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I met the illustrious Kimberly B. Cummings at the Buzzfeed Buy Black: Holiday Pop-Up shop. She was kind, striking and so generous. I thought to myself, I must know more! I started following her online and found her to be overflowing with insight and information on, ‘how to be…” How to be great, how to be your best, how to be financially literate and how to be fabulous. Naturally, I wanted to share her story and how she got hooked on helping others! I hope you find Kimberly Cummings insight as informative, exciting and inspirational as I do!

1. Looking back on your first job, what skill did you use that you still use today?

The first job I can remember was babysitting in my early teens. I had participated in a babysitters training that included basic skills and CPR for children and then my name was quickly circulated throughout my small neighborhood. In hindsight, providing a great experience to one household, allowed my "brand" to be shared via word of mouth. I didn't need a website, fancy logo, or anything in order to start making money - I just needed word of mouth.

Looking back, this is how I learned the power of doing amazing work. I went above and beyond for the families I worked for, so I was always getting referrals to new families inside and outside of my neighborhood. I was also getting paid $10-15 per hour back then, which was pretty good for the 14-17 year old me.

2. Was there a defining moment that made you start your business?

I started my career in career + leadership development in 2010, but is wasn't until I felt that I was being stifled by the larger organization that I worked for  that I knew I should start a business. I remember having one of my first speaking engagements where I was able to give advice that I thought was powerful and not having to tailor my talk to fit into the larger institutional brand. I was able to be relatable and impactful in my own way and I saw a huge difference in being able to connect to my audience and potential clients. Moreover, my clients started to get amazing results - increasing their salaries, launching a successful job search, and/or getting promoted in their current roles. 

Once I was able to define a process that I was able to put clients through in order to achieve great results - I was hooked.

3. What was the first step you took to launch your brand?

I started a website and hired a coach. Even though I have a BS in Marketing and MS in Counseling, I knew that starting a business was something different and I wanted to have additional assistance as I started the process. I'd been blogging online for a few years already, but I'd never offered a service. 

4. What is the greatest lesson learned in your first year in business?

Make new business friends. I quickly learned that my old friends who didn't run a business where still amazing, but I needed support from people who knew what I was building. It's so easy to isolate yourself and work around the clock; so it's imperative that you find a new community to connect to.

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5. What is your best piece of advice for your fellow Female Founder?

Build a business that makes you happy. The moment you feel unhappy, reassess and find out what's making you feel that way. Becoming a female founder isn't easy. Many days you may even want to shut everything down, but as long as the core of business and your mission makes you happy still; you're on the right track.

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