Celebrating Women’s History Month with local business owners
By Sakina Stamper
Unless you are a business owner, you probably haven’t completed an external environmental analysis recently. In other words, in case you haven’t been looking closely, women as entrepreneurs are certainly on the rise. What better way for Women’s History Month than to discuss the impact Baltimore women are having in the business world.
Three Baltimore women are doing their part to make history not only for their families, not only for their children, but for the greater good of the world. These Baltimore women are role models for other women who are budding entrepreneurs. Proving that it is possible to be a mother and an entrepreneur, Tammira Lucas, Shantell Roberts, and Carmin Coates are successful business owners, each on a mission to make their own history.
Though people decide to take that leap from employee to entrepreneur for different reasons, it is important to know what some of those reasons are because they may resonate with many other people. “What drove me to want to be an entrepreneur is not having the capabilities to work for someone. Wanting the freedom and to be able to control what I make and how far I go, and not having someone dictate those things for me”, said doctoral candidate Tammira Lucas. One of the common qualities of entrepreneurs is the general feeling of not being satisfied working for someone else. Carmin Coates, owner of Soiree Conceptions, LLC. said that “not wanting to work for someone for the rest of my life and building their legacy” lead her to entrepreneurship and having “the opportunity to do things [her] way.”
For others, entrepreneurship may come a little differently. Shantell Roberts, founder of Touching Young Lives, Inc. speaks of her road to entrepreneurship a little differently. “It just kind of happened after the death of my daughter. One of my good friends told me that I should start a foundation in the honor of my daughter. I started doing a lot of research and realized there was a painful problem in my community that I needed to address” said Roberts. There are so many life events that can lead us to realize the many issues and problems in this world that need resolution. Something that can be the one of the worse life experiences can lead to one of the greatest experiences if one sees the opportunity presented between the darkness.
Tammira Lucas is known for seeing an opportunity and immediately taking it by the horns. Twenty-nine years old and already involved in various businesses (The Business Dr. a consulting company, MAE, and the nonprofit RISE). “I always see opportunities out there that I have a passion for. I just see opportunities. I see a problem and it’s bothering me so I need to start a business to solve that problem” said Lucas. Starting a business is all about solving problems. If your business does not solve a problem that many people are impacted by, your business will not survive.
In business ownership, one can never truly be prepared for the highs and lows it presents. For every high, there will be just as many lows, whether silent or loud. Coates describes her one of her lows as business being “a consistent learning process and every lesson is not going to be one that you are going to enjoy. You have to be able to distinguish what’s good for your business and what’s not”. Her business, Soiree Conceptions, LLC is an event planning business, thus one of her highs is “having your client appreciate your work and show their admiration,” Coates says. Customer appreciation always goes a long way to the longevity of a business. However when it comes to operating a non-profit such as Touching Young Lives Inc., securing adequate funding is the key to a successful organization. Roberts speaks to one of her main lows when she says “financially if you are not able to carry out your mission or programming that is a major setback. I hate when I have to compete against another program for funding. Programming can only be as good as its funding”. Lucas has experienced this as well with her non-profit RISE. Both ladies have great non-profit organizations that aim to change lives in Baltimore and are not going to allow lack of fluid funding prevent them from working their missions.
There is so much more history to be made in this world and it starts with more women taking the leap of faith from employee to entrepreneur. Many women dream of it, but doubt if they can actually achieve it. The best advice for women out there is to get out of their own way and make it happen, because you can. Roberts says, “If you have a dream, do something every day to make that dream happen”. Being an entrepreneur is a dream that can become a reality with hard work, dedication, and “surrounding yourself with other people that help uplift you and take you to where you want to be” Coates adds.
You may be scared, but turn that fear into fuel. As Lucas says, “If you don’t do it, how will you feel ten years from now? At the end of the day you can’t be scared to fail”.
For more information on these women entrepreneurs and their businesses, like their businesses on facebook and their websites are below: