National Entrepreneur's Day is a fairly recent national holiday that came into prominence in 2010 when our forever POTUS Barack Obama proclaimed it as such. Since then, the official day has fallen on every third Tuesday of November, meaning this year, November 17 is the moment we raise our glasses in a toast to all of the self-made entrepreneurs out there who have made a bustling empire virtually out of nothing. We see you, sis! Between the endless hours of hard work and the blood, sweat and tears that goes into growing a vision into its fullest potential, the road to being self-made is not one without sacrifice.
Furthermore, as Black women, entrepreneurship holds even more of a special place in our hearts as we strive to become our ancestors' wildest dreams by stepping into our true power. And as the fast-growing group of entrepreneurs in our nation, becoming our own bosses gives us the tools to write our own paychecks in a world that tells us our worth is 63 percent of what non-Hispanic white men are paid. In that way, entrepreneurship has acted as a vessel for Black women to take control of their career and financial destinies while living lives that they love.
To commemorate this National Entrepreneur's Day, here are 11 of our favorite entrepreneurs elevating their hustle and making money moves in 2020 and beyond that you need to follow ASAP.
Courtesy of Monique Rodriguez
Founder and CEO of Mielle Organics, Monique Rodriguez is a millionaire mogul through and through. The SHEeo went from being an RN and preparing her hair coveted hair products at home to having her products line the shelves of over 100K stores worldwide -- and we live! She credited her self-made journey to millions to a vision planted in her heart and mind from God.
In an xoNecole exclusive, she shared that her entrepreneurial endeavors took root well before she knew it was possible for her efforts to bear fruit. And this year, she sought to create a similar legacy with the creation of More Than a Strand. She told xoNecole in regards to her story:
"I want people to look at me [and] I want them to see themselves in me. And to see that, listen, this was a girl who was just from the Southside of Chicago that had a dream and she was able to accomplish her dream. She had a lot of faith and little experience, but look what she was able to accomplish."
Follow Monique on Instagram @exquisitemo.
Courtesy of Watchen Nyanue
Founder and CEO of I Choose the Ladder, Watchen Nyanue is doing her best to provide Black women in corporate spaces with the tools to "climb the ladder" of success the way that they want to achieve it. The Liberian-born entrepreneur saw a void in the opportunities and rooms Black women were allowed access to and sought to change it with the creation of her career consulting company as well as her career summit, The Climb. It's clear elevating Black women is her mission. She revealed to xoNecole:
"I love us for real. If you get us in a position to win, we're always going to make sure that we all win."
Follow I Choose the Ladder on Instagram @ichoosetheladder.
Courtesy of The Lip Bar
The Lip Bar founder Melissa Butler has come a long way since facing rejection from the critically-acclaimed ABC series Shark Tank. The self-proclaimed "rebel with a cause" dared to be different and dared to be great by turning her "no" into the only "yes" that mattered: her own. She fought for her brand of cocktail-inspired bold vegan lipsticks to become what it is today, a bonafide beauty empire that now includes foundation and a recently-launched concealer. In conversation with xoNecole earlier this year, Melissa shared how the customer stays at the forefront of her mind as a leader:
"I'm understanding that in time, things change, the customer's needs change. My job as the leader of the organization is to make sure that I'm always serving the customer."
From startup to household name, Melissa is definitely an entrepreneur to follow.
For more of Melissa, follow her on Instagram @melissarbutler.
The Brown BohemiansCourtesy of The Brown Bohemians
The Brown Bohemians are culture curators and co-founders Vanessa Coore Vernon and Morgan Ashley who together spearhead the mission to being the change they wish to see in their community with The Bohemian Brands. The two, who started as best friends before evolving into business partners, created their brand to emphasize the color that is often washed out of the bohemian space. In addition to self-care, intersectionality is a huge focus of the duo and painting a lifestyle brand representative of the fully-realized self-expression of Black and brown bohemians. This year, the entrepreneurs dropped their latest project, a 200+-page coffee table book, Brown Bohemians: Honoring the Light and Magic of Our Creative Community.
