New Revenue Streams, Being Smarter with your Money Management, & Branding » Succeed As Your Own Boss

New Revenue Streams, Being Smarter with your Money Management, & Branding » Succeed As Your Own Boss

#Smallbizchat Podcast LIVE is an interview show where small business owners can get answers to their questions. The focus of #Smallbizchat is to end small business failure by helping participants succeed as your own boss. Please join us every third Wednesday of the month from 8-9 pm ET Live on my SmallBizLady Facebook Page, and my YouTube Channel. Please subscribe and share these amazing interviews.


How to get started with exporting

Melissa Muhammad is a Global Business Expert and International Tax Attorney who specializes in helping international businesses operate worldwide. For over 20 years, she has traveled to numerous countries negotiating billion-dollar transactions and has trained tax officials in over 153 nations. Now, she helps Black-owned businesses export globally and access government resources to turn concepts into contracts. For more information:


SmallBizLady: Why is exporting important in the Black community?  

Melissa Muhammad: Exporting is crucial for our community because it offers a direct contribution to economic growth. Exporting is how Black-owned businesses expand globally, tap into new markets, and boost sales and revenue. It also provides market diversification, reducing vulnerability to economic fluctuations. International trade also fosters competitive advantages and drives efficiency, innovation, and product quality improvements. This keeps Black-owned businesses world-class and ready to provide products and services to a sophisticated global consumer market. Additionally, exporting facilitates knowledge and technology transfer, enhancing the community’s capabilities. Cultural exchange occurs as products and services reach international consumers, fostering understanding and cooperation. Successful exporting elevates our global reputation, attracting foreign investments and collaborations and opening doors to new opportunities. Black-owned enterprises do not want to miss out on these significant opportunities. That’s why my company, Black&Global, empowers and supports Black-owned businesses through initiatives that provide training, education, resources, and coaching to bridge the gap and help them thrive in the global market.


SmallBizLady: How can the government help anyone access global markets?

Melissa Muhammad: International trade is important to the U.S. economy, and several federal agencies support exporting businesses. Engaging in international trade and exporting goods and services is a multifaceted process that involves collaboration and support from various entities within the government’s ecosystem of export agencies. These agencies play a crucial role in facilitating, promoting, and regulating exports, ensuring businesses can successfully navigate the complexities of global markets.

Government agencies shape and support export activities by providing information, training, and support for research, promotion, logistics, financing, and regulatory compliance. This creates an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the global marketplace.


SmallBizLady: How can people learn to export?

Melissa Muhammad: At Black&Global, we have developed programs that teach Black business owners how to access government resources to grow their businesses through exporting. We also highlight the government programs and resources that help entrepreneurs build an export team to implement their unique export strategy. We encourage Black-owned businesses to attend international trade events to promote their products or services, meet potential partners, learn the latest information, and find promising leads for their future global buyers.

Good money moves for 2024

Karla Ukman is “not your father’s financial advisor.” She champions financial education and personalized strategies for women and historically excluded communities. Leading her own firm for over a decade, she ignites financial awareness and empowers clients to take charge of their money in ways that resonate with them. Karla’s passion lies in dismantling financial myths and fostering economic resilience.  If you are interested om joining her movement towards building wealth on your own terms. Check out her website:

SmallBizLady: Procrastination and fear of change often hold people back from taking their first steps toward financial growth. What advice would you give to start actively making their money work for them?

We’ve all been there. But remember, fear and inaction will keep you in the same place. Break down the task into manageable steps. Start with researching a few investment options, talking to a financial advisor, or simply setting up a basic budget. Even small actions can build momentum and confidence. And remember, you don’t have to know everything; learning and adapting are part of the journey. The important thing is to take the first step, overcome the inertia, and watch your financial journey unfold. Don’t wait for the perfect moment – start today, even if it’s just by taking one small step towards your financial goals.


SmallBizLady: We often hear about “get rich quick” schemes or chasing the hottest investment trends. Why is taking a conservative, long-term approach crucial for making your money work harder, especially in today’s volatile market? 

Chasing quick wins often leads to disappointment and potential losses. Building sustainable wealth requires patience and discipline. A long-term approach, based on your individual risk tolerance and goals, focuses on consistent growth rather than short-term gains. Think of it like planting a seed and nurturing it to grow into a strong, resilient tree. Diversification, low-cost index funds, and a strategic asset allocation plan can help mitigate risk and build long-term wealth, even in uncertain times. Remember, slow and steady wins the financial race – don’t fall prey to the allure of quick fixes and focus on building a solid foundation for your future.


