Since 2010, mindset and business coach Rosetta Thurman has been on a mission to empower Black women to create the life and vision of their dreams, with her platform Happy Black Woman.

Thurman created Happy Black Woman as a blog out of the desire to share her spirit, life and career with the world. When she began writing about her life experiences such as quitting her job in Washington, D.C., starting her own business, going natural and dating, she began connecting and networking with many other Black women who were on similar journeys. Now, Happy Black Woman has turned into a business and online community that reaches thousands of Black women to help them transform their lives. Through Thurman’s transformational events, training sessions, international retreats, online courses and her podcast, she is helping women entrepreneurs and leaders change the world. 

Thurman spoke with Blavity about how she created a podcast for Happy Black Woman in order to expand her reach to inspire, promote healthy lifestyles and happiness for women of color.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Blavity: When did you create your podcast? 

Thurman: The podcast was created in 2015 and it was just another way for me to reach my audience. I’m not a social media person contrary to what people might think. I’m an older millennial, but I use it because my audience is there. I’m more of a writer, that’s why I started the blog originally, but people don’t really read blogs as much anymore. I wanted to have an outlet where I can reach more women and bring new people into my community. In 2015, I started hearing about more people podcasting. I had a podcast before in the past, but it was nowhere near the level that we’re at now. I started a podcast and launched it and I received an amazing response from women in my tribe. I did interviews with other Black women entrepreneurs. I featured my clients. I featured people I really wanted to talk to on my podcast and then I started doing solo episodes. I read my podcast reviews all the time and everyone always says they are motivational for Black women who have big dreams and ambitions. They want to have it all. They want a great life. They want a successful business. They want to travel the world. You know we want to live the dream and they say that the podcast really encourages them.

What topics do you discuss on your podcast?

Just like my entire brand, I say that Happy Black Woman is a development company, a lifestyle brand and a supportive global community. What I talk about really falls under personal development, mindset, business and lifestyle. Those are the things I am mostly interested in. I think it's important to stay true to who you are and what you are into. I just focus on what kind of content I am interested in and what I want to say for my audience.

What type of feedback do you get from your listeners? What type of message do you want them to receive and how do you want them to feel when they listen to your episode?

I really want them to feel empowered. That is ultimately what I want to do with my entire platform is to empower and enrich Black women to create the lives that they really want because they’re so many obstacles that we face as Black women, not just with society telling us that we can’t do it or dealing with racism and all other kinds of things, but ourselves. Our biggest enemy is really ourselves. We have more opportunities now in 2019 than ever before. Our parents. Grandparents and great grandparents never could’ve imagined what we have in front of us. I love the word empowerment because it really is about showing other Black women that the power that is inside of you, it didn’t go anywhere. It’s always inside of you and with every episode that I do, my intention is that you go away feeling empowered. That you can do whatever you want to do. 

What are some major factors and reasons that you believe has inhibited Black women from reaching their goals in life?

Well, the first reason is because of the way you were brought up, what you were taught as a little girl and what you saw until adulthood, was very strong; conditioning and programming are very strong. If you are taught as a little girl that there are certain things you can’t do or you have to work twice as hard to get ahead, along with all the other things we were taught because you’re Black, it takes a long time and a lot of work to overcome those limiting beliefs. So most of my clients and the women in my tribe are of all ages. From ages 16 to age 75 and over and over again, I hear that this was how their mother and their grandmother operated. They limited themselves. They held themselves back and they passed it down to generation to generation. If you think about how we’re taught about money or what we were taught about success, that’s for white people. We’re told, ‘you’re too dark, you’re too this.’ ‘Stop being so loud, stop being so opinionated.’ All of these things make us amazing and all of these things make up our black girl magic. We were actually taught to put that to the side and hide it growing up.

The more these beliefs are passed down, the harder they are to overcome. As black women, we have so many different things that we have to deal with. Across the board women are underpaid and we’re seen as less than men. As Black women, we are a race that’s undesirable in society’s view and so we have to actually work on ourselves so we can overcome the limiting beliefs that are inside of us. Once you do that, you start to realize that I can have a better life for myself. Not just for me, but for my daughters and her daughters too.

With your platform and podcast, you focus on entrepreneurship and Black women-owned businesses. Why do you feel like it’s important to talk about these topics through your platform and on your podcast?

Entrepreneurship is what gave me my economic freedom. I think that without money, Black women can’t be free. Just think about it, how many women stay in a bad relationship because they can’t afford to leave? How many Black women stay at a toxic job because they can’t afford to leave? So for me, money is a tool to get out of situations you don’t want to be in. 

We cannot be free if we do not control our own money and the only way to control your own money is to have a business that you own. A lot of us are well educated, we have good jobs, but those jobs are not secure. Companies go out of business all the time. Many of my clients have gotten laid off and they never saw it coming. There was no warning that they were going to get laid off. Even if you like your job, you should at least have a side hustle where you can have money when you need it. For me having an online business, I can work from anywhere and it just gives me security that a job can never do.

