Lauren Messiah of EO OneWorld shares what it takes to be successful on your million dollar journey • EBONY
According to the most recent census data available, 852,000 Black Americans working in the United States are self-employed. With 2021 dubbed the “Great Resignation,” employees look inward, shift priorities and pursue their passions. Going forward, entrepreneurship is probably the most promising career choice. However, running your own business can be a daunting process; you need the right support system to thrive and prosper.
EO OneWorld, a membership platform of the New York-based entrepreneurs organization, works to recruit, retain, empower and advance entrepreneurs of color, women, and members of the LGBTQIA + community. Recently, EBONY met Lauren Messiah, President of The Entrepreneurial Platform, to discuss her own journey, tips for business success, and the truth about EO Soul, EO’s new OneWorld initiative that emphasizes access equitable funding, strengthening ties within the community and evolving black businesses for long-term success.
EBONY: How did your entrepreneurial journey start?
Lauren Messiah: I did not go to business school. I didn’t even decide to start my own business, it just happened. I quickly realized that I didn’t like working for other people and I had a business idea. I have always dreamed of working in fashion. The reality is that getting a degree doesn’t guarantee a job in your industry. When I started my entrepreneurial journey, I had no savings or plans. I was determined to make money without giving up my dream of working in fashion and helping women gain confidence. I took the leap and quit my full time job. I was living off unemployment when I started my business. I had $ 475 every two weeks unemployed and somehow used that money to live on and build a website. I have used social media to market my services. It wasn’t easy and I had no idea about funding, scaling or networking.
How did you become a member of EO OneWorld?
My first business was a fashion school for aspiring stylists. I made my way up to $ 350,000 in annual income, then I found out OT Accelerator. In eighteen months, I hit the million dollar mark and joined EO. I created a second company which allowed me to live my dream. Today, I help women find confidence, style and success through online courses, coaching and my latest book, Style therapy: 30 days for your signature style. This success is due to EO – having a community of people who “get it” has been a game changer for me.
What are the membership conditions to join EO?
To become a member of EO, you must be the founder or owner of a business with more than $ 1 million in sales. We have an affiliate program, EO Accelerator, for founders or owners of businesses with sales of less than $ 1 million and sales of more than $ 250,000.
What are your plans for OE OneWorld to support black entrepreneurs?
The first initiative will be EO Soul, an affinity group of Black EO members and their allies. We will focus on attracting black entrepreneurs to EO OneWorld. Soon after, initiatives will be launched to focus on the Latinx, Asian and LGBTQIA + communities. One of the main goals of EO Soul is to bring intellectual capital, a global network, intimate meetings, a structured support system, and monthly learning and social events to the black entrepreneurial community.
We want to give access to experiences with members who are like us. We have unique events and learnings that will address the challenges minority entrepreneurs face and help us accelerate faster than going it alone. Honestly, you don’t want to come to a party if your friends aren’t around. One of the first goals is to have events and create content that speaks to us. We want to see more of us in the room.
How do you reach a milestone like making $ 1 million in sales?
It’s all in the state of mind. You can put out a very specialized product that doesn’t make sense to a lot of people and earn millions of dollars. Whenever I work with my own clients, before I do anything, we address the mindset. If you have a loser mentality and you think making money is hard or you’re super negative and not interested in growing or learning, you will never get there. There is no strategy you can buy that will net you a million dollars. To have a reason beyond money. Know your purpose behind your business and find the deeper meaning. You need both a goal and a fashion to get things done and be successful.
What is one of the most valuable tools you have to grow your business?
Find a community because you can’t do it alone. Think about it, you can’t confide in your employees or talk to one of your employees about another. It’s not your old 9-5; you are the boss now. You need to connect with other bosses and other people who really understand your struggles and can share their experience. You need other like-minded professionals to talk about business challenges and share your earnings. One of our priorities for EO OneWorld is to create this forum where you can connect with other forum members on everything, including the uncomfortable things that happen in the news cycle.
What books do you recommend for entrepreneurs?
I love to read and have a lot of recommendations. Titles cover mindset, business understanding and personal development; they are a great place to start.
- Outsmarting the devil: the secret to freedom and success by Napoleon Hill
- The big leap: overcome your hidden fear and take life to the next level by Gay Hendricks
- Becoming Supernatural: How Ordinary People Do the Unusual by Dr Joe Dispenza
- Atomic habits by James Clair
- The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack The Wealth Code And Live Rich Your Life by MJ DeMarco
- Shoe Dog: a memoir from the creator of Nike by Phil Knight
What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Just jump, there is no job security. We have learned during the pandemic that no one’s job is safe. You are safer to be an entrepreneur, however crazy it may sound. I don’t take any risks but I had to. It was the best decision I ever made because now I’m making millions of dollars. What I earned annually in my last job, I now earn more than that in a month. It’s up to you, you have to take the hell of a risk.