Audience Growth

Tips From 6 BIPOC Entrepreneurs for Growing a Creator Business

by Melissa Wong · Updated Oct 5, 2023

Women and BIPOC individuals face specific hurdles to entrepreneurship and success in the creator economy that others don’t. For example, in a 2022 poll that leading creator educator platform Thinkific conducted with OnePoll of over 1,000 U.S. entrepreneurs, almost a third (29%) of women of color answered that because of their race, they’ve had negative experiences in entrepreneurship. 

In recent years, however, more and more women of color creators start and successfully launch their businesses as creator educators (those who share their unique genius to make a living and positively impact others), building impressive communities, and making their voices heard. Representation and stories of success from this segment are important, as they provide inspiration, belief, and confidence for women of color creators around the world who are just getting started.

This year for Think In Color, Thinkific’s annual event that aims to empower, connect, and celebrate women and BIPOC creators, six individuals with inspiring stories were invited to present on topics ranging from content marketing, to sales funnels, membership programs, and inclusive communities, in addition to participating in a panel discussion. 

Below, take a look at the Think In Color 2023 speakers, what about them inspires us, and what you can learn from them (for free!) when you sign up for Think In Color on-demand

Think In Color 2023 speaker lineup

1. Cicely Belle Blain – Cozy & Collaborative Communities

“Setting the vibe of your community starts with the purpose of your space, how you want people to feel, and how you want people to show up.”

This incredible educator is a writer, activist, thought leader, and entrepreneur noted for founding Black Lives Matter Vancouver and being listed as one of Vancouver’s 50 most powerful people by Vancouver Magazine — not once, but twice! We’re talking about none other than Cicely Belle Blain of Bakau Consulting. Every day, Cicely and their team educate people and teams on anti-racism, equity, and inclusion. This year, they took all that knowledge and packaged it up into three brand new courses and a learning community that continues to grow.

So how did they do it? You can find out by watching Cicely’s on-demand replay from Think In Color, Creating Cozy & Collaborative Virtual Communities. Hear their personal experience with creating multiple sold-out online cohorts and mentorship programs, and learn specifically how to make your digital space safe and inclusive for all.

What you’ll learn in their talk:

  • Cicely’s process for establishing a strategy for collaborative virtual spaces that invite connection and participation.
  • How to identify your audience’s needs and what features or offers within your community will satisfy those needs.
  • The drill-down into how Bakau Consulting’s community Living Room was created, and the impact cozy communities have on learners.

2. Ellie Diop – How To Maximize Sales with a Customer-Focussed Funnel

“Building your customer funnel is like building a relationship — every step matters. It’s important to have clarity on your brand, your why, and consistently share that on social media.”

As a new mom during the pandemic, Ellie Diop started with only a stimulus check, and found a way to take the knowledge and skills that she had, and deliver it to other people. She has since grown a multi-million dollar business. Talk about being good with money!

If you don’t know Ellie, she’s the creator of Ellievated Academy or you may know her as Ellie Talks Money. She used her $1,200 stimulus check to buy a ring light, a website domain, a Canva subscription, a new iPhone, and set aside a bit for marketing. She started selling courses for $15, and in 10 months made $1.3 million dollars.

Ellie now teaches others how to start and scale their online business to 7-figures through content creation and creative funding. She has helped thousands of women start businesses, build their business credit, and scale up using her proven digital marketing strategies and mindset coaching.

What you’ll learn in her talk:

  • How to engage your audience and turn them from cold to hot leads.
  • How to provide free value in exchange for trust from your audience, shares, and most importantly, emails.
  • How to make offers to your customers that leverage systems and automation so they become repeat buyers.

3. Jessica Chen – Growing Both B2C and B2B Services for Multiple Revenue Streams

“You’re solving the same problem, but you are framing it differently. Take the content you’re already creating and repackage it with different language.”

If you’re a professional on LinkedIn, you probably know Jessica Chen. Prior to becoming a leading creator educator, Jessica was an Emmy-award winning broadcast television journalist at ABC and NBC. Just take a look at her content and you know she’s a pro at communications. So she took the leap into entrepreneurship and started Soulcast Media, where she helps people and teams communicate with clarity and confidence. Initially, it was just casually posting her advice online. And now, she’s consulted for global companies including Google, LinkedIn, Harvard Business School, and more.

