31]:

Absolutely. Thank you for having me. I am so excited to have made this partnership. I have been following your podcast on YouTube. I absolutely love it. So super excited to be a guest with you today and bringing women together in many different venues.


Krystal J [00:01:48]:

Yes, absolutely. And I know you do so much work with helping other women, helping other entrepreneurs as well, which is why I'm so excited to dive into your story. I've been diving into your interviews and falling thank you with your story. So let's just dive into it. I'll hand the mic over to you. Go ahead and just tell us a little bit about your background and how that led you to first, creating the Lusso salon, which is where your entrepreneurial journey started, if correct?


Morgan C [00:02:16]:

Yes, that is correct. That's where we started. So humble beginnings with the Lusso salon, located in Portsmouth, Virginia, and now moving on to Lusso Suites, our second location. It has been nothing but fun, nothing but growth, nothing but learning, and it's truly become a place where other women are able to lead and fulfill their dreams of their beauty careers in the way that they want. And it brings me great pride for that to be the start of the Lusso brand. Currently under the Lusso brand, I am a business coach and I specialize in coaching businesses that are in the service-based industry and I focus on those who are in their infancy and in startup phases. So really my passion has become seeing other people fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams, whether that be in the form of utilizing Lusso Suites as the home for their business or utilizing the Lusso brands coaching services to start their businesses and to get off on the right foot.


Krystal J [00:03:24]:

That's amazing. And I love seeing how you've kind of expanded from just the salon to now, this whole suite of products and services, and you're doing so many amazing things. So when you first started out, you were still working at your corporate career and you're mom. Do you have multiple children? Just one child?


Morgan C [00:03:49]:

I have a daughter. She's 13, she's in middle school. And so when I was starting the business, she was still in elementary school. So we were still in those very hands-on phases of childhood development and just watching her become who she is and balancing that along with my career. So the key to balancing all of this had to be time management. I got to the point where I was micro scheduling my week. Simple things that you wouldn't even think need to go on the calendar were hitting the calendar, like laundry, cooking dinner, mopping the floor, like basic, just household tasks. Basic things that we need just to live and survive were things that I had to schedule to balance everything around me.


But I got to the point where I was like, I can't continue to scale this way without utilizing a team. I cannot be a one-woman band in this any longer. And I have noticed that other entrepreneurs, especially women, I think it's mainly us, who really struggle with that part of letting go as entrepreneurs and letting someone else take the reins in parts of our business. So as I work with my clients who are pursuing their own businesses and are in those startup phases for themselves, it's important to me that they understand organizational leadership, they understand how to create frameworks of organizational structure within their businesses so that they can get to the point of adding people to help them, so that they're not drowning, so we can survive, so we can scale and grow. So I think that that experience that I had balancing my corporate career along with an infant being Lusso salon and my family life gave me the experience to be able to say, hey, these are the things that worked for me. This is what you can replicate in your business and in your life.


Krystal J [00:05:45]:

Yeah, I was going to ask because I know you were already going to school for business studies, but then you were getting also this real-life experience, having launched your first salon. So I was going to ask you, which one do you feel like contributed most to your success? Was it the studies? Was it the hands-on experience? Was it kind of an equal mixture of both?


Morgan C [00:06:05]:

That is an amazing question. So the statistic in the beauty industry, specifically as it pertains to salons, the statistic is that most salons close within the first five years and the ones that make it past five years make it to ten. That is the statistic. And I truly believe that that comes from very talented beauty professionals who don't have the educational background of knowing how to manage a business. And so that education piece is definitely critical and I definitely find it to be a contributor that puts me at a competitive edge. But I am going to say that my corporate experience is what is making me float now. And they all are intertwined, right? Like, I would not have been able to have that corporate experience without my educational background. But I think that that experience is what truly has given me the leg up to be able to scale and grow the Lusso brand in the way that I have at the rate that I have, that's truly where I learned how to inspire and engage people.


That's where I truly learned how to lead others. Translating that into my own business and creating a culture within my own business, I think I've known those do's and don'ts just from what I experienced in a corporate environment.


