Join the Challenge!

21 Day Entrepreneur Challenge

By joining the challenge, you'll be able to connect with other serious entrepreneurs of color working diligently to build their business empire. Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to start the year off right!

Congrats to the winners of our 21 Day Challenge!

Yolanda Renee Collins, CEO YKnots Designs

YKnots is a fashion empowerment brand that speaks life back into those who have been told “no” or questioned “why?”.

Katrina Gamble, Owner Sojourn Strategies, LLC

Sojourn Strategies is a social impact firm that incubates projects, builds strategic campaigns, manages powerful coalitions, develops innovative policy ideas, and conducts thoughtful research.

Samí Haiman-Marrero, CEO Urbander

Specializing in the Hispanic market, URBANDER’s mission is to collaborate with like-minded people in creating and delivering culturally relevant inclusive business strategies and programs that bring positive impact to people of diverse backgrounds, and catapult client partners to new heights.

Tina Smith, President Financial T

The Financial T's mission is to educate and inspire professionals of all ages to get on the right track financially so they may achieve their dreams.

Here's a recap of our 21 Day Challenge. It's never too late to build the business of your dreams. 

DAY 1: Will you meet the challenge?

It's 2019 baby! And we've no time for failed resolutions. The purpose of the 21 Day Entrepreneur Challenge is to provide you the inspiration and motivation you need to build your best business. Each day we'll share a key insight or best practice intended to help you remain focused, strategic and on mission. By joining the challenge, you'll be able to connect with other serious entrepreneurs of color working diligently to build their business empire. Don't miss out on this unique opportunity to start the year off right!

 

20 People joined the challenge on Day One. 

DAY 2: What's Your Why?

As we kick off 2019, it's really important to start at the beginning, by asking yourself, why did you start your own business in the first place? Why did you leave that five or six figure job? Why did you go against the advice of your friends and relatives and why did you "bet the farm" on this dream. As you go through the motions of running your business, it's easy to disconnect from "your why", but "your why" is your motivating factor. It's what's going to get you through those tough and difficult times. So, as we launch into this month's challenge, take a moment to reflect and ask yourself, "What is my why?".

 

We launched our closed FB and Slack groups today so that we can tackle the challenge together. Are you in?

DAY 3: What's Your BHAG?

If you are going to strategically grow your business, you must have something to aim for. In Built to Last, business guru Jim Collins describes this as a BHAG - big hairy audacious goal. Your BHAG is that long-term 10 - 25 year goal, guided by your company's core values and purpose. The power of a BHAG is that it forces you to think big as it relates to the possibilities of your business, and triggers your brain to begin to figure out precisely how you're going to get there. Without a vision or a BHAG, you're just showing up to pay the bills with no clear end in sight. So, take some time today to establish your BHAG. Then, you can get focused!

 

We welcomed our 99th challenger today. Who will be our 100th?

DAY 4: Did you learn your lessons?

Mistakes are guaranteed in this life. What's not guaranteed is that we learn from those mistakes. Learning is an intentional process that requires processing and reflection. Without it, mistakes are repeated and there is no real growth or evolution. So, the question is this: what did you learn about your business in 2018? What did you learn about yourself as a business owner? How will this new insight inform your strategy moving forward and how will you do things differently in 2019?

 

"It's just been 4 days and I am feeling extremely blessed for the revelations I am receiving. To top it off, my business is growing before my ideas are even finalized which is a testament to my gifts making room for me."

- LaToya H.

DAY 5: What's your plan?

Now that we’ve clarified our why, established our BHAG and reflected on our lessons learned from 2018, the next step is to devise a plan. Planning can be an exhaustive process and the best plans are developed with considerable effort and resource, but that's not what we're referring to here. Based on what you know and where you want to go, what is your best thinking on the steps you need to take? We'll use this as a baseline to see if and how your plans change based on our experience over the course of this challenge.

 

We're closing out Week One with 135 challengers. Way to go team! We've got this. 

DAY 6: The #1 Success Factor

There are numerous factors that contribute to success in life, but if there was one that stood above the rest, it would be mindset. To what extent do you believe in yourself and your ability to achieve your dreams? Thoughts are incredibly powerful and have the ability to shape our lives. Therefore, your ability to master your thoughts has a lot to do with your ability to shape your destiny. Therefore, on this first day of Week Two, I encourage you to consider the ways you will pursue a positive mindset in 2019. It will make all the difference in the world.

