All Articles Tagged "entrepreneur"

The Inspiring Story Of ‘#Girlboss’ Is Being Flipped Into A Netflix Series

February 6th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
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The #Girlbuss Cometh

A photo posted by Sophia Amoruso (@sophiaamoruso) on

By now, we all should be familiar with the story of Sophia Amoruso. However, if the name doesn’t quite ring a bell, you’ve possibly bought a book by her and definitely shopped her popular online site for fly clothes.

Amoruso, the author of New York bestseller #Girlboss and CEO of trendy women’s apparel site Nasty Gal, is expanding her global empire for the new year. According to Variety, Netflix has given the green light on flipping her book into a comedy series. Sources also say that the streaming service is teaming up with Kay Cannon and Charlize Theron to fill the roles of pilot script writer and showrunner.

#Girlboss is an autobiography about the life and times about Amoruso’s rise to success that was released in May 2014. Like a true rags-to-riches story, Amoruso details her selling vintage on eBay, building Nasty Gal, and becoming the CEO of a multi-million dollar fashion empire at just 27.

As of now, there have been no details on a slated release date, but Netflix has surely hit a goldmine with Amoruso’s inspiring story of entrepreneurship. And ladies, if you haven’t read #Girlboss, we totally suggest you do. Amoruso is dropping lots of gems!

Confessions Of A Mompreneur: 7 Ways To Judge A Worthy Partnership

January 20th, 2016 - By MommyNoire Editor
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

By Mia Ray

As a mompreneur, working with other entrepreneurs can be extremely beneficial to your endeavors. It can help you to gain more exposure, open doors for new opportunities and even help to gain knowledge from your newfound business partner. Collaborating serves as a great tool to spark creativity and bring new ideas to life. With a surge in entrepreneurship, this topic has been sure to cross every business owner’s path. Successful business owners are often asked to link up on different projects and ideas with others. At times, potential collaborations may sound very enticing and lucrative, but you have to evaluate the situation to be sure that it will be a complete success.

 

Communication

Communication is the most valuable key to business. Upon your potential venture, there should be a meeting and clear discussion amongst both parties. Everything should be laid out  and structured so that everyone is on the same page. All aspects of the entire collaboration from beginning to end must be reviewed and evaluated. If the initial stages of the project is not completely agreed upon, it may not be a good idea to move any further. A partnership that does not see eye to eye will most likely be unsuccessful.

Unclear Vision

When you are approached by another entrepreneur for a possible project, but they’re unsure of what they wish to accomplish with you… that may be an immediate red flag to just say “no.” If their vision is unclear, it is possible that they may not do well in executing ideas and plans. Go with your gut and if that doesn’t sit well with you, do not move forward and risk the chance of regret.

Brand Identity

If the potential endeavor does not represent who you are and is not a great reflection of your brand, you should immediately decline the offer. You’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into building your brand, you do not want to ruin it by working on a partnership that does not stand true to your brand’s identity. In this position of business, you should definitely consider yourself, your hard work and your brand first.

References

It is definitely an important idea to do somewhat of a background check on your potential partner. Before entering any legally binding deal, you should first check out a few references to help validate their work ethic and character. It will help you to establish a secure level of comfort towards your partner. If references come back in a negative manner, it would be best to walk away from this opportunity. You do not want to work with anyone that is bad for business.

Non-Beneficial

After evaluating and analyzing the plan, a great question that you should ask yourself is “How will this benefit my business?” Will your audience grow? Will it be profitable? How will your target market receive this project? These are a few things that you should consider. If the proposal will not stand to be beneficial to you and your business, you should reject the deal.

Trust Issues

If you’re the type of person that has a hard time trusting people, a partnership may not be something that you should participate in. Working with others causes you to tap into your trust bank and go out on a limb to believe in the actions of others. If you know that this characteristic is a weakness of yours, you do not want to be the person to make the collaboration unsuccessful. It would be best to move forward with all ideas that do not cause you to partner with others.

Equality

A joint-venture should consist of equality. An equal amount of time and work devoted to the project from each partner. An equal amount of money invested into the plan. Unless agreed upon otherwise, all parties participating should allocate their portion of the collaboration equally. It is not a great idea to get involved in any situation where you will be doing the majority of the work. All partnerships should be engineered equally.

