My name is Christina M. Johnson of Testimony Publishers LLC,
where we help entrepreneurs and small business owners plan, pen, and publish their life-changing book.
When Did You First Become Interested In What You do? Why?
Right now, my family has three separate businesses and I'm currently the main person running Testimony Publishers LLC.
We're an online publisher, we do some in-person events but since everything that has gone on with the Coronavirus pandemic, we've moved all of our in-person events to virtual, online events. Even during this time when everything was just so crazy, we have been able to grow. In 2020, we actually brought in more income than all the years of Testimony Publishers LLC's
existence, since 2017.
We help people build businesses based on literary content. That content can be in the form of a book, a blog, some sort of literary content that's used to share their mission and message. What got me started was one of the lowest points in my life. I call it "My Valley Experience & My Bathroom Experience."
I had gone through an ugly custody battle. While I was in the midst of that I had to have two life-threatening surgeries, one while I was six months pregnant with one of my daughters. I was at a very low point—vibrationally, spiritually, mentally—any area of life you could think of. It felt like everything was coming at me so quickly but when I finally broke down and came to myself, I believe it was a divine intervention.
God showed me, "No, your life is not over. You now have even more of a testimony, so that you can move forward and share that with others.” So that's how Testimony Publishers LLC
came about because I began sharing my story. And in sharing my story, I helped encourage other people to share their stories and then we just grew from there.
What Did You Struggle With When You First Got Started Going After Your Interest/Passion?
During different phases of my life my passion has been different things. It’s expressed itself in different ways all throughout my life. But it's always been an overall passion to serve and help people. I want others to succeed and be happy.
A lot of people don't like that when I say it, but it's always been my passion, to find my purpose in helping other people find their purpose. I can look back and see that I was always able to do that by either speaking, teaching, or something that I created.
That way, other people receive the information they require to take it and use it in order to continue to move forward and grow themselves. I guess the "spunk" came when I recognized this as a gift I possessed to do it.
What’s Your Current Status? Single? Married?
a. Any children? If so, how many?
b. Do you feel that your status has had an impact on your decisions in life? If so, how?
Married to my husband, A.C.
Yes, hopefully your Mommy Talks Podcast readers are sitting down because they're probably going to be floored after I mention this, but we currently have eight children at home. I birthed all eight, they are between the ages of four and thirteen.
Wow, yes I will say that my children have definitely impacted me. I tell them all the time, "God really, really loves you and I know that for a fact because God changed me around 360 degrees so that I would be this person for you now.”
I'll explain a little bit.
I've always been a champion, I've always been a winner, I've always been one of those people that was a go-getter if there was anything I wanted to do. I have always been really good at being able to reverse engineer the end goal and see the steps that I needed to take to achieve that goal, which I believe is another one of my divine gifts.
I’ve been a state champion, regional champion, and I've gone to the Junior Olympics as a qualifier in track. I've received over half a million dollars in grants and stipends to do research and teach. But all of these things, don't really matter as much to me as me being a mom.
I don't know if that makes sense but my role as a mother is the most important role that I have ever had, aside from being a wife as well. And then of course a woman in general is just up there at the top of the list too. Although being a mom is one of the most important roles that I've ever had, I have failed at it miserably on so many occasions.
I went into it thinking okay, it can't be that hard, can it? Afterall, I've been a teacher, I've taken care of other people's children. I've taken people's children into my home for years and have taken care of them when they couldn't. I was like, okay, how hard can this be? But now with mine, oh my goodness.
God has given me something where I can look back and say, "Man, was I really like that?” Statements of me being obnoxious and arrogant, now it's just like I see me in my children. Because they're like little mirrors. Seeing myself displayed in them inspires me. I want to live my highest life so whether it's dieting, whether it is reading up on how I can be better as a mom, or whatever it is, that is exactly what I want to do for them.
Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, but either way I get to practice with no judgement.
What Were Your Family’s First Thoughts About What You Wanted To Pursue?
I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. I did well at work but I'm really not a good employee. I've never been a really good employee. I've done research, I've been in the lab, I've been in offices, I've been in the classroom, I've been in the boardroom.
But there was always something still calling me to create my own thing. In those environments I created my own curricula and I also revamped what they were doing and made it totally different. I revamped different aspects of rules that they believed shouldn't have been broken. I was always doing something different and trailblazing or creating my own path, so to speak.
