My Floor Will Be Their Ceiling: Why You Can’t Afford To Not Be Successful As A Single Mompreneur
by Yolanda Keels-Walker
Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate.”
Ask either of my girls what they want to be and undoubtedly they will say “I want to be an entrepreneur.” At five and six, they walk confidently into my place of business and begin to do “their work.” Whether it’s pretending to sign in clients, practicing hairstyles on mannequins, or talking with other stylists about trends and techniques, my girls take a serious approach to business. It wasn’t always this way.
After divorce, like most women, I had to rebuild and really work my ass off to rebound financially. I didn’t have a corporate job to fall back on, and although there was a strong year I needed public assistance, my “inner me” would never allow me to go through with it. If my parents weren’t in a position to have helped me, I can’t even fathom where I would be right now.
I worked 16 hour days with my children in tow nagging about why we pretty much lived at work. I was dedicated to improving my business so that I could be in a better position, and that meant sacrifices would have to be made for our family. It was a very trying period because I was going through so much emotionally and financially, and I knew they didn’t understand. It required a new, downsized, normal that they’d have to embrace until I got back on my feet. The change wasn’t welcomed and often came with meltdowns until one car ride…
Gabby: “Mommy do we have to go with you to work today? I really do not want to go.”
Me: “You know those people under the bridge that we pass on your way to school?”
Gabby: “The people that sleep outside? Yes.”
Me: “Mommy has to work very hard so that we don’t end up like that. Mommy is an entrepreneur, so if I’m not working, I can’t afford our house or trips to Target, or pizza with bread sticks. I’m working very hard so we don’t have to struggle. Ok?”
Gabby: “Oh. You better work all the time mommy. I’ll help you.”
London: “Yep mom. You better go to that shop everyday because I don’t want to be in the bushes sleeping.”
Me: “Baby you’ll never be in the bushes. Your mommy works way too hard to ever let that happen.”
The struggle is real, and as mothers, we always want to shield our kids from it. That conversation was freeing for me because it took away the guilt and stress I felt. Homelessness is rooted in a myriad of circumstances, but that illustration was enough for my girls to understand that I was fighting for a better life for them. It also gave me the extra motivation I needed because I knew they were watching me and how I handled that period of transition. Failing to provide a life anything less than what I desired was not an option for me from that moment on. There’s no way I could pour positivity and affirm success habits if I hadn’t been successful at doing it first and my girls being a witness to that.
They’ve never given me flack about working since then. They embrace it and have adopted it as their “normal.” Thankfully I’m in a much better position now and proud that that experience made them take ownership of businesses that will one day be passed down to them. Every payday I get four little side eyes peering at me as I sign checks and whispers of “don’t give away all of our money mommy.” I always laugh because I know it comes from a protective place that is all about keeping our family unit tight and on top.
Yolanda Keels-Walker is an author and successful serial entrepreneur with a portfolio ranging from motivational speaker to salon owner to real estate developer. Yolanda is most known as the brains behind Business Babes, an online resource and business coaching organization of over 25,000 females that helps budding female entrepreneurs manage their business and grow their circle of influence. Prior to starting her own business ventures, Yolanda served as a Senior Manager in Contracts and Procurement for the Central Intelligence Agency. She has thorough knowledge of corporate, commercial, federal, and international contracting practices, and a proven track record in contract negotiations.
Yolanda has been invited to speak for the NAACP, The Urban League, Miller Lite’s Entrepreneur events and various universities and small business seminars. Because of her 30K following across brands, Yolanda’s expertise has been sought after by prestigious publications such as Black Enterprise, Billionaire Entertainment Magazine and Newsworks. She published her first book this year, The Femme and The Fearless: A 30 Day Guide To Use Fear And Anxiety As Fuel To Create A Fortune and is enjoying speaking to women from all backgrounds on the subjects of business, life and remaining excellent in the midst of it all.
Melissa Stewart is the founder of SheOwnsIt.com. She is a Purveyor of Possibility, Entrepreneur Advocate and Coffee Addict. She believes that behind every successful woman is her story. What’s your story?