Young black women have amazing role models that look just like them. We are more than strippers, rapper, reality stars and athletes. (no offense to any black woman who is one of those things). Often the media doesn’t show black women as entrepreneurs, founders and CEO’s. Black women, we are entrepreneurs and we can be just as successful as anyone else. I found successful black female entrepreneurs
Raven Thomas – Founder and CEO of The Painted Pretzel
Her advice to young black female entrepreneurs – “I would advise young black female entrepreneurs to remain confident in themselves. Do work that excites you, that pushes you and challenges you to develop new skills based on your interests. Know that although friends and family may show moral support, do not determine your success and/or failures based on their opinions. You have to be twice as good as a man to receive half the accolades. So work twice as hard, don’t quit and know that you are capable of reaching your dreams.
One thing I’ve learned is that family and friends tend to want discounts and hookups. At some point you have to toughen up and say no. That will be hard, but in order to succeed you must know your worth and teach people to respect that.
Another piece of advice is to learn to be resourceful. As entrepreneurs, we can find ourselves in what seem to be dead end situations. However there is generally a way around every problem if we’re creative.”
Teana McDonald – Founder and CEO of 3E Connections
Her advice to young black female entrepreneurs – “Don’t quit your day job on a whim because you have a dream. Work day and night ( weekends) to build your business the right way while still collecting a paycheck. I remember working and during my lunch going to meet other entrepreneurs for coffee, in the evenings I would attend other mixers and networking groups and on the weekends I researched and planned my exit. Unfortunately, for me I was laid-off so the push and urgency to succeed was much greater. Wait and then execute.”
LaTonia Taylor – Founder and Owner of Hypnotique Creations
Her advice – “Keep going. Entrepreneurship is hard. Sometimes you have to work for someone else while also building your business. Hard work and determination will pay off. The benefit of controlling your own time is priceless. When it seems impossible, and you want to quit, focus on your desired result. Always remember if “they” can do it, you can do it too. It doesn’t matter how you start, just get started toward your dream. Lastly have faith in something bigger than yourself, that faith will fuel your dreams.” She also added “People are going to talk about you regardless. There will always be someone out there that doesn’t like what you stand for. That is really none of your concern, do what is in your heart to do. Give them something good to talk about, your success. Surround yourself with other positive and successful people. Read, read, read. Develop yourself. Set your intention, plan your goals, work the plan and allow the Universe to do the rest.”
Venessa Marie Perry – President and CEO of Health Resource Solutions, LLC (HRS)
Her advice – “My advice to young black entrepreneurs is take the leap. If you fail, fail fast and forward. It will make you stronger and wiser for your next business move. Don’t let fear hold you back. Be strategic about your business relationships and always add value to them. Lastly, diversify and don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Have different revenue streams and different types of clients so that when you are in a slow season you can still sustain your business.”
Caroline Ansah – Founder and CEO of Luv Scrub
Her advice – “Take advantage of all of the resources your city offers. These are all tools that our tax dollars pay for. This includes mentorship, classes, networking, etc. I have to say I have taken advantage of these resources and it has helped me out so much. Also don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It is ok and it is a part of the process. Learn from it. Trust me there are many more to be made! “
Ashley Warmington – Founder and CEO of Cozy Oasis
Her advice – “Be very specific on who is your target audience. Age, race, gender, location, hobbies etc. Your product, no matter how awesome, is not for everyone. The people you are looking for will like your product and are willing to pay you for it.”
Emore Campbell – Founder and Premiere Planner of Emore Campbell Wedding Experience Curator
Her advice – “My advice for black female entrepreneurs is to push back and always have an opinion on the topic at hand. People appreciate that you care enough about something to not go with the grain. Find another entrepreneur who is black and female and spend time together. My friend and I do Women Working Wednesday where we bounce ideas around, ask for favors, plan etc. Don’t ride the highs too high or the lows too low. Winning is great so celebrate (just a little) – going overboard on congratulating yourself may set you up for disappointment later. Also, the losses are simply growing pains, meet them with a smile – and handle it. Continue your education! I’m not saying go back for your masters – but attending seminars, finance classes, social media expos – will help you in the long run and serve as a great pool for networking. Lastly, Fail Fast and Fail Often. I learned this concept at my very first professional career as a sales rep for Yelp.com. If you’re failing – at the very least – you are trying something new and with 10 fails, usually comes one win. Keep failing so you’re closer to you’re win!”
Erica Taylor – Partner and CMO of Tinsel Experimental Design
Her advice – “So much advice! …… Trying to keep this as succinct as possible:
- Don’t get discouraged by people telling you “no.” Instead, use that as motivation to make your own “yes.”
- Identify mentors and people who will invest their time, energy, and words of wisdom as you.
