“I had such a vengeance for 9 to 5 jobs, I said I’ll never work for anyone else…”
After growing up with humble beginnings, a serial entrepreneur’s offering tips and tricks to business owners looking to follow in her multimillion-dollar footsteps.
Sharmeeka Brooks, colloquially known as “Bawse Lady”, has a new book detailing how a $50 business launch turned into multiple streams of income. The daughter of Jamaican immigrants who sought a better life, Bawse Lady went from watching her mother struggle with three jobs, dealing with anxiety and depression, and personally “driving to struggle” at a dead-end job, to making seven figures while motivating women to “bawse up” like her.
Below she details her journey and her “Foundation 2 Elevation.”
Take us back to when you launched your first business.
I worked at that this one job, BrandsMart, for 10 years, and the 10th year, they just fired me out of the blue. At that moment my home was in foreclosure because I couldn’t afford to pay for it and I had a bench in my car because I couldn’t afford to fix the chair in my car. So I’m driving to work on a bench and I’m basically driving to struggle every day. When they fired me, I immediately applied for unemployment and they denied me because Florida is a right-to-work state. And I was so angry that they denied me of something so small, it was only $250 a week. I had such a vengeance for 9 to 5 jobs, I said that I’ll never work for anyone else. And all I can remember is whenever I’d go to the nail salon, there would always be people in there selling bags and other things. And I said, ‘You know what?’ I took $50 from my last paycheck that they gave me and I asked a friend to help me. I asked them; ”How do I get a business license? How do I sell things? How do I get jewelry?’ And she didn’t help me, we were mostly associate but, I knew that Forever 21 has cheap rings–but knew that a lot of black women shopped there, so if I bought that, they would say that I’m overpriced. But I needed to pay my electric bill, my cable bill, I wasn’t paying any mortgage because it was in foreclosure. So I went to Go Jane, which was not as popular at the time and I bought five rings. I went to the strip club during the day shift. That’s how I started my first business, it was jewelry. I started back in February 2013 and that’s how I became an entrepreneur. And I’ve been grinding ever since then.
So my first business was jewelry, my second business, which is what really catapulted my lifestyle and shifted it, was shapers. As I was selling the TVs at Brandsmart, I would see the Colombian ladies come in and they would be like 60 [years old] and their bodies look like they’re 20. They wear the fajas, we call them shapers. I went to about 20 different vendors and every last one of them told me no. I needed to pre-order and buy bulk but I didn’t have the money to buy in bulk. I went to the 21st company and I’m pleading with them. So I went to the 21st company and I just, cause I’m like cleaning my pace. I said, ‘Are you able to work with me? If I can order as I go, I promise you, I’ll be your biggest customer!’ I’m just trying to say whatever I can, so they can work with me because I got tired of being denied.
How much did you make with your shapewear business?
I only made $180 in my first month. My goal was to double up everything and I just kept pushing. The following year in February 2014, I made $120,000 in 28 days. I just grinded those shapers, God just blessed the business because he helped people to see my authenticity. That shapewear brand, in February 20222 It’ll be nine years. I’ve been in business for nine years selling those same shapers.
Going back to that first month where you made only $180 in sales, what kept you motivated?
To be honest, the bills and not wanting to go back to the struggle. My lights were always getting cut off, my cable was cut off, my children were eating Oodles of Noodles. I just wanted to show them something better.
Tell us more about your businesses.
I’m in network marketing for Total Life Changes and I was able to come in and in my first seven months make a million dollars. The following year I made $2.5 million and I’m the first person to ever do it because I don’t have any experience in that with marketing. So my coach, Coach Stormy, is my actual personal coach and we’ve been doing so many amazing things. We have a TV show coming out that’s filming in October so it should be out early next year.
Tell us about your book.
I was going through mental challenges and as you grow, a lot of transitions happen, both mentally and spiritually. I received a phone call from a pastor who told me to go on a fast for three days, because ‘you’re going to be attacked’. I [actually] fasted for three weeks and during that time I didn’t work on my businesses, I wrote my first E-book and did nothing, and literally, that’s when my “Foundation Elevation” started in 2017. People would ask me; ‘how did you start your first business with $50 [and end up] becoming a multimillionaire, without friends and while being an introvert?’ It was really all internal work that got me there and being structured, being consistent, and having a lot of discipline.So I wrote the book, it’s an E-book. I didn’t want to have a regular E-book, I included a 30-day workbook because a lot of people read, but they don’t apply the action. Every single day, I give the reader something different to do, to grow themselves. Whether it’s to make their business plan, to make their personal goals, or to write their affirmations or write up a prayer over their life. I tell them to create their vision board. Like there’s 30 days of something completely different. And I chose 30 because I know in 21 days, anything that you do in 21 days to formulates a habit, but sometimes people fall short. So I said, let me give an extra nine days. If you fall short and you can still fall in that 21-day window to creating a better version of yourself. With that Ebook, in eight hours, I made $57,000. It just blew my mind because my “Foundation 2 Elevation” [tour] stopped in 2020 because of COVID. I would normally fly around and do seminars all over the United States. So to relaunch it and have that type of love reciprocated, I mean, it’s just only God.
What can we expect next from you and where can we follow you?
You can follow me on Instagram. My Instagram page is @_BawseLady_. Besides my E-book, I’m going to actually write a life book that is just going to change so many lives with tips on how you can juggle so much and still do business. I get asked, ‘how do you juggle being a mom?’ My oldest is 20, my youngest is two and my oldest has a baby, so I’m a grandmother and I’m a caretaker for my mom. So it’s like, ‘how do you juggle so much and still be focused to be successful?’ And, ‘how do you come successful internally and not just be money-driven?’ You can expect that from me along with the TV show and I do live webinars so that I can assist people with how to financially become who they want in the financial world.