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."
To follow Vanessa, follow her @thebazaarbohemian and to follow Morgan, follow her @oaklantathebohemian.
Jamisa McIvor-BennettCourtesy of Jamisa McIvor-Bennett
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 ElleCourtesy of Alex Elle
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 JordanCourtesy of Jasmine Jordan
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.
Tika Sumpter & Thai Randolph
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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7 Sex-Related Problems That Ruin Sex (And Possibly Your Relationship)
Not too long ago, while in an interview, someone asked me to define one of the main purposes of sex in a long-term relationship: “Probably the most intimate form of communication that we have is sex because it’s an act that connects one’s physical, mental and emotional state to another human being simultaneously — and communication doesn’t get much more profound than that.”
That’s part of the reason why the term “casual sex” irks me to the billionth degree (check out “We Should Really Rethink The Term 'Casual Sex'”); it’s because, even if you think that sex with someone is next-to-nothing, there is so much going on within you (oxytocin highs, if you’re unprotected, fluid bonding, chemical reactions in your brain, etc.) that doesn’t know if someone is “the one” (in your mind) or not. So, in many ways, it acts like they are (check out this YouTube video from a Catholic woman who studies some unexpected ways that sex affects us physically here; sex goes deep, y’all!).
Yeah, sex is so much more than a notion, and that’s why I’m a firm believer that it is such a barometer for long-term relationships overall — because, as I’ve shared before, I once read that, “Good sex in a relationship is 10 percent of the relationship while bad sex in a relationship is 90 percent of the relationship because sex tends to set the tone for what’s happening in the rest of the house.”
And that’s why I think that there are certain sex-related issues that can not only damage your sex life with your partner but could also end up ruining your relationship if you’re not careful (very careful). Let’s get into seven of them now.
1. Being Unaware of Your “Body Clock”Giphy
I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had who’ve come to me in some serious trouble, in part due to their flailing (or partly nonexistent) sex life. When I ask them if they went to premarital counseling (if you’re engaged, please do; you have a 33 percent greater chance of avoiding divorce when counseling transpires), many say “no” and the ones who say “yes” usually say that it was no more than 3-5 sessions and the topic of sex barely came up (le sigh). Meanwhile, with my premarital meetings, I try and stick with intimacy for three months if I can because there is a lot to unpack, from what you learned as a child, to your first time (or if you are a virgin), to your needs and fantasies, to how you see it from a spiritual perspective — like I said, there is a lot to unpack there.
Take the mere practicality of sex, for example — and more specifically, your body clock. Do you prefer to have sex at night or in the daytime? A lot of couples struggle with intimacy because one prefers the former while the other likes the latter. Do you keep track of when you’re ovulating? It’s pure science why you are probably hornier during that time of the month (because your body is signaling that it’s time to conceive) vs. the fact that you might not be the most interested in sex when you’re PMS’ing. Are you premenopausal? Hormones shift a lot during that time, and here’s the thing — while menopause only lasts a year, the premenopausal stage (which typically starts between 45-55) can last between 7-14 years. Even paying attention to when you have more energy (some do in the day…morning sex, anyone? While others do early in the evening) can play a role.
So yeah, getting to know your body clock (and discussing your partner’s clock with them) can play a role in how much — or how little — sex you have…and that can add life or drain it from the relationship overall.
2. Comparing Your Present with Your PastGiphy
There is a wife of almost 20 years I know who, when I asked her if she thought that her husband was good in bed, she paused for a second, shrugged her shoulders, and simply said, “I was a virgin when I got married, so I have nothing to compare him to. I mean, he’s good to me.” On the flip side, there’s a now divorced couple who I also know (who almost made it to 20 years) who had multiple partners before each other while also having a deep interest in porn who once said to me, “Sometimes, there’s as much as 15 people in our bed because of all of the people from our past and the porn that we’ve seen that’s running through our heads.” Yeah, y’all can act like body counts don’t matter, but there is so much evidence out here that says otherwise — that couple just gave one that doesn’t get talked about as much as it should.
