Article By: Ahyanah Mincy - MOGUL
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.”
LaToya Stirrup - CEO of Kazmaleje
Her advice - “The journey of an entrepreneur is not an easy one and it is not for everybody. You have to be okay with taking risks, dealing with uncertainty and making tough decisions. There will definitely be times where you may want to revert back to what's comfortable. However, if you can stick through the rough patches and remember why you decided to start this journey, you will make it through. It's very important to have a strong "why," because it will serve as an anchor for those times when things may not go according to plan and the way forward doesn't appear to be clear. Know yourself, passions and your abilities. Understand that entrepreneurship is about experimentation and "failure" is not a death sentence. You got this!”
Ponchitta Lilly - CEO and Founder of Ponch Cosmetics
“My advice for young black female entrepreneurs:
1) Test your market before you launch. Find out what your customer needs and provide the best product and service that satisfies that need.
2) Run a tight ship early on so you can control your inventory (if product based) and capital.
3) Do yes ur homework on your industry. Utilize all of your community resources for assistance and mentoring (I.e. Colleges, universities, chambers of commerce, and associations). Search for mentors in your area and in your field. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
4) Build an effective and efficient team. Your team will be the key to your success and helping to build your dreams.”
Keli Smith - Founder and CEO of Kaike Cosmetics
Her advice - “Three words: Find your tribe. Everyone deserves to be around energy that supports and uplifts them, so be sure to embrace positive vibes only. Being an entrepreneur is no easy feat, not everyone will support your goals, no matter how lofty they might be. So as an entrepreneur, you need to be intentional with who you surround yourself with and deposit your spirit, time and energy into. By being around those who have a wealth of knowledge, you can learn from, hold you accountable and encourage you all at the same time is the perfect recipe for success.
Last but certainly not least, find a need in the world and fulfill it with your idea, invention, product or service or someone else will. As the owner and founder of KAIKE, I saw a need that wasn't being met. By recognizing that so many of the "natural" bath, body and beauty products are typically unnatural or boring, allowed me to find a niche and satisfy those who are excited about living a clean lifestyle when it comes to their beauty routine. Through KAIKE's minimal yet effective multi-purpose products, I not only get to promote healthy skin care but I get to have fun as a successful businesswoman celebrating our natural beauty while dancing to the beat of my own drum!”
Alma Miller - Founder and CEO of AC Miller Consulting, LLC
Her advice was short and sweet “build up your credentials, perform at the level two positions higher than you, know and understand your worth and value and go after opportunities that push you.”