Are you thinking about starting a business partnership? What are your concerns?

Girl on Fire, Entrepreneur Ariana Pierce

January 20th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Courtesy of Ariana Pierce

Courtesy of Ariana Pierce

At just 25, Ariana Pierce is taking social media by storm with her trending fashion, travel and business advice. Starting her first business at the age of 17, Ariana is on fire and her positive messaging about achieving your dreams  is truly inspirational.

From an early age, Ariana has been creating, living and mentoring with her own experiences and inspirational lifestyle products, blog and online show. This business leader runs the successful nail polish company, Superstar Nail Lacquer, which she launched eight years ago. She also manages a thriving online accessories company, Style Shoppe, and is creating a serious buzz with her travel accessories. She also just released her book, “How to Build Your Blogging Business in a Week,” that offers simple, easy-to-follow steps to make money, grow businesses and sales, and build personal brands.

Whether audiences want to grow businesses, change up their lifestyles or dream fantastic futures, Ariana motivates thousands of business owners, professionals and lifestyle changers to aspire to, build up and really live through her lively, straightforward and actionable recommendations. A much sought-after lifestyle, fashion and brand expert, Ariana continues to inspire and influence her generation and beyond.

We got this busy young lady to chat with us recently from her Orlando, Florida home, and she offered some gems about starting a business and much more!

Courtesy of Ariana Pierce

Courtesy of Ariana Pierce

Mommynoire: I read that you’re a 3rd generation entrepreneur, so being a self-made business woman is in your blood. Tell us about how you grew up.

Ariana Pierce: You’re right, my grandfather was an entrepreneur, my mom was an entrepreneur, and when I was younger my grandfather was a great example to me. He was actually one of the first African American business owners in the Grand Rapids (Michigan) area to do real estate and work on properties and buildings and I would see him do those things. He would also always tell me to carry a pen and paper, make sure you have business cards, make sure you have a camera, and I’m like seven or eight-years-old and I never understood it as a child. But really he was just instilling principles in me to carry on the entrepreneur mindset that he started. So that was awesome. And then I grew up with my mom having a business; she owned a cosmetics line and she had an ice cream shop, so she was doing a lot of things way before having your own makeup line was even popular, back in the ’90s. I would just watch her and watching my grandfather made me say, “ok I want to put my name on something.”

The great things about it was that, though they were entrepreneurs, they never made it super easy to own my own business, they made me earn it. Not that they had me struggle or just be out there and not know anything, but they said, “Listen, you have to work for this. If you want this reward, you’re going to have to go out and get it yourself.” And so they would give me examples.

And then what happened?

AP: When I was 13 years old, or maybe younger, my mom had me put on a play for this group of friends that she had. She told me,  “You go out there and sell these tickets because I want you to see what it’s like to be a salesperson and sell something in business.” And I thought it was cool. You know, the tickets were only like $5, but it was amazing that I learned those principles and different lessons over the years. So that’s how I got to the place where I wanted to be an entrepreneur.

So it’s something you’ve always grown up with, but did you ever feel like you wanted to work for a company? That’s such an amazing gift to give to children, to teach them that they can be anything they want to be…
AP: When you’re growing up you have tons of dreams. I used to want to be a cheerleader, I wanted to be a hairdresser, I would see my aunt or a cousin do something and I wanted to be that. I had aspirations to be everything that you can think of. As I got older I did want to do other things like this career or that career, I wanted to go to college, I wanted to do internships, but I knew in the back of my mind that entrepreneurship was the way to build your own empire. And that’s the thing, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a job at the same time. I remember taking a few years when I was a teenager to work for my parents to get the experience in. So I said, I’m just going to take this year to work fro you guys–I’m going to be the secretary and take the calls, just as if I was working for anybody else. I got trained by the other secretary that was working there. If I did something wrong I got written up about it and I went through the whole process of seeing how it is to work on both sides because I wanted that experience.
When you’re an entrepreneur that doesn’t mean that you’re not necessarily going to work a job. I say that all the time because some people feel like it’s their destiny to help someone else build a whole empire– which could be your business as well. Over time, I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur so that became my choice.
When I was 16/17 years old I started the Billionaire Girls Club and I said this is going to be my first actual business that I put my hands to that it’s my idea that I came up with. It was a brand where we taught girls around the country how to have etiquette so it was almost like a sorority for teenage girls on how to deal with your teachers, how to deal with parents, how to get good grades, how to eat at a formal dinner, how to dress up properly, so that was my first real business and I said , “Ok, I can do this forever. I want to start things, I want to build this empire,” so that’s when it because really serious to me.
Don’t get me wrong I definitely went through a phase that I heard my grandfather and my mom but still I was like, ‘yeah, yeah, yeah  I’m going to do my own thing’. But when I was able to help people live their dream by doing my business, that’s when I said, oh yeah, I’m gonna do my thing.
The foundation was already set, you just had to get your bearings…
AP: Exactly.
Courtesy of Ariana Pierce

