261 April Yvette: $9 an hour to $9 million in 1 year
April Yvette is an entrepreneur and motivational speaker who one day reached the end of her rope and transformed her live from struggling single mom with a $9 per hour job to a real estate phenomenon earning $9 million in one year. Then she became an inventor, her product featured on Shark Tank, and now she helps people with a compelling story align to their purpose and build a profitable business.
Melinda Wittstock: April, welcome to Wings.
April Yvette: Welcome, I’m so excited to be here. Thank you, Melinda.
Melinda Wittstock: I am excited to have you on because I know that you struggled as a single mom, and somehow pushed through that, transformed your life, succeeded in business. And now you help so many others as well. And I want to start there in those moments where you think, “Oh my God, things are so bad. How am I actually going to break out of this?” What were you feeling in that moment? And what was it that … do you credit with really changing the game for you?
April Yvette: That is a great question, and I know exactly the very specific moment that shifted everything in me and that moment. It was a moment when I was a single mom, I had two little kids, and I had this job for this big national, like global cosmetic company. I loved my job, but I was struggling really to … worked my way up to management but I was struggling to be able to provide for us. And I had been there for a while, and finally one day I just had reached the end of my rope. It was a moment that something shifted inside me, and I remember being in my living room, I was pacing back and forth, and I just … almost like it just turned like a sense of anger at the moment, and I wasn’t angry with anybody, it was just that I am going to take 100% responsibility for my life, and for my success, and I am not going through this ever again. I am going to find a way to create a better life for me and my kids.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. So, it was this moment where it just sort of snapped and you think, “Okay, enough.”
April Yvette: Enough. It was a decision, Melinda. It was a decision I made. That is the catalyst for all lasting change. You reach the end of your rope and you just say, “Never again.” And it doesn’t have to be from anger, animosity, it’s from conviction. You’re in a place of resolve.
Melinda Wittstock: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right. And so, but from there though, you have that feeling of kind of anger, or resolve, or just like okay, enough is enough. Turning that into action is where a lot of people falter. What was the difference for you in turning that emotion or turning that wow, there’s something bigger. I have a destiny, I have something bigger than just myself that I’ve got to go do or share with the world. A lot of people have that thought and then they go back into fear and back into where they were. What was the difference for you?
April Yvette: Here’s what made the difference for me. First, we’ve heard the expression when the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of change, that’s when we’ll move and take action. That was true for me in that situation. But what I did was I started looking for answers. I started searching for answers. And it led me to a book. I bought my first self help book, this was probably 1997, ’98, kind of around that timeframe. It was a while ago. And I’d never read a whole book in my entire life, much less any kind of self help book, and the book was called Live Your Dreams by Les Brown. And I don’t know even know where I stumbled across this book. I read the author’s story. He described overcoming great odds, and a challenging situation early in his life, to rising up to extraordinary success.
And I remember his story gave me hope. It was so powerful and compelling for me, that I thought if he can do it, maybe I can too. That was another little moment where I decided that I was going to find a way to do this. And that’s when I started studying other successful people, I started reading books, I started honing my skills in sales and marketing, and then all of a sudden it led up to an extraordinary moment that I’m still shocked that it actually happened, but it did.
Melinda Wittstock: Tell me about that moment.
April Yvette: So, I had been honing my skills, this whole time with sales and marketing, and through reading books and seeking out mentors, and going to conferences. And then all of a sudden, I began to apply what I learned. Instead of doing it in the medium of where I was at before in this new realm, where there seemed to be this higher income potential, or a greater opportunity, and it worked. I went from earning $9.00 an hour and struggling at times, and when I first started back at that retail job, which I enjoyed at the time, to generating nine million dollars in sales, in one year, and I won salesperson of the year working, selling real estate at a new home builder.
And it was life changing.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s so interesting. Could you have imagined that? Starting out, I mean, from $9.00 an hour to nine million dollars in a year. I mean, I just want that to sink in. With everybody listening, right? Because it seems like lightning striking or something. Right? When you started, did you think that that’s where you would be? Did you visualize that? Or were you as surprised as many some people listening might feel?
