Human trafficking survivor builds a small business with only $400.


It began with only a few hundred {dollars}. Entrepreneur Nakia Vestal escaped human trafficking as a youngster and commenced working at magnificence salons and retailers. After gaining expertise and disliking her job alternatives, Vestal determined to enter enterprise for herself.

In 2017 and with $400, Vestal based DollMaker Lashes, a magnificence studio in Houston, Texas, that provides eyelash extension providers. She started modestly, constructing her consumer base from her residence. However with perseverance, self-discipline and religion, Vestal remodeled her enterprise right into a full-service lash studio, together with her personal product line.

“I began with only a lash mattress and my instruments that I wanted. And I did not have any advertising,” she mentioned. “All the things was phrase of mouth. I began from residence in my eating room.”

Vestal’s enterprise has been affected by the financial slowdown of the Covid-19 pandemic, however final yr she obtained a $10,000 grant from Verizon’s Digital Ready program, which she credit as serving to her increase.

The grant from Verizon helps small companies damage by the pandemic, notably in traditionally underserved communities. Practically 800 small companies have obtained grants of as much as $10,000 to assist pay employees, hire and different monetary wants.

Listed here are 4 ideas which have helped Vestal to succeed as an entrepreneur:

1. Apply for grants

2. Make the most of social media

According to GlobalWebIndex, 54% of normal web customers entry social media to analysis merchandise. And that share is simply anticipated to develop.

“Social media is free advertising. You’ve gotten Fb, you’ve gotten Instagram, now you’ve gotten TikTok. These are free instruments you should utilize to essentially goal no matter viewers you are making an attempt to get,” Vestal mentioned.

3. Search for free assets

Within the digital age, you could find absolutely anything on the web — from free programs and recommendation columns to digital mentors and networking occasions.

“There’s free assets on the market. Do not feel like there is a silly query,” Vestal mentioned. “It’s a must to actually converse up and you must search for it.”

4. Set your self aside

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