Bold Broads highlights women founders and creative [read: BADASS] small business owners about how they really deal with the ups and downs of running a BOLD business. These women share honest wisdom and tough lessons to support you in collectively making good shit happen in your own women-led startup or small business. Meet Shani Syphrett, founder and creative director of Jamila Studio.
Let's meet her, shall we?
1. STARTING A BUSINESS IS HARD AND SOMETIMES LONELY. WHAT THE F*CK MOTIVATED YOU TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
I couldn't fit into any of the boxes that came with working for someone else. No matter how hard I tried. And I tried really hard to climb the corporate ladder and then find a non-traditional job when being the CCO of something didn't seem to work out. It took me a long time to realize that no matter what it was, if there was a description written down on a piece of paper, I would always feel like I was abandoning a part of me. So after leaving 6 full-time positions, in rapid succession, I decided to take all of the skills I had and chart my own path.
2. HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED TO KEEP THRIVING IN A CREATIVE SPACE WHERE EVERYONE SEEMS TO ONE-UP EACH OTHER?
I remember why I got to where I am. Chasing someone else's dream or accomplishments will never suit me. I try to run my own race. I do look to my left and right every now and then to see what everyone else is doing. But nobody can do "Shani" better than I can. So I'm letting my surroundings inspire me to one-up myself.
3. SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES ARE OFTEN QUIETLY SUPPORTED BY A COLLECTIVE OF WOMEN MENTORS, FRIENDS AND BUSINESS OWNERS. WHAT COMMUNITIES AND RESOURCES HAVE BEEN MOST PIVOTAL TO YOUR OWN BUSINESS SUCCESS?
The Dreamers and Doers group has been amazing, as well as the tribe of bad ass Black women entrepreneurs that I am organically building. And podcasts have been my de facto business school. I learn so much during my daily commute.
4. NO BULLSH*T; WHAT'S THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS? AND EQUALLY IMPORTANT; HOW ARE YOU WORKING TO OVERCOME THIS?
Wanting to do everything, at all times, is the most challenging. I burn out often because I have endless ideas of how to make something better or I get caught up in wanting to read everything that I encounter and meet all of the people. But if everything is important then nothing is. I have to continually ask myself, "is this the most important thing I could be doing right now?"
5. SHARE THE MOST HELPFUL PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'VE EVER BEEN GIVEN.
It's a quote from Eleanor Brown that says, "you cannot serve from an empty vessel.” It reminds me that if I'm not taking care of myself then I can't possibly take care of anything else.
I UNAPOLOGETICALLY OWN MY BOLD BROAD BADASSERY BECAUSE...
I worked hard to get where I am today and I own it! Every lesson, every fall, and every triumph has led me to this very moment. It took me a long time to own my story and I attribute a big part of that to being surrounded by people who appreciate me for exactly who I am. Now I am pushing other people, especially women, to own their stories. It's very empowering to not be afraid to show up as myself.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shani Syphrett makes things that matter to people. She is the founder and creative director of Jamila Studio, a hybrid marketing agency and content studio that creates valuable brand experiences through strategy, branding, and consumer-focused campaigns. She also writes a column for Forbes.com where she aims to normalize the success of Black women by sharing their entrepreneurial journeys.