When discussing their intention of infusing their Black and queer identities into their brand, Morgan Ashley shared with xoNecole:
"Identifying as a woman, a Black woman, and a queer Black woman is extremely important to me. I would like to say that I put a ton of attention behind it and always want to put it on the forefront, but it just happens organically because those are things that I'm so proud to be. It just comes across in everything that I do. Blackness and conversation around race and ethnicity are in everything."
Jamisa McIvor-Bennett is a testament to the financial freedom that can be waiting for you on the other side of generational wealth and an impressive multi-million-dollar real estate portfolio. The now-26-year-old was 19 working in a supermarket when her grandmother changed her life by giving her a quitclaim deed transfer to her house for a total of $400. That property would lay the groundwork for the portfolio of 21 properties and counting she owns under her belt. The real estate guru spoke to xoNecole earlier this year about her path and dropped gems on how others could follow suit:
"Right now, my portfolio total is $3.2 million, cash flow is a little under $50,000 a month."
Let's just say, we'll have what she's having.
For more of Jamisa, follow her on Instagram @rosebudsinvestment.
Alex Elle is a true testament of the abundance that await you when you stand firmly in your truth and allow transparency to reign supreme. The former blogger has worn many hats and had many businesses, but known of them stuck quite like words have. The healer has used her gift with the pen to touch others and become a leader in the self-love movement. Since amassing hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, Alex has also lent her gifts to writing, authoring books like Love in my Language and the recent After the Rain.
In a recent conversation with xoNecole, she revealed how doing the (inner) work led her to her best life:
"When it comes to my process: self-choosing has been like a prayer; it's been a meditation and a mantra. Being able to hold myself accountable when I get it right and when I get it wrong has really been the greatest lesson in writing for me. The turning point was knowing I wanted something different in my life and knowing that I could access it, I just had to show up and do the work, even if it was scary and daunting. And it still is sometimes."
Follow Alex on Instagram @alex_elle.
We all live for moments when well-deserved brands or creators get the credit that they are due. At xoNecole, we love ourselves some dope skincare, so of course MoonxCosmetics came on our radar. The black woman-owned vegan skincare brand is founded by entrepreneur Mariee' Revere and had the ultimate viral moment earlier this year when they made $1.8 million in sales in 9 minutes.
Though the company has been a thing for three years, they truly started to see the fruits of their labor this year after 20,000+ orders catapulted them into seeing Ms in sales in a matter of minutes. Next up, we're sure we'll see the beauty entrepreneur's brand lining the shelves of our favorite retail stores. Keep glowing and growing Queen!
For more of Mariee', follow her on Instagram @parmoonx.
Jasmine Jordan's father might be a legend, but the mogul-in-the-making is establishing a legacy all her own through her pioneering work with the Jordan brand. Although some people might feel that she has a leg up in life because of her famous dad, Jasmine has worked hard for her opportunities and her subsequent wins. In conversation with xoNecole earlier this year, she noted:
"Do I reap the benefits of it being his daughter? Absolutely. But I have no right to claim those things, and I never do because those are his accomplishments. I'm his daughter and I'm still going to make a name and do whatever I need to do so people can see me for me."
"If I can have my work ethic, my accomplishments, and my success on projects outshine the fact that I'm my father's child, then my job is done."
For more of Jasmine, follow her on @mickijae.
Courtesy of SugaBerry
The ladies behind SugaBerry are Tika Sumpter and Thai Randolph. With the modern-day mom-focused brand is a major pivot in Tika's career who has shifted from acting to pour into entrepreneurship. Alongside Thai, the co-founders are inviting moms of color to indulge through their website, social media platforms, and podcast. In a conversation with xoNecole, Tika stated:
"There are a million websites on motherhood, and we were barely there."
Thai shouted out the significance of SugaBerry's presence in this space by adding:
"Historically, Black women have not been depicted as vessels deserving of care. We've seen in a caretaker's context. The idea that there should be indulgent self-care afforded us...that is a foreign concept to so many people."
Follow Sugaberry on Instagram @thesugaberries.
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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Featured image by FOTOGRAFIA, INC./Getty Images