Just after celebrating her one-year anniversary, Shamek’o Barren joins us to share her secret to the success of New Mindz Mentorship, LLC. The consistently hard-working founder of the youth mentorship and business empowerment organization has always wanted to give back to the community. Listen in as she describes what it takes to be an entrepreneur, where she sees her organization headed, and how she’s able to conduct her business on her own terms.
Connect with Shamek’o and learn more about New Mindz Mentorship Program, LLC at:
Phone : 251-408-1133
Danielle: Welcome back to Dreamer’s Den. I’m Danielle Towner, and we have a guest with you today. The founder of New Mindz Mentorship Program, LLC, Ms. Shamek’o Barren. Welcome Shamek’o.
Shamek’o: Thank you Danielle! Thanks for the invite.
About New Mindz Mentorship Program, LLC
Danielle: Thank you for coming on. And her mission or what she focuses on is empowerment within the community, and specifically with our youth and with future business owners. But she’ll be telling you a lot more about that as we get into the meat of the interview.
So we’re gonna get started now, and what I want to know first is what is the story behind you establishing New Mindz Mentorship Program, LLC?
Shamek’o: Oh! Danielle, that is a great question and actually New Mindz was probably actually birthed or the thought process of New Mindz was birthed probably about maybe in 2006. And me and my sister, we just always talked about we wanted some type of mentorship or we wanted something for the community. Something to give back. At first we were thinking about girls and we were just thinking about almost like a little mini Boys and Girls Club type of thing.
Danielle: Uh huh.
Shamek’o: Me and my sister, we were actually members of the Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club here in Mobile, Alabama.
Shamek’o: And it made a great impact on us and I want to say probably from elementary until middle school, we probably were a part of that. And that was just something we always talked about. I actually wrote it down, like I just wrote the name down. New Mindz is something I came up with, like the actual name. And I just kind of wrote it down and kind of set it to the side until it was actually time to bring it forth.
Danielle: Okay. Yeah, they say write out the vision and make it plain.
Danielle: And that kind of keeps it in your mind and in your heart. And if you’re a praying person it keeps it in your prayers and when you put the work behind it, it comes to fruition.
Shamek’o: Yes. Yes. That is so true.
Danielle: That seems to be what happened for you.
Mentorship and Business Programs at New Mindz
Danielle: So, In New Mindz Mentorship, what specific programs do you offer?
Shamek’o: With New Mindz, as you mentioned, we do work in the community. We are a youth mentorship and business empowerment organization. And some of the workshops and programs we offer, we have “Beauty is Her Name”, we have “She Reigns”, which actually is a workshop I just had on January 26th. We have “King of Kings” which is a youth male workshop. We have “Teen Financial Literacy”, “Goals and Guidance” and so much more. As far as business empowerment programs, we have the “Entrepreneu-Her” workshops that we do that are kind of centered around women entrepreneurs up-and-coming just to offer empowerment and guidance on how to grow their business and how to deal with being an entrepreneur.
Danielle: Okay. I think especially with the financial piece of it with financial literacy and entrepreneurship, those were some things that we didn’t have growing up or I know I didn’t have in my surroundings growing up.
Danielle: And it seemed like such a mystery then or all we had to look at were the adults or our parents and they were kind of from the working class and we didn’t have that.
Danielle: So that’s something awesome. That’s a great thing to have within the program and they’re getting a head start from that.
Shamek’o: Yes. Because that was the whole focus. When I call it New Mindz, the whole purpose is teaching our community and teaching our kids, as you said, some things maybe we did not know. And I remember some of the things that I didn’t know as a youth. The Boys and Girls Club may offer that now, but I know when I was coming up, we had different programs so one way I modeled mine is to think of a lack of resources maybe I did not have as a child. Like, I wish somebody told me about student loans, I wish they told me about what exactly is a credit card, a savings account, why I need to save money.That’s why I think it’s important to have programs such as this as a part of new Mindz.
Danielle: Right. In any business model, they say that you should, to be successful and to gain that attention, you need to have a problem that you’re solving, so that sounds like the direction that you’re going so that’s great.
The Dilemma of Entities: Choosing a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a Non-Profit
Danielle: Now, speaking of business model, people often or I know people often assume that you’re a non-profit because of the services you provide and those great programs that you’re doing within the community. But you’re actually an LLC.
