Episode 202

Non-Profit and For-Purpose Business Model with Shawanda Mason-Moore

November 13, 2018

What does it actually look like to start a non-profit business? In today’s episode, Shawanda Mason-Moore, co-founder of the educational non-profit, The Chattery, talks us through some of the logistics of starting and running a non-profit and how the non-profit (or for-purpose) business mindset is different from how we usually view business on Being Boss.

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Discussed in this Episode

  • Shawanda's creative entrepreneurial journey
  • How Shawanda started her blog
  • What is a non-profit?
  • How a board of directors works with a non-profit
  • Making money when you run a non-profit
  • The challenges of running a non-profit
  • Creating a social impact with your business


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Kathleen Shannon 0:02
Hello, and welcome to being boss,

Emily Thompson 0:05
a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson.

Shawanda Mason Moore 0:09
And I'm Kathleen Shannon. I'm shawanda Mason more and I'm being boss.

Emily Thompson 0:17
In this episode, we're talking about nonprofits and for purpose organizations with shawanda Mason more. As always, you can find all the tools, books, and links we reference on the show notes at WWW dot bien boss

Kathleen Shannon 0:32
dot club. Hey, if you're listening to this podcast and you haven't quite made the leap to working for yourself, there's a good chance that your idea of how challenging it will be to be your own boss won't exactly match up with the reality of how challenging it's actually going to be. Now, this is not an attempt to talk you out of it. In fact, it is the exact opposite because there's so much amazing help available, you've just got to know where to look. Our friends at freshbooks make ridiculously easy cloud accounting for small businesses. And I've helped millions of folks just like you make the brave leap to being their own bosses. Using freshbooks is kind of like having your own administrative assistant who's got your back 24 seven, so you can set automatically payment reminders. And you can have fresh books do the chasing so goodbye awkward money conversations. And with the new proposal feature, you can create a living professional document for your project and have your client sign online so you can get to work faster. It is so incredibly legit. To see how freshbooks can support you in your quest for becoming boss. We want to offer our listeners an unrestricted 30 day free trial Just go to freshbooks comm slash at being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section

Emily Thompson 1:56
shawanda Mason Moore is a Communications Specialist and freelance writer who partners with businesses and lifestyle brands to increase their digital presence using unique communications and digital marketing strategies. And 2010 shawanda created at the food inspired lifestyle site, eat, drink and frolic and has landed coverage in print and digital publications like food 52 City scope magazine and USA Today. In 2014, she co founded the educational nonprofit that chattery and currently serves as the creative director. When she's not writing or testing recipes, you can usually find her watching reruns of the Golden Girls. shawanda I'm so glad that you have come to chat with us today. I'm excited to dive in with you.

Kathleen Shannon 2:43
Yeah, I'm excited to be here. Thank you. Alright, shawanda tell us a little bit about the work that you do. And maybe your journey to get there. Like what led you to doing what you're doing today.

Shawanda Mason Moore 2:54
Okay, so I feel like I do all the things. But so in addition, I co founded a nonprofit here in Chattanooga called the chattery. And I currently run a food and lifestyle blog called Eat Drink frolic, which I've had for 28 years. It feels like 10 years sometimes. And so my journey to get here was like many paths was not straight. So I grew up in Virginia, went to college in Northern Virginia, DC area, George Mason University and thought that I was going to be an attorney. And with that I was also going to be a US senator. And so I started George Mason and studied government and international politics. And that wasn't enough. So then I got a concentration in Spanish and public policy. And after taking some classes and finishing college, I realized that this is not at all what I wanted to do. So I called my parents and said, Hey, I'm moving to Atlanta, and I'm gonna figure it out. I'm going to intern at some PR places. And they're like, Okay, cool. So that's what I did. After college, I moved to Atlanta and started working in marketing and communications, and sort of began my journey of working in communications and really loving like PR and writing. And that's sort of how I started the blog, and how I sort of ended up in Chattanooga. I was dating a boy who is now my husband, and he's born and raised in Chattanooga, and I got a job here within six months of us dating and communications. And so here I am, in Chattanooga.

Kathleen Shannon 4:43
All right, how did you know that public policy wasn't for you? Like whenever you set out on this path? Yeah, I get this question a lot. Like how do you know that it's not for you. And at that point, you do kind of have some sunk costs with all that time and energy and money that went into some Really good. And then beyond that, how did you decide PR, like, tell us a little bit about that transition?

Shawanda Mason Moore 5:09
Yeah. So I think it's, you have to listen to your gut, which is something that now that I'm in my 30s, I'm still trying to tell myself to do. But I think even as a 20, something, I knew that that was not the right path for me. But I have been conditioned to think that you go to school, you become a lawyer, or a doctor or something of that nature, and you make it work. And so for the longest time, I was actually afraid to tell my parents that I didn't want to go to law school, but my parents were like, super cool about it. They're like, as long as you are doing something legal, like we do not care, like, that's great, as long as you're happy. So I think I think I knew when I picked up a concentration in public policy in Spanish, I already knew that, I probably shouldn't have been going down that path. So I picked up an additional concentration only to further you know, get into the hole of college and stuff. But when I moved, my best friend went to college in Atlanta, and I was always drawn to the city. And when I moved there, I was into, I've always loved like events and planning events, and just the marketing of it all. And so I said, I'm just going to try out PR, like I've heard about public relations. At the time, there was no social media. So I mean, it was like traditional marketing, like writing press releases, picking up the phones to do pitches, which is almost non existent at this point. And so I don't know, I was really looking for to get into a career. That was fun. And so PR sounded fun. And so that's how I kind of found my way into that.

