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Launching a new business at any time is no doubt a big task. Add a pandemic to the mix and you have a whole new landscape to tackle.

This past year, I embarked on an exciting and somewhat scary new journey. I became a franchise owner for the first time. While I’m not entirely new to entrepreneurship, franchising was a very new domain for me.

During the height of the pandemic, I was the last franchisee to sign on with the PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans franchise in March 2020, right before the U.S. shut down. Becoming a franchise owner was a lifelong dream of mine and embarking on this with PJ’s Coffee was very fortuitous. I grew up in New Orleans with a PJ’s location across the street from my high school. Never did I imagine I’d be achieving this goal under the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Opening a business in a pandemic was a true test of my grit. I had to be flexible and agile to successfully open my franchise in North Dallas, Texas, in February of this year — and I’ve learned many valuable lessons along the way. I hope to share what I’ve learned with other Black millennials who may be interested in franchising to build wealth for their families and communities.