Cameka Smith, Founder of The BOSS Network, a community of professional and entrepreneurial women who support each other through conversation, online engagement, and event-based networking. Working towards one simple goal, BOSS® is “Bringing Out Successful Sisters” to promote and encourage the small business spirit and professional development of women.
Under Cameka’s leadership, The BOSS Network has become one of the fastest-growing women business communities, garnering several accolades such as a Top 50 Website for Entrepreneurs (Inc. Magazine), 10 Best Career Sites for Women (Forbes.com) and one of 9 Twitter Accounts to Enhance Your College Experience (BlackEnterprise.com). In recognition of her achievements, Cameka was listed in Jet Magazine as a 40 under 40 Entrepreneur, named one of the “Top 40 Chicago Game Changers” by Ariel Investments, The Network Journal listed her one of their 2016, “40 under 40” honorees, and she was presented with a leadership award by the Black United Fund of Illinois.
Elle Clarke: What you have done with the BOSS Network is nothing short of amazing. If there was one word that would describe the last ten years of your life, what would it be?
Cameka Smith: FAITH! Entrepreneurship is a faith walk. It’s one of those things where you have no idea what can happen day by day. You must have faith in your vision and yourself. It’s faith walk that I take daily.
Elle Clarke: You’ve grown an amazing digital brand with over 200,000 followers. What advice would you give to a queen boss who’s at the beginning of her entrepreneurial journey?
Cameka Smith: This journey has been amazing. Being recognized by Forbes and being the first digital community to be verified by Instagram has been incredible. There are 3 R’s in business that I live by:
- Research: You must understand the solutions you want to provide for your client’s problems. Who is your competition? Who are your potential clients? Who are your potential investors? Knowing what you offer and who you offer it to will equip your business to be successful. If you don’t do your research you won’t last long. When you are prepared you are confident, so do the work!
- Relationships: Relationships are key in entrepreneurship. The relationships I built-in education and corporate America helped me to move up the ladder in my career. So when I started my business I continued to do just that. Building relationships is how you build a loyal following, clients, investors, and sponsors; so if you aren’t building relationships you are doing yourself a disservice. Build Relationships NOT a Rolodex.
- Revenue: If your business isn’t making any money, it’s a glorified hobby. Business is about revenue. A lot of the time we start passion projects that create no revenue for us. Making money in your business is key and knowing where your money is coming from will help you to repeat what works so that you generate consistent revenue.
Elle Clarke: Tell us more about the Ladies That Lead Conference?
Cameka Smith: I’m super excited about the Ladies That Lead Conference. It’s a multi-day event. This year we are celebrating 10 years and we wanted to do it big. We are honoring the Queen Mother Ms. Tina Lawson who is an entrepreneur and cultivated the careers of two major stars; Beyonce and Solange Knowles. Super Model and Beauty Icon Beverly Johnson have also joined us to host Friday’s ALL Black Awards Celebration and she will be speaking on our entrepreneurial panel about her multimillion-dollar businesses.
Like many of you, Cameka Smith built her brand from the ground up using skills that she learned in corporate America. She understood early on, that you cannot be successful without people and you won’t be able to grow anything great without partnerships. Your dreams are attainable but it’s time to build meaningful relationships.