Working in an intrapreneur role in the corporate segment (for at least 3 to 5 years) before you become an entrepreneur can help you understand how things work. For instance, learning how to put together an infrastructure to help you become successful. But don’t get too comfortable working in the same department or role for too long.
When you take the risk to build your own business or brand, you will find a lot of naysayers. I was fortunate to have business role models in my own family. It is important that young Black entrepreneurs and professionals understand that we too can succeed in building our own businesses and careers, regardless of our background.
Working in the tech industry, I’ve seen first hand that there aren’t many women of color in this field. So, I started volunteering with Black Girls Code, a non-profit organization that provides technology education programs for Black girls ages 7-17. It excites me to see how proud these young women are of what they create – whether it is an app or website.
I decided to become a real estate agent because I had an interest in real estate investing and a friend of mine was an agent. The market was good when I entered real estate in 2006, but suddenly there was a period when things became unstable concerning mortgages. Working in real estate during the financial recession confirmed that living with multiple income streams is the right way to go.
I’m not from a family of entrepreneurs. My family has been middle-class and college educated folk – going back to my great-grandparents. It was uplifting to realize at an early age that I came from dignified people. That’s part of what has influenced my work with City Start Up Labs. The other part is being old enough to personally remember the Civil Rights Movement.