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Workin' Girl

It can be more than challenging trying to balance childcare, COVID-19 prevention (hey, Delta), and work. It's hard enough not worrying about whether your kid's school will cancel in-person classes or shut down altogether while facing the not-so-usual growing pains of children and teens who are forced to live in whatever phase of a pandemic we're in right now. (I mean, is it really post-pandemic? Is it halfway done or just beginning? And what's "normal" about this "new" environment?)

Moms, we feel your pain.

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There's always talk about entrepreneurship and how it can be the key to making your financial dreams come true, but there often isn't as much talk about the sacrifices—especially those that hit your pockets hard—required to get a business off the ground, nevertheless keep it running. And maybe you've got a great idea, but when you're out there just trying to live a normal life, who can even think about taking money out of the I'm-barely-making-ends-meet account and putting it toward starting a business? Research even shows that one of the top reasons women don't start businesses is because of the startup costs required.

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If you know me, you know first and foremost I'm a free spirit. And I found healing through writing. But by trade, I'm a business consultant. And because of my blended skill set and expertise, my service offering allows me to give my clients the best of both worlds. Recently, I found myself having to renegotiate my fees with one of my clients for the scope and level of work I produce. I had requested three times my fees at a monthly flat rate due to scope creep and the expansion of the role. My client counter-offered with a rate that would be considered unacceptable for anyone with a background similar to mine.

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Dear Entrepreneur,

As we close National Black Business Month, I am honored to pen this letter to you-- the creators, the waymakers, the innovators, the entrepreneurs who have the courage to bet on yourselves time and time again. Your very existence in this space is deeply inspiring and legacy shifting. There's no greater honor than to follow your assignment, your purpose, that's been given uniquely to you. As a fellow entrepreneur in this journey, what I share in this letter comes from my own journal, where I ground myself, each morning, in the lessons I have learned to become a stronger business owner. My journey as the Founder and CEO of the Village Market, the Village Retail, and Our Village United.

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In a world where working remotely or working from has now become a part of our mainstream culture, staying productive has become so much harder. We are constantly distracted by our home or social environments. We mismanage our time throughout the day and week. We're guilty of choosing to catch up with friends, scroll through social media, or engage in almost anything else that prevents us from owning our day. And we're not one hundred percent wrong for this. Americans are known to be overworked and burned out. It's only now we are catching up to the world in adopting a better work-life balance. But it doesn't mean we should drop everything and forget about our priorities.

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Courtney Adeleye is no stranger to making multi-million-dollar moves that not only change lives but empower others to do the same. As the founder of The Mane Choice⁠—a line of natural haircare products that went from her home to the shelves of major stores like Target⁠—she took $500 and turned it into more than $100 million within a few years. Her online brand is undeniable⁠—bright, bold, and uber-confident⁠—and her more than 380,000 followers on Instagram alone eat it up.

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