She is also a top LinkedIn Learning Instructor where her communication courses have been watched by over 2 million people and featured in Forbes, Fortune, and Entrepreneur. She was recently named a LinkedIn Top Voice, and her course on developing executive presence was ranked as #1 most watched by global business leaders.

What you’ll learn in her talk:

  • The tailored approach you should be taking on LinkedIn to reach a professional audience that is eager to learn.
  • Specific language to use when you want to resonate with a B2B audience vs. B2C.
  • The power of packaging your membership offering and other services to attract new streams of revenue.

4. XayLi Barclay – Crafting a Visible Brand with Video

“If you switched to thinking about content as a conversation with your customer along their journey, what could change for you if you made that commitment?”

At only 18 years old, XayLi Barclay immigrated from Trinidad to the U.S., worked in various industries including running online shops, blogs, and businesses since 2006. And in 2015, she made the leap to full-time entrepreneurship.

XayLi now teaches entrepreneurs how to be the best version of themselves in the digital space. She’s worked with brands like Later, ConvertKit, and Honeybook. Her courses cover how to effortlessly create the visual learning experiences you’ve always dreamed of in order to unlock multiple revenue streams, attract paid opportunities, and connect on a deeper level with your audience.

What you’ll learn in her talk:

  • How to develop mind-blowing confidence on camera (coming from a self-described introvert).
  • How to produce a professional video setup, from software recommendations to putting yourself in your best light.
  • The Visibility to Viability framework to building profitability mastery.

5. Teri Ijeoma – Memberships: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

“At first I thought my membership would just be an extension of my course, but that’s not true. The membership is a product all by itself, with its own team, pricing, platform, and promotion.”

Teri Ijeoma began her career in education and non-profits, and started trading stocks over a decade ago so that she could generate extra income for traveling and the other finer things in life. A brilliant entrepreneur, she had that aha moment and saw an opportunity to package up her strategies for trading success and turn it into a side hustle, then her full-time income. And that’s how Trade and Travel started. In 2018, Teri was named the entrepreneur of the year from the National Black MBA Association.

Just for the Think In Color community, Teri put together a tailored presentation about Memberships — the good, the bad, and the ugly. She’ll draw from her experience of growing a community of over 35,000 and an email list of over 185,000, sharing her real numbers and tactics behind her successes with memberships. 

What you’ll learn in her talk:

  • The types of added benefits and value-adds you can offer to your customers in a membership program to increase loyalty.
  • The challenges Trade & Travel faced when starting out, and how they made decisions around how to solve them and structure their ideal membership program — including the technology stack, the measures of success, and retention strategies.
  • How having a community is essential to success and allows your membership to flourish with additional support, connection, and purpose.

6. Diandra Marizet – Head of the table panel discussion

“Our identities shape how we show up. We have the power to make waves in the creator economy.”

Education has the power to transform lives and our world altogether. And creator educators like Diandra Marizet are spearheading the movement for change. Diandra is a co-founder of Intersectional Environmentalist, a digital platform with resources, information, and action steps to help dismantle systems of oppression in the environmental movement, amplifying the voices of Black, Indigenous, and POC communities. You can see Diandra in Gucci’s Chime for Gender Equality campaign and hosting activist gatherings at events like New York Climate Week.

Diandra will integrate her voice and curious perspective into the panel discussion she hosts with Cicely Blain, Ellie Diop, Jessica Chen, and XayLi Barclay.

What you’ll hear on the panel:

  • How the common experience of assimilation, code-switching, and putting aside aspects of ourselves to remain “professional” has shaped one creator’s purpose in a business context.
  • How one creator knew it was the right time to jump from one very well-established career to their own venture, and what milestones in their journey so far have affirmed that decision.
  • How creating courses and selling digital products is a way of achieving agency as someone who has navigated immigrant systems.
  • Much more!

Get all this speaker content for free

Unlock the strategies and insights from these leading creator educators, all for free, only when you sign up for Think In Color on-demand. Access the speaker sessions, bonus talk, panel discussion, and a Think In Color 2023 Digest that summarizes the critical key takeaways. And enjoy it all at your own pace!

No matter where you are in your creator journey, if you’re just getting started with your first digital product or looking to scale your business with new strategies, Think In Color has actionable learnings that will help you chart your own path towards success.

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Further reading

Melissa Wong
About the author

Melissa Wong

Melissa Wong is a Brand Marketer and creative storyteller at Thinkific, based in Vancouver, BC. She's passionate about uplifting diverse creators and telling stories that matter.
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