#BlkWomeninBiz: Sierra Thomas

Sierra was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio and has known she wanted to own a business since she was a young girl. Growing up she always had the passion for entrepreneurship and at age 11, worked on the weekends with her grandfather in his network marketing business. In 2010, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from Youngstown State University, and obtained her MBA from Franklin University in 2012.

Throughout her time working in Corporate America, she developed her skills in accounting and problem solving, and realized her gift in numbers, was her calling to create her own solution to helping people: Touché Financial Solutions, LLC.

sierraTouché Financial Solutions, LLC helps new and established businesses create accounting systems tailored to the scope of their business needs and operations. Sierra’s business philosophy is to support, educate, and mentor both her personal, and business clients.

Touché Financial Solutions, LLC offers a variety of services including financial assessments, budget analyses, and strategic planning. For individuals, her company will work with you to reach your personal goals, and get your finances back on track.

Sierra makes it a point to continuously provide support and education to her clients through her Tax Tip Tuesday’s and Tax Tip Thursday’s, in addition to hosting in-person events, and speaking engagements – like her upcoming mini training at Respect the Hustle: Taxes and Brunch.

Don’t be fooled by the success Sierra has had. She most certainly put blood, sweat, and tears behind building her business. There were times that she felt “in over her head” and believed that no one supported her vision. Through the power of prayer and trusting God, she was able to push through. Thankfully she also got an accountability partner, and has been able to build a network of entrepreneurs within her field.

When asked if being a black woman in business held any special meaning for her, Sierra responded:

Absolutely! It is a great honor and privilege to not only be an African-American business owner, but an African American Accountant. The business industry has always been a Caucasian- male dominate industry and now women, especially African-American women are breaking through that glass ceiling. I am so proud to be apart of this monumental movement!

Sierra is truly passionate about her business, and the businesses she gets to support on a daily basis. In regards to other African American Accountants considering starting their own business, she encourages you all to “go for it!”

Never limit yourself because someone else has a similar idea. God created you and no one can do what you do, like you do it!

Sierra, thank you for trusting in your purpose and choosing to push through! Thank you for being amongst the resilient #BlkWomeinBiz.

Join Sierra for the first Respect the Hustle event of 2018 for Taxes and Brunch! Tickets are on sale – click here to get your ticket today.

#BlkWomeninBiz: Juanita Darden-Jones

Juanita-Michelle is a wife, mother of 6, grandmother of 9, and self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur. The journey has not been easy for Juanita, but she continues to build her business and strives to provide for her family and make a comfortable retirement.

Juanita is a tenured professor of Mathematics at Sinclair Community College. She also teaches a course in marketing. Juanita has multiple degrees from Franklin University, University of Cincinnati, and the University of Dayton.

Being a businesswoman comes second nature to Juanita. Her very first business idea was to sell vegetables out of her family garden to a senior citizen complex across the street.

Today, she is the founder of “the people’s coffeehouse” – Third Perk.

Junaita - Black Women in Biz

Third Perk Coffeehouse & Wine Bar offers variety of coffee products, and a boutique wine selection. For Juanita, being a black woman in business gives her the opportunity to walk a challenging path that she hopes will make a way for other women in the future. Capital and finding ways to increase revenue for the business is something that Juanita continues to work through. But with time comes wisdom and experience. Juanita now has a better understanding of planning and has even started a non-profit that will assist others with capital.

Juanita - Black Women in Biz

When asked what advice she would give to other women interested in starting a similar business:

“PLAN-BELIEVE-ACHIEVE Planning has been my greatest asset.  Good planning in the beginning has allowed me to understand possible pitfalls.” 

Juanita, thank you for taking risks and paving the way for future black women in business!

Have you broken barriers in the corporate world? Are you an up and coming entrepreneur? Complete the form below to be featured in the #BlkWomeninBiz series! Follow @blkwomeninbiz on Instagram.

New Year, New Goals, Time to Hustle

This past year has been life-changing for my business. I have grown my network, discovered new interests that I was able to incorporate into my overall strategy, and I have been able to look at my weaknesses and improve on them. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, or someone interested in climbing the corporate ladder, it’s time to move full speed ahead into 2018.

Here are 3 things I plan to do in 2018 and you should, too!

