Inspiration from the Bay Area
Every entrepreneur has that particular moment when the light bulbs go off and they realize they want to build their own businesses. Mine happened in 2016 when I moved to Oakland, California. My mind was immediately opened up to the world of entrepreneurship. I was surrounded by invention, rapid advancement, and a front-row seat to many of the conversations that were moving the globe forward. A few years into that, I could see parts of myself in the people that I admired. The spirit of the Bay Area shaped much of the audacity that I exhibit in entrepreneurship today.
Putting Skin in the Game
Since then, I have taken up the mantle of entrepreneurship and gone on to build my own business, BLAZE GROUP LLC, which was created to provide Black women with the access to knowledge, mentorship and capital that they need + deserve. Through BLAZE, I have built a community of +5,500 Black female entrepreneurs who I learn from each day. Their motivations, fears, and wins are stories that more of the world need to hear. Beyond building a table, I am building stages to allow them to tell those stories – so, at the very least, more Black women know that they are not alone.
Achieving this kind of success does not come without sacrifice. I
invest a lot of my time + intention in learning. I join the webinars of the technical service providers that I buy from, join the capacity-building webinars of field experts, attend virtual summits, and read business books / articles. I have also started to lean into attending in-person events more now to further expand my expertise.
Identifying people who serve as a source of inspiration has also been an important part of my journey. One such person for me is Morgan DeBaun. I love her brands – Blavity, AfroTech, Travel Noire, etc. She’s scaled solutions that feel like home for the diaspora. Like her, I aim to offer powerful solutions for Black female entrepreneurs around the globe that feel like home.
Paying it Forward
The importance of learning is why I created the TablexTribe app, the first socio-business app for Black women. There is certain information that is incredibly hard to find if you’re not in elite business circles. I’ve taken pitch templates, cash flow projections, pitch video scripts, and more – and have been dropping them in the palms of women’s hands across 277 countries, which is accessible on more than 14,000 device types. I look forward to continuing to provide the game to people who may have never known about the steps that should be taken for business maturity and scale.
As a Black woman, regardless of what your background might be, if you want to pursue entrepreneurship, the truth is that you can. As a matter of fact, ANYONE can be an entrepreneur, as long as you can take an innate or learned skill and apply your knowledge to your own offering. Many times, people innately believe that their formal education is only suited for use at blue chip firms and this couldn’t be farther from the truth. All it takes is a decision, and a willingness to lean into learning and support systems.
Leadership as the Secret Sauce
To succeed as an entrepreneur, your key goal should be centered around understanding the key elements of leadership. As a founder, you should be in the position of driving your company forward to where you want to be in the short and long term. Doing this well takes creating plans for scale, creating ease by adopting the right software and systems, having strength in hiring the right people and developing them, establishing partnerships that increase brand awareness, etc.
Funding the Long-Term Vision
In my own business, I’ve used consulting projects to fund the longer-term vision for BLAZE. This allows me to be thoughtful and patient with the community that I am growing and learning from. It allows me to have the funding to continuously iterate and refine as I absorb data and feedback. It has allowed me to hire people who can operate in their zones of genius, taking more and more off of my plate so that I can operate in mine.
Just like me, you too can take similar steps to launch and grow that business you have been wanting to start. I have created a 6-week course called the Blaze Business Intensive, specifically targeted at helping Black women who have big ideas and a passion for what they do, but are confused on where to start. It is perfect for entrepreneurs who are burnt out and exhausted - juggling business building, motherhood, relationships, and community responsibilities or feel overwhelmed from playing catch up - given there are so many things to learn. If this sounds like you, you should check it out!