Krystal J [00:07:29]:

I was going to say that it kind of gives you that leg up when it comes to you coaching because you're not just pulling from your experience as a salon owner. You have this wealth of knowledge from everything that you've been going through and learning and experiencing. To be able to hand that off to your clients is so valuable. But real quick, going back to the mom thing, huge kudos to you.


Morgan C [00:07:55]:

Thank you.


Krystal J [00:07:57]:

Girl, I don't know if you know, but I have two little girls. I have a third baby coming, a little boy. Don't know what I'm going to do with him,


Morgan C [00:08:05]:

You are going to figure it out.


Krystal J [00:08:07]:

But it's hard juggling it all. So what about the mom guilt in that? How do you feel like kind of pulling your time in all of these different directions and really kind of away from your child at times or away from oh, absolutely.


Morgan C [00:08:24]:

Mom guilt is a thing. And you know what? I'm going to call it parent guilt. I know that this platform is for women, but the diversity, equity and inclusion practitioner in me just cannot only call it mom guilt. I have to call it parent guilt because I know my husband feels it, too when he's working. Granted, he's actually traveled for work right now and away from home. So that feeling of like, gosh, I'm trying to provide a life for my child, a lifestyle, opportunities, access. And you're sacrificing this personal time in order to do that. It feels disgusting at times.


At times it's like, goodness gracious, I am on coaching calls in the evening while I should be downstairs having dinner at the table at the same time as the kid. But that is just not realistic all the time. I think that we truly have to give ourselves grace. We have to understand that this is a balancing act. It cannot always go one way or the other. It can't always be that the coaching session comes before dinner with the kid, and it can't always be that dinner with the kid comes before the coaching session. I really do think that we have to strike a balance that makes sense for our lives and makes sense for the space that our business is in. Everyone always thinks I'm crazy.


When I describe this absolutely absurd formula that I do monthly to manage my time, I talk about it in detail in my book leap off the ladder. I literally write an equation for my life every month of how I'm going to break up my time. And when I say equation, I give every aspect of my life a variable. My daughter, my husband, the business, the nonprofit, all of those things have a variable, and everything can only equal 100. I prioritize the amount of time that I have to do productive things in the week based on how much percentage of my 100 I have allotted to that variable. Right now, she's in band. So my day on top of an extracurricular activity with school, that variable for my daughter is going to be a little more time consuming than maybe the nonprofit for that month or than maybe the coaching for that month. Maybe this is not a month where I push adding on new clients because I know that baby girl needs more than 50% of the week.


That is truly how I navigate my time and when I make it make sense for myself. That way I find that I feel less guilty. Those moments of where I'm feeling super mom guilt or parent guilt, it's when I'm not organized. It's when I'm just fly by the seat of my pants doing the best that I can do. And some things are falling through the cracks. I think that's when I feel the most guilty.


Krystal J [00:11:20]:

I am loving everything that you said.


Morgan C [00:11:24]:

It sounds crazy.


Krystal J [00:11:28]:

Well, first of all, this formula thing is blowing my mind, and I'm like, okay, now I really got into the book.


Morgan C [00:12:27]:

Yes, you got to get the book. It sounds super intense, right? And it sounds like, well, geez, that's not sustainable. That sounds stressful, but it's truly not meant to be. Like, this is the end all, be all. You have to give 50%. You have to put in this amount of hours towards this thing. It's more so just a way for me to lay out everything that's in my brain and prepare myself for the season that's being presented to me.


Krystal J [00:12:55]:

Yes. And just as you said, it is exactly that. It is not the end all, be all. Whatever your strategy is. And I think that's where a lot of people can get very intimidated and overwhelmed because they think they have to follow this super set structure every single month. But as you know, as everyone knows, life changes. Life is. Oh, yes, it's fluctuating.


There's high months, low months. Months where you're doing personal things every single weekend. Oh, my God. Lord knows I have had too many.


Morgan C [00:13:28]:

Oh, gosh, I can't stand that. It takes up all your rest time, right?


Krystal J [00:13:32]:

Yeah. And you need to be able to be flexible and like you said, have grace with yourself. So the fact that you've managed to do that all figure out a way that works for you and something that you can keep adjusting every single month. That's really incredible. So, again, kudos to you for being a super mom and now, like this killer businesswoman and an author, you alluded to your book already leap off the ladder. Give us a little bit of insight into what that is, aside from this amazing formula that.