  1. Stop making excuses – We’re all guilty of it. “If your dreams don’t scare you, then they are probably not big enough.” Stop thinking you can’t accomplish things because your thoughts become reality.
  2. Plan content on a monthly basis – Last year there were moments when I didn’t plan content ahead of time and it was nerve-wracking! This year I’m vowing to plan my content on a monthly basis. Not only will this help me keep my sanity, but it will clear my head to be able to create even better events, webinars, and content.
  3. Celebrate my wins – It’s hard for me to celebrate my wins because I always feel like there was something I could have done better. This year I have promised myself that I am going to celebrate my successes, no matter how small they may seem.

What are your business goals for 2018? Comment below to share!

P.S. Here are some things I hope you left in 2017!

3 Things Creators Should Leave in 2017


Surprise! Respect the Hustle is growing and coming to a city near you! Follow Respect the Hustle on Instagram for upcoming events. New events will be announced soon!

Respect the Hustle

The Black Women in Business Series is also growing and I have some new amazing women to be featured in 2018! Catch up on past features and complete the form below to be featured yourself! Follow the Black Women in Business Series on Instagram.

Black Women in Business

 

#BlkWomeninBiz: Shanequa J, Owner of Barcode Glam

Shanequa was born in Akron but raised in Cleveland, OH. She always wanted to be a fashion designer but when life happened, plans had to change.

She attended the University of Cincinnati but dropped out after 2 years. Later, she attended Brown Aveda Institute where she became a Licensed Esthetician; specializing in threading and waxing.

Her first business idea was to open up an esthetic shop. However, since she didn’t have a lot of money or capital, so she decided to start something that would be more efficient but ultimately help her reach the end goal. Her love for shoes gave her the idea to open an online shoe boutique. She put her ideas on paper and decided on the name, Barcode Glam. After that, she created her logo, invested in inventory, and began vending at events to build her brand. Her ultimate goal is to merge both Barclode Glam and her esthetician business.

In 2016, she was ready to move forward and found the perfect location in Walnut Hills of Cincinnati, OH. Her heart was set on the space and she event spent $500 on an architect to create the design and floor plan. She submitted the plan to the building owner but they decided they did not want any boutiques in the building. Ironically, during this time there was a lot of gentrification happening in the area. Leaving Shanequa to believe it was not just boutiques they didn’t want, it was her.

Shanequa knows that eventually she will be able to merge these businesses. She believes he denial of the space was a good thing because Barcode Glam is steadily growing. Next time instead of leasing a space, Shanequa plans to buy a building.

Being a black woman in business makes Shanequa feel empowered, especially when she gets to network with like-minded women. Her advice for anyone considering to take the leap and become a business owner themselves: “Pay for what you need to grow your business.”

She also suggests you truly understand your target market and what they would want to purchase; not what you think they would want to purchase.

Shanequa, thank you for your resilience and stepping out on faith to become a black woman in business!

Head over to barcodeglam.com to shop and learn more!

Know a woman who should be featured in the #BlkWomeninBiz series? Complete the form below.

#BlkWomeninBiz: Emerald Sparks

The idea of working for 40 years, at set hours, with minimal personal time was never in the cards for Emerald. She knew she wanted more, but initially did not think entrepreneurship would be her calling.

Emerald is from Dayton, OH and received her Bachelor’s of Administration with a specialization in Accounting from The Ohio State University. After accepting the fact that she could never live her life the way she wanted in the corporate world, she ventured out and started her first business; an online clothing and shoe boutique.

Unfortunately, the business ended quickly because she was not ready to step out of her comfort zone and promote herself or the business. On top of that, it just was not her passion.

After this came a lot of soul searching. She read Steve Harvey’s book, Act Like A Success, Think Like A Success, and consulted with some of her friends and family. She asked them to give her a list of what they thought she was good at, and it all led back to finances. She always loved money – not in a materialistic way, but more like, “Hey, I’m good at this!”

She started researching other professionals in the industry to create her pricing structure. In addition, she researched techniques, procedures, systems, and began to develop her own unique style financial planning and consulting style. After working in her “business” for months unofficially, she applied for her LLC and began to launch her brand.

Emerald now offers a variety of courses that focus on financial review and strategy, financial planning, coaching, and credit restoration. She is even a published author and wrote the book Vision. Future. Reality: How to Budget Like a Boss; a quick read, self-help book geared towards helping you achieve your financial vision and goals.