Before I was married to A.C, I was an entrepreneur. I was doing plays. I had a full-length stage play called More Than Conquerors, a hip-hop musical. I had already started getting grants and I was doing workshops. I also had a non-profit, Out The Box Ministries, Incorporated.
So, I was already doing that and then with the marriage it kind of transitioned into finding my role again. I am married and being a woman, wife, and mother, that now supersedes some of the things that I once desired to do.
It was a process of me learning—or relearning I should say who I was/am because every time I mature and grow. I'm like, okay now that style of dress doesn't really work for me anymore. I just feel different, so I want a new representation. Okay, the hair needed a change, so through every stage of life you have to keep growing and that's the same thing with entrepreneurship.
You cannot keep the same mindset at every level of entrepreneurship. When I was just bringing in hobby money, it was about $20,000 a year. That mindset was way different than the mindset now where we're up to three companies and we're bringing in way more. More than anything that we've ever seen combined with businesses and as employees put together.
So, it is really a challenge keeping up with the mindset. But one thing I suggest to a lot of Mompreneurs that I work with is to always just take time to reflect. Self-reflection is huge in reference to you identifying what you need to stay energized and to continue to have that motivation to keep moving forward. And it's also a wonderful thing when you can just kind of rest and relax a little bit in the accomplishments and achievements that you already have.
a. Were they supportive?
Yes, oh my goodness. In the beginning it started out with my husband just working really, really hard to bring in the income that we needed to use as a tool to grow what we envisioned.
While I was trying to figure out the online space and moving everything from in-person to online, it was a bit of a foundation that needed to be laid on my behalf. But through all of it, we always worked as a team, even though my husband and my children couldn't necessarily be out front or creating everything or helping me with some of the back-end systems. They were still encouraging me, providing the resources, the financial assistance and all of that.
b. Are they currently supportive?
Yes, we are a team. It's kind of transitioned because my children are a little bit older, my husband who has a transportation logistics company, is at a place where he doesn't necessarily have to be hands-on 100% of the time. He can do some things with us that he wasn't able to do before so now we're transitioning into that and rebranding Testimony Publishers LLC into a family empire.
c. What challenges have you faced together?
The challenge has been incorporating everyone's vision because we still want to be individuals. We don't want to take on this like we're the Borg. I don't know if any of your readers know about Star Trek but the Borg is just like one mind, no other thoughts or anything like that.
We take on the idea that we are one mind and that one mind has an overall vision. But we're individuals that have different paths to get to that end goal and to contribute other things that some of us may not necessarily have as gifts or passions. So we're working with that and the challenge comes in trying to make sure everyone has a role.
JFam Johnson came into play during this whole Covid thing, the elections, and school closures. Even though I've been a homeschool mom since my kids have been in school, they still felt the effects of it, so my husband and I, we sat down, and we talked about what was going on with them. We asked them questions and they could say anything they wanted to say to us and then they came up with this idea that they wanted to infuse this positive energy into the marketplace.
They wanted to do it with a children's book—so that's how, Hip-hop Hair came about. It talks all about self-acceptance, self-awareness, and it's from a children's point of view. It's written by children, for children. Parents love it, teachers have even wanted it as part of their curriculum. Maryland public television sponsored them in their first Hip-Hop Hair story time. It's really picking up and moving forward.
What Was Your No. 1 Goal When You Started?
a. Are you currently in line with achieving that goal or have you already achieved that goal?
b. If not, what do you feel is preventing you from doing so?
When I first started out as an entrepreneur I was just trying to do something where I could make some money. I mean seriously and honestly speaking, I needed to put myself in a situation where I wouldn't have to worry about a job, somebody firing me, hiring me, and I could grab my future by the reins, so to speak.
But then it changed because the money was fleeting, and I wasn't necessarily meeting the expectations that I wanted to meet. Life happened, all types of things were going on at one time, and I hadn't laid the foundation strong enough for me to be able to maneuverer and bounce back from a lot. This is not my and my husband's first business. Before this, we probably had about seven businesses.
Some of them did well, some of them didn't. And each time we learned more and more. It's so many different little things that a lot of people don't think about starting off that we now know have to be done. As far as some of the thought process that goes into entrepreneurship, now it’s not just doing something that's going to create revenue, but how we can really serve people.
