Bold, Best, and BETTERness
An investment chat with the SimplyBetter Bosses
So what’s the cost of doing something big, new, and daring?
While the value of a new idea is priceless, the cost of business requires something. Today we’re talking to Denise and Kala, co-founders and visionaries of BetternessBox as they share a bit about what it’s taken to break ground in business and keep that thang moving.
Ladies, as we celebrate the We Are Wealthy box, we’ve spent the last few months talking about money - how to save it, spend it, put it down, flip it and reverse -- well, you know the vibes. As the company approaches its fifth year in business (yassss!) our #betternessbaes want to know what it took to get you here. As you think about your lead up to starting this company - what would each of you say is the best investment you made?
Denise: The best investment I made in myself was committing to getting in tune with my body and intuition through my yoga practice. I’m a certified yoga instructor and was practicing for over a decade beforehand, and I’ve realized how that practice really keeps me grounded, sane and able to notice what I’m actually feeling in my body. Becoming intentionally in tune with my body allowed me to notice when I was feeling things like anxiety, and from that place I've become able to make decisions very clearly based on my gut reaction. If it’s a definitive yes, I commit to it with confidence. If I notice that I’m having an aversion, I know it’s a no because it’s very much aligned with how I’m physically feeling about a decision.
Kala: I’ve been extremely intentional about investing into my friendships. I’d say that I’m very people-rich; I have friends from every city and country I’ve lived in, and those friends have all helped me level up in so many areas. When I think about business, I know that I am who I’m around, so I’m very specific about who I engage in conversations about money, business, and creativity. I actively create space to spend time and share with the people who enrich my life…that’s what allows me to be who I am in life and in business.
So with those grounding investments as anchors for you individually- how were you able to move into co-investing to form BetternessBox?
Kala: Pledging Delta Sigma Theta was the first part -- that was an investment on its own that led Denise and I to forming a relationship. From there, we had to invest in developing our relationship. I knew that I wanted to take what I was doing with my Youtube following and provide something tangible. Denise and I both knew that women like us needed this kind of product and that they needed community. The shared interest and the trust that came from that allowed me to feel peace about investing in the business.
Denise: It’s interesting -- Kala and I are very different people but we love each other and complement each other in many ways. What felt right in the beginning was that we legitimately came up with the idea together. It felt organic and natural, and the way that we were working together was a reflection of our existing friendship. It allowed us to have the hard conversations, and really be open with each other as we decided to do this in partnership. Going back to what I said earlier, sitting with the feeling of it - the business idea and the partnership - felt right. I knew we both were committed - there was never a question about our relationship or work ethic…even when we had questions about the direction of the business…our commitment to each other and to the mission that we collectively determine have always been unwavering.
Starting a business of any kind, at any level can be scary. It requires a level of boldness because your success is tied to the decisions you make. So what would you say about what it takes to make a bold investment -- of your time, of your energy…in any way that impacts your life?
Denise: Before I make any kind of bold move, I have to be informed about what I’m getting myself into. It may be the Sagittarius in me, but I like to have all the facts up front. Then I’d say you have to trust yourself and be confident in your own individual decision making process. Another piece of the puzzle is knowing that you don’t have to be perfect. You can’t make a bold move if you feel like you have to show up perfect. I want Black women to know that they’re allowed to make mistakes too -- that’s part of being bold.
Kala: I was just talking to a friend about this… I realize how important it is to be very self aware and be rooted in who you are as a person. You can have all the bold move energy and great business ideas you want, but you may not be the one equipped to execute each one, and that is ok! To be bold with ideas is a good thing, but so is being grounded in who you are and your capacity to execute those things. You should know who you are, what you like, and what you do well so you’ll know you have the stamina to stay with it when things get tough. It’s a balance really, not being so afraid that you never make a bold move, but knowing that you don’t have to make every move. That self awareness is bold too.
Kala and Denise are living examples of how multi-faceted the concept of investing really is. It is an exercise with and for themselves, with and among others, and in the space that they each take up as individuals and as business partners. They get it, and are committed to making sure that as they yield returns, they’ve got us - the Betterness Crew - too.
Denise: I came up with a framework that helped me balance, focus and decide better for myself. I PROACTIVELY ELIMINATE RESPONSIBILITY -- meaning I've given myself permission to say no. It’s what helps me sure up what I want to do, what I have capacity for, and what brings me the most joy.
Kala: Before you start anything, you better KNOW WHO YOU ARE, ALIGN AND THEN EXECUTE.