As many entrepreneurs know, the journey is far from easy.

“From the lack of funds and the lack of support sometimes, you just want to give up and apply for jobs! And I have! I have applied for jobs and haven’t heard anything back. They say rejection is God’s biggest blessing so I remain patient and prayed up.”

Emerald has managed to stay faithful and resilient throughout her journey as a black woman in business. She recognizes that while we are not yet equal, it is still an amazing, and necessary, opportunity to “have a seat at the entrepreneurial table.” 

When asked her advice to others who may be interested in pursuing a similar career path:

“Entrepreneurship is more time and dedication than it is money. So don’t do it if you only want to make money, do it because you actually want to change lives. Be genuine in that and everything will fall into place.”

Emerald, thank you for being a black woman in business! You refused to accept the typical lifestyle and walked out on faith. For that, I applaud you!

Are you or someone you know a black woman in business? Complete the form below to be featured.

 

#BlkWomeninBiz: Kyshira Moffett, MBA

Kyshira Moffett, MBA, is truly a Bombshell of All Trades. She is a Brand Strategist, Blogger, Speaker, and the mastermind behind HERmovement, Bombshell Biz Society, and Life of a Bombshell Cosmetics. Chicago native, currently living in Pittsburgh, PA, and graduate of Hampton University, Kyshira seeks to empower busy bombshells, like herself, that are ready to take on the world; plus, she has the resume to back it up.

Believe it or not, Kyshira did not always want to be an entrepreneur. Her goal was to climb the corporate ladder and become the Chief Diversity Officer of a global corporation. She began her career in a Human Resources Leadership Development Program for a financial institution and genuinely enjoyed her job. However, the more she explored her side hustle, the more she fell in love with stepping out and pursuing her own business.

Her first venture was KSM Career Consulting where she offered resume writing services, LinkedIn profile assistance, cover letters, and preparation for interviews. Entrepreneurs began to seek her out for LinkedIn assistance and gradually began to ask for help with their overall brand. That is where the evolution of her business began. In 2016, she rebranded to what we all know today as the KSM Group.

In the beginning, Kyshira did minimal marketing because referrals and word of mouth was how she kept a steady book of clients. She had a friend design a blog, she added her services to it, and didn’t have set prices for new clients. Later, she got serious about her business and developed a business plan from scratch. This is what has helped take her business to the next level. So much so, that she has added it to her site for other women to use and to do the same. Click here to access the Bombshell Business Plan.

Thanks to the success of the KSM Group, which now offers brand strategy services to creatives and freelancers, Kyshira has been able to explore more of her passions. One of which was to create her own makeup line. Life of a Bombshell provides lipsticks, liquid mattes, eyeshadow, and even cute, but necessary, accessories. Within the first year of the launch, Life of a Bombshell is already receiving worldwide recognition through the press with companies like Essence Magazine.

“The hardest moments honestly all have centered around doubt. Business is hard. Everyday won’t be a good day. Every product won’t sale. It’s important during these times to not let the spirt of doubt creep in. I’ve learned how to deal with disappointment and keep moving. The saying “it’s always darkest before light” is so true. Too many people give up before the breakthrough! Another thing I’ve learned the hard way is the importance of self-care. PLEASE take care of yourself. Get enough rest, drink water, exercise and make time for fun! You’re no good to anyone if you’re drained and burned out.”

Organization is vital for Kyshira to manage multiple businesses. She typically plans for every quarter, and tries to prevent herself from making real-time decisions – other than emergencies. She utilizes content scheduling tools like Buffer, email marketing tools, and accounting tools.

Kyshira loves being able to show other people who look like her, that they can reach their greatest potential.

“There is no better feeling in the world than empowering another black woman to own her power.”

Her word of advice to other women who want to start a business…or three: “Feel the fear and launch it anyway.”

Kyshira, thank you for being amongst our tribe of #BlkWomeninBiz! Your hustle is truly motivating and I can’t wait to watch you take over the world!

Know a black woman in business that should be featured? Submit their information below.

 

3 Reasons Why You Have to Keep Hustlin’

Monday I hosted my first TJE event titled, Respect the Hustle. The purpose of the event was to bring like-minded women together for an evening of wine and networking. 100 women entrepreneurs registered for this event and nearly 60% of attendees showed up. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that.