Courtesy of Ariana Pierce

In college, what did you do?
AP: I studied marketing and business at Michigan State University. I absolutely love my school. And I did some international studies, so I did study abroad; I went to Paris, London, Belgium, Florence and Rome. I was able to study marketing which had a bigger impact on my life than the everyday classes that I was taking on campus in Michigan because I got a world view of business.
I started my line, Superstar Nail Lacquer, going into my freshman year so when I was in school I was trying to balance doing this new business and also maintaining classes. I didn’t know how to study, it was a lot of pressure. I was like, oh my God, I have to make this business successful, I have to pass these classes and get good grades.
It was a lot of pressure but I gained a system on how to do both. I would spend my weekends on my business. I didn’t go to parties because I had a full-time business I was working on and I was traveling and doing speaking engagements and things like that. So as entrepreneur, my college experience was a little bit different, but it was well worth it, for sure.
So when did you fit in starting to blog?
AP: I started blogging closer to my third year of college, just writing about my experiences. At first it was one of those things where it was once every three months, I wasn’t focused on it. I had so much to do, I was like, who cares about a blog? And then blogs started to blow up and I was like, hey, I need to use this platform to grow my business.
So one of the things I was trying to figure out is, what I should blog about. And a lot of people go through that feeling like, what do I blog about every single day? So I said, why don’t I write about my hobbies and what interests me and then mix in my business. So my blog became a platform for me to grow my own brand, instead of talking about everybody else’s brand only–which I do, I collaborate with people and brand I love–but I use my blog to talk about my nail polish, my style shop, my travel accessories, and that’s really how the blog took off.
So when you go to my site, ArianaPierce.com, you’ll see Ariana’s Style Book, where I give tips and advice and talk about things like, “How To Deal With Failure In Business” and shared how I had a down moment because a deal didn’t go through. I got so many comments with people saying they were thankful that I shared this side of business because a lot of bloggers don’t do that.
What advice would you give to young girls wanting to start a business? 
AP: First I would say to hone in and focus on what you want to do. Sometimes that’s really hard. When you start off, a million ideas come to you. It’s a mix of passion and what you know will sell, and what is practical for today. Sometimes you can have a passion for something and maybe it’s just not time for it. Sometimes you can have a great idea, but you really have no passion for it, and the first road block that comes up, you want to quit. That’s not the business to start.
Sit down, meditate, and ask yourself, what do I really want? Usually your business idea comes from solving some type of problem. For example, when I was starting Superstar Nail Lacquer, it was an idea that came to me and my mom, we both started it together.
Superstar Nail Lacquer

