Some say behind every great business deal is a great business team. Lady boss Christina Morrow says behind every great business deal – is her! The 31-year-old Brooklyn bred Nuyorican sprinkles the spirit of entrepreneurship on every road she takes, including the one that recently led her to money-making Los Angeles. With her 3-month-old rambunctious puppy Luna always in toe and her mentor on redial, Christina has turned lessons into dollar signs. “I want to build an empire for myself and my family. I’m not scared of anything that comes up and I want to teach people to put themselves in the commission and make money.” If you can’t find her in the office as a senior financial analyst for a production company aka “all things accounting” or running her travel franchise aka Paycation, she’s probably geeking out over her top rank in fantasy football. Her advice is straight out of a Shark Tank episode and we caught up with her to get some.
‘LL: Where did you attend college?
Christina: I studied criminal justice at Penn State University. Growing up in New York, my father wasn’t around and I wanted to be a police officer, then a lawyer and then a judge. All to bring my dad back. But throughout the years I was introduced to entrepreneurship where instead of helping one person I can to do something to help thousands. I would love to fund scholarships and create a mentorship that I didn’t have growing up, to help women and children learn about entrepreneurship.
‘LL: How was your experience working for an oil company in Texas after graduation?
Christina: I started as a temp in an accounting position and ended up in treasury operations. I was 21, my income doubled within a year and my career blossomed so fast! I loved Texas. It was my first corporate experience and where I learned my first lesson. The company decided to move operations to Barbados and in the 9 to 5 world, if you’re not building your own dream you’re building someone else’s and they’re going to use you as they see fit. So I took severance pay and moved back to New York.
“In the 9 to 5 world, if you’re not building your own dream you’re building someone else’s and they’re going to use you as they see fit.”
‘LL: What attracted you to the first business you owned?
Christina: I started working at a new real estate company and noticed young minority entrepreneurs taking control of their life, and it was eye opening. My second lesson was get a mentor and shorten the learning curve. I raised the funds to invest in my own real estate brokerage office and soon after opened two more offices. I was so proud to have three franchises.
‘LL: How successful did you consider your franchises?
Christina: There was a lot of success, and failure of course. Traditional business takes time, money and energy and you can really lose yourself. My third lesson learned was that business will expose you and the people around you. Your business owns you! I was building wealth for myself but I couldn’t have time and money and that’s what true wealth is. Also my sorority sister/business partner and I were growing into different business ethics and the perfect partner with a bad deal or the perfect deal with a bad partner will never work, which was my fourth lesson. I decided not to bury my head in my problems and realized I had the skills I needed to move on. My part-time travel franchise was growing and bringing in more than my real estate offices combined.
‘LL: Do you think everyone has the entrepreneur gene in them?
Christina: A lot of people are scared and want security and stability but becoming an entrepreneur was once of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I want to teach people to create leverage in their life and what makes a business successful is the team. I don’t think everyone has the complete package of entrepreneurship in starting something from scratch but I do think everyone has the spirit to be an asset to a team of entrepreneurs. My fifth lesson, to quote my mentor, was that every millionaire has 7 to 8 streams of income. Not everyone has what it truly takes to sacrifice themselves for a few years. As long as people can accept defeat and know to move forward toward the lesson, they can become an entrepreneur.