 

44 participants have downloaded our accountability guide. 

DAY 7: The Power of Your Network

“You are the company you keep.” It’s a common phrase that rings especially true for small business owners. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely business, full of ups and downs, and if you don’t surround yourself with others who understand your journey, are supportive of you or are generally positive people, growing your business can be that much more difficult. A strong network not only provides the support infrastructure necessary to scale but also the social capital necessary to access opportunity. Therefore in 2019, consider the ways you can grow your network to ensure you are connected with people who can help you soar. 

 

We're adding new people to the leaderboard everyday. It's never too late to compete for the top slot. 

DAY 8: The Importance of Investing in Your Business

When is the last time you invested in your business? Not the last time you paid a bill or submitted payroll, but the last time you invested in something intended to help you grow your business? Growing a successful business requires intentional and deliberate investment. And if there's no real investment in your business, you can't expect it to deliver you a return. In today's video, we explore the difference between an expense and an investment and challenge you to get serious about investing in your business in 2019.

 

Shout out to Yolanda R. who went from the bottom slot to the top slot IN ONE DAY!

DAY 9: Are you willing to change?

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Well, I guess this planet doubles as one big insane asylum because that is more common than not. The reality is that most people fail at their big goals or resolutions because they fundamentally don't know how to change. This is especially true for entrepreneurs who pride themselves in doing things their way. However, our way is not always the best way - particularly when it comes to growing a business. Therefore, the question is, how will you change and get out of your own way so that you can be the leader your small business deserves?

 

106 challengers have joined our online accountability groups. 

DAY 10: Why Businesses Fail

Conventional wisdom tells us that most businesses fail because of lack of capital, market conditions or some other external force. However, digital marketing guru Billy Gene disagrees. He believes that small businesses fail because of one of two things: ignorance or arrogance. Ignorance - not knowing what you need to know in order to build your business. Arrogance - not having the humility to understand that most of the time, you don't know what you don't know. No more excuses in 2019. Consider the ways ignorance or arrogance is keeping you from achieving your best business and decide how you plan to deal with it.

 

"This forum is so important as we build and grow. Having an outlet to share thoughts in a safe space will make the difference in our success and provide us a strategic advantage." - Yolanda R.

DAY 11: Working ON Your Business vs. IN Your Business

Most entrepreneurs are great at working in their business, but really struggle at working on their business. What's the difference? Working in your business means you're great at doing the work - filling the orders, carrying out the projects, making your customers and clients happy. Very few entrepreneurs are good at working ON their business which involves identifying growth opportunities, developing processes and systems and building a team. There's nothing wrong with being a solopreneur or staying small, but if you really want to grow and experience the sort of freedom that entrepreneurship can deliver, you need to commit sufficient time and energy to not only working IN your business, but also ON your business.

 

"Whatever your life's work is, do it well." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Happy King Day!

DAY 12: Hiring to Grow

Many entrepreneurs hold off on hiring the help they need because they think they need to grow to a particular size or reach a specific milestone before they can afford to bring on help. Actually, the opposite is true. In order to grow, you must first hire. Otherwise, you'll never have the bandwidth you need to strategically grow your company. When it comes to hiring, it doesn't need to be W-2 employees. Contractors, consultants and freelancers have proven invaluable resources for entrepreneurs looking to scale. Therefore in 2019, consider affordable ways to bring on the help you need so that you can clear your plate to focus on the strategic matters of your business.

 

We've a 4-way tie on the leaderboard. Shout out to Katrina, LaToya, Shardae and Yolanda for making the time to plan their future. 

DAY 13: Embracing Failure

You ever notice how babies have a high tolerance for failure. They will fall any number of times in a given day and get right back up and try again. They are not worried about what people will think or say. They are simply focused on the end goal of getting where they want to go, and perhaps getting a little better at the process of getting there. Somewhere along the way, we are conditioned to believe that failure is a bad thing that we should avoid when in reality, failure is necessary in order to achieve anything great. Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk - all tremendous entrepreneurs who experienced crushing failure in their careers, yet went on to ascend to the top of their game. So, here's the question: What role has failure played in your entrepreneurial journey and how will you leverage those lessons learned to build a better business in 2019?