I have an aspect of my book business coaching program where I say, “Serve, don't sell.” A lot of people are scared to sell but you have to realize that you are selling all the time. If you tell someone go to Baskin-Robbins and get this ice cream, it’s absolutely the best, you just sold them on that ice cream. You're not getting paid by from Baskin-Robbins, but you're always selling something.
You're either selling yourself or you're selling an ideology. As black people, we've been taught and trained in a religious and spiritual aspect that money is the root of all evil. Many of us take that as a limiting belief. Prosperity, wealth, and health, is success, which is our birthright. So in knowing that that's our birthright and knowing that we are not meant to be impoverished, in our minds or in our finances, we need to start moving in a direction that's proving that to be true.
I'll go back to my mindset. Now, I don't want to just make money. I don't want to just be able to provide for my children. My husband and I, we are now on track to where we are going to be able to leave something for our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren and that's the difference between when I first started in entrepreneurship and where we are now. And I'm quite sure it'll change, and I'll learn some more things that I want to include. But right now it's about legacy building, it's about family, and what we can leave after we're gone.
What Are The Biggest Challenges You Face Pursing This While Juggling Managing A Family/Working?
a. Have you been able to figure out a plan to make it less challenging?
Being a homemaker, I remember reading an article and it listed all of the things that homemakers do: washing dishes, cooking, transporting the children back and forth, and doing all this stuff helping the husband.
Whether it's with the taxes or filing, keeping up with different things, and it came up with a salary of like $300,000 and something, if you were to add together all of the salaries of everything that the homemaker does. So, I'm saying that you don't have to do another thing, just be a homemaker and you have done enough to get your halo to go into heaven.
For all of the Mompreneurs out there, all the moms who are thinking about becoming a Mompreneur but you just don't feel ready yet because of all the responsibilities, don't put all that pressure on yourself. Because what you are doing is significant. You are worthy. You are of value. And everything that you're doing in your role is helpful for your generations that are going to come after you and for your family.
In reference to me and what I'm doing now, the work is a little bit different because I'm homeschooling, I have the business, Testimony Publishers LLC,
I am assisting my husband's business, his logistics and transportation company. And then I have the children's clothing line and book.
They are best-selling authors and they also have a clothing brand, umotiv8cre8tions. But at the same time, oh my goodness, for your children to wake up in the morning and say, “I'm gonna put on my own clothes.” I don't have to go out and support another family like Gucci or build-up their inheritance; this is my stuff. It's pride in that and it makes them feel good and encouraged and motivated that what they thought of has now manifested. And that doesn't have to be the only thing.
All of this is adding to their faith to keep dreaming and to keep coming up with goals that they move towards accomplishing. If you don't have those wins—I call them little wins—if you don't have those little wins and it can go for your children, it can go for your clients, it can go for your customers, and business, whatever, those little wins help to motivate whoever it is that's winning to take the next step.
I always try to give little wins. I always try and put my children in a position where they will be able to just kind of propel to the next step, instead of having to use all of their energy to get to the next. I want to be able to throw them a couple of steps ahead or just have it where the step is a little more bouncy as they're walking on their way.
b. Does your spouse/family assist with creating a plan to make things less challenging for you to focus on your interest/passion?
For the most part, as women we birth from one dimension into another dimension. So that aspect alone, where we're bringing actual life from one realm into a totally different realm kind of tells you our role in this whole family thing. And that role is we are the center. I guess my husband would be our sun and I’m the moon and the children are the stars.
However you want to look at it metaphorically or allegorically, whichever one that is, but as far as I'm concerned I'm the center because if I'm upset the whole house is in disarray. If I'm stressed out, if I'm going through something where I feel really overwhelmed, my energy is effecting everyone. Because we are energetic beings. But at the same time, my role as wife and mother is to receive and nurture, to love and to express some of the peace and comfort that everyone around me needs so that they will be able to be at peace and comfort.
I really have a big job to keep myself grounded and centered. It doesn't always work but for the most part, I do visualization, I do "I am" statements. We do those as a family. When we get together and we're talking about what everyone wants to accomplish, the goals that we want to achieve. And sometimes some of us, including myself, may have to take a step back from something that we wanted to do.
