The number of people diving into the entrepreneurial world in America is increasing, especially among women. According to an American Express 2018 business report, between 2017 and 2018 women started an average of 1,821 new businesses each day in the U.S. Women now make up around 40 percent of new entrepreneurs.
People want to have their own and there are plenty of benefits that come with being in charge. But, Long Island resident, Businesswoman and Creator of the annual event Women on the Rise Expo and Forum, Marsha Guerrier, assures that it’s not something to take lightly.
“I will not sugarcoat it, it’s hard, especially when you don’t have seven figures to throw into every area,” said Guerrier, who serves as a business coach. “But, at the end of the day when I get that customer feedback saying I’ve changed someone’s life, I know God has put me here for a reason.”
Having exposure to the business world as a business owner and coach, Guerrier knew all too well what struggles people face when trying to create a brand, especially as a women who may not be taken as serious. That’s why she decided to create this conference six years ago.
“I had friends who had businesses, and we were trying to figure out what steps to take in order to make us known outside our circle,” said Guerrier. “I knew if I created a space like this where we could have people educate us on entrepreneurial subjects and give exposure to all of our businesses we could all thrive.”
Over 100 men, women and children gathered for the two-day expo centered on mindset, money, marketing and media. Panels and guest speakers touched on every element needed to create a booming business from how to get your name out there to the challenges you will run into. Navigating the art of business is hard, but it can be an extra challenge when you are not the stereotypical version of what a business owner looks like.
Women of Distinction Honoree Jacqueline Gathers faced her fair share of struggles being one of the few Black women to own a home inspection business. The industry is dominated mainly by white males and she was assigned to territories in Brooklyn such as Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights, areas that are majority white.
“That area is known for racial tensions, and they were not giving me any business,” said Gathers during her acceptance speech. “I would show up for an inspector job and they would see the truck with my name on it, I’m in my uniform and they’re like ‘Where’s the inspector?'”
She decided to take matters into her own hands and focused her business on the other side of Brooklyn. She expanded to areas like Canarsie and East New York and that’s when her business started to flourish.
“What I learned along the way is that when you decide to be a business owner you need to surround yourself with like-minded people,” said Gathers. “You also have to be ready to challenge yourself and switch gears.”
Along with the challenges come rewards as well. Charmaine Copeland, owner of MyAssistant Virtual Services, said seeing the look of satisfaction on a customer’s face is what motivates her to keep on going.
“I love when I do something for a business owner and they get super excited and they’re like ‘Oh my God, This is my landing page,'” said Copeland. “Watching them get excited really excites me and it makes me want to do it even more”
One thing that many could agree on is that if you want to be a business owner, you need to have a real desire to grow within the industry along with the right balance of confidence and vulnerability.
“Continue seeking education because things change fast,” said Guerrier. “There also needs to be a level of humility, because you have to put yourself out there. But, be ready to explain why your product or service is the one they should choose. You almost gotta be arrogant about it because you have to be confident. That’s what sells.”
For more information on Women on the Rise, you can visit the website here.