Morgan C [00:14:06]:

Absolutely. So as I transitioned away from my corporate career and became a full-time entrepreneur, which now has been about two and a half years ago, many of my clients ask me like, oh, my gosh, how did you get the courage to do this? Where did it come to you that it would be okay for you to leave a six-figure job? How much money did you save first? What conversations did you have? Do you have a 401 anymore? If so, how did you even get one without all the questions, all the things? And I found myself kind of sounding like a broken record a little bit, talking about how I gained that courage and how you can do it, too, and just some of the methods and strategies that I used to mentally prepare for that leap. And it just kind of struck me one day. I am an avid journaler. It is a coping mechanism for me for anxiety and depression. I love to journal. It helps me so much. And so one day I was like, man, I bet that someone could benefit from these journal entries that I have been writing over the past couple of years in this journey.


So I just started to pick and find little pieces that I had already written in my personal letters to myself and translated them into something that could be vulnerable but still readable and inspiring to someone who is maybe thinking about taking their leap or maybe they aren't thinking about taking their leap, and they are focused on managing a career and a business together. I just thought it would be perfect to answer all of those questions that I felt like I received in person all the time for the world. So that's truly where a leap off the ladder came from. The book is about my journey, really, that mind over matter piece of my entrepreneurial spirit and how I became inspired enough and courageous enough to take my leap away from corporate America and pursue my own passion.


Krystal J [00:16:18]:

So I do want to ask, because there are so many people that are kind of in that transition space or kind of debating, like, is it time? Is it time for you? You were talking about a lot about mindset just now. Were you in a place where you were able to financially, comfortably, financially take the leap?


Morgan C [00:16:41]:

So my leap was very strategic when it comes to finances. So I was in a high yielding career with Amazon and my husband and I, we were in the process of purchasing what we're calling now our dream home. I don't know if we'll stay forever, but we claim we are so the home that I am sitting in right now. Our dream home. I resigned from Amazon the day after we closed on our dream home.


Krystal J [00:17:10]:

Wow.


Morgan C [00:17:11]:

I knew what it would look like to any mortgage company for me to suddenly go from the income that I had at the largest company in the world to hairstylist Morgan, who owns a salon. I made sure my ducks were in a row. I bought a car. I bought my house. I spoke with financial advisors to ensure that I had a 529 set up for my daughter's college fund and a 401 set up for my retirement planning, and some mutual funds set up for emergencies in case I ever needed to pull from them. I did put those ducks in a very nice row before taking that leap. And I will say, even with all that preparation, we're being honest. We're being vulnerable, right? I still was not ready.


I thought I had enough money saved. I did not. I thought I would not have to make lifestyle changes to become a full-time entrepreneur because my business was maturing already and was profitable already. No way. I certainly had to make lifestyle changes. I've certainly had to cut back on some things that at one point just felt extremely comfortable and then suddenly weren't. I had experienced those ebbs and flows that we all know exist as entrepreneurs. Sometimes it's all flowing in, and sometimes you're like, my goodness, what happens this month? And in those moments, I don't think I was 100% prepared for how much that pinch would hurt.


I had experienced that pinch with my business before, but I had the cushion of a check I knew I would get on the first of every month. So even with the preparation financially and setting myself up with a nest egg to support that change in income, I had the mindset that, again, back to that little equation. If I'm only putting 30, 40, 50 hours a week into the Lusso brand, if I relinquish Amazon, I've got another 40 hours a week, another 50 or 60 hours a week. So I should double my income here, right? That was my mindset, and that was totally wrong. So to answer your question and to kind of synopsize that, yes, I did take steps to financially prepare, but I still think I was a little under prepared for how challenging things could get.


Krystal J [00:19:45]:

I love the realness and the vulnerability. So let's go back to that mindset piece. What allowed you to keep going when you did finally realize, like, wow. To change my life around, I'm making all these changes. I'm cutting back. This is not at all what I expected. Did you ever question, is it worth it? Should I go back? How did you overcome those difficult times?