 
"I have decided to touch base and schedule intentional meetings with influential business leaders and people that I have met throughout my career and in my business life to explore possible collaborations...and outside of my State, too. I'm investing time into rekindling old relationships and developing new ones with individuals who know of our work and can provide access to decision makers."  - Community Share

DAY 14: Execution v. Strategy

This time of year, there tends to be a lot of focus on goals but what people truly struggle with is execution. People will start off strong but fade in commitment and persistence over time. Achieving your goals requires sustained execution. In other words, what will you do when your initial efforts don't work? How will learn on the go, deploy the power of iteration and master the pivot? Strategic planning and goal setting are fine, but if your plans don't involve unrelenting execution, chances are those goals will never live off the page. So, the question is, how will you prioritize execution in 2019 and wire your business to get...it...done!

 

With only 7 days left, who among our top challengers will take it all the way?

DAY 15: Working Smarter, Not Harder

There is this pervasive belief that if you want your business to grow, you've got to work harder. This typically involves longer hours, stricter deadlines and increased stress. While having a solid work ethic is important, working harder is no recipe for long-term success. Instead growing your business will rely on your ability to not work harder, but smarter. By seeking out opportunities, addressing inefficiencies and constantly evolving your services and offerings to better meet the needs of your clients and customers, you'll be able to find all sorts of ways to build your business while increasing profitability and reducing stress. In 2019, resist the default to "work harder" and commit to finding ways to work smarter.

 

"Today's challenge was ON POINT! It made me really think on how I can GROW my business with the right INVESTMENT in my company. Eye opener for me instead being only concerned about operating expenses. Looking for new opportunities to network and market my business. Thank you!!!"

- Tina S. 

DAY 16: Managing and Building Your Brand

Branding is more than a logo. It's the collective perception of your business. Your brand typically boils down to two things: your presentation and your reputation. How do you show up and to what extent are you delivering on your brand promise? Many entrepreneurs struggle with major brand challenges in their business, but don't know it because they don't take the time to be thoughtful about the holistic image they project. Here's the reality: your business has a brand, whether you intentionally build it or not. So, in 2019, consider the ways you're going to step up your game and get serious about building and maintaining a strong brand. 

 

We've logged more than 1,000 visits to our challenge page!

DAY 17: Getting to Know Your Customer

If I asked you to describe your customer, what would you say? Who are they? What do they like? What don't they like? What are their biases, preferences, aspirations and fears? Where do they get their information or even their inspiration? What are their needs, their goals their wants?  It's not until you truly understand your customer that your business can effectively fit into their lives. Your relationship with your customer is like any other relationship in that the success of it depends on the extent to which you know and understand them, and they like and trust you.  Therefore in the new year, consider the ways that you can learn even more about your customers or clients so that you can perfect your unique differentiator and deliver unprecedented value. 

 

We announced our Top 20 today. Who is going to take it all the way?

DAY 18: Obtaining and Retaining Customers

Customers are the life blood of your business. Therefore, in order for your business to stay alive, you'll need a constant flow of both new and recurring customers. There is often a lot of emphasis placed on client/customer acquisition and less intentionality directed to nurturing and cultivating relationships with clients you already have. However, as any experienced entrepreneur will tell you, there's no customer like a repeat customer. With that said, how do you plan to maximize your relationship with existing customers and clients while continuing to drive new ones through your door?

 

The competition is surging as we approach the final days.

DAY 19: Mastering Your Financials

Is your business profitable? If so, how do you know for sure? What is your profit margin and how have your revenues changed year-over-year? How are your expenses impacting your bottom line and where might you cut costs? If you're like most small business owners, chances are you can't answer most of these questions because the demands of small business don't require that we stay abreast of our business financials in this way. The only real number we track is "cash on hand" aka, the amount of money in the bank account which tells us which bills we're able to pay and when.  Unfortunately, this is no way to run a business. If your business is to truly achieve its potential, you've got to get a handle on your financials. They provide essential data that you'll need in order to take your business to the next level.

 

It's the final day of our challenge and we're excited to see who comes out on top!

DAY 20: Funding Your Business

Earlier in the 21 Day Challenge, we talked about the importance of investing in your business. But for many small business owners, this is a non-starter because they generally don't have access to capital. Most entrepreneurs can barely pay the bills, which means, they can't afford to grow.  As an entrepreneur, it's your job to figure out how you're going to capitalize your business. There are a range of options from bootstrapping to venture capital, with your options depending on a range of things including your industry, size, risk tolerance etc. Regardless of the mechanism you choose, consider the ways you plan to capitalize your business in 2019, so that you're able to make the sort of power moves necessary to achieve true business success!

 
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