Cynthia, Shawandra and Nicole share their very unique stories with us this week and we believe that we can all learn a thing or two from their resilience even in the face of fear. These women are powerhouses who took bets on themselves and are now crafting their ideal lives!
Cynthia Davis, Founder and CEO at CP Davis Consulting, LLC | St. Louis, Missouri
Cynthia, when did you first know that you wanted to become an entrepreneur?
Cynthia: During the pandemic in 2021
Shawandra Ford, Founder and Owner at Brwnskn Yoga | Memphis, Tennessee
How about you, Shawandra?
Shawandra: I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur in 2019 after resigning from my 22-year IT and finance career.
Nicole Murphy, Founder & CEO of Barter Black | Bowie, Maryland
Nicole, when did it happen for you?
Nicole: When I was fired from my job! I had that supervisor that no one wants. The one who always thought using your PTO was a sin. The one who micromanaged and the one who just made it difficult to work for a company that you loved so much. Once I was fired, I said that I would never work for anyone again and that was 9 years ago.
It's always refreshing to see Black women stand up for themselves and pursue their dreams even though it's not always the easiest decision to make. But once the bold step is taken, everything else falls into place one day at a time. Here's your reminder to finally take that step to create the life of your dreams!
Diving deeper into their stories.
CP Davis Consulting, LLC - helping non-profit organizations to build their organizational capacity and financial resources
"I am able to help non-profits build their organizational capacity and financial resources strategically through planning, leadership and board development, training, grant prospecting, grant writing and grant management," said Cynthia Davis
CP Davis Consulting, LLC offers strategic planning, grant prospecting, grant writing, grant management, leadership and board development, nonprofit startup, and nonprofit accounting services. Additionally, Cynthia is also a speaker, workshop presenter, facilitator, trainer and teacher.
What does a typical look like for you as an entrepreneur?
Cynthia: Most of my days end up being different. However, I always start my work day by checking emails, my calendar for the day and my task list. After that, my day flows according to my task list. I do keep my Mondays and Wednesdays meeting free so I can have uninterrupted time to work and create.
What were your greatest fears stepping into entrepreneurship?
Cynthia: I was so afraid of losing that consistent paycheck. I was afraid to depend on myself to make enough money to contribute to sustaining the lifestyle my husband and I enjoy.
What does your support system look like today?
Cynthia: I have an amazing support system that consists of my husband, family, friends and a wonderful tribe of black female entrepreneurs that are dedicated to lifting each other.
Brwnskn Yoga (BSY) - making yoga accessible for everyone regardless of their socioeconomic background.
"I created Brwnskn Yoga to serve as a holistic space for wellness that operates in underserved schools and communities," said Shawandra Ford
Brwnskn Yoga offers yoga and wellness services.
Can you walk us through a typical day in your life?
Shawandra: BSY goes out into the community and into inner-city schools to introduce the practice of yoga and social-emotional learning to children and adults of all ages on most days. Most recently, we have expanded our teaching to those who are incarcerated and are seeking reform and rehabilitation.
What does your support system look like?
Shawandra: My support system is made up of my husband, 2 sons as well as close family and friends.
What was your greatest fear before stepping into entrepreneurship?
Shawandra: My greatest fear was stepping out on faith. I knew exactly what my mission was but I wasn't sure how it would be perceived. I wanted to provide representation for my community, so I named my company Brwnskn Yoga. I am so happy I trusted my intuition.
Barter Black - empowering entrepreneurs to transition from the employee in their business to the CEO of their business
"Only 2.3% of Black-owned businesses in the United States have employees, compared to our counterparts at 83.5%. This alarming statistic means we aren’t scaling past solopreneuship. Barter Black was created during the pandemic when most Black businesses were suffering at a higher rate then anyone else. Regardless of your budget to hire, you are able to post a job on the Barter Black platform and users can apply to barter with you. We imagine a world where no black-owned businesses and business ideas are done on the altar of no funds. Who is up for breaking statistics with us?," said Nicole Murphy.
Barter Black offers a few things:
- The Barter Black membership, which is changing the game by allowing entrepreneurs to connect and trade services with each other. They offer an online platform where you can post unlimited jobs, attend monthly co-working meetings and more. Plus, you can use the platform to find talented professionals who you may want to eventually hire full-time.
- The Collective by Barter Black, which is an exclusive 12-month Mentoring & Bartering Mastermind for Black Legacy Builders who want a “Built For You” team that includes some “Done For You” services in your business launching April 1st. This is their Founding cohort, so only 12 ambitious entrepreneurs will be selected. Each quarter they focus on a different aspect of business that gets you closer to sustainability and building your exit strategy. The team at Barter Black are conscious Entrepreneurs who believe in the power of bartering and mentorship.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Nicole: Whew! Being a single mom and someone who is building a tech business, it is not easy. Morning is meant for getting kids ready and off to school. Then my work day begins. I'd usually start by catching up on emails and anything I didn’t finish the day before.
This year, I have attempted to time block, but that isn’t going as well as I had expected so I get done what is priority and then work on things that I can plan for in advance. One thing that I do that I love is to have days for calls with clients and potential clients. Those days are Tuesdays and Fridays. No day is really typical though. The struggle is real. Any given day can bring any given activity.
Did you have any fears about venturing into entrepreneurship?
Nicole: My greatest fears before stepping into entrepreneurship were:
- how was I going to survive? and
- will people buy into what I was selling?
It took me a while to find my footing. I know my family and friends were sick of all the ideas. But I just couldn’t go back to working for someone else.
The best thing I did was go drive Uber while trying out different things. Eventually, something worked - my Airbnb property management business - and I was able to quit Uber and work full-time in a business that I loved.
What does your support system look like as an entrepreneur?
Nicole: Depending on what your support system was like before being an entrepreneur will determine what your support system is like after. A lot of times, we get discouraged by friends and family not supporting us and I think there are 2 problems here:
(1) Our friends and family are almost always not our target customers or client and (2) We misconstrued support with buying.
There are so many others ways to support and I think we have to learn to be clear with people on how they can support us.
I have a great support system now. But it wasn’t always like that. I think once people realized that, yeah, she’s not playing and she is serious, then it was easier for them to support. I also think when my family saw me starting to succeed, it was easier to support.
Something to just accept is that strangers will almost always be your biggest supporters because, for a lot of us, we are the first entrepreneurs in our family. So it just may be hard for people to support something they don’t quite understand.
We hope the stories of these 3 entrepreneurs sparked a fire inside you! We appreciate the time they took to give us insights into their entrepreneurial journeys. Be sure to connect with them and drop them a message if their story resonated with you.
Learn how to grow from an entrepreneur to CEO with Blaze Group. Access community messaging, virtual co-working sessions, customizable business templates, business courses, and more — all from a single source. Try it free today. LEARN MORE