Morgan C [00:20:14]:

Oh, absolutely. I found myself getting on LinkedIn. Like, you know what? This is just insane. I definitely had those moments. And I would argue that if any entrepreneur in their infancy, unless they are that micro chasm of an example of a company that just skyrockets from the beginning. We know a few of them, but there's literally a few unless you're in that situation. I think every entrepreneur has had that doubt of, like, man, should I fill out a job application again? Because this is a lot. So that doubt was definitely there.


And what kept me and what inspired me not to quit was everyone around me. I have to be honest. If I even consider closing the doors at Lusso Salon, we're talking about a dozen other people's place of employment, and now I have to consider Luso sweets. Right? Like, I cannot possibly fail all these people. I also think about the people closest to me, my husband, my daughter. They'd sacrifice that. That balancing act that we talked about with mom guilt. Your kids feel that.


They feel that. And my daughter is older. She's 13. So she has the maturity for me to have a conversation and say, like, hey, I got a busy week at work this week. I am so sorry if we don't spend as much time together as we usually do. I challenge all of you who struggle with mom guilt, and I just had this conversation with one of my girlfriends who's an entrepreneur this week, too. Tell your kids. Talk to them.


They do not need to see robot mommy. We push our children to express themselves, and then they get to an age where they're, like, in their little shells and expressing themselves. The hardest thing to do ever. But how can they do that if they never see mommy do it? If all they see is perfect patty, and you've got it all together, they don't know what expressing themselves looks like. They don't have that as an example from you. Give them that. Hey, mommy is really stressed this week. I'm doing my best to balance it all.


What can I help you with first? Still make it about them, but be honest. So those sacrifices that my daughter has had to endure, my husband has had to endure. It would just feel like it's all for nothing if I gave up.


Krystal J [00:22:34]:

I couldn't agree more. And I think that is absolutely so critical. Especially as a mom trying to build a business, being able to express yourself. And I see it as like a learning opportunity or a teaching opportunity for them to not just see like, oh, she's working all the time, but really understanding the why behind it.


Morgan C [00:22:55]:

Right.


Krystal J [00:22:55]:

And it's kind of that perspective. Like you said yourself, it's because you're wanting to create this future for them. And with children, especially younger ones, they might not realize that off the bat, right? They're like, oh, mommy doesn't want to hang out with me. Mommy just wants to work, work, work. But why are they doing it? Is that conversation being had? Is that transparency there and that understanding there? And I love how you said you kind of shifted it, too, and you still are putting them first. I'm really stressed out. I'm trying my best, but what can I do for you in this moment that is incredible?


Morgan C [00:23:32]:

Parents, they understand more than we may know. They really do.


Krystal J [00:23:37]:

Absolutely. Okay. Five years ago, before you launched your salon, did you ever think you would be where you are today?


Morgan C [00:23:48]:

I have to be honest. No.


Krystal J [00:23:50]:

I thought you were going to say yes. I was like, yes, girl!


Morgan C [00:23:54]:

No, I knew that I was going to be an entrepreneur, and I knew I was going to be successful. I knew that my business was going to grow. I did not know it would look like this. So what has taken me by surprise has been this space of business coaching. That was not a part of the plan. I thought that I was going to be a salon owner with multiple locations and in the phases currently of planning to a franchise. That was my plan. It's funny because I just recently looked at my business plan that I wrote in 2018 while I was looking for a space for Lusso salon.


And that's what I talked about. I talked about franchising, and I talked about product development, shampoos, conditioners, treatments, those types of things. I have totally gone in a different direction, and it's truly just been by following what I feel like I'm called to, and following what I feel like is a gift that I have from God to inspire others and to push others in the right direction. I always tell people I'm a horrible teacher, but I'm a great coach. And I like that because it distinguishes the difference between the two. Coaches hold you accountable. Coaches say some tough things when you may not want to hear them, but they run with you, too, right on that sideline. They're cheering for you, too, right on that sideline.


And I think that's a personal strength of mine that I didn't know about until I immersed myself in an entrepreneurial space where I'm surrounded by other entrepreneurs running their own businesses, too.


Krystal J [00:25:32]:

So important to be able to do that and to be able to hear other stories. And I love that you kind of mentioned how your business plan from 2018 looks nothing like what it is now.


Morgan C [00:25:42]:

Oh, my gosh, no.


