A few days ago I attended a networking event in Washington, DC put on by High Heels High Goals, Inc. called the DC Business Exchange. The basis of the event was to promote entrepreneur networking in an unyielding format, because as the event’s hashtag stated, #NetworkingIsFree. The event was set up on the rooftop of the brand new YMCA on 14th street that overlooks the city below, which ironically and iconically is run by small businesses whose entrepreneurs have cast their dreams on just about every block and corner of the District’s four quadrants. The High Heels High Goals founders, Ronnessa “Ronne B” Brown and Jennifer Lucy Tyler have a mission to “empower, educate, and engage the Entrepreneur and the Renaissance woman, who has a purpose to fulfill, and a vision to carry out.” And that my friend, are exactly the type of ladies, and men, who filled the room for this event. Individuals with purpose and vision and business cards on deck, ready to mix and mingle and network. But first, there was a panel of entrepreneurs filled with knowledge and passion willing to share a little about entrepreneurship and their road to unconventional success.
At the start of the session, Ronne B. said something memorable: “We always see the fruit, but few see the seed.” The seed is the blood sweat and tears that it takes to build a brand, a business, a dream. The panel delved into what it takes to build a business and offered keys to successful entrepreneurship by answering a few questions posed by Ronne who served as the moderator.
Panel members included:
– Raevyn Jones of Fire your Boss Academy
– Mia Ray, beauty/fashion blogger, of Confessions of a Glam-Aholic
– Julie Wen of LashMoi Eyelash Specialists
– Lateasa Polito of P.Creative
– Sunni, on air personality at DC’s WPGC 95.5 and Philanthropist
– Tressa “Azrael” Smallwood, CEO of Life Changing Books
– Tamara Hush Lee, of Hush Boutique
– Solé, Rapper, Activist, Fitness Enthusiast
Ronne asked the panel, “If you could go back, what would you do differently if you knew then (when you began your business) what you know now?”
Raevyn said, I wouldn’t lack humility. I would ask for help from people who’ve done it before. Do not fake it until you make it. Ask someone who’s familiar with what you’re doing. Mia Ray said she would’ve started her business sooner if she knew it would be a success. Julie stated that she would have been more focused. I loved what Lateasa said, she stated that she wouldn’t have allowed people to get into her head. Her dad wanted her to be a nurse, but her heart wanted her to be an artist. She stated that you should be who you truly want to be, and don’t treat your vision like a side piece! Frank stated that he would’ve gotten his real estate license sooner. Sunni said something similar to Lateasa, don’t allow dream killers to get into your head – stop listening to them. Be 100% happy every day. She also had a message for parents to stop being their children’s dream killers. In addition, don’t allow social media to discourage you. Ronne B. chimed in here and stated that social media is a gift and a curse. It can make you feel defeated where you are, and it can often times serve as an illusion. You can’t allow yourself to focus on others via their social media accounts, and by mimicking others you lose your purpose. “Plant seeds of your own passion. Don’t look at other people’s fruits. Water your own seeds.”
Tressa’s advice was to create something that can’t be duplicated. She said her biggest mistake was having the “know it all syndrome”. She also told the audience not to measure their success by other people’s growth, because it will get you sidetracked. Tamara told the audience that everything has its own season and timing, and to spend time with your business and study your craft! Solé added that as a entrepreneur, you should delegate and oversee. She stated that she lost money on her journey by not delegating, studying her craft, and overseeing her business at one point in time.
The panelists provided food for thought and action for the entrepreneurial minds in the room.
“Be consistent”, “Put your brand identity out into the universe”, “People are attracted to people who don’t quit”, “Know your market and your customer”, “Support people you connect with” …
They also offered unforgettable advice which made for a great close-out, and perfect opening to the fun networking segment!
“Consider your purpose and what you’ve been through. Nothing you go through is in vain.” ~Raevyn
“People can duplicate, but passion always wins.” ~Ronne B.
“Be authentic and real. Stay who you are.” ~Mia Ray
“Figure out what drives you and don’t be cheap with your brand.” ~Lateasa
“Make sure what you’re doing in naturally happening. Find the organic intersection of all the things you’re interested in.” ~Sunni
“Remember where you came from, and stay humble.” ~Julie
“Collect emails, and be interactive with your followers.” ~Tamara
“Live what you sell. Be conscious of how you present yourself. If you’re not living it, people won’t believe you.” ~Solé
This was an awesome event put on by some very awesome people.
For more information on how to launch into your entrepreneurial calling, visit High Heels High Goals!
Are you an entrepreneur? What advice would you share with others? Leave your comments below.
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