The stories of our superstar entrepreneurs this week - Teralisa, Allyssa & Erin - are so inspiring and honest. They each share details about how they run their businesses while staying grounded, prioritizing self-care and tackling their biggest fears. Read on to find out more!
Teralisa Brewer, CEO/Owner at Pozitive Vibrationz Creative Designz LLC | Little Rock, Arkansas
Teralisa, when did you realize that you wanted to become an entrepreneur?
Teralisa: After I resigned from my job in 2014.
Allyssa Denard, Owner at Natch Salon | Phoenix, Arizona
How about you, Allyssa?
Allyssa: It happened for me in 2015
Erin Alexander, Founder at Melanin Erin Marketing | Columbia, Maryland
And you, Erin?
Erin: In 2016, I attended a free event that was focused on women entrepreneurs when one powerful woman (who ended up becoming my mentor) mentioned that not everyone was meant for a 9-5 and that, some people, no matter where you put them, will get bored. I was so excited hearing that because I thought "perhaps I'm not lazy, I'm just in the wrong industry". I started a podcast and interviewed numerous entrepreneurs all over the world and shared their stories of leaving their 9-5. In 2020 I got the courage to walk away from my job after taking a two-week trip to Barbados which made me realize I never wanted to come home and if I worked for myself, then I'd never have to rush back from vacation!
"Not everyone was meant for a 9-5" - It's so refreshing to hear a quote like this because oftentimes, it goes "not everyone was meant to be an entrepreneur." We hope this serves as a push for anyone who is struggling at a 9-5 but knows deep down that they should be out here in the entrepreneurship world - take that bold step today, sis!
Diving deeper into their stories.
Pozitive Vibrationz Creative Designz LLC - meeting the needs of clients through the creation of digital designs and remote executive administrative support
"I would say I created this company by accident. But, there are no accidents in destiny, only open opportunity to see and join the human race in fulfilling a needed business or personal goal," said Teralisa Brewer
Pozitive Vibrationz Creative Designz LLC serves startups and small & large businesses in their graphic design needs. Their services include:
creation of digital designs for websites, logos, flyers, company handbooks or manuals,
remote executive administrative support such as electronic filing, auditing analysis, research, Zoom management, and so much more.
sales of merchandise consisting of apparel such as t-shirts, caps, and hats; writing materials such as pens and pencils; and drinkware such as cups and mugs.
What does a typical day look like for you as an entrepreneur?
Teralisa: My day often begins with an early rising (usually at about 4 or 5 AM). After shaking the grogginess off, I say a small prayer, thanking God for allowing me to see and experience another day.
Next, I breeze through emails on my phone. Then comes the morning jolt of coffee or tea (depending on my mood). As I sit back and sip, I catch up with the morning news until after the weather report. Next, I stretch, grab my laptop and begin my work day. By this time the clock reads 7:30 or 8:00 AM.
I had to train myself in that mini-routine because before that, as soon as I would open my eyes, I would sit up in bed and begin working. Only taking a break when my body would become weak from lack of hydration and food. I would still rise at 4 or 5 AM, but I wouldn’t have eaten or had any type of hydration until after 1 or 2:00 PM. I had a scare that MADE me listen to my body and take better care of myself.
What were your greatest fears stepping into entrepreneurship?
Teralisa: My greatest fear was if anyone would even like my designs enough to use them. Then of course there’s the fear every entrepreneur faces - “funding”. If there’s an entrepreneur that says they never worried about funding, they are not being very truthful. I’m not saying they’re lying, but I will say it is an untruth.
You’ve got to bring in the revenue to keep afloat. There are only so many people that will consistently patronise your business. Don’t make them angry, because the minute you make them angry enough, they will pull their patronage as well as others. I am still facing that fear and in a way, its kinda healthy because it definitely keeps you on your toes as an entrepreneur in keeping up with what’s happening.
What does your support system look like today?
Teralisa: I didn’t really have a support system until I found BLAZE. I thought I was out here, a seasoned sista, alone with no one who understands what I’m trying to do - the legacy I’m trying to leave for my children and grandchildren. My ideas were often shunned, laughed at, and flat discouraged. Then, BLAZE came across my Facebook timeline announcing a seminar for black female entrepreneurs, CEOs and founders. I took a chance on it and I thought, well, I’ve got nothing to lose and not I've not been feeling very "leadershipy" either (if that’s a word).
The first day, I sorta dragged into the seminar. The longer I stayed and listened though, the more energized and pumped up I became. By the end of the seminar, I knew I had finally found my support system. The tribe I had been searching for for the past 7 years (the number of years I’ve been an entrepreneur). Even after the few months that have passed since the summit, I am still energized and my mojo is back. Now, I’ve just gotta tackle that funding monster. It's okay because I know I’m gonna beat that monster down too.
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Teralisa we're so happy to have you as a part of our community, sis! Our goal at Blaze is to create a safe space for Black women entrepreneurs like yourself to interact with each other and easily access the coaching and capital needed to grow and scale your business. Be sure to check out our latest capital initiative in partnership with Kiva which we hope comes in handy in supporting your funding goals!
