The Entrepreneurial Legacy of Madam C.J. Walker

February allows us a chance to reflect on the experiences of African Americans throughout U.S. history. We have a special opportunity to learn and celebrate from trailblazing, black entrepreneurs like Madam C.J. Walker, known as the first African American woman to become a self-made millionaire.  

Madam Walker's road to success brought important lessons that we can apply to our businesses today:  

  • It is essential to believe in yourself. Walker is famously quoted as saying "I got my start by giving myself a start." She endured hardship in her early life as an orphan and child abuse survivor, and later as a widow, and single mother, but Walker's opportunistic and tenacious spirit repeatedly put her in the right place at the right time to succeed.  
  • Collaborate with others who believe in your vision.  When Walker began to experience hair loss, she worked with her brothers (who were barbers) and created a hair regrowth serum that would become the foundation for the Madam C.J. Walker Co.  To increase the chance of success, she learned how to run a business in the beauty industry as a commission agent for Annie Turnbo Malone, another successful black haircare product entrepreneur.
  • Invest in talent. Once her own business began to grow, Walker was able to employ workers at two different factory locations in addition to running a school for sales agents called "Walker Agents". In recognition of the power of collaboration, community and support, Walker also organized clubs and conventions for the nearly 40,000 Walker Agents by 1919.   
  • Invest in yourself - in the form of money, time, or both.  In Madam CJ Walker's case, she invested $10,000 of her own money into her manufacturing company when she couldn't find any backers.  This made her the sole shareholder and later allowed her to have a lasting impact as a philanthropist. Today, she is remembered for contributions to the YMCA and the NAACP, as well as historical preservation funds and scholarships. 

Walker's example serves as a reminder that we can succeed with our without bringing our own capital to the table. There are many ways that entrepreneurs can invest in themselves to ultimately reach their goals and help others. Higher education, investment of time, and small steps toward business expansion, like those taken by Walker, are all at our fingertips!

Check out our FREE educational resources!

 Check it out! We have created three brand new tutorials in our online learning platform, LiftLearn.  If you haven't yet signed up for LiftLearn yet, why not?  It's a free learning resource!


The new topics covered include: 

  • Business Taxes
  • Business Partnerships
  • Exploring Entrepreneurship

WEBINAR: Small Business Taxes

With the April 15th federal income tax deadline quickly approaching, this is an opportunity to learn or refresh your memory about your tax obligations as a small business owner. Join LiftFund and Dan Slattery CPA to learn about the different types of federal and state taxes, an overview of the Schedule C form, tips for reducing your tax liability, and changes to the federal tax laws that impact small business owners.

TOMORROW - Tuesday, February 25th | 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM CST


WEBINAR: How to Create and Stick to Collections Practices that Work

Does your business struggle to receive timely payments from customers? If you find yourself with a long list of outstanding accounts receivable each month, this is the webinar for you! Join LiftFund and Karalynn Cromeens to learn how to establish a proven, documented process for collections in your business. By implementing these tips, you will eliminate frustrations and wasted time. Don't miss out on getting paid what you are owed!

Thursday, March 5th | 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM CST