The responses I’ve received thus far have reminded me WHY I need to keep the hustle alive and here’s why you should too:

1. You don’t know who’s watching. While you’re looking in the mirror thinking of all the things you could have done better, there’s someone watching you who believes in you. They believe in your dream and your hustle and they want to see you win!

2. You got shit to do. And goals to reach! You might be closer than you think to the finish line. Sure, there are going to be rough times. That is what builds our character. But you have to push past them and stay resilient to reap the rewards.

3. I need you. Watching the women I’ve build connections to succeed makes me feel like I’m winning, too. I love celebrating your wins! I need you to keep hustlin’ because you motivate me to do the same.

We’re in this together, girl! I know it get hurts but when you want to give up, think about these three things and remind yourself why you started. If you need an accountability, let’s connect and keep each other motivated.

I look forward to seeing you at the next TJE event! Until then, keep hustlin’!

Check out some pictures from the first #RespecttheHustlepictures by Jen Lyttle.

Sponsors:

Wine on Highhttp://www.wineonhigh.com

Stella & Dot by Michelle Vroomhttp://www.stelladot.com/sites/MichelleVroom

Damsel in Defense by Trina D. Harrishttp://www.youdeservesafety.com

Fulciohttps://www.fulcio.life/

Dalisay is Pure – dalisayispure@gmail.com

Bonbons by Linda – bonbonsbylinda@gmail.com

Pure Romance by Tonnisha – pureromance.com/tonnishaenglish

Email marketing has the larger ROI than any other form of marketing. Register today for the first TJE webinar and learn how you can boost for business for nearly, free! Click here to learn more. 

#BlkWomeninBiz: Ibriz M.

Meet Ibriz M; a senior studying Political Science and Community Development at Howard University. Reigning from Philly, Ibriz was raised by her great-grandmother and mother who are both cosmetologist and beauty salon owners. Needless to say, being an entrepreneur runs through her veins.

Growing up she was always encouraged to pursue her dreams rather than take on your average 9-5. She knew from an early age that she was going to be her own boss. When she was around 7 years old, she and her cousin began making jewelry out of beads and plastic cord. This was only one of her first business ideas.

Her current hustle is her makeup line; Dipped Cosmetics. Many black women can relate to the woes of trying to find your perfect foundation shade. Ibriz saw this as she began learning more about makeup through YouTube. She created Dipped Cosmetics to bridge the gap in makeup for enthusiasts of color.

How did she do it?

She dedicated an entire summer to researching the cosmetic industry, manufacturers, and other successful companies. She worked tirelessly all day and night working on logos, coming up with new business ideas, and planning her launch. She committed herself to creating her brand and in the end, she made her dream a reality.

While that may sound simple enough, Ibriz had to make many sacrifices to build her business.

“The money that I used to start my business was supposed to buy my first car. I had to give my dad an entire business plan in order to convince him to let me invest the money in buying mink lashes rather than a car.”

To this day, gaining support from family and others alike has been one of the most challenging aspects of her business. When you dedicate your life to your business, there are some days you want to ask yourself, “is this even worth it?”

“I had a few great friends who held it down and supported me from the very beginning without me having to ask but there were more people that I love that never supported my brand but would call me from the Sephora store asking what I suggest they get.”

Overtime Ibriz has learned a lot about herself, and the harsh reality of being a black woman in business.

“Starting my brand really helped me realize that everyone won’t always be happy for you or eager to support you but as long as you stay true to your vision, your dedication will pay off.”

After a while Ibriz didn’t even have time to acknowledge the non-supporters because she was too busy sending packages out to complete strangers from all over the country. She is inspired by black women who have paved the way in the industry such as Blac Chyna with her Lashed brand.

“It’s empowering to be a part of a collection of independent women who are grinding to make their dreams a reality.”

One piece of advice Ibriz would give to other women wanting to start their own cosmetic line? Commitment. You have to be prepared to make the sacrifice to begin to be recognized amongst the big-name brands. If you’re ready to put it all on the line, then go for it!

Ibriz, thank you for being amongst this tribe of black women in business. Your drive and dedication is inspiring to me and all the women who will follow your lead. Never stop, never give up. WE need you!