SmallBizLady: With economic uncertainty on the horizon in 2024, what are some actionable steps our listeners can take to make their money work harder without taking on excessive risk?

Karla Ukman: Volatility can be unnerving. But let’s not let fear paralyze us. Here are three actionable steps: First, assess your risk tolerance. Understand your comfort level with fluctuations and stick to it. Second, prioritize security. Ensure you have an emergency fund that covers at least 3-6 months of living expenses. This safety net reduces dependence on debt during tough times. Third, explore low-risk options. High-yield savings accounts and index funds offer steady returns with minimal risk. Remember, consistency is key – even small, regular investments can grow significantly over time.


How to Live Your Brand


Olivia Thomas, The Brand Counselor, specializes in empowering seasoned founders to elevate their businesses through strategic branding. As the founder of the Wintentional Development Co., Olivia is dedicated to crafting compelling brand strategies that resonate with her customer’s dream clients. Olivia’s mission is to help women in business build lives and legacies through the telling of captivating brand stories. She helps founders connect authentically with their audience, paving the way for sustained success as their businesses mature. For more information:


SmallBizLady: As The Brand Counselor, you specialize in helping founders refine their brand strategy. Could you share some key elements that founders often overlook when developing their brand strategy?

Olivia Thomas: While we are accustomed to learning our audience demographics in great detail, smaller businesses or those who are just coming into the idea of branding are neglecting to understand their customer base’s psychographics. Understanding their aspirations, motivations, and lifestyles is the foundation for creating a brand message that sticks. It’s simple to understand their need for a product in a direct way that gives them results, but understanding what it truly means to them to create those results makes it even more powerful when you’re communicating to them that you can get them over their murky waters that they need to cross. You are a bridge to the other side and make yourself a caring guide with their best interest at heart. It becomes a real win-win serving situation instead of a selling situation. 


SmallBizLady: You focus on untangling founder self-perceptions. Can you delve deeper into how a founder’s personal narrative influences their brand and what steps they can take to be more authentic in their brand identity?

Olivia Thomas: While we may think of something like this in the realm of personal branding, having a full understanding of who you are as a person will help you to determine what it is that you are inspired to create in the brand and to create for the world. Oftentimes, when professionals are writing their mission and vision statements and making their list of values, they are using language that they’ve heard before in the market. The words usually speak to the company and all of the things that it will do for the world, but the company was founded by an individual who was inspired to create something. Founders shouldn’t be afraid to be inspired by their real-life motivations, their life experiences, and the truths of how those things have affected them and filled them with the desire to create something that’ll solve a problem. If they are consistent and clear, it could start a movement. Founders have to remove themselves from the expectations that others have placed on them for what they should be, or sound like in order to be able to communicate what’s real. A real brand is a lived brand, and it’s easier to attract the best people who align with you – when the philosophical foundation of the brand speaks to not only the founder’s immense expertise in their area but also who they really are as a person. 

SmallBizLady: How does an effective brand strategy contribute to both the founder’s well-being and the overall success of the business during this critical phase?

Olivia Thomas: Founders need to take care of themselves. Their ability to even communicate their brand is usually stuck within their nervous system. I work with black women primarily and due to societal, familial, and communal issues, we are often expected to the people who are in control, but this wreaks havoc on our nervous system in a lot of ways because we often get stuck in survival mode. When we’re in survival move, we’re in the instinctive part of our brains and we are more likely to be reactionary but to build a beautiful brand and tell an authentic story, we have to be able to think from a dream-filled and proactive place. When you’re in the protective place, you’re not thinking of the potential of your dreams but instead thinking of all the ways you have to protect yourself. 

The possibilities are endless when we take the time to care for ourselves and release the unique abilities that we have inside of us instead of always having to react to the culture that surrounds us that was never built to accommodate or care for us. None of this is to say that the societal issues that surround us are not real and sometimes threatening–but when we have control of our responses, we can take anything that is thrown at us and reframe it in the best way possible and create something beautiful and uninterrupted. There’s freedom in that. I want black women and friends to be free to be Uninterrupted Masterpieces.


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