ICYMI: Starting Your Own Business (The Do's and Don'ts)

 After 6: Career Conversations with Sherry Sims, Founder of Black Women's Career Network

After 6: Career Conversations with Sherry Sims, Founder of Black Women's Career Network

by: The Memo Staff

Every month at our After 6: Career Conversations, we get all the way real about our careers. This month, we talked to Sherry Sims, Founder and CEO of Black Career Women's Network. Sims talked about the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, including some of the do's and don'ts of starting a new business.

If you couldn't join us in person, we've got you covered with some highlights!

Do...

Be Ready To Roll Up Your Sleeves: Anyone will tell you -- getting a business off the ground is HARD work, and it is not for the faint of heart. It takes constant planning, plotting, and pivoting. Sherry worked two jobs - often working on her business until 3:00 am while needing to be at work at 8:00 am. She did this for four years before turning her full time attention to her business.

Have a Plan: Sims has three essential planning tips for new entrepreneurs: 1) Create an exit strategy. "If you do not make the decision to create an exit strategy, one will be made for you"; 2) "Know if you are disciplined enough." What worked for you in your 9-5 may not work in entrepreneurship; and 3) Know who your support system will be, because you can't do it alone! Be clear on how you will manage it all.

Trust Your Gut: After working for 15 years in corporate HR, Sims' gut told her it was time to flex some new skills. “I didn’t know what the heck [those skills] were. I just knew in my gut I was ready for something different.” She trusted herself, taking a paycut for a non-profit job that allowed her to do something she loved and hone new skills. It was this job that helped garner early growth in her business.

Don't...

Forget Your Why: "I love helping black women in their professional development," she said. Understand your "why" -- are you starting a side business for the extra income, or are you're doing it "because it's your purpose work"? Either "why" is fine, but understanding what you're doing it all for will help anchor you when the seas get rough.

(Necessarily) Quit Your Day Job: Sometimes your 9-5 can help to finance your side hustle. At some point, though, Sims says, "you’re going to hit a crossroads and you’re going to have to choose." But until then, both she and The Memo's founder, Minda Harts, reminded us that “there’s no shame in keeping your day job.”

Give Up: Entrepreneurship has its ups and downs. “You might be in Forbes one day, and you might be sliding down the wall another day," Harts reminded us. Sims agreed. She shared that at the beginning, she had events with only two or three people attending, and heard "no" all too often. Now, she's filling events, and getting yeses from people who once told her no. If you’re doing it for the right reasons, she said, “there will be provision for the vision." The right yes will come along!


Sherry Simsis the Founder and CEO of Black Career Women's Network.__To find out more about Sherry and BCWN, visit them at: https://bcnetwork.com