I started my business in 2010 with a $300 investment, which was everything in my savings account. Eleven years later, it is a $10 million business. I wasn’t broke by choice, I had to really figure it out.
I wanted to write a book for people who grew up on my block.
Your book offers advice on building wealth for people who have been left behind by the system …
The advice most get-rich books often share would not work for Black women or people of color. They say “invest in real estate.” But that isn’t something that I have access to — no bank is giving me any kind of money! I can barely get a credit card. It’s so unrealistic. We can’t just go get a loan, we can’t just ask an uncle and raise our “friends and family” round or go get V.C. money. [So far in 2021, Black women have received 0.34 percent of all venture capital funding in the U.S.]
What else holds back women of color from making money?
First, sexism and racism. Second, internalizing that sexism and racism. Part of why that happens is because it’s reinforced everywhere we look. It’s in marketing emails, Instagram feeds, commercials. It’s in movies. We’re told success and wealth are not for women of color.
Who’s this book for?
I dedicated the book to my sister, who I think is a good representative of a lot of women. She’s a mom of two and she’s divorced. She has a full-time job where she’s a people manager. She also has a side hustle as a realtor, where she’s generating extra capital for herself. I think that’s true for so many women these days. We need to see ourselves as entrepreneurs, no matter what. We have a set of skills for sale and we can sell it to one company or we can sell it to multiple companies or multiple individuals.
Is that the million dollar value you talk about in the book?
Yes. The million dollar value is being crystal clear on answers to questions like: How am I adding value to this company? Be so clear about how you add value whether you’re in a corporate career or as an entrepreneur, so that you can charge accordingly. Then you’re back in your power instead of waiting for someone else to promote you.
You talk in your book about the “million dollar squad.” What is that?
Decades-old research finds that successful people are surrounded by other successful people. They have a powerful network. But you’re not likely to have a powerful network if you grew up in a poor neighborhood, like I did. I had to really create my network. And for that, we need to look to each other.