For millennials and Gen Z, entrepreneurship has been looking more attractive than the traditional corporate 9-5 route in the last few years. While there is nothing wrong with receiving a stable income, people have been looking into becoming an entrepreneur for many reasons including the freedom to be creative, having their own source of revenue, not wanting to deal with a hostile work environment, etc. Whatever the reason is for you, creating your own source of income from your own ideas or products, is a path that is available for everyone.
When you become an entrepreneur, you will learn that the success of your business relies on you; you have the opportunity to put systems in place for yourself that will help your business grow.
BAUCE was able to speak with three Black Queer entrepreneurs about their businesses and what has helped them gain success along the way.
Sabia Wade, also known as The Black Doula, is a serial entrepreneur who is the CEO of Birthing Advocacy Doula Trainings, For The Village Inc, and owns a private trucking company called Loads of Pride. Wade’s focus has been to provide resources and educational tools around reproductive justice, financial wealth to BIPOC communities, and investing in other businesses. The business owner has been able to grow multiple businesses because she made sure of three things: Showing up authentically, building a team, and not thinking with a scarcity mindset.
“I think it is important to be transparent when engaging with your audience. For me, it was letting people know that, yes, I am a black, queer, and disabled entrepreneur. I’m flawed and I’m imperfect. I think about how I bring my humanity into spaces. You should let go of wanting to be perceived as perfection. Because you end up putting pressure on yourself and questioning if you can be human or not to people,” Wade said.
She continued, “People also have to understand that you have to build a business that is based on your needs. So one way to do that is by building a team. That team can be strictly for your business or a group of friends that support you. It’s important to have that sense of community, so you can create boundaries for yourself. The team you built will respect that and your time. That way, you are able to not be online sometimes and use the time as you please.”
One thing about entrepreneurship that can come off as intimidating for people is gaining capital to support their business and the strategy in generating revenue. Money is something that we have to accept is necessary and needed in business. But Wade believes that finding the money is not the main challenge. But changing our mindsets about money is.
“From learning in different spaces, I’ve also learned there is so much money to go around. The question I think a lot of people ask is, how do you get to it? But the question I ask myself is, why not me? Why can’t that be for me? Because the money is there,” Wade added.
As a business owner, you can sell a service or you can sell a product. Even if that product touches on a larger conversation that defies certain societal norms. Jodyann Morgan is the CEO of CTOAN, which is a candle business that intentionally celebrates the human form, in all of its glory, no matter the gender. CTOAN candles promote body positivity and are designed from a completely gender-neutral perspective. For Morgan, being a successful entrepreneur has been more about finding the joy in entrepreneurship and not the pressures of it.
“The advice I have for other entrepreneurs is do not connect happiness with money. I had to start reminding myself to just be happy without the money. Money comes and goes,” Morgan noted.
According to Morgan, The ebbs and flows are something that every entrepreneur will experience. You may have success in sales in one month and minimal sales the next month. So it is important to be prepared for the low months and not feel discouraged along the journey based on revenue alone.
Another entrepreneur agrees with that sentiment as well, Diamonde Williamson. Diamonde Williamson is the CEO and Director/Executive Producer of her own production company, Third and Wonder Production House. Third and Wonder focused on telling authentic Black women’s stories and hiring Black women to tell those stories, since the year 2010. With 10+ experience, Williamson has learned that taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually is just as important when it comes to growing your business.
“Wellness is a business strategy. We try to think strategically when it comes to business, but the first step is to really get your mind right. Let me just take a walk or take a shower. Give ourselves those spaces to flow and allow things to come to us instead of forcing inspiration.”
She continued, “Business is going to business. There are some things we just can’t control. So how are we taking care of ourselves, something we can control, so that we can show up better when the business goes up or down? You want to be resilient in this industry and you can’t allow the business to take you out because you are not well. The mission is beyond the business. The business is just a catalyst for my purpose in life.”