Empower by GoDaddy: Helping Entrepreneurs of All Backgrounds Grow their Businesses
Entrepreneurship provides a vital component of today’s global economy, creating a platform for innovation, job creation and economic growth. According to GoDaddy’s Venture Forward research initiative, for every one microbusiness per 100 people in a community, two new jobs are created (not including the business owner). And for every additional microbusiness founded, the median household income in the immediate area rises $195 over a one-year period. However, many aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly those from underserved communities, face significant obstacles in accessing resources, networks and opportunities to build and scale their businesses.
In response to this challenge, inclusive entrepreneurship aims to create an ecosystem that supports and encourages opportunity for all. One social impact program making strides in this area is Empower by GoDaddy, which provides entrepreneurs in underserved communities with the resources and tools they need to succeed.
Kicking off the month of May, which recognizes Small Business Month, Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, and Mother’s Day in the U.S., GoDaddy wants to recognize and amplify the achievements of talented women and AANHPI entrepreneurs with the goal of inspiring future generations to achieve their full potential. This month, GoDaddy caught up with Empower by GoDaddy graduate, Chong Mi Land, founder and owner of Land of Moon, a bespoke fashion and costume design business based in San Diego, California.
Chong Mi started her business by creating unique dresses for her daughter (who her business is named after) that were not readily available in stores. She went back to school to sharpen her sewing skills, started creating costumes and eventually landed a project designing sets for a major online retailer’s in-person experience at San Diego Comic Con. This success gave her the confidence to start her own business, and she began passing out business cards and using social media to showcase her work.
"Going into this opportunity, I had reservations. But I believed in myself and my skills and just went for it as any entrepreneur would,” said Chong Mi. “It went very well and I learned that I liked being my own boss. And from there, my business launched.”
But, when the pandemic hit, Chong Mi’s work dried up, so she went back to school to study cybersecurity, which she found interesting but didn’t love. After work started again post-pandemic, Chong Mi received a call from the Better Business Bureau of the Pacific Southwest (BBB) offering to help her with establishing a better online presence for her business through the Empower by GoDaddy program. With her busy schedule, she was hesitant to join the program, but later decided to take advantage of the opportunity to improve her business and network with likeminded entrepreneurs.
“When I joined Empower by GoDaddy, I didn’t even have a website. But through the program, I learned a lot about marketing and search engine optimization,” said Chong Mi. “I’m glad that I went through with the program because it was also a way to network with other small business owners who experience a similar journey as yours and know the types of situations you may encounter.”
While going through the program, Chong Mi picked up a new contract. Even with her busy schedule, she decided to take on the work. It was the first time she had touched her sewing machine in eight months. She recalls having to modify a big, beautiful sparkly gown, and the thought hit her, “Wow, this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
From there, Chong Mi started receiving more jobs and even getting contracted by entertainers. It reaffirmed that she was on the right path.
Women and people of color who own businesses can face unique challenges, including bias and discrimination, but they are also making strides and achieving success in their communities.
According to GoDaddy’s Venture Forward research initiative, women entrepreneurship is on the rise overall. Pre-pandemic, only 47% of business owners were women, but this number has increased to 60% post-pandemic. As a woman business owner herself, Chong Mi wasn’t surprised by this trend.
“When you have to spend a lot of time by yourself as we did during the pandemic, you contemplate and try to find things to do because you can’t socialize with other people. And I think that often, people, women especially, suffer from imposter syndrome,” said Chong Mi. “But when you are basically by yourself with no outside influence, who is to judge you but yourself? Maybe a lot of these women were able to convince themselves into finally taking control of what they want to do, and finally had the confidence to push forward on their dreams.”
GoDaddy’s Venture Forward research initiative also identifies that AANHPI business owners are 15% more likely to start their own businesses and have success on their own compared to other demographics. Chong Mi believes that this could be attributed to the strong work ethic instilled in many AANHPI families, as well as the American dream that is so heavily emphasized in these cultures per her own experience growing up.
For other entrepreneurs eager to start a business of their own, Chong Mi offers a few key pieces of advice:
- “Just try – because you never know until you try. Learn all you can with whatever it is that you’re deciding to do. What you need to know when starting a business may be different across industries, so get out there and network and keep trying.”
- “No job is too small. If it’s something within your wheelhouse, all of that is a starting point.”
- “If you have imposter syndrome, don’t be an imposter. I went into this not knowing a whole lot. I tried to teach myself some things, and tried to glean information from other people, but I did most of it on my own because you have to learn the way that things work when running a business. And I just kept trying, even when things weren’t so good. Sometimes you have to take a step back to take a step forward.”
Chong Mi’s story of resilience and determination is a reminder that being a small business owner can be challenging, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. It takes hard work, dedication and perseverance. And, with the right mindset and support, it is possible to succeed. Her willingness to take advantage of the help offered by the BBB and Empower by GoDaddy is an example of how organizations can support entrepreneurs in their journey and in creating a more inclusive and equitable business environment.
Empower by GoDaddy Spotlight Series: By partnering with diverse local nonprofits and community organizations around the world, Empower by GoDaddy aims to reach those who haven’t otherwise had access by offering skills training, resources, and mentoring to help accelerate their business journeys. This article is part of the Empower by GoDaddy spotlight series that shines a light on the individuals who make this unique initiative possible.