I Broke the Unspoken Rule of Entrepreneurship: The Power of Leveraging Ecosystems

I Broke the Unspoken Rule of Entrepreneurship: The Power of Leveraging Ecosystems

Building business with Bejay #BBWB

Building business in times of adversity is never easy, but always possible. Not only is it possible, but necessary. I’ve learnt this throughout the course of my 10 years in entrepreneurship.

Even in adversity, my mission is to teach entrepreneurs how to overcome and get to the next level in their business goals

But one thing that always struck me was how pervasive it was to be lonely. The number 1 unspoken rule of entrepreneurship was always this – you have to do it alone. The self-made entrepreneur was always the most respected. 

Eventually, I abandoned it – and you need to do it too. 

Challenging the Solo Entrepreneur: The First Ecosystem 

I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed, isolated or just plain busy. I think we’ve even gone as far as to normalise these traits as the essence of the entrepreneur. I remember feeling this way long ago in my own journey, all the way back in 2015 with one of my earliest business ventures, Supa Market. 

Supa Market was the UK ‘s first teen pop-up market, which involved live demonstrations and events for young people in partnership with some of the world’s largest brands. The business was a huge success – but I was exhausted. What kept me afloat then were my colleagues, mentors and friends – my very own accountability group. I owe much of my growth to engaging with people, resources and community. 

It was then that I realised the importance of working with others in periods of downturn. As soon as I realised the power of building ecosystems, I was obsessed with sharing it with other people. Later, I would go on to build and scale my own ecosystem to support other businesses and entrepreneurs. Supa Talent partnered with the Office Group, and I delivered over 60 hours of mentoring for 30 businesses.

When things fell apart in March 2020, I knew exactly what I needed to do.

Building Collaboratively in Times of Brokenness

Events were being cancelled, partners were dropping out, money was flying out of the bank…and my own mental and emotional state were fast deteriorating. Working out, taking baths and sleeping helped me de-stress, but it didn’t solve the reality of dealing with my problems. What I needed was an ecosystem – and I built one.

I reached out to my fellow entrepreneurs and was able to reimagine new income streams. Utilise and increase cash reserves, and most importantly – build once again.

There really is nothing that energizes me more than seeing others empowered. 

During the coronavirus pandemic, my aim is to help as many other people as possible with their most ambitious business goals. My aim to build the next ecosystem for current and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Building An Ecosystem for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs need communities where they can access the support to thrive. I love creating these spaces and sharing my story, because it means I can give another entrepreneur the keys they need to excel.  

Since the release of my last post, which garnered so much positive reception, it signalled the need for new ecosystems. The stories I’ve heard since have been astonishing. Fellow friends and entrepreneurs have been open and honest about their journeys. 

Pivoting your Business 

So far, we’ve had over 200 people join this entrepreneurial ecosystem and access an overfill of free business resources.The Building Business ecosystem is fast-growing, and this is your chance to access the resources you need. It features a wealth of content, opportunities and worthwhile engagement with myself and other entrepreneurs at the top of their game:

Online webinar series:  I am hosting an exciting new series with upcoming entrepreneurs dealing with pressing problems facing entrepreneurs today – and how to solve them.

Last week, I was joined by Anne-Marie Imafidon, CEO, Stemettes, Timothy Armoo, CEO, Fanbytes and Rachael Corson, CEO, Afrocenchix to discuss how business owners can go online. This week, I was joined by Anne-Laure Cunff, founder of NessLabs, and Andy Ayim, founder of Angel Investing school, to discuss how best to use your mental mind to improve business performance. 

I have a number of upcoming free webinars with over 15 confirmed speakers where we’ll be addressing how to build an online community, utilise your personal brand, and more. 

Be the first to access this – sign up for here.

Peer to Peer coaching: I host peer to peer coaching on a Friday, which is dedicated to working with small groups of entrepreneurs dealing with highly specific industry problems. 

I’ve already locked in 5 coaching sessions with five entrepreneurs – you can join here now. 