Emily Thompson 6:52
And how did you go from what working in PR to doing eat, drink, frolic, and then into the chattery? Like, let's go down that path.

Shawanda Mason Moore 7:03
Okay. Let's see. See, this is what I mean, I'd say it wasn't a straight path at all. So I love events, love planning things. I also like to entertain and I thought, How can I continue this path of wanting to entertain, but also show people what I'm doing. And so I got a blogspot. And paid my $10 and God Eat, drink folic calm, and just use that as sort of as a platform to show like recipes and stuff. I had no idea what I was doing. My very first blog post is still up on my blog, it is literally the worst blog post I've ever seen. The photo is so bad, I'm embarrassed, but like I leave it up there just to like, show growth, you know, eight years later, but um, I've always just loved entertaining and cooking. And that's sort of how I started with Eat Drink frolic. While living in Atlanta, I worked for a really large hair salon for about five years. And after I left that company, I worked for a nonprofit in Atlanta. And so that was sort of my first taste into the nonprofit world and what, what it's like what we do having a mission based, you know, business and working with a board. And when I moved to Chattanooga, I got another job at a nonprofit that when I left that job, I got another job at a nonprofit. And so I've sort of just been sucked into this nonprofit world for some odd reason.

Kathleen Shannon 8:36
Alright, so then tell us about the chattery. And what is the mission there?

Shawanda Mason Moore 8:40
Yeah, so the chattery is a nonprofit organization here in Chattanooga that focuses on fun, affordable and accessible education for adults. So we really, we provide classes that fuel both right and left brain learning. So you'll see a lot of classes like cocktails or calligraphy on our roster, but you'll also see some self help classes. today. We have the second part and a branding series this afternoon. Yeah, this afternoon, and then later tonight, we have a puppy training class. So it's really just like all the things are our broad mission is to enhance our community through learning, which is is really broad and a little indirect but really we're just taking these learning experiences and allowing people to socialize but also learn a lot of our teachers are small business owners so they get to learn about a different business in town. And really just have fun with learning.

Emily Thompson 9:38
And I love that what I love that you're doing this I love watching you do it because and I guess we need to set this up shawanda and I know each other a bit about how he ran to each other at a restaurant recently a new place they were both trying out. So I love watching you do the chattery I love seeing the wide array of classes that you guys put out and I love The mission. And I love this idea that you are blending some things that aren't always blended together in this way community and collaboration and education, and a whole lot of fun. So I want to know, how does that you make all of that work together because it seems to be working.

Shawanda Mason Moore 10:17
Yeah, it is working, we're almost five years in, which is crazy. I can't believe it. But I think we make it work. Because my business partner and I, Jennifer, we, we know our goals going in, like we know that we want everything that we do, no matter what it is, even if it's a, you know, a quote, unquote, boring class, we want it to be fun. And whether that's on the marketing end of it, or whether you know whether that means inside the classroom, we want it to be fun. And we want people to obviously come out and have learned something. But collaboration is one of our values. So we've also set intentions with values as a company and as friends. But one of our values is fun and collaborative. And so I think we're changing to what collaboration looks like, you know, collaborations don't always work. One partner is always, you know, doing more work than the other. But I think we've really found the sweet spot and how collaborations can work. And I think we found a really cool way to work with a lot of for profit businesses in town to by giving them a platform to teach about something that they're passionate about, or that they're working on. And also they can advertise with us to by sponsoring classes.

Emily Thompson 11:39
That's always the piece that I find most intriguing about what you guys do is that collaboration piece and how you guys aren't a lot of ways redefining how you can collaborate either with a non profit or a for profit business this way that are you guys are really thinking outside the box in terms of how people can get together for a common goal. And I love that, especially in Chattanooga, that is education. And the two things that since I've lived here, I have always felt could be a little better. Yeah,

Shawanda Mason Moore 12:08
yeah. And, and, and we see that too, which is why we continue to do what we do, even though we are very tired. It is fun. And there's a social impact to what we do. I mean, I think we get caught up in always talking about the money. And even though we are a nonprofit, we still need to make money. But there's also a social impact to what we're doing at the chattery which I think sometimes gets overlooked. I always use the example our very, very first class in 2014 was a terrarium class, make a mason jar terrarium class. And there's a young lady who's in the class, we did not know her at all, someone from the newspaper, like took a photo or something. And that that lady is now on our board of directors and has become a friend. So like there's a social impact to what we're doing too. And we were at an event yesterday, and we're just talking about disruptors, and I think that's starting to become a buzzword, but I like it for the time being. But we're disrupting what socializing looks like, like you don't have to go to a happy hour, even though truth be told that is one of our values is whiskey. I'll be very honest about that. We do enjoy a happy hour or two, but we're changing what it means to like, go out and socialize. Like you can come to a chattery class and you know, drink a glass of wine and still learn how to crochet or learn about Excel or whatever it is. So

Emily Thompson 13:36
I have to ask you why it is that you chose to do a nonprofit or not for profit. Yeah, there like a right way to is it nonprofit or not for profit, nonprofit?

Kathleen Shannon 13:46
I don't know. Here's what I have to admit, like, I don't even understand what a non profit is like, on a surface level. I'm like, Okay, yeah, nonprofit, like, you know, you get you have an image of what that means. But whenever it comes down to the nitty gritty, I don't actually think I understand the structure of a nonprofit. And I think that when you say that you assume nobody's getting paid, right? How would that work? Like Surely there's someone at the Heart Association, right, I can Heart Association like getting paid, you know, so can you explain it to us?

Shawanda Mason Moore 14:19
Yeah. So the easiest way that I can think to explain it is that a nonprofit, so our the the events, the classes that we do money is not our primary reason for doing it. Not to say that I mean, a for profit, like they're only thinking about money, but they want to make money. And so obviously we do too, but our main goal is not if we choose to do a calligraphy class, we're not doing it because we may be able to make a few 100 bucks off of it. We're doing it because of the social impact. We're doing it because this teachers, a small business owner, and we are paying our teachers. So that's sort of like the surface easy levels, that the things that we do. Aren't driven by money. But that is, you know, you bring up a good point. It's a common misconception with nonprofits that we don't want to make money. And like poor us buy these little charities. And that is not true. So in order to keep the lights on and pay rent and do things, we have to make money. And so I've started using the term for purpose. We are a for purpose business in the sense that like, yes, legally, we are a nonprofit, but we have a purpose to everything that we do. But we also have an intentional revenue model. So we're not out here just being like, give us donations and like, give us free things. Yes, people do donate to the chattery. But we do have an intentional revenue model and a structure and a budget and things like that. We do want to make money. We do want to make money not only to support ourselves, but also to support the community that we're trying to create. So

Kathleen Shannon 15:56
and then how do you decide between coming back to Emily's question, a nonprofit and a business at any point where you like, well, let's make this a business or let's make this a nonprofit. And that's probably because I know a lot of our listeners are business owners that are probably feeling more for purpose, but don't have that nonprofit structure. So how did you make that decision? Yeah,

Shawanda Mason Moore 16:14
it was not an easy decision. So I've mentioned Jennifer, my business partner before, and we along with another friends. I mean, we went back and forth about this nonprofit for profit thing for a long time, it was not a decision. That was easy. I think we disagreed we agreed. But essentially, when we started, when we started this business, we started with $100 from Jennifer's parents, and we knew that some of the the businesses that existed that we were modeling the chattery out of they were for profit businesses. So we thought, what does it look like if we do this as a nonprofit organization? Like what does that mean, for us? Let's try it out before committing. So one thing I will say if there are people listening, that are thinking about starting a nonprofit, you can get a fiscal sponsor, so that you don't have to go through all the legalities of it setting up your own nonprofit. And so that's what we did. With that $100, we set up a fund at our local community foundation. And so that gave us the benefits of being a nonprofit without having to file on our own. And so we didn't get any money from them. But anytime we needed to pay a teacher back for supplies, or do whatever, it went through the Community Foundation, and so we sort of got a taste of what it looked like to run a nonprofit. When our fund was over with them, that's when we had to make a decision, are we going to continue as a nonprofit? Or are we going to be a for profit. And part of that decision, I'll be completely honest, was just based on necessity, we decided to continue operating as a nonprofit. Because the money that we had made thus far, if we went and decided to go the for profit route, we would have sort of given up the money that we had in the bank gap. So um, we went ahead and said, Let's keep pushing, we'll do this as a nonprofit. And we filed and went through the IRS. And here we are.

Emily Thompson 18:13
I also imagine that there are some perception differences, being a nonprofit, and that if you are going to someone to sponsor a space or an event, it's probably a lot easier to have that conversation with them as a nonprofit, than it would be as a for profit. Do you find that to be to be true?

Shawanda Mason Moore 18:35
Yes. And no, I say yes. Because some people again, have that mentality of Oh, your nonprofit for you. So let me help you. Right. But we are competing against other nonprofits that are like saving kittens, and children, and homelessness, you know what I mean? And like, those nonprofits are great. And Jennifer, and I just had a discussion recently, where we're like, we've got to stop comparing ourselves to these other great nonprofits. Because trying to sell, you know, our target audience. I mean, it's adults. And so we're selling enjoyable adult education. And people are like, Well, why do I need to take a calligraphy class at 530? And so it? So to answer your question is yes. And no, sometimes people were like, yeah, your nonprofit Great, let's help you out. But other times, they're like, so what do you do? Like, are you endings? Are you curing cancer? And we're like, No, we just feel like adults should have fun. But we're creating empathy through this process to I mean, we've learned that like, you know, when you step into a classroom, everyone's on the same playing field, we're all admitting that we lack knowledge of some some sort. So being able to learn from your neighbors, learn from your friends, create some type of you know, it creates empathy, which I think we can use a lot of these days.

