THE FAIRY BRANDMOTHER, MAKING YOUR FUTURE A REALITY
Describe your journey as a black woman entrepreneur and mother.
Well, this journey is personal to me; I mean, I hope everyone, in retrospect, defines their journey as unique and not just going about with no care in the world. I will start by telling you how I got into entrepreneurship. In December 2016, I found myself homeless with a one-year-old. I ended up in a women’s and children’s shelter, which was a crazy and tumultuous process. I did not even know that you had to qualify to get accepted into a shelter. That was mindblowing. There is a 30-day grace period if they place you in a facility; after the 30-day, they can decide whether or not you can continue to stay there. They gave me a room, and when I reached my 30 days, they told me I could not stay.
I had another process to remain there, and at that point in my life, I did not have a job. I was like, Lord, on my knees harder than ever. I was thankful at the time because that was the first time I had my own. My tears weren’t because of being homeless. It was because I had never been in a place before where I didn’t have to worry about locking my door, or someone was mad at me because my daughter was crying late at night. I was thankful but prayed and told God I needed to get out of there. This place is not where I suppose to be, but I need to figure out how. They put me into a program called the back-to-work program. You sit in a building and pretend you are looking for work all day with a bunch of people doing the same. You are supposed to dress up and act like you are going on an interview because you may go on an interview. But I noticed even in that circumstance that God had me set apart because everyone there had assumed that I worked there as they kept asking me questions on how to do something. Ironically, I knew the answers to the other workers’ questions, but I was like, you all know I am here with you all.
The response would be oh, I am sorry you are so well dressed. It dawned on me one day when I sat with one of the reps, and she looked at my credentials and work history and said that I had a degree. She said honestly–We do not have anything for you. There are no jobs for you here. I felt like –just when I thought I couldn’t get any lower. I’m in this place and can’t get the help I need. God brought this to my realization that he equipped me to become the answer. It was like a light bulb when I thought everyone was coming to me, so I needed to find a solution. The ideas started coming up with ways to teach people how to dress for interviews and curate their resumes for their industry. There is a saying that if you take the steps, God will provide. When I started to do my research, someone randomly called me one day and told me about this business program happening in NJ when I was living in Brooklyn.
Long story short, I was accepted into the program, and by the end, I was still confused about how to start my business as I was the only one who provided a service. I was lost. I needed to learn how to sell people something they could not see. The same friend who recommended me for the program called me one day stating that she called someone that you build websites–my response was girl, why would you tell someone that? She was like well, I thought you knew computers, so—my response was yeah, but I don’t know how to build a website. At this point, I also did not know how to say no. What do you say to the referral? Hey, sorry, they lied about my services. I taught myself how to build sites. Once I did that job, I received referral after referral. Before I knew it, I started to realize that not only was I good at this, but this was the path God had called me to take. In the journey they have been on as a black woman and entrepreneur, I still have to prove my worth in certain rooms. People automatically assume that since you are a black business, you should be discounted your services, or people don’t have respect. It’s the feeling of always having to be on guard. Now I am at a place where I know my worth and learning to say no and not accept specific clients. You get to a point where you know your client and who is not. I still face adversity, people who would choose the guy over me or the white woman who has also agency over me. The other people’s skill sets are nowhere near where mine is. But on the other side, the opportunity and satisfaction of proving someone wrong and seeing that I am a mom while running my business have become a greater reward, as how people tell me that my story inspires them.
What is the most challenging part of your job as a business owner or entrepreneur?
I was learning how to balance to where I do not burn out. That is at the top of the list for me. People need to realize this as business owners, I am still human; I still have to do other things that you have to do. I still have to find the time to cook and parent my eight-year-old as she tells me stories that I do not want to listen to or am still trying to find time to sleep. I was next trying to get myself to a place where I was not operating out of an area of scarcity. The state of mind of having to use up cash flow rather than saving is a place of adjusting to make consistent revenue that allows me to free up time and other things. Last but not least of things is being a mom. And that’s like 52 jobs within itself.
