This is Daniella Genas raised in Nottingham, but lives in Birmingham, with a heart and spirit from Jamaica and this is her story of how she keeps going…
As a child I was always trying to make money because my family didn’t have any. I didn’t get pocket money so I made my own. I washed cars, braided hair, and babysat children. I didn’t know it then but I was already demonstrating entrepreneurial skills. I was raised in an inner city community where aspirations were low. My family struggled financially until my parents graduated from University as mature students when I was a teenager. Then they split up, with my mum raising us as a single mother. Despite this, I always had big dreams and aspired to be a business woman taking inspiration from Oprah. I saw how education had helped to elevate the financial situations of my parents (albeit temporarily) and saw education as the stepping stone to success. I applied to do a degree in Media and Communications.
Whilst at University I continued capitalising on opportunities. I organised events as the president of a society and would secure sponsorship from local, national and even international brands. After my degree I worked for a year. I was miserable in employment and after quitting several jobs I started my first business in 2007 with three University friends. By 2008 I was running the business alone and began a Masters in Creative Enterprise.
The business was a social enterprise dedicated to providing training and development opportunities for disadvantaged youths. The commercial side of the business coordinated events for corporate clients. The business grew very quickly to 8 members of staff. This was primarily from securing large amounts of funding back to back. However, I quickly realised that the business was not sustainable. Too much of our income was funded and not enough generated from commercial activity. The business was also heavily reliant on me which made it incredibly vulnerable.
Recognizing these issues, I began implementing a strategy to try and resolve them. This resulted in me seeking investment to take on new staff to focus on management and sales. During this time I tried to access a variety of different business consultants and coaches. None of them had run a business and therefore I did not find them relatable in anyway. They were able to give me academic answers but couldn’t relate to the daily challenges I was facing.
Unfortunately, the investment was postponed at the very last minute. Due to my personal circumstances at the time, after 8 years of running it, I chose to sell the business. That process taught me so much about business. What to do and most importantly what not to do. I experienced a great deal of setbacks whilst running the business. A member of staff took the concept I had been paying her to commercialize and launched it as her own business. Her predecessor sued me for 30 thousand pounds. However, there were also lots of wins. I won a number of awards, became an in demand speaker and was finally earning a reasonable amount of money. I secured nearly quarter of a million pounds in funding and sponsorship from significant brands. I supported 100s of young people into entrepreneurship, employment and education.
Shortly after selling my business I started my MBA specializing in advanced topics in strategy. The MBA provided me with the theoretical frameworks to really truly understand business from an academic perspective. Whilst studying I realised that I wanted to help other business owners who, like me when I started my first business, may have had the passion but didn’t necessarily have the know-how. I launched She’s the Boss to provide the business support that I had needed when starting and growing my business. To help other women in business build sustainable, profitable businesses by helping them to Think Big, Take Action and Keep Pushing.