Dr. Tracy Timberlake and Vivian Olodun are living proof that when women join forces, major boss moves are afoot. Olodun, a serial entrepreneur, luxury real estate-industry vet and author, teamed up with Timberlake, an entrepreneur and strategist in her own right, to co-found Flourish Media Co., a boutique marketing firm, and the Flourish Media Conference, an event held annually in Miami, offering resources including investor matching for women entrepreneurs.
They have reportedly forged the path for raising $15 million for women-led businesses, a feat sparked by simple conversation and action.
Courtesy of Vivian Olodun
“We believe greatly that being able to have access to money and funds gives you freedom and flexibility and it’s something that we believe that people who look like us don’t necessarily have that luxury. It’s unfortunate because it is available to them,” Olodun says. “We believe in supporting women in business because investing in women helps communities, helps homes, helps children, and helps move and drive things forward.”
Timberlake echoes those sentiments. “When I was doing my study for my dissertation, which was primarily focused on women in business—online businesses in particular—and just looking at just the statistics and the economic benefit of having women-owned businesses succeed, economically for this country, it has been documented over and over again.”
Photo courtesy of Dr. Tracy Timberlake
The women have a passion for not only helping other women entrepreneurs succeed but promoting the power of finding your tribe, expanding connections, and opening doors for access to funding and resources needed to succeed.
“When a woman gets access to money, she tends to allow for more flexibility in the people she hires and to take into consideration the mental health and the overall well-being of her employees,” Olodun adds. “She tends to invest in other women and people who look just like her. We all know that there’s a significant gap in wages and earnings between men and women in our society and when women are supported, they tend to take steps to correct that. Again, women are just a smart investment.”
This is where true networking comes in. Both Olodun and Timberlake have been able to not only be an asset but build and keep solid relationships with investors and business advancement advocates who want to literally put money where growth and lucrative progress is evident.
“We make it our business to [put] ourselves in a money conversation, and that makes it possible to introduce people to those who need the funding,” Oloduon says.
“We have had lots of different kinds of businesses pitch to investors, from a wellness facility to a candle company, so it goes to every industry and every discipline. One of the most interesting parts of having these investors—personally Vivian and I had separate businesses and then came together to start Flourish Media–one of the investors actually invested in my business.
"Most people wouldn’t think that. I went through the entire process with the investors—-showing them the books, showing them the numbers, and what has happened is that it allows for us to have a better conversation with businesses coming to pitch.”
For young women seeking to find investors for their busineses, these co-founders recommend the following:
Be deliberate and take bold action in going for investment opportunities. “Don’t reinvent the wheel. Put dubs on that baby. Make it better. Open those conversations and put yourselves in rooms where you can connect with those people who are senior to you so you can learn from what they’ve done. Then do it better.”
Take steps to legitimize your business. “[Investors] are looking for you to have things like a team. We think that being a solopreneur or being able to bootstrap ourselves is some kind of badge of authority or that’s somehow attractive,” Olodun says.
“Being able to have the appropriate legal documents is very attractive. Go to your local authority and make sure your business is registered legally. Make sure you have a business bank account. These are basic things that give you a leg up when you’re talking to investors.”
Network across but balance those efforts by also networking upward. “While there’s value to comradery and people who are your peers, finding a room of people more successful than you is valuable,” Timberlake adds.
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Featured image via Flourish Media Co.