How do you fear or doubt?
Prayer!! I call on the name of Jesus! I am human and still have my moments, but this is why you must stay connected to God-fearing people. Because in moments when your cup is empty, God will send you somebody to show up, call or text with a voice note to remind you of the word of God. There is scripture on my business cards and things around me that have proven themselves until this day. Proverbs 18:16 – A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men. And Isaiah 55:11 says God’s word shall not come back void. These two scriptures keep my ground and remind me that even when things do not look how I want them to, I can trust and believe it will come to past.
What do you think is an essential quality for every entrepreneur?
- Time management – you have to be adequate to yield results.
- Confidence in oneself – As an entrepreneur, you encounter many people that might be on the journey further along than yourself, and you still need to be able to carry yourself within spaces of the network.
- Adaptivity – You have to be able to adapt within your industry to learn and know how to navigate what’s new or outdated. How do you say relevant? Do not be trending but learn to adapt to expand.
- Ability to Say NO.
- Learn who your audience is.
If you were to define your audience, how would you do it?
4 Different Types of Consumers: Loyal Consumers, Discount Consumers, Impulsive Consumers, and Need-Based Consumers – Research defines the difference between a business and a hobby. Find out what people are looking for within your industry, and look at your top competitors to see what they are doing and not doing.
Another tip is to place yourself in the consumer’s place and analyze what you are doing and say why you would want this or why you would I need this as examples.
What makes your business unique among similar companies?
Number one thing I pride myself on is a lot of designers or marketing people pull from themselves rather than putting themselves in place—I ask God, what should I do for this particular person? I rely on the vision that comes to me and brings it to life. And every time I bring it to life, it is set apart and different from everyone else. Remember, many people copy or try to emulate what they see rather than create. I pull from a deeper place.
When it comes to your business, what would you never compromise on?
My integrity! I will never do that. I’m good if we are doing business, and I have to deny my faith or criminalize myself. Not all money is good money.
Also, not trading my time for money–It’s easier said than done. But some people can pimp you out for your time and completely waste it. I am learning to no longer compromise my time for a dollar amount.
Would you be able to elaborate on what you mean when you say you trade your time for money?
A significant difference between entrepreneurship and those who work 9 to 5s is that their pay is guaranteed ours is not. We must be strategic with the exchange because time is more valuable than money. Because money comes and goes but time does not, we must beware.
What makes an effective leader?
Someone who could do the work even when the people don’t show up. Empathy for the people that are working for them. What I mean by that is there are quite a few people out there that are bosses and dictate and tell you to need to bring the water to the storehouse. Still, as an effective leader would say, I know how to get to that water. Let’s strategize how to do it; if you are unable, I can teach you how.
What would you change if you could travel back in time and change anything about your business journey?
I would have handled all of my paperwork from the very beginning. It took COVID to hit to ensure I restructured on operating in a different capacity. That would put me in a better position to receive grants and other funding that the government offers. I would have upped the amount of research into building structures of a business and not worked backward. But again, it is a part of the journey, so I can teach others how to do it properly.
If your daughter wanted to start a business at her age, what advice would you give her?
- The first thing is to speak to her confidence. When I was younger, I was ostracized about all the things I enjoyed doing or was interested in learning, saying it was weird. So I grew up feeling like I wasn’t accepted. You have to speak to the person’s confidence first.
- Get a mentor, and learn as much as you can. It is about real-life experiences.
- Learn how divine timing works and do the research.
- Choose a name to start the paperwork and take the steps.
How do you find inspiration for your work?
My inspiration comes from different places. Some days it comes from my daughter because I did not have anyone to encourage me to be me. Looking at her, I know God created me to break that generational curse. So have to stay the course. It drives me and keeps me focused. On other days it is my clients or colleagues like yourself.
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Founder - A self-driven entrepreneur within the creative and technology industries. His motto is that professionals in every field, especially creative design must be aware of the constant changes within a demanding industry to possess the flexibility and imagination to stay ahead of the trends.