Arnita Johnson-Hall is a millennial credit expert living in Dallas with her husband, Corree, and their five kids. She’s a seven-figure earner, according to records viewed by Insider, but less than 10 years ago, she was a single mom receiving government assistance from the Section 8 housing program.
“I ended up on Section 8 because I had a low income and was having a hard time paying my bills. I was employed, but I was living below the poverty line, which qualified me for government assistance,” Johnson-Hall said.
When she graduated high school, Johnson-Hall had a 700 credit score because her mother had added her to her credit cards as an authorized user when she was younger. However, due to a lack of understanding of how credit works, Johnson-Hall’s score quickly dropped by several hundred points — but she didn’t know it until she was rejected from a job after the company checked her credit. That’s when she decided to invest in her credit education, which became her ticket out of poverty.
Here’s how Johnson-Hall turned her financial story around.
She invested in herself
To improve her credit score, Johnson-Hall spent countless hours at the library studying how credit works. In addition to her bad credit habits, she discovered that her credit score was low because of errors on her credit report. So Johnson-Hall learned how to use credit effectively and how to request corrections to her credit report.
After seeing the positive results she obtained in a short time, she invested in getting educated as a credit consultant and started helping others get similar results.
Johnson-Hall started a credit-repair company as a side hustle with less than $500 spent registering her domain name, creating business cards, and purchasing supplies. But, for five years, her business never made more than $12,000 a year.
She changed her mindset
With her job as a claims processor and side hustle combined, her income was still below the poverty line. But then she lost her job and, for the first time, Johnson-Hall considered becoming a full-time entrepreneur.
“I was earning $12 an hour at my job, but then I got fired. I used to think there was no way I could have a business and fully be self-sufficient. So in my mind, I needed to work for someone else. That was all that was ever taught to me growing up,” Johnson-Hall said.
“After almost losing my life to a domestic violence incident with an ex-boyfriend, I was moved to a roach-infested, high-crime, government-assisted housing. I was a mom and wanted a better life for my daughter. That’s when I made a vow to myself to become financially independent,” she added.
She set a goal to get off government assistance, and started seeing her business as a path to becoming self-sufficient financially.
She got creative to keep her business expenses low
With limited resources, Johnson-Hall had to develop creative ways to market her business and grow her revenue. So, in 2013, she started using social media to promote her business.
“I would reach out to people on social media and offer to fix their credit if they could share their testimony on how I helped,” Johnson-Hall said. She leveraged Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn to build relationships. Reaching out to influencers and offering promotions, she grew her Instagram page, Luxurious Credit, to nearly 250,000 followers, and her customer base grew as well.
She budgeted and reinvested in her business
Johnson-Hall started budgeting to put more money towards growing her business. She cut down expenses, such as unnecessary driving, built an emergency fund, and reinvested the little she had left into her business to purchase supplies and a laptop computer.
Next, she started attending networking events and conferences to meet people who were successful entrepreneurs and potential clients.
“I started reading more; books were my coaches when I couldn’t afford to hire a coach,” she said. Johnson-Hall implemented what she learned, got off government assistance, and AMB Credit Consultants hit the six-figure mark in 2013.
She invested in getting help, starting with hiring a family member. Finally, she started being more organized and was more intentional about reaching out to potential clients, and following up on leads. In 2016, her business generated seven figures for the first time.
Now, five years after Johnson-Hall’s business generated seven figures for the first time, she shows no signs of slowing down. She told Insider she plans to continue to build wealth through other business ventures and real estate.