April Yvette: I believed in the possibility of it, and because of that, that is what made it possible for it to come true.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. So, believing in the possibility that it could happen, but surrendering, or dis-attaching from the expectation of outcome.
April Yvette: Yes. Yes. I had watched the movie The Secret, right? I was also praying. And I was taking inspired action. And here’s the key too. Sometimes the answer to our prayers comes in the form of a new creative idea, or the next little step. Like it’s like this trail of breadcrumbs. And we think, “How in the world is that going to help me to get to this goal over here?” But it really is the key, a critical piece. So, all we have to do is tune in, pray, listen for divine guidance, and when we hear a step that maybe it may not make sense at first, but take that next step, and then other next step, and the next step, and all of a sudden you’ve got this incredible thing that happens that is extraordinary.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s so interesting. This concept of inspired action; I mean, this is really, really interesting to me, and resonates very deeply, because I think sometimes when we’re in our kind of our left brain, you know? The kind of doing brain, the ego, whatever. And we’re necessarily constrained often by our own circumstances, we can’t really even imagine what’s possible because we’re so disconnected from our more intuitive or gut feeling, or that kind of creative right side of the brain that really connects us to a much bigger possibility than we even know. And so, if we’re limiting our horizons just to what we ourselves can conceive, that’s like, to me, the opposite of inspired.
So, you had to be conscious enough to become conscious, right?
April Yvette: Exactly.
Melinda Wittstock: Of how to get into that inspired thing. For most people, do you think it takes a hard knock? Does it take adversity? Does it take something happening to you that just shifts your consciousness in the moment? Or what is it?
April Yvette: Sometimes I found that some people need that. That major … like a crisis, or a setback, or some big obstacle that moves them to think different or do something radically different. Sometimes it can come in the form of just an epiphany. It’s like, “Oh my gosh. I have been hitting up against this thing over, and over, and over again”, whatever that is. It could be anything. Not being fully happy, or not reaching your goals, or whatever that is. And that could be the catalyst moment. So, it doesn’t have to be a crisis moment where people break free and they do something different. It could literally be okay, let me go there. You can be listening to a podcast or watching a video on YouTube, or read a book and somebody shares something. That all of a sudden it’s just the right timing, just the right message, and all of a sudden it awakens something in you, something has shifted. It’s tapped into something that your soul recognizes as truth, and you know you can no longer go back to that old thing. That something new has just been opened up for you.
That could be that moment.
Melinda Wittstock: So, there you are. You start selling real estate, and this is kind of a new area for you. You have stuff presumably to learn. What was it about your kind of state of mind or taking inspired action that allowed you to grow into such an accomplished sales person, because I mean really, to drive those kind of numbers, you have to be doing something right, like technically as well as spiritually, I think.
April Yvette: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melinda Wittstock: So what was it like, right?
April Yvette: I’m like anybody else. Like trial and error.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. Okay, but take me through that sales process. Was it something that a lot of female entrepreneurs struggle with? Asking for the sale or valuing ourselves, or asking for enough money. Right? Whether as employees or as people trying to negotiate a deal, or close a sale of any kind. So, what was your process there in terms of getting good at sales?
April Yvette: I want to share with you really what shifted everything, and I literally doubled my sales in one year. And it happened rather fast, what I did specifically for that. First and foremost, I was coming from a place of … it’s kind of like this perfect storm, I guess you would say, that led all the way up to this incredible thing that happened. Because I’m like anybody else. I’m not any smarter than anybody else, or anything special. I just really got clear on my vision, I was clear on the vision, and what my goal was, from there I was praying. Daily. So again, I was connected to a power greater than myself and I trusted. I was developing and cultivating blind faith. That’s big, that’s big. Especially when those moments where you’re doing activities, and it seems like nothing’s happening, but really a lot’s happening, and but you don’t see it.
