A mother of five hopes to inspire others by sharing her journey from being homeless to becoming an entrepreneur.
Chrystal-Lynn El was having trouble finding full-time work in Bermuda in 2014 and decided to relocate to Atlanta in hopes of finding a job there.
As detailed by the 39-year-old in her book, The Homeless Entrepreneur, that is when her life started to spiral out of control.
“It started as a well-planned transition to make our permanent home in Georgia,” she explained.
“Employment, schools, house, cars and even a puppy had been secured with the help of friends on the ground in Atlanta.
“The journey of homelessness was one that caught me completely off-guard.
“I should have known something wasn’t right when the management company asked for an additional deposit.
“I didn’t think too much into it, because in the US, most things depend on your credit score and no credit score is as bad as a low credit score.”
She added: “My agent stated this as the reason for the additional deposit.
“This was where the journey of homelessness actually began.”
It turned out that she had been scammed. The house she thought she had rented had actually been sold months before.
Her husband, who had stayed in Bermuda with a plan of moving once she got settled, then got injured and couldn’t work. The family’s finances depleted quickly.
Between 2014 and 2016, Ms El and her children stayed in numerous different “living spaces” in Georgia — family rooms, friends’ houses, a shelter and a motel.
“From there it went downhill with me trying to still maintain normalcy for my children, I had five school-aged children with me,” she recalled.
“It felt like in the past I have made some rash decisions, even irresponsible, but this time we planned it to a tee; dotted the i’s, crossed t’s and made sure everything was going to be perfect. That was the most hurtful thing. Pride, embarrassment came into it. It was a terrible feeling.
“I tried to shield my children as much as I could. It was traumatic.”
She decided to put more energy into the businesses she had started in Bermuda in 2013 to help keep her family afloat.
“I was offering admin support services to other businesses — everything from e-mail management to social media and travel arrangements — and arranging support coaches, authors and speakers for events. Eventually I was able to sustain myself and my family.”
In 2017, Ms El returned to live in Bermuda and decided to train to teach life skills. She was employed to teach a life skills training class and also became a compliance analyst.
Ms El said: “I thought, people can do this. You can use what you have wherever you are and continue to work. You don’t have to have a $5,000 website, you start with the skills you have. I was able to run my business from my phone.
“That’s what I wanted to share.”
She saw a post on Facebook about a writing group titled “16 Weeks to Published” and decided to write a book about her journey to inspire others.
The synopsis reads: “The Homeless Entrepreneur invites you on a journey of perseverance, strength and resilience to prove that you are not the product of your circumstance, but the result of your commitment to creating the life you desire.”
• The Homeless Entrepreneur will be available on Amazon, Kindle and www.thecurvyexecutive.com on August 30