Weekly free resources: I am also giving you the opportunity to join 1,000’s of creatives and entrepreneurs accessing free resources and life hacks to help them on their journey every week. 

You can access this by signing up to my weekly newsletter here. 

We need new connections, more resources and more transparent conversations. Are you ready to join the movement?


I lost £250,000 in three weeks - and gained the world

I lost £250,000 in three weeks - and gained the world

As of March 2020, my business lost ¼ million pounds in confirmed sales in three weeks.

2020 was meant to be the breakthrough year. My company was in the midst of consolidating the great work we had already been doing with some of our greatest supporters – Facebook, the office group, Apple, the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, and more. 

Whenever I had read about the coronavirus. it was always something I saw in passing, or something which affected  someone else. But as the reality of the coronavirus dawned on my company in March, I knew we were in deep trouble. 

Dealing with Loss 

As a bootstrapped business, we never could have seen such a drastic change coming our way. To this day, I still find myself reflecting – can we really anticipate loss? Is it possible to ward off every sign of danger? Could I have handled this any better?

The first few weeks were intense and scary. I was forced to engage in transparent conversations with debtors and lenders. I had to create a new business model without knowing when – or if – business would return to ‘normal’. I initiated check-ins on my team to find out how they had been affected, and figure out ways we could quickly recuperate. 

I also spent a great deal of  time in self-reflection, and the stories I share with you is part of that ongoing process of self-reflection, learning and resource sharing to everyone experiencing similar setbacks.

Gaining Back My World

Through the ongoing journey of self-reflection, I gained time to find a way to continue being productive and adding value through servitude. 

I set up a non profit called A Plate for London with my friends Dominic Cools-Lartigue and Laura-Jo Pearce  to tackle food poverty in East London. As much as it was painful to dwell on my personal losses, it’s crucial that at times like this we remember those hardest hit by the pandemic. Those on the cusp of poverty are the real victims – they don’t have five weeks to wait to claim Universal Credit, or access government funding. Our communities are only as strong as the support given to the most vulnerable.

Within the last two weeks, A Plate for London raised £25,000 in donations and fed over 10,000 people. Being able to use my skills and extra time to provide service was rewarding, and being a changemaker in my own community was a powerful reminder of my purpose. 

I gained more time to spend  with my team. We hashed out innovative ways to engage with communities, new and old. We played around and experimented with different digital revenue opportunities. Most of all, we came together and recalibrated on the vision behind why we do what we do – to serve others.

Nothing happens overnight, but I’m a big dreamer. The dream I have is to find effective ways to turn our training sessions into something that can be consumed by hard to reach audiences. Last year, we trained 5,000 in digital skills and entrepreneurship. This year, we want to achieve this impact at scale. 

A Shared Story

My journey affects  you as much as it does me. 

Many of us are truly navigating unprecedented times. Industries and entire communities are struggling. Businesses are collapsing. Individuals are finding it difficult to just get through the days. Although I anticipate the return of the world of training, content and live events will return, the way that people operate in the markets has been changed forever. I’ve had the privilege of engaging in multiple webinars and virtual events hosted by various members of my network, prying apart these relevant questions.  

My loss does not define my entire entrepreneurial journey – my capacity to serve others will always remain at the heart of everything I do. It’s important that we figure out how we can use our circumstances to fulfil purpose, provide value, and solve complex social problems. The tide has changed, but we’re still very much at sea. 

I’ve been an entrepreneur for 10 years. I’ve seen the highs and lows of 6 businesses. What is clear to me at this present moment, is the importance of purpose – now more than ever before. 

I lost a great amount of capital but gained back my world – my purpose.

——

Want to find out more from other entrepreneurs about the challenges they’re facing and how they’re overcoming these issues? I am sharing this all in my first webinar  – Announcing on my next newsletter

To keep in touch with me and stay up to date with my journey, thoughts and community, join my mailing list here.

Donate or volunteer with A plate for London now here


.