Danielle: So, can you shed some light on the differences between the two and why an LLC works better for your business model versus a non-profit.
Shamek’o: Yes. You know Danielle, I think this is awesome. I’m smiling because I think this is such a good question and it’s just funny you bring it up because often, so many people ask me; “you’re a non-profit, right? You’re a non-profit, right?” And I was like, “no”. “You’re not? You’re not a non-profit?” And I’m like, “no”.
And actually, now that you bring that up, actually I was conflicted when I was actually creating New Mindz. I was thinking about a non-profit because I was conflicted because I was thinking, you know “I want to help my community. I have a certain passion.” And I was like, “I think I want it to be a non-profit”. And I know I was talking to certain business cultures and certain people, and they were like, “why?”. And you know, I felt conflicted because I said “how can I be offering my community something and I’m charging them for it?” And when I actually learned the difference between the models; one, just because you’re charging someone, it doesn’t take away what New Mindz was created for. You get what I’m saying? We’re still gonna help our community.
Shamek’o: We still want to serve them and offer things that are going to help them, but – and when you say what are the differences, when I was doing a little research and asking people about the non-profit, I know that it’s based on grants and certain things they receive from the government. They have certain directors and to me, I would say the non-profit model looked more like a partnership with the government. It didn’t seem like you had sole control.
Shamek’o: And the purpose of me having an LLC is New Mindz is something that I created and I wanted to have sole control over what I created and how I want to run it. I did not want to be at the mercy of anyone else telling me how to operate my business. So that is kind of why I chose the route I went, New Mindz – we still offer affordable workshops. Most of the workshops I have, they range between ten and fifteen dollars.
Shamek’o: The ones that I have for entrepreneurs usually range between twenty to thirty dollars, so I still offer affordable programs and I also still do things that does not cost. I offer free workshops from time-to-time. New Mindz, we also sponsor a classroom over at Fonde Elementary School.
Shamek’o: So, we still do quite a few things, but I would say the main reason for the LLC is having total control. And I think the good thing about this is though I am an LLC, I still have people that believe in and share my visions. So people still give donations and so forth towards the cost because they believe in what New Mindz is doing.
Danielle: That’s a great point for anybody who is contemplating either of those models. I agree with that that if you work hard to put out that vision, then you don’t want someone telling you what you can and can’t do.
Danielle: And like you said it doesn’t take away the impact that you have within the community and you still – you kind of get the best of both worlds because you still have those people who are, who see what you’re doing and see the impact and they want to contribute too.
Danielle: So that’s a great point. I’m glad – I learned something. I’m familiar with both entities, but I just learned something new about being able, like you said to have the best of both worlds.
First Year Business Lessons Every Entrepreneur Will Learn
Danielle: So, okay, you recently celebrated your first year in the business. Yay!!!
Shamek’o: Yes! New Mindz! One year!
Danielle: That’s something to be proud of as an entrepreneur. That’s a big hurdle.
Danielle: What I want to know is what are some of the things that you experienced and learned within that first year. Any challenges you overcame, any milestones you achieved. What are some of those things that you can share?
Shamek’o: That’s a good, great question. Making a year, it doesn’t seem like it because it was definitely hard work. And I would probably say I learned whatever you put into something is going to be exactly what you get out. I talked about in one of my workshops even with some women entrepreneurs, what is the secret to entrepreneurship? Because everybody thinks there’s some big secret- You just have to do the work. You have to do the work and sometimes you will be tired. I must admit this past year, I was a little bit exhausted, to be honest. But I learned what you do, you will get out of it.
I also learned as an entrepreneur because, as what I call a newbie, you can become so excited and you think every time there’s a networking event. Every time there’s this, I need to go to it. I would probably say, I’ve learned that you have to have balance. It’s very, very important. Because you can easily become burnt out. As much as you work, you have to rest as much as you work, as you build your business.
And something else I learned was probably as well being just a new entrepreneur, it’s okay to keep some things to yourself or to your chest. I know we’re excited and we’re networking and you think everybody has your best interests and that may not be true.
