3 Lessons Madam C.J. Walker Taught Me as an Entrepreneur

Britt Smith Photography

While watching a quick video on YouTube I found by Evan Carmichael, I learned that the three lessons that he learned and discussed in his video, are the exact same lessons that I've also learned as an entrepreneur from Madam C.J. Walker. Here's some brief background information about this brilliant and successful woman who became America's first self-made millionaire in the early 1900's.

"Sarah Breedlove–who later would come to be known as Madam C. J. Walker–was born on December 23, 1867 on the same Delta, Louisiana plantation where her parents, Owen and Minerva Anderson Breedlove, had been enslaved before the end of the Civil War.  This child of sharecroppers transformed herself from an uneducated farm laborer and laundress into one of the twentieth century’s most successful, self-made women entrepreneurs (Bio courtesy of the official Madam CJ Walker website)."

As a first year entrepreneur, I have been learning a lot along the way and I look forward to the journey that will prayerfully pave the way for other women like me, to live out their dreams, doing what they love to do everyday of their lives. Her famous quote says, "I got my start by giving myself a start." This is so true for any entrepreneur..... you have to start your business yourself, no one can do that for you. With that being said, here are the 3 lessons that I learned from Madam C.J. Walker as an entrepreneur:

1. Don't Let Your Situation Be an Excuse:

I don't care who you are in this world, everyone has a situation that they are going through or have gone through. Your situation is NOT an excuse why you can't start your own business. In fact, your situation, no matter how bad it is, should be the very reason to motivate you to start your own business.

2. Act on Crisis, Don't Accept It:

As we learned in her bio, Madam C.J. Walker didn't succumb to the crisis of abuse at the hands of her brother-in-law or the death of her husband. She didn't accept any of the abuse or pitied herself for being a widow at such a young age. She packed her daughter and herself up and moved on with her life to start a new beginning which we know, was apart of her launching her hair care products.

Don't ever feel like you have to accept crisis that are unexpectedly thrown at you. As an entrepreneur, things happen unexpectedly all of the time no matter how much you plan to prevent things from happening.

Also an entrepreneur, I've learned that I don't have to accept other people's crisis either. Some people will try to push their problems onto you or don't believe that what you're doing as an entrepreneur fits into the category of a "real job." Mind the business that pays you! Don't let other people's problems or thoughts dictate your success story.

3. Make Perseverance Your Motto:

Keep going! Keep going! Keep going!!!! Entrepreneurship is not for the faint at heart or is it for the person who easily gives up, because something doesn't work the first time. I can't tell you how many days and nights I have to persevere through the challenging times as an entrepreneur. One week I'll make $0 and in another week, I've made over $1k from my services. You can not quit doing what you're passionate about, ever. There are going to be times when your business is booming and there will be times when sales are low. That is the perfect time for you to dive deeper on finding ways to increase your revenue. Those low times are NOT the times to throw in the towel and quit.

Madam C.J. Walker turned her trials in life into her triumph as a successful entrepreneur from a company she built from the ground up, literally. I've learned to take these three important lessons with me as I travel on this entrepreneurial journey: You can not make excuses, do not accept anyone's crisis (including your own) and you must persevere no matter what happens, because things are bound to happen. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur or already one, I hope that these lessons will be of help to you as well.