- Know your worth and charge for it (plus interest). Don’t undersell your skills or negotiate against yourself.
- Take advantage of any and all government-led initiatives like Women & Minority business certification. The process is absurdly cumbersome and complex, but any little advantage is worth exploring.
- Something that comes up a lot …. Don’t change who you are, what you look like, or how you like to dress to fit the mold of how you think you should present yourself. I know so many black women who have felt compelled to tame (read: chemically relax or wear weaves) their hair and dress more conservatively in order to look like their “Business” selves. But there is real power and potency in letting your naturally vibrant and stylish self shine through as a testament of your personal brand.
- Approach business meetings and negotiations with the brazen bravado of a white man. Don’t let anyone try to railroad you, dismiss you, or diminish what you have to offer. Reclaim your time.”
Jordan Hora – Founder and CEO of JH Collaborative
Her advice for young black female entrepreneurs – Be comfortable with a blank space. What do I mean by that? When world-renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp, begins to create any masterpiece, she has no choice but to start with an empty room she’s called to fill. “To some the empty room symbolizes something profound, mysterious and terrifying” she says. The responsibility of starting with nothing and working your way to create beautiful can be paralyzing to some. Anyone that creates anything must go through and be comfortable with this process. Writers start with nothing and create novels, musicians begin with a blank page and create chart-topping songs, entrepreneurs start with ideas and can create the future.
Additionally, I can’t stress this enough, now more than ever it’s imperative that those who do business with you can trust you. Transparency and authenticity are the currency of the future. Your reputation is the sum total of the experiences people have with you. No amount of money, fame or influence is worth the loss of your integrity, ethics or moral authority.
Anna Nicole – Founder and Owner Nicolet Beauty
Her list of advice for young black female entrepreneurs
A. Build Your Social Media following. On Instagram you should get as close to 10,000 followers as possible before you officially launch your business.
B. Work on your credit, if you don’t have at least a score of 700. You might need a loan to start your business – or you may want to use your personal credit cards at first. A good credit score can also help if you want to establish business credit. Before applying for a loan, be sure you can handle the monthly payments until your business starts making money. In other words, keep your day job. Don’t even think about quitting until your company’s profits are at least double your yearly salary.
C. Do Your Research – Find out if the industry you’re going into is already saturated. If it is, you’ll need to find your niche and figure out what makes your product or service better/different from the competition. Check out companies that are similar to yours. Study their websites and social media pages. Create business pages for your company that will attract potential customers. You’ll also need to define your target market. If you are going to sell handmade items, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that your business can’t grow if you’re going to make everything yourself. At some point, you’ll need help or need to have it manufactured. So it’s best to find out the cost of manufacturing your products, even before you’re ready to do that, especially if you plan on getting your items into stores. Also, you should make a list of businesses you want to sell to. Get the Buyer’s info and contact them about the store’s requirements. They will want your product’s packaging to meet their standards, for example.
D. You will need to do a DBA or you may want to incorporate.
E. Find out who the Influencers are in your industry. Follow them on Social Media. Set aside money in your budget to send them free products and be prepared to pay them a fee (if required) to do a review. You also need money for Advertising.
F. I recommend that you sell on Shopify when you’re just starting out. But if you can’t afford their monthly fee (about $30), then you can try Wix or the many other lower cost diy e-commerce platforms.
G. Last, but not least, try to pull together a small group of like-minded business owners, who might be in a related field, as a support/networking group. You could meet maybe twice a month and brainstorm, share your ups and downs, offer leads/advice etc.
Carey Yazeed – Founder of Beyond Soaps
Her advice – “My advice for young Black female entrepreneurs is to always be open to learning. Trends are always changing so you have to stay abreast. Know who your ideal client/customer is and where they hang out. Everyone isn’t your customer. Customer service can make or break your business. Remember your customers pay your bills. Show them that you appreciate their loyalty.”
Jamie Masters – Founder & President/CEO of 826 and Co.
Her advice – “I made so many mistake in the beginning. So much so that I actually failed the first time but I learned valuable lessons that helped me relaunch with a better name, product formulations, packaging, etc.
I would suggest anyone starting a business to tap into their local small business development center. There are experts and mentors there that can support you from the just an idea to rapid growth.
I would suggest joining a group or network of people in a similar industry. For me that is the Indie Business Network. Had I been connected to this group in the beginning I would have been better prepared for some of the challenges I faced and been aware of products, practices, and other resources that would have helped me grow professionally and financially.
Learn the importance of SEO and social media to increase your visibility, ranking, relevance, etc. This alone is a huge undertaking when you are doing everything yourself.
Another valuable resource that I have used since the beginning is INC magazine. Every issue I have dogged eared so many pages. Much like the online network I joined, INC magazine is consistently packed with valuable information for entrepreneurs from all industries and all stages of their business.”