Feature Interview

EXCLUSIVE: Sonia Booker Talks Entrepreneurship, Passion & Purpose

Sonia Booker is a woman of many “pumps”. She’s a respected educator, author, speaker and wealth-builder. Yes, you read it right. The phenomenal mother and wife is in the business of helping people obtain assets. She believes in netweaving, can’t leave home without her MacBook Air, and prays before every speaking engagement. The Jackson, Mississippi native has been featured in publications like Black Enterprise, Onyx Woman, Upscale and Rolling Out. Sonia is passionate about the advancement of women and has built a national following by sharing her experiences as an entrepreneur.

Tell us about how you ventured into entrepreneurship and what you currently specialize in.

This is a big question, so let me try and break it down a little. I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur at the age of 12. So when I pursued the opportunity to be an agent with Allstate, this would launch my entrepreneurial path at age 24. I later sold this business for a profit to pursue my passion in real estate. I’ve always felt connected to real estate. Growing up my family used land to make money — we had rental properties, sold cattle and produce. It was amazing what all you could do with a little real estate. When I started in real estate, I began by fixing and flipping properties with a partner and after I accumulated some cash, I began to buy and hold properties to build rental income. A few years later, I wrote the book “Real Estate & Wealth: Investing in the American Dream” as a step-by-step guide to answer the many questions that I was receiving from other people who wanted to start investing. This book soon led to me doing speaking engagements all over the world about wealth-building and real estate. I continue to buy commercial real estate, spread information and coach others on how to invest successfully.

How do you define success?

Success for me is living on purpose — being true to who I am and what I’m supposed to be doing.

Describe your “Power Pump” and how wearing it makes you feel.

I’m the worst when it comes to shoes! I have 10 pairs of pumps, which is really low for a woman. Whenever I start to accumulate too many pairs of shoes I start to feel bad — like “why do I have five pairs of black pumps and some women need one pair”? I started to donate shoes to the organization Dress For Success and I love it! I will say that I’m pretty powerful in my Cole Haan pumps with Nike technology. They are super-comfortable and stylish. Now that’s powerful!

What are three words that describe you?

I am curious, helpful and funny.

How significant is networking in your line of business?

I enjoy meeting new people but I do more “netweaving”. I like to connect with fewer individuals to allow for deeper connections. My goal is always to get to know someone by asking three questions: 1) Who are you? 2) What are some of your interests? and 3) Are there any synergies? When you connect with someone, there is always something, even if it’s just exchanging numbers or making an introduction to someone who aligns or happens to be in a similar industry.

What advice would you give to women trying to start a business?

Start a business doing something that you are passionate about — not something that you will make money from. Do what you love and that energy will attract the money. Then figure out how you’re going to market it. So many ideas don’t get off the shelf because this crucial step is overlooked. I’ve seen people have the best office, with the best product and no one knows. Finally, if given the option, don’t quit your day job right off. Slowly build your business and infrastructure using “incoming” income.

What technology do you use to help you transact business smoothly?

I have an IT consultant who keeps me on top of technology. We are always looking for ways that I can reach more people and stay productive. I can’t live without my Mac Air Book. I’m a big Apple person, also known as “gadget girl.” Although I don’t wait in lines for new products, I’ve already ordered my iPhone 6S!

Who are your mentors and what have they taught you?

I’ve been so blessed to have a wonderful family of men and women who I look up. My Aunt Barbara was one of my first mentors and she taught me to apply myself and go after the things that I want in life. I spent 12 years being mentored by the iconic Herman J. Russell, founder of H.J. Russell & Company, one of the largest construction/development companies in the southeast. He taught me the importance of focus, finding that one thing that you’re good at and really tuning in. Once you understand this gift, you are able to build teams to support the vision and you are very clear about the role you play.

What do you do to prepare for a business meeting or business-related events? What is your process?

I have a whiteboard in my office. I write down my meetings and speaking events and I fill in what I want to accomplish or convey. Before I speak, I pray. I’m always wanting to make sure that “I” am out of the way and this allows me to be more effective.

What book are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading “How To Be Like Jesus”. I’m usually reading a faith book and a book on leadership or business, but since I’m in the midst of writing a book on wealth-building, I’m at capacity. LOL!

What is one thing a purpose-driven woman should never leave home without?

Daily Dependence.

Tell us about your upcoming event.

Each year, I have two signature events — the iBuild Wealth Workshop during April for financial literacy month, and the Everything Real Estate Conference & Expo in September. The Expo is coming up on Saturday, September 26th and I’m super excited! This event brings together industry experts, new investors, and advanced-level investors to network and learn from one another. This year we’ve added commercial real estate to the list of offering for those wanting to own their own building or invest in an apartment complex. The information shared is invaluable and something for everyone, even first-time homebuyers. Real estate is the biggest purchase that most people will make yet it’s taken so lightly. It’s important to get good information and resources. We are also streaming the seminars. Guests will have to register www.EverythingRealEstateExpo.com to get online access.

Follow Sonia @ www.soniabooker.com!

WEBINAR: Sonia will be presenting her “7 Truths About Wealthbuilding” on Thursday, September 24th at 8:00PM EST. If you’d like to receive an invitation to join, please email purposeinpumps@gmail.com. The webinar is free to members and non-members.

Photo Credit: Kevin Goolsby

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