Doing Good By Doing Well

February 3, 2021

As you look at your goals for 2021, did you set a goal for doing good along with one for doing well?

One of the great blessings of having financial success is the opportunity it creates for giving back…for doing good.

There is a long and honorable tradition of entrepreneurs using their resources to serve and support the community.

One of the earliest pioneers of this tradition is also often recognized as the “first black woman millionaire,” Madam C.J. Walker.

To say that Walker was self-made would be an understatement. She was born as Sarah Breedlove on a Louisiana plantation in 1867, the daughter of two freed blacks. Both of her parents died by the time she was seven years old. She was married at 14 and widowed with a young daughter by the time she was 20.

The young widow moved from Louisiana to St. Louis, where she worked as a laundress and cook to provide for her daughter. Definitely not an auspicious start.

Walker was almost 40 when her life took the turn that would lead her to her ultimate success. Can you relate? So many of our successful clients have similar experience with finding their greatest success after 35, when they leave the world of working for someone else and move into creating their own businesses and working for themselves.

In 1904, Sarah began working as a sales agent for Annie Turnbo’s hair care company and within two years, created a company of her own. The story goes that she had a dream where she received the formula for a hair-growing tonic. Taking the dream into her kitchen, she began making the tonic and selling it door-to-door.

Sarah married Charles Joseph Walker in 1906 and began calling herself Madam C.J. Walker…and her famous brand was born. Marketed exclusively to black women, Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower was a phenomenal success.

Over the years, the business reached annual revenues of $500,000…an awesome figure even by today’s standards. By the time she died, Madam Walker’s individual financial worth reach more than $1 million.

In addition to her role as a trailblazer for black female entrepreneurs, Walker leaves a powerful and lasting legacy in doing good by doing well.

Over the course of the years, she trained over 40,000 black women and men in business and the art of sales. She became a strong advocate for economic independence for people of color, especially black women.

Walker was a strong proponent of education, financially supporting scholarships for black students at the prestigious Tuskegee Institute. She was also a major contributor to the NAACAP, providing considerable support to their progressive campaigns including anti-lynching initiatives.

Women business owners and entrepreneurs can be proud heirs to Madam Walker’s legacy dual legacy of entrepreneurship and community support.

When you set your own goals for financial success, what kind of goals are you setting for contributing to the common good?

What powerful legacy will you leave behind?

Go forth and do great things,

Martha and Chris