In a society where there are so many hurdles to economic progress, it is vital to shine a light on the importance of mental health as a fundamental human right. As we celebrate World Mental Health Day on October 10, 2023, we at Blaze Group aim to create a safe space for dialogue, acknowledging the specific challenges Black women entrepreneurs face. In this blog post, we delve deeper into the significance of nurturing mental well-being, exploring how it uniquely impacts the journey of Black women entrepreneurs.
According to our 2023 State of Black Women-Owned Businesses Report®️®️, 47% of Black women entrepreneurs experience elevated levels of stress in entrepreneurship. As many as 26% state they are “very stressed.”
Anxiety levels are also considerably high for Black women entrepreneurs, with 38% of respondents experiencing increased levels of anxiety, and 28% state they are “very anxious.”
We asked Black women entrepreneurs to name their top frustrations. Their answers were as follows:
▪️73% cited lack of capital
▪️57% cited social media engagement
▪️50% cited effective marketing
▪️45% cited customer acquisition
▪️38% cited customer retention
As Black women entrepreneurs, our path to success can be both rewarding and uniquely demanding. Juggling multiple roles and responsibilities while striving for achievement and growth can place immense pressure on our mental well-being. Often, societal expectations, biases, and the weight of historical inequalities add an additional layer of complexity to our entrepreneurial journey.
Our Founder, Casey Ariel Richardson, took some time to catch up with Nina Scott - Founder of Nina E. Scott & Company, a coaching and strategic solutions group specializing in prioritizing self-care and community in the lives of busy and burnt-out moms.
Nina is an “in-your-face” ball of energy, excitement, and encouragement. Nina has the ability to connect with the hearts of others, especially women, in a way that motivates them to acknowledge and adjust beliefs, patterns, and routines that don't align with their purpose.
Casey Ariel -- Nina, it's an honor to interview you today. You've been with Blaze Group since the very beginning. From webinars of early 2021, quote blocks that snatched edges on Instagram, and our days of bootstrapping as a collective community to become the brand that people know and love today. I've watched you continuously show up for yourself, sometimes with tears rolling down your face as you questioned why you don't know certain things. Years later, you come back telling me - "I get it now." Nina, you're a beautiful example of what it takes to ascend. It takes intention, not expectation. Nina, please introduce yourself to everyone.
Nina Scott -- My goodness, what a warm welcome. What a warm introduction. I literally have chills just listening to you talk, Casey. I am Nina Scott. I go by "Your Corner Coach" on social media, and there's a story behind that. Broken down, your corner coach is someone who's always in your corner. Your corner coach is looking out in front of you when you are blinded by everything you have going on but still there to say: 'You know what? You got this. Keep swinging, punching, and taking one step after the other, and it will clear up.' We all need that person in our corner to cheer us on in the celebratory moments, to pick us up in the valleys, and everything in between. I hold that name and that title so closely and dearly in my heart.
Casey Ariel -- Nina, you've made me aware of the complexity of being a mother and an entrepreneur. That's not an experience that I have first-hand accounts of. It will literally be on-the-job training whenever I do become a mother. I've often been blind to the nuances of that experience because they can't copy-paste. Moms can't copy-paste what a lot of people are saying when they don't make provision for all of the other responsibilities that come with that. Nina, you do a good job of bursting bubbles about many things related to motherhood - especially what balance and self-care look like and what boundaries look like. Nina, to start and to level set, why is this conversation around self-care particularly important for moms?
Nina Scott -- I'll even add on the mompreneurs, especially as we're talking to the Blaze Tribe, because most moms here are doing some work in their business or the corporate field. To relate it to that, I'll take your statement even further and say, Yes, I've always been here learning, and it's very clear that it's not a copy and paste. I took a journey through some frustration and vocalization because, gaining the pieces from Blaze and the tribe, I really had to take a minute like - damn, this doesn't make sense for my life. I can't do it the way she's giving me these nuggets. I'm getting all of this information, but it's not working for my day-to-day. And so - not running away from that - but standing in it like, "Okay, Casey, I hear what you're saying, but it doesn't fit for me and my lifestyle." So that took some awareness. When we're talking about busting the self-care bubble, I think a good place to start is that we're in this place with self-care as such a trendy topic. We want to mirror what other people are doing.
We see the successes of others and how they're living it up on trips and brunches with bubbly drinks. We create this expectation that we will succeed in that same manner, and it may not fit your day-to-day. When we're talking about self-care, it's not about what's working for everybody else. You have to figure out what works for you. You have to figure out what works for you. Thus, mirroring or trying to copy and paste what somebody else is doing isn't realistic. Their journey is not your journey. Their destination is not your destination. You can't copy and paste what someone else is doing or what you think they're doing. You have to operate in your truth and your reality in terms of what your body needs, what your soul needs, what your time capacity is, and what you're able to commit to. You have to figure out what works for you.
