Tracey Christian believes whole-heartedly in supporting and resourcing the success of small businesses. Her energy, passion, resilience and unwavering commitment to helping others to climb to new heights is what makes her story and message so compelling. Her dedication to courage, connection and community mirror the values that we at OutGrowth hold near and dear. Together with Tracey, we know that building bridges and building ladders is what enables all of us to thrive. Read more on this phenomenal woman (appropriately featured on International Women's Day) and leader in our Q+A below, and be sure to check out her article in this month's issue of En Root: Forming an Ecosystem of Support.
This month's theme is all about Access to Support. Tell us about how that concept has played a role in your work.
"Access" refers to entry into or use of - that's one of the core concepts of the entrepreneurs village! We believe in giving businesses of all sizes access to resources and training that will help them grow and maintain success.
At OutGrowth, we are committed to helping people to grow their village. What do you think we as individuals and communities can do to carve a path so that others can grow beyond traditional limits?
We must be committed to providing strong support. Availability, accessibility, accommodation, affordability and acceptability are the essential dimensions of resources sharing. We can no longer hide behind our differences and the fear of the unknown. I believe we are responsible for the success of our fellow man, in business. Knowledge sharing should be free.
Tell us about a pinnacle point or moment in your life journey.
How much time do you have? Over the years, I’ve tackled many obstacles and experienced much success. I’ve learned that in life, sometimes things are out of your control and as a result, you might not make it to the top exactly as planned. A turning point in my career was when I fully understood that I must be bold and demand what I need. I had to be courageous and refuse to take no for answer, when going after my dreams. When I launched The Entrepreneurs Village, I reached out to several businesses for assistance and was sadly turned down, due to fear of creating a competitor. I was shocked. I couldn’t understand how someone didn’t see the benefit in helping a fellow entrepreneur. I vowed from that moment to help all businesses who wanted to help others. Climbing to the top of success or to the pinnacle of your career is often a challenge, but by being bold and surrounding yourself with those you like and support - it becomes a bit easier one step at a time.
How did this experience change the course of your life, your career or your outlook?
I've learned that when we offer to help someone else (small businesses), they benefit greatly, but so do we. Because helping others brings out many of the positive characteristics we want to see in ourselves. I believe we all desire to have healthy communities, successful small businesses, and great resources. The Entrepreneurs Village is the fruit of those desires.
What are your top three pieces of advice for students and professionals who may be looking for ways to grow forward?
1. Do your research! Look into all of the aspects of your business before you launch. Get to know your industry, competitors, and market trends.
2. Network! Don't be afraid to contact other business owners. You'll be surprised to learn that they want to network just as much as you do.
3. Be Open Minded! Listen to understand when being given constructive feedback. You don't know everything, no one does. Learn from your mistakes.
If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Whew! I would tell young Tracey to be patient, that success doesn't come overnight. Work smarter, not harder, everything you want will come to you after you've put in the work.
What is your favorite quote?
“Those who hold the ladder control the ascent of the visionaries." - Samuel R. Chand
Based on your professional experience, what are the top three career competencies that you believe can be gained/developed as a result of pushing past limits?
Leadership: Leverage the strengths of others to achieve common goals. Be ready to lead by example, be a doer!
Analytical skills: Seize the opportunity for organizational improvement that prompts critical thinking and problem solving by obtaining, processing and synthesizing information. Get outside of your head and look at issues like a puzzle.
Problem Solving: Be able to identify and separate out the key components of problems and situations. Take your time to dissect the problem. Don't be imitated. You can work through everything!
What's next? What are your next steps toward growth in 2021?
Successful growth requires motivation, the desire to improve, and the willingness to strive to make changes. I'm open to learning from other businesses and taking courses. I’ll also be exploring various techniques and ways for personal and professional growth to find what’s suitable for me and The Entrepreneurs Village! I'm determined to help other businesses GROW!! In 2021, we are only as successful as the business closest to us.
Tracey is the Founder and CEO of The Entrepreneurs Village, which offers a unique networking opportunity for businesses of all sizes, specializing in a wide range of services. Tracey is determined to help people of color gain equity through entrepreneurship. She is also a proud wife and mother of two amazing little humans, and loves reading, cooking and dancing.