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Eboney Thompson owns the writing, publishing, and editing company Forever Beautyful and when she’s not working individually with clients she’s working her 9-5 job from home, and homeschooling and raising 4 beautiful children.
Me: Tell me about your experience as a single mom. Tell me your story.
Eboney: Well it’s not all peaches and cream, All in all it’s been a ride but it’s been a good ride. I can see the outcome better than anything else. I graduated from high school, had a full ride scholarship to college, I got to school and realized I was pregnant. So I was 17 and in college and a lot of people were against it. They were telling me I could take care of it but I wanted to have my baby. I guess I didn’t learn my lesson because 2 years later I got pregnant with my daughter at 19 and had her at 20. Then I decided to get out and work to support my children. I got a job at a childcare center which was great because I could take them with me. Plus I also went to school full time to become a medical assistant.
Me: So you were working at the childcare center and going to school full time? How did you manage doing all of that, working, school, and raising your children?
Eboney: What I would do when I had to study was make it into a matching game for my kids. So they were playing a match game and I was studying. When I had to really get down in the book and study I would put them to bed and then have some alone time to really study.
Me: Have you had a support system over the years as your children have been growing up?
Eboney: You know some people come and go but God has really blessed me with people I call ‘roots’. My mom really helped me ,and at the time she was working, but she really helped me whenever she could. My dad lived all the way in Georgia but sometimes he would come down during the summer to watch the kids for me and help us out financially. Then I have 3 or 4 other people who, I know if I ever need anything, I can really count on. Since I’ve taken on the role of caring for my niece my older children have really stepped up and been helping, too. Which is so great.
Me: So with all of the pressures and joys of being a single mom, what was that lightbulb moment that inspired you to start living the life you wanted for yourself or to build your own business? What was that moment that you said I need to start pushing myself to the next level?
Eboney: In 2012 my dad had a heart attack and passed away suddenly. He was my best friend, my rock, I could call my daddy for anything. When he passed away my world was shaken up and I really felt helpless, but I can honestly say it was in that moment that I started becoming closer to God. I started praying because I just didn’t know what to do.
That helped push out one of the books I have, and I released it in 2014. So I thought I could just write part time and work my regular part time job, because I have a great job. Then tragedy struck again. When my nephew was 4 years old he got ahold of a gun and accidentally shot himself in the face. That was another thing that turned my world upside down because I was just thinking “there’s more to life”.
There are people who have stories that need to be told. Some people feel like they can’t write but if I can push them and help them write a book or a journal or a blog or anything that can help save their life. So that birthed my business Forever Beautyful which is a writing, publishing, and editing company. What I strive to do is help people who have a story but feel like they don’t have a voice. Those are the people I’m drawn to and I love what I do. Now I’m in the process of starting a non-profit which is going to be a private school for low income families. I’m all about creating children that are well rounded. It’s not going to be just for kids, either. I want to hold classes for parents, too.
Me: What does a typical day look like for you? Do you have a morning or daily routine?
Eboney: A typical day usually starts between 5:30 and 6 in the morning. I get up and I pray and I read a scripture. Then I’m blessed because I get to work my 9-5 from home. So I log in and work from 7-3:30. I do keep a notebook right beside me in case a thought pops in my head. Once I finish with that I get the kids together and hopefully the chores are done. Then we sit down and eat dinner, then after dinner and the kitchen is clean, they get their time and I do some writing or work on the business. I try and get the little kids to bed by 9 and the older ones put themselves to bed usually around 11. Then I use that quiet time and go into our little homeschooling room, so I can focus, to get some more work done. On a good night I try and get to bed by 2 or 2:30.
Me: So you mentioned you have a homeschool room in your house. How does the homeschooling come into play during your day?
Eboney: Well, especially now that the kids are getting older I instill in them that they’re not entitled and don’t get just handed things, but they have to work. I’m not just leaving them a business, I’m leaving them a legacy. So even with my business they’re kind of employees, because I tell them you have to be an employee before you can be an employer.
With the homeschooling they’re homeschooled from 8 to 2:30 Monday through Friday. I’m blessed once again because my awesome support system comes to teach them, they even teach them music and writing and computers. Their godmother, she was here during the holidays, teaches them dance. I built the curriculum myself for each of them and their needs because I worked in childcare for almost 15 years, so I know about building curriculums and how they work. I want them to be well rounded. It’s not enough to know about math, science, and technology. You have to learn how to write a proper sentence and know what those words in a contract mean before you sign your name on the dotted line.
Me: Who inspires you? Who is that person that you look up to?
Eboney: My dad was a big source of inspiration for me. He was a go getter. If he needed $5 he was going to go out there and do what he needed to do to make $5. My great grandmother, she passed away in 2009, she was a big inspiration to me. I remember sitting at her feet when my mom and dad would go to work and I used to love hearing her talk and tell stories. She instilled a lot of values in me. I often think “what would granny say” when I’m considering something. My mom also inspires me and then one of my best friends, she’s like my big sister, mentor, and friend. She supports me, guides me, and leads me. If it’s not right she’s going to tell me honestly. Then of course God. He’s top, because I know now that a lot of the stuff that I went through if I didn’t know God I wouldn’t have made it through it.
Me: What is your advice to a single mom who wants to act on something but maybe she’s afraid to do so?
Eboney: My advice would be to keep the faith and one of the two scriptures that are buried in my heart is Romans 8 and 28: “All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and who are called according to his purpose.” I hold onto that because even if it’s the fact that somebody got a promotion before you, just know that there are things that God is going to do for you that are greater. Sometimes we have to go through tests ourselves to get to exactly where we need to be so that when God gives us what’s on our heart we can handle it. If God brought you to it then he’s either going to carry you through or push you through. God didn’t give us a spirit of fear. We can feel fear but you can push through that fear and move past it.
Me: So what do you do for yourself to relax or have fun? What do you do when you need to relieve some stress?
Eboney: I love to laugh and I love to read, reading is my getaway. So just to read and get away from myself. Sometimes I’ll go and try to lock the bathroom door, but my niece can unlock the bathroom door and find me so sometimes I’ll try and hide from her. But just taking a bath and reading. Sometimes we do ladies day and we leave the kids, boyfriends, and husbands at home. We’ll go to dinner or to lunch and the spa. I’ll get together with friends for dinner and laugh and talk.
Me: The title of my website is NatashaVIP and the VIP stands for Vision Inspiration and Purpose. When you hear those three words what do they mean to you as a woman, mother, and business woman?
Eboney: Vision. One of the quotes that I have in my book of quotes is “It’s one thing to go after your dreams, but it’s another to chase the vision.” We can dream all day long, and there’s nothing wrong with dreams, but sometimes dreams are brought on by our emotions or things we’re going through. A vision is given to you by God and it’s going to come to pass because He does not lie. Inspiration should be an example. It’s an action word. I can say all day ‘kids go out and open a business, live your dreams’ but if I’m not doing it myself and leading by example what’s the point? I want to be that inspirational example to the next generation coming up behind me or even to my own generation or the generation ahead of me who’s struggled and needs a better way. Purpose is everything I went through, everything I’m going through now, and everything I’m going to do until God calls me home.
Me: I know you had talked about starting the non profit so I wanted to give you a moment to tell us about any new projects that are coming up or what your next step for your business is?
Eboney: I have published two books, Forever Beautiful: The Love Edition and Good Morning Beautyful People. My Forever Beautyful business is still going and I do believe in giving everybody a fair share of my time so I only work with 5 clients at a time. That way I know I can give them the time that they deserve. Envision Academic Enrichment Academy will hopefully be up and running by fall 2016. It’ll start with preschool, Head Start, and Kindergarten. Then as God sees fit and money sees fit it will eventually increase from preschool to 12th grade.
Photos courtesy of Eboney Thompson.
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