Okay, I wanted $1500 to go into marketing this week, but my husband comes in and says no we have something to do on one of the trucks that broke down, I got to get a new bumper, or whatever it is, so sometimes we have to sacrifice. And that is something that I think is really missing in society and in our community—the black community—that sacrifice because independence is huge now. But at the same time, that sacrifice still has to be present where we still want to serve our families, our husbands, and our children. We want to be able to put them in a position where they can be successful.
What Would You Say To Any Other Mother Who Is On The Fence About Pursuing Her Passion Due To Life Circumstances?
It is absolutely necessary. No one that has ever succeeded in life has gone it totally alone. And this whole idea of the self-made, I just really don't get into that because no one is self-made really. Now, you can be one of the first in your family to do something and be successful. But to be self-made? When nobody assists you completely is just a farce. Because every step, there's someone or something that has been shown to you that has assisted you on your path.
It could have been a book that you got the information from, that would have been your coach in that moment. That homeless person on the sidewalk that told you don't drink and drive or you’ll end up like me was a business consultant. So, don't take away from the blessings that have been given to you along your road, all along the way by saying that you did it all on your own. Acknowledging those people, acknowledging that energy that was placed into you as you grew and developed, I think that's one of the keys.
An accelerated ways to get to where you want to go is to find somebody that has already done what you want to do and then hire them, or ask them questions, join a mastermind, or what have you. Having a coach, someone to kind of guide you along the way, I mean it makes it so much easier. My clients that I work with through publishing, I tell them all the time it took me from 2017 to get to where I am.
What’s Next On Your Journey?
Next thing, as far as my entrepreneurship journey, I am now revamping Testimony Publishers LLC.
First, we were basically serving Mompreneurs and entrepreneurs who wanted to build a book business to either do coaching, or be keynote speakers and things like that. But we're now re-branding to where we're building a family legacy.
So that's what we're into now, because a lot of people were asking me, “Okay Christina, how did you do it with your children? Yeah, we know you're a publisher, you help them with the writing strategy but they’re kids. How did you do it?” So, we just documented some of the steps that we took and we're going to put that into our membership coaching program.
And all the people who want to do what we did, where now your children have a best-selling book, your children can now have something that can be passive income for years, as long as they're selling books. Hip-hop Hair can be sold, my books can be sold.
Another aspect that we're adding to the family legacy part is a lot of people are always afraid of publishing costs. In about five minutes, I can tell you how to have your book paid for, with $1500 or $2000 coming in before your book is even written. Say you have to pay about $3 to get your book printed and shipped to you, so for each book that you paid for, I show you how to make at least $1000 to $2000 from each book.
It's really cool what we're doing. I usually only do it for my one-on-one clients, but I mean I think it's a need right now. Especially the way things are going with unemployment, the pandemic, and a lot of things that are happening. Family is huge and people want to know, how can I get my family out of this situation? How can I at least add some income? Now, you may not get to where we are, you may surpass where we are as far as the income streams that we have coming in.
But my point is not about money. My point is to have something that's coming in where you don't have to be there, you do not have to be present to sell 50 books online. I do not have to be present for somebody to just download my eBook training course for $97. All of that is coming in through PayPal and Stripe and I'm asleep, or I'm on the podcast with you and I have money coming in.
I don't have to be present to actually earn that money per minute or per hour. So, I think that's where our families need to be going. This is just our contribution to that JFam Johnson, my babies, they're going to be involved. They shot a couple of videos and are doing a little bit of training so it's so cute. I'm so excited to be doing it.
Are You Open To Collaborations?
If so, in what ways?
Yes, I am open to the following:
Sponsored Insta Stories
Social Media Takeover
I would encourage anyone to just reach out even if what you're interested in isn't on this list because my family has a broad idea. We have a broad vision of what we want to accomplish so even if it wasn't on this particular list just reach out.
My goal is to spend as much time offline as humanly possible. I have two little guys that demand my attention outside of work and am aware that you have little ones that are just as demanding as mine are. If we're not connected on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or Twitter, be sure to find me there. I'm always down to connect and answer any questions, feel free to reach out to me and my team at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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Hi! I'm Asha.
Born and raised in South Carolina, I’m a country girl who’s passionate about making a difference in the world. I’m an obsessive learner who spends time reading, creating, and selling online educational programs for mothers.