Krystal J [00:25:44]:

And that is just another key piece that I love when it gets reiterated in these interviews, because that's another thing. Young or aspiring entrepreneurs, they kind of get in that mindset like, this is my five-year plan. If I don't make it, I'm not successful.


Morgan C [00:26:03]:

It's just not going to look like that. It looks completely different. Completely different.


Krystal J [00:26:08]:

But that doesn't mean you weren't successful. Right? And it's important to have grace with yourself in that aspect as well. Not just parenthood, but in the way that your business evolves and allowing yourself to kind of fall into that movement with grace and with excitement, despite how it might stray from your original plans.


Morgan C [00:26:31]:

Love that you said giving yourself grace in this space, too, and understanding that just because it looks different doesn't mean that it's not success. I think that the Lusso brand is a huge success, and it's exceeded my expectations already. So I can only imagine a decade from now what this business will look like.


Krystal J [00:26:51]:

So now that you are five years or close to five years into it, and good on you for making that first five-year mark. I'm definitely going to see you at the ten-year mark. But what is the future looking for you looking like for you now? Now that you've kind of got a glimpse of. Okay, this is how it's changed. What is it looking like? The next five years?


Morgan C [00:27:15]:

Absolutely. So if I could rub a crystal ball right now, I think what I would see inside is a brick-and-mortar space that I've purchased of my own. So I talk about it in the book and I talk about it in my interviews that I am currently in a commercial lease. So my goal is to purchase a space for the Luso brand. And similar to the concept of the suites, I want to be able to provide a space for other entrepreneurs to manage their businesses and make it where it's a little less cumbersome than what we traditionally see, with some creative lease options that allow new businesses the opportunity to enter the market. So that is truly what I see for myself in the future. And combining that with the business coaching piece, providing that physical space along with the mentorship and resources that are needed to actually be successful, I think those are the next steps for the Luco brand.


Krystal J [00:28:15]:

Well, I'm really excited for you, and I know regardless of which way it ends up turning, whatever you come up with is going to be amazing. You're already doing so many amazing things. I see more books in your future, I'm sure more salons, a bunch of more things. And I'm really excited to stay in touch with your journey and continue to see it evolve.


Morgan C [00:28:39]:

Thank you.


Krystal J [00:28:41]:

Where can everyone find everything that you're doing? Your salon, your Lusso Suites, your nonprofit, your book, everything?


Morgan C [00:28:50]:

Yes. Thank you so much for asking. I am easily found on Instagram. You're able to follow me at Lusso CEO. That's Lussoceo on Instagram and I'm usually sharing all the things there. So the super easy way to see every snippet of the business. Lusso Salon and Lusso suites are both physically located in Portsmouth, Virginia. So you're able to find us on Google if you're in the area, and then I am on all social media platforms.


And lastly, my website, thelussobrand.com, has all of the fun things there, so please follow me. Check out thelussobrand.com. Subscribe to our email list to keep in touch.


Krystal J [00:29:38]:

And your book is also available directly from your website?


Morgan C [00:29:42]:

Yes, the book is available on thelussobrand.com and it's also available on Amazon. If you search leap off the ladder on Amazon in books, you'll find an e copy or hard copy there.


Krystal J [00:29:56]:

I love it. And of course, all of that's going to be linked in the show notes. I'm going to have to figure out when I can make my way to Virginia so I can check out your spaces in person. Might be a while.


Morgan C [00:30:06]:

That would be amazing.


Krystal J [00:30:08]:

You're going to be around for the long term, so I will make my way eventually. But Morgan, you have been amazing. I love your energy. I love your spirit. I love your vulnerability and your entire journey. So thank you so much for being willing to come onto our podcast and share it with our audience. Seriously, you are incredible. So thank you.


Morgan C [00:30:31]:

Thank you so much for having me. I am absolutely loving everything about your brand. It really resonates with me of this removing competition and creating community. I just love that. So thank you so much for letting me be a part of that community and giving me this venue and platform to share my story.


Krystal J [00:30:50]:

Oh my gosh, absolutely. We're definitely going to find a way to work together. So keep an eye out on your emails because I have some ideas.


Morgan C [00:30:59]:

Oh, yes, I can't wait.

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