6 Mogul Mavens Give Us The Secret To Overcoming Struggles & Securing A Check

When Black women link, issa celebration, and Renae's latest project, She Did That. gets the party started in the best way.

Workin’ Girl

While you're out here laying your edges, securing a bag, and becoming the woman of your dreams, it's easy to feel overworked and undervalued. On your quest to realizing your God-given vision, there will be times where you feel invisible, but digital content creator, PR Vet, and filmmaker Renae Bluitt wants you to know that she sees you, sis; so much so, that she created a whole documentary to put us on display for the world to see.

When Black women link, issa celebration, and Renae's latest project, She Did That., (now available on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Comcast, Spectrum, and more) gets the party started in the best way. Featuring mogul mavens like bestselling author Luvvie Ajayi, Melissa Butler, creator of The Lip Bar, and founder of Carol's Daughter, Lisa Price, the documentary is the first of its kind and chronicles the struggles, sacrifices, and strength that it took for these women to manifest their best lives and become major breadwinners in their respective industries.

We sat down with some of the women from the film, who gave us the blueprint on how they evolved their business from a startup into a whirlwind success. Here's what they had to say:

Renae Bluitt

Creator & Executive Producer, She Did That.

Can you give us a little bit of background on your career journey and the pathway that led you along the one you are currently on? 

I've always been a storyteller. My career as a PR strategist allows me to tell my client's stories. In 2009, I launched my blog, In Her Shoes, which is where I share the stories of Black women entrepreneurs. Now, as a new filmmaker, I'm diving deeper into the Black woman entrepreneur's story with my first documentary.

If you encountered struggles and uncertainty along that journey, what was the moment where you felt like, 'She Did That.' on your entrepreneurial journey? 

I'm in it right now with the production of She Did That. When I came up with the idea, I never imagined the doors that God would open for this project. For a first time filmmaker, this is a huge feat and I will never take this blessing lightly.

Struggles and uncertainties are part of life's experiences. There's really no way around it. How you respond to those challenging times is what determines your success. It's only natural to let our feelings slow things down a bit when the road gets rocky. I allow myself time to react but then I remind myself that I've been here before and things always work out the way they are supposed to. Even if the outcome isn't what I hoped for, it's always for the best.

"Struggles and uncertainties are part of life's experiences. There's really no way around it. How you respond to those challenging times is what determines your success. It's only natural to let our feelings slow things down a bit when the road gets rocky. I allow myself time to react but then I remind myself that I've been here before and things always work out the way they are supposed to."

How did that moment define how you feel about your purpose and your path as a whole? Did it change your trajectory? 

Seeing how women and girls of all ages are impacted by this film lets me know no matter how challenging it gets, I'm on the right path. When I really look at what I've been able to accomplish so far with She Did That., I am reminded of God's favor and grace.

What would you tell budding entrepreneurs who might be waiting for their 'She Did That.' moment(s) to help them see the light at the end of the tunnel?

I would say stop waiting for your moment. It will come to you when the time is right. Instead of waiting for this magical moment to happen, just do the work. And when the work becomes exhausting and you feel like you're losing fuel, don't be afraid to stop and recharge. We aren't machines, our minds and our bodies need rest. Once you've rested, get back in the game and keep going. Your She Did That. moment is closer than you think.

Courtesy of Yaz Quiles

Can you give us a little bit of background on your career journey and the pathway that led you along the one you are currently on?

I graduated college with a Bachelor's in mass communications. The idea then was to work in television or entertainment. Now, I can proudly say I have 20+ years of experience in event marketing, design, and production. I am an award-winning and published experienced brand and event marketer, who has developed and executed industry-leading integrated events for small- and large-scale brands on both agency and client sides. I have consistently delivered strong results for leading Fortune 500 Brands including Dropbox, Verizon, HBO, Instagram, Pepsi, MillerCoors, Moët Hennessy, and Barnes & Noble.

If you encountered struggles and uncertainty along that journey, what was the moment where you felt like, 'She Did That.' on your entrepreneurial journey?

Oftentimes, it felt as if I were running in quicksand. Exerting an exponential amount of energy, but not feeling like I was yielding a great return. That return was not only financial, but emotional. Finally, after a couple of years, I had clients on my roster who I worked just as hard for, if not more, but the efforts made me feel challenged to be better, more innovative and alive! My clients made me feel appreciated, which boosted my spirit and ultimately made me feel fulfilled.

How did that moment define how you feel about your purpose and your path as a whole? Did it change your trajectory?

It changed my trajectory as I started to focus on projects, which were aligned with who I am, who I wanted to be and made me happy. With each project I sign up for, I always ask, "Am I excited about this opportunity? Will I wake up with excitement to work this client? How will this project help me reach my overall goals?"

What would you tell budding entrepreneurs who might be waiting for their 'She Did That.' moment(s) to help them see the light at the end of the tunnel?

Every step you take, even when it doesn't feel right, is part of the journey. Those moments help you tweak the plan. Knowing what you don't like or want to do is just as important as what you like to do. Take stock of these moments and commit to getting to the other side. It's not easy, but it's definitely worth it.

Anika Jackson

Co-Founder, The TEN Nail Bar

Courtesy of Anika Jackson

Can you give us a little bit of background on your career journey and the pathway that led you along the one you are currently on?

I'm a native Detroiter born into an entrepreneurial family. I first assumed my role at Jackson Asset Management where I am responsible for managing over 500K sq feet of commercial and residential real estate and overseeing the operations of the portfolio of companies including dealerships, golf courses and apartments.

Additionally, I have a passion to create businesses that should exist but did not, namely personal services. I partnered with my long-time friend and savvy businesswoman Kelli Coleman and, in 2016, we opened The TEN Nail Bar. The TEN is a modern self-care destination.

If you encountered struggles and uncertainty along that journey, what was the moment where you felt like, 'She Did That.' on your entrepreneurial journey?

As an entrepreneur and someone who wants to live their purpose and positively impact the lives of those I employ as well as my family, there are tons of moments of uncertainty on this journey. I keep great counsel around me so that I can bounce ideas off those I trust. I also remind myself that pivoting is OK on the journey as long as it's purposeful.

How did that moment define how you feel about your purpose and your path as a whole? Did it change your trajectory?

These moments further confirmed my belief that this business was needed and desired by consumers. It provided validation that we were on the right path. Doubt creeps in regularly and when the universe provided that validation, it helped reaffirm that my idea was viable. These moments helped me know that if I have an idea and I am willing to put hard work behind it, then I can produce a real-life manifestation of that idea. I felt like I was really living in my purpose.

"Doubt creeps in regularly and when the universe provided that validation, it helped reaffirm that my idea was viable. These moments helped me know that if I have an idea and I am willing to put hard work behind it, then I can produce a real-life manifestation of that idea."

There were times where I would share the idea and was met with skepticism or confusion on why I was seeking to open a beauty business when I had an MBA, but I knew this was a good idea and that it could be successful. Regardless of how it might appear to those who felt I should be pursuing other opportunities, it was something I was passionate about.

What would you tell budding entrepreneurs who might be waiting for their 'She Did That.' moment(s) to help them see the light at the end of the tunnel?

I have three things I want to share with budding entrepreneurs. I kind of feel like we are all budding in some way. Businesses evolve over time and while you may have been an expert or performing well one year, in an instant, market factors could shift and you could find yourself reinventing or pivoting. So, remember we are all on the path of continual improvement.

Be patient. While you can put your idea out and receive immediate feedback be patient and ensure you are working on your idea/business purposefully instead of with ego.

Do the real work. You can't fake the hard work of starting a business. You can't get the knowledge through osmosis, networking or asking everyone else their opinions or advice. Get started now!

You are enough! When doubt creeps in, just remember that this idea was planted in you and it's your responsibility to foster its growth.

Courtesy of Chioma Ngwudo

​Can you give us a little bit of background on your career journey and the pathway that led you along the one you are currently on?

My very first job was an internship in the Contracts Management Department of a finance firm; that job was just about as interesting as it sounds. I ended up founding Cee Cee's Closet NYC with my sister right around the time I started my first job as a side hustle. Soon enough, Cee Cee's Closet grew enough that I could leave my six-figure job and pursue my business full-time.

If you encountered struggles and uncertainty along that journey, what was the moment where you felt like, 'She Did That.' on your entrepreneurial journey?

One of the moments when I felt like "she did that!" was when we hired our first full-time employee in Nigeria. Not only were we able to get the help that we needed to continue to grow our business, but we were also able to give her a solid middle-class income. It's still one of my proudest moments.