Maintaining the faith no matter what, in the midst of the process. Another thing I was doing is I had a vision board. I had learned some things about using the law of attraction so I had a board where I had the number of clients that I wanted to be working with, not just clients but people that bought a home from me. And I would visualize me connecting with them from a heart level. Not from a place of just getting them to sign a contract and buy a house. From a place of what can I give? Sending them love, and then from there, as I was doing this, remember I told you before? I was open to listening. I was listening for that little breadcrumb. And let me tell you the breadcrumb that showed up. The breadcrumb … it’s a creative idea, that could be your breadcrumb that is the answer to this big thing, this next level, this thing that you’re believing for.
And that breadcrumb was start a book club. See if you can help people. And how can you serve on a greater scale? When I was in new home sales, they taught you that realtors were your … build relationships with realtors, take them out to lunch, show them your floor plans of your community, and invite them to bring their clients out. And I thought, “That doesn’t work. That’s not working. They’re too busy, and they don’t want just to meet for a sales pitch.” And I thought, “What can I do for them? What could I sow into their life that could help them before I even ever show them a blueprint or floor plan, or any of that stuff?”
So, I got the idea of creating a workshop called … one of my favorite things to do is read books. I’ve read about 125 books. I read every day. It’s my hobby, I love it. So, I thought, “I know, they would want a client.” And I thought, “Well, I can’t give everybody a client. What can I do for them to genuinely help them?” And I thought, “I know. What if I shared with them a big idea that they could run with, and that could help them spark creativity in them to get their own new client?”
And I go, “I know. I love reading books, marketing and sales books. And personal branding books. I know, I know. I’ll start a book club.” I called it, Bestsellers in One Hour. So, I reached out to some real estate agents, and I said, “I am hosting a one hour book club, a best … Basically buy the book, that would help the author, come, we’ll do a cliff notes version, a discussion of this book that’s relevant to you and your industry. I hope it helps you, it serves you.”
The first one I had three realtors in the room. I did it again two weeks later, I had … it had grown to like eight realtors, and 10. Within three months, less than three months, I had 50 realtors in one room that were showing up for this, because it was impactful for them. It was what can I get? It was a shift from complete 360 from what can I get to what can I give. And here’s the key too, at the end of this, we had this incredibly creative dialogue, and input, and everyone was contributing, and they’re like, “Wow, I got an idea. Oh my gosh, I can do that, and I can do that.” And at the end, I didn’t say, “Okay, now we’re going to bring out the floor plans”, and then give a big long sales pitch at the end of the workshop.
I didn’t do that at all. It was in a place of complete detachment and surrender, and instead I said, “Gosh, I really hope that this serves you today. I hope it helps you to build your business, and whatever takeaways that you got from this book and from our conversation, and for those of you that if you happen to have a client that’s looking for a new home in the Fisher’s area, I’m in the Limestone Springs neighborhood, there’s a packet at the door on the way out of you’d like to have one of those. Have a fantastic day and we’ll see you soon at the next one.”
That was it. I sold 82 homes in one year. In one month I had 22 homes that were sold in one month, which was unbelievable. And at that time. It was like they were … literally I had people lined up in the waiting room waiting to sign a contract every weekend. And I know for sure that it was attributed to my willingness to seek to give some … and not what I think would be good value. I mean, we can only do the best we can with trying to pinpoint they really want. But really deliver on it, but not only that, be in a place of surrender. It’s not … being in a place of well, they better bring me a client since I put all this work into this. It was none of that. None of that energy was on it. It was true giving. Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: I love what you shared about how this came together for you, because it really is the hallmark of every really successful entrepreneur that I’ve interviewed on this podcast, and elsewhere. Being able to tap into something bigger than ourselves, and really come from a selfless place of giving. It’s amazing what happens, especially if we’re giving in alignment with what our true kind of passion and purpose actually is. So, here you are, your passion and purpose is books, but you’re selling real estate. But then now there’s a new transition that’s going to come into your life, because the next thing you’re going to go do is invent a product.
