My guest today is Mahisha Dellinger, the CEO and founder of CURLS, an organic haircare company. She is also a mother of four children, the author of “Against All Odds: From the Projects to the Penthouse” and the host of the business show Mind Your Business with Mahisha on OWN where she helps other women-led businesses reach the million-dollar mark.
Here’s the breakdown of my chat with Mahisha:[01:29] Mahisha has had a variety of experiences that have helped her get to the successful place she is in today. Conflict at her workplace at the time made her feel like her future was in the hands of someone else, and that’s when she knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur. [02:25] People often think you get more security in a 9-to-5, but there’s often more security in building your own business. With that said, Mahisha believes you should build your business to a point that you can support yourself and your family before you leave your 9-to-5. [04:25] Mahisha saw an opportunity for women of color who were looking for products to take care of and stylize their natural hair. She believes finding a solution to an untapped need is how you become successful. To validate the need for the product and to perfect its formula, she held focus groups, spoke with family and friends and started small in order to make changes. [5:55] There are less women millionaires because of lack of information, resources, and access to what women need to take it over the threshold. Because Mahisha made it, she feels it’s her responsibility to help other women come up with her. [06:48] In order to be successful, you need to plan first. You need to be intentional about what you’re doing in your business, and then you need to be scalable. You can’t become a million-dollar business if you aren’t able to scale. Finally, Mahisha says getting a mentor who’s been there and done it will save you so much time, giving you insights you may not have thought of. [08:25] Being intentional is so critical to entrepreneurship and building a million dollar business. You can’t just throw something out there. You need to have a plan in place, know what you’re doing, and why you’re different from the competition. You need a five-year plan in place for your business and marketing. [09:24] Mahisha had what she describes as a “rough” upbringing which helped her become successful. She grew up against the odds so she doesn’t accept “no” as an answer, and because she had to fight to get where she is today, entreprenuership is actually easier compared to previous experiences. This helps entrepreneurship be less scary. [11:10] Don’t leave your day job until you can sustain your business and your family. You’ll know when you can’t do both anymore. Mahisha actually got laid off with a severance package, along with many others, and was paid to leave when she had already put it on her vision board to leave in December either way. [12:45] Choosing the right partner is so important to balance a family and growing a business. Mahisha explains she would not have been successful without her husband to help her. Marrying well for an entrepreneur really means finding someone who will support you and help you flourish. [13:29] First, to be successful, know your business inside and out before you go looking for a mentor. You need to know your industry, your competition and really understand what you are getting yourself into. If you’re selling a product, Mahisha advises to not go into retail right away. Build your foundation first. [14:10] It is critical to live below your means; Don’t spend everything you make; And reinvest any extra money into your business until you have more money in your bank account than your house is worth. When you grow a business organically over time, you’ll get signs things are working like social engagements and sales. [15:45] Mahisha explains that her vision board helped her get her own show on OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network). She didn’t seek out the TV show, but rather was already helping people with their businesses in real life, so she got the opportunity to do it on TV. Mahisha swears by her vision board and she makes a new one each year. She cuts out pictures and words and adds them to poster board, divided by her business on one side and her family on the other.