Emily Thompson 19:56
And I also had to throw in there too, especially around education, I think One of the things that this is a whole other can of worms. One of the things that I think is wrong with education as a whole is even a lot of the not nonprofit parts of it are actually being run as for profit organizations, right. I think that's one of the things that's wrong with education as a whole. So I do love this idea of you looking at this education platform that you're building, not as a for profit organization, but one where it has a social cause. And it may not be, you know, curing disease or anything, but you're giving people the ability to live more fulfilled lives, and they may go out and cure heart disease, right.

Kathleen Shannon 20:49
Okay, but I have some logistical questions. Okay. I just really don't know. So, at the end of the year, let's say Emily, and I have $10,000 in the bank of profit, like we're paying taxes on that profit, or we're like, hey, let's give ourselves a bonus. We're only answering to each other for you. Like, do you have a board of directors that are have creative control? Do you? What do you do with that? $10,000 in the bank, like, Yeah, what's happening there? As far as the difference between a business and a nonprofit?

Shawanda Mason Moore 21:19
Yeah, we do have a board of directors. And they act as our advisors. They're super supportive. And they of course, give us advice and suggestions for things. But they know that Jennifer and I are sort of this is our baby. And they trust us, which is great. So and we work with one of our board members is an accountant specifically for nonprofits. So she's been very helpful, as have our attorney, which has been nice, everyone. Okay.

Kathleen Shannon 21:48
I have another Yeah, question. Yeah, your board of directors get paid? They do not. In general, the Board of Directors not get paid. Like if you're invited to be on the board of a nonprofit, and you expect that you're not being paid for that, right.

Shawanda Mason Moore 22:01
I mean, I'm in my experience, I have not been paid to be on a board. And if I was supposed to, I'm gonna be very upset about that. But no, we do not pay our board members. Um, yeah, they're just enthusiastic volunteers,

Kathleen Shannon 22:17
which I love. I love that about it. I just really didn't know. Yeah,

Shawanda Mason Moore 22:21
okay. No, they do not get paid. They are just they, I mean, they do a lot. They help cover classes. Sometimes. I mean, our attorney will look over paperwork for us, our accountant will help us with budget questions. And

Kathleen Shannon 22:36
yeah, so and then how much do you expect them to work? Like, do you communicate boundaries there as far as how much they can contribute? And are you hand selecting this board of members?

Shawanda Mason Moore 22:47
So initially, Jennifer and I, we were hand selecting our board members. Um, after a few years of doing that, we've learned our lesson. So again, to listeners that are, you know, that want to have a nonprofit, what we did is with within the board that we had already committed, had, we had a small committee that we said, you guys are in charge of getting new board members, whenever it's time to get new board members, you all like that, then like, we can give them names, verse suggestions, but it is now their responsibility, because what we're finding is we're finding people that we know, and that's great to have people that you know, on your team, but no, no one was getting shit done. And so it was very, very tough. So for our sanity, we were like, We need people to actually act for us, we trust them, you guys sort of go and that people and we will say the board will say yes or no, but we we learned that lesson the hard way.

Kathleen Shannon 23:53
Okay, and then the other question was, Oh, yeah, how do you communicate what their roles are and how much they're expected to contribute or not.

Shawanda Mason Moore 24:03
So prior, when we have meetings with potential board, members, this was before Jennifer and I decided to take our hats, take our names out of the ring for that. We tell them straight up. This is how many meetings we have a year, we normally do this many classes. It's just the two of us. So we need help covering classes. Sometimes. We're really open and honest about it. And I don't I don't think that I'm not sure that we were always very open and honest about how much help we need it. But now we are as we do, you know, anywhere from five to seven classes a week, we are very open about sometimes we need someone to cover a class so we can go and work on a grant or so we can go to this other event. We only meet with our board four times a year, which each to each organization. You can do whatever you want. I'm on a board now and we meet once a month but for us we meet quarterly and in between those meetings, I send a board email In fact, I just sent one right before this call. So because we only see each other four times a year, I tried to like just send a quick email in between, like what we're up to, we're in the midst of trying to find a new space for classroom. And so I sent an email about that and needing some guidance for our next meeting. So we, I, I'm, I'm also acting as co founder, but also board chair. And so I'm trying to do a better job of communicating with them, especially when we need help.

Kathleen Shannon 25:31
I also love that you're on other boards, because I imagine if I was running a nonprofit, and as the founder maybe pulling a salary in order to bring this to the world, but then having a board that was volunteering, I don't know, like to feel like oh, I mean, I even have felt that way before about being a creative entrepreneur who's saying, working for yourself is the best thing ever. I don't ever actually say that. Like, if I'm running a podcast called being boss, telling everyone to work for yourself, right? I have employees, sometimes you feel like, Well, why would you want to work for me? Whenever you could work for yourself? right away? All I can say like, those kinds of feelings.

Shawanda Mason Moore 26:12
Yeah, I have a lot of feelings. We have a lot of feelings to Jennifer. And I'm not

Kathleen Shannon 26:19
like picking at him, you know, we have a lot of feelings.

