Have you ever heard the saying, "starting is the hardest part"? On many occasions, I've heard people say the secret to getting ahead is getting started. But how does one get started if one lacks the resources and knowledge to do so?

This is an issue that I have noticed amongst many women across the country, especially women of color. They have goals, they have ideas, they have drive and motivation, but they don't have help. And they actually want help! Black women are described with the "positive" stereotype of being "strong." Often black women are portrayed as not wanting help and wanting to do it on their own. We are stereotyped as "angry" and/or incapable of working with others. So, instead of being offered help, we are left to "figure it out." 

I recently started a YouTube channel where I provide tips for aspiring boutique owners, and the number of women with amazing ideas, but a lack of knowledge and support, was so shocking to me. I uploaded a video providing information that seemed to just not be out there and, seemingly overnight, my emails, comments and DM's on social media were flooded with questions from women all over the world wanting to open boutiques. They explained that they were looking for answers, but the answers were not there.

I'll never forget the first message I received from an aspiring boutique owner who told me that she had obtained all of her licensing, but just couldn't figure out where to obtain quality merchandise to sell. She had been searching the internet and asking around, but no one was giving her answers. I recommended a website to her, where she purchased merchandise, and a week later, she made her first sale. Just like that she was $100 richer from the profit she made. With one piece of information, she was on her way to being a successful business owner, and her success was in no way going to affect my success. 

They say if you don't ask, then you'll never know. But these women had been asking and were receiving no answers! It became my mission to provide information that no one else was willing to share. I realized that there was this belief that because one business owner had struggled to find answers, everyone else should struggle too. I don't agree with that! I feel that if one more woman is able to start a business, that's more money to support her family, more food on her table, more money for the economy, hopefully more jobs created and more success in our communities! 

A few months ago I joined an amazing Facebook group called The Broke Black Girl,  which allowed thousands of women of color to provide support to one another on a daily basis (side note: this post is not intended to criticize the group, but to show an observation). During my first month of being in the group I noticed a reoccurring theme in many of the posts. There were so many women who had goals of starting their own businesses, but not a lot of women who were capable or willing to provide tips and advice — at least not out in the open. There were more women following the posts to see responses than there were women answering the questions.

For example, a woman would make a post asking about tips for opening a boutique, and instead of someone commenting and providing the advice, they would instead tell them to send them a message, or tell them that they would send them a private message. Now, this wasn't the case with everyone, but it was often the response I saw. It seemed that there were a few women who were willing to help, but it also seemed like the tools for starting a business were a secret.

Now, I'm a very observant person, so once I pick up on something I like to look into it a bit more. So I made my way over to another one of my favorite apps, YouTube, and typed in the search bar, "How to Open a Boutique?" I was eager to see what results I would receive.

The first page of results returned various videos from two of the same women over and over again, and a few videos from women of color. I clicked one of the videos that had over 40,000 views expecting to hear something valuable, but she didn't give up anything. Instead, this is what she said:

"One of my pet peeves is when somebody has the audacity to ask me where I get my product from. I find that to be an insult."

She then goes on to say, "I will never share that with you, so please, respectfully, do not ask me."

My response: "Girl bye! It isn't that serious!"

Being a retail manager and buyer myself, I know that there are thousands of vendors who sell wholesale merchandise to boutiques all across the world. I also know that there are millions of products to choose from out there. There are literally more than enough products out there for all of us to start and run successful boutiques. 

I watched a few more videos and the theme remained the same. The women would say, "you need to get a business license," "you need to get a seller's permit," "you need to save money," but none of them directly answered the questions that women were asking.

It became apparent to me that there was a large amount of selfishness in this world, especially amongst women. To this day, I'm still trying to figure out why the road to success has to be a secret. It doesn't make sense to me! Why do these women believe that because they struggled to find answers everyone else should as well? It's such a sad reality.

If more women were willing to share knowledge, more women could find success. As women, we have to support one another. We have to cheer each other on. And we don't have to cheer from the sidelines or support from afar. You can stand right next to her, hold her hand, guide her in the right direction. Give help to those seeking it. Give help to as many people you can!

I know you've all heard the scripture that states it's better to give than to receive . We have to stop focusing so much on our own successes and our own pockets and instead give to those in need, those in need of support. If you've already found success, it won't hurt you to help someone else find success as well.

So, the next time you see someone post that they need help and you have the solution to their problem, be direct, comment right then and there for EVERYONE to see. I guarantee there are other people watching and waiting for someone to reply. Be the person that was a driving force in someone else's success. Be the person who helped someone else to take the next step in their path towards success.

"Black Girl Magic" is described as a movement to "celebrate the beauty, power and resilience of black women." What better way to display Black Girl Magic than to celebrate and support one another in all of our endeavors! Black Girl Magic is when we all win, when we all succeed and when we do it together!