So you want to become an Entrepreneur?
Let me take you behind the scenes of my life as a Nonprofit CEO, Brand Consultant and Business Coach, and Online Content Creator.
But before I dive into my busy life as an entrepreneur, I want to first inform you that if you are unaware of who I am (my personal background, professional experience, and personal story), let me first direct you to my ABOUT ME page so that you can become more familiarized with me.
Also, I will be using business terms throughout this post, so if you are a business newbie, let me direct you to my Best Selling E-Book, “The Fundamentals to Building Your Brand Online,” a business guide that teaches you all things business, branding and online marketing.
Okay, so let’s get into it…
The idea – yes, everyone at some stage in their life has been inspired by a “great idea.”
Do you want to know what makes a real and true entrepreneur?
The person that takes a “great idea” and turns it into something (a monetizing business).
As humans, we are all blessed with inspiration on a daily, but sadly, most individuals leave their ideas untapped, unused, and wasted away if you will.
As for me, I’ve been blessed enough to take the ideas that God has given me and run with them… which leads me here (and leads you to this post).
As an undergraduate student in 2011, I had the great idea to start my first blog.
I was a mechanical engineering student at the time, and I have always had a love and admiration for all things fashion.
As a young child, I would create sketches and play in my school outfits to create the looks that I drew. I never really knew why I was so enamored with fashion, but what I did know, was that my love for fashion was strong.
Fast forwarding back to college, social media really wasn’t a “big” thing (meaning people weren’t living off of it like they are now). So for me, I was truly inspired by the art form of creating digital content and sharing it with the world using online mediums (website/blog, social media).
After long days of studying my mechanical engineering books, I would find comfort in looking up my favorite fashion bloggers online, spending hours reading how they styled their clothes and put looks together. Then one day, I had the “great idea” to start my own fashion blog.
I thought, “if they can do it, so can I!”
So I did it. I started my first fashion blog and created my very first website.
It was a Blog Spot website, easy to run and easy to maintain. From there, I invested in a professional DSLR camera to take my photos, and would have my boyfriend at the time take my pictures outside for me with the best lighting. When he graduated from college, I still was in school and running my blog, so I bought a tripod and a remote timer to take my own photos, learned how to edit, and this is where the story really began…
As a young twenty-something engineering student with a fashion blog that was able to reach thousands of people online within 1-2 years, I basically created a name for myself on campus as a “fashion blogger,” (which was never my intention).
What I learned from that experience was this: the more popularity you gain, the higher the demand for your product.
Due to the popularity and demand of my blog to push out fashion content on a college student’s budget, I abandoned that blog and the website.
I quit fashion blogging to focus my concentration on graduating college with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering, and never looked back to sharing my fashion online again…
Fast forward to 2014, I met an entrepreneur with a very notable and successful hair company (very well known in Texas and in LA), who talked to me about the importance of having a personal brand. That conversation sparked the idea to use my own name and create my own personal brand. I then created my 2nd website (this one), and dedicated the next few years of my life to building a personal brand online.
So what I am I saying here? What was the point of me sharing this very personal story?
The decisions you make today and the ideas you manifest MATTER, so don’t let another idea go by without acting on it!
Implementing The Idea
So as I mentioned before, creating a personal brand was the stepping stone for me to create my own businesses.
In 2016, I launched my Instagram Page for my personal brand (@crystalngumezi).
Creating a personal brand on Instagram has provided me with the opportunity to work online as a Content Creator and Lifestyle Blogger for internationally recognized brands such as CocaCola, Walmart, Dove and Clinique, just to name a few. I’ve flown to Jamaica in luxury with all expenses paid, stayed in amazing resorts and hotels, and have had the privilege to receive just about any product or service free of charge (like a celebrity).
Having a personal brand online has also afforded me the great opportunity to share my businesses and expertise to the world.
I started my 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization back in 2016, and without the help of my personal brand on social media, I don’t believe my impact would have been as large (and you probably would have never found me).
By implementing 1 “great idea,” it sparked a chain reaction of other “great ideas” which have led me here into entrepreneurship before the age of thirty.
I took the ideas God gave me, invested my time, energy and resources into continuous learning, and started my own businesses.
As an engineer, I’ve been afforded the great opportunity to work in Fortune 500 companies in the areas of engineering, process improvement and upper management.
