How $500 Changed My Life And Business


October 16, 2020. 

It was approximately 32 days past my 40th birthday and I found myself in an unfamiliar place. Six weeks prior, I received a cease and desist letter from my former employer stating that I could not teach for 12-months post employment. 

My husband and I separated the same week. 

My support, financial and emotional, had been shattered within days of one another. Plan A, B and C were gone.

I spent the month of September trying to come up with a new way to make money. I knew how to hustle but I was still in the midst of walking out my faith that required me to rely on God's grace over my own grind.

I’m a planner by nature so, of course, I started crafting another plan. It was time to start a new business. I kept the plan to myself and prayed. I knew if I could get $300.00, I could invest into learning a new skill that would make me more money.

October 16, 2020, I got a message stating I was selected for a business grant. I sat in awe at first. As soon as the notification hit my phone I was floored. I made two purchases that night. One for a photography class and the second was for new marketing materials (boxes, stickers, tissue paper, etc) for my upcoming holiday rush.

My calendar for December was filled by mid-November with cookie orders. Then I was placed on medical leave.

The photography class I was able to invest in because of the grant gave me a solid foundation to be financially stable once I was placed on immediate medical leave.


My experience as a chef coupled with a new passion for photography allowed me to launch Studio Kimihou and boutique food styling, photography and recipe creation business.

I ended 2020 with a bang as the CEO of The Cookie Emporium and welcomed a new season in my life as a full time digital content creator in January.  Investing the grant was a seed that God allowed exponential growth to come from.  

I will forever be grateful that in a season of my life when I felt under-supported, another woman, not only took a chance on me but changed the trajectory of my life.

I’m forever grateful.

Chef Kimberly Houston

Guest Blogger - Chef Kimberly Houston
Instagram - @thecookieemporium & @chefkimihou
Website -


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