Learn about Florida Entrepreneur Dr. Chester Wilson:
Since first moving to Daytona Beach in 1999 with his wife April, Dr. Chester Wilson, Owner of CW Consulting Firm, has given back to the community in more ways than one. For the past 19 years, he's been part of the SMA Healthcare team focused on providing behavioral healthcare services to the citizens of Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia Counties. His most recent role is that of Vice President of Quality Assurance. For the past 11 years, Dr. Wilson also worked as a professor for his Alma mater, Bethune-Cookman University. For the past five years, Dr. Wilson has used his education, experience, passion for giving back to the community, and genuine desire to better people's lives to launch and grow CW Consulting Firm. Dr. Wilson shared his story behind CW Consulting Firm, the challenges he experienced along the way and the impact he hopes to make.
"I officially started the business in May of 2013," he said. "When I began teaching at Bethune-Cookman, I started getting invitations to conduct training sessions and speaking engagements. Around this time, I also happen to run across information about starting a consulting business. A lot of professionals that conduct training and speaking engagements have their own consulting business. That opened my eyes to the possibility of doing something similar for myself. After getting more invitations for speaking engagements, I decided it was time to get on Sunbiz and complete the paperwork."
Dr. Wilson shared that the first two years were all about trial and error and learning. Mistakes were made, but Dr. Wilson stayed focused and by 2015, things started to pick up. By now, he was an established healthcare professional and professor. He was heavily involved in the community and the business was making money. For Dr. Wilson, speaking, training, and consulting on various topics including HIV, addiction, organizational behavior, and conducting CPR training for local daycares came easy. It was his passion and something he was prepared for. What he wasn't prepared for was the success that followed.
"When I started making money in 2015, I was scared," he said. "I wasn't prepared for it, so I backed down a bit and took a hiatus. I still maintained a few clients, but I stopped all promotional and social media activity. It wasn't until 2017 that I got my confidence back. After becoming all things to all people, it took me some time to narrow down my focus. I regrouped, re-branded with a new logo and colors, and that gave me a renewed sense of confidence. My new focus was on three key areas: Consultations, Training, and Presentations."
What Dr. Wilson enjoys most is motivational speaking. He's a different person when he's behind the microphone. He thrives on sparking the drive that's intrinsically in all of us. Dr. Wilson shared that most people don't know their own potential. As a dedicated Christian, Dr. Wilson enjoys motivating people to take action and make manifest of what they were put on this earth to do.
Even though Dr. Wilson is a wealth of inspiration and knowledge, like the rest of us, he remains open to learning and continuous improvement. He considers himself a “Life Learner”. He shared some of the things he learned along the way and gave credit to an important person, his wife, that was with him every step of the way.
"It's a cliche thing to say, but for the longest time, I didn't know my own strengths and self-worth," he said. "It wasn't until 2017 when I regrouped and refocused my efforts that I realized I had something people needed and were willing to pay good money for. For the longest time, the feedback was, 'Is that all it costs?'. I now know that I'm a true contender in my field. My experience, knowledge, education, and how I packaged that and bring it to my clients, is a valuable commodity. I help make individuals and organizations better. Looking back on everything I've accomplished, I owe a lot to my beautiful wife. Even though she's educated with a Master's Degree, she chose to stay home to be instrumental in raising our kids. As a result, she played a big role in helping me run the business. She did the finances, paid bills, set up trainings, and helped juggle my schedule. She was the back bone of CW Consulting Firm."
Looking ahead, Dr. Wilson is focused on making CW Consulting a household and organizational name among business owners and the community. When people think of training needs, process improvement, motivational speaking, and right-sizing, he wants them to think CW Consulting Firm. He's also well aware that one day, a decision will have to be made if he's going to pursue his business full-time or remain involved on a part-time basis.
What advice does Dr. Wilson have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Open your hands and use what’s in it," he said. "Most of us have a skill set that we’re not allowing to manifest. If you have something that you can offer and it's a tangible service that people will buy and/or invest in, then go for it. Also, it's okay to keep your full-time job and build a business on the side. You never know what that side gig will turn into. Remember, one of the wealthiest places on the planet is the graveyard. Some of the best recipes that haven't been cooked, the best stories that haven't been told, and the best books that will never be written end up in the graveyard. Don't let your dreams die. If a young black boy from Palatka can make it, anyone can. What I have now didn't happen overnight. It took faith, hard work, being dedicated to the community, and meeting the right people. I never thought I'd be where I'm at today, but here I am."
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