Shawanda Mason Moore 26:24
I mean, we just hired an intern to help us. And she's only been with us for like a week. And she's been great. But that was also part of our nx too, when we were too bossy lady like running a business and trying to like figure out wife. And, you know, years ago, you know, when we were trying to look for an intern, we knew that we didn't have a budget to pay them. And so really, really just, we just never asked for help. Because they're like, well, we have to pay people to you know what I mean? I think that's also another problem that we have when we ask for interns, and you want them to work 40 hours a week, but you pay them $0. And so now we're finally like, we can hire an intern. And we might even take on another one soon. So yeah, I have a lot of inks and opinions about stuff,

Emily Thompson 27:16
right? I'm feeling like there is probably ingrained in the structure, a very large mindset shift around money in all kinds of ways and how it is that you ask for it and what it is that you do with it and what it is that other people are expecting you to do with it. But I wonder if the challenge is actually keeping the same mindset and a lot of ways as running a for profit business, just in a nonprofit model. Right? Is that something that you find to be true? Or am I just trying to make everything for profit?

Shawanda Mason Moore 27:52
No. I mean, there are definitely elements to a for profit business that we're using in our business structure. I think that's another thing. I'm bringing up the word disrupter again. But I think Jennifer and I are really challenging and disrupting what a traditional nonprofit looks like. We don't have the boring box lunch, you know, fundraisers. I mean, our fundraisers look like an adult Easter egg hunt, which we did earlier this year, for the first time, like that was a fundraiser. And so we're really challenging, especially what a nonprofit looks like, here in the lovely state of Tennessee. We don't look like you know, a traditional nonprofit, and that's okay with us. That just means we have to do a lot more explaining about what we do and what our mission is and why we do it. But it's okay. I mean, we're almost five years in. And so we're used to people not completely understanding. But again, I think we are really disrupting what a nonprofit looks like, and, and being very open and honest about Yes, we are nonprofit, but that does not mean that we do not ever want to make money. You know, we're

Kathleen Shannon 29:00
so yeah, yeah. And I think it's, um, I think it really does come down to positioning and really positioning yourself as an asset to the community that people really want to invest in. And it sounds like the work that you're doing is making Chattanooga a more fun, vibrant place where you can do some things and it's not super duper expensive, right? Yeah, really informing people on that purpose, I think can go a really long way.

Shawanda Mason Moore 29:31
Yeah, absolutely. And I think now people are starting to see the value in what we do and how we do it and how intentional we are when we do it. We've, you know, started doing some consulting or, you know, event management for other nonprofits in town that have seen what we've done and want to work with Jennifer and I on their program. So that's something that we're starting to incorporate into our structure to is helping others nonprofits, you know, don't a robust, you know, whether it's classes or events, whatever it is we don't run a monopoly on classes here. There are tons of other organizations and businesses in town that host classes. And that's great. Some of them come to us and say, Hey, will you help us? Can we hire you to like market our classes for us? And so as long as it's aligned somehow aligns with our mission will say, yes, if we have any gut feeling about it, we will say no, but there there are other nonprofit organizations in town, that have asked us to sort of just Will you partner with us and help us market our classes. And so we've done that, too. We just want the entire community to learn whether that's through the chattery or not.

Kathleen Shannon 30:42
Yeah. So I have another question. Let's say, I'm thinking about the money side of things. I can't go there. Because I think that whenever a creative thinks about starting a business, I mean, maybe this is an opportunity for so many of our listeners, when we think about business and ways of doing it. And all of our listeners seem to be so purpose driven, maybe a nonprofit structure would be right for you. But my question here is, let's say you're working with a sponsor, let's say it's like at&t, someone has a ton of money, and you're like, Hey, I'm hosting a class, would you like to donate in there? And you kind of know, in your mind that you need $10,000 to run the event? And they're like, yeah, we'll cut you a check for 30. You know, do you just take the 30? Or are you like, actually, we only just need 10? I mean, how does that work within that structure? You know what I mean? Because like, I'd want to take, like a dream case scenario to have to, like turn down to agree,

Shawanda Mason Moore 31:35
right? Yeah. I mean, we could take the 30 and just do more more classes with it. So maybe the initial programming, we only need a 10,000. But now the at&t which I'm going to manifest this now that now that at&t has given us 30, we can do that same class or that same series, you know, to additional time, so I don't think it's an we say no, we say, Great, thank you, we'll do more with your money. Or we'll you know, we'll put your name on like the window of our building for a

Kathleen Shannon 32:10
moment or something. And see, this is actually a mindset, even if you're not running a nonprofit that you could maybe have for building a business, which is, if you get a fat paycheck one way or another a certain month, think about what your expenses are and what you kind of need, right? Stop it there and then invest the back into the business. Right? You are investing the rest of it back into the business by running more classes. Yeah, entrepreneur that might look a little bit different. So do you find that that's what you end up doing, if you have extra is that you're running out more programming?

Shawanda Mason Moore 32:43
Yeah, we're running out more programming. And like I mentioned, we're almost five years. And so we're at this awkward moment where we're trying to figure out what it what life means, like, what does it mean, for the chattering? What are we doing? But also what what does the lifespan of the battery look like beyond classes? So does that mean, we do a few more events? I mean, that is in our initial mission bit, you know, when we set up the business, we mentioned events. So like, we're just trying to figure out all the things and part of that is making a plan to consistently pay the two co founders, because entrepreneurship is fun, and it's really cute. However, it's also very hard. Which is why Jennifer and I also we do some part time work just because we have to.

