Have you ever been counted out or underestimated? I can’t think of a time I wasn’t.
In the early stages of my career, I played by the rules—safe and I dared not to do anything that shook the table. I never cared for the limelight or praise, I mostly stayed in the shadows of my work.
Something seemed different the day I looked up from my unnecessarily oversized desk working at a social service job, into the gap between reality and my dreams—and I said to myself, “There has got to be more to life than this.” Of course, I asked this rhetorical question a few times before but something about it felt different this time.
Something about it required me to act on these thoughts.
My first act of bravery toward my suspended dreams for myself was to seek more. Mind you, I had no idea what more looked like, but surely, I would know when I found it. And it didn’t take long for me to either. I stumbled on this entrepreneurial program that helped 9 to 5’ers like me start SAAS businesses. Helping us to create freedom and live a life unrestricted. It was a thrill to be a part of this community. We all were seeking more and none of us were sure if this was the path—but it was a start.
I started to love the woman I was becoming.
My second act of bravery was launched right after my first. It provided me with the confidence to go after a promotion at my current job. Which I got and that spiralled into me creating the freedom that I desired.
I went from sharing an office with two other people in the photocopier room to working 3 days out of the week in my own office with an assistant in one sweep.
My third act of bravery was to leave that promotion (after 10 years in an industry) and launch a copywriting business from scratch instead. This is where the reality that I once knew, shifted. I was now in the deep end with no life raft or swimming lessons in tow.
I was drowning in all that I needed to know at once and immediately or, you don’t eat and have a place to call home. It would have been smarter for me to stay in my job until I made enough money in my side hustle but I needed my back up against the wall to act.
I didn’t want a plan B.
Back then, it used to bother me when people at my job devalued my opinion, skills or experience because I didn’t have a degree —now I see being underestimated as my superpower.
Investing in myself has always produced R.O.I. From reading any and all self-development and come-up business stories to taking online courses and networking within the right spaces.
Betting on myself was a guaranteed win. Fast forward to 2020, in the midst of a pandemic I launched a venture capital fund.
When someone counts you out for being self-taught, you don’t go and launch a copywriting business (with no prior experience) and NOW an e-commerce brand that helps women like myself remind the underestimators—they can’t count.
The women I’ve met along my journey has helped me reaffirm my rocky career pivot, like Chivon John, who spun her side-hustle-burnout into helping ambitious achievers apply their ‘work ethic’ to their wellbeing on her podcast Filtered Perceptions.
Or how Jam Gamble flipped her negative experience of being silenced at work to help others turn their voice Into their ultimate superpower as a keynote speaker.
Or Aisha Addo who flipped being harassed by an Uber driver into building a ride-safe service alternative by women for women called DriveHER.
And even the fondly treasured come-up story of Issa Rae catapulting from her Youtube series, of being the Awkward Black girl into an HBO TV show called, Insecure.
It’s always the same script—they leveraged the hand they were dealt.
And so, I want to continue to represent for the women with a legacy to build (and help fund it too)—it’s why the SIE Fund was born. It’s the celebratory cheers to shocking the world because being underestimated is a gift.
This article was written by Tennile Cooper, the owner of ‘She is Epic’ a copywriting service that helps companies jolt your marketing and messaging to stand out online. And has recently launched a venture fund under the guise of an e-commerce brand that helps underestimated womxn-led businesses scale through the purchase of a tee, tank or tote at theSIEFund.com. Become an investor by clicking here!