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According to a certified financial planner and CNBC contributor, Lazeta Braxton, now is a great time for African Americans to start their own businesses. Braxton, co-founder and CEO of 2050 Wealth Partners, says ambitious young black entrepreneurs need to step out of their comfort zone, expand their network, participate in competitions to win funding, hire people who understand numbers , and most importantly, are always passionate about their business.
Gabby Goodwin, Rachel Holmes and Kristen Jones are good examples and they all have a few things in common: they are young, they are black and they all owned a business before the age of 20.
To recognize the Juneteenth, CNBC + Acorns invests in you: Done. Set. Grow. emphasizes black entrepreneurship as a path to financial freedom. Here is advice from these three young black entrepreneurs on the keys to early success and overcoming challenges.
Find a problem to solve, keep finding new ones
Gabby Goodwin, creator of GaBBY Bows
At the age of seven, Gabby Goodwin set out to solve the age-old problem of losing hair. She invented the first and patented double-breasted double hairpin and quickly became a business in 2014: GaBBY Bows. Now, at the age of 15, Goodwin has gone from just selling GaBBY Bows to CEO of Confidence, which sells natural hair care products.
“We’ve noticed that many of our clients not only have problems with hair loss, but also with tangles, and have a product that helps their children’s scalp or helps keep moisture in their child’s hair,” Goodwin said. “With business, you want to make sure you solve a problem and continue to solve needs. So we made sure we listened to our customers, and so the business grew from just a bow to trust. ”
The parameters of her business have also grown. In 2021, after seven years of business away from home, Gabby and her family opened a retail store and hair salon in Columbia, South Carolina, which sells all the products of her business.
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“We wanted to make sure there was a full 360 experience for the girls who come and not only do their hair and feel confident, but can also see behind the scenes and the business inventory we have,” Gabby said. .
The road to success was not easy.
“We have a double blow because we are two different minorities. We are African Americans and we are women. When I tried to get funding for my business, they really didn’t listen to me because of one, my age, but also because of my race and my gender. In a room, I would talk about my hair products for black girls with curly hair, in front of white, bald men. It’s so hard to explain to them exactly what my business is doing, how it works and how they can help my business grow, “she said.
Gabby, who co-founded the Mom and Me Academy of Entrepreneurship with her mother to help young girls and their mothers start their own businesses under Gabby’s brand, says finding a support network early is key.
“Find a village around you … I had great support from my mayor of the city and everyone else who was around in this kind of government areas or just people who also live in my city. Find a village around you, your family, friends. You never know how you can involve someone in your business, “she said.
Don’t be afraid of failure
Rachel Holmes, founder and director of Black Girls Mean Business
In addition to running a school, social life and competing as an artistic swimmer, 18-year-old Rachel Holmes is the CEO of Black Girls Mean Business, a free national virtual summer business program for black high school students. The program offers six Zoom seminars to help improve business and career skills, expand the network and prepare girls for life after high school.
“As an ambitious businesswoman, I understood the barriers black women faced to starting a business, and I wanted to ensure that black girls in my community had the support and resources they needed to reach their full potential,” Holmes said.
“Black women face an incredible amount of discrimination in business, stemming from both racism and sexism. In general, they are underestimated, denied the respect, positions and funding they deserve. I wanted to provide justice to help the girls overcome these obstacles. “If I give them the tools, they should be successful in the beginning and we should empower them, I hope to see more representation in leadership positions and entrepreneurship,” she said.
Holmes says that being a black entrepreneur at a young age not only prepares her for success, but also others. “At times, it can be daunting to know that you will face barriers and know that people are watching what you do. But it’s amazing to know that I can make a difference and set an example. Representation is important! ”She said.
Her advice for ambitious young black entrepreneurs: Don’t be afraid of failure.
“Use them as opportunities for improvement next time. Ask for help, even if you think you don’t need it. You have this! “People will support what you do, you just have to have the courage to start,” she said.
Patience is crucial to business success
Media by Antoine Dwayne Jones
The CEO, day trader, investor and author are just some of the titles held by Kristan “Truth” Jones at the age of 15. When he was only 10, Jones started his own business, Return On Investment. Through the company’s three programs, $ tocks 101, Black Wealth Matters and The Truth Success Series, black entrepreneurs can learn how to start investing and trading for the stock market and how to generate short-term and long-term passive income.
Most recently, Jones found interest in investing in real estate. He currently owns two properties and hopes to own 10 or more in the next five years.
“I’ve always been looking for a new way to make money,” Jones said. “I really just started to get interested in the subject. I started asking my mentors and the people around me who could really teach me and explain how the business works, “he added.
Jones says tackling age and racial discrimination is one of the most difficult challenges he faces.
“To go to online events, to be discriminated against, not to be able to meet the people I wanted to meet because they don’t want to talk to me because, you know, they’re like ‘you’re a little black kid.’ Yes. All right. “Move aside,” Jones said.
Key ingredients for its success and overcoming obstacles include consistency, creativity, self-discipline, action and, most importantly, patience.
“Patience is probably one of the greatest things I know,” Jones said. “When you first start entrepreneurship, you want to hurry everything, you want to get your money, you want to be famous. You want to get all these connections, but really your journey is much slower, “he added.
–By Jala Brown, a talent development intern at CNBC
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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors Acorns.