Microentrepreneur

Black History Month: What Black Microentrepreneurs Can Learn From Black Business Leaders

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Boost Team
Black History Month: What Black Microentrepreneurs Can Learn From Black Business Leaders

It’s Black History Month ✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿


People around the nation are celebrating the past, present, and future of our brothers and sisters who are making a name for the Black community - day in and day out.


Yes, there’s still a lot of work to be done, especially since only 15% of the nation’s businesses are minority-owned.


Nevertheless, the future's looking bright 🔆


Join us as we cover inspirational stories and lessons learned from (some) Black business leaders and young, Black microentrepreneurs.

But First, What’s Black History Month All About?

We’re glad you asked 😁


*Steps up to the podium and clears throat* 


The story of Black History Month started over a century ago, 50 years after the abolishment of slavery in the States.


In September 1915, Historian Carter G. Woodson and Minister Jesse E. Moorland founded what is now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).


In essence, the organization was set to research and celebrate achievements of people of African descent.


(Sound familiar? 😉)


A decade later in 1926, the group started sponsoring a National Negro history week during the second week of February. 


🎂 That week was significant because it coincided with the bdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.


Eventually, thanks to growing popularity nationwide, the whole month of February was donned Black History Month by ex-prez Gerald Ford in 1976.


And that’s how we got to where we are today! 


*Steps down from the podium*


Thanks for coming to our (unsolicited) TED talk.


💪🏽 It’s time to move on to what you’ve been waiting for: Black business leaders and what you can learn from them as a Black microentrepreneur.

Let’s Start With A Few Noteworthy Black Business Leaders 

Black people who have made it in business and entrepreneurship are garnering attention from the masses.


While you may not have heard of these specific Black business leaders, they are making themselves seen 👁:

Tiffany McGhee


Tiffany McGhee is kind of a big deal (which is why we’re starting with her, duh 😂).


She’s the first African-American and Afro-Latina woman to have an institutional investment advisory firm, called Pivotal Advisors.


(Psst - In layman's terms, she helps people grow wealth - more on this later!)


Today, she’s not only the founder, but also CEO & CIO of her firm.


Basically, she’s a boss. 


What’s even more impressive is that McGhee didn’t start her entrepreneurial ventures with inheritance money or a boatload of cash.


After watching her dad run two retail stores growing up, she felt confident she’d be able to start her own business one day.


So, when the time came, she cashed out her 401(k) and left her cozy corporate job to trust in herself and make her dream a reality.


Lots to be learned from her… Lots to be learned 😉


(Again, more on this later!) 

Cashmere Nicole


Cashmere Nicole is arguably one of the biggest names in the Black beauty industry.


And she made vegan products cool long before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon, mmmkayyy? 💁🏾‍♀️


In 2011, she founded Beauty Bakerie, a lipstick brand that’s all about that vegan, non-toxic, and cruelty-free life.


If starting a business is a big bet, then she upped the ante, doing all of this while battling breast cancer and raising a child on her own. 


After 10 years, she’s getting celebrity endorsements from stars like Beyonce and raking in over $7 million in funding from Unilever Ventures; Black execs, like Kenneth Chenault; and others.


Plus, Beauty Bakerie has over a million followers on Insta.


Yes, vanity metrics. We know.


But HELLOOOO! 


That’s ha-yuge! 😲


Anyways, truth be told, her spot on this blog is extremely well-deserved, especially for all the sweat and tears she put into this biz.


Her motto - “Better, Not Bitter” - is def one to live by 🔝


Plus, she was oh so kind as to share tips for entrepreneurs, some of which we mention later in this blog.


Stay tuned 📺

Evens Charles


This former D1 football athlete is now the President and CEO of Frontier Development & Hospitality Group.


It’s one of the nation’s largest Black-owned businesses making over $50 million annually.


Doing some simple maths, that’s over $1 million a week…


Let that sink in a minute…


🤑


Anyways, after graduating from Temple University, at the tender age of 25 (omg yes, 25 is still young), he was able to turn $1,000 into $25k within half a year due to a smart real estate investment.


And so began his long trail of success with Frontier.


We’ll spare you the boring real estate jargon.


But essentially, ⏩ Frontier is still slayin’ the game with Evens leading it even over 10 years later.


Their hotel portfolio consists of none other than Marriott, Hilton, and IHG hotels dispersed throughout the nation (Atlanta, Nashville, Columbus, and the Capital to name a few spots). 


And his list of awards takes up a good five lines or so.


We’ll spare your eyes 👀 (and me having to type it all 😂) and just say the man knows what he’s doing.

Young, Black Microentrepreneurs Are Killin’ It, Too

You didn’t think that we would just plop the adults on you and leave you hanging, did you? 🤓


Ofc we have to give credit to young, Black microentrepreneurs who are kickin’ butt and taking names.


Here are just a select few we can all learn from 👇🏽

Kike Oniwinde


Kike Oniwinde is the 28-year-old javelin thrower turned founder of BYP Network, a “Black LinkedIn” for London-based professionals.


She was on the Forbes list of 30 under 30 in Europe for 2019 for the technology sector.


So yeah… She’s kind of a big deal.


Again, similar to other Black business leaders before her, her business was not handed to her in a basket. 


She had to werk it.



And werk it she did.


From 2016 to today, BYP Network has over 50,000 members and partners with companies like Netflix, Adobe, and AirBnB


… Sure nothing to sneeze at. 


Plus, every day she’s working hard at her goal of getting more Black people in senior leadership roles, in a world where only 1% of companies invested in are black-owned.


On top of that, only 0.2% of those companies have a Black female founder.


Needless to say, her work is cut out for her ✄ 


Yet her motivation is 💯


Keep up the good work, Kike. Keep up the good work. 


P.S. - OK, so we bent the rules a little here. While she’s not currently still a microentrepreneur, we really admire her and all that she’s done in the professional Black community. I mean, don’t you??


P.P.S. - Don’t even know what a microentrepreneur is to begin with? We gotchu 😘 We already wrote all about What the Hell is a Microbusiness (And Why You Should Start One)


P.P.P.S. - Microentrepreneurs are entrepreneurs that start microbusinesses. Soooo yes, that article is relevant. 


K? K. 

DonYe Taylor & Raymond Smith


OK, 2-for-1 here.


DonYe Taylor and Raymond Smith are the cofounders of the Black-owned, millennial-led creative agency The Digital Footprint.


Their main objective is to help businesses increase awareness among young, multicultural audiences…


Kind of like the team that leads the agency 😇


They know how to market to the target audience because they are the target audience.


Genius, right? 😈


Anyways, their crew heads content, design, and social campaigns for businesses of all industries, including influencer marketers.


(If you go to their website, you’ll see influencers swimming with cheetahs… no joke. Actually thought it was Photoshopped in some of the pics until I Googled it and saw it’s a real thing lol.)


DonYe and Raymond sure are making a wave 🌊

Ofo Ezeugwu


We’re wrapping up our list of young Black microentrepreneurs with Ofo Ezeugwu.


Ofo is the CEO and founder of Whose Your Landlord, a website that connects good renters with good landlords through reviews, verified tenant info, and real-time housing listings.


It’s kind of one of those things that makes you think:


🤔 Why didn’t anyone think of this before???


🤷🏽‍♀️ We don’t know either.


💡 Either way, it’s golden. 


Anyways, getting back to Ofo and how he made it on our list…


Similar to Evens Charles, Ofo is also a Temple University graduate, where he was VP of the student body and the youngest alumni convocation speaker in the school's history.


(This is coming from Huffington Post, which we assume we can trust. #notfakenews)


And he has a pretty active acting and modeling career, appearing in the NYFW three times, the Today Show seven times, and working with Nike, ESPN (twice), and Alfani.


And if that’s not enough for you, he’s also a do-gooder.


He partnered with WalMart to donate $25,000 in rent relief amid the ‘rona pandemic in 2020.


If you ask us, his motto to live by drives a lot of his success. 


“No steps backward; just forward progress."


We dig that 😎

What Can Black Microentrepreneurs Can Learn From These Black Business Leaders? 


Yes, we dumped a lot on you. But also yes, there’s much to glean from these success stories. 


Here are our top four takeaways:

Keep your eyes on the prize


No matter what you pursue, there will inevitably be roadblocks


For example, look at Cashmere Nicole from Beauty Bakerie 💄 


She was living on food stamps and frickin’ beat cancer!


You can’t tell me those weren’t obstacles because if you do, I don’t think you really understand what that entailed. #havesomeempathy


Anyways, those who succeed despite the challenges are generally those who have a greater purpose in life.


They have a WHY driving everything they do.


So, when the going gets rough, they focus on that WHY and their end goal.


Because in the end, all things are temporary, and consistency wins 🙌🏽


(We wouldn’t be Boost if we didn’t plop in a handy resource for you here, amirite? Here ya go to get you started: 7 Tips to Finding Your Purpose in Life.)

Take charge of your finances


We get it. 


Money is the elephant in the room 🐘


But the name of the game is wealth.


And if you don’t learn how to properly invest the hard-earned cash you’re making, you’re just building riches.


👉🏽 Wealth = time. 


Something you’ll see as a common thread between all successful entrepreneurs and business leaders - regardless of race - is that they know how to handle their moolah.


They don’t just let it sit in their savings, hoping that it’ll magically quadruple over a span of 20 years 💰💰💰💰


Although we know how important this concept is for you to grasp, we admit this isn’t our domain.


So, we’re handing this over to the experts, where they’ll teach you three simple steps to building wealth

Acknowledge your power


When Tiffany McGhee cashed out her secure 401(k) to pursue the entrepreneur lifestyle, she had no idea what would happen afterwards. 


She was literally quoted in this CNBC article saying the following: “I just knew I was gonna be successful because I didn’t have a choice.” 


😮


THAT is the kind of faith you need to have in yourself and your abilities.


The unwavering kind that keeps you going day in and day out because you have everything at stake.


But you know you wouldn’t have it any other way 😏


This ordinary belief that inspires extraordinarily successful people has been around for quite some time. 


Like, really… This article 👆🏽 was from Inc. back in 2015.


(Kind of archaic for the interwebs if you ask us.)


But anyways, the point is: If you can dream it, you can do it.

Look for a co-founder (maybe)

We featured DonYe Taylor and Raymond Smith as the dream team in this blog.


But there are plenty of other boss b*tches and dudes making the smart business decision to co-found.


Tbh, collaborations are happening everywhere around us. 


In case you haven’t realized, the music industry has been doing this for ages when they collab with other artists 🎶



Think: Those who have strong reps bring their posee with them wherever they go.


It’s not any different with microbusinesses really.


Aside from having someone else to promote the biz, problem solve and share costs with, there are other reasons you could use a co-founder.


But a ⚠️ word of warning ⚠️ here… 


Choosing a business partner is more complicated than just picking who you vibe with.


The process of choosing a business partner considers things like entrepreneurial spirit, financial stability, skills, and credibility. 


So yes, while you and your work BFF Amanda are super tight, maybe her showing up 15 minutes late every day should be red flags for you? 🚩🚩🚩


#justsayin’ 


Plus, partnering with someone can help quicken biz development, meaning you’ll be able to scale much quicker than if you flew solo.


🧠 Remember: The whole purpose of scaling a business is so that you can eventually remove yourself from operations and still make money 💵

Final Words of Advice

Yes, the Black business leaders and young Black microentrepreneurs mentioned in this blog have YEARS ahead of you in entrepreneurship.


But, we’re not saying you should compare yourself to them.


We ARE saying this:



If there’s one thing they all have in common, it’s that they all started somewhere. 


They all took that first step no matter how fuzzy the future looked.


Nevertheless, a very valid point may be running through your mind now…


🤔 Where do I even begin? How do I develop a business plan and get in on this?


😌 We’re already two steps ahead of you.


👉🏽 Just a click will get you the answers you’re looking for: The First Year: A Comprehensive Guide To The First Year of Your New Small Business (Part 1 of 2).


You’ll be ready for Part 2 after you set the foundations, young grasshopper.


One last thing… If you see that running a biz is getting boring, messy, and confusing at times, we suggest you get early access to Boost. It’s the only app you’ll need so you can finally focus on your #bizgoals. 


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