Superstar Nail Lacquer

We sat down and thought about clothing but that market is so saturated, and then we said why don’t we come up with a fast-drying nail polish? We’re always sitting in the nail salon waiting for our polish to dry, why don’t we create a formula that is fast-drying, environmentally safe and vegan? And of course this didn’t happen overnight, this is after weeks of planning and reading, and when you open up your mind, that’s when ideas will come.
The second thing is, you should find a coach or a mentor. Whether it’s someone you know or someone who you just read their books or go to their website and get their weekly newsletter, find a successful entrepreneur who you can look to for inspiration. Read, read, read what they have to write.
Like my mom always says. “Successful people leave clues.” They’re leaving clues in their message, they’re leaving clues in their books, they’re leaving clues in interviews.
When you see someone who clicks with you, listen and go after everything that they are doing. That may help you find your purpose in your vision.
Another thing is to make a vision board. If you don’t know what you want to do initially, create a vision board for the results you want. “I want to be a successful business owner.” Picture and see yourself with other successful business owners. Paste your face in the middle, standing next to Oprah or whoever. It’s amazing how what you continuously focus on, you attract in your life. So say: I’m going to be a successful entrepreneur, I’m going to have my own business, and I’m telling you, an idea, some type of opportunity is going to present itself to you, and make everything that you put on your vision board come to pass. Even if you do know what you want to do, create a vision board for your business because it keeps you in line with what you are supposed to be doing.
You also do mentorships and coaching and workshops. How can people learn about those?
AP: Myself and my mom are going on tour, this our third year. It’s called The Ultimate Success Tour and it’s a one-day workshop and one-day coaching session for those who attend. In February 2016, we’re in Orlando. Then we go to Chicago, LA, Atlanta and New York. Then in the summer time,  we’re back in Orlando to do a three-day conference. You can find out about it at TheUltimateSuccessTour.com or ArianaPierce.com.
What do you see for your five-year plan, when you’re 30?
AP: In five years I definitely want to be continuing my coaching. I love seeing other people start their businesses, that’s part of my purpose. I would love to see it where we can pack out stadiums and help people in their business and lives. I want to grow my nail lacquer brand and travel brands internationally as well. Those are the two things I’d definitely like to accomplish.
With the way you’ve been going it sounds doable!
AP: For sure!

Check out Ariana Pierce at arianapierce.com and follow her on Instagram.

She’s The Boss Season 2, Ep. 4: Charlene Dance, Global Marketing Director At Strength Of Nature

October 26th, 2015 - By jade
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Meet Charlene Dance, Global Marketing Director at Strength of Nature, LLC.
After creating DreamKids, Beautiful Textures and re-launching multiple brands under the Strength of Nature portfolio, Charlene made it a point to support Black women beyond their beauty needs as SON Global's Marketing Director. No stranger to taking risks and epitomizing the ideal of a Black Girl who Rocks,
Find out why, She's The Boss.

How Do you Turn Social Media Into a Career? “She’s The Boss” Season 2 Episode 1 – Karen Civil, Founder & CEO of Always Civil Enterprises

October 5th, 2015 - By jade
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Meet Karen Civil, Social Media Maven, and Founder of Always Civil Enterprise. After crafting social media campaigns for artists and brands, including Lil' Wayne and Beats by Dre, this entertainment powerhouse leveraged her connections and name to create a strong lifestyle brand that is slowly becoming a household name. Find out why She's The Boss.

Do you have any questions for Karen? Let us know in the comment section below. We will be doing a live Twitterchat with Karen on 10/6 @ 1pm PST/4pm EST.

More information on Karen Civil.

KarenCivil.com

LivingCivil.com

Always Civil Enterprise

Want more She's The Boss?

Angela Benton, Founder & CEO of NewME Accelerator

AJ Johnson, Celebrity Fitness Trainer & Founder of the AJ Zone

Season 2 Promo 

Season 1 Episodes 

 

Is There Enough Positive Representation Of Black Women In The Media? | She’s The Boss Is Back!

October 2nd, 2015 - By jade
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Yesterday, we posed a serious question on our Facebook page asking, "Do you feel like there is enough positive representation of Black women in the media?" Of course, most of you said no, pointing to the need for more spotlight on the achievements in our community and we want you to know we have a solution. We're bringing back She's the Boss!

She’s the Boss captures the business savvy, style and spirit of America’s most successful Black businesswomen. Created specifically to cater to the unique environment of online television viewing, the series features intimate one-on-one interviews with four of the most influential and inspiring women in the United States. She’s the Boss offers practical advice and inspiration to the largely female demographic among MadameNoire fans. Sponsored by African Pride, this season we will be highlighting amazing entrepreneurs such as Karen Civil, AJ Johnson, Angela Benton, and Charlene Dance.

For the month of October, tune in every Monday at 9am to hear their stories.

Click here to watch the amazing women who were featured in Season 1.

