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Every year we do a Black History initiative here at Her First $100K. A big part of feminism, especially financial feminism, is recognizing intersectionality and supporting BIack creators and other marginalized communities. This year, in an effort to support the Black community, we’re sharing stories from 4 incredible Black creators and their businesses.
Here’s how you can support these creators:
Follow them and their businesses on social media and share them far and wide. This is a completely free way to support Black creators –– and it doesn’t have to stop with the four we highlight.
Spend money with these creators if you can do so. Supporting Black-owned businesses is one of the best ways to practice financial intersectionality.
Today, we’re chatting with Anti-Racism and Inclusive Business Coach Alyssa Hall. Alyssa is an African-American and Cuban woman, coach, and mother who works with entrepreneurs and business owners to become better allies and make anti-racism a foundation of their companies and lives. Check out her interview to learn more about how you can support Alyssa and other Black creators year round –– not just during Black History Month.
The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and what sparked becoming an Anti-Racism coach.
I started my business in November of 2018. I use that date because that was the day where I came out of my coach training program that day, and I was like, “I’m gonna do this.” I bought my first domain, and I started emailing friends asking them to be my pro bono clients.
Aside from being a coach, I am also a mom to a five-year-old, and I’m Cuban and African Americans –– I wear both of those identities very, very proudly. My title is an Inclusive Business and Leadership Coach. I help people work on anti-racism and DEI within their businesses, as well as helping them strengthen their leadership skills to be able to actually put into place the systems that we have created together.
My journey to starting my business was a really interesting one. I became a mom in 2016, and by 2018, I was like, “you know what, I really hate working these terrible jobs.” I was working in the restaurant industry, then the medical field and both were very toxic. At the time, I wanted to be a psychiatrist, and I was of the school of thought that you have to suffer now in order to be able to get what you want. I got to the point where I hated everything and didn’t want to sit in suffering anymore.
So I decided to pursue a coach training program that was, like, wildly expensive compared to what I was making. It was $11,000, and at the time, I was only making $16 an hour. Three days into the program, I broke up with my ex and became a single mom. I had to make the decision to keep moving forward even though the finances weren’t making any sense. But by pursuing that, I’ve been able to create a life of stability that I never would have been able to have without taking that first incredibly scary step.
Q: As an inclusive business coach, what can someone expect to examine or change coming into your program?
I love even just the way that you said that –– the key piece is examining, right? It’s about being able to look at what systems we’ve already created and asking, “where’s this coming from –– where could these structures possibly be rooted in?” Most of this is internal work with my clients. A lot of clients come in and know that anti-racism is important, and they want to diversify their clientele, but they’re expecting us only to work on the business. And yes, we’re doing work there, but it’s also within yourself. It’s allowing yourself to process whatever emotions are coming up for you, especially shame and guilt.
Shame and guilt come up a lot when you’re doing this work. Even the discomfort in realizing that something you’ve been doing for a long time may be problematic. It’s OK to step away and do something different –– leaning more towards inclusivity and creating a safer and more diverse space for the clients you’re looking for.
Q: Is there an area where you see the people you work with getting consistently tripped up?
Two things come up for me –– one is even outside of just people I work with. It applies to everyone. It’s that burnout that we all went through after 2020 because of the way we were engaging with the work. I had so many clients during that time watching these intense documentaries, and they’d ask if I was watching –– and I told them no. Documentaries do not fall into something I enjoy.
I remember a time when a friend’s teenage son decided to watch Roots and some similarly heavy historical movies, and at the end of a week straight of watching, he felt terrible. I feel like so many people went through that same process and ended up burned out –– and when you’re burned out, it’s hard to dip back in. So, something I remind my clients is that the key part of the work is sustainability.
The typical way we think about learning is the academic way of watching documentaries, and that’s cool –– but do you like doing that? Sustainability in the work is all about how you engage with it in a way that makes sense for you.
For me, it’s reading books. I had one client who loves watching rom-coms, so she made a whole like of Black rom-coms to watch. I think this is amazing because you’re engaging with intentionality –– it’s not just random mind trash.
The second thing kind of falls into the idea of burnout –– it’s the all-or-nothing mindset. This happens in our businesses when we say, “I want to be inclusive, I want to have equitable pricing structures –– but does that mean that then I’m not going to be able to hit my 30k months anymore?” That is the biggest thing that I feel worries people about doing this work. The feeling of “this is going to be all or nothing.” I try to help my clients through this by showing them how to do both.
Q: Would you give us any pointers about how to navigate that wealth-building journey while still navigating this anti-racist journey?
Being really intentional with what you’re engaging in –– being able to say, “instead of buying this thing that I want on Amazon, is there another place where I can diversify where my money is going?” As an example, a thing that has now become just a personality trait of mine is that I love press on nails. I’m wearing them right now. I think of myself as an influencer because if someone asked me where I got something, I want to be able to loudly say, “These earrings? Oh yeah, they’re from a Black-owned business” or “I get my press ons from a Latina-owned business.”
Q: What advice do you wish you could have given yourself at the start of your career?
This is actually very funny because the first thing I thought of was financial advice. I remember right before I’d gotten that first client, I quit my full-time job. I had just gotten my last check and a tax return. I was living my best life for like a couple of months –– but the way that I was spending money was from a place of frustration. It was a “let me just do all the things now because I will never be able to do them” kind of mindset.
I was going on a year of being a single mom, and I lived that entire year feeling so constricted. When all of that happened, I wanted to take my daughter to restaurants (she was 3 –– she didn’t need to go to restaurants). We did so much, and it was from a place of “I need to do this now because I don’t ever see myself being in a place like this.” And now, two years later, I’d tell myself not to run up those credit cards –– that I was only harming myself more than helping myself. Eventually, you’ll be in a place of abundance.