So, tell me about that. How does that come from the books, and the real estate? And tell me and everybody what you invented.
April Yvette: Absolutely. Well, how I got there was I won salesperson of the year, and then they offered me an opportunity to be the marketing manager for this national new home builder, so I was so Affinity marketing manager. I generated leads for the entire team. And I remember I did well there, and I was happy, but then there was … I had an idea in the back of my mind. I had gotten the idea for my product Thin Gloss several years earlier, and just kind of you know, you get these ideas, hmm, I wonder if that could be the next big thing, but I just sat on it. I didn’t do anything, like most people. But something in me was pulling me forward to something more. I don’t know how else to describe it. And so, one day I just decided to go for it.
I had to overcome my fears of what if this fails, what about this and that? And I spent a year developing the product, and finally I had product to sell. So, I turned in my notice at this new home builder at this marketing job, and went out on my own. That’s when I started my Express Effects business, and I launched my lip gloss. I invented a lip gloss that curbs appetite. It works through the sense of smell. It’s called Thin Gloss.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my goodness, Thin Gloss. Really, it curbs your … you put lipstick on, and it curbs your appetite. That is amazing.
April Yvette: Yeah. And I’m like, “How could that work?” I had been taking diet pills, several years before that, and they were hurting my stomach. I felt nauseated, and I thought, “Man, I’m not taking those anymore.” And literally I was driving in my car one day, reapplying lip gloss, and it was one of those moments where an idea, creative idea pops in your head, and I thought, “Huh. I wonder if you could put a smell or an herb or something in lip gloss, it’s right there underneath your nose. If it could help curb appetite.” And I’m like, “Man, I wonder if that could work.”
Melinda Wittstock: It’s like one of those chocolate peanut butter moments, right? You know?
April Yvette: Right, right.
Melinda Wittstock: Right? And you just think … And so, a lot of people maybe would get an idea like that, but then just think nothing of it. But the difference is pursuing it. And so, gosh. I know from, say, interviewing someone like Kara Goldin, who you may have heard of, who is the CEO and Founder of Hint Water. And she had a similar moment, because she had gained all this weight, and had adult acne, and all this kind of stuff, and she couldn’t figure out why, and she was drinking a lot of Diet Coke. And she went through all this investigation and finally figured out it was like the aspartame, and these fake sugars that are really, really disastrous for our health. And can actually lead to weight gain. Even though you think it’s sugar free so that’s going to be good, but actually the opposite is true.
And so, she started drinking water, and then she got bored with water. Started putting fruit in the water. Well now, Hint is surpassed a billion dollar unicorn status, and it will become a two billion dollar business. But I mean, why I’m mentioning her is that many people would’ve said, “Oh yeah, okay. Cool. I’m putting fruit in my water. That’s awesome.” But what’s the spark that says, “Okay, putting fruit in my water is a billion dollar business. I’m going to go for it. I’m going to learn how to do the bottling; I’m going to learn how to not have to use preservatives in water so I’m going to create a patent. And I’m going to do this and this, and that.” And in your case, it’s like, “Wow, I’m going to solve this weight gain problem. And women are still going to look good, and feel good, and it’s all going to be great and natural.”
And you actually go out and do it.
April Yvette: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: So, what made you do that? What makes you different than 99% of people who would just let that idea pass?
April Yvette: You know, I just, I got to a place that I had already been through so much in my life before that, that I thought, “Man, what have I got to lose? I’m just going to go for it.” And that thing that we create, that thing that we step out in faith on to do, and press passed the initial fear that always bubbles to the surface when you’re on the edge of something new, it may not be the thing that you stay on or land on for a long period of time, but again, it’s another piece or another stepping stone, or a breadcrumb that leads you to this next thing. It’s trusting life. It’s trusting the process. And I just wanted to be the best me that I could be in my lifetime while I’m here.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah.