For more of our BOSS movement, don't forget to enter our Be The Boss contest for a chance to be featured in a docu-series as well as win a makeover courtesy of African Pride.

“Be The Boss” Contest Entry: Eboyne’ Jackson

September 24th, 2015 - By jade
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A woman of many talents, Eboyne’ Jackson is a mogul in the making with an arsenal of talent as a brand strategist, lifestyle journalist, and creative visionary. As CEO/brand strategist for her boutique PR firm, Divine Influence PR, Eboyne’ found her niche in the beauty/entertainment industry, and has worked with many viable brands such as Echelon Hair, Lyfe Jennings, Jazmine Sullivan, Victoria Monet, Bethany “Queen B.” Bell, and Rodney Jon, scoring credible media placements for her clients in top outlets such as The REAL, Essence Magazine, Lucky Magazine, Fox, Arise TV, Ebony Magazine, and the Source. From producing shows during New York Fashion Week, to rubbing elbows with some of the industry’s elite such as Beyonce’, Rihanna, Kimora Lee Simmons, Vera Wang, Tracey Reese, Beat Face Honey, and Sam Fine, Eboyne’ Jackson is a woman on the move.

Check out her video entry above and for more info on how you can nominate a woman you know to “Be the Boss” and win a makeover courtesy of African Pride, click here.

Contest Entry: Khadijah Neumann

Contest Entry: Ashley Woods

Contest Entry: Tracey Woods 

Contest Entry: Angel Toney 

Valley Girl Hair Collection Changes The Hair Industry With Patent-Pending Back Closure

August 21st, 2015 - By Rochelle Burnley
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ErickaRochelle_headshotIf you’re anything like most women today, you are looking for an easy way to maintain your tresses. Typically, hair extensions are the easiest way to protect your hair, but how many hair extension companies offer the versatility us women truly yearn for? We are usually limited in the styling that can be done with our extensions and even the textures that they offer. Enter Ericka Rochelle, founder of Valley Girl Hair Collection. Ericka started Valley Girl Hair Collection with hopes of filling the void of quality hair in her hometown of Southfield, Michigan and has since provided women nationwide with quality, luxury hair extensions that can’t be found elsewhere. Ericka spoke with MadameNoire about Valley Girl Hair Collection (VGHC) and their rapid success in the industry through their unique texture blends and versatile styling abilities.

MadameNoire: What inspired you to start VGHC?

Ericka Rochelle: Originally, I didn’t know anything about hair when I first came into this. I did start with a business partner who did hair for 16 years. She was supposed to be more of the brains behind the hair, but then we broke up, so I went off on my own. Initially, I started because I’m a business woman I see an opportunity in making money in the hair world. This is a billion dollar business so I was like, “I want a piece of this pie.” I knew that I have very strong selling skills, I have great customer service skills and with a strong business mind I knew that I could do this. Through researching manufactures, trying hair for over a year, we found the perfect manufacture that fit us the best, that will work with us through everything and that’s how it came about.

MadameNoire: Who is the VG woman?

VGHC promo with models

VGHC promo with models

Ericka Rochelle: It’s every woman. I think when we first came out it started to sound like we weregoing toward that suburban girl, that valley girl, that California girl, but now it’s everybody. So whether you come from the east side or the west side, or you’re coming from Detroit or you stay in the suburbs of Michigan, everybody can wear Valley Girl. The name makes people very excited. They want to be a Valley Girl. They want to be what everybody thinks is this California surfboard girl or something like that. One of my customer’s favorite line to say when leaving the store is “Now I’m a Valley Girl.”

MadameNoire: In what ways is VGHC improving the application method of hair extensions?

Ericka Rochelle: We are the inventors of the back closure piece, which is a patent-pending piece. We invented that piece because we wanted to think outside of the box. I do not want to stay in the realm of whatever my manufacturer offers that’s all that I can sell. I tell them what I want. I’m a person who, if I have a sew-in, and I want to put a ponytail in my head then that’s just what I want to do; but every time you get a sew-in and you put it up in a ponytail, you’ll see tracks on the side and you have to maneuver around this ponytail to get it right because if not it’s going to look tacky. So the invention of the back closure piece came from that. We wanted to invent a piece that you could just take a brush and you could comb the hair straight up as if it was your own hair and it was that seamless ponytail.