Kathleen Shannon 33:45
I'm glad that you're sharing this though, because I think that someone might be like, well, hell yeah. And do nonprofit in a board and get your sponsor doesn't quite work that way. No, what is your What is your side hustle.

Shawanda Mason Moore 33:59
So I in addition to the blog, I do get some money from the blog and working doing some content, marketing, I work for a nonprofit in town called Causeway and two and a half days a week, I do some communication strategies for them. So helping them with social media or writing press releases, whatever it is that they need, helping with events. And I've been doing that for about a year. But Jennifer just recently left her full time job. And she's now working part time because we want it to give more attention to the chattery and it is proven to be difficult for both of us to be working part time and focusing on the chattery so now we're re strategizing and hopefully 2019 we are going to make some some changes.

Unknown Speaker 34:48
I'm saying that out loud. Good.

Emily Thompson 34:52
Please do. Kathleen. I often find that things said out loud on this podcast typically come to fruition for For better or worse, yeah, for sure. Um, I do have to say that I do love this idea of you guys doing more, I guess, b2b there would be NP NP or however you want to do it not just being to sort of that end consumer, right, but it being to other organizations, because I even think that there would be more cash available in those sorts of scenarios as well. Oh, you guys have the structure, and the reputation and all of those things. Like I would love to see some more of those things as like, a local, yeah, local person who likes to have fun learn at the same time, right?

Shawanda Mason Moore 35:40
Yeah, we, we definitely have a lot of, there's a lot of possibility. And a lot of ideas that we have is just trying to manage those ideas. While running a business. Apparently, is not that easy. It's not super easy. So we are talking. We shall see. I don't know if you to know anything about that. But. But it's it's also been nice to have a partner in crime. But with all of this, I could not imagine doing any of this alone. And so Jennifer and I, my husband called her my sister wife. And so she is my sister wife, but also my business partner. And it definitely makes the the journey a little bit easier having her.

Emily Thompson 36:31
Alright, I want to know what some of your biggest struggles are apart from paying your bills. With the chattery That's number one.

Shawanda Mason Moore 36:43
What I mean, again, it's we live in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is not a huge city. But there's a ton of nonprofits here. And so we are everyone here has a cause everyone here has a cause. And everyone's asking for money. So one of the biggest struggles is getting our story out there and getting it out there. Better, like bigger and better, like people's, you know, I meet people and they're like, Oh, yeah, I've heard the chattery. Or people will come up to us. There's a local magazine here called chatter magazine, people are like, Oh, you need to do this for your magazine. We're like, we're not. It's not the not the same. So we're so like, battling that, I think so that's my struggle is just one as a communications person, like wanting to get our story out there. One of the things that our board a couple years ago told us that they notice is that the way we were marketing, our business did not reflect our personalities. Because we were boxing ourselves in by thinking that we needed to be like this traditional nonprofit, and like we accept donations and set it out. And finally, when they said that we were like, man, damn, right, like, we need to, like show our personalities do this. And so by doing that, we're having more fun. But it is still a struggle for me to be able to, like want to get our story out there. And the fact you know, Jennifer used to be my property manager, like, that's how we met. And so that's sort of where I am that and always having enough money. We So coming back to your story. What is the story? Yeah, so moved to Chattanooga, 2012. And I was looking for a place to live. And I found an ad for somewhere on Craigslist. And john, the boyfriend was like, I'm gonna go with you in case you get murdered. And I was like, Okay, cool. So we went and Jennifer was one of the people that was showing me around and we giggled and stuff, and it sent emails back and forth. And when I finally went to go sign my lease, we sort of like looked at each other like, Oh, we should be friends, maybe. And I tell the story anytime that Jennifer and I do talk together that I invited her to a party that I had at my house. It was a themed party of sequins and bow ties for the holidays. And she did not show up. She ghosted me. She says that she had on sequence and she was planning on coming, but something happened. And

I think they were I think she and her friends are in a Santa pub crawl. So I don't know. It might have been both

Unknown Speaker 39:29
it might have been

Shawanda Mason Moore 39:32
I decided to forgive her even though I'm never gonna let her live it down. And yeah, so she was my property manager for a couple years. And that's when, you know, we became super close. She approached me with this idea. And I said yes, and we spent like a year planning the chattery. A very long year, planning the chattery did not happen overnight, and then decided to move forward.

Kathleen Shannon 39:57
That's a good point. Do you feel like starting a nonprofit? Deciding on that structure is part of why it took a year because in our world, we can have an idea, build a website and launch it tomorrow. Yeah,

Shawanda Mason Moore 40:08
I think part of that Jennifer and I are a lot alike in a ton of ways. And one of those ways is planning things. So probably could have taken less than a year, to be completely honest with you, it really could have taken less than a year. But we really planned out every aspect of this business. Because Chattanooga has a ton of nonprofits. Here's a new one, this is all about fun learning. And we really wanted to make sure that we were doing it right. And we then, in addition to planning all of us, we went through a name change before we even launched, so the name of the chattery had change. And then we toyed with this and then we had to eat we email. I mean, it was a whole situation. And then we went back to the name the chattery. Like literally talking about insanity that that was us. But we made it and we're still friends.

