The beautiful thing about HOPE’s mission is that it touches everyone. Women, men, boys, and girls of all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds are inspired by our mission to empower individuals to take charge of their financial futures through financial literacy and economic empowerment. Our mission is powered by our capable and awe-inspiring financial wellbeing coaches who help thousands of people reach their financial goals every year. While most expect our coaches to inspire others to chase their financial goals, many would never consider that the message of HOPE motivates the coaches to reach for their dreams too. Read about an Operation HOPE financial wellbeing coach named Joy, from HOPE Inside First Horizon Siler City, who switched places with her clients and began pursuing her entrepreneurial dream.

In 2019, during the height of the pandemic, Operation HOPE announced that its annual meeting would be virtual. After watching and participating in the HOPE Global Forums, I was even more excited and inspired to be a part of such a wonderful organization as a coach. One of the event’s highlights was a major announcement that would ultimately touch my life as well. Shopify and Operation HOPE announced a partnership whose aim was to launch 1 million Black-owned businesses over the next decade, which became the start of the 1 Million Black Businesses initiative, or 1MBB.

I’ve always had thoughts about starting a business, and I wanted to take our Entrepreneurial Training Program (ETP) class to understand better my financial wellbeing clients who have expressed the same passion. When I first came into the course, I had no clue what I wanted to do, and I didn’t have any business plan to work from. All I had was a name for my business and the drive to start it. My co-worker and now small business development coach, Antonio Lynch from HOPE Inside First Horizon Columbia, did a great job introducing me and the rest of my cohort to the foundations of entrepreneurship. After the first few classes, I immediately applied for my LLC after learning its importance. During the eight-week program, I also learned a lot about writing a business plan, marketing, understanding my target market, and more necessary details to help create and run my business. I also took the time to take the 1MBB Shopify courses to learn how to navigate through Shopify and take my business to scale.

A year later, I have an online retail apparel line through Shopify called Sincerely Emotional. We aim to provide comfortable, creative apparel that inspires women to heal from emotional hardship. Through our diverse clothing line, designed with affirmations and expressive writing, we aspire to create hope and growth from one life challenge to the next.

I’m Sincerely Inspired by HOPE as both a team member and now an ETP/1MBB graduate.