After interviewing entrepreneurs over the last few years, we’ve learned that many ventures are created by founders who have a life-changing experience. Some consider their situation to be a failure, while others think of it as a wake-up call for them to adpot a “whatever means necessary” mentality in order to achieve their end goal of having a profitable business.
After admiring her via Instagram, the BLNDED Media team caught up with Crystal Ngumezi to discuss all things entrepreneurship and how she’s grown her many ventures into profitable companies. Her mindset of “facing many failures that are actually strategically placed along your path to guide and lead you in the right direction” has certainly helped her succeed.
BLNDED Media: Tell us more about your companies and journey. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Crystal Ngumezi: I was inspired to become an entrepreneur due to unemployment. In the summer of 2016, I planned to go to graduate school in another city and left my job. The graduate program did not work out for me that year, so I was unemployed for months and had a difficult time finding a job. I was inspired to start my own nonprofit organization, The Proverbs 31 Women’s Organization, which later helped me start my own consulting business, Brand Your Biz, and an online store, ShoppHer.com.
BLNDED: What problem are you trying to solve with your organizations?
Crystal: Through my nonprofit, The Proverbs 31 Women’s Organization, we provide free mentorship and professional etiquette training to young women between the ages of 13-18 who live in underserved communities within Texas. This year, we will be supplying young women with STEM related programming in partnership with Microsoft through our enrichment program – P31 Academy. Our goal as an organization is to properly prepare young women for the future, and inspire them to pursue professional careers. Through my nonprofit organization, I am able to give back to my community and inspire a generation of women to be all that they can be.
Through my consulting company, Brand Your Biz, I help entrepreneurs build and expand their brands online. Business management, people development, online marketing and social media are great passions of mine. Due to my professional experiences in engineering, business management, process improvement, leadership training and social media, I get the opportunity to build brands, build companies, and build people! I love teaching people what I know and helping them reach their goals by building better brands online.
Through ShoppHer.com, I am able to meet the demands of women who love fashion. I always get asked about my outfits and fashion pieces, and now I am able to provide women who love fashion just as much as I do with unique and original pieces.
I love teaching people what I know and helping them reach their goals by building better brands online.
BLNDED: What has been your biggest hurdle as an entrepreneur?
Crystal: My biggest hurdle as an entrepreneur has been the process of changing my mindset from an employee to an employer. As an entrepreneur, I have had to shift my thinking to that of a CEO and think beyond the scope of just making money to earn a living. My mindset has had to go beyond the scope of “now,” and into the future in regards to purpose, impact, and legacy. Sustainability is everything to me now.
BLNDED: What does diversity mean to you?
Crystal: Diversity is everything to me. As a young black woman in America who pursued a degree in mechanical engineering, I was always the one who “stuck out”. I did not “look” the part, but I learned how to master the part. Diversity and inclusion are the reasons why I created my nonprofit organization for young minority women. I wanted to give young girls who looked like me opportunities to learn, grow, and impact the world. The sooner people learn that diversity and inclusion advance progression, the better our economy, government, and the world will be.
BLNDED: What lessons have you learned from your entrepreneurial journey?
Crystal: One of the lessons I have learned from my entrepreneurial journey is that failure isn’t actually failure at all. Failure is an opportunity for growth, redevelopment, and new opportunities.
I believe that many entrepreneurs quit during their entrepreneurship journey because of failure. My generation has especially been brought up to believe in “overnight success,” without understanding that failure is often the prerequisite for success. As an entrepreneur, I believe you will face many failures that are actually strategically placed along your path to guide and lead you in the right direction. It is how you perceive those occurrences that will make all the difference.
BLNDED: How has mentorship impacted you as an entrepreneur and your business?
Crystal: More than anything, having a mentor has taught me what not to do in business. As a young engineer, I always desired a female mentor who was older than I was and had much more experience than I did so she could lead and guide me through my professional career. Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for my story), I never met that female mentor.
All of my mentors growing up were male leaders, and it was because of the many lessons that these men, directly and indirectly, taught me that helped me to become a better businesswoman. It is due to my lack of a female mentor as a young woman that led me to create The Proverbs 31 Women’s Organization.
BLNDED: What advice do you have for first-time entrepreneurs?
Crystal: My advice for first-time entrepreneurs is to do your research. Many times when I talk to prospective clients, the research that is necessary before you go into any market is typically not done. To be a successful business person, you have to research the market, implement a strategy, perform that strategy, asses your results, and do more research. You cannot assume that just because you have a great idea, or the desire to start a business, that people are going to magically stop everything they’re doing and pay attention to you. Do your research first, and then go out into the market. Invest time in the beginning, or you will pay for it in the end.
BLNDED: What lessons have you learned the most being an entrepreneur?
Crystal: I’ve learned that hard work is not an accessory. Hard work is the main driving force that will give you the success you are looking for. I realize that the hard work and discipline I learned as a young engineering student was only practice for what I am doing now.
At the end of the day, being an entrepreneur is HARD, but it is worth the journey, the impact that will be made on other people’s lives, and the legacy you will leave to your children and to your children’s children.