Emily Thompson 41:05
High five, maybe apart from making a new bestie. Yeah, um, what have you found most rewarding from doing all of this?

Shawanda Mason Moore 41:14
Yeah, I think again, the social impact has been really, really cool to watch. I've loved not only the relationships that I've made, because of running the chattery. But just the other people we've seen, you know, some of our students that come become friends with the teachers. We've also seen some of our teachers get clients or business from it. And that's what I love the most. Because, yes, we're hosting classes, and some of them may seem, you know, like a frilly little calligraphy class. But I love when I see that are, you know, a financial planning planning teacher got a financial, you know, client because she taught during our adulting summer camp, I love seeing those things. Because yes, there's a social aspect. But there's also a financial aspect and a financial benefit to as a small business owner. And so we say that we've essentially positioned ourselves to become a secondary marketing platform for a lot of the small businesses in town who decided to teach classes with the chattery. That's not the reason why people come and teach a class. But if they happen to get a client or a new customer out of it, it's great for them, and it's great for us. And it makes my little heart very, very happy. Good. I

Emily Thompson 42:29
think that that social impact is something that I know a lot of creative entrepreneurs want to do with their business. Yeah. And so I can only imagine the kind of fulfillment you get from that being the business. Yeah, being sort of the purpose of the entire organization, right? Is it being this very, you know, non monetary based fulfillment? That's about creating some kind of change, right.

Shawanda Mason Moore 42:53
Yeah. And that's great, too, because we get to do it through events. Like I mentioned, we both have any, you know, event planning backgrounds, and we get to host these fun events, but they also at the core, they have a purpose to them. Earlier this year, we did a card making social because it was national, like make a card or friend, like a make a friend, a card day or something like I don't know, something super random. So we're like, let's have a card making social. So we got all these crafts and like had all these ladies came and made cards, but we asked them to make an additional card because we sent them to a local nonprofit, here in China to call welcome home Chattanooga, or Welcome home, which is a hospice facility. And they take people who are dying, but they don't have anywhere to go. And so we do these really, really funny events. But we ask people, you know, we try to partner with other nonprofit organizations to make it worthwhile to. So we're the nonprofit that likes to work with other nonprofits and give to other nonprofits too.

Emily Thompson 43:55
Late layers of for purpose. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 43:58
It's great.

Kathleen Shannon 44:00
How many events do you have, like per month or however you want to break that down? Yeah, how much of your time so you're working part time at your side hustle, and then you're working this nonprofit? Like how much time? See, it sounds like a lot. It's, I guess what I'm trying to say there's a

Shawanda Mason Moore 44:19
lot. I'm trying to figure out. Not necessarily balance, but priorities. I've discovered for me, balance is a non existent, like I can't bow I only have two arms. And so I prioritize. And so I've started working in batches, which has helped me a lot, especially with my blog. So like on Fridays, that's like my cooking and like foot photography day. Saturdays, I write stuff, you know, son, you know, so it's a batching type of day, type of week for me. It doesn't always work.

Kathleen Shannon 44:58
I was about to say how do you enjoy boundaries because Emily and I try this. I know meetings get put on the schedule. I know what I mean, like you dedicate this time and then yeah, we day a person can meet is on Fridays whenever you're cooking.

Shawanda Mason Moore 45:12
Yeah, exactly. I, I make exceptions to the rule, if it's a chattery meeting in which like, we have to do that, like we need to if we're meeting with someone who could potentially give us money, I will make an exception, but Jennifer is really respectful and that she knows that, like Thursdays are my chattery days, but it's also my grocery shopping day. But we try to just be respectful of each other's boundaries. And I think that's number one. It's setting the boundaries, but also having a partner that understands them. And so we try not to overreach and she's about to get married in a couple of weeks. So there's a lot of like things that we're both trying to balance. And it's just a respect thing to be completely honest. But we make it work like today. Today, it has been completely shot to be completely honest. I mean, I'll be like, I don't even know what I'm doing today. Like we took headshots earlier. And that just like threw my entire day off. And so now, I don't know what I'm doing.

Tomorrow, I

Emily Thompson 46:18
mean, impromptu self care day, because it sounds like maybe you've earned it. Yeah, I think so to love it. So I would like to know if there's anything that you would tell anyone who's thinking about starting a nonprofit that you wish you had perhaps been told five years ago, whenever you started the chattery?

Shawanda Mason Moore 46:36
Yeah, um, I asked Jennifer, this, because I was like, what's your answer to? And so I think, from the beginning, we did not make a plan that included paying ourselves. And so I would highly recommend, whether you are starting a for profit or nonprofit, but especially a nonprofit, that in your initial planning stages, make a plan to pay yourself. Yeah, I mean, I think that's pretty self explanatory. You have to put some words to what you're doing. And if you don't, no one else, you know, how can you expect other folks to do it? And so that would be my main thing is to make a plan and pay yourself and it's okay, even as a nonprofit, it's okay for you to

Kathleen Shannon 47:22
make a paycheck. And are there any resources for nonprofits or setting up a nonprofit?