We’re always thinking about the next wave of hair. I invent five different curls every single year. I bring out five new curls that I actually invent myself. Right now we have a curl out called Barbie Wave. The Barbie Wave curl is a curl that is a curl and a crinkle together. Putting those two beautiful textures together it made this wave and it looks amazing and it’s selling like crazy right now. I don’t even have the stock for it, it selling so crazy.

MadameNoire: How does VGHC improve/accommodate its consumer’s lifestyle?

Ericka Rochelle: I sell twelve different types of hair, so that’s one thing that’s good because most hair companies that are out right now they may sell one, or two, or three; I sell twelve. That in itself will accommodate. One thing I definitely think that Valley Girl Hair offers is a variety of hair, whether it be the region where the hair comes from or that I have eight different curls right here in my showroom in Detroit.

In Detroit, everybody either sells body wave, straight, deep wave, and maybe a loose wave, but I have eight different curls that you can pick from when you walk into my door. That accommodates everybody too because now you have a lot of choices. If you’re that workout lady and you sweat a lot and you’re like “I want this certain type of curl,” I probably have that certain type of curl right in the store. It doesn’t have to be ordered or anything. It’s right there for you.

MadameNoire: You recently made a deal with Wal-Mart, what can we expect from that?

Ericka Rochelle: Wal-Mart has gotten into hair. What caught their eye was that I was definitely thinking outside of the box. I wear frontals myself and every time I would wear the 30 second glue, if I went swimming or was on vacation, my frontal was definitely coming up. I wanted to create glue that I could go swimming in and it won’t come up. Wal-Mart picked it up because they want to make Wal-Mart a one-stop shop. They actually want to make a beauty supply within Wal-Mart. I can go to Wal-Mart, I can go shopping, grocery shopping, get my beauty supplies; I can go get my hair. That’s their goal. So, I think putting it in Wal-Mart was making it reachable to every single client. No matter where you are.

MadameNoire: What sets VGHC apart from other hair vendors?

Ericka Rochelle: Being innovative and thinking outside of the box is what’s going to keep Valley Girl going because like I said, I don’t stick with the norm, I’m always thinking outside of the box. Where they’re just selling the same old body waves, I’m thinking of the new wave of hair. Another thing that I think that everybody knows about Valley Girl is that I invest in a lot of education to educate stylists. I think of different closures, seminar classes that I can have for stylists. Giving back is something that a lot of companies don’t do. I have so many different relationships with stylists this year, where I know a lot of companies here don’t have a lot of relationships with different stylists.

Our showroom alone is a little bit different. A hair showroom, that’s not really heard of. A lot of people are trying to do storefronts and things like that. I made my showroom look more like an LA buying/fashion showroom. Just thinking outside of the box is what’s going to keep us going. Don’t stay inside the realm.

Life & Career Takeaways Mom Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Self-Made Women

June 4th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Welcome to our Mommy Mogul column where we cover issues of importance for moms who are launching a new business, working a side gig, or managing work life and home life. Is there a topic you’d like us to address? Send your thoughts to tgarcia@madamenoire.com. And, as always, take to the comments with your feedback.

Jessica Alba, via Instagram

Instagram

Let’s be honest, it’s not walk in the park to be a mother — let alone one about her business. In addition to navigating the realm of being self-employed, you also have to worry about your household, child demands and other tasks that come along with being a mother. I love my family and what I do. That doesn’t mean it’s not tiresome from time to time.

Forbes magazine recently published a list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women that highlights some of the most successful women in the game. Even though they operate in different industries, that doesn’t stop them from working hard to pave their own way. I don’t know about you, but I love reading about successful mommy entrepreneurs who are making strides in their industry. It’s empowering and encourages me to pursue my endeavors as a work-from-home mother.

In thinking about mommy entrepreneurs, here are some takeaways we can apply to our work/life hustle.

Have dreams of expansion and acquisition. Yes there will always be competition, but that doesn’t mean they can’t become an employee of your company. Billionaire Diane Hendricks is the second richest self-made woman — and also a mother of seven — who made the decision to buy one of her biggest competitors. Even if you don’t yet have the money to make such a pricey investment, there’s nothing wrong with having dreams to expand your brand.