How did that moment define how you feel about your purpose and your path as a whole? Did it change your trajectory?

That moment was incredibly affirming for me. My purpose has always been to have a positive impact on the lives of black women globally, whether it be through the diverse imagery we produce to represent our brand, the black women that we hire to work for us both on the continent and in the US, or the women who are inspired to chase their dreams when they read our story. As long as my work is improving the lives of black women around me, I know that I am on the right path.

What would you tell budding entrepreneurs who might be waiting for their 'She Did That.' moment(s) to help them see the light at the end of the tunnel?

I would tell them to continue to do the work and drive towards their purpose. Behind every "she did that!" moment is hours of work (not all of it enjoyable) but all of it worthwhile for the lessons you learn, the people you meet, and the lives you impact along the way.

Courtesy of Denequa Williams Clarke

Can you give us a little bit of background on your career journey and the pathway that led you along the one you are currently on?

I've always been an entrepreneur at heart. I just never knew I would become a chandler. When I think about it, I've always loved candles and making people feel good, so I lucked up in choosing a path that merged the two.

If you encountered struggles and uncertainty along that journey, what was the moment where you felt like, 'She Did That.' on your entrepreneurial journey?

Struggles and uncertainty are inevitable in this thing called life. They are important for growth and development and they help to mold and define you. The moment where I felt like "she did that!" was when I was I was featured in a magazine that my mom had been subscribed to for years, ESSENCE. Another "she did that!" moment was being invited to the Roc Nation office by THE Lenny S. Everyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with the ROC, so to be personally invited was dope.

How did that moment define how you feel about your purpose and your path as a whole? Did it change your trajectory?

Those moments solidified to me that I was on the correct path because I wasn't looking for them, nor was I seeking it. My head was down doing the work, putting in my 10,000 hours. I never started a business to become popular, I started it to fill a void. The void was providing people who look like me with an opportunity to afford luxury items. And in filling a void, I became noticed; the rest is history.

What would you tell budding entrepreneurs who might be waiting for their 'She Did That.' moment(s) to help them see the light at the end of the tunnel?

I'd tell budding entrepreneurs to unfollow everyone on social media and in life that is doing what they are aspiring to do. I say that because there will be moments in your journey where things won't go the way you'd like and you need to be OK with that. We all have seasons and I'm here to tell you, you are setting yourself up for disappointment because you are bound to continuously compare your path to theirs without seeing the behind the scenes, and that becomes very dangerous.

"I'd tell budding entrepreneurs to unfollow everyone on social media and in life that is doing what they are aspiring to do. I say that because there will be moments in your journey where things won't go the way you'd like and you need to be OK with that."

Courtesy of Tonya Rapley


Can you give us a little bit of background on your career journey and the pathway that led you along the one you are currently on?

I've been working in communities since I was in college, first through populations at risk of contracting HIV and then I moved into affordable housing and community planning. Because of my desire to be a catalyst for community change, I pursued and received a BA in Public Administration and an MA in Urban Policy and Affairs. The work in financial education came from my own need as well as seeing how financial insecurity contributed to a lot of the issues communities I was serving were dealing with.

If you encountered struggles and uncertainty along that journey, what was the moment where you felt like, 'She Did That.' on your entrepreneurial journey?

It's happened with each level of my progress and continues to happen. The first time is when someone said the content I created helped them. Then it was when I was on the cover of Black Enterprise. Then when I spoke about financial literacy to women in the Philippines and now on the eve of celebrating my 5th year of being self-employed and generating over half a million in revenue.

How did that moment define how you feel about your purpose and your path as a whole? Did it change your trajectory?

Each moment made me continue to pursue sustainability both as a business owner and change agent. I wouldn't say they changed my trajectory but they reinforced my confidence in myself as an entrepreneur.

What would you tell budding entrepreneurs who might be waiting for their 'She Did That.' moment(s) to help them see the light at the end of the tunnel?

Do the work. You can't get away from that. Eventually, you'll get to a point where you can work smart. A book that's been really helpful for me is The System is the Secret. Surround yourself with people who celebrate you yet encourage you to question what's next.

She Did That. is now available on iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Comcast, Spectrum, Cox, DIRECTV, and Xfinity. Learn more about the film on shedidthatfilm.com and join the movement on Instagram by following @shedidthatfilm!

Featured image courtesy of Renae Bluitt.

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