April Yvette: I don’t know how else to describe it. Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: I love this idea though, the breadcrumbs, right? Because you just have to be open to hearing them, and then have the confidence to get past your fear. It’s kind of like oh … the question I always ask myself as serial entrepreneur, right? That a lot of other people would think maybe I’m foolish, but I’m always like, “Oh, how hard could that be? I’ll figure it out. I’ll just figure it out as I go.” Right?
April Yvette: Yes. I think the same way. I’m like, okay. I’ll just Google it.” Because I didn’t know how to look up cosmetic manufacturers. I didn’t really know how that worked. I thought, “Well, this could be really simple. Maybe you just Google it. I’ll start there.”
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, okay. So, the reason I’m asking you about this, because for anybody listening, a lot of folks will over complicate it. They’ll think about all the … they’ll be worried about step 100 and they haven’t even taken step one. Or two. So, it’s partly in the elegance of execution and not getting into overwhelm or letting perfectionism or whatever get in your way. And I know that those two things come up a lot on this podcast, where women talk about really struggling with perfectionism, overwhelm, confusing having it all with doing it all, and you know, that kind of thing, right? And it holds a lot of people back. So, how did you get through that process in a way? Because I mean, are you still a single mom at this point?
April Yvette: No. I was single for 17 years, and then I met my husband, so I’ve been married for six years now.
Melinda Wittstock: Okay. Okay, so you found love, and there you are, and now you’re going to do this lip-gloss and, but you still have a lot of stuff. You’re a woman, like you still have a lot of stuff to balance: Your relationship, your kids, business, all this kind of stuff. So, how did you do all that? And create a … and invent something? And then let me just mention, and also go on Shark Tank, and all the rest.
April Yvette: Right. Exactly.
Melinda Wittstock: Right? Just a few things. So, how did you do all of that?
April Yvette: Well, it helped because when I first stared Thin Gloss and launched my company, this was back in 2008, when I launched it. And my oldest, my two kids were really getting close to being grown and on their own, so they were … it was a lot easier time. I’m sure I could’ve found a way to do it even if my kids were little back then, but that helped some. And so, there was a period of time that I was running my business where my kids were kind of 18 and left the home, because I had them so early in life. And I was on my own, so I had more time to dedicate to it. That helped some. But then you do have to balance, and like I was talking about before, it’s like I have to consciously be aware of, really, shifting out of the business mode, and really being into the family mode. And being present.
And not have my mind on this thing over here, and this email that I’ve got to send. And it’s been … it’s like a spiritual practice for me. It really is. Because I truly want to be present with them, not only that, can I just say this? Enjoy my life and have fun. I want to have fun. I don’t want to just work and just do stuff. And yes, my work is fun at times. I get that. But I’m talking about just having fun in life. I want that too. I want joy, I want joy as much as I want to contribute and make an impact, and help, and all of those things all in one.
Melinda Wittstock: And so, April, with all the things that you’ve done, and now you’re a motivational speaker, as well. And you help so many people. What’s current for you right now? What’s the big mission that’s really kind of grabbed you now, or perhaps next? What’s the next breadcrumb, I guess?
April Yvette: Right. Yeah, you never know where the next breadcrumb’s going to be, lead you to. Well, in 2012, I sold out of my lip gloss product. I had literally no inventory left, I was at a crossroads, and was seeking … had this moment of, a period of silence to get clear on what’s my real purpose here? What’s really bringing me joy, what I want to do. That’s when I started my consulting business. And so, my mission is very clear. It is to inspire and empower purpose driven entrepreneurs. Women, I primarily work with women. Some men who have a story, they have a personal story. A message and some skills, they can genuinely help people. And I want to empower them to stop pining out, stop holding back and instead, get themselves out there in a bigger way because it’s part of their calling to be well known. It’s so they can help more people. It’s part of why they’re here on the planet. And it’s time to be more visible.
