It's Black History Month, and we couldn't think of a better way to spend it than introducing you to entrepreneurs who are grinding today to make history tomorrow.
Today we're honored to expose you to the mindset-shifting life coach that is Whitley Charee.
Share your journey! How did you become the entrepreneur you are today? Honestly, It just kinda happened. It started with hair. I chopped all my hair off and boy, it grew back fast. I got a lot of attention after starting a youtube channel (Naturally Charee). I gained a lot of traction pretty quickly and continued for about a year or two. Then I went through some pretty intense life-changing events and realized I had more to say to the world than just the kind of braids I wore on my birthday. I wanted to use my background in psychology to help people. I wanted to be the reason someone didn't give up or why they believed there was more to life. I want to teach people to live full and happy lives. That's what I care about!
What do you do? Are you a full-time entrepreneur, or are you balancing a job and a business? How do you feel about that? I am a full-time Customer Care Rep for an apartment complex and a full-time entrepreneur. I don't hate my job, in fact, I actually really like it so sometimes it distracts me from my personal business and that's obviously a downfall. I have been getting more attention through my brand, in regards to coaching and my recently published self-care workbook. So, I have certainly been feeling the pressure to dedicate as much if not more time to my brand. I am going to be honest, it's not easy but it's certainly worth it when I see all that I am accomplishing. Hopefully sometime this year I will be able to make my brand my ONLY full-time commitment, but until then -- rise and grind.
The first year of business can be the hardest, but the most fun and educational. How was your first year of business? My first year showed me the importance of CONSISTENCY. When I was slacking off it showed in my engagement and of course, in my customers' actions. It's exciting to be networking and meeting new people who share the same drive as you. Even though I have been branding for a while this is the first year of the re-brand and honeyyyy, it is work. But I love every second. The hardest part for me was shifting from hair to self-care because it is a different audience. I wasn't getting the same kind of engagement as before, but I have certainly learned that there is peace in quality but not always in quantity.
As the old saying goes, "Never forget where you come from." Where are you from? Has your hometown had an impact on your entrepreneurship journey? Be sure to give a shout out to anyone who has helped/supported you during your entrepreneurship journey. (106&Park style shout-outs are acceptable as well. This is a safe space!) I really wanna shout out THE Virginia State University and my sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho. I was rough around the edges. I was hurt, dark, and blaming everyone for my life. VSU and my sorority sisters took a chance on me and loved me when I couldn't even love myself. They set the precedent for me, especially regarding Black love -- all types. They have always been some of my greatest supporters. When I drop a book, they buy it. When I post my site, they click it. When I make a video or a resource, they share it. They are incredible and I will forever cherish them for how far I've already come. Yall super littttttt!
Making history requires making change. How will your business benefit future generations in your family?
My brand is dedicated to self-healing and self-care. In a generation that's overall self-medicated and sad, I want to be the light at the end of the tunnel. I lost a brother to suicide, and I've struggled with self-love and self-worth practically my whole life. So when I say I do it for them, I mean it. I want people to see the power that they have within. I want them to realize they are not hopeless. I want to instill patience, love, healing, and peace into each and every person I come across. It's great to do great things for people, but you deserve some great things too.
Black culture is often idolized for portraying an image of trend-setting fearlessness. How has being Black impacted your entrepreneurship journey? Being Black is lit! I love it. I've certainly noticed that the people who (I feel) would benefit the most from my brand do not see it's true importance. As a Black community, we have been taught to toughen up, hold it all in, and just deal with it. However, I want my brand to challenge that! Don't hide it, talk to about it. Don't just deal with it, heal from it. If we open the floor to people who really need healing, we could heal not just the generation, but our entire race.
What advice do you have for Black entrepreneurs who are thinking of starting a business? It doesn't have to be perfect; it just needs to be done. One of my friends told me that because I was worried about releasing my book. I felt like I just couldn't get it right, and it was always missing something. That was the fear talking. We will continuously find things wrong so we don't have to rise to the occasion. But listen, put it out! We are our own worst critics and, I promise, what you have been working on is amazing and worth it. So -- no seriously, do it now.
The year is still new! What can we expect to see from your business this year? I have so many things in the running for this year. I am super excited. The biggest goal for me is stepping out from behind the computer. Most of my work has been done on social media but this year, your girl will be speaking at events, hosting launch parties for new merch, and doing a lot more collaborations. So, I am hella excited.
My Book of Everything: Self Discovery is officially on sale for $20 as well as my coaching services has just launched the JOY Class to help redirect, realign and reset your mindset around your life. All details are on my site.
Keep Up with Whitley Charee:
Facebook: Self Care with Whitley Charee