Chelsea Berler, founder of marketing firm the Solamar Agency, and author of The Curious One: From Food Stamps to CEO, didn’t find success the easy way. Her story is one of heartbreak and tragedy, but through conscious living with arms wide open, she has turned the tides of defeat into a big kahuna victory. An internationally known coach, motivational speaker, entrepreneur and author based in Birmingham, Chelsea is living proof that you can change your destiny! Welcome, Chelsea!
Where did you grow up? And what brought you here?
I was born and raised in North Dakota. My husband is from Birmingham, so when I met him, we decided to make our home in Birmingham, and I love it!
Tell us about your book, The Curious One: From Food Stamps to CEO …
The Curious One is my story. It tells of how I left behind the heartache of my past and found peace in my present. It’s about the triumph that comes from living your life on purpose, not only when it’s easy, but when it feels like your life is crumbling to pieces at your feet. If it gives one person the hope or a spark to overcome something that is holding them back, then it has done its job. I wrote it for anyone who longs for something more in their life, but doesn’t quite know how to get there just yet.
What’s the biggest roadblock you’ve overcome?
Being in a situation where I didn’t think there were real possibilities for my life. I felt stagnant and that I was always limited. But I was wrong, and I have overcome that mindset and created much more than I could have ever imagined.
How did you come to be on food stamps?
We were on food stamps most of my childhood and teenage years. My father struggled with addiction until his premature death, and my mother sacrificed and worked all the hours she could while raising us. There was just never enough money or food to go around. I grew up knowing that we couldn’t afford the things other kids had, even food at some points, and I knew that it would be my life’s work to change that.
What was your turning point?
When I realized I had a choice and I can make my life whatever I want to make it. When I started to believe in myself (when others didn’t) and I vowed to myself to not let my past define my future. That mindset changed everything for me, and I started living and working differently. I put 150 percent into everything I did. I worked hard to be something that so many people thought I couldn’t be. I wanted to create something bigger than myself. And I did just that.
How did you decide to start your own agency?
I was working for a corporate company, and I was at a trade show in San Diego. There, it hit me — am I really going to be doing this the rest of my life? I was so inspired by the trip that I spent that entire night pulling together everything I knew how to do, everything I was good at, and I put it into a business plan. My intention was just to start a small business for myself. To pay the bills, to do more purposeful work. What became of it was something much bigger. As soon as I started hiring a team, the world I once knew was gone forever, and I never looked back.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
You cannot save people, you can only love them.
What advice would you give to those struggling to find their foothold in the world today or who are wanting to make big changes in their lives this new year?
Your past doesn’t have to define your future. You make your own choices. Believe in yourself and what you want to do, and make it happen. Period. Nothing can hold you back. Nothing!
Where do you go to recharge in Birmingham?
I LOVE the food in Birmingham. So, my favorite thing to recharge is a dinner with my husband. Birmingham is my favorite place for being able to try new food, experience new restaurants and just drink life in.
What is your favorite indulgence?
What books are on your nightstand or e-reader?
I love self-help books. Anything inspirational on how we can all be better people in everything we do. That’s important to me … to always try hard to make sure I’m being the best possible version of myself.
Where was your most recent, best meal in Birmingham?
Funny you should ask. I have SO many favorites, but recently I went to Carrigans and had their gourmet corn dog. OMG!
Is there any local event you are especially looking forward to?
I love the music scene in Birmingham. There are some great venues here, so I’m always looking forward to the next big concert.
Name three things you can’t live without, excluding faith, family and friends.
My furry babies … my two rescues, Stella and Dakota. My Solamar Agency team. They are the most incredible human beings I’ve ever known. And sushi.
Thanks for sharing, Chelsea! Learn more about the Solamar Agency by visiting their website HERE.
Today’s photos are courtesy of Kara Sperling from Kayden Studios.
To see more interviews with amazing local women check out our FACES page HERE.