That’s what I help people do now, in my life. And oh, it’s so fulfilling.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, well isn’t it wonderful when you are able to help someone see their true value and their potential, and then see them truly fly? I mean, this is why … this is exactly why I created Wings. I mean, literally, Wings, it’s about helping people take flight. Because I think we’re living in a really interesting time right now where entrepreneurs in particular, have in ways so many of the cards, right? To go out and solve some of the worlds most intractable problems. Like charity models, governments, I mean, all these things are kind of broken, right? And I think entrepreneurs who show up in this very evolved or conscious way, right? With mission driven businesses that have a business model even that has a social impact model, whether it’s buy one, give one, or anything that actually is consciously aiming to use business, to create a social good impact, those companies right now do better than all the other companies.
By any terms, in revenue, profitability, valuation, but also they’re doing something really good for the planet, and I find that more and more entrepreneurs are kind of attracted to business because they want to do something good. Does that square with your experience?
April Yvette: Absolutely. And it’s because their business has a life force to it. And there’s an energy. There’s an energy that is palpable, that other people feel, they feel it on a gut level, they feel it intuitively, and they can’t pinpoint or say what it is, but they’re just magnetically drawn to that business or that individual, and they can’t explain it, but they’re just this magnetism. It’s because it’s founded on a belief, it’s founded on this passion, it’s founded on something that gives it this life force that other people feel. And we know as human beings, all of us, we want to do business with people that share our same core values, our beliefs, and people that we like, right, that can genuinely help us, and let’s not forget that.
But they make a decision on who they go with, from their intuition and from their gut, and when you have kind of energy in your business, people will be magnetically drawn to you versus all the others.
Melinda Wittstock: I think this is particularly interesting for women too, because rather than being in masculine energy and going out and pursuing, like we’re out there with our spear going for the wildebeest or whatever, we’re sort of better when we’re attracting. When we can manifest. And I think what you’re talking about, and whether it’s law of attraction, or taking inspired action, right? Looking for breadcrumbs, so much of that is manifestation, and literally attraction.
April Yvette: Mm-hmm (affirmative). It is. Totally. And I think it comes from … if we look in our life’s greatest challenges, our wounding experiences, I believe if you take a closer look into that, it all happened for a reason, and that’s where you’re going to find that little piece of life force, and bring that to your business. And I believe that’s when it’s going to really magnetically grow what you’re doing, and who you are. As a brand.
Melinda Wittstock: So April, the life force for you was what? What was the difficult thing that you went through that really was that other sort of spiritual breadcrumb I guess?
April Yvette: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melinda Wittstock: That propelled you.
April Yvette: Right. It came from my personal story. My personal story of really working hard and wanting to make an impact and do well in the work that I was doing. But I was struggling at the time. So now, part of my mission is to help others magnetically attract more clients, but doing it in this authentic way. And helping my clients to turn their personal story into impact more clients, and profits. It’s like this, it’s combination. But it’s storytelling. That’s really what I’m here to do.
Melinda Wittstock: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Oh, that’s wonderful. So, how can people find you? And work with you?
April Yvette: Thank you for asking that. You can find me on my website at www.aprilyvette.com. And it’s spelled A-P-R-I-L Y-V-E-T-T-E dot com. And you can also find me on YouTube, most any social media, but April Yvette, on YouTube as well. Either way.
Melinda Wittstock: Wonderful. And I understand that you have a special offer for our listeners today.
April Yvette: I do. I’m so excited about this. I’ve actually never done anything like this before. It’s brand new. I’m offering a free 45 minute coaching session with me. This is an actual coaching session. It’s not just a typical discovery call that often times we offer as business owners. But you bring whatever you want to focus on, and I will laser in on exactly my best … give you my best advice and you will leave the call with an answer and a plan to help you make the next step of progress. Whatever that is, to find a solution.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, how wonderful. Well, thank you so much for that generous offer. I encourage you everyone to take April up on that. And thank you for putting on your wings and flying with us today. It’s been inspiring.
April Yvette: Thank you so much, Melinda. I really appreciate you dong this, and you’re doing great, great work in the world.