I’ve seen how big business actually do business, and have since then taken that knowledge and applied it to small business management.
I bought books on business, spent hours in the library and in resource centers, listened to seminars, watched business lectures online, and volunteered in nonprofit organizations alongside nonprofit CEO’s and community leaders to learn the business.
So what I am I really saying here?
Match your skill set with your great idea in order to make something happen.
My experience is not “better” than your experience, it is simply the experience that God has given me to achieve the purposes that he set forth for my destiny.
You have been given something too, so use it!
My educational investment was not the end of my professional journey, but rather the beginning of a learning journey that would take me into entrepreneurship.
You cannot assume that just because you have a business idea that you will know how to do business. You must research, invest and spend your time learning the game before you enter into it.
I learned to:
- Create a business plan for every business I start
- Create a 3 year budgeting plan and trajectory
- Invest in quality business professionals, financial advisors and mentors early
- Build teams
Once you take your “great idea” and turn it into something tangible, you then must learn how to manage that idea.
Managing The Idea
3 key things I want to leave you with when it comes to managing your business ideas are these:
- Continuos Improvement
The definition of sustainability is the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level. This means, that for every business idea you put into motion, you must develop a strategy and an ecosystem to sustain that business.
Burnout is a term used most commonly when business owners realize that the rate at which they’re operating their business is not sufficient enough to keep it going.
Whether due to a lack of finances, staff, or marketing, you will experience failure somewhere down the road if you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.
If you do not factor in the necessary tools, resources, and manpower needed to sustain your business, it simply will not last.
As an entrepreneur, I have started many businesses.
Some have failed, and others have remained.
The common denominator amongst my “failed” businesses was a lack of sustainability.
Failure does not mean defeat. It is simply a re-direction of a previously planned path.
I do not take my failed businesses as a failures at all, but instead, I take those businesses as a learning experience and an opportunity to make better decisions in my next business ventures.
I know social media makes entrepreneurship look glamourous, but I would be lying to you if I didn’t tell you that you will experience failures, setbacks and detours along the way. It comes with the territory.
You will fall, but you will get back up again.
Real entrepreneurs have faced many trials, but it is those of us that become aware to this truth early on that continue to keep going.
Continuos improvement is defined as the ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes.
In order for your business to stay afloat in this changing economy, you must continuously improve your products, services and processes.
To think that what worked for you and your business 3 years ago will still work today is simply foolish.
You have to keep learning, and you must continuously improve.
As a Brand Consultant and Business Coach, I often find it frustrating when new business owners express their frustrations with their competitors who have been in business longer.
You simply cannot compare apples to oranges. What worked for one business 5 years ago may not work for your new business today in this economy.
The market changes, technology is always advancing, and people’s interests change.
My suggestion for you if you are a new business owner in this time: Study the market and it’s trends, do your research, and stop complaining!
If you are finding a difficult time in business, do what I’ve done and seek out quality mentors.
Quality mentorship is what inspired me to start my 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.
The Proverbs 31 Women’s Organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers free female mentorship, professional etiquette training, and STEM related programming to young women from low-income families living in underprivileged neighborhoods.
I started my nonprofit organization because I had a hard time finding female mentors who were willing to guide me in my career as a young minority female engineer.
My struggles produced a corporation that is now providing free resources to young girls across the state. This 1 “great idea” produced mentorship and professional training resources to young girls living in the same communities I grew up in, and if I didn’t jump on that idea a few years ago, I would have never taken the full leap into entrepreneurship (and you wouldn’t be reading this post).
This post was a long one, but I really wanted to educate you on the complexities of becoming an entrepreneur, and inspire you to launch those “great ideas” in your head.
I would be naive to assume that you will know exactly everything to do when it comes to starting a business, but when it comes to taking a “great idea” and turning it into a sustainable, monetizing business, I wanted to give you some insight into how I got here, what I did, and what I’ve learned along the way.
As a full-time entrepreneur with multiple businesses running simultaneously, my work is my life, but I love what I do.
My tips for you if you are interested in jumping into the entrepreneurship boat:
- Learn about the business and the market you’re looking to go into first
- Find quality mentors
- Research business terminology and proven business strategies that work
- Volunteer or intern alongside high performers and other entrepreneurs
- Start small and grow your vision from there (you will make mistakes and you will learn along the way)
- Don’t believe everything you see on social media! (starting a business and keeping that business going is hard work!)
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