From Homeless To Successful – The Story Of One Entrepreneur

Doina Oncel, Enterperneur, Business Owner, PR, TechJust like my self, Doina Oncel immigrated to Canada at the young age of 17 in search of a better life. Except, in my case I immigrated to Canada when I was 10. Never the less, we both share something in common – We came to Canada for a greater opportunities. Shortly after moving to Canada, Doina got married and had two wonderful kids. Alongside her husband, they both started a profitable renovations business. Life was good and business was booming. However, much like anything in life, nothing is perfect.

Doina was going through some tough times personally. Things looked good on the outside, however things were far from perfect.

I came across Doina’s story and I wanted to share it with the Finance Fox faithful. Not only is this story inspirational, but I can relate to it. And no, I’m not referring to marriage and kids, but rather being an immigrant and making something out my self and continuing to strive for more.

Tough Times

Despite a successful business and a wonderful family, Doina’s husband was an alcoholic. Eventually debt came along and the business was struggling. Finally the last straw came – abuse.

After sometime of abuse and depression, Doina knew something had to give. A change was in order. This is not how she wanted to live with and expose the kids to this type of life. In 2009, she decided to make a change for the better. She left her husband and with no true direction, money or anywhere to go,  Doina reached out to close friends and family in hopes of temporary shelter until she got on her feet, however sadly everyone declined to offer any support or shelter.

Turn Around

Nowhere to go and with everyone turning their backs, Doina ended up in a women’s shelter. She knew there was more to life than being in a women’s shelter and another change was in order. Finally after three long months at the women’s shelter, Doina found a job and was able to move her self and the kids out of the shelter and into a place of their own.

Despite new found success and getting slowly back onto her feet, Doina wanted more and it was just the start of something great. Deep down inside, she knew that she wanted to set an example for the kids to have someone to look up to. So, Doina set out onto a life changing journey.

Despite starting a successful business with a soon to be ex-husband, Doina was determined to make more money and provide a better life. And with minimal cash and resources, she spent the last of her saved money on business seminars and books. She also started to learn from other business entrepreneurs on developing a successful business.

Eventually the vested money, hard work and learning paid off. Doina took on a new venture – Entrepreneurial Moms of Toronto. She took on the opportunity to help other mom entrepreneurs rise above their challenges through planning mastermind meetings.

And through helping others, networking and a lot of hard work, Doina ventured out on her own and started her own business. Doina successfully launched her own PR company, specializing in helping new tech start-ups  – Doina’s Infinite Solutions.

Despite no previous PR experience, Doina has made her business a success. She uses her strong networking abilities, desire to help others and drive to make a name for self. Her business has given Doina  the ability to earn five figures a year and the business is well en route to having six figure revenue. And despite her rise and newly found success, Doina has never forgotten her roots and where it all started from. Currently, Doina sits on the Board of Directors for Ernestine Women’s Shelter where she continues to help abused women, a position all too familiar to her.

Moral of the story

Despite tough obstacles we encounter in life, we must keep pushing forward. I’m not a religious person, but I can confidently say that we’re all here for a purpose on this plant. Resources exist to us for taking and making something out of our selves. Whatever your life goal or dream, remember, it’s never too late to get started.

Much like a game of poker, we never know the cards were going to be dealt. However, once the cards are dealt,  it’s up to us to make the best with what cards we got.

Face reality head on. There will be some fans in your corner, probably your self and your family. More so, there will be more haters. People thrive on drama and seeing others fail, so expect others to be rooting for you to fail. However, you are better than that and stronger. Sticking to your guns, you will prevail, rise from the ashes and prove your critics wrong.

Persistence always pays off. The biggest key to persistence is to continue to trick your self to to be persistent.

What are your thoughts on persistence? This story?



  1. Truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing this remarkable story.

  2. Angela J. Shirley says:

    Since 2008, my life’s journey has been one of both triumphs and tribulations. While I was happy to get laid off from a job that was literally killing my insides, it pushed me into having to make some decisions about plans I had worked hard on to get finished. One of them was getting another car and finally getting off the city bus which I had been on for several years. I had just gotten laid off for the second time (2008 was the third) when my my reliable car of 13 years died of old age. Getting back on the city bus again after finally getting off was a lesson in being humble. Anyway, I got past the disappointment and sat down and refigured my life including my budget. I knew I needed to keep my roof over my head, so that came first. I was fortunate to get unemployment for the three times I was laid off and by the third time I knew what not to do. Well it is now 2012, two years since my last unemployment benefit payments ended along with savings. I had to give up my apartment I had for several years to move in with my then boyfriend to save cash on both ends I thought. Well, that backfired as he was looking for someone to pay the bills while he spent his money. Not one to dwell too long on the past, I am not staying with my adult daughter age 25 since June of this year after leaving Mr. Wonderful. Yes, finally realized that after 2 years that he was not going to change and I was tired of living a life of never knowing when the lights or water was going to be cut off. As far as income generation, I have yet to replace my 9 to 5 job of 2008 but have gotten very creative with getting income. Between temping and virtual work, I have been able to contribute something to wherever I was staying. Things will be changing again for me as far as a safe place to stay. Next month marks the end of my daughter’s lease. She had plans to move into another apartment but recently lost her job. It has been very stressful for us both, but I know from the past that something will work out if we continue to have hope and seek solutions. I yearn for the days of being able to come home and put my feet up and do nothing. Yep, those were wonderful days and I hope to see them again really soon. I started a blog “How To Survive Unemployment” when I got laid off the last time. It is a site that hopefully will encourage others with information I had to dig for when I got laid off. I am also working on a Facebook project for shelter dogs. The author of “The Positive Dog” Jon Gordon has donated 5 signed copies for me to use as a fundraiser. Now to find a spot to call home and then do the fundraisers for the dog shelters in that area. Yes, the last 4 years I have felt like the bag lady, never unpacking and never relaxing. One thing I have promised myself as I now realize I am the kind of person that needs her own space – always have a spot to call home no matter what. I have not given up on love, must a lot wiser and teaching my only child to be wiser at an earlier age than I was. Now to continue on my journey of financial independence. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

    Love your article!