Side ventures pay off. No worries if you have to work your business idea on the side. You never know how it will grow. Johnelle Hunt is a widowed, mother of two who created a trucking company with her late husband. Raking in $6.2 billion in sales, this venture was once a side business that grew over time.

Dare to step out of your comfort zone. There’s a good chance your “big break” might not come in the current industry you’re in. Tons of people have seen success in the least expected places. While Jessica Alba technically didn’t make it on the list, she did grace the cover of the Forbes issue because her empire, The Honest Company, is now valued at $1 billion. An actress who made a name dancing in that movie Honey, who would’ve thought her greatest success would come from providing sustainable household and baby products? Through research and years of hard work, she continues to position herself as a growing expert in her industry.

Address a general need. Even if you aren’t able to reinvent the wheel, that doesn’t keep you from addressing a general need. Sara Blakely is a self-made billionaire who helped introduce the world to the phenomenon knows as Spanx. The shapewear has helped give women confidence and continues to expand in products, now offering intimates and yoga apparel.

Look for multiple streams of income. It’s great you’re working to create a lucrative business, but what are other ways you can bring in additional income? BET co-founder Sheila Johnson is a great example of someone who casts her net wide when it comes to investments. She owns resorts, has minority stakes in professional sports teams and is branching into the entertainment industry (helping to finance the film The Butler).

Use your life a source of inspiration. What can anyone say about Beyoncé? She is a force in the music industry who continues to evolve with time. Much of her success has come from her own life experiences that have helped her be a relatable figure to so many. Look for areas in your life that will help you better address the needs of your target market — and make you a go-to resource.

main image: Instagram

Can You Boast About Your Hustle When Others Are Paying Your Bills?

May 26th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Woman freeloader asking/borrowing money from a guy/man

Shutterstock

I’m all for pursuing your passion and taking the journey down the entrepreneurial road. I don’t want to sound like a politician, but small businesses do help make America what it is.

When it comes to the self-employed life, there’s no established playbook that will guarantee success (please forward me a copy should you have one). There are part-time entrepreneurs who rely on a traditional 9-to-5 gig to fund their endeavors, folks who take the leap of faith by quitting their job and others who collaborate on joint ventures. So long as you have a plan in mind with an end goal, keep on trucking.

That however does not mean you should expect others to pay your bills.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when financial hardship is a reality. In fact, this is one of the reasons why many millennials are moving back in with their parents and even looking to them to help pay monthly expenses. Whether you graduated not too long ago or can’t seem to find a job after some time on your own, there are tons of reasons why loved ones spring into action and offer support.

This however is not one of those examples.

It has come to my attention — through the family grapevine of course — that one or two relatives have requested an offering plate be passed in their name. Both are able-bodied individuals who could find employment to supplement their income, but instead want to rely solely on the financial donations of the family until their separate ventures turn a profit. Did I mention that one of the them is married and has four kids?

Say what now?

As a self-employed person myself, I get that certain ventures require more start up money than others. It would be great to think of an idea and have Oprah’s bank account to fund it, but that’s not a reality for most of us. What I don’t get is why these two are giving every excuse in the book not to work. Come to think of it, one of them lives in a property owned by his mother and never had to pay a dime in rent. Even if you had to do something part-time due to the amount of hours needed to get things going, you have to learn to take care of you and yours on your own.

I guess one of them used his “spidey sense” not to call my house as my father-in-law recently told us he was hit up for money. Perhaps this wonderful cousin of mine realized asking a young married couple with a toddler and baby on the way wasn’t a good idea, especially when you consider the wife (that would be me) has been trying to navigate the demands of being an entrepreneur for several years, and has taken employment when necessary to pay bills.

Am I really that wrong to think a grown adult shouldn’t ask around the family to pay for his own bills on a monthly basis? I’m all for volunteering and charitable efforts, but not in the case of someone choosing not to work. Sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and do what’s necessary in the meantime. Then again, there are some people who feel it’s okay to hit up family because they earn more. I beg to differ and think like the folks at Capital One: What’s in your wallet?

I guess it boils down to how you look at things.