As a black woman trying to build an online business, I often felt unseen when I first started getting into business over 20 years ago. But despite the challenges and struggles I’ve encountered, I’ve continued to push through, determined to make my mark on the world and prove that I, too, can succeed.
The journey when I first built my online multicultural bookstore began with excitement and anticipation – the prospect of turning my passion into a thriving business was exhilarating.
But as I delved deeper into the entrepreneurial world, I realized just how isolating it could be. Networking events and conferences were dominated by people who didn’t look like me or share my experiences. I found myself dismissed or overlooked, my ideas and contributions overshadowed by those who fit the mold of a “typical” entrepreneur.
The emotional toll was immense, especially when I slowly went bankrupt and my “dream business” eventually failed. I battled feelings of self-doubt, wondering if I truly belonged in this world.
“Was I destined to remain unseen, forever struggling to make my voice heard?” I questioned my abilities and the validity of my dreams. And yet, something inside me refused to give up. I knew that I had something valuable to offer, and I refused to let my identity as a black and an underrepresented woman hold me back.
The challenges I faced extended beyond the emotional realm – they were also deeply rooted in social and political issues. As an underrepresented female entrepreneur, I had to confront the harsh reality of systemic discrimination. Access to funding, mentorship, and resources was limited back then, forcing me to forge my own path in a world that seemed intent on keeping me out.
But with each challenge, I grew stronger. I discovered the power of digital marketing and invested thousands of pounds in courses that will help me become a better entrepreneur.
Over the years, I learned to advocate for myself and my business, to seek out allies who shared my vision, and to embrace my unique perspective as a source of strength rather than weakness. I began to see the value in my own experiences, recognizing that they could help me connect with and empower others who felt unseen.
To my fellow black women building businesses, I know the struggle can feel overwhelming at times. But I want to remind you that your voice matters and your dreams are valid. Stay motivated, keep pushing forward, and never forget the power you hold within you. Surround yourself with people who uplift and support you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Remember that the journey may be long and challenging, but it is worth every step. Embrace the obstacles as opportunities for growth and transformation, and know that you have the strength and resilience to rise above them.