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The UPS Store Small Business Blog
  • 09 February 2021
  • Public Relations

The 3 Key Components of Entrepreneurship with Sophia Yeshi

Sophia Yeshi is a Brooklyn-based artist and small business owner. Sophia designed the limited edition Express box featured in the Proudly Unstoppable program presented by UPS. Sophia created her business, Yeshi Designs to shine a light on Black women, women of color and folks in the LGBTQ+ community of all shapes and sizes, who are bold, dynamic and deserve attention. She’s been able to turn her elegant, culturally-relevant designs into business partnerships with brands like Instagram, Google and Adobe.

Her road to success had some challenges, but it was always held up by these three pillars that every entrepreneur should take advantage of.

#1: Find a Mentor

“I often find that women of color don't typically have as much access to mentorship. Especially in a formal capacity," said Sophia. "So, growing up, I didn't have formal mentors, where it was a defined relationship, but there were definitely people that I would consider mentors now.”

It’s important to identify the people that will support your passion and help push you in the right direction. Since Sophia started her business, she’s found more structured mentorship programs, like Routes In, which helped her set tangible goals and coached her through career challenges. When looking for a mentor, Sophia recommends thinking about what you can bring to the table to make it a reciprocal relationship.

The best piece of advice Sophia’s been given? At the beginning of your career: “Just say yes to everything and figure it out later.”

#2: Be self-motivated

You can have the most prestigious set of mentors in the world, but if you lack the self-determination to overcome doubt, your business won’t go far.

“If you don't believe in yourself and put yourself out there, how is anyone else going to believe in you as well?” she said. “So it's a lot of talking to yourself and trying to push through.”

She says that the doubts are always going to be there, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know what could have been. You have to tap into your own drive and determination and be steadfast in what you want for yourself.

#3: Find collaborators that share your passion.

Strategic partnerships are another key component of Sophia’s success. Any brand she collaborates with must align with her mission to celebrate women of color in the LGBTQ community.

“I have to feel like it’s an authentic relationship,” she said. “And that they’re not just using me for, you know, diversity.”

It’s important to note that you don’t always have to wait for brands to approach you. Sophia started by identifying a list of the brands that she’d like to work with and moved forward from there.

She also says that even though it’s tempting to try and appeal to everyone with your portfolio, you want to differentiate yourself and highlight the type of work you want to be hired for.

Success looks different for every entrepreneur, but these pillars are essential for every business – no matter the mission.

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Our series features insights from small business owners across the country.

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