Studies have shown that companies owned by women of color – 42 percent African American – have skyrocketed since 1997, which significantly exceeds the already impressive growth rate of businesses owned by all women.
One the other hand, other studies suggest that black women are less likely to be employed or insured, to attain higher education degrees, or to hold public office.
“It appears to be a paradox, unless you understand black women,” says Dr. Venus Opal Reese.
Reese is the CEO of Defy Impossible, Inc., a company that assists black women – and men of all ethnicities – with breaking the seven-figure ceiling.
“The survival strategies our ancestors learned from slavery are passed down to us and become our ‘normal.’ We’re taught that to feel good about ourselves, we have to work hard, sacrifice for others, prove ourselves, overcome; those are survival skills for which we’re socially rewarded. But when we allow society to dictate our inherent value, our self-worth, we will always come up short.”
This could explain why so many intelligent, successful African American women stay in careers that they dislike, but that pay well, though will never allow them to reach their financial potential. Reese says this is why black women sacrifice for everyone—family, co-workers, church members, even community—any never have anything left for themselves.
This sacrificial, tenacious mentality often leads them to astounding accomplishments, but also to a state of financial and emotional impoverishment as well.
“Our self-worth and our mindset around money are our biggest barriers to breaking the million-dollar mark,” Dr. Venus says.
So what differentiates black female millionaires from others? Dr. Venus gives us the answer, which can prove financial fruitfulness for women, and men, of all ethnicities:
Capitalize on Your Journey, Not Just Your Job
Day in and day out, we devote our skills to accomplishing tasks for someone’s ultimate benefit: our employers. While this may earn us enough to survive, it likely won’t facilitate reaching the million-dollar mark. If we give up the working-class hustle perspective, we can free ourselves from financial dependence—this calls for a shift from what you “do” to what you “know.”
We are all skilled in some way, but what distinguishes you from the next is your journey, an experience that is unique to you alone. This journey can be transformed into a million-dollar message, if you can first identify it. This is the initial step in igniting your entrepreneurial flame and bringing financial freedom within your grasp.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job, Yet
If you are in a fret about putting food on the table, your focus won’t wholly be on reaching your financial dreams. Keep your day job while you work on creating the million-dollar idea in your spare time. Once you’ve built up your revenue stream enough to financially sustain yourself, let that replace your hourly-wage woes and yes, quit the day job!
Set Your Prices Accurately, From the Beginning
If you want to portray yourself as a high-cost leader, you can’t start off charging low. This takes confidence in your abilities, but it will force people respect you and your work. If you start low intending to raise prices later, your initial client base will consist of people looking for a deal. This will make it more difficult to transition to higher prices when your clients are used to paying less. So don’t build your business’s foundation on a low-end exchange of goods.
Base Your Dream Salary on Value Not Volume
An additional downside of low pricing is that your income is based on servicing a high volume of clients. Instead, it is ideal to position your business as one of value, not volume. When moving into the realm of high-end leadership, the more value you provide to your clients, the more you can charge. Thus you are creating revenue not from a large volume of low-priced services, but from valuable services provided to a lower volume of high-end clients.
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