You know, one of my favorite throwback shows is King of Queens (Kevin James, Leah Remini). A few weeks ago, I watched a rerun where Doug and Carrie were talking about the images that come up in their minds, sometimes during sex. Neither was too happy about it, and I can totally see why. I mean, if sex was just about “getting off” (and it’s not), then whatever. However, AGAIN, it’s also about connecting with your partner on a mental and emotional level, and that’s hard to do if you’re there with them in the body while you’re fantasizing about a celebrity, a porn actor (porn is usually acting, don’t let it fool you) or an ex (check out “You Love Him. You Prefer Sex With Your Ex. What Should You Do?”).
And what if that is what’s going on? I once spoke with a sex therapist about this very thing. What she said is people should be less concerned about celebs (if it’s on occasion) and more concerned about that ex because rarely is sex with an ex…just about the sex.
And that’s why this point made the list. If you’re physically with your partner and mentally or emotionally with your ex at the same time, please don’t ignore that. There are definitely some unresolved issues there that you need to work through, whether it’s with a therapist, counselor, or coach, a trusted friend (who won’t add fuel to the literal fire), or even with your ex — although you might want to run that by your partner first because…I’m pretty sure you’d want him to do that with/for you. RIGHT?
3. Not Being Clear About Your Sexual NeedsGiphy
Question — if someone were to walk up to you right now and ask you what your top seven sexual needs are, along with what your top five sexual dealbreakers are, would you be able to answer? It really is kind of wild how many people get upset with their partner for not being able to sexually satisfy them when even they can’t articulate what they need/require in order for that to happen. Yeah, it’s another article for another time about how many people UNREALISTICALLY (and yes, I am yelling it) think that someone loving them well means that they should be able to read their mind. Nope.
It truly can’t be said enough that sex — especially good sex — is about communication. Hmph. It makes me think about a clip that I saw from Tonight’s Conversation podcast (can’t find it at the moment; sorry) where a woman asked how she should tell her partner that he hasn’t been pleasing her, I believe she said for years. My first thought was if he doesn’t know that, she must be faking orgasms (more on that in a bit) which is not only lying — well, it is —, but it’s also pretty counterproductive because while he thinks that he’s “getting the job done,” she’s not fulfilled and resentment is setting in.
Please don’t let rom-coms (fiction) and social media (which is oftentimes fictitious) have you out here thinking that a good lover is someone you automatically gel with who knows exactly what to do; sometimes that is the case, and oftentimes it isn’t.
So, if the sex-related issue that you’re having in your relationship is that your sexual needs aren’t being met, first do you (and your partner) a favor by doing some sex journaling (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”) so that you can tangibly see what those needs are and then plan time within the next week or so to pour a couple of glasses of wine, put on some 90s R&B and discuss with your partner what you need. Because actually, what a good lover is, is someone who listens and retains. This brings me to the next point.
4. Minimizing Your Partner’s Sexual NeedsGiphy
A husband once told that when he and his wife were in premarital counseling, something that he mentioned was a bona fide need was fellatio. According to him, his wife told both him and their counselor that she loved giving head. Fast forward to eight years of being in their union, and guess how many times that act went down? A measly four. FOUR TIMES (check out “Sooo...What If You HATE Oral?”).
It’s another message for another time, the amount of people who will “false advertise” during the dating stage in order to get to their goal of marriage. It’s also another message for another time how much that is a form of manipulation that tends to backfire in ways that the manipulator is oftentimes not prepared for.
For now, what I will say, is never think that just because something may not be a need for you that it isn’t a legitimate one for someone else. I mean, how would you feel if that’s how someone treated you? Yeah…exactly.
Yet that is just what happens in a lot of relationships, including when it comes to their bedroom. They will think that their needs should be met, hands down, yet when their partner comes with what’s important to them, all of a sudden, there is dismissiveness, nonchalance, and/or excuses — and how could that not rear its ugly head on so many levels?
Your partner’s sexual needs are essential, even if they are not your own. Never assume that you automatically know everything about them. Also, never assume that what worked two years ago is what will “scratch the itch” now. Hmph. Come to think of it, while you’re sipping on that wine and clearly articulating to him what turns you on, use that as an opportunity to ask him to return the favor. Listen with humility, receptiveness, and intent — the best kind of relationships process their partner’s needs with this kind of vibe…across the board.
5. Taking the “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” ApproachGiphy
Lazy lovers. When you hear that phrase, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? If it’s someone who is just lying there during sex, that would certainly qualify; however, I’m actually speaking of a different kind of laziness here. Believe it or not, some synonyms for lazy include words like apathetic, inattentive, tired, passive (cough, cough), procrastinating, neglectful, and slacking. So yeah, if you and/or your partner can use any of these words to define what sex is consistently like between the two of you — red flag, red flag…RED FREAKIN’ FLAG.