Shamek’o: So it’s okay to be modest in certain things that you share with your vision and so forth. Nobody needs to know everything you have going on with your business. Especially when you have different competitors, so my thing is just to – main points.
Do the work. Whatever you put into it, you’re going to get out.
Don’t forget to balance. Rest as much as you work. Because you don’t have to go to every networking event. Just because they said all business owners must be there doesn’t mean you gotta go.
And just keep some things to yourself. It’s okay to keep some things about your business under wraps.
Danielle: Right. And I’ll say that a lot of or some of those networking events or some things for businesses could be actually like a distraction from what you really should be focused on.
Danielle: Especially in the beginning. And with putting in that work, sometimes you may feel like you’re doing it for nobody and for nothing, but people just want to see that you’re going to be around and they want to see that consistency.
Danielle: So even in times of hard work or discouragement, take that rest and recharge and just get back in there and just stay consistent.
Shamek’o: Yes! That’s it! Because I mean, boy I can say after this first year, I know entrepreneurship is not easy but it’s totally worth it. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
Danielle: Right. Now, what are some of the resources that helped you start and grow your business?
Business Tool and Entrepreneur Resources
Shamek’o: Some of the resources that helped me start and grow my business. As I mentioned, I kind of had this vision for years about New Mindz, but I actually went to an event that Women of Worth Business Empowerment (WOW) held. It was a vision board, and Shaundra Stallworth is actually over that organization. And they had a vision board party probably about two years ago and I don’t know what it was about that vision board party, but it actually got me rolling. Like, it actually motivated me to take the thought of New Mindz off a piece of paper and actually put it into action.
Shamek’o: And Shaundra was very instrumental in my calling her. I was like “yeah, I went to the vision board you all held and I have a few questions”. I made a few phone calls with her two or three times and she pointed me in the right direction of things I needed to do. Steps I needed to take to create the LLC. I also have a business coach, actually two business coaches. I have a branding coach, Jasmine Michelle that is out of Birmingham, Alabama. And actually, I have a bold business coach from here in Mobile, Ramonica Gamble.
Shamek’o: She’s been very just instrumental in providing me with what I need. And I would say, she helped me get over the fear factor of growing and actually taking the next step now that you have the business – Now, what do I do with it? So, those are some of my resources.
Danielle: Okay, awesome. And those are – that’s some things that people are questionable about. With so many people saying “Oh, I can coach you. I have this class. I have a mastermind”, but when you find somebody who’s really skilled and knowledgeable about it, that’s a good tool to have in your toolbox.
Shamek’o: Yes. Yes.
The Future of New Mindz Mentorship, LLC
Danielle: Now, looking into the future and some of the things that you may have had on your vision board, where do you see the company going over the next few years?
Shamek’o: Good question. New Mindz, over the next few years, I actually see exploring some type of membership with some of my kids or clients. Also, I would love to have an empowerment center for New Mindz. And basically, I just see great partnerships and basically I see just growing. And having more advanced workshops, bigger events. That’s where I see we have so much more in store for New Mindz.
Danielle: And you have a great – you have a great newsletter. I look forward to getting that every time it comes out.
Learn More About New Mindz
Danielle: So, just share with everyone if they want to take more – get more information. If they have an interest in what you’re doing, share with them the website and how to get connected with New Mindz Mentorship Program, LLC.
Shamek’o: Yes, if you want to know more about New Mindz Mentorship Program, LLC, we do have a website at www.newmindz122.com. We are also on Facebook. Look us up. New Mindz Mentorship Program, LLC. And you can also connect with me on LinkedIn, Shamek’o Barren. I do a lot of updates there for New Mindz. And also, if you want to email us, you can email us at [email protected]. If you’re interested in working with us, speaking with us or donations, please don’t hesitate. And my phone number is 251-408-1133.
Danielle: Awesome! Well, I’ve enjoyed this and I learned a lot and I’m so excited for you and for where things are headed.
Shamek’o: Yay! Yay!
Danielle: So, I really appreciate you stopping in and for you guys out there listening, if you have any questions for me or Shamek’o, you can press the record button that will be on this podcast and you can ask your questions there. Or, as she said, you can reach out to her and we’ll get back with you as soon as we can.
And thank you guys for listening. And other than that, as I always say, Dream Until your Dreams Come True.