Ayanna Carrington noticed the law firm she worked for wasn’t providing its young Black attorneys with the tools they needed to be successful. So she wondered how she could help.
That led Carrington to start Your Project Board, a consulting firm that offers project management, virtual assistance and marketing services to growing businesses and entrepreneurs. The business started slowly but when the COVID-19 pandemic changed working to hybrid and home schedules, Carrington’s creation took off, which led to another problem, funding to help with a rapid expansion.
The Your Project Board CEO told Afrotech about how her experience before joining the law firm prepared her to start her own business.
“Most of my experience comes from being really good at one thing and [then] people asking me to do another thing,” Carrington said. “For example, when I was working with our first client, she needed help managing social media. I happened to be taking a course that included a section on social media, so I started to apply what I learned to help her business. New clients would see what I could do with social media and ask if I could help with other types of marketing.”
The CEO added she’s constantly trying new things which is how she started her business, but the road wasn’t smooth, especially at the start. Since she had a background in law, Carrington knew how to set up a business, but didn’t know how to run a business or just how much work went into something as small as pricing.
“I wasn’t prepared to run a business. My background is in legal, so I know how to set up a business,” she said. “But the stuff that’s hard, I wasn’t prepared for. People get online and make you believe being an entrepreneur is exciting and a lot of fun, and you think to yourself, ‘Yes, I want to do that.’ But you don’t hear the stories of people who slept in their office and took showers in a public bathroom in the gym. I wasn’t mentally prepared for that hard part.”
Carrington admitted she struggled with the discipline it takes to put all her effort into the business day after day. She also wasn’t aware of funding opportunities such as the , a financial support system providing small business owners across the nation with access to capital, networks, and coaching.
The CEO couldn’t remember where or when she heard about the Accion Opportunity Fund, but she applied and has used it to expand her business into different countries and now Your Project board has employees who work out of Kenya, Jamaica and Nigeria.
“Expansion means I can offer opportunities to people who are a little more advanced in their skill set,” Carrington told Afrotech. “Even though I can create social media content, now that I have a graphic designer with four years of experience on the team, our services come with a higher level of expertise. With funding from Accion Opportunity Fund, I feel I’m more able to hire and retain the best help I can get, which means I can go after clients who can afford our services.”