Speaking of being passive, another potentially serious sex-related problem is taking on the attitude that if something ain’t broke, you shouldn’t fix it. What I mean by that is, just because you know that getting on top and riding for exactly six-and-a-half minutes is what will get your partner off, that doesn’t mean that it should be your automatic go-to all of the damn time.
Why? Because. While a part of the fun of having sex is “reaching the peak,” another component that should never be underestimated is discovering new territory: trying new positions, creating a sex bucket list, taking (more) sexcations, playing sex-themed board games (put that phrase in Amazon or on Etsy’s site and go ham!)…you know, doing what will inspire creativity and deter either of you from becoming bored.
That said, a husband of 17 years once told me, “A man can be satisfied with the same woman. We just don’t want the same kind of sex with her.” Words to live by. Yes, indeed.
6. Using Sex as a Deflection or Coping MechanismGiphy
A few years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “Make-Up Sex Might Be Doing Your Relationship More Harm Than Good” — and with good cause. Words cannot express how many divorced (or soon-to-be divorced) women have told me that a part of what kept them in their marriage, for as long as they stayed in it, was the fact that the sex with their husband was beyond amazing…even though so much other stuff completely and totally sucked. Hey, good sex isn’t a bad thing (c’mon now); however, if it’s the only real thing that’s keeping you with someone, it can turn out to be a toxic deflector.
The reason why I say that is the purpose of sex isn’t to make love; it’s to celebrate it. And if all you’re doing with your partner is f — king and fighting or avoiding issues by stripping down or thinking that sex will “make it all better,” all the while not really knowing what the problem/issue is or what needs to be done to get down to the root of it, that is using sex as a pacifier and again, that’s not what sex is designed to be. Sex doesn’t deserve the pressure of being the end-all to “fixing” ish.
So, if what’s transpiring in your relationship lately is very little talking and a whole lot of sexing, and then once the sex is over, something still feels “off,” that’s a good indication that you’re misusing sex on some level. Get out of the bed, put on a robe, and do some talking (preferably in a room other than the bedroom; leave that space for sex and sleep only as much as possible). Because remember — as much as the wives that I mentioned said that their husbands once had them climbing the walls, those men are still ex-husbands now. Bottom line, sex is good, yet when it comes to keeping a relationship together, it will never be enough. Again, it was never designed to be.
7. Faking ItGiphy
I will never be a fan of faking orgasms. Maybe it’s because I’m a Gemini (we may be a lot of things, but “fake” isn’t really our style). Maybe it’s because I’m a very word-literal individual, and I know that fake means things like “prepare or make (something specious, deceptive, or fraudulent)” and “to conceal the defects of or make appear more attractive, interesting, valuable, etc., usually in order to deceive.” Or perhaps it’s because I don’t get how acting like you’re sexually fulfilled when you actually aren’t is doing anyone any good. Whatever it is, whenever a client (or someone in general because men fakealmost as much as women do) tells me that it’s something they do, I immediately find myself on a mission to shut that mess down (check out “Why You Should Stop Faking Orgasms ASAP”). ALL THE WAY DOWN.
The main reason is that, regardless of if the motive is to hurry things along, not hurt your partner’s feelings, or it’s something more cryptic than that (cough, cough, some form of manipulation tactic), there’s no way around the fact that fakeness is tied to deception and deception is a word that should never be connected to a healthy sexual dynamic.
Besides, one could argue that faking is a form of deflection as well because…wouldn’t it be better to just get it all out in the open WHY you are doing it than to keep pretending when life is too short and great sex is too good to not get the absolute most out of it, as much as possible?
Besides, again, chances are that if you’re faking that you’re sexually pleased, you’re probably faking something else in your relationship (or situation), and how could that possibly be good, right, or beneficial?
Yeah, when it comes to being satisfied across the board, please don’t fake it. State your case in the way that you’d like to hear something said to you, and let the chips fall where they may. If you’ve got a good man, he’s gonna — no pun — rise to the occasion. If his ego can’t handle it, well…that’s something that you should find out sooner than later — when it comes to the bedroom and outside of it? Right? #shoyouright
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