“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~Maya Angelou
Everyone has a story. A powerful story that has twists and turns, and intricacies that often go unheard. Let me say that again, more clearly. Every Black woman has a story, A POWERFUL story that has twists and turns that are often hidden within. Because of this, I chose to focus on black women and their story as an entrepreneur. Being specific to seeking out Black women is intentional, often our stories are glossed over, buried, and left behind. So yes these stories interest me the most, but before I tell you about them let me share my story.
I am the creator and host of Baddies with Business. A podcast that showcases the stories of early-stage (year 0-5) Black women entrepreneurs. I am also an education innovation consultant, who has a heavy focus on folks with new ideas. What does that mean? Essentially, I coach individuals to use innovation and their creative voice to rethink and reimagine ways to address their needs.
I pay close attention to how I coach folks, and always ground the work in centering equity and inclusion, for if the work is not done with equity at the center that will not help us get closer to liberation. Another reason to ground the work in equity is to create an idea that meets the needs of those whom you wish to serve you must address the root cause and not merely the symptom. Addressing a symptom, and not unearthing the root cause, is like putting a bandaid on an open wound that needs stitches. It is a temporary fix that will cause more harm than good if not adjusted and fixed.
A strategy to help folks get to the root cause of the need is a root cause analysis, I often favor 5 whys. 5 whys is an activity where you dig 5 layers deeper into a need by asking why at each stage. As the coach I am, I want to explain this activity by modeling it.
When I first decided to create Baddies with Business I dedicated time to unpack and unearth my why behind starting this venture. Within that activity, I was able to unearth some of the root causes and address some of the assumptions. I always encourage folks to validate or invalidate those assumptions by talking to the person you hope to serve. In this case, prior to launching the podcast, I made sure to do just that.
Need: Find more Black-owned businesses. WHY: Why can’t I more easily find more Black-owned businesses? Many of the thriving metropolis of Black businesses, Black Wall Street, went up in flames in the 1900s. I grew up not far, 45-minute drive, road from one of the country's most thriving Black entrepreneurial meccas, Durham, NC. It was a place that was booming and bumping and overflowing with Black dollars but urban renewal rolled it and destroyed it with the creation of an expressway. Fast forward to today, many Black businesses have been suffering since and it is often harder to find because we do not have as many readily available resources and guides to where our Black entrepreneur people are now. Yes, they are out there, but you have to be up for a good dig and sift through the internet to find them. In the midst of my digging, I wondered Where are the Black women? Which leads me to my second why.
WHY: Why can’t I find more Black woman-owned companies? According to a 2018 State of Women-Owned Business Report, the number of women-owned businesses grew 58% from 2007 to 2018, the number of businesses owned by Black women grew by 164%, nearly three times that rate. While the number of businesses owned by Black women steadily increases, the revenue generated from these ventures can often be low and frequently leads to closure within the first 5 years. Many have feelings of isolation and feel they have to figure out the hustle by themselves. This brings me to my final why, and the root cause of Baddies with Business.
WHY: Why do Black woman-owned ventures not make it beyond year 5? There are a multitude of reasons, however, I would like to highlight a few. Overhead cost outweighing revenue coming in, a community of entrepreneurs that share similar identities, and potential clients not knowing the venture exists. In thinking about these reasons, and reflecting on the many conversations I have had with Black women entrepreneurs, I felt that I could get closer to seeing these entrepreneurs make it past year 5, by creating a space with them to tell their story.
THIS is my WHY.
To create a community where Black women feel brave enough to share their stories, reach new potential customers/clients/donors, and build an ever-growing support system of Baddies. This will not meet all the needs they have, but my hope is to get their story out there in hopes to reach someone who can help them meet the needs they have in order to be successful. While my platform is small, it is mighty and I am manifesting great things for all these women. Will YOU join me in helping another Baddie keep her doors open, grow her reach, and build her community??
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Malliron Hodge is the founder of Baddies with Business. You can find out more about her by following on IG: @Baddieswithbusiness. You can also support her podcast on by going to https://www.patreon.com/Baddieswithbusiness.