Natch Salon - educating and encouraging women of color to love on, appreciate and manage their natural hair texture
"I created Natch because I was tired of weaves and only straightening my hair to fit a certain narrative. I met a lot of clients early in my career, mostly Black women twice my age who felt the same way," said Allyssa Denard
Natch Salon is on a mission to educate and encourage women of color to love on, appreciate and manage their natural hair texture while also exploring the versatility of their hair. The salon serves mostly women of color but also serves women from other ethnic backgrounds as well.
They also retail products that are vegan, Black-created, and Black-owned such as Mielle, Malibu C, and Design Essentials.
Natch Salon's services include twist-outs, silk presses, rod sets, deep conditioning treatments, scalp and curl wellness and more.
Can you walk us through a typical day in your life?
Allyssa: A typical day in my entrepreneurial life is first and foremost thanking God for waking me up and giving me the tools to show up as my best self. I have 3 children so my husband and I get them off to school and our baby girl ready for the day with him.
Next, I head to my salon suite which is about a 20-minute commute from home. I usually make sure everything is cleaned properly from the night before and that clients have completed any and all required documentation. I usually take at most 2-4 clients a day, 5 days a week. My main goal is to have an in-depth conversation/consultation with them to make sure we’re on the same page. I do a scalp analysis and begin the service with a relaxing shampoo. I offer my guests customizable options like dimmed lights and aromatherapy for aesthetic purposes.
The best part of my day is just listening to them. I learned along the way that a safe space is how you keep a healthy and lasting relationship. Once an appointment is finished, I educate them about proper at-home care. If they are regular, I remind them what needs to be done to maintain their style and the health of their hair. I love to create personalized tutorials for them to follow along with at home. Once the day is done, I clean up my space and get ready for another day. My home life changes daily…but I am learning to meditate and wind down after a long day for my mental health.
What does your support system look like?
Allyssa: My support system is my husband, family, and friends. I have a really good community in my mentorship group too. My clients as well! I am so blessed to have such an amazing clientele. They have changed me and opened me up to new opportunities.
What was your greatest fear before stepping into entrepreneurship?
Allyssa: My greatest fear when I started was how unknowledgeable I was about the business side of things. I entered into a mentorship program that helps with all things business for the beauty industry. I also had a feeling of unworthiness. I am still working on that.
Receiving relevant mentorship and taking business courses can make all the difference in boosting your confidence level as an entrepreneur when it comes to handling business. We're glad you took the step of investing in a mentorship program to conquer your fear, Allyssa. And please always know that you are sooo worthy, sis, ALWAYS!
Melanin Erin Marketing - helping 100,000 black women market in a healthy way
"I created this business because I attended so many trainings and always felt drained. I felt like I wasn't doing enough marketing until I found Human Design (HD). I can't wait to share HD with Black women who are out of alignment with their content creation and their overall business structure," said Erin Alexander.
Melanin Erin Marketing sells Human Design focused Brand Strategy packages. I take my clients on a spiritual journey to create social media content and a storytelling vault that stems from their natural gifts. Most of my clients feel more confident and start marketing and networking with referral partners prior to the Brand Guide being complete.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Erin: My typical day as a 3/5 projector is I'm up by 8 am, I set my intention for the day and then I review my schedule. I meditate or do a yoga exercise depending on what I need spiritually. I take about 2-3 calls per day. Otherwise, I am networking on LinkedIn or completing Brand Guides for my clients.
I nap around lunchtime most days and I wake up around dinnertime. I spend the rest of the evening with my mom. Mondays are my CEO days (invoices, review systems, create content), Tuesdays and Thursdays are for client calls, Wednesdays are for sales calls, Fridays are my day (spa, brunch etc.) and weekends are for rejuvenation and prep for the week (skincare, yoga etc.)
Did you have any fears about venturing into entrepreneurship?
Erin: I feared being a failure. That I would have to close my doors at some point. I also feared being broke. I faced my fears by attending retreats and surrounding myself with other Black women on my journey. My traumatic experiences are too deep to go through this alone. I have a very deep connection with God and stay prayed up. Everything will work out in time. Just keep making small changes and putting one foot in front of the other.
What does your support system look like as an entrepreneur?
Erin: I have friends, accountability partners, and business besties. If I ever need to pick up the phone and vent or I need help, I have many women in business ready to support me. I'm also blessed to have a supportive family, some of who believe that I'm the next Beyonce. :)
It's so refreshing to see how you split your days up nicely, not only catering to various aspects of your business but also to yourself. Balance is essential in the world of entrepreneurship. Showing up as your best self each day demands that you take care of both your mental and physical health. Thank you for showing us how it's done, sis :)
The stories of Teralisa, Allyssa & Erin all show a common theme around the need for a solid support system. Entrepreneurship is a challenging journey that requires a lot of hard work, determination, and perseverance. While as entrepreneurs, we may be able to handle a lot of tasks on our own, having a strong support system is crucial for success. A support system can provide emotional, practical, and financial support, as well as advice and guidance when facing difficult decisions or obstacles. And if you are also needing access to networks, resources, and expertise, your support system can be helpful in connecting you to these.
We encourage all Black women entrepreneurs to prioritise finding a solid support system that can offer encouragement, motivation, and constructive criticism when needed.
We appreciate you Teralisa, Allyssa & Erin for giving us valuable insights into your entrepreneurial journeys!
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