Life is a struggle. It breaks you down and humbles you. And when you think things will look up, life throws another curveball with ruthless indifference. At least, that’s how most people feel.
For Mignon Francois, a mother of seven, moving to Nashville, Tennessee in 2005 marked the beginning of a new life for her family. Her then-husband was looking forward to getting a new job, and everything seemed to be working out.
Within a few weeks, though, the job fell through, and he ended up working as a foreman, and the family was forced to work around the limited income.
Basic expenses like food and transport became a struggle, and sometimes they had to stay in the dark. Francois would occasionally remain in the dark during the day to allow her children to have enough power to clear their schoolwork.
Although her neighbors didn’t have a clue to the extent of their struggles, they knew she had a talent for baking cupcakes.
In 2007, in what seemed like a light at the end of the tunnel moment, a neighbor placed an order for 600 cupcakes at $1 each.
With the increasing financial strain, Francois didn’t have the capital to purchase the ingredients for all the cupcakes. After a few deliberations, though, they agreed that she would first bake 60.
After the neighbor left, Francois had a real come-to-Jesus moment with God, asking why He would offer her the opportunity with only $5 in her pocket.
After a moment of silence, she decided to make the most of what she had. She put on her shoes, walked over to the local store, and purchased the ingredients with the $5.
That evening, the neighbor paid for the first batch of cupcakes, turning her $5 into $60. She placed the $5 into the dinner budget and continued baking the remaining set.
One year later, the proud mother of seven officially launched her firm, ‘The Cupcake Collection.
This is a bakery that specializes in signature cupcakes, birthday cakes, and other palatable desserts.
Today, the firm earns over $1million in revenue, but her journey to financial freedom was packed with trials and tribulations.
It took years of adopting intelligent money habits, making innovative decisions, and rigorous budgeting skills to scale her passion for baking and turn it into a cupcake empire.
Using Envelopes to Divide Her Cash
Since the family did not live on a set salary, Francois had no idea of the capital she would earn from month to month. Therefore, between overdraft fees and emergency expenses, she could not afford a bank account.
As a struggling Black woman, she was also not afforded the same opportunities as her counterparts.
She had witnessed most of her friends receiving rejection letters from the bank. She knew that having capital in a bank account at that time would cost her harsh overdraft fees. It would have been the beginning of a vicious snowballing cycle.
So, she decided to adopt her saving strategy, the envelope. She started dividing her cash into several envelopes based on the basic expenses.
She was a believer in Dave Ramsey’s teachings: pay your four walls first: shelter, transport, utilities, and food, before you move to tackle other costs.
The strategy worked so brilliantly that she divided the profits and taxes into other envelopes when she made sales from the cupcakes.
Francois would always take 20% and set it for paying taxes. Any capital spent on supplies was always placed back in an envelope to buy her next set of provisions.
Through intelligent planning, disciplined saving, and sticking to Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps Strategy, Francois kept making profits, turning her passion into the multi-million dollar business it is now.
Today, the successful entrepreneur runs her firm while also helping others in her community attain their entrepreneurship goals.
She is also a mentor and board member of the Nashville Entrepreneur Center and Pathways Women’s Business Center.