Shawanda Mason Moore 47:27
Yeah, so we went through a business call score, which is an acronym for something that I'm not remembering. But it's like a society of like, I don't know, it's like retired entrepreneurs or retired, like C suite level, people. And so we went through them, and they helped us do all the paperwork, I think scores a national organization, they were super, super helpful. So if anyone is thinking about starting a nonprofit look up score, because they're really helpful for us. Nice. And I

Emily Thompson 47:59
do have to ask, I don't usually ask this question, but I feel compelled. If anyone is listening to this, and I imagine, especially in the Chattanooga area, what can be done to better support the chattery? Or what sort of change would you like to see made to make your job easier?

Shawanda Mason Moore 48:16
Yeah, um, I mean, donations, always home. I hate to keep bringing it back to money. But our, you know, the the we from day one, even with that $100 donation from Jennifer's parents, we have paid the teachers that teach with us. So we have we don't ask teachers to come and teach for two hours and volunteer their time. Do we have teachers that want to volunteer their time? Absolutely. And we love them. But from day one, we have always paid our instructors for coming to teach a chattery class. So donations help us to continue to give into this economy here and continue to pay. You know, some of these people that teach our classes are artists, some of them again, are small business owner, so by us paying them even though it may not be a huge amount, we're continuing that mentality that people should be paid for the work that they give you. I mean, I hate but in 2018, we still have to say pay artists pay your freelancers, but I mean, we I can't say it and then not practice it. So we do pay our teachers and donations help us to be able to do that continue to do that.

Emily Thompson 49:33
Wonderful. Also, what are you currently working on? Or what sort of new exciting things are coming out for the chattery?

Shawanda Mason Moore 49:40
Yeah, so we are always working on more and more classes. We're setting up our fall schedule currently. But we're in the midst of figuring out like the holidays and like if we're going to do a holiday event and what that looks like. And even though it's September we are already thinking about our adult egg hunt. Next year, we're just going to be on for 20. Yeah should be was realized, oh man, how is this gonna work?

Emily Thompson 50:08
It's the most fun taglines on the planet.

Shawanda Mason Moore 50:13
So yeah, we are thinking about that. And just we're working on brainstorming unique ways to do fundraisers, changing what fundraisers look like, we're tired of eating dry chicken at fundraisers, like, we're just hard of it all. So we are working on 2019. Having in addition to the egg hunt, maybe another type of fundraiser that a lot, obviously, that aligns with our mission of just being fun. So working on that and trying to find a new space for the chattery to live. Which could be Yeah, that's a whole other conversation.

Kathleen Shannon 50:53
All right, where can people learn more about the chattery?

Shawanda Mason Moore 50:56
Yeah, they can go to the chattery.org. Our website, which lists all of our classes, we also have a forum, if you have an idea for a class or if you'd like to teach a class, there's a forum that you can fill out, and they can find us at the chattery on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Emily Thompson 51:14
I'm also going to shout here that if you want to see chawan does a website slash blog? Drink frolic.com. And there's some good stuff on there. Thank you. Lots of cocktails. Exactly. Anyone who respects cocktails as much as you want to die?

Shawanda Mason Moore 51:36
Yeah, can be a friend of mine. And we're going to have some cocktail classes coming up saying what the chattery so beer.

Kathleen Shannon 51:43
cocktails. What is your favorite drink? Oh,

Shawanda Mason Moore 51:46
okay. Well, it depends on what type of mood I'm in. When it's hot. I love a gin and tonic with some lime juice. But I also really like old fashions.

Unknown Speaker 51:56
You just right? You just

Shawanda Mason Moore 51:57
got my

Emily Thompson 51:59
favorite cocktails, right?

Kathleen Shannon 52:01
I love the passion and Lisa gin and

Shawanda Mason Moore 52:04
tonic all day. I've been sipping on aperol spritzes lately, and those make me very happy. Yeah, make

Kathleen Shannon 52:11
me feel healthy. Yeah, I'm doing good things for my body. I'm staying hydrated.

Shawanda Mason Moore 52:17
And you know what? I do feel like I'm quenching a thirst when I drink though. So like, I'm essentially staying hydrated because of it. You're right. Done. I'm gonna make one tonight.

Kathleen Shannon 52:30
All right, and what makes you feel most boss?

Shawanda Mason Moore 52:33
What makes me feel most boss? Honestly, it's when I check off things on my to do list, which I still actually write my to do list. My husband is always like, why are you writing stuff in a notebook, like put it on your phone. But I like to feel that like satisfaction of like crossing it off, or like putting a checkmark by it. So when I am able to mark something off my to do list. I feel like I'm really really changing the world there with the with marking off my to do list. Awesome. Thank

Emily Thompson 53:04
you so much for coming to hang out. I'm so glad to dive more into the chattery yay. And nonprofits because I feel like we've been getting a lot of questions about these a lot lately. So they're all you listeners go Yay.

Kathleen Shannon 53:26
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Emily Thompson 54:02
Thank you for listening to being boss. If you're looking for more help and being boss of your work in life accom check out our website where you can find Episode shownotes browser archives and access free resources like worksheets, trainings, quizzes and more. It's all at WWW dot being boss dot club. Do the work be boss