Mahisha Dellinger is on a mission to build millionaires, one Black girl at a time.
Dellinger, the founder and CEO of Black haircare brand CURLS, launched her first annual Black Girls Making Millions Academy (BGMMA) in Los Angeles last weekend. Everywhere you turned, there was a queen pitching her business idea and others sharing how they made their first million — a true oasis of Black girl magic.
The vision to start an entrepreneurship conference came after Dellinger wrapped her OWN network series, “Mind Your Business with Mahisha.” She realized there was a need for a space that empowers, educates, and elevates the next generation of entrepreneurs.
“I got lots of emails, DMs, calls, and text messages for one-on-one mentoring. I didn’t have time to do one-on-ones with all of the people because there is just one of me, so I decided to bring the show to life,” she told BlackLove.com at the event.
“I’ve always had a giving spirit, and I had the information because I’ve done it,” she shared. “I struggled through all of the learning curves, and I’ve had failures, losses, and then profits. I had to restructure things. So I figured I’ve learned, why not help someone else?”
As far as making the academy a free event (attendees only had to pay for their transportation and stay at the resort), she said it was a “no brainer.”
“I felt like it wasn’t right to make money off of something I can easily share,” she explained.
BGMMA — which included powerhouse speakers like TV ONE General Manager Michelle Rice, Bank of America Managing Director Shemeka Feliz, and author and money expert Dr. Lynn Richardson, to name a few — was organized into three tracks for entrepreneurs of every level. The Start Up provided courses for attendees to turn their ideas into viable businesses. The Come Up included coursework to grow your business and take it to the next level. The Blow Up, the final track, allowed entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas to investors for funding.
According to the academy’s website, African American, female-owned businesses are on the rise by 300 percent, but currently, only 4 percent make it to the million-dollar mark. “My goal as a Black woman who has ‘made it’ is to bridge that gap,” Dellinger added, “and help give back to people who want to also succeed.”
There were so many gems dropped at BGMMA, but check out 8 takeaways that really stuck with me that you can also apply to your life and business goals!
1) Practice Having a Millionaire Mindset
The millionaire mindset is all about being a creator and not a consumer. The goal is financial freedom, which requires a shift in mindset and fiscally responsible behavior. Like Mahisha Dellinger described, don’t be that girl driving a luxury car and living in an apartment!
2) Know Your “Why?”
When going into business, knowing your “Why” will help you stay in tune with your company’s purpose, vision, and mission. Know what you do, why you do it, and what’s your purpose.
As Shani Syphrett, brand strategist and business advisor, stated in the Business Startup Basics Course, “Start with your customer in mind, and figure out what they want.” If you know their characteristics, taking the day-by-day steps toward your mission will be clearer.
3) Evolve or Dissolve
According to Dellinger, staying ahead of the curve is essential to staying in business. “The number one thing I see is the lack of planning,” she said in the Evolve or Dissolve: How to Stay Fresh and Relevant course. “You want to be at the 5-year mark thinking of development and what you want to do… You can easily be out of business if you don’t.”
4) You Don’t Have to Quit Your Day Job
“I think it’s always good to have a hustle, and it can become your main hustle,” Dellinger shared. “Whatever you’re talented with, find a way to convert that into something that can give you extra revenue.”
She went on to say that, you can use your day job to help finance your entrepreneurship goals.
5) Sometimes You Have to Do Things For Free
Remember that sometimes you may have to offer your services or products for free to get it in the right hands. Look at it as an investment.
6) Shop for a Banker and Build a Relationship
“You should have a banker,” Shameka Felix told attendees in the “Finance for Big Goals” course. “If you don’t tell your doctor everything, they won’t be able to help you, and it’s the same with a banker.”
She went on to explain that there are business banking teams dedicated to small business clients, and shopping for a good banker will help you achieve your business priorities with a dedicated ally.
7) Talk About Money, More
Let’s be real, sometimes in our community it’s taboo to talk about money. However, chatting about investments, purchases, salaries, and market rates can be incredibly useful to help hold each other accountable, stay in the know, and have the information to ask for what we’re worth!
8) Trust the Process
Remember, no one was born knowing what they know, so trust the process sis! Comparison is the thief of joy. Stay in your lane, count your blessings, and know that where you invest your time is where you will grow!