If you have ever considered starting a business, or you are currently a business owner, you are at the right place. Having your own business can range anywhere from managing and growing your personal brand, being an artist, a model, and/or etc.
According to Nielsen’s Company’s 2017 consumer report, despite institutional barriers, black women’s entrepreneurial strength has been growing at a rapid rate when compared to other groups of women. I sat down with the Founder of Starilized, Patricia Moses to speak with her about her experiences as an African Entrepreneur and Creative. We all aspire to be #GirlBosses, but what does it really take to be one? We have all of the answers below!
1. What was your “aha” moment
- During my time in college, people would often stop me, asking me where I got my jewelry. Later on, as I started to sell my pieces at different events, I discovered there was a demand for the type of jewelry I made. I realized people wanted beaded or traditional jewelry, but did not know where to get them from. People were also open to me customizing items for them and had faith in me creating items specifically for them. They wanted items or outfits that would instantly elevate their look without making them look tacky. I was able to make that happen through my designs.
2. How do you manage to run your business Starilized (running the Instagram page, creating content, and being involved in the production process), have time for your personal life, and also give your all to your professional career?
- I always make sure I know my limits. I handle all of my orders/deliveries and making sure that my customers receive the absolute best service is very important to me. If someone requests a custom item, I give them an estimate of how long it will take. I work on the custom items after work and during the weekends. I make a limited amount of items that take more time to make and have the items that are easier to make, made to order. Everyday, I use my free time to answer emails and messages. When I’m browsing on social media, I usually look for potential bloggers and artists to collaborate with. On my commute to work, I bring my different ideas from notes together. During my lunch break at work, I usually do research on different jewelry making techniques. I also try to schedule fun and social events to attend throughout the year. These events give me something to look forward to after a busy period of managing my business and also give me the opportunity to network. On weekends, I make sure I leave a little free time for myself. When I have a lot of time on my hands, I give myself a mini project to work on.
3. What was the best advice a manager or mentor ever gave you?
- The best advice a mentor ever gave me was to be patient and work on building a strong foundation. When you're impatient, you tend to lose focus of your business' goals, overlook important details, and miss out on opportunities. They say "All good things take time" so I try to stay patient and focus on improving. When a business has a strong foundation, it will be able to handle anything that tries to knock it down. I am currently still working on building the foundation at the moment.
4. Have you ever felt discouraged and if so how did you push through it?
- There were many times where I wasn’t sure of where I was going or even what I wanted to do with my business. Starilized really started because I had a passion for creating unique pieces for fun and realized there was a need for them. After several years of running my business, I also realized that I was saying yes to almost every business opportunity that came my way. This had me overwhelmed at times and I started losing my passion to create. There were a few times where I wanted to shut the business down and go back to only making items for myself. The positive feedback from my clients is what kept me going. I realized that I needed to be true to myself and what I wanted to create. I started eliminating certain products and services that did not align with my vision, which allowed me to start creating products that inspired creativity in my customers and within myself.
5. What has been some of your biggest challenges as a female entrepreneur?
- One of my biggest challenges is not owning my accomplishments. As women, we sometimes tend to downplay our accomplishments; especially in male dominated industries. It's important to own every success no matter how big or small and to not undermine yourself with negative thinking.
- Another challenge is overcoming past failures. I recently read a Babson College report about the fear of failure being the top concern of women launching startups. My lack of experience in making jewelry and sewing used to scare me but, I had to gain experience somehow. I taught myself how to create things through trial and error. Please make sure you learn from every mistake, because it will help you grow and learn how to better manage your business. As you get further along with your business it's important to find a mentor(s) who can help point you in the right direction and give you advice when you get stuck. Having people I can turn to has definitely been a blessing and has helped with the growth of my business. All in all, no challenge is too big as long as you try, learn from your mistakes, and have the right people behind you.
6. What advice do you have for any entrepreneurs who are trying to create businesses while simultaneously having time for themselves, and their 9-5 jobs if they have one.
- It takes a lot to start a business. Even though I enjoyed creating things, I was very hesitant to start this business. After doing a dope photo shoot with my pieces and seeing the final images, I was inspired to go all the way. First, I would advise entrepreneurs not to be too hard on themselves. We often become impatient and try to do too much at once. Second, entrepreneurs should always be working on perfecting their craft. They should have a desire to continue learning to drive their creativity. Third, it's very important for entrepreneurs to know their limits. We have many different obligations throughout the week so It's important to find ways to utilize our time most efficiently. One should consider delegating work to others and creating reasonable deadlines for when they want to accomplish certain things. A revitalized and relaxed spirit, is bound for excellence, and success.
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