Casey Ariel -- That's real, Nina. It reminds me of this quote that people are saying more often now: "Don't compare somebody's Year 10 to your Month 10." That's so real. I hear you saying that we must ground ourselves in our current reality. The truth is when you're in the beginning stages and trying to figure out how to put the burger on the table that night, you don't even have the capacity to flesh out the sophisticated brand strategy fully. In those early stages, you literally don't have the capacity to think about your 10-channel marketing plan. You actually try to figure out what is a product that's going to sell. Staying in the game for multiple years provides the capacity to stretch in the areas of brand development and other facets.
Within Blaze, I'm realizing we're a magnet for like-minded people. When I look at similarities between people like you and other community members who show up consistently, I see a trend in what we're building. We are developing ecosystems that help people stay in the game. We're not offering "get-rich-quick schemes." None of us. We're not claiming, "Do this, and you will make a hundred thousand dollars in three months." None of us.
Nina Scott -- Exactly. Take the micro-steps and add it to the toolbox. You don't have to implement it right now. Like you said, with that burger, you don't need pickles and all of the extra things. Get the bun. When you get your bun and figure out, okay, sesame, or no seeds, wheat, whole, - when it's time to figure out if you need the pickles and the tomatoes, you'll have it in your toolbox. You must understand that's the extra that you don't need on Day 1. You have to build a foundation first. So, when we're talking about self-care and the myths of mastering it, understand that it's a journey. A journey involves going through different seasons and transitions, around different corners and over hurdles, under rivers, and through a journey. In due time and in due season, it will come.
Casey Ariel -- Let's make it practical, Nina. My fiancé told me a beautiful metaphor some years back: "You can keep saying that the door is right there because you understand tech and have structured deals. Others see a small little light. They have no idea how to get there. They're touching around and don't have anything to hold on to. It's dark." Let's turn on the light in the room. What are the micro-moments in self-care? If we have to be realistic, doing the best that we can today with what we have, how can we cleave to self-care?
Nina Scott -- You said it perfectly. You have to start where you are. In those times where you're overwhelmed, in those times where you don't see where you can add another activity, where you can add another place to go, another appointment, you must start with what you have and where you are. Every day that we get to open our eyes, there is breath in our bodies. When you shift your brain and your mind to think, "Okay, I'm breathing." We don't even think about breathing. How many times can you tell me throughout a day in 24 hours that you really start to say, "Oh, man, that last breath I took was everything." No, we're all action, no thought.
When you stop actually to inhale, hold your breath, and release - it starts to change the chemical imbalances that we have that are causing the stress, anxiety, overwhelm, and frustration. We're accustomed to constant motion, but we must be present in that activity. We just did those prompts of breathing. Engaging with those prompts allowed us to stop and intentionally use what we already have.
It is important that we hydrate in some form each and every day. Whether it's coffee, water, or any other forms of liquid - our body has to have that. We shouldn't reduce these actions to notions like, "Oh, I'm just doing this because I'm eating and my throat is dry," or "These fries are filling up in my throat, so I'll have a drink."
Instead, what if we were to stop and simply take a sip? Take a sip and actually feel that water on your tongue, or feel that whatever it is you're drinking. I said water because that's what our bodies need. But start with what you have. All you might have is a Sprite in the refrigerator. Open up that can, listen to the sound of when you pop that top. You pop that top of Sprite or Coke or whatever you have, and you hear the sizzling of the bubbles. You put that liquid on your tongue, and you feel the sensation. All of that. This practice is practicing self-care without additional shopping or spa treatments or burdens. It's free!
It costs you nothing to breathe, but it costs you everything not to breathe. We can become present in the actions that we're already doing: breathing, drinking, hydrating, putting on lotion, etc. It shouldn't be a matter of: "Oh, let me just hit these ashy spots, so I'll be decent." I encourage people to move with intention; purposely touch and rub your skin as you hydrate your body with lotion. Connect with yourself. Intentionally feel what it is that you're covered in - the skin. Look at the hair rising on your arms.
Self-care is so simple that sometimes it's not. Implementing self-care does not require adding another place that you have to go or another bill you have to pay or another membership contract you have to lock into. Rather, it's stopping to notice what you're already doing and utilizing the things at your fingertips to change your mindset. This type of grounding will help you deal with the shenanigans of the day, because life will continue happening.
There's so much more to this rich conversation! Click below to hear the full episode of Blaze Group Radio | Episode 56: Bursting the Self-Care Bubble w/ Nina Scott. Be sure to like and subscribe!
To learn more about Nina Scott, check out her links below: