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Inspiring Conversations with Andrena Sawyer of P.E.R.K. Consulting

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrena Sawyer.

Hi Andrena, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I am an author, consultant, and business owner originally from Freetown, Sierra Leone. My family and I moved to the United States when I was 9-years-old due to a decade-long civil war. My childhood experiences serve as a daily reminder that at some point, most of us will need help from others in order to make it in life. This belief fuels my career and life values, and I credit my family’s story for my interest in human triumph and perseverance.

Today, I am the President of P.E.R.K. Consulting (P.E.R.K.), an advisory firm for small to mid-sized nonprofits and businesses. I am also the Founder of the Minority Christian Women Entrepreneurs Network (MCWEN) —a faith-based network for women of color entrepreneurs. I started P.E.R.K. ten years ago, and through both initiatives, I have been blessed to work with thousands of entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and small businesses. My commitment is to continue to mobilize and empower others.

In addition to my work with entrepreneurs and nonprofits, I am also the author of several books, including The Long Way Home and The Misadventures of a New Entrepreneur: 5 Things They Won’t Teach You in Business School.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
When I started as an entrepreneur, my biggest challenge was managing expectations. There was a learning curve for the technical competencies that it takes to run a business, like marketing, cash flow management, sales, and customer service. However, there are nuances that could only be learned on the job, like work/life balance, being clear about my goals, and setting boundaries. Figuring out those things were especially challenging in my mid-twenties.

Today, the challenges I face are what most other entrepreneurs are facing, especially in light of how COVID-19 affected the business landscape. We are working through pivoting again as things transition back to “normal,” stabilizing cashflow and keeping our clients abreast of how we can support their businesses through the challenges they’re facing as well.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about P.E.R.K. Consulting?
P.E.R.K. Consulting is an advisory firm that specializes in business development and capacity-building support for nonprofits and small businesses. Our services include business & nonprofit registration, business plans, staff & volunteer training, strategic planning, and grant & proposal writing.

We draw from extensive study and experiences to assist local nonprofits and small businesses through the process of creating, implementing, and evaluating systems. P.E.R.K. partners with our clients to apply this systematic approach for setting up their entity or for taking internal projects and initiatives to the next level.

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