What are some shared experiences that you continuously see happening with Black women?

We all have some of the same goals, dreams and desires, and that’s what brings us together. The brand name is called Happy Black Woman because we all want to be happy. We want to be successful. We want to be great. We want to have financial freedom. We want to be able to have some things that we can say was our legacy. We want to be able to leave something behind that will be able to fulfill our purpose in life. 

We have a lot of meaningful conversations. I remember my first live event was a free happy hour in D.C. I invited my blog leaders to come and I wasn't sure that anyone would come, but they came and we had an amazing time and the whole time we just talked about our goals. People said it was like a breath of fresh air because a lot of people in their lives didn’t dream big. I have a community of big dreamers. Women who have big visions. A lot of times their family doesn’t understand. My community is the type of community that we don’t call you crazy. We say girl you are brilliant and you better go and do this and I’m going to check in on you next week to make sure you did it because there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have what we want. 

Photo: Rosetta Thurman/Daphne Hargrove

On your site, it says you want to encourage Black women to live abundant lifestyles and follow their dreams? What advice would you give women who want to follow in your footsteps?

Start investing in yourself. For instance, if they want to get their business started, go to a seminar about starting a business. Go take a workshop. Go get 10 books from Barnes & Noble or off Amazon and read them all over the next 90 days. Really make a commitment that you’re going to do what you want to do. If you put the time in anything, you will get there. It’s just a matter of time. The problem is most people don’t put in the time or the money into it. I would say take that next baby step to get closer to where you want to go. If it's just signing up for a meet-up event. Get around people who are doing what you want to do. That’s going to encourage you, energize you. What’s the best way to invest in yourself right now. Go and do that. 

You talk about a range of topics with your podcast. Which one has been your most favorite?

I actually don’t really listen back to my podcast very much. So I will tell you the one that is most popular by download and listens. It’s called “The 10 Mindset Secrets Of Successful Black Women Entrepreneurs.” It’s about the mindset shift you need to make if you want to be successful in business as a Black woman. It’s about changing your mind about everything. Don’t listen to other people’s opinions, because they really don’t matter. Most people are actually not doing what they want.

You have to invest in yourself. You really do need to think of yourself as the kind of woman who is going to get whatever she wants. People have commented on that episode and they said that it really gave them an overview of the kind of thinking they need to have. There’s a lot of tactics and strategies out there and I talk about that on my podcast occasionally, but what women have said time and time again is that what they need is the mindset because they weren’t taught to think this way. They weren’t taught to think with autonomy. They were taught to go and get a job. They were taught that maybe there are some things you can’t do because you’re a black woman which is ridiculous. So the mindset piece is essential and I think that I’m going to continue to talk about that. 

What makes your podcast and your platform one of a kind?

I am unapologetically in favor of what Black women are capable of. I never co-sign anyone’s limitation. I don't care how young you are. I don’t care how old you are. I don’t care how you look or how you talk. I believe that every Black woman can do whatever she wants to do and no one can stop her. That is my belief and I think that everything that I share on my podcast is a reflection of that. One of my favorite episodes is actually called “Are You Settling for a Plan B Life?” and it's about all of the women that put their dreams on the back burner. They put their Plan A on the back burner and they’ve been living this Plan B life because they didn’t think that they could have a Plan A.  I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on that episode too. But, I love pouring into women. I feel like when I get on the mic, I feel like I’m pouring into women from afar and I can reach so many more women via podcast than I could in person or through an online program. Even if one can’t afford to invest financially, they can listen to my podcast for free, which I love. 

What do you think THRIVE means for the millennial generation?

There’s this stereotype of millennials and I’m an older millennial. I’m 36. There’s a stereotype that millennials don’t care about the same things that their parents or grandparents cared about but I have found that to be completely untrue. We both care about having a meaningful experience on this earth and for millennials to thrive, they’re going to have to understand who they are. There are so many young people — young women who are just following what their favorite celebrity is doing, what their boss told them to do, what their mentor told them to do, what they were taught in college or what their friends are doing. This isn't just millennials, but this is also women in their 40s and their 50s too, but the best thing a young Black woman can do to thrive is to learn who she really is. Discover who she really is and be true to herself.

What does the greater than concept mean to you? How do you want your listeners to come out greater than when they listen to your podcast or learn more about your platform?

I love that phrase because it reminds me of something that I say to my clients, which is, it’s important for Black women to achieve our goals because this is bigger than “you.” When a black woman achieves her goals and when she reaches an accomplishment, she gives other Black women permission to do the same thing. When Oprah became a black woman billionaire, it was like ‘Oh wow black women can do that…?’ So there's wealth being created not because it wasn't there, to begin with, but, it's important to see another black woman doing those big things. When I think of the term greater than, it’s like your life is greater than just you. It's about you achieving your highest potential so that you can aspire other Black women to do the same thing.

If there is one message you could give Black women, what would it be?

I will share my motto that I live by and that is my philosophy that guides my whole platform. You can do anything you want